inbox and environment news:Issue 507

August 22 - 28, 2021: Issue 507

Time Of Ngoonungi

Cool becoming warm: September-October
Flying foxes appear
Ceremonial time
Miwa Gawaian in flower (Waratah)

From the D'harawal calendar
The D'harawal Country and language area extends from the southern shores of Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to the northern shores of the Shoalhaven River, and from the eastern shores of the Wollondilly River system to the eastern seaboard.

Waratah in flower - photo taken this week in Ingleside/Elanora Heights by Selena Griffith

Powerful Owl Tree Hollow

Published August 18, 2021 by Andrew Gregory Photography
This pair of Powerful Owls have been breeding in this tree for many years. In 2019 they had 2 owlets  that used to swim in my birdbath. I'm a volunteer for the Powerful Owl Project and I have been watching this pair for 5 years.

See Powerful Owl Birdbath

In 2020 illegal land clearing around the tree spooked the owls and they briefly abandoned the hollow. Their owlets were only a couple of weeks old and cockatoos quickly moved in and carried them off. 

More land clearing occurred, and I feared the owls would never return to this small pocket reserve. While the owls were gone, I spent a lot of time planting trees. 

In late March 2021 the female returned to the tree and started calling for the male. It wasn’t until late April that he showed up and they started mating. The young owlets should fledge in late August. If you listen carefully you can hear them trilling in the hollow. The owls make many different types of calls, sometimes growling like big cats.

The female has been in the hollow for almost 2 months, the male is hunting for her and constantly guarding the tree. The cockatoos are still present, and the owls have to be vigilant. The female sometimes leaves the hollow to feed, and they quickly move in. 

There aren’t enough hollows in the area and competition for them is fierce. Powerful Owls need large hollows that form in old trees. This tree has the only hollow in the reserve large enough and I fear for it's future.

It's important to protect mature trees with hollows. Old trees are essential for habitat, they form canopies and provide wildlife corridors. I've also joined Canopy Keepers, a group who are passionate about keeping our trees in Sydney's Northern Beaches.

Sick Turtles Coming Ashore

The Australian Seabird Rescue Central Coast has reported  very sick Green Sea Turtles coming ashore this week. One that was rescued passed away within 24 hours and another is very ill and passed away a few days before that. All up there have been 3 just this week that have been lost. 

In Pittwater over the last few months a turtle has been found dead on our estuarine beaches nearly every fortnight - from Bayview up to Palm Beach. 

Our wildlife still needs our help during lockdown. If you come across any injured marine reptiles or seabirds whilst out exercising, please report them 0438 862 676 or call Sydney Wildlife on 9413 4300

The organisation states; ''We are seeing an increase of sick turtles and beached turtles. If you come across a beached turtle, please don't place it back into the water and call us or your local wildlife group for help.''

On August 9 the Ballina team had a call about a large female green sea turtle at Hastings Point. She weighs 75kg and has a CCL of 90.5cm.

The poor thing has likely been sick for a long time with a complete coverage of goose barnacles. She also has a vary bad boat strike injury on the middle of her carapace with a deep wound. 

Sea World Gold Coast has now taken that turtle - hopefully she recovers.

There are currently 22 turtles in care at the Ballina branch of this organisation. The numbers are concerning as they are much higher than they usually are for Winter - Summer is usually when they have high numbers of turtles in care.

''We don’t exactly know why there has been in increase over the last few months but we have some theories. We are possibly seeing an increase due to climate shifts, depleting food sources and an increase in ocean pollution. '' the Ballina branch says.

One green turtle, 'Elmo', who was rescued from Yattalunga passed away on August 13th. The carers had started seeing some good progress in Elmo, and were hopeful that he would make a full recovery. Elmo was suffering from a pneumonia and a suspected partial blockage in his stomach, likely caused by foreign material (normally plastics/fishing line). 

Elmo was discovered floating nearby on the surface and a water rescue was done on July 22nd.

Float is caused by a build up of gases within the turtle body, which is likely caused by consuming marine debris, which blocks the gastrointestinal tract. The turtle is unable to dive, so can't eat, is more susceptible to predators and boat strikes.  It is also likely that the turtle is cold stunned, being exposed to cold temperatures.

Beached sea turtles are normally suffering from illness and exhaustion, so it's important that you call for help.  Placing the animal back into the water, may cause it drown. 

Another Australian Seabird Rescue Central Coast had rescued from Belmont by their friends from Hunter Wildlife Rescue, NATF Inc was nicknamed Hermit. Hermit went for a check up yesterday 9August 19th) and it was discovered that Hermit had a stomach full of fishing gear. This had included a number of hooks, two sinkers and fishing line

Hermit was in an emaciated condition and would not survive surgery. CT scans also showed damage in the gastrointestinal tract. Unfortunately it was unlikely that Hermit would survive rehabilitation. The difficult decision was made to put Hermit out of pain and euthanise.

''Nearly all of our sea turtle injuries over the last 9 months have been the result of fishing line, with most cases being caused by discarded line. If you fish, please fish responsibly and place discarded line in the bin. If you happen to hook a seabird or marine reptile, please don't cut the line, call us for assistance.'' Australian Seabird Rescue Central Coast said on Friday.

The Australian Seabird Rescue is also seeing an increase in bird rescues with fishing line and hooks, embedded in wings, causing the most injury. Please don't discard lines and hooks - take them home and get rid of them responsibly. Ditto any plastic wrappings or any plastics of any sort.

In late July 'Billie' was seen back in Manly. He was first spotted in Cabbage Tree Bay in March 2020, rescued by ASR in June 2020 and released October 2020. Billie has now called Cabbage Tree Bay home for 16 months. 

If you would like to help ASR, you can make a tax deductible donation here:
If you would ;like to help Sydney Wildlife you can make a tax deductible donation here:

All these people are volunteers who pay for food, transport and medicines to heal these creatures from their own pockets - if you can contribute towards the ongoing costs to run their medical units or feed these lovies, please do so.

What's Happening To Our Frogs?: Attend Zoom Meeting To Find Out How You Can Help Out

Something is killing our frogs. Here's a message from the Lead Scientist of FrogID,  Dr.Jodi Rowley:

It has been an incredibly tough few weeks as I have been collating hundreds of reports of dead and dying frogs from across Australia. I would like to send a huge thank you to everyone who has contacted FrogID to help us understand the extent of this mass frog mortality event.

While we suspect disease is responsible, I’m working with the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health, government biosecurity and environment agencies to understand the scale, cause and impact of this upsetting event.

To learn more and what you can do to help, I invite you to join myself and the Chief Scientist & Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute, Professor Kris Helgen, in our upcoming webinar:
Help save Australia's frogs
Date: Tuesday 24 August
Time: 3.00 pm AEST
Please register for the Zoom webinar through the link below. There will be an opportunity at the end of the webinar for you to ask me any questions about this current mortality event impacting our frogs.

Photo: Peron's tree frogs, also being impacted. AJG photo

Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why

Green Tree Frog Jodi RowleyAuthor provided
Jodi RowleyAustralian Museum and Karrie RoseUniversity of Sydney

Over the past few weeks, we’ve received a flurry of emails from concerned people who’ve seen sick and dead frogs across eastern Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

One person wrote:

About a month ago, I noticed the Green Tree Frogs living around our home showing signs of lethargy & ill health. I was devastated to find about 7 of them dead.

Another wrote:

We previously had a very healthy population of green tree frogs and a couple of months ago I noticed a frog that had turned brown. I then noticed more of them and have found numerous dead frogs around our property.

And another said she’d seen so many dead frogs on her daily runs she had to “seriously wonder how many more are there”.

So what’s going on? The short answer is: we don’t really know. How many frogs have died and why is a mystery, and we’re relying on people across Australia to help us solve it.

Why Are Frogs Important?

Frogs are an integral part of healthy Australian ecosystems. While they are usually small and unseen, they’re an important thread in the food web, and a kind of environmental glue that keeps ecosystems functioning. Healthy frog populations are usually a good indication of a healthy environment.

The stony creek frog is one of the species hit by this mysterious outbreak. Jodi RowleyAuthor provided

They eat vast amounts of invertebrates, including pest species, and they’re a fundamental food source for a wide variety of other wildlife, including birds, mammals and reptiles. Tadpoles fill our creeks and dams, helping keep algae and mosquito larvae under control while they too become food for fish and other wildlife.

But many of Australia’s frog populations are imperilled from multiple, compounding threats, such as habitat loss and modification, climate change, invasive plants, animals and diseases.

Although we’re fortunate to have at least 242 native frog species in Australia35 are considered threatened with extinction. At least four are considered extinct: the southern and northern gastric-brooding frogs (Rheobatrachus silus and Rheobatrachus vitellinus), the sharp-snouted day frog (Taudactylus acutirostris) and the southern day frog (Taudactylus diurnus).

A Truly Unusual Outbreak

In most circumstances, it’s rare to see a dead frog. Most frogs are secretive in nature and, when they die, they decompose rapidly. So the growing reports of dead and dying frogs from across eastern Australia over the last few months are surprising, to say the least.

While the first cold snap of each year can be accompanied by a few localised frog deaths, this outbreak has affected more animals over a greater range than previously encountered.

This is truly an unusual amphibian mass mortality event.

In this outbreak, frogs appear to be either darker or lighter than normal, slow, out in the daytime (they’re usually nocturnal), and are thin. Some frogs have red bellies, red feet, and excessive sloughed skin.

A browned, shrivelled green tree frog
A browned, shrivelled green tree frog (Litoria caerulea) Suzanne McgovernAuthor provided

The iconic green tree frog (Litoria caeulea) seems hardest hit in this event, with the often apple-green and plump frogs turning brown and shrivelled.

This frog is widespread and generally rather common. In fact, it’s the ninth most commonly recorded frog in the national citizen science project, FrogID. But it has disappeared from parts of its former range.

Other species reported as being among the sick and dying include Peron’s tree frog (Litoria peronii), the Stony Creek frog (Litoria lesueuri), and green stream frog (Litoria phyllochroa). These are all relatively common and widespread species, which is likely why they have been found in and around our gardens.

We simply don’t know the true impacts of this event on Australia’s frog species, particularly those that are rare, cryptic or living in remote places. Well over 100 species of frog live within the geographic range of this outbreak. Dozens of these are considered threatened, including the booroolong Frog (Litoria booroolongensis) and the giant barred frog (Mixophyes iteratus).

The giant barred frog is a threatened species that lives in the geographic range of this outbreak. Jodi RowleyAuthor provided

So What Might Be Going On?

Amphibians are susceptible to environmental toxins and a wide range of parasitic, bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens. Frogs globally have been battling it out with a pandemic of their own for decades — a potentially deadly fungus often called amphibian chytrid fungus.

This fungus attacks the skin, which frogs use to breathe, drink, and control electrolytes important for the heart to function. It’s also responsible for causing population declines in more than 500 amphibian species around the world, and 50 extinctions.

For example, in Australia the bright yellow and black southern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) is just hanging on in the wild, thanks only to intensive management and captive breeding.

The teeny tiny southern corroborree frogs have been hit hard by the chytrid fungus. Jodi RowleyAuthor provided

Curiously, some other frog species appear more tolerant to the amphibian chytrid fungus than others. Many now common frogs seem able to live with the fungus, such as the near-ubiquitous Australian common eastern froglet (Crinia signifera).

But if frogs have had this fungus affecting them for decades, why are we seeing so many dead frogs now?

Read more: A deadly fungus threatens to wipe out 100 frog species – here's how it can be stopped

Well, disease is the outcome of a battle between a pathogen (in this case a fungus), a host (in this case the frog) and the environment. The fungus doesn’t do well in warm, dry conditions. So during summer, frogs are more likely to have the upper hand.

In winter, the tables turn. As the frog’s immune system slows, the fungus may be able to take hold.

Of course, the amphibian chytrid fungus is just one possible culprit. Other less well-known diseases affect frogs.

The near-ubiquitous Austrlaian common eastern froglet is one species that seems able to live with the devastating chytrid fungus. Jodi RowleyAuthor provided

To date, the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health has confirmed the presence of the amphibian chytrid fungus in a very small number of sick frogs they’ve examined from the recent outbreak. However, other diseases — such as ranavirus, myxosporean parasites and trypanosome parasites — have also been responsible for native frog mass mortality events in Australia.

It’s also possible a novel or exotic pathogen could be behind this. So the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health is working with the Australian Museum, government biosecurity and environment agencies as part of the investigation.

Here’s How You Can Help

While we suspect a combination of the amphibian chytrid fungus and the chilly temperatures, we simply don’t know what factors may be contributing to the outbreak.

Why green tree frogs are dying en masse is still a mystery. Sophie HendryAuthor provided

We also aren’t sure how widespread it is, what impact it will have on our frog populations, or how long it will last.

While the temperatures stay low, we suspect our frogs will continue to succumb. If we don’t investigate quickly, we will lose the opportunity to achieve a diagnosis and understand what has transpired.

We need your help to solve this mystery.

Please send any reports of sick or dead frogs (and if possible, photos) to us, via the national citizen science project FrogID, or email

Read more: Clicks, bonks and dripping taps: listen to the calls of 6 frogs out and about this summer The Conversation

Jodi Rowley, Curator, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Biology, UNSW, Australian Museum and Karrie Rose, Australian Registry of Wildlife Health - Taronga Conservation Society Australia, University of Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them

Spotted tree frog. Michael Williams/Its A Wildlife PhotographyAuthor provided
Graeme GillespieThe University of MelbourneConrad HoskinJames Cook UniversityHayley GeyleCharles Darwin UniversityJaana DielenbergCharles Darwin UniversityNicola MitchellThe University of Western Australia, and Stephen GarnettCharles Darwin University

Australia is home to more than 240 frog species, most of which occur nowhere else. Unfortunately, some frogs are beyond help, with four Australian species officially listed as extinct.

This includes two remarkable species of gastric-brooding frog. To reproduce, gastric-brooding frogs swallowed their fertilised eggs, and later regurgitated tiny baby frogs. Their reproduction was unique in the animal kingdom, and now they are gone.

Our new study published today, identified the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk, the likelihood of their extinctions by 2040 and the steps needed to save them.

Tragically, we have identified an additional three frog species that are very likely to be extinct. Another four species on our list are still surviving, but not likely to make it to 2040 without help.

#1 The northern gastric-brooding frog (Rheobatrachus vitellinus) is likely already extinct, primarily due to chytrid fungus disease. Hal Cogger

The 26 Most Imperilled Frogs

The striking yellow-spotted tree frog (in southeast Australia), the northern tinker frog and the mountain mist frog (both in Far North Queensland) are not yet officially listed as extinct – but are very likely to be so. We estimated there is a greater than 90% chance they are already extinct.

The locations of the top 26 Australian frogs at risk of extinction. ** Species likely to be recently extinct. * Species more likely than not to become extinct by 2040 unless there is action. Jaana Dielenberg/Threatened Species Recovery Hub

The next four most imperilled species are hanging on in the wild by their little frog fingers: the southern corroboree frog and Baw Baw frog in the Australian Alps, and the Kroombit tinker frog and armoured mist frog in Queensland’s rainforests.

The southern corroboree frog, for example, was formerly found throughout Kosciuszko National Park in the Snowy Mountains. But today, there’s only one small wild population known to exist, due largely to an introduced disease.

Without action it is more likely than not (66% chance) the southern corroboree frog will become extinct by 2040.

#6 The southern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) is close to extinction. David Hunter/DPIE NSW
#3 The yellow-spotted tree frog (Litoria castanea) is likely extinct. It was once common throughout the New England Tableland and Southern Tablelands region in NSW, and the ACT. It is sensitive to chytrid fungus disease and also impacted by climate change, habitat loss and invasive fish. David Hunter/DPIE NSW

What Are We Up Against?

Species are suffering from a range of threats. But for our most recent extinctions and those now at greatest risk, the biggest cause of declines is the amphibian chytrid fungus disease.

This introduced fungus is thought to have arrived in Australia in the 1970s and has taken a heavy toll on susceptible species ever since. Cool wet environments, such as rainforest-topped mountains in Queensland where frog diversity is particularly high, favour the pathogen.

The fungus feeds on the keratin in frogs’ skin — a major organ that plays a vital role in regulating moisture, exchanging respiratory gases, immunity, and producing sunscreen-like substances and chemicals to deter predators.

