It is voting time again

17 08 2010

That’s right, I am crawling back to blog about important happenings this week in Australia.

It’s National Science Week.

It seems I’ve missed out on alerting you to vote for your favourite Aussie scientist for the Eureka prize (I would have been supporting Evans and Smith for proving the intellectual and communicative exploits of chickens).

But it is not too late to start voting for your favourite new Aussie species discovered this past year. Given that this year’s theme is biodiversity it’s a pretty appropriate poll.

Place your vote here.

Nominees are:

  • Opera House Barnacle (Calantica darwinii)
  • Kimberly Froglet (Crinia fimbriata)
  • Sea Spider (Paranymphon bifilarium)
  • Steve Irwin’s Tree Snail (Crikey stevirwini – I kid not!)
  • Spinifex Ant (Camponotus triodiae)
  • Pink Handfish (Brachiopsilus dianthus)
  • Cape York Amber Fly (fossilized) (Chaetogonopteron bethnorrisae)
  • Bacchus Marsh Wattle (Acacia rostriformis)
  • The Bandalup Buttercup (Hibbertia abyssa)
  • Truffle-like Mushroom (Cribbea turbinispora)

More new species and biodiversity stuff at the bushblitz website including a free teacher booklet (just in case your school somehow missed out, or your from another country).

It could the premise of a good movie…

5 07 2010
…or even a good book.

Bringing back into existence extinct animals through the use of genetic and reproductive technologies. I wonder where that idea came from, researchers at Scripps & San Diego Zoo?

Well, okay, it’s not quite extinct, but the Drill Monkey from equatorial Africa is pretty darn endangered, which might be a redeeming factor for this story. Instead of creating a whole range of new endangered species, we should be working on protecting the ones we already have. And we definitely should be trying to avoid resurrecting giant reptilian predators that will eat all our goats.

Surely a ball of string is cheaper

27 05 2010

I’ve seen some videos circling about the place of children using the iPad but this is just silly.

Actually, you know what I would like to see: those talking/language proficient non-human apes getting a spin on this device. That might actually be some productive. (Not the only one who thought about this apparently).

It’s Alive in Brisbane: Pretty Possum

14 04 2010

Finally, I have been able to photograph something living in the Brisbane area that wasn’t a water dragon. I was getting worried they might have eaten everything else.

Actually, I have seen other living things, I just have not had my camera with me when I have seen them.

The rusty critter above was spotted at the QUT Kelvin Grove campus as I came home from the bus stop after ice skating. Possums are pretty common to be spotted on campus at night, and I have seen at least one during the day time.

Later on, closer to my unit, spotted one hanging upside down on a wire outside someone’s house. Thankfully they didn’t notice me taking flash photography outside their window, which may have been a little difficult to explain easily.

Creativity unleashed

22 11 2009

I mentioned in my last school post (the one about set ups), that I’d used a modified version of The Future Is Wild‘s animal design activity.

While TFiW is more focused on evolution and decent with modification, my class was currently focusing on a more ecological unit – what roles do different organisms have in an ecosystem, how do they interact and how do we classify them.

Previous lessons had gone through self-made classification schemes, traditional classification schemes (e.g. The Classical Greek), and scientific classification schemes. The two scientific classification schemes were taught in my classes. Read the rest of this entry »

Stacks On!

31 08 2009

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Such is life in prison – someone is gonna make you their bitch.

Star Tortoises at Melbourne Zoo – caption and photo by zayzayem.

Synergy in Nature

12 05 2009

With Our Powers Combined

Snorg Tees

It’s Alive in Sydney: My own private taxonomy fail

2 05 2009

Just so that we are clear I’m not afraid of kickin’ my own moronic ass sometimes.

I thought I was all clever adding this picture to an Agamid group in Flickr as a bearded dragon:
Physignathus lesueurii lesueuri (Eastern Waterdragon)

Turns out it is Physignathus lesueurii lesueuri, an Eastern Waterdragon. If I’d paid any attention, I should have noticed the complete absence of beard.

I saw this little fella, and a few more (and a massive goanna, coming up) along Lane Cove River, in the Lane Cove National Park in North Ryde/Macquarie Park.

