Weekend Wanderings: Sunset along the river — LEANNE COLE Fine Art Photographer

A couple of days ago I was loaned the new Nikon camera, the D500, from Nikon Australia. It is Nikons new…

via Weekend Wanderings: Sunset along the river — LEANNE COLE Fine Art Photographer

As a resident of the often-maligned state of Victoria since 2001 (apart from two years in the UK), I’ve spent enough time in Melbourne city  to have seen postcard-worthy sunsets over the river on a regular basis. Though I’m not a real city lover, the past four months have been spent working in a 30-storey building that has great views of the MCG, Melbourne Tennis Centre, Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay. And not being able to get out in the water as much as I’d like is tempered somewhat by looking out at the bay or river and soaking up those amazing views.

 

Nurse Sharks of Belize — indahs: dive, travel & photography

22nd edition of Marine Life monthly post. Marine Life post published every 19th of the month. It aims to share information on marine life species and to promote their conservation. The Nurse sharks are a common sight when scuba diving in Ambergris Caye (Belize). They usually swim in a group and a chance to meet two […]

via Nurse Sharks of Belize — indahs: dive, travel & photography

Dirty secrets revealed during International Coastal Cleanup Day

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I’d been threatening to join the Seaford Beach Patrol group for months to take part in their monthly cleanup and, seeing as I helped them join the International Coastal Cleanup Day movement, thought I should finally get along to the cleanup on the 18th of September. Weather was the standard Melbourne September grey and cold, which didn’t deter 17 locals from turning out to collect more than 35kg of rubbish in a one-hour stint along a 200-300m stretch of our bay beach.

Apart from the scary numbers of cigarette butts, plastic-based food wrappers, bottles, tin cans and foam pellets, the cleanup revealed some surprising finds shown in this table below:

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Considering lollypops (usually Chupa Chup style but varied in size) are not the fashionable thing they once were, it might be that recent storms and winter king tides have revealed layers of historic plastic waste, and also dumped a larger than expected amount of foam and plastic on this stretch of beach. And the old saying about lost socks turning up in the damnedest places holds true, though why there were two socks and four shoes found is anyone’s guess.

Greenland sharks can live to 400 years old, only reach sexual maturity at 150

Researchers using radiocarbon dating have determined that Greenland sharks, slow-moving giants that live in the cold, dark waters of the North Atlantic, are the longest-living vertebrates on Earth, with one recorded as being 400 years old. Which explains the old Greenland shark quip that goes something like: “God must like practical jokes; why would He make […]

via Scientists say Greenland sharks can live for 400 years — The Cotton Boll Conspiracy

AIMS seminar: “The effects of ocean acidification on zooplankton: using natural CO2 seeps as windows into the future”, 8 September 2016, Townsville, Australia — Ocean acidification

When: Thursday, 8 September 2016 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (AEST) Where: AIMS Townsville – Main Theatre – Lot 35 Cape Cleveland Road Cape Cleveland, Townsville, Queensland 4816, Australia Spearker: Joy Smith, University of Bremen (Germany), Plymouth University (UK), AIMS Abstract: Ocean acidification has been at the forefront of marine science research due to […]

via AIMS seminar: “The effects of ocean acidification on zooplankton: using natural CO2 seeps as windows into the future”, 8 September 2016, Townsville, Australia — Ocean acidification

Sharks smarter than we think (and probably smarter than the average shark-hater)

Some great UWA research is being reported as showing sharks have better comprehension of their surroundings and are “smarter than we think” – though I presume that means smarter than most clueless people would have thought.

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That one time boxer Danny Green next to a dead mako and everyone went crazy. Photo credit: Danny Green

Yes, it’s obvious that scientists are still learning how sharks think, what their motivations are to make long distance swims and even (for any species) their relatively little-known mating and breeding habits. But whenever I see interesting articles in the general media, it still bugs me to read reader comments about how bloodthirsty and stupid sharks are, from people who clearly know nothing about them firsthand.

Anyway, here’s some grabs from the article and I’m sure Dr Yopak is tired of having to always dispel these misconceptions:

University of Western Australia researcher Kara Yopak presented her research into the use of brain anatomy to understand cognitive ability in sharks.