Dead frog
Chrytrid disease killed this green-eyed tree frog. Robert Puschendorf
#8 Armoured mist frog (Litoria lorica) populations have been decimated by chytrid fungus disease. It has been lost throughout former mountainous rainforest habitats where the fungus thrives. Without effective action, it’s likely to be extinct within 20 years. Conrad Hoskin

Another major emerging threat is climate change, which heats and dries out moist habitats. It’s affecting 19 of the imperilled species we identified, such as the white-bellied frog in Western Australia, which develops tadpoles in little depressions in waterlogged soil.

Climate change is also increasing the frequency, extent and intensity of fires, which have impacted half (13) of the identified species in recent years. The Black Summer fires ravaged swathes of habitat where fires should rarely occur, such as mossy alpine wetlands inhabited by the northern corroboree frog.

Invasive species impact ten frog species. For the spotted tree frog in southern Australia, introduced fish such as brown and rainbow trout are the main problem, as they’re aggressive predators of tadpoles. In northern Australia, feral pigs often wreak havoc on delicate habitats.

#15 The Kuranda tree frog (Litoria myola) is found in a very small area near Cairns. Its primary threat is loss and degradation of habitat due to development. Conrad Hoskin
#20 The white-bellied frog (Geocrinia alba) is the Western Australian frog at greatest risk of extinction. The tadpoles of this tiny terrestrial breeding frog rely on wet soil to develop. Reduced rainfall is contributing to declines. Emily Hoffmann

So What Can We Do About It?

We identified the key actions that can feasibly be implemented in time to save these species. This includes finding potential refuge sites from chytrid and from climate change, reducing bushfire risks and reducing impacts of introduced species.

But for many species, these actions alone aren’t enough. Given the perilous state of some species in the wild, captive conservation breeding programs are also needed. But they cannot be the end goal.

#11 A northern corroboree frog in the captive breeding program run by the ACT Government. Peter Taylor/Threatened Species Recovery Hub

Captive breeding programs can not only establish insurance populations, they can also help a species persist in the wild by supplying frogs to establish populations at new suitable sites.

Boosting numbers in existing wild populations with captive bred frogs improves their chance of survival. Not only are there more frogs, but also greater genetic diversity. This means the frogs have a better chance of adapting to new conditions, including climate change and emerging diseases.

Our knowledge of how to breed frogs in captivity has improved dramatically in recent decades, but we need to invest in doing this for more frog species.

Please save these frogs: The 26 Australian species at greatest risk of extinction.

Finding And Creating Wild Refuges

Another vital way to help threatened frogs persist in the wild is by protecting, creating and expanding natural refuge areas. Refuges are places where major threats are eliminated or reduced enough to allow a population to survive long term.

For the spotted-tree frog, work is underway to prevent the destruction of frog breeding habitat by deer, and to prevent tadpoles being eaten by introduced predatory fish species. These actions will also help many other frog species as well.

The chytrid fungus can’t be controlled, but fortunately it does not thrive in all environments. For example, in the warmer parts of species’ range, pathogen virulence may be lower and frog resilience may be higher.

Chytrid fungus completely wiped out the armoured mist frog from its cool, wet heartland in the uplands of the Daintree Rainforest. But, a small population was found surviving at a warmer, more open site where the chytrid fungus is less virulent. Conservation for this species now focuses on these warmer sites.

This strategy is now being used to identify potential refuges from chytrid for other frog species, such as the northern corroboree frog.

Dr Graeme Gillespie during a survey for the spotted-tree frog. Michael Williams/Its A Wildlife Photography

No Time To Lose

We missed the window to save the gastric-brooding frogs, but we should heed their cautionary tale. We are on the cusp of losing many more unique species.

Decline can happen so rapidly that, for many species, there is no time to lose. Apart from the unknown ecological consequences of their extinctions, the intrinsic value of these frogs means their losses will diminish our natural legacy.

In raising awareness of these species we hope we will spark new action to save them. Unfortunately, despite persisting and evolving independently for millions of years, some species can now no longer survive without our help.

The Conversation

Graeme Gillespie, Honorary Research Fellow, The University of MelbourneConrad Hoskin, Lecturer/ABRS Postdoctoral Fellow, James Cook UniversityHayley Geyle, Research Assistant, Charles Darwin UniversityJaana Dielenberg, University Fellow, Charles Darwin UniversityNicola Mitchell, Associate Professor in Conservation Physiology, The University of Western Australia, and Stephen Garnett, Professor of Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

It’s Magpie Swooping Season Once Again

Magpies are often at the forefront of people’s thoughts at this time of year, largely because it’s magpie breeding season, and the tell-tale sign is that some of them begin to swoop people. 

Swooping is regularly recorded each spring, right across the mainland, virtually everywhere magpies occur.

The swooping season usually commences first in the northern parts of the magpies’ range, and then progressively moves southwards, with records in south-eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales usually starting in July and August. This contrasts with southern Victoria, where the main swooping season occurs in September. However, earlier reports are not unknown throughout their range.

A glaring exception to this situation occurs in Tasmania, where magpies seldom swoop people. The reason for their relaxed attitude to people is unknown.

Swooping usually occurs when the magpies have young in the nest, or just after the young have fledged, when they are at their most vulnerable to predators. 

People often assume that swooping by magpies is aggressive behaviour, but experts agree that it is generally a defence strategy aimed to deter potential predators which may harm the young birds. Unfortunately, people fit into this category. 

It should be emphasised that most magpies don’t swoop, even on the Australian mainland, and of those that do, only a tiny minority actually make contact with your head, with most merely making a harmless (though often terrifying) near miss, accompanied by beak clicking. 

Because magpies are generally common in areas where there are people, whether it’s in the city and suburbs, regional centres or country towns, we need to coexist with them — Birds in Backyards has some great tips to avoid being a swooping victim this spring, click here to find out how:

Here are some tips, courtesy of BirdLife Australia to avoid being a victim this Spring:
  • The most straightforward solution is to avoid locations where you know a magpie is swooping. Swooping only lasts a few weeks, so it is a minor inconvenience that could save you some blood (literally), sweat and tears.
  • If you do get swooped, don’t panic and run away screaming (easier said than done, I know!). Instead, walk away quickly and calmly and maintain eye contact with them. They are less likely to swoop you if you are watching them. This also goes for cyclists—dismount and walk rather than continuing to ride
  • Protect your eyes! Have a pair of sunglasses on hand any time you are going for a walk and especially in a park (same for kids as well).
  • Pop an umbrella up if there is a swooping magpie around. Don’t wave it and antagonise the bird, but simply hold it above your head if a magpie is swooping.
  • And of course, there are the old 'googly eyes on the ice cream container' and 'bike helmet with cable ties' tricks. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.
If there is a particularly aggressive magpie and you are concerned about it, report it to your local council so they can investigate and assess the threat that it poses.

Despite all these cautions, don’t approach magpies with fear. They are an amazing species and one that has truly found success living with us. Be vigilant during a few months of the year, but otherwise marvel at their antics and enjoy them in your local parks and gardens.

Birds in our Backyard, 2014 to 2021 - photos by A J Guesdon

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment August Newsletter, Forum & 2021 AGM

Greetings to our supporters:
Here is our  August newsletter  for you to enjoy.
I hope you can join us to hear about the Environmental Studies being undertaken in preparation for the Northern Beaches Local Environment Plan.

This will be via Zoom from 7pm on August 30.  Reply to this email to book your place and receive the Zoom link information.

Our AGM will also be held on August 30 after the presentations have ended.  You are welcome to remain in the Zoom meeting and listen to it but you will not be eligible to vote.

The next Forum from Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment will be presented by Andrew Pigott and Yianni Mentis from Northern Beaches Council.
Andrew Pigott is Executive Manager of Strategic and Place Planning at Northern Beaches Council.
Yianni Mentis is Executive Manager of Environment and Climate Change at Northern Beaches Council.

They will outline the various environmental studies that are needed in Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment to inform the preparation of the new LEP and will update us on the progress of these studies.
This forum will be by Zoom. Book now and receive the link.

7pm  Monday Aug 30, 2021  
Bookings essential:   

photos by Margaret Woods

Local Environmental Plan And Development Control Plan: Feedback Closes September 4 

Northern Beaches Council is required by the NSW Government to consolidate four planning control documents into one and has released a discussion paper.

Mayor Michael Regan said the preparation of a whole of Northern Beaches Local Environment Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP) would be based largely on existing controls and was not seeking to increase heights in residential areas or increase densities in areas that have not already been identified.

“To be crystal clear, there are no plans for increasing densities beyond what has already been identified – our housing strategy made clear we only need to find an additional 275 dwellings,” Mayor Regan said.

“No one wants to see our area overdeveloped or the local character destroyed.

“Our aim is to ensure we maintain our great lifestyle, protect the local character and environment we so value, provide green space, infrastructure to support growth, and local employment for the future.”

One of the key topics explained in the recently released LEP/DCP Discussion Paper is how Council will implement their local housing strategy. A Council email forwarded this week by a resident subscriber to Council updates reads:

''While our housing targets are small, we still need to address housing affordability, provide a better mix of housing types and protect our local character and environment. The discussion paper outlines our proposed approach to planning controls, that will contribute to this, including:
  • permitting seniors housing, boarding houses and dual occupancies within 400m of (the) identified local centres of Avalon Beach, Newport, Warriewood, Belrose and Freshwater
  • prohibiting dual occupancies in the R2 Low Density Residential zone (currently permitted under Pittwater and Manly LEPs)
  • prohibiting attached, semi-detached and multi-dwelling housing in the R2 zone (currently permitted in the Manly LEP)
  • standardising the size and placement rules for granny flats
  • removing the floor space ratio controls for houses (currently required under the Manly LEP). 
To support local business and to provide an improved retail shopping experience and greater flexibility in the use of the space, Council’s Urban Design expert panel have suggested small height increases in business centres – no more than 1.5 metres. For example, the document proposes an 11-18-metre building height limit for the Frenchs Forest Business Park B7 zone.

To meet the demand for floor space in industrial zones the community is asked to comment on a an increase of building heights in industrial areas.

Among other things, the discussion paper also asks for community response to:
  • improved controls for development near waterways, foreshores, wetlands and riparian lands;
  • more water sensitive urban design and greater tree canopy;
  • performance standards for net-zero carbon emission buildings;
  • which water-related structures residents think are suitable adjoining waterways (NB: as well as noting that Action 1.8 of 'Towards 2040' proposes to expand the W2 zone to permit marina expansion)
  • provisions to restrict large scale retail in small retail centres.
The 190 page LEP and DCP is now available to read and provide feedback on. Feedback closes September 5th, 2021

Echidna Breeding Season Commences

This month, July, heralds the start of the echidna breeding season. From now until the end of September, echidnas will be on the move across our gardens and most treacherous of all, roads. 
Here are some important facts and tips on what to do when encountering wandering echidna and how to keep them safe from harm.

1. Echidnas follow an individualised scent trail with which they mark and find important locations such as their nesting burrow and familiar rangeFor this reason, an echidna on the move must not be picked up and relocated. 
Moving and relocating an echidna could ultimately cause it’s death as it will be in a foreign range without markers as to its food sources, it’s nesting burrow and its other significant points of reference. 
This is particularly relevant if the echidna is a female with a nest young. 
Puggles (yes, that’s truly what baby echidnas  are called!) spend the first 50 days of their lives in their mother’s pouch after which they remain in the nesting burrow while the mother goes foraging for food.
Moving and relocating a female will mean she will not find her way back to her burrow and this will spell certain death for the puggle and most likely for the mother echidna too. 

2. When encountering an echidna on the move, it’s essential to let it move in its own time and at its own pace
If the echidna is on the road, bring your vehicle to a stop and put your hazard lights on. 
Do your best to safely alert other drivers about the presence and location of the echidna and indicate to them that they need to stop and wait also.

3. If you find an echidna in your garden, leave it be.
The echidna will most likely be moving through on its way elsewhere. 
Echidnas do not have the capacity to seriously harm you, your dog or your cat. 
Echidnas are not aggressive, their spines do not contain venom and they do not have teeth of any kind.

4. When an echidna is alarmed or feels threatened it will dig itself into the ground, only emerging when it senses the threat has gone.
NEVER attempt to try and dig out an echidna. It’s impossible to determine where it’s body parts are located under the ground and many echidnas have been fatally injured by humans trying to dig them out and move them on from their gardens. Most common fatal injuries seen in echidnas that have been forcibly dug out, are a severed or amputated beak (the echidna nose). If an echidna digs itself in, leave it be, move well away and it will eventually emerge and move on.

5. If you find an injured echidna you will need to seek immediate veterinary assistance for it.
If you are in a position to transport the echidna to a vet yourself, cover it with a very thick blanket or towel, lift and place in a sturdy container such as a strong box or pet carrier. 
The underside of an echidna is covered in soft spineless skin so, rest assured, if your fingers make contact, they not be prickled. 
If you are unable to scoop the echidna up yourself or transport to a vet, call a local rescue group ASAP. Please take close note of where you have picked up the echidna from. A GPS reading or clear markings left and mileage to there from the closest town or obvious landmark will be fine.

6. If you find a deceased echidna, it’s vital to stop and check it’s underside for a pouch and the possibility of a puggle.
If a live puggle is in the pouch, call your local wildlife rescue group ASAP for advice and assistance. 
If you are unable to transport the puggle to a vet yourself where you can hand them over free of charge, a rescuer will attend asap and do so.

Please help us keep our Echidnas safe this breeding season.

Echidna - photo by Gunjan Pandey 

Reinstate The Marine Reserve From Rock Pool “Kiddies Corner” South Palm Beach: Petition

The undersigned petition is asking the legislative Assembly to reinstate the small area surrounding the southern internal headland of Palm Beach back to a Marine Park

This area is over fished from ‘offshore’ as is from ‘onshore’ from both fishermen, Spearfishing and lobster catching. This area has become overcrowded with spear fishermen and teenagers frequently visiting the area weekdays but more often on the weekend all day and public holidays everyday due to its easy access. 

This area has had beautiful marine life with protected gropers taking residence. Sadly most have been taken. 

A male Eastern Blue Groper (Achoerodus viridis) with escorts. Shelly Beach, Manly, Photo by Richard Ling.

Residents are finding fish still alive caught up on hooks and line. Fish are being cleaned next to the ocean pool with entrails and heads found floating in the pool. 

We would like to see the area used for snorkelling and sight seeing, swimming and kayaking or any other marine activity with out something getting killed. At the moment we have people jumping off jump rock enjoying a beautiful ocean aquarium only to be met with spear fisher men/women. 

Please help us with this cause as we see this area as one of Sydney’s most precious and ecologically endangered areas.

Let’s keep it alive so our kids can enjoy it in years to come.

Thank you.

NSW Sustainability Awards Now Open For Entry

The NSW Sustainability Awards are now open and accepting entries from eligible NSW participants across a range of categories from biodiversity to net zero initiatives.

Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean said the awards will allow New South Wales to showcase some of our best and brightest minds on a national stage with winners automatically entered into the prestigious Banksia National Sustainability Awards.

"New South Wales leads the country when it comes to generating ideas on sustainability, these awards will not only showcase those ideas but also celebrate the people that are making our world better," Mr Kean said.

"Entrants for these awards will join a community of sustainability champions who are reimagining the future of New South Wales and the world."

Inspired by the United Nations 2030 Global Goals and NSW's commitment to reaching net zero by 2050, these awards will salute individuals, communities and businesses for their innovation and excellence in environmental and social leadership.

The 8 awards categories include:
  • NSW Net Zero Action Award
  • NSW Biodiversity Award
  • NSW Circular Transition Award
  • NSW Clean Technology Award
  • NSW Large Business Transformation Award
  • NSW Small to Medium Business Award
  • NSW Youth as our Changemakers Award
  • Minister's Young Climate Champion Award
The awards will be presented and run by the Banksia Foundation in partnership with the NSW Government. Entries for the awards are expected to close on September 15 with winners announced by the end of this year. The winners of the National Banksia awards will be announced in March 2022.

For more information or for registration of interest for the awards can be made at NSW Sustainability Awards.