Thank you Jen 64 for pointing out my error. More on identifying subspecies of waterdragon over at Australian National Botanic Gardens website – note the face stripe goes eye-to-ear in this critter, distinguishing it from the Gippsland sub-species, you can also see some of the red underbelly if you look hard  (plus it was taken in Sydney, not Gippsland)

It’s Alive in Sydney: Mystery Bug

26 04 2009

White Crawly Bug

A crawly bug I spotted on a sign in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.

It was so white, I wasn’t sure if it had been accidentally covered in paint (under the outer plates still looked dark).

It’s Alive in Sydney: Sexy legs, sees

22 04 2009

Bandangi Millipede 001

A millipede on a rock – in Badangi Reserve on the Lower North Shore of Sydney.

Taking this photo with a flash prompted me to ask Alex Wild (currently featured at SciBorg’s Photo Synthesis) if flash photography can harm or distress insects and other invertebrates. His answer – not that he knows*.

This critter did not curl up and die afterwards, at least not that I saw, so my conscience feels fine.

More millipede shots below the fold as I tested my camera out in the field.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ice ice kitty

18 12 2008

All right. Stop. Collaborate and listen,
Ice is back with my brand new invention

via iO9

The Cryotranz™ concept (which will capture market share over the Kold Kitty Karrier) would allow safe, stress-free, and easy travel for pets. Or small children. Same diff.

Cryogenics rests on the border between impossibly crazy and almost plausible. While tissue and cellular integrity tend not to fare up well during the freezing and unfreezing processes – natural cryptobiosis adaptions allow some animals to survive prolonged cold-induced torpor.

The minds at work behind the thought experiment have considered some possibilities – using a chemicals (proprietary knowledge of course) to slow down kitty metabolism and prevent cellular damage. Perhaps derived from sub-antarctic marine life and cryptobiosis frogs?

The vacuum though? Possibly not the best environment. A fluid would definitely be preferred. While an inert gas (apparently oxygen is “corrosive”) sounds sensible – like a light globe. I think a goop (with a low melting point) of some kind that keeps the animal hydrated (along with important membranes) – but might remove some of the, “no mess, no fuss”, aspects.

more cold kittehs

Cute and cuddly animal babies!

29 10 2008

Cute overload not enough cute to actual “overload” you?

Well, go to ZOOBORNS then. Showcasing the “newest and cutest exotic animal babies from zoos and aquariums around the world”

Everything is adorable.

I won’t eat meat for the next … 6 hours (time for bed).

I love the picture of the baby orang-utan. It looks so much like a human baby. It is amazing. No wonder the name for these apes derives from “man of the forest”. If a human had all-over long shaggy red body hair, I don’t think you would be able to tell them much apart.

Ethics of pet trade

7 10 2008

Story on audio at HACK.

Animal activists are concerned that too many pets are bought from pet shops on impulse. They’re also allege many of the pets are supplied to the stores from illegal puppy breeding farms.

Hence the bill in New South Wales parliament which if passed will ban the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores. Pet store owners are up in arms saying they have animal welfare as a primary concern. They believe they are the victims of cheap political point scoring.

The original bill was to apply to all pet sales from pet stores. That bill was scrapped, and at the time of this radio story it was being redrafted just to apply to cats and dogs. Abandoned hamsters and other furries (and non-furries, like fish) are obviously not an issue…

The argument for this law does make some sense. Puppy mills are an issue, and so are abandoned animals. It’s easy to see how making everyone get new pets from a shelter could make the world a better place.

However, in reply the pet industry also makes a good point – many sales are not made through pet stores, and that is the source of puppy mill trading. Banning sales through regulated pet stores might exacerbate the problem by creating further demand for privately (and unregulatedly) bred puppies and kittens.

More sensible approaches might be further regulation of private sales, and subsidies for pet desexing and registration.

More squishy cuteness

30 09 2008

Helping my friend study English…

and then I’m away for the long weekend.

So live with some more cute cute squishy things

(I’d rather Linda Marigliano… *sigh*)

On with the show!

28 09 2008

Sorry for the temporary break in transmission…

My sister and her boyfriend arrived back from Canada last week. They were able to drop by in Sydney on the way to Rockhampton, so I tried to take some time out to catch up with her. Had a few dinners in the city and went to Taronga Zoo on Saturday. Animal pick of the day – orang-utans!

I really need a camera for these sort of things don’t I. But alas I don’t even have a decent one on my cheap French phone. So enjoy a sexy video for Wii instead.

Go-karts!!  Hee Hee!


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