Dr Yopak said it was a common misconception that “sharks are these small-brained pre-programmed eating machines”.

“They are actually relatively large-brained species and they are capable of such an incredible range of complex behaviours,” she said.

Part of her research involved comparing the brains of sharks to mammals, including humans.

“There is a number of similarities that I would say have originated at least as early as sharks and then have been carried through vertebrate evolution to our own brains,” she said.

Dr Yopak said the brains of sharks varied across different species, casting doubt over the effectiveness of one-size-fits-all shark deterrents.

“When we are investigating repellents we probably need to take a species-specific approach,” she said.

How useful is twitter for academics, really?

Good post on how Twitter isn’t that effective in increasing readership of a journal article, though I think if a tweet does go viral, the conversion rate is bound to be lower than if 50 people actively engage with it. I would read at least the abstract of about %75 of the posts I retweet – otherwise, why bother retweeting it? To show an interest in the issue, that I can’t be bothered to read more about?
I think the author of the original tweet and journal paper is also important – if it’s an author you have previously read and liked (or an organisation that you actively support), surely it’s more likely to encourage the click-through than just, well, a ‘clickbait’ title?
Yep, maybe I’m deluded on that, which is why Buzzfeed and the like are so popular these days (21 Reasons Why Prawns Are Delicious) and true academic publication (The stochastic and comprehensively bland approach to garbage disposal literature) is not.

Neuroconscience

Recently I was intrigued by a post on twitter conversion rates (e.g. the likelihood that a view on your tweet results in a click on the link) by journalist Derek Thompson at the Atlantic. Derek writes that although using twitter gives him great joy, he’s not sure it results in the kinds of readership his employers would feel merits the time spent on the service. Derek found that even his most viral tweets only resulted in a conversion rate of about 3% – on par with the click-through rate of east asian display ads (i.e. quite poorly in the media world). Using the recently released twitter metrics, Derek found an average conversion of around 1.5% with the best posts hitting the 3% ceiling. Ultimately he concludes that twitter seems to be great at generating buzz within the twitter-sphere but performs poorly at translating that buzz into external influence.

This struck my curiosity…

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Sunshine Coast Summers

Girl and the Deep Blue Sea

Hello summer! Even though we have had some fab hot days for a few weeks now, it is officially the first day of summer, my favourite time of the year! Long days means lots of beach time and hopefully capturing some ocean magic. These photos were taken over last summer on the amazing Sunshine Coast.

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COP21 – the world weighs in

UN Climate Talks Live

The Paris terrorist attacks weighed pretty heavily on the attendees of COP21 and tightened security around the venues, resulting in protest marches being banned and the unusual sight of shoes in place of marchers.Climate Change Protesters Take to the Streets  Despite Canceled Paris March   New Republic

Conservationists, as expected, took to social media to get in on the conversations denied after being shut out of the French capital and the UN Climate Talks Live Feed gives a great rundown of the discussions from various levels from negotiators to participants and media around the event.

Check out the Civil Society Representatives feed for one – doesn’t include some of the expected organisations and it’s a concern to see climate change skeptic Bjorn Lomberg and downright tool in the top three posters today (Monday 30 November).

aaaUN Climate Talks Live

Playing around with communication

Different forms of science communication interest me – some companies I have worked for think it starts and ends with written work. But Sarah is right here – especially when catering to the younger generation (i.e. younger than my age of 39), conveying messages with long-form video, GIFs, Vines and tweets can be much more effective than 300 words in a barely-read article.

Science for Life. 365

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Sarah: Most of the time, I write about science.

But I also like to dabble in other bits and pieces as well.

For example, recently I’ve written about fashion, long distance running and twitcher tourism.

From a broader perspective, I’ve also been playing around with making micro-movies using Vine and Vinyet.

In the kitchen I’ve shown the process of putting together an omelette, making moustache biscuits and constructing an easy ice-cream cake.

At the South Australian Museum I’ve recorded a giant squid and compiled skeletons. At the Adelaide Zoo, I captured a panda…ACTUALLY MOVING.

With just a few minutes planning, you can easily use these tools to share your experiences and even tell stories. Each time I capture footage, I perform a very quick analysis of the following points:

  • Visual appeal: what’s going to make this look good?
  • Structure: what’s the beginning, middle and end…

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