  1. NSW Clean Technology Award: Recognises outstanding initiatives by an organisation or organisations in collaboration that show- case efficient resources through renewable energy, low emissions technology, and appreciable pollution reduction (beyond compliance) of Australia's water, air, and land.
  2. NSW Biodiversity Award: Recognises outstanding initiatives by an organisation or organisations in collaboration that protect our habitat, flora and/or fauna to ensure Australia's ecosystems are secured and flourish for future generations.
  3. NSW Circular Transition Award: Recognises outstanding achievements in innovative design in waste and pollution systems and products, through to regenerating strategies. The award will go to a company that has adopted a technology, initiative or project that is helping the business move from a linear to a circular model.
  4. NSW Large Business Transformation Award: Recognises outstanding achievements that demonstrate business and values alignment with multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals and by integrating sustainability principles and practices across business activities.
  5. NSW Youth as our Changemakers Award: Recognises young innovators aged between 18-35 years, who bring fresh perspectives, bold ideas and compelling initiatives that align with any or the multiple UN SDG's.
  6. NSW Net Zero Action Award: Recognises organisations, (company, business association, NGOs) that can demonstrate a tangible program or initiative that evidences transition toward a 1.5-Degree goal, through a publicly communicated net zero commitment, plus data, disclosures and investments to support it.
  7. NSW Small to Medium Business Award: Recognises outstanding achievements that demonstrate business and values alignment with multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals and by integrating sustainability principles and practices across business activities.
  8. Minister's Young Climate Champion Award: The Minister's Young Climate Champion Award recognises young innovators aged under 18 years who bring bold ideas for a safe and thriving climate future that align with any of the UN SDGs. Young and passionate minds who have taken outstanding actions that benefit the sustainability of their communities and help address climate change will be showcased in this award, which is a celebration of young people with drive, commitment and a passion for sustainability and the environment.

Green Light To More Batteries And Improved Internet Coverage

August 16, 2021
Proposed new planning rules will cut red tape, making it easier for homeowners to install solar batteries and for telcos to install technology to improve mobile and internet coverage.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the proposed changes to the Infrastructure State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) are now on public exhibition and aim to remove hurdles in the planning system for more sustainable energy and faster telecommunications.

“More people are working from home than ever and many of them want their homes to be powered by renewable energy,” Mr Stokes said.

“These changes to the Infrastructure SEPP will help telcos provide more fast, reliable telecommunications and make it easier for homeowners to power their homes with renewable energy.

“This will help homeowners save time and money, cut their future energy bills, reduce demand on the electricity network and contribute to lower energy prices.”

There are already around half a million homes in NSW harnessing power from the sun and it’s anticipated that 1,000 megawatts of batteries will be installed by 2035.

Proposed changes mean that planning approvals will no longer be required for:
  • The installation of household-scale solar battery systems;
  • The installation of NBN cables, speeding up its delivery;
  • The repair or upgrading of existing technology;
  • The installation of solar panels to power telecommunications facilities; and
  • Site inspections, providing the location is not unnecessarily disturbed.
The changes support the NSW Government’s net zero emissions by 2050 target.

To view the proposed changes and have your say by Monday 13 September visit

Empire Bay Marina Contamination Report Released

August 17, 2021
A detailed assessment of the former Empire Bay Marina site commissioned by the NSW Government has identified unacceptably high levels of contamination.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal Adam Crouch said Crown Lands, a NSW Government agency, would now take action to ensure the site was safely remediated.

“A detailed site investigation was conducted by Douglas Partners who tested the soil, sediment and groundwater at the former marina,” Mr Crouch said.

“The testing has confirmed elevated levels of heavy metals, antifouling agents and hydrocarbons, as well as asbestos and acid sulfate soils. The likely sources of these include fuel, oil and lead-based paint.

“Crown Lands is now liaising with the Environment Protection Authority on the findings and further actions will be undertaken to ensure the site is made safe.”

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the report has recommended remediation of the former marina site including the decommissioning and removal of the fuel tanks.

“It also recommends further testing and analysis be undertaken to assess any potential impacts on the environment”, Mrs Pavey said.

“Crown Lands will complete the additional assessments prior to making a final decision on the future of the site.

“A future decision on the marina site will need to consider the significance of contamination, remediation requirements, the scale and cost of structural repairs, building and environmental safety, and other factors like access, parking, planning and heritage requirements.”

In September 2020, the NSW Government revoked the Empire Bay Marina private operator’s licence due to ongoing safety and environmental concerns, and a continued failure to rectify issues.

For more information, visit Empire Bay Marina. 

Better Futures Forum August 17th

NSW Minister for the Environment Minister Kean addresses the Better Futures Forum and the Climate Action Network Australia on August 17th.

Can I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. Can I also acknoweldge the remarks of the former UN secretary general. His leadership on behalf of the global community in tackling climate change is so important and I want to thank him for that. 

Climate change is the challenge that will define the 21st century. It is a challenge that our children will face, and a challenge that our children’s 

children will face. But the challenge faced by our grandchildren will be defined by the actions we take here and now. 

You only need to think back to two years ago when NSW was in the grips of one of the worst drought in our history and was about to suffer through the most devastating bushfires in living memory. 

It’s worthwhile reflecting on some of the images from those times. Towns having to get their water delivered in truck not provided out of a tap. 

Australians huddled by the beach, not to enjoy the surf and the sun, but to take refuge from extreme wildfire. 

We had the opera house and Sydney harbour bridge shrouded in smoke and we had the Wollemi pine, a prehistoric tree that has outlived the dinosaurs, only surviving because of the heroic work of our brave men and women in the national parks service. 

Unfortunately, this is the reality of climate change. And it’s not just being seen in NSW, its being seen around the world. 

In North America, with unprecedented heatwaves, fires and drought challenging emergency services like never before. 

In Europe, with floods and fires pushing local communities to the brink. 

The reality is that climate change is already impacting our lives today, and we all need to take action to protect our planet, prosperity and way of life. 

Too often, political leaders in Australia have focused on the cost of taking action on climate change. The reality is, taking action on climate change should not be about the cost to our economy, but rather, about the dividends from preserving our planet and setting our country up for the future. 

Australia and NSW in particular has enormous opportunities to grow our economy as the world decarbonises. 

We have some of the best renewable resources anywhere in the world. 

As the world decarbonises we are not just a sunburnt country, we are a sunblessed country. 

Our renewable energy resources can underwrite new industries in green hydrogen and materials like green steel and aluminium. 

Because the reality is that as the world moves to decarbonise, our low cost, clean electricity can be the foundation for our industry to win the 21st century. 

Of course this is not just a renewable energy story, it is a story about the transformation our entire economy. 

Take for example agriculture, which represents about 20% of NSW’s emissions. You can reduce livestock emissions by providing a seaweed supplement to the food we give our animals. That supplement can reduce livestock emissions by about 90%, while at the same time, increasing the speed at which our animals grow. 

Sequestering carbon in our soil is not only good for our atmosphere but also to ensure our soils hold more moisture and become more productive over time. 

This is why meat and livestock Australia has a net zero by 2030 target. 

Similarly, decarbonising the world is going to require Australian iron ore, copper, nickel and lithium. 

In NSW we are actively pursuing these opportunities. 

Our Renewable energy zones and our electricity infrastructure roadmap are transforming our electricity system so that we can enjoy some of the cheapest, cleanest and most reliable energy anywhere in the world. 

Our $750 million industry and innovation program is helping to transform our carbon intensive industries into green manufacturing powerhouses. 

And our net zero primary industry program will help make our farmers more productive, more prosperous and protect the planet. 

But the NSW government cannot get to net zero alone. Decarbonising our economy is going to require everyone playing their part. It requires our industry, our banks and our big businesses to reduce their own emissions, while also helping their suppliers and customers to reduce theirs as well. 

It’s going to require our super funds and investors to provide the capital to rebuild our economy into one that is stronger and more resilient in a net zero world. 

And it is going to require every household and small business to take advantage of every low cost, low carbon new technology that comes along. To put solar on their rooftops, heat pumps in their homes, and electric vehicles in their garages. 

But we also need a new politics. 

We need to move beyond a politics focused on vested interest to a politics focused on the national interest. 

We need to move beyond the politics of false facts, fear and prejudice to a new politics of hope, aspiration and confidence in the creativity, intelligence and determination that took us to the moon, and cured us from disease. 

I am proud that in NSW that the Liberal party, the Labor party, the National Party, the Greens, the Animal justice party, the Christian democratic party and all the NSW independents joined together to pass the biggest renewable energy package in the nation’s history. 

Now there were differences of opinion and compromises that needed to be made to get that legislation passed but underpinning it was a deep commitment in the NSW parliament to protect our planet and to set our people up to take advantage of the opportunities that a low carbon future will provide us. 

I am heartened that in the United States last week, a group of republicans and democrats joined together to pass a $1.2 trillion down payment on the future of our planet. 

The new politics I am talking about is not the thing of dreams, it is the thing that we have already shown we can do. We know that when we bring our best selves to our parliaments and focus on building our country on common ground rather than fracturing it based on our divisions we can succeed. 

Remaking our politics and building a better country is the responsibility of every citizen. It is our responsibility when we purchase things for our homes, when we choose where to invest our superannuation, when we decide who we bank with, and when we decide how to vote at the ballot box. 

We need to send a message to all leaders in every part of our soceity that failing to deliver on the promise of what we can be is not an option. Complaining that it is too hard is not a solution. Saying it is up to others to come up with a plan is a cop out. The community expects our leaders to get on with it, or get out of the way. 

Every generation of Australians has had to face momentous challenges. And in our short history, every generation has turned the challenge of their time into an opportunity to make our country a better place. 

Australia should not be a climate laggard. We should be a climate leader because we can do what other countries can’t, because here in Australia we can protect our planet in ways that lift the living standards of all humanity. That is the challenge of our time and I truly believe that the generation of people here today - the current custodians of our planet - will take it on and turn it into an opportunity to underwrite our prosperity, rebuild our economy and remake our politics. 

Thank you. 

Logging Near Towns Must Stop To Mitigate Extreme Bushfire  

August 16, 2021
The Nature Conservation Council has called on the NSW Government to scrap planned logging operations near towns and settlements after new research found logging significantly increases the risks of catastrophic fires. 

Australian National University researchers found regrowth forests were at much higher risks of catastrophic, crowning bushfires than older stands for 10 to 40 years after logging. [1] 

Lead author on the paper, Professor David Lindenmayer, said: 

“Our findings show there should be no logging near rural towns and other communities.  

“At a time when the risk of extreme fire weather has risen 10 times since the 1960s, we must do everything possible to keep country people safe. Reducing the flammability of forests is crucial.”  

Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said: “This new research supports a ban on native forest logging near rural towns and settlements to minimise the risks of catastrophic bushfires like those that ripped through eastern NSW in 2019-20.

“Right now, Forests NSW is preparing to log forests very near several towns on the South Coast, including Mogo, which was almost wiped off the map by the Black Summer fires. 

“Mogo is not the only settlement in NSW that is being put at risk by logging – there are many others. 

“The NSW Government has a clear responsibility to protect communities from catastrophic fires by banning logging close to these vulnerable settlements. 

“Under modern logging practice, most forests are logged on 50-year cycles. This means most of these production forests are ticking time bombs that could go off at any time, potentially wiping our whole communities. 

"These forests should be left to grow old, with appropriate fuel management, so to minimise the risk they pose to people.” 

Settlements at risk right now from logging operations 

  • Mogo: Logging is active in Mogo State Forest 180A. There are plans to log Mogo State Forest 146A, which is only just over a kilometer from the town of Mogo itself. In the past few years, logging was completed in Mogo State Forest 144, 145 and 159 which directly border the town. The town was decimated during the Black Summer fires, and they have returned to logging surrounding forests. 
  • Brooman: Active logging is occurring in Shallow Crossing State Forest 212A and is proposed logging in South Brooman State Forest puts settlements in the Brooman area under threat. 
  • Eden: There are countless logging operations active or planned for forests south of Eden. During Black Summer bushfires, the fire burnt the Eden Chipmill and threatened the town. The intensity of these fires was extreme fire due to decades of logging. 
  • Nana Glen: This settlement was hard hit by the Black Summer fires. Logging is active nearby in Wedding Bells State Forest and Orara State Forest as well as Conglomerate State Forest. Logging has recently concluded in nearby Lower Bucca State Forest. 
  • Nambucca Heads: Compartments 12, 13 and 14 of Nambucca State Forest were logged last year, very close to the town.  

[1] Empirical analyses of the factors influencing fire severity in southeastern Australia, Ecosphere, August 2021, Volume 12(8), Article e03721Z   

Australia Must Slash Climate Pollution This Decade

August 19, 2021
Moving on from a loud argument about a distant target
Statement from civil society organisations
The political debate about climate change in Australia is stuck on whether the Federal Government should commit to net zero climate pollution by 2050. This is largely irrelevant to the real world climate crisis that’s harming Australians now, and endangering many of our livelihoods. The scientific consensus is that a rapid reduction in climate pollution is required by 2030 to avoid even more climate damage and keep the global 1.5 degree goal within reach.

Australia needs greater, immediate climate action to protect our communities, economies, jobs, and nature. Setting a net zero emissions target for 2050 is not only too late, it is also meaningless without a plan or concrete steps or investments that cut emissions this decade.

Australia is out of step with the rest of the world. Globally, our strategic allies and trading partners are committing to significant pollution reduction targets for 2030. At a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) country leaders in June this  year, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan all committed to halving carbon emissions this decade. Australia set a weak emissions reduction target of 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030 six years ago, and has been refusing to increase this.

In the meantime, the United States has almost doubled its 2030 commitment to at least 50% reduction by 2030. Japan increased its 26% pollution reduction commitment to 46% by 2030, including a plan to halve gas-fired electricity generation and reduce coal power by more than a third. Canada, a major fossil fuel exporter like Australia, has increased a 30% commitment to 40-45% cut by 2030. South Korea has committed to a 40% cut below 2017 levels by 2030. The United Kingdom is committed to 68% reduction by 2030, and 78% by 2035. The European Union is committed to 55% reduction by 2030. Collectively, these commitments are moving the world closer to the pathway of keeping global heating as close to 1.5 degrees as possible.

The science says that the Federal Government needs to triple climate pollution reduction targets to 75% this decade if we are to help keep Australians safe. If we continue with the current plan, then Australia won’t reach net zero climate pollution until the year 2170.

Australia has exceptional natural advantages with its abundant renewable energy and skilled workforce. We can develop world-leading new industries and jobs based on our vast reserves of solar and wind energy, but if development plans and investment don’t materialise, these renewable industries and jobs will go to other countries. Our exporters and workforce will also become disadvantaged as they wear the cost of border carbon adjustments applied to countries that are not acting responsibly to reduce climate pollution.

Unless the Federal Government acts decisively we will be left behind, or worse, penalised and globally isolated for our inaction.

There is no “safe” level of global warming. Already, at a global average temperature rise of 1.2°C, we’re experiencing more powerful storms, destructive marine and land heatwaves, and a new age of megafires. The latest science, and extreme floods, fires and heatwaves being experienced there and around the world, tell us climate change is accelerating. Our response must match the scale and urgency of this worsening crisis.

In November all countries will come together at the United Nations climate talks in Glasgow to accelerate climate action and avoid the most  catastrophic social, economic and environmental consequences of global warming. Our long term allies, the United Kingdom and the USA, and some of our largest trading partners, Japan and South Korea, want the Australian government to commit to much stronger targets for the coming decade.

Making a promise for net zero climate pollution 30 years from now, without any concrete plans to significantly cut climate pollution this decade, will rightly be seen as meaningless.

The Federal Coalition Government is split over a long-term target for 2050; having a public squabble between Barnaby Joyce and some Queensland National Party MPs, who continually question climate science, and many Liberal MPs who want the government to act. This debate is a loud argument about a distant target, when it should be about immediate action.

The Australian Federal Government does need to commit to a net zero target, but most importantly all Australian federal political parties should be pursuing a science-based target of 75% pollution reduction by 2030, with a just and fair national plan to rapidly slash climate pollution across our economy this decade.

Andrew Forrest Backs Away From Kimberley Frack Plan

August 17, 2021
It was announced today that Andrew Forrest’s Squadron Energy will abandon fracking plans in the iconic Kimberley. The Squadron Energy/Goshawk joint venture originally planned to drill across the 5300 km2 EP 499 exploration permit in the east Kimberley region.

Squadron will pull out of the Kimberley, however fears remain Goshawk may attempt to continue the work.

The decision comes after Twiggy Forrest criticised fracking company Santos and offshore gas company Woodside for driving the climate crisis.

There are numerous other companies including Origin Energy, Buru, and Houston-based frackers Black Mountain Oil and Gas, who are forging ahead with plans to pockmark the Kimberley with potentially thousands of gas and oil wells.

“We hear a lot of greenwashing from petroleum and energy companies but little real action on climate so it’s promising to see that at least in the Kimberley, Twiggy Forrest is talking the talk and walking the walk,” said Lock the Gate WA coordinator Claire McKinnon.

