DEEP Thought

What is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?!

(All posts are personal reflections of the blog-post author and do not necessarily reflect the views of other DEEP members).

LATEST ARTICLE

INEFFICIENCY NEEDS CULTIVATING TOO

By Luke Yates, 11th December 3:00 PM

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The title of this blog post is a line that captured my attention while reading the recently published book, Range, by David Epstein. It’s a book about the merits of taking a generalist approach to problem solving which got me thinking about measures of efficiency and the importance of human creativity. Given increasing over-population, limited resources and a global ecosystem suffering unprecedented losses, what argument could there be for cultivating inefficiency?


EARLIER ARTICLES

SHOOTING THE VECTOR: NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND THEIR USES TO SUPPRESS A DEADLY ANIMAL

By Tessa Smith, 07th October 11:30 AM

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Like all good netizens, I have at least once gotten into an argument with strangers on the internet.  The argument in question was about whether it was ‘ethical to purposely drive a species (in this case, a mosquito) to extinction’. I argued that it was not ethical, on the basis that the species has the same inherent right to survive as all other species, including the charismatic ones. The other parties (for there were many) argued that I was a privileged idiot with no empathy for the millions of people worldwide affected by the diseases. They probably had a point, but ethics aside, it got me thinking about 1) what the problem with the mosquito was, 2) what was being developed to supress it, and 3) how likely it was that the species could become extinct as a result.

UNDERSTANDING BIAS-VARIANCE TRADE-OFF WITH ILLUSTRATION

By Kasirat Turfi Kasfi, 26th August 11:30 AM

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When I sat down to brainstorm a topic to write for the DEEP blog, I thought what would be that one thing that interest me and the rest of the DEEP members? Data, right! We all work with data, we want to find meanings and patterns in our data. We want to be able to make inference, make decisions based on or make predictions from our data. We do that by using statistical learning methods.


NUCLEAR, RENEWABLES, OR BOTH?

By Barry Brook, 29th May 3:00 PM

The Science ShowI’ve long been interested in sustainable energy systems. In 2008 I co-wrote a popular book on nuclear energy, have authored lots of data/modelling refereed papers on energy systems, and used to run a popular blog on climate and energy which ended up getting over 5 million hits during its lifetime. You might have noticed that I don’t talk about energy all that much these days, but I occasionally still dip my toe in the murky waters of the debate. Recently, Robyn Williams, host of ABC radio national’s The Science Show, was down in Hobart and interviewed me on the topic.


ARE WE MISSING THE BIG PICTURE? HOW TO THINK GLOBAL AND ACT LOCAL FOR PROTECTED AREAS

By Cristian Montalvo Mancheno, 15th March 11:00 AM

spill overLand-use change is one of the major drivers of biodiversity loss (1). Setting aside protected areas (PAs) has been the main strategy to confront this, but despite the significant increase in PAs over the last 30 years, biodiversity continues to decline globally. Findings suggest, many areas under legal protection today would have remained undisturbed even in the absence of legal protection. This means that the expansion of PAs has not necessarily led to much additional conservation in terms of representing global biodiversity, and halting land-use change.


NO COUNTRY FOR OLD TREES: TASMANIAN ANCIENT PLANTS AND NEW FIRE REGIMES

By Stefania Ondei, 8th January 1:30 PM 

1 pencil pines.jpgBushfires in Tasmania are becoming more frequent and intense, threatening not only people and properties but also natural values, including the World Heritage Area. Under these conditions, iconic Tasmanian species such as Pencil Pines and King Billy Pines, which are not able to recover from high-intensity fires, might give way to more fire-prone vegetation. This is not a matter of winners and losers; if these ancient trees disappear, everybody loses.


HONEYEATERS: CALLS, NECTAR AND POLLINATION

By Vishesh Leon Diengdoh, 14th December 2018 at 11:30 AM

YellowWattlebirdWhen I had camped nearby Port Arthur in the Tasman Peninsula, this November, I was woken up at five in the morning by eight or nine Yellow Wattlebirds who kept calling in a sequence and repeating this for at least half an hour. From within my tent, I counted eight, based on the loudness and direction of the call, the ninth call was too far to make out. The same thing happened like clockwork the next morning as well.


WOULD MOVING A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME SMELL AS SWEET?

By Shane Morris, 20th November 2018 at 4:30 PM 

Arrival-poster-9As I watched “Arrival”, a movie about aliens descending to Earth and their interaction with a human linguist, I got thinking about the science behind the movie. This wasn’t the physics of space travel or the anatomy of the visitors but the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis*, the principle that language shapes a speaker’s world view or cognition. In this article I connect these thoughts to my research on conservation translocations and proposing a new name for a scientific technique.