“Fracking has already caused contamination in water supplies in the Kimberley - we cannot afford to risk destroying this unique and special region by opening it up to greedy oil and gas companies.

“We welcome Squadron’s decision to abandon its fracking plans for the Kimberley, and encourage all other fracking companies hoping to pillage the Kimberley to follow suit.

“It’s time these businesses read the writing on the wall. New oil and gas developments are incompatible with a safe climate. The Kimberley hosts one of the world’s last large and intact natural places, as well as numerous towns and communities that will have their way of life upended should fracking be permitted.”

Damming New Undertaking Reveals Extent Of Maules Creek Mine Illegality

August 18, 2021
Whitehaven Coal will have to dismantle an illegal dam and construct a new water management system as part of a humiliating and expensive undertaking agreed to with the Natural Resources Access Regulator.

A sentencing hearing has been underway this week and will conclude this afternoon after the company’s Maules Creek coal mine pleaded guilty to stealing more than a billion litres of water over three years. The water theft occurred during the height of the recent record breaking drought in the Namoi district. 

The water was captured by a dam illegally built by the company on a stream, and by several other dams on the mine site.

It was revealed in court that just prior to the hearing on August 12, Maules Creek signed an enforceable undertaking agreeing to dismantle the illegal dam and restore the natural drainage gully it intercepted. The company also agreed to construct clean water diversions to redirect catchment water around the mine site and ensure that the mine was not unlawfully taking water from the catchment of Maules Creek. 

“It is outrageous it has taken this long for Whitehaven to be forced to tear down and rebuild its Maules Creek water management system so that the mine complies with the law and its own development approval,” said Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods.

“Astonishingly, the two new diversions Whitehaven is now being forced to construct were part of the original environmental conditions for the Maules Creek coal mine, but were never built.

“The Department of Planning appears to have taken no action whatsoever against this company for this extraordinary failure to comply with its planning approval.

“We’re pleased the Natural Resources Access Regulator is taking firm action to enforce New South Wales water law in the court this week, but the Department of Planning needs to explain why it didn’t take action under planning law for flagrant breaches of conditions.

“It beggars belief that a mine as controversial as Maules Creek could be built with a completely different water system to that which was approved” she said.

The latest revelations come less than a week after Whitehaven’s last sentencing in the Land and Environment Court, when it was fined $372,500 for illegally clearing land, creating illegal access tracks, and failing to rehabilitate at its Narrabri Underground coal mine.

Lock the Gate’s has outlined more than 35 breaches and non-compliances and roughly $1.5M in fines Whitehaven has received since 2012.

Looming Gas Supply Shortfall For East Coast Market

August 17 2021
A supply shortfall in Australia’s east coast gas market is increasingly likely, especially in the southern states, the ACCC’s latest gas report reveals.

The report, released today, reveals a finely balanced supply outlook for 2022. A shortfall of 2 PJ could arise across the entire east coast gas market next year, driven by a shortfall of up to 6 PJ in the southern states, if LNG producers export all of their surplus gas.

This forecast is dependent upon demand from gas powered generators decreasing to record lows, and a material volume of gas from currently undeveloped reserves being supplied.

“The precarious supply situation for next year highlights the importance of the new Heads of Agreement that the Australian government signed with LNG exporters in January 2021,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

Under the Heads of Agreement, LNG exporters must offer uncontracted gas to the domestic market on internationally competitive terms before it is exported, and provide relevant material to the ACCC to demonstrate their compliance.

“The initial material LNG producers provided to us did not adequately demonstrate compliance with the new Heads of Agreement and they will need to lift their game,” Mr Sims said.

“The initial responses from LNG producers were concerning given that in the near future Australia’s southern states may depend on their surplus gas. We expect to see better compliance from LNG exporters over the next 12 months.”

The report shows that prices for contracted gas in the east coast market through to February 2021 remained at the lower levels observed during 2020. However, the tightening supply situation means these prices may not last.

“Domestic spot prices for gas spiked in July but the increase was driven by a particular set of circumstances that won’t necessarily impact offers for long-term contracts. Fortunately, we have subsequently seen some softening of those high spot prices in August,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC observed that price offers for supply in 2022 trended from $6-11/GJ at the start of 2020 to $6-8 in the second half of 2020.

Although lower prices were welcomed by commercial and industrial users, many users are struggling to obtain offers for supply beyond 2022. Where supply is offered, prices are often at $9-10/GJ.

“We are also concerned that there have been significantly fewer offers for gas supply being made in the domestic market recently.”

The difficulty in securing offers beyond 2022 may have been partially caused by uncertainty around the Gas Code of Conduct and the ACCC’s LNG netback price series review. This demonstrates that it is important both are completed in a timely manner.

The ACCC’s LNG netback price series review is underway and will be completed by September 2021, following two rounds of public consultation.

The netback price series review has been informed by the findings from a detailed review of gas supplier pricing strategies. Today’s gas report sets out the ACCC’s findings, which includes that oil prices appear to be a key influence on domestic pricing, and competition has been a limited constraint on prices.

Separately, this year the ACCC will examine competition in markets for the exploration, production and processing of gas for the east coast, including the factors affecting when gas is brought to market. The ACCC will report on this, as well as further developments in the east coast gas market, in its January 2022 report.

On 19 April 2017, the Australian Government directed the ACCC to conduct an inquiry into the supply of and demand for wholesale gas in Australia, and publish regular information on the supply and pricing of gas for three years. On 25 July 2019, this inquiry was extended until December 2025.

The ACCC is required to submit interim reports at least six-monthly and provide information to the market as appropriate, with a final report by 30 December 2025.

On 21 January 2021, the Australian Government announced a new Heads of Agreement had been signed which commits LNG exporters to offer uncontracted gas to the domestic market first on internationally competitive market terms before it is exported. The new Heads of Agreement was entered into in late December 2020, and operates over 2021–23.

On 15 September 2020, the Australian Government announced a series of policy measures to unlock more gas supply, deliver an efficient pipeline and transportation market, and empower gas customers.

BHP’s offloading of oil and gas assets shows the global market has turned on fossil fuels

John QuigginThe University of Queensland

The announcement by BHP, the world’s second-largest mining company, that it will shift its oil and gas assets into a joint venture with Australian outfit Woodside is a clear indication the “Big Australian” is getting out of the carbon-based fuel industry.

BHP has also been offloading thermal coal assets. It sold its share in the Cerrejon coal mine in Columbia to Glencore (the world’s biggest mining company) in June. It has written down the value of its Mt Arthur mine in Australia’s Hunter Valley while it looks for a buyer.

But if the oil wells, gas fields and coal mines are still there, what difference do these asset sales make? To answer this question, it is necessary to understand the broader logic of divestment, as championed by the divestment movement.

The Divestment Agenda

The immediate aim of the divestment movement is to end new investment in oil, gas and coal, with the ultimate aim of decarbonising the economy.

Over the past few years, with much prodding, financial institutions around the world have adopted divestment policies aiming to end or reduce their involvement in the carbon economy.

The initial focus has been on thermal coal, used in electricity generation. Coal mines and coal-fired power stations have been excluded almost entirely from global financial market. New developments now rely almost exclusively on finance from China, largely through the Belt and Road Initiative (and even this source is drying up).

In Australia, all the major banks and insurers, along with many superannuation funds, having now adopted policies to end their involvement with thermal coal. Now attention is turning to oil and gas.

Read more: BlackRock is the canary in the coalmine. Its decision to dump coal signals what's next

Divestment policies, like those of Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank, now commonly exclude new oil and gas projects (though there are often escape clauses for companies with policies “aligned with the Paris climate goals”).

The recognition that oil and gas has a limited future is reflected in the massive drop in “upstream” capital expenditure on exploration and development. Capital expenditure in 2020 fell below half the peak level of 2014, and only a modest recovery is expected after the pandemic.

BHP’s Choice

BHP and others therefore face a choice.

They can join the divestment movement, by selling carbon assets and focusing on other mining activities or on renewable energy.

Alternatively, they can become “pure play” coal, oil and gas businesses, profitable in the short run but increasingly excluded from investment portfolios and, ultimately, from normal financial transactions like banking and insurance.

This is the likely fate of the Woodside-BHP joint venture. The effect is similar to the “bad bank” structures created in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis to acquire non-performing loans and other dubious financial assets built up during the pre-2008 boom.

By offloading these assets, taking some losses in the process, the major global banks were able to recapitalise and resume their customary place at the centre of the financial universe.

Keeping Institutions Happy

The result will leave BHP shareholders with two separate holdings — one in BHP and one in the joint venture. The institutional shareholders who pushed for the divestment will now be able to dump these joint-venture shares and retain their holdings in BHP, which will (once the remaining coal assets are sold) now be safe from pressure for divestment.

Pressure didn’t come only from shareholders. Banks and other key institutional players were also key. Reports indicate the “all-stock” deal with Woodside was chosen precisely because it would have been impossible to arrange bank financing for the new venture.

Read more: How Bill McKibben's radical idea of fossil-fuel divestment transformed the climate debate

Banks will now be free to continue dealing with BHP, one of their biggest customers, while leaving the oil and gas venture to lower-tier lenders willing to take the financial and reputational risk.

A Justifiable Exit Strategy

It may be argued that, rather than disposing of its oil and gas assets, BHP should have taken action to shut them down.

This argument has been put forward both by environmentalists and Ivan Glasenberg, the chief executive of Glencore, the only major global miner to have chosen to stay in the coal business. Glasenberg has argued divestment is pointless because it simply makes fossil fuel assets “someone else’s issue”. Better to retain ownership of coal mines and phase them out gradually, he says.

Read more: Combating climate change – why investors should keep their shares in fossil fuel companies

Whether Glencore ever delivers on this strategy remains to be seen. But in light of the whole divestment agenda, BHP’s move is clearly more than a portfolio rearrangement.

For now, “pure play” oil, gas and coal companies can continue to generate profits. As global corporations, banks and insurers withdraw from the sector, however, the capacity of the remaining firms to resist regulatory and legal pressures to shut down will diminish.

Sooner or later, for example, it’s likely courts will find those responsible for carbon emissions liable for the damage caused by fires, sea level rise and other effects of climate change.

Without backing from banks and insurers, the costs of this litigation will fall directly on carbon-based corporations and their shareholders.

BHP, which was founded in 1885 and plans to be around for the long term, has seen the writing on the wall. It is getting out while it can.The Conversation

John Quiggin, Professor, School of Economics, The University of Queensland

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Some animals have excellent tricks to evade bushfire. But flames might be reaching more animals naive to the dangers

Dale NimmoCharles Sturt UniversityAlex CartheyMacquarie UniversityChris J JollyCharles Sturt University, and Daniel T. BlumsteinUniversity of California, Los Angeles

The new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a sobering picture of the warming climate in coming decades. Among the projections is an increase in fire weather, which will expose Earth’s landscapes to more large and intense megafires.

In our paper, published today in Global Change Biology, we considered what this fiery future might mean for the planet’s wildlife. We argue a lot can be learned by looking at how wildlife responds to a very different threat: predators.

Australia has seen the brutal consequences that occur when native wildlife is exposed to introduced predators. Australian animals have not evolved alongside introduced predators, such as cats and foxes, and some are what scientists call “predator naive” — they simply aren’t equipped with the evolutionary instincts to detect and respond to introduced predators before it’s too late.

Now, let’s take that idea and apply it to fires. Some animals have evolved excellent tricks to detect when a bushfire is nearby. But some areas where infernos were once rare are growing increasingly bushfire-prone, thanks to climate change. The wildlife in these spots may not have the evolutionary know-how to detect a fire before it’s too late.

Just as being “predator naive” has decimated Australian wildlife, will being “fire naive” wreak havoc on our native species?

Behaviour Forged In Fire

A growing list of studies show the tricks animals from fire-prone areas use to survive the flames.

Sleepy lizards have been shown to panic at the smell of burnt pastry, reed frogs leap away from the crackling sounds of fire, and bats and marsupials wake from torpor after smelling smoke.

And one study found that, when exposed to smoke, Mediterranean lizards from fire-prone areas reacted more strongly than Mediterranean lizards from areas where fire was rare.

These studies show some animals can recognise the threat of fire, and behave in a way that increases their chance of survival. Those that can are more likely to live through fire and pass on those abilities to their offspring.

That’s where the parallels between fire and predation become striking — and potentially worrying.

Reading The Cues

It’s well known predators and prey are in an ongoing evolutionary race to outmanoeuvre one another.

One tool prey draw upon to avoid becoming predator food is to recognise cues — such as smells, sights and sounds — that indicate a predator is lurking nearby. Once they do, prey can change their behaviour to minimise the risk of becoming dinner.

Research showed the Mediterranean skink can smell a fire.
Research has shown the Mediterranean skink can smell a fire. By Balles2601 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0, CC BY-SA 4.0CC BY

Decades of research has shown that when prey evolve alongside a predator, they can become highly adept at recognising their predator’s cues, such as a scent markings or territorial calls.

But what about animals that haven’t evolved alongside these lethal threats?

When a new predator enters an ecosystem, prey that have not evolved with it can be naive to its cues. They might fail to recognise the threat implied by the new predator’s scents, signs, or sounds, placing them at substantial risk.

This “predator naivety” helps explain why introduced predators are global drivers of extinction. Naive prey just don’t hear, smell, or see them coming.

Read more: There's no end to the damage humans can wreak on the climate. This is how bad it's likely to get

Which Species Are ‘Fire Naive’?

Research on how animals respond to fire cues has focused on animals from fire-prone regions, probably because that’s where you’d expect to find the strongest responses. But more research is needed about animals from regions that rarely burn.

Do these animals also recognise the cues of fire as an approaching lethal threat?

Do they have finely tuned behaviours that help them survive fire?

Are they “fire naive”?

We don’t know. And that’s a worry because recent changes in global fire activitytriggered by a warming and drying climate, are seeing fires enter ecosystems long regarded as “fire-free”.

If they are naive to fire, species in these ecosystems might be more at risk than previously thought.

The Search For Fire Naivety

We urge researchers around the world to assess fire naivety of animals, particularly in areas experiencing a change in their fire regimes, such as from rare to frequent fire or increased fire severity.

Evidence suggests recognition of predator cues is at least partly genetic. It will be important to determine whether the capacity to recognise and respond to fire also has a genetic basis.

If those behaviours can be passed on from one generation to the next, then perhaps we could take fire-savvy individuals from fire-prone areas and place them into fire naive populations, in the hope their favourable behaviours will spread rapidly via genes passed onto their offspring. Scientists call this “targeted gene flow”.

As the world continues to warm and megafires rage across the globe, we will need all the knowledge and tools at our disposal to help avoid an acceleration of Earth’s biodiversity crisis.

Read more: Artificial refuges are a popular stopgap for habitat destruction, but the science isn't up to scratch The Conversation

Dale Nimmo, Associate Professor in Ecology, Charles Sturt UniversityAlex Carthey, Macquarie University Research Fellow, Macquarie UniversityChris J Jolly, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Charles Sturt University, and Daniel T. Blumstein, Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Snorkellers discover rare, giant 400-year-old coral – one of the oldest on the Great Barrier Reef

Richard Woodgett
Adam SmithJames Cook UniversityNathan CookJames Cook University, and Vicki SaylorIndigenous Knowledge

Snorkellers on the Great Barrier Reef have discovered a huge coral more than 400 years old which is thought to have survived 80 major cyclones, numerous coral bleaching events and centuries of exposure to other threats. We describe the discovery in research published today.

Our team surveyed the hemispherical structure, which comprises small marine animals and calcium carbonate, and found it’s the Great Barrier Reef’s widest coral, and one of the oldest.

It was discovered off the coast of Goolboodi (Orpheus Island), part of Queensland’s Palm Island Group. Traditional custodians of the region, the Manbarra people, have called the structure Muga dhambi, meaning “big coral”.

For now, Muga dhambi is in relatively good health. But climate change, declining water quality and other threats are taking a toll on the Great Barrier Reef. Scientists, Traditional Owners and others must keep a close eye on this remarkable, resilient structure to ensure it is preserved for future generations.

coral and snorkellers
Muga dhambi is the widest coral structure recorded on the Great Barrier Reef. Richard Woodgett

Far Older Than European Settlement

Muga dhambi is located in a relatively remote, rarely visited and highly protected marine area. It was found during citizen science research in March this year, on a reef slope not far from shore.

We conducted a literature review and consulted other scientists to compare the size, age and health of the structure with others in the Great Barrier Reef and internationally.

We measured the structure at 5.3 metres tall and 10.4 metres wide. This makes it 2.4 metres wider than the widest Great Barrier Reef coral previously measured by scientists.

Muga dhambi is of the coral genus Porites and is one of a large group of corals known as “massive Porites”. It’s brown to cream in colour and made of small, stony polyps.

These polyps secrete layers of calcium carbonate beneath their bodies as they grow, forming the foundations upon which reefs are built.

Muga dhambi’s height suggests it is aged between 421 and 438 years old – far pre-dating European exploration and settlement of Australia. We made this calculation based on rock coral growth rates and annual sea surface temperatures.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science has investigated more than 328 colonies of massive Porites corals along the Great Barrier Reef and has aged the oldest at 436 years. The institute has not investigated the age of Muga dhambi, however the structure is probably one of the oldest on the Great Barrier Reef.

Other comparatively large massive Porites have previously been found throughout the Pacific. One exceptionally large colony in American Samoa measured 17m × 12m. Large Porites have also been found near Taiwan and Japan.

Mountainous island and blue sea
Muga dhambi was discovered in waters off Goolboodi (Orpheus Island). Shutterstock

Resilient, But Under Threat

We reviewed environmental events over the past 450 years and found Muga dhambi is unusually resilient. It has survived up to 80 major cyclones, numerous coral bleaching events and centuries of exposure to invasive species, low tides and human activity.

About 70% of Muga dhambi consisted of live coral, but the remaining 30% was dead. This section, at the top of the structure, was covered with green boring sponge, turf algae and green algae.

Coral tissue can die from exposure to sun at low tides or warm water. Dead coral can be quickly colonised by opportunistic, fast growing organisms, as is the case with Muga dhambi.

Green boring sponge invades and excavates corals. The sponge’s advances will likely continue to compromise the structure’s size and health.

We found marine debris at the base of Muga dhambi, comprising rope and three concrete blocks. Such debris is a threat to the marine environment and species such as corals.

We found no evidence of disease or coral bleaching.

Read more: The Great Barrier Reef is in trouble. There are a whopping 45 reasons why

to come
The structure may be compromised by the advance of a sponge species across Muga dhambi (sponge is the darker half in this image). Richard Woodgett

‘Old Man’ Of The Sea

A Traditional Owner from outside the region took part in our citizen science training which included surveys of corals, invertebrates and fish. We also consulted the Manbarra Traditional Owners about and an appropriate cultural name for the structure.

Before recommending Muga dhambi, the names the Traditional Owners considered included:

  • Muga (big)
  • Wanga (home)
  • Muugar (coral reef)
  • Dhambi (coral)
  • Anki/Gurgu (old)
  • Gulula (old man)
  • Gurgurbu (old person).

Indigenous languages are an integral part of Indigenous culture, spirituality, and connection to country. Traditional Owners suggested calling the structure Muga dhambi would communicate traditional knowledge, language and culture to other Indigenous people, tourists, scientists and students.

Read more: How Traditional Owners and officials came together to protect a stunning stretch of WA coast

coral rock under water with sky
It’s hoped the name Muga dhambi will encourage recognition of the connection Indigenous people have to the coral structure. Richard Woodgett

A Wonder For All Generations

No database exists for significant corals in Australia or globally. Cataloguing the location of massive and long-lived corals can be benefits.

For example from a scientific perspective, it can allow analyses which can help understand century-scale changes in ocean events and can be used to verify climate models. Social and economic benefits can include diving tourism and citizen science, as well as engaging with Indigenous culture and stewardship.

However, cataloguing the location of massive corals could lead to them being damaged by anchoring, research and pollution from visiting boats.

Looking to the future, there is real concern for all corals in the Great Barrier Reef due to threats such as climate change, declining water quality, overfishing and coastal development. We recommend monitoring of Muga dhambi in case restoration is needed in future.

We hope our research will mean current and future generations care for this wonder of nature, and respect the connections of Manbarra Traditional Owners to their Sea Country.

Read more: Not declaring the Great Barrier Reef as 'in danger' only postpones the inevitable The Conversation

Adam Smith, Adjunct Associate Professor, James Cook UniversityNathan Cook, Marine Scientist , James Cook University, and Vicki Saylor, Manbarra Traditional Owner, Indigenous Knowledge

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

1 in 2 primary-aged kids have strong connections to nature, but this drops off in teenage years. Here’s how to reverse the trend

Ryan KeithUniversity of SydneyDieter HochuliUniversity of SydneyJohn MartinUniversity of Sydney, and Lisa M. GivenSwinburne University of Technology

Parents and researchers have long suspected city kids are disconnecting from nature due to technological distractions, indoor lifestyles and increased urban density. Limited access to nature during COVID-19 lockdowns has heightened such fears.

In fact, “nature-deficit disorder” has become a buzzword, driving concerns about children’s well-being and their ability to understand and care for the natural world.

Yet, there’s been surprisingly little investigation to directly test whether a disconnect exists between children and nature – and if it does, how this might affect their environmental behaviours. Our recent research, focused on Australian children in urban areas, sought to address this knowledge gap.

We found most younger children, especially girls, reported strong connections to nature and commitment to pro-environmental behaviours. But by their teenage years, many children have fallen out of love with nature. Understanding and reversing this trend is vital to tackling climate change, species loss and other grave environmental problems.

A phalanx of chanting students march toward the camera flanked by placards and flags.
Young people are key to addressing environmental problems. Henry Lydecker

What We Did

Our research involved more than 1,000 students aged 8-14 years, attending 16 public schools across Sydney.

We measured the students’ connections to nature using a questionnaire which asked about their:

  • enjoyment of nature
  • empathy for creatures
  • sense of oneness with nature
  • sense of responsibility towards nature.

The survey also canvassed students’ current environmental behaviours, such as whether they recycled waste and conserved water and energy, as well as their willingness to:

  • volunteer to help protect nature
  • donate money to nature charities
  • talk to friends and family about protecting nature.

Read more: Being in nature is good for learning, here's how to get kids off screens and outside

Children sitting in a circle on the grass, having a discussion.
A girl volunteers her opinion in a group discussion at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Ryan Keith

What We Found

Contrary to the conventional wisdom about nature-deficit disorder, we found one in two children aged 8 to 11 felt strongly connected to nature, despite living in the city. However, only one in five teens reported strong nature connections.

Children in the younger age group were also more likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviours. For example, one in two were committed to saving water and energy on a daily basis, and two in three recycled each day.

Girls generally formed closer emotional connections to nature than boys did – a difference especially apparent in the final stage of primary school.

Connection to nature by age and gender. CNI = Connection to Nature Index. Author provided

Importantly, girls differed from boys in their responses to questions about sensory stimulation. Girls particularly liked to see wildflowers, hear nature sounds and touch animals and plants. This finding echoes previous research which found motivation for sensory pleasure is greater in women than men.

Girls also felt greater empathy for nonhuman animals than did boys, even after accounting for differences in sensory experience.

Children with strong nature connections were much more likely to demonstrate pro-environmental behaviours. This helps explain why girls were more willing than boys to volunteer for nature conservation.

Read more: 'Nature doesn't judge you': how young people in cities feel about the natural world

Butterfly on a girl's hand.
Girls felt greater empathy for nonhuman animals than boys did.

What Does All This Mean?

These findings suggest parents, educators, and others seeking to “reconnect” youth with nature should focus on the transition between childhood and the teenage years.

Adolescence is a period of great change. Children move from primary to high school, switching peer groups and struggling through puberty. They gain independence and must adapt to a maturing brain.

Relationships with nature easily fall by the wayside when teens prioritise other aspects of their busy lives. In fact, evidence of the adolescent dip in nature connection is emerging across different cultures.

Educators and parents hoping to engage girls with nature might give them activities focused on sensory stimuli.

Girls’ greater empathy for nonhuman animals may result from societal norms that socialise girls to be more caring, cooperative, and empathetic than boys. Boys can be encouraged to have more empathy for nonhuman animals through activities focused on perspective-taking and role-playing.

Even when locked down at home, both girls and boys can cultivate empathy for animals and nourish their connections to nature by taking mindful note of their surroundings. Though cities can appear to be concrete jungles, they still contain urban wildlife, parks and other green elements.

Read more: Look up! A powerful owl could be sleeping in your backyard after a night surveying kilometres of territory

girl rides bike through park
Children mindful of their surroundings can foster connections to nature in urban areas. Shutterstock

Children Are The Future

Recent research has demonstrated that stronger nature connections are associated with improved health and wellbeing in children.

The benefits of connecting to nature should be distributed among youth in a just and equitable way. That means working with groups often marginalised in discussions about nature, such as ethnic minorities.

Conservation is increasingly reliant on young citizens forming meaningful connections with urban nature. Many environmental leaders, such as Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, are teenage girls.

Ensuring urban children maintain nature connections through adolescence is crucial to tackling Earth’s serious environmental problems. But it will also require more young people to confront the difficult realisation that the world’s climate is in crisis. For this, we need to develop better ways to help them cope.

Read more: How COVID-19 has affected overnight school trips, and why this matters The Conversation

Ryan Keith, PhD Candidate, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of SydneyDieter Hochuli, Professor, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of SydneyJohn Martin, Research Scientist, Taronga Conservation Society Australia & Adjunct lecturer, University of Sydney, and Lisa M. Given, Professor of Information Science, Centre for Design Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Meet the penis worm: don’t look away, these widespread yet understudied sea creatures deserve your love

WikimediaCC BY-SA
Daryl McPheeBond University

Am I not pretty enough? This article is part of The Conversation’s new series introducing you to the unloved Australian animals that need our help.

Australia’s oceans are home to a startling array of biodiversity — whales, dolphins, dugongs and more. But not all components of Aussie marine life are the charismatic sort of animal that can feature in a tourism promotion, documentary, or conservation campaign.

The echiuran, or spoon worm, is one such animal. It is also called the penis worm.

There is no “Save the Echiuran Foundation” and no influencers selling merchandise to help save them. But these phallic invertebrates are certainly worth your time as integral and fascinating members — of Australia’s marine ecosystems.

What Makes Them So Interesting?

Taxonomists have classified echiurans in various different ways over the years, including as their own group of unique animals. Today, they’re considered a group of annelid worms that lost their segmentation. There is uncertainty about the exact number of species, but an estimate is 236.

The largest echiuran species reach over two metres in length! They have a sausage-shaped muscular trunk and an extensible proboscis (or tongue) at their front end. The trunk moves by wave like contractions.

Most echiurans live in marine sand and mud in long, U-shaped burrows, but some species also live between rocks. And they’re widespread, living up to 6,000 metres deep in the ocean all the way to the seashore, worldwide.

Some species live between rocks. Shutterstock

For example, one species, Ochetostoma australiense, is a common sight along sandy or muddy shorelines of Queensland and New South Wales, where it sweeps out of its burrow to collect and consume organic matter.

In fact, their feeding activities are something to behold, as they form a star-like pattern on the surface that extends from their burrow opening.

In another species, Bonella viridis, there is a striking difference between the males and females — the females are large (about 15 centimetres long) and the males are tiny (1-3 millimetres). Most larvae are sexually undifferentiated, and the sex they end up as depends on who’s around. The larvae metamorphose into dwarf males when they’re exposed to females, and into females when there are no other females present.

Males function as little more than a gonad and are reliant on females for all their needs.

Another common name for the penis worm is the fat innkeeper worm. Alison Young/iNaturalist

Why They’re So Important

Echiurans perform a range of important ecological functions in the marine environment. They’re known as “ecosystem engineers” - organisms that directly or indirectly control the availability of resources, such as food and shelter, to other species. They do this mainly by changing the physical characteristics of habitats, for example, by creating and maintaining burrows, which can benefit other species.

Echiurans also have a variety of symbiotic animals, including crustaceans and bivalve molluscs, residing in their burrows. This means both animals have a mutually beneficial relationship. In fact, animals from at least eight different animal groups associate with echiuran burrows or rock-inhabiting echiurans — and this is probably an underestimate.

Two phallic worms on the sand
There are an estimated 236 species of penis worm. Rogerl Josh/iNaturalistCC BY-NC

They’re beneficial for humans, too. Their burrowing and feeding habits aerate and rework sediments. Off the Californian coastline, for example, scientists noted how these activities reduced the impacts of wastewater on the seabed.

And they’re an important part of the diet of fish, including deepwater sharks such as the houndsharks, and species of commercial significance such as Alaskan plaice. Some mammals feast on them, too, such as the Pacific walrus in the Bering Sea, and the southern sea otter. In Queensland they also contribute to the diet of the critically endangered eastern curlew.

And many people eat them in East and Southeast Asia, where they’re chopped up and eaten raw, or used as a fermented product called gaebul-jeot. They (allegedly) taste slightly salty with sweet undertones.

A southern sea otter snacking on a penis worm. Shutterstock

The Unloved Billions

In Australia there is very little known about the biology and ecological roles of our echiuran fauna. This can also be said of many of Australia’s soft sediment marine invertebrates — the unloved billions.

We simply do not understand the population dynamics of even the large and relatively common echiuran species, and the human processes that threaten them. Given their role as ecosystem engineers, impacts to echiuran populations can flow on to other components of the seabed fauna, imperilling entire ecosystems.

A blue penis worm
Not all species are a fleshy pink colour. Wayne Martin/iNaturalistCC BY-NC

We can, in general terms, predict that populations have suffered from the cumulative effects of urbanisation and coastal development. This includes loss and modification of habitats, and changes to water quality.

Populations may also be harmed by undersea seismic activities used in oil and gas exploration, but this is still poorly understood. Until recently, scientists knew only of the threats seismic activity posed to the hearing of whales and dolphins. It’s becoming clearer they can also affect the planet’s vital invertebrate species.

You may have spotted penis worms along the seashore. Shutterstock

It is a dilemma for marine conservation when so little is known about a species that impacts cannot be reliably predicted, and where there is little or no impetus to improve this knowledge base.

We cannot simply presume an animal does not play an important role in an ecosystem because it lacks charisma.

In George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, it was said “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”. This remains abundantly true in terms of how humans view animals. But we must move away from this philosophy if we are to conserve and restore the planet’s fragile ecosystems.

Read more: Meet the broad-toothed rat: a chubby-cheeked and inquisitive Australian rodent that needs our help The Conversation

Daryl McPhee, Associate Professor of Environmental Science, Bond University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Bushcare In Pittwater 

For further information or to confirm the meeting details for below groups, please contact Council's Bushcare Officer on 9970 1367

Where we work                      Which day                              What time 

Angophora Reserve             3rd Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Dunes                        1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Golf Course              2nd Wednesday                 3 - 5:30pm 
Careel Creek                         4th Saturday                      8:30 - 11:30am 
Toongari Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon (8 - 11am in summer) 
Bangalley Headland            2nd Sunday                         9 to 12noon 

Winnererremy Bay                 4th Sunday                        9 to 12noon 

North Bilgola Beach              3rd Monday                        9 - 12noon 
Algona Reserve                     1st Saturday                       9 - 12noon 
Plateau Park                          1st Friday                            8:30 - 11:30am 

Church Point     
Browns Bay Reserve             1st Tuesday                        9 - 12noon 
McCarrs Creek Reserve       Contact Bushcare Officer     To be confirmed 

Old Wharf Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      8 - 11am 

Kundibah Reserve                   4th Sunday                       8:30 - 11:30am 

Mona Vale     
Mona Vale Beach Basin          1st Saturday                    8 - 11am 
Mona Vale Dunes                     2nd Saturday +3rd Thursday     8:30 - 11:30am 

Bungan Beach                          4th Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
Crescent Reserve                    3rd Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
North Newport Beach              4th Saturday                    8:30 - 11:30am 
Porter Reserve                          2nd Saturday                  8 - 11am 

North Narrabeen     
Irrawong Reserve                     2nd Saturday                   2 - 5pm 

Palm Beach     
North Palm Beach Dunes      3rd Saturday                    9 - 12noon 

Scotland Island     
Catherine Park                          2nd Sunday                     10 - 12:30pm 
Elizabeth Park                           1st Saturday                      9 - 12noon 
Pathilda Reserve                      3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon 

Warriewood Wetlands             1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 

Whale Beach     
Norma Park                               1st Friday                            9 - 12noon 

Western Foreshores     
Coopers Point, Elvina Bay      2nd Sunday                        10 - 1pm 
Rocky Point, Elvina Bay           1st Monday                          9 - 12noon

Gardens And Environment Groups And Organisations In Pittwater

Avalon Golf Course Bushcare Needs You

We're so short of helpers we've had to cancel for the time being. Meanwhile the weeds will go gangbusters. 
We used to meet on the second Wednesday afternoon of each month. Could you come if we worked on another day or time? say a morning, or on a weekend day? 
Contact Geoff Searl on 0439 292 566 if you'd like to help. He'd love to hear from you. 