ENERGY FOR THOUGHT: FOOD SECURITY CAN BE OBTAINED THROUGH AN INCREASE IN ENERGY SUPPLY 

By Elise Ringwaldt, 6th November 2018 at 2:30 PM

Red Apple isolated with clipping pathIn 2017, I was invited to visit The Breakthrough Institute and attend their Dialogue: Democracy in the Anthropocene. In reflection, I describe in this article how there are concerns for the growing human population food requirements, especially for developing nations. One way we can improve the food wasted right now, is through growth in the energy sector, which can improve technology throughout the food supply chain – saving food and corresponding resources.


WHAT OPTIONS DO WE HAVE TO MITIGATE ‘DANGEROUS’ IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE?

By Sanghyun Hong, 5th October 2018 2018 at 11.00 AM

EnergyAlthough it is a little bit late, we are doing something to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, aren’t we? We are installing on-shore and off-shore wind farms, large-scale and rooftop solar photovoltaics (i.e., solar panels), solar thermal power plants, and even expensive batteries. Wait, something is not correct. Why do we emit more greenhouse-gas emissions when we build more renewables? The answer is simple.


THE FORGOTTEN TASMANIAN EMUS 

by Tristan Derham, 10th September 2018 at 10:27 AM

tasemuIf you are from Tasmania you have likely heard your mate’s story about the time they, or their friend’s friend, saw a thylacine. Hiking alone, they saw a big dog on the track – but wait! Those stripes! That tail! And just as they reached for their camera… the animal had slipped away into the deep bush. Clearly the thylacine lives on in the public imagination so strongly that we see it in our waking dreams. How sad, then, that we do not hear stories of wild emus in the Tasmanian bush.


THE BIG DEAD BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA

by Matt Fielding, 6th August 2018 at 10:44 AM

bIG BIRDWhen we think of fossils, we typically think of dinosaurs and giant mammals. However, Australia was also home to more than 90 known extinct bird species. Understanding the processes that led to the extinctions of these ancient birds improves our understanding of extinction in general and can inform conservation decisions to reduce future loss of our wonderful avian fauna, keeping our bird buddies around to sing for future generations.


THE TRUE STORY OF FLIGHTLESS BIRDS – INTERROGATIONS ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF FLIGHTLESS BIRDS

by Lucile Lévêque, 31st May  2018at 12:06 PM

42-e1527731186439.jpgThe popular ideas we have about the way birds became flightless can seem straightforward, but the actual evolutionary pathway is rather complex. The stories about how evolution crafted biodiversity are fascinating, but they are long stories punctuated by exceptions and oddities. This article will concentrate on flightlessness in groups other than the giant prehistoric birds and the ratites, as the evolutionary reasons for their flightlessness are different stories.


CITIES AND HEALTH: FOR BETTER OR WORSE

by Emily Flies, 27th April 2018 at 3:52 PM

Microbiome FINAL-01_0Historically, cities were considered centres for filth, disease, violence and amoral behaviour. Even today, urbanization has been linked to disease emergence and some diseases are more prevalent or spread faster in cities. However, many public health professionals argue that the city dwellers of today experience health benefits from improved access to healthcare, economic opportunities and vibrant social settings. So who’s right and what’s really happening with health in cities?


AUSTRALIA HAS A BAD MAMMAL EXTINCTION RECORD – AND IT’S PROBABLY WORSE THAN WE THINK!

by Matt McDowell, 27th March 2018 at 8:34 AM

BonesWhen a species is lost from a community the processes and functions they performed are also lost. Since European settlement in 1788, Australia has had the highest mammal extinction rate in the world. The ongoing recognition of new taxa suggests the extent of Australia’s biodiversity loss is underestimated


 

A PEEK INTO THE LEGAL AND POLITICAL ASPECTS OF PROTECTING INDIGENOUS ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’

by Hanh Nguyen, 27th February 2018 at 10:32 AM

page2.jpgThe ongoing fight against biopiracy and the appropriation of indigenous traditional knowledge and resources.


“KNOW WHERE YOU STAND”, THE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR BIODIVERSITY AND HERITAGE (CABAH) MASTERCLASS ‘INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IN A FIELD SETTING: WORKING ON COUNTRY’

by Tessa Smith, 29th January 2018 at 11:46 AM

t3.jpgLearning the history and aiming higher for beneficial collaborations with indigenous groups. Two researchers from the DEEP group reflect on the five day CABAH Masterclass ‘Indigenous community engagement in a field setting: Working on Country‘ hosted by Monash University and the Taungurung Clans in Melbourne.


ROBUST SCIENCE, THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE, AND WESTERN AUSTRALIAN PETROGLYPHS

by Carley Fuller, 20th December 2017 at 10:05 AM

thylacineIncreasingly at odds with this concept of Aboriginal stewardship, industrial development on the peninsula has intensified over the past decades. CSIRO monitored petroglyphs at seven sites between 2004 to 2014 using colour and reflectance spectroscopy, choosing five southern sites close to industrial production and two northern sites, further from industry. This year the overall ambiguous results seemed to have given a green light to further industrial development.