We have fun using the Tree Popper, here with our supervisor from Dragonfly Environmental. We can lever out quite big Ochnas, aka Mickey Mouse plant from Africa.  We want to bring back the bush, not let the weeds win!

Ochna or Mickey Mouse plant has yellow flowers in spring, then lots of green berries that turn black when ripe. Seedlings come up in hundreds. Ochna has a very strong taproot but the steady pressure of the Tree Popper lifts the plant out of the ground easily. The alternative control is repeated scraping and painting with Roundup, very slow and time consuming. If you have an Ochna you cant remove, you can enjoy the flowers, then PLEASE prune it so that berries can't develop.

Pittwater Reserves

Annie Wyatt Reserve - A  Pictorial

These hot days are tough on our wildlife - please put out some water in a shaded location and if you come across an animal that is in distress, dehydrated or injured - please contact your local wildlife rescue group:
Photo: Bronwyn Gould

New Shorebirds WingThing  For Youngsters Available To Download

A Shorebirds WingThing educational brochure for kids (A5) helps children learn about shorebirds, their life and journey. The 2021 revised brochure version was published in February 2021 and is available now. You can download a file copy here.

If you would like a free print copy of this brochure, please send a self-addressed envelope with A$1.10 postage (or larger if you would like it unfolded) affixed to: BirdLife Australia, Shorebird WingThing Request, 2-05Shorebird WingThing/60 Leicester St, Carlton VIC 3053.

Shorebird Identification Booklet

The Migratory Shorebird Program has just released the third edition of its hugely popular Shorebird Identification Booklet. The team has thoroughly revised and updated this pocket-sized companion for all shorebird counters and interested birders, with lots of useful information on our most common shorebirds, key identification features, sighting distribution maps and short articles on some of BirdLife’s shorebird activities. 

The booklet can be downloaded here in PDF file format:

Paper copies can be ordered as well, see for details.

Download BirdLife Australia's children’s education kit to help them learn more about our wading birdlife

Shorebirds are a group of wading birds that can be found feeding on swamps, tidal mudflats, estuaries, beaches and open country. For many people, shorebirds are just those brown birds feeding a long way out on the mud but they are actually a remarkably diverse collection of birds including stilts, sandpipers, snipe, curlews, godwits, plovers and oystercatchers. Each species is superbly adapted to suit its preferred habitat.  The Red-necked Stint is as small as a sparrow, with relatively short legs and bill that it pecks food from the surface of the mud with, whereas the Eastern Curlew is over two feet long with a exceptionally long legs and a massively curved beak that it thrusts deep down into the mud to pull out crabs, worms and other creatures hidden below the surface.

Some shorebirds are fairly drab in plumage, especially when they are visiting Australia in their non-breeding season, but when they migrate to their Arctic nesting grounds, they develop a vibrant flush of bright colours to attract a mate. We have 37 types of shorebirds that annually migrate to Australia on some of the most lengthy and arduous journeys in the animal kingdom, but there are also 18 shorebirds that call Australia home all year round.

What all our shorebirds have in common—be they large or small, seasoned traveller or homebody, brightly coloured or in muted tones—is that each species needs adequate safe areas where they can successfully feed and breed.

The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is managed and supported by BirdLife Australia. 

This project is supported by Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and Hunter Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. Funding from Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and Port Phillip Bay Fund is acknowledged. 

The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is made possible with the help of over 1,600 volunteers working in coastal and inland habitats all over Australia. 

The National Shorebird Monitoring program (started as the Shorebirds 2020 project initiated to re-invigorate monitoring around Australia) is raising awareness of how incredible shorebirds are, and actively engaging the community to participate in gathering information needed to conserve shorebirds. 

In the short term, the destruction of tidal ecosystems will need to be stopped, and our program is designed to strengthen the case for protecting these important habitats. 

In the long term, there will be a need to mitigate against the likely effects of climate change on a species that travels across the entire range of latitudes where impacts are likely. 

The identification and protection of critical areas for shorebirds will need to continue in order to guard against the potential threats associated with habitats in close proximity to nearly half the human population. 

Here in Australia, the place where these birds grow up and spend most of their lives, continued monitoring is necessary to inform the best management practice to maintain shorebird populations. 

BirdLife Australia believe that we can help secure a brighter future for these remarkable birds by educating stakeholders, gathering information on how and why shorebird populations are changing, and working to grow the community of people who care about shorebirds.

To find out more visit:

Aussie Bread Tags Collection Points

Collecting bread tags enables us to provide wheelchairs that change the life of disabled people in need, as well as keeping the tags out of landfill to help to preserve the environment. 

Bread Tags for Wheelchairs was started in South Africa in 2006 by Mary Honeybun. It is a community program where individuals and organisations collect bread tags, which are sold to recyclers. The money raised pays for wheelchairs for the less fortunate which are purchased through a local pharmacy. Currently about 500kg of bread tags are collected a month in South Africa, funding 2-3 wheelchairs.

We have been collecting bread tags nationally in Australia since September 2018 and now have more than 100 collection points across the country. In February 2019 we started local recycling through Transmutation - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in Robe, SA, where our tags are recycled into products such as door knobs and bowls. Tags from some states are still sent to South Africa where a plastics company called Zibo recycles them into seedling trays.

These humble bits of polystyrene can make a real difference so get your friends, family, school, workplace and church involved. Ask school tuck shops and boarding school kitchens, child care centres, aged care facilities, hospitals, cafes and fast food outlets to collect for you - they get through a lot of bread!

All the information and signage for collecting or setting up a public collection point is on our website.

Local Collectors
Lesley Flood
Please email for address -
Jodie Streckeisen
Please email for the address -

Antarctic Flagship Nuyina On Her Way Here

Published August 20, 2021 by the Australian Antarctic Division

The Australian flag is flying on the nation’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina (noy-yee-nah) for the first time after a ceremony in the Netherlands yesterday.

The event in Vlissingen was the official transfer of the ship from its European build team, marking the final stage of a 1900-day journey from contract signing to handover.

The design and build of the vessel has been a multi-national effort between the Australian Antarctic Division, the vessel operator Serco, Danish concept designers Knud E Hansen, Dutch engineering and detailed design team Damen, and the construction team at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania.

RSV Nuyina will now undergo some final preparations ahead of its eight-week journey to its new home port of Hobart.

Nuyina is a Tasmanian Aboriginal word meaning ‘Southern Lights’. It is pronounced noy‑yee‑nah

The Southern Lights, also known as aurora australis, are an atmospheric phenomenon formed over Antarctica that reaches northwards to light up Australian – and particularly Tasmanian – skies. Australia’s current long serving icebreaker the RSV Aurora Australis bears the name of the Southern Lights, while the first Australian Antarctic ship, Sir Douglas Mawson’s SY Aurora was named after the same phenomenon.

The name RSV Nuyina continues this theme and forms another chapter in the story of connection between Australia and Antarctica, which has played out historically over the past century and geologically over a much longer time frame, continually watched over by the dancing green curtains of light.

RSV Nuyina recognises the long connection that Tasmanian Aboriginal people have with the evocative Southern Lights, to which they gave a name in their language. Tasmanian Aboriginal people were the most southerly on the planet during the last ice age. The adaptability and resilience of the Tasmanian Aborigines, who travelled in canoes to small islets in the Southern Ocean, are qualities emulated by our modern-day Antarctic expeditioners as they travel south.

The ship name was suggested by Australian schoolchildren through the ‘Name our Icebreaker’ competition, which was designed to engage Australian students and expand their understanding of Antarctica, its environment, climate, history and Australia’s role there.

Aboriginal language was the inspiration for a fifth of all the valid ship names submitted by Australian children. In many of the competition entries, students spoke of their desire for reconciliation and recognition of Australian Aborigines. Using an Aboriginal name for the new ship would acknowledge all the children who wanted to recognise the interwoven history of Aboriginal people and the great southern land – Antarctica.

Palawa kani is the language spoken by Tasmanian Aborigines today. It draws on extensive historical and linguistic research of written records and spoken recordings, and Aboriginal cultural knowledge. Not enough remains of any of the original six to 12 original languages to form a full language today, so palawa kani combines authentic elements from many of these languages. It flourishes in Aboriginal community life, with three generations of children having grown up learning it, and features increasingly in public life, including in gazetted Tasmanian place names.

Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker RSV Nuyina was constructed in Damen Shipyards, Romania. Construction commenced in late May 2017, with a steel cutting ceremony, while a keel laying ceremony in August saw the first building-block of the ship consolidated in the drydock.  Some earlier build images run here for you.

Siege Of The South 1931

Published August 17, 2021 by the Australian Antarctic Division
Frank Hurley documents Australia’s rich history of scientific exploration of the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Researchers Develop Real-Time Lyric Generation Technology To Inspire Song Writing: Have A Go!

Music artists can find inspiration and new creative directions for their song writing with technology developed by Waterloo researchers.

LyricJam, a real-time system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to generate lyric lines for live instrumental music, was created by members of the University's Natural Language Processing Lab.

The lab, led by Olga Vechtomova, a Waterloo Engineering professor cross-appointed in Computer Science, has been researching creative applications of AI for several years.

The lab's initial work led to the creation of a system that learns musical expressions of artists and generates lyrics in their style.

Recently, Vechtomova, along with Waterloo graduate students Gaurav Sahu and Dhruv Kumar, developed technology that relies on various aspects of music such as chord progressions, tempo and instrumentation to synthesize lyrics reflecting the mood and emotions expressed by live music.

As a musician or a band plays instrumental music, the system continuously receives the raw audio clips, which the neural network processes to generate new lyric lines. The artists can then use the lines to compose their own song lyrics.

"The purpose of the system is not to write a song for the artist," Vechtomova explains. "Instead, we want to help artists realize their own creativity. The system generates poetic lines with new metaphors and expressions, potentially leading the artists in creative directions that they haven't explored before."

The neural network designed by the researchers learns what lyrical themes, words and stylistic devices are associated with different aspects of music captured in each audio clip.

For example, the researchers observed that lyrics generated for ambient music are very different than those for upbeat music.

The research team conducted a user study, inviting musicians to play live instruments while using the system.

"One unexpected finding was that participants felt encouraged by the generated lines to improvise," Vechtomova said. "For example, the lines inspired artists to structure chords a bit differently and take their improvisation in a new direction than originally intended. Some musicians also used the lines to check if their improvisation had the desired emotional effect."

Another finding from the study highlighted the co-creative aspect of the experience. Participants commented that they viewed the system as an uncritical jamming partner and felt encouraged to play their musical instruments even if they were not actively trying to write lyrics.

Since LyricJam went live in June this year, over 1,500 users worldwide have tried it out.

The team's research, to be presented at the International Conference on Computations Creativity this September, has been pre-published on arXiv. Musicians interested in trying out LyricJam can access it at

Olga Vechtomova, Gaurav Sahu, Dhruv Kumar. LyricJam: A system for generating lyrics for live instrumental music. Submitted to arXiv, 2021 [abstract]

NSW Sustainability Awards Now Open For Entry

August 6, 2021
The NSW Sustainability Awards are now open and accepting entries from eligible NSW participants across a range of categories from biodiversity to net zero initiatives.

Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean said the awards will allow New South Wales to showcase some of our best and brightest minds on a national stage with winners automatically entered into the prestigious Banksia National Sustainability Awards.

"New South Wales leads the country when it comes to generating ideas on sustainability, these awards will not only showcase those ideas but also celebrate the people that are making our world better," Mr Kean said.

"Entrants for these awards will join a community of sustainability champions who are reimagining the future of New South Wales and the world."

Inspired by the United Nations 2030 Global Goals and NSW's commitment to reaching net zero by 2050, these awards will salute individuals, communities and businesses for their innovation and excellence in environmental and social leadership.

The 8 awards categories include:
  • NSW Net Zero Action Award
  • NSW Biodiversity Award
  • NSW Circular Transition Award
  • NSW Clean Technology Award
  • NSW Large Business Transformation Award
  • NSW Small to Medium Business Award
  • NSW Youth as our Changemakers Award
  • Minister's Young Climate Champion Award
The awards will be presented and run by the Banksia Foundation in partnership with the NSW Government. Entries for the awards are expected to close on September 15 with winners announced by the end of this year. The winners of the National Banksia awards will be announced in March 2022.

For more information or for registration of interest for the awards can be made at NSW Sustainability Awards.

  1. NSW Clean Technology Award: Recognises outstanding initiatives by an organisation or organisations in collaboration that show- case efficient resources through renewable energy, low emissions technology, and appreciable pollution reduction (beyond compliance) of Australia's water, air, and land.
  2. NSW Biodiversity Award: Recognises outstanding initiatives by an organisation or organisations in collaboration that protect our habitat, flora and/or fauna to ensure Australia's ecosystems are secured and flourish for future generations.
  3. NSW Circular Transition Award: Recognises outstanding achievements in innovative design in waste and pollution systems and products, through to regenerating strategies. The award will go to a company that has adopted a technology, initiative or project that is helping the business move from a linear to a circular model.
  4. NSW Large Business Transformation Award: Recognises outstanding achievements that demonstrate business and values alignment with multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals and by integrating sustainability principles and practices across business activities.
  5. NSW Youth as our Changemakers AwardRecognises young innovators aged between 18-35 years, who bring fresh perspectives, bold ideas and compelling initiatives that align with any or the multiple UN SDG's.
  6. NSW Net Zero Action Award: Recognises organisations, (company, business association, NGOs) that can demonstrate a tangible program or initiative that evidences transition toward a 1.5-Degree goal, through a publicly communicated net zero commitment, plus data, disclosures and investments to support it.
  7. NSW Small to Medium Business Award: Recognises outstanding achievements that demonstrate business and values alignment with multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals and by integrating sustainability principles and practices across business activities.
  8. Minister's Young Climate Champion AwardThe Minister's Young Climate Champion Award recognises young innovators aged under 18 years who bring bold ideas for a safe and thriving climate future that align with any of the UN SDGs. Young and passionate minds who have taken outstanding actions that benefit the sustainability of their communities and help address climate change will be showcased in this award, which is a celebration of young people with drive, commitment and a passion for sustainability and the environment.

NESA Media Statement: HSC Major Projects

August 17, 2021
The NESA COVID-19 Response Committee has extended the COVID Special Consideration Program to most HSC major projects being completed by HSC students across the state.

This means teachers will provide a mark or estimate for their students’ major projects in:
  • Drama
  • Textiles and Design
  • Design and Technology
  • Industrial Technology
  • Visual Arts
Students will need to submit their projects by the published due dates and teachers will have until 22 October to submit marks to NESA.

When providing a mark or estimate, teachers will take into consideration any impact of COVID-19 restrictions on students’ work.

Teacher provided marks will be moderated by NESA to ensure equity across the state.

The decision was made to limit the movement of NESA markers within and beyond Greater Sydney and is in line with Health advice for protecting the health and safety of everyone involved in the HSC exams.

The following major projects (that are submitted online) will continue to be marked online by NESA markers (unless an application for special consideration is made):
  • English Extension 2
  • Music 1 (compositions)
  • Music 2 and Extension (compositions and musicology)
  • Society and Culture Personal Interest Project
The Special Consideration Program is already in place for students completing language oral and performance exams across the state.

Written exams will go ahead from October 19 and NESA is working closely with NSW Health to ensure strict COVID-safe protocols are in place.  

For up-to-date advice about the 2021 HSC, visit NESA’s COVID-19 advice.

More Time To Prepare For HSC

By NSW Dept. of Education
HSC students will be given more time to work on their major projects and to prepare for exams to reduce the impact of the current COVID-19 lockdown.

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) COVID-19 Response Committee has announced additional changes to the 2021 HSC timetable to give students additional time to prepare for upcoming HSC exams.

In recognition of the evolving COVID-19 situation and in line with health advice, NESA will:
  • Extend the hand in date for all major projects by two weeks. The hand-in date for Industrial Technology has been extended by four weeks
  • Reschedule Drama performance exams to run from 6 to 17 September
  • Music performance exam continue as scheduled, running from 30 August to 10 September
  • Reschedule the written exams to begin one week later on 19 October with HSC results out on 17 December.
Committee chair Professor Peter Shergold said students could still receive their results, ATAR and university offers this year despite written exams being delayed by a week.

“We know students want certainty about their exams, our priority is to limit disruption to HSC students,” he said.

“Our aim is to give students as much clarity as possible so they can focus on their studies, their goals and their personal wellbeing.

“We recognise that students and schools across the state are operating under a variety of different circumstances. We will outline a special illness and misadventure process and any other contingency arrangements needed to ensure equity and fairness for all students.”

NESA chief executive officer Paul Martin said the priority for NESA and the school sectors was providing considered advice to students that aligned with the health advice and was fair to the whole cohort.

“The changes to the exam timetables mean all students have some additional time to prepare for exams or complete their project,” Mr Martin said.

“We learnt a lot about our processes in the HSC last year and I am confident that we can apply those lessons this year.”

Earlier this week, oral language exams were rescheduled to start on 14 August.

COVID safe exam practices, including minimising school groups mixing, mandatory masks for everyone except the student during the exam, and Perspex screens will be in place at the oral language exams.

“Markers, many of whom are teachers, have an enormous undertaking ahead of them. I want to thank the teaching profession for all that they have done this year to support students,” Mr Martin said.

“I can assure markers and exam supervisors that their safety, as well as the students, is our priority.”

For regularly updated advice about the HSC see NESA’s COVID advice:

Teachers, students and parents can also contact the NESA COVID-19 support team on 1300 138 323 or

HSC Online Help Guide

REMINDER: there's a great Practical Guide for Getting through your HSC by Sydney Uni at:

Stay Healthy - Stay Active: HSC 2021

Stay active, keep connected and look after yourself during the HSC this year! 
Find helpful study tips, self-care resources and guides for students and parents at

Star Trek And NASA: Celebrating The Connection

August 20, 2021: NASA
Gene Roddenberry would have been 100 years old on Aug. 19, 2021, and we at NASA celebrate his legacy. As creator of the legendary Star Trek saga, Roddenberry's vision continues to resonate.

In the documentary “NASA on the Edge of Forever: Science in Space,” host NASA astronaut Victor Glover stated, “Science and Star Trek go hand-in-hand.” The film explores how for the past 55 years, Star Trek has influenced scientists, engineers, and even astronauts to reach beyond. While the International Space Station doesn’t speed through the galaxy like the Starship Enterprise, much of the research conducted aboard the orbiting facility is making the fiction of Star Trek come a little closer to reality. 

In this image, the then Dryden Flight Research Center (now Armstrong) hosted the Star Trek crew in 1976 for the rollout of space shuttle Enterprise. In front, from left: NASA Administrator James Fletcher, and the show's stars DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, show creator Gene Roddenberry, and Walter Koenig.

#Roddenberry100. Image Credit: NASA

Aurora Australis Lights Up The Sky

August 13, 2021
This image, taken from aboard the International Space Station, shows the aurora australis as it streams across the Earth's atmosphere as the station orbited 271 miles above the southern Indian Ocean in between Asia and Antarctica.

Named for the Roman goddess of dawn, the aurora is a captivating display of light in the night sky. The aurora borealis and aurora australis — also called the northern lights and southern lights — occur at the northern and southern poles.

Image Credit: NASA

UQ Leads Climate Action As First Australian University To Provide Carbon Literacy Training

August 16, 2021
Helping individuals and organisations tackle the climate crisis is the focus of an Australian-first training program adopted by The University of Queensland.

After a successful pilot, UQ Business School became an accredited partner with the Carbon Literacy Project as the first university in Australia to launch a Carbon Literacy Program.

Director for the United Nations (UN) Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) for the UQ Business School Dr Cle-Anne Gabriel, climate expert Dr Saphira Rekker and PRME manager Roxane Valier-Brasier are leading the program. 

Dr Gabriel said Carbon Literacy was a term used to describe the knowledge and capacity to act on climate change, and that the program would align efforts between individuals and organisations. 

“We’re empowered to partner with the Carbon Literacy Project to help the community and organisations understand the impact of their daily activities on the climate, and highlight the steps they need to take to reduce their carbon footprint and advocate change,” Dr Gabriel said.

After completing the short course, participants undergo a pledge and assessment to become certified as Carbon Literate via the Carbon Literacy Project – a global not-for-profit organisation specialising in climate-action training that has certified more than 20,000 people worldwide.

Carbon Literacy Project co-founder Phil Korbel said partnering with UQ was an important step in spreading awareness about climate change and would give participants the tools to reduce emissions at a personal and corporate level.

“The partnership with UQ is ground-breaking for the Australian education sector and helps to build a network of Carbon Literacy training to embed climate action throughout the institution and broader public,” Mr Korbel said.

“UQ’s vision for Carbon Literacy aligns with this UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released last week, which underlines the need for all sectors to get on board with the fight to minimise the climate crisis.  

“Carbon Literacy is a professional skill set that applies to all subject specialisms, and UQ will make that skill set a reality.”

UQ is also partnering with other Australian universities to roll out the Carbon Literacy Program nationally.

PRME manager Ms Valier-Brasier said it was crucial to build a greater understanding of carbon impacts in Australia and globally.

“We’re contributing to the development of a Carbon Literate Australia and will foster collaborative partnerships to help provide access to the training anywhere in the country,” she said.

To help amplify the national Carbon Literacy capability, participants can also apply to become a trainer once they are certified by the UQ Carbon Literacy Program.

The program will open during UQ’s Sustainability Week on Monday 16 August.

It will train more than 100 people online on the first day and 1000 people by the end of the year.

Backing And Supporting Young Australians Through Our Youth Policy Framework

August 12, 2021: The Hon Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Education and Youth and The Hon Luke Howarth MP, Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services

The Australian Government has today released the new Australian Youth Policy Framework, as part of ongoing and extensive consultation with young Australians.

The framework acknowledges the challenges faced by young Australians, particularly from the impacts of COVID-19, and outlines the Government’s significant supports in education, employment, mental health and community engagement. 

It also provides an important snapshot of Australia’s 3.2 million young people and recognises the important role they play in our nation. 

Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the framework aimed to look beyond the pandemic with optimism.

“Young Australians have been hit particularly hard by recent bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have also shown incredible resilience,” Minister Tudge said.

“Missing out on schooling, sport, community events, key life moments, and time with family and friends has taken a significant toll, but there is much to be optimistic about.”

“As our vaccine program ramps up and we see an end to lockdowns, this framework will help ensure we are focused on programs that keep our young people happy, healthy, safe and thriving.”

“We’re ensuring they have purpose and support and the best opportunities to succeed in the things that matter most to them including school, university and finding a job.”

Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services Luke Howarth said the measures focus on listening to young people and giving them a greater say in what matters to them most.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, young people have a seat at the table and a say in securing Australia’s recovery and building for the future.” Assistant Minister Howarth said.

“I would like to thank the young people who participated in the consultations that led to this framework, be that in person or online.

“We remain focused on bringing hope to young people and our conversation will continue. We want all young Australians to be healthy, safe and empowered to reach their full potential.” 

The Australian Youth Policy Framework is available on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website. 

Corinna's Career Head Start Thanks To TAFE NSW

August 20, 2021
Muswellbrook teen Corinna Brown always knew she wanted to be a nurse. So when she had the opportunity to kickstart her career early, she jumped at the chance to enroll in the TAFE NSW Certificate III in Health Services Assistance course as part of her HSC. 

The move paid off for the now 18-year-old who was recently named Health, Wellbeing and Community Services Student of the Year (North) in the TAFE NSW Excellence Awards. 

Completing her Health Services Assistance course last year while still at high school meant Corinna was already qualified to work as an Assistant in Nursing when she began a Diploma of Nursing this year at the TAFE NSW Tighes Hill campus. 

With the Hunter Valley’s health care and social assistance industry forecast to grow by 11.9 per cent in the next five years, Corinna’s skills have been in high demand. 

“As part of my course in high school, I had the opportunity to work one day each week at Muswellbrook Hospital,” Corinna said. 

“I continued this after I graduated, and now I also work at Singleton Hospital and in a Muswellbrook aged care facility. 

“Studying at TAFE has been a great experience, and the teachers have been fantastic by providing me with flexibility when I needed it for work and study. 

“It’s made me even more certain that nursing is what I want to do, and ultimately, I’d like to be a midwife.” 

Acting Head Teacher Lynne Jenkinson said Corinna’s high-school based study meant she got practical experience in nursing very early, which was a crucial part of making sure it really was her dream job. 

“Corinna is a kind, considerate and compassionate student with a talent for nursing,” Ms Jenkinson said. 

“As a high school student, Corinna had to travel over two hours one day each week to her TAFE classes at Maitland, while working another day at the hospital. She juggled this with her other HSC subjects and school classes. 

“Her Certificate III studies also mean Corinna has a head start on her peers and is able to easily understand the course content for the Diploma of Nursing.” 

For more information about kickstarting your career while still at school, visit or call 131 601. 

TAFE Fee-Free Online Courses Available For 16-24 Year Olds

The JobTrainer program provides young people and job seekers with low cost and fee-free* training courses to help you develop new skills, improve job prospects and kickstart your career. JobTrainer’s fee-free training programs are available in various industries and include full qualifications and skillsets.

TAFE NSW fee-free* JobTrainer short courses (Statement of Attainment – SOA), certificates and diplomas are currently open for enrolment, so you can enrol now and upskill faster. Exciting new training courses are being added all the time, so check back regularly.

*Eligibility criteria apply.

To be eligible for a fully subsidised place you must meet Smart and Skilled eligibility guidelines which are:
  • live or work in NSW
  • be an Australian Citizen, a permanent resident, a New Zealand citizen, or a humanitarian visa holder
  • have left school
AND meet one of the following criteria:
  • aged from 16 - 24 inclusive, or
  • in receipt of a Commonwealth Government benefit, or
  • an unemployed person, or
  • people expected to become unemployed
Have a look at the lists at:

‘OK Boomer’: how a TikTok meme traces the rise of Gen Z political consciousness

Crystal AbidinCurtin University and Meg Jing ZengUniversity of Zurich

The phrase “OK Boomer” has become popular over the past two years as an all-purpose retort with which young people dismiss their elders for being “old-fashioned”.

“OK Boomer” began as a meme in TikTok videos, but our research shows the catchphrase has become much more. The simple two-word phrase is used to express personal politics and at the same time consolidate an awareness of intergenerational politics, in which Gen Z are coming to see themselves as a cohort with shared interests.

What Does ‘OK Boomer’ Mean?

The viral growth of the “OK Boomer” meme on social media can be traced to Gen Z musician @peterkuli’s remix OK Boomer, which he uploaded to TikTok in October 2019. The song was widely adopted in meme creations by his Gen Z peers, who call themselves “Zoomers” (the Gen Z cohort born in 1997-2012).

In the two-minute sound clip @peterkuli distilled an already-popular sentiment into a two-word phrase, accusing “Boomers” (those born during the 1946–64 postwar baby boom) of being condescending, being racist and supporting Donald Trump, who was then US president.

Read more: How TikTok got political

In essence, the “OK Boomer” meme emerged as a shorthand for Gen Z to push back against accusations of being a “fragile” generation unable to deal with hardship. But it has evolved into an all-purpose retort to older generations – but especially Boomers – when they dispense viewpoints perceived as presumptive, condescending or politically incorrect.

The meme arose in a wider context of “Boomer blaming”. In this view, the older generation has bequeathed Gen Z a host of societal issues, from Brexit and Trump to intergenerational economic inequality and climate change.

From ‘Big P’ Politics To ‘Everyday Politics’ And ‘Intergenerational Politics’

In our recent study on forms of online activism and advocacy on TikTok, we looked at 1,755 “OK Boomer” posts from 2019 and 2020 and found young people used the meme to engage in “everyday politics”.

Unlike “big P” politics – the work of governments, parliaments and politicians – “everyday politics” are political interests, pursuits and discussions framed through personal experiences.

On TikTok, young people construct and communicate their “everyday politics” by displaying their personal identities in highly personable ways, to demonstrate solidarity with or challenge beliefs and principles in society.

Read more: Baby boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z labels: Necessary or nonsense?

The “OK Boomer” meme and others like it allow young people to partake in a form of “intergenerational politics”. This is the tendency for people from a particular age cohort to form a shared political consciousness and behaviours, usually in opposition to the political attitudes of other groups. This is also reminiscent of when Boomers themselves encountered their own intergenerational politics in the countercultures of the 1960s and 1970s.

Doing ‘Politics’ On TikTok

On TikTok, political expression can take the form of viral dances and audio memes. Young people use youthful parlance and lingo, pop cultural references and emojis to shape their collective political culture. In our study, we found three meme forms were especially popular:

  • “Lip-sync activism” involved using lip-syncing to overlay one’s facial expressions and gestures over a soundtrack, either in agreement with or to challenge the lyrics and moral tone of a song.
‘Lip-sync activism’: @mokke.cos lip-syncs to @mrbeard’s ‘OK Boomer’ sound clip.
  • “Reacts via duets” made use of TikTok’s “duet” function for users to record their own original video clip alongside an original. This a compare-and-contrast style allows for juxtaposition (to oppose the original statement) or collaboration (to add to the original statement).
‘React via duet’: @kyuutpie’s duet to @irishmanalways who had challenged Gen Z to not use technologies.
  • “Craft activism” featured users displaying the creative processes and production of “OK Boomer”-themed objects and art, such as drawings, embroidery, and 3D printing.
‘Craft activism’: @peytoncoffee painting ‘OK Boomer’. The video received more than 5 million likes.

Conveying Hardship And Tensions Through TikTok Memes

Memes have been used as collective symbols for community identification around specific political causes such as human rights advocacy, the #MeToo movement, and anti-racism campaigns during the pandemic.

Similarly, the “OK Boomer” meme has been deployed to discuss various controversial and contentious issues. This is often done in a reflexive way, using self-deprecating memes and ironic self-criticism to parody the excessively judgemental behaviour of others.

Around 40% of the posts we examined focused on young people’s lifestyles and well-being. These posts detailed how Gen Z are often criticised by Boomers for their lifestyle and appearance choices, such as unconventional career pathways and wearing ripped jeans.

‘Boomer shocked’: an #OkBoomer meme video from @ditshap.

Gen Z TikTokers also expressed frustration towards the dismissive attitude that Boomers adopted towards their mental health. These posts suggest Boomers blame depression or anxiety on stereotypical causes such as “spending too much time on the phone” or “not drinking enough water”.

Unreasonable criticism from Boomers is a common them in videos such as this one from @themermaidscale.

About 10% of our sample demonstrated issues around gender and sexuality norms. In these cases, Gen Z felt their identity explorations and expressions were criticised by Boomers. Non-binary young people and those who did not follow gender norms for dress describe being “dress-coded” by Boomers, and queer and transgender young people report receiving rebukes for being open about their sexuality.

Gender and sexuality are a common topic for #OkBoomer videos, such as this one from @timk.mua.

Why Do ‘OK Boomer’ Memes Matter?

Some scholars and commentators have criticised the “OK Boomer” meme as divisive and discriminatory against older people. However, as scholars of young people’s digital cultures we have found it more productive to understand the trend from the standpoint of Gen Z.

From this viewpoint, “OK Boomer” is a consequence of existing intergenerational discord, not its cause. Gen Z face growing threats such as climate change, political unrest, and generational economic hardship. Memes like “OK Boomer” are ways to express intergenerational everyday politics to consolidate a shared awareness of the perceived failure of the Boomers.

Read more: Generational war: a monster of our own making

Further, most of the personal stories told through “OK Boomer” TikToks were deployed by Gen Z when they felt under attack for their lifestyle choices, dress code, expressions of sexuality, or mental health struggles. Like many Boomers did in their own youths, members of Gen Z value freedom of expression and identity exploration.

The retort of “OK Boomer” offers a counter-reaction and expresses indignation. But at the same time it carries a sense of desperation for agency and personal space, as well as some attention and care.The Conversation

Crystal Abidin, Associate Professor & ARC DECRA Fellow, Internet Studies, Curtin University and Meg Jing Zeng, Senior research associate, University of Zurich

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Worth Noting: Get A Haircut & Get A Real Job - Boomers Vs. Gen. Z

The above article is interesting as it mentions that every generation never stops trying to look after their children and grandchildren, even when and after they've left the home nest.

The core of the American hippie movement during the 1960s and '70s were twenty-somethings who belonged to what demographers call the baby-boom generation and what Generation Z refers to as Boomers. Although a majority of them were NOT hippies, the hippy values held sway over the politics, pop culture and eventually mainstream society. 

Hippies developed their own distinctive lifestyle, whereby they constructed a sense of marginality. Hippies were also known for their unique style, favouring long hair and casual, often unconventional, dress, sometimes in “psychedelic” colours. They loved Nature and favoured a vegetarian diet; the first 'generation' to do so. They spoke up and out, protested against pollution, destroying the environment and war - particularly the Vietnam War.

Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. They're currently between 57-75 years old , Gen X: Gen X was born between 1965 and 1979/80 and is currently between 41-56 years old, Gen Y: Gen Y, or Millennials, were born between 1981 and 1994/6. Gen Z is the newest generation, born between 1997 and 2012. They are currently between 6 and 24 years old.

Be interesting to see what Generation A comes up with - should we commence again running through the alphabet, demographically, to define what defines a generation and its influence on our society.

Musically, many would instantly have a song 'pop up' that reminds them of this exhortation by any 'older' generation to do their best and become their best self. Although most of this devolves onto the way you 'look', despite the "don't judge a book by its cover" metaphorical phrase that means one should not judge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone, being around since 1860. A form of this first appeared in George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss (1860), when Mr. Tulliver discusses  a Daniel Defoe story, saying how it [the book] was beautifully bound;

‘The History of the Devil’ by Daniel Defoe; not quite the right book for a little girl,” said Mr. Riley, “How came it among your books, Tulliver?”
Maggie looked hurt and discouraged, while her father said, “Why, it’s one o’ the books I bought at Partridge’s sale. They was all bound alike, it’s a good binding, you see, and I thought they’d be all good books. There’s Jeremy Taylor’s ‘Holy Living and Dying’ among ’em ; I read in it often of a Sunday.” (Mr. Tulliver felt somehow a familiarity with that great writer because his name was Jeremy); “and there ‘s a lot more of ’em, sermons mostly, I think ; but they ‘ve all got the same covers, and I thought they were all o’ one sample, as you may say. But it seems one mustn’t judge by th’ outside. This is a puzzlin’ world.

The phrase is also attributed to a 1944 edition of the African journal American Speech: “You can't judge a book by its binding.” It was popularised even more when it appeared in the 1946 murder mystery Murder in the Glass Room by Lester Fuller and Edwin Rolfe: “You can never tell a book by its cover.”

Moving forward Gen Xers are reminded of the song made popular by George Thorogood 'Get a Haircut' which has Australian origins. 

"Get a Haircut" is a rock song by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. It was released as a single from the 1992 album Haircut. The song was written by Bill Birch and David Avery.  Mr. Thorogood recalls being at a club in Australia called the Black Marlin watching some of the performers. He liked "Get A Haircut", asked them who wrote it and decided to cover it. Thorogood began playing the song in 1970, but only decided to record it in 1992 because he had trouble getting the riff down in the studio. It peaked at number 2 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks on August 28, 1992. "Get a Haircut" was the No. 1 most played song in Canada on FM radio. "Get a Haircut" has since become one of George Thorogood's signature songs, and has become a staple of classic rock radio.

In a 1993 interview Mr. Thorogood stated;

"We were at this place in Australia called the Black Marlin watching a couple of guys performing. We liked one of the songs and asked them who had written it. Birch and Avery were the guys who wrote it. This was at Lee Marvin's old hangout."

Thorogood is a big fan of the late actor. "We dedicated a song to him. Some writer for the L.A. Times wrote a story that had some psychologist saying the song had a bad message. The writer called Lee about it, but Lee said the song was cool."

There doesn't seem to be any connection, as yet defined, to the Australian slang phrase 'not here to get a haircut' but the fact that we have a clearly have a few Australian phrases or idioms related to hair indicates some of us are obviously into a hair thing. The phrase 'not here to get a haircut' is defined as meaning a more polite, but sarcastic way, of saying that something is so obvious. Example: 'Bloke' 1: Hey are going to go to the bar to grab a beer? Bloke 2: Well I'll tell you what champ, we're not here to get a haircut.

Lee Marvin, American film actor, used to visit north Queensland annually to go fishing - for marlin. Visit:

So why does 'Get a Haircut' serve as a reminder that the grandmother and grandfather, the elder aunts and uncles and carers, along with your own dear ma and pa and unofficial 'mums and dads' once also kicked up their heels and indulged in outrageous and poor fashion choices and haircuts (check out 'beehives') or the lack of that they giggle over today ['didn't we look ....'] ? - simply that; we were all young once, all indulged in what we thought looked good or just suited our temperament at that stage of our lives, all have made mistakes (light-bulb moment for one of my brothers years ago; 'you know mum and dad aren't perfect - they're just trying to do the best they can all the time - you should give them a break, and give yourself a break too') and some of us even grew our hair long because;

a) I'm a girl - some of us have long hair!!!
b) I couldn't be bothered to get a haircut
c) I'm making a visible statement about our opposition to everything and, also, why are girls the only ones who get to grow their hair long?
d) It looks cool man - it's a fashion/societal/my tribe/non-statement

The lyrics penned by Birch and Avery read:

I was a rebel from the day I left school
Grew my hair long and broke all the rules
I'd sit and listen to my records all day
With big ambitions of where I could play

My parents taught me what life was about
So I grew up the type they warned me about
They said my friends were just an unruly mob
And I should get a haircut and get a real job

Get a haircut and get a real job
Clean your act up and don't be a slob
Get it together like your big brother Bob
Why don't you get a haircut and get a real job

I even tried that nine to five scene
I told myself that it was all a bad dream
I found a band and some good songs to play
And now I party all night, I sleep all day

I met this chick she was my number one fan
She took me home to meet her mommy and dad
They took one look at me and said (oh my god)
Get a haircut and get a real job

Get a haircut and get a real job
Clean your act up and don't be a slob
Get it together like your big brother Bob
Why don't you get a haircut and get a real job

Get a real job, why don't you get a real job
Get a real job, why don't you get a real job

I hit the big time with my rock 'n' roll band
The future's brighter now than I'd ever planned
I'm ten times richer than my big brother Bob
But he, he's got a haircut he's got a real job

Get a haircut and get a real job
Clean your act up and don't be a slob
Get it together like your big brother Bob
Why don't you get a haircut and get a real job

Get a real job, why don't you get a real job
Get a real job, why don't you get a real job

George's rendition runs below - prior to that is a 'Boomer' speaking and then singing about Woodstock - that now iconic music festival attended by US 'Boomers'. There were several music festivals held here too - the Pilgrimage for Pop organised by the Sydney-based rock outfit of the time, the Nutwood Rug Band, played at Ourimbah on January 24th and 25th 1970, the Nimbin Aquarius Festival that ran 12 to 23 May 1973, which was actually the 4th and last of these festivals, the first being the Australian Universities Arts Festival which was held in Sydney in 1967, and the Sunbury Pop Festival, held on George Duncan's farm along Jacksons Creek, 3.5 km south of Sunbury and 2 km north-east of Diggers Rest in Victoria.

My children's  'grandparents', my own mum and dad, went to the first Bell's Beach surfing comp. - mum was pregnant with my older brother at the time, wore 'groovy' flares - even into the 1970's, and I remember mum racing into the lounge room of a Sunday night when Countdown was finishing on the television to bop along to Bryan Ferry's 'Let's Stick Together' - which was played over and over and over during 1976. Dad favoured Neil Diamond.
They also like jazz - the works of The Ink Spots and other aficiandoes echoes through the chambers of my childhood.

And being protective of your youngsters does not go away - especially in the realm of trying to deflect any criticism [or hurt] of them when they venture outside of the home nest - and that is defined as 'everywhere outdoors' .... I can tell you for a fact a mild form of panic immediately rears up and stays until you walk back in the door again.
It's just the way we're built. 

Ok; Joni - a 'Boomer' herself - with a 'bonus' from her about carparks; Big Yellow Taxi .... as well as Mr. Ferry, who was with model Jerry Hall at that stage; you will see a younger her in that clip, and even one from those 1970's days of driving to and from anywhere with dad and mum when Mr. Diamond would play at full roar in our Holden Statesman.

''Turn it up dad! Can you turn this one up dad?''
No verbal response - just more volume! 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊🤣

TikTok is partnering with a blockchain start-up. Here’s why this could be good news for artists

Tim Bechervaise/Unsplash
D. Bondy Valdovinos KayeQueensland University of Technology

On August 17, TikTok announced it will partner with Audius, a streaming music platform, to manage its expansive internal audio library.

Audius was not the obvious choice for partnering with the short video giant. A digital music streaming start-up founded in 2018, it isn’t one of the major streaming services such as Apple Music or Spotify.

And, even more unusual, Audius is one of the first and only streaming platforms run on blockchain.

Remind Me, What Is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a technology that stores data records and transfers values with no centralised ownership.

Transaction data on these systems are stored as individual “blocks” that sequentially link together when connected by timestamps and unique identifiers to form “chains”.

For music, this means individual songs are assigned unique codes, and clear records are stored each time a song is played. It can also mean more streamlined and transparent payments.

Read more: Demystifying the blockchain: a basic user guide

Platforms like Spotify and Apple Music use a “pro-rata” model to pay artists. Under this system, artists get a cut of the platform’s overall monthly revenues generated from ads and subscription fees, as calculated by how many times their music was played.

The pro-rata model has been criticised by independent artists and analysts for maintaining a “superstar economy” in which the most popular artists claim a majority share of monthly revenue.

Facilitated by its blockchain system, Audius uses a “user-centric” model, where artists receive revenues generated by the individual users who stream their music directly.

That is, payments are generated for artists more directly from people streaming their songs.

While the biggest streaming players have refused to abandon pro-rata payments, Deezer — a French music streaming service with around 16 million monthly active users — has taken the first steps towards user-centric payments.

Now, it seems TikTok may be poised to follow.

And How Does TikTok Work?

At over 800 million monthly active users, TikTok is the world’s largest short video platform and has become a significant force in global music industries.

Once on TikTok, songs can be used as background for short videos — and can go viral.

Currently, putting independent music on TikTok requires the help of a publisher or companies like CD Baby or TuneCore that charge a fee or take a cut of revenues.

Read more: The secret of TikTok's success? Humans are wired to love imitating dance moves

Audius will enable independent artists to upload music directly to TikTok. This would be a boon for musical artists given the centrality of music on TikTok and the platform’s propensity for failing to properly credit artists for their work.

Recent research into blockchain systems in book publishing suggests the technology can lead to improved tracking of intellectual property and increased royalty payments to independent authors. The same may be true for independent musicians on TikTok, but a history of overstated claims and unfulfilled promises warrants measured expectations.

Is This A Fairer Payment System?

So far, TikTok has made no indication the company will use Audius’ blockchain technology to implement a user-centric revenue model, but the incorporation of royalty payments per video plays is a reasonable expectation.

When artists are paid from a platform like Spotify, they are paid in money. But Audius conducts blockchain transactions using its in-house cryptocurrency called $AUDIO.

Cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies stored on public ledgers rather than in banks and used to make transactions facilitated by blockchain systems.

Audius’ co-founder claims most users are unaware or uninterested in the cryptocurrency underpinning the platform — but the price of $AUDIO spiked on coin markets immediately following the announcement.

Because cryptocurrencies operate on a volatile market, if artists were to collect payments in $AUDIO it might be impossible to predict whether their income would amount to fair compensation.

Artists’ income won’t only be tied to how often their music is listened to, but also to market speculation.

So, What Does This Mean For Artists?

Some independent artists may be wary to handle payments through a decentralised digital currency subject to fewer regulations and unpredictable value fluctuations — not to mention the environmental costs associated with mining and maintaining cryptocurrency.

Read more: Bitcoin isn't getting greener: four environmental myths about cryptocurrency debunked

And a user-centric model is not without flaws. For the model to be truly tested requires full cooperation from record labels, music publishers and digital platforms.

Anything less would create fundamentally unequal conditions for artists using different services.

Even TikTok isn’t putting all their eggs in the blockchain basket. In June 2020 TikTok established partnerships with major labels and Indie consortia for music distribution, and in July 2021 TikTok announced a new partnership with Spotify to offer premium services exclusive to European artists.

But, after years of sensational claims and unfulfilled promises that blockchain will transform the future of the music industry, TikTok has taken a tangible step towards uncovering what that future might actually look like for everyday artists.The Conversation

D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye, Assistant researcher, Queensland University of Technology

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Meet the diverse group of plant-eating dinosaurs that roamed Victoria 110 million years ago

Stephen PoropatSwinburne University of Technology

During the Early Cretaceous period, 110 million to 107 million years ago, Australia was much further south than it is today. Yet fossils from several sites on the Otway Coast in Victoria show dinosaurs were common in the region.

The most abundant were ornithopods — small plant-eaters with beaks and cheeks full of teeth. But until recently, it was unclear exactly how many species coexisted at the same time.

So far, five ornithopod species have been named from the Cretaceous of Victoria. There are three from the Otway Coast: Atlascopcosaurus loadsiDiluvicursor pickeringi and Leaellynasaura amicagraphica; and two from the Bass Coast: Qantassaurus intrepidus and Galleonosaurus dorisae.

The rocks exposed on the Bass Coast (and the fossils they contain) are around 15 million to 20 million years older than those on the Otway Coast. During this interval, Australia’s climate warmed dramatically.

There’s substantial evidence of glaciation in South Australia about 125 million years ago, but by 110 million years ago, warm weather-loving crocodile relatives were roaming happily in Victoria.

As such, it was presumed the Bass Coast’s Qantassaurus and Galleonosaurus — which lived in older, colder conditions — probably never crossed paths with the Otway Coast’s LeaellynasauraAtlascopcosaurus and Diluvicursor. But is that true?

The Dinosaur Dreaming team back in 2019. Ruairidh Duncan is in the back row, fourth from the left. Wendy White/Dinosaur Dreaming

Eric The Red West

Thanks to research led by my former student Ruairidh Duncan, we’re now in a better position to answer this question. For his Honours project, Ruairidh studied fossils from a site on Cape Otway called Eric the Red West (ETRW).

In 2005, a partial ornithopod skeleton was discovered at ETRW. This skeleton was named Diluvicursor pickeringi in 2018 and comprised only a tail, a partial shin, ankle, and a hind foot.

The original specimen of Diluvicursor pickeringi, comprising a tail, a partial shin and ankle, and a hind foot. Stephen Poropat/Museums Victoria

Several additional digs by a group of volunteers called Dinosaur Dreaming saw the site produce many more ornithopod bones, including some jawbones. Until Ruairidh studied these jawbones, we had no idea whether they belonged to existing species or new ones.

A Little Help From Technology

Most of the ornithopod jawbones from ETRW were broken in half when they were discovered. This is not unusual, as the bones are softer than the rock in which they are encased.

However, depending on how they were broken, one half of a jawbone might have had rock removed only from the tongue side, and its matching half might have had rock removed only from the cheek side.

Although this allowed the two halves of the jaw to click together nicely, it meant Ruairidh couldn’t observe most of his specimens as complete bones from either the tongue or cheek side. Well, not without some help from technology.

Digital reconstruction of an ornithopod jaw (cf. Galleonosaurus dorisae) from micro-CT data. Top: the two halves of the jaw, one with the cheek side exposed, the other with tongue side exposed. Top middle: the two halves connected, without rock removed. Bottom middle: free at last, the 3D reconstruction of the jaw. Bottom: A replacement tooth inside the jaw. Ruairidh Duncan

Monash University’s Alistair Evans micro-CT scanned several ornithopod specimens retrieved from the ETRW site. Just like medical CT scanners, micro-CT scanners generate a series of 2D cross-sectional images through a 3D object (but on a smaller scale).

The scans allowed Ruairidh to digitally remove the rock from his specimens — which were all less than ten centimetres long — and reconstruct each one in 3D.

3D models of ornithopod dinosaur jawbones from ETRW. Left column shows upper jawbones, right column shows lower jawbones. Top left: Atlascopcosaurus loadsi. Middle left: cf. Galleonosaurus dorisae. Bottom left: Leaellynasaura amicagraphica. Top and bottom right: indeterminate dentaries. Ruairidh Duncan

Read more: The march of the titanosaurs: the Snake Creek Tracksite unveiled

An Unexpected Galleonosaurus

Ruairidh analysed the ornithopod jawbones from the ETRW site and compared them with the other Victorian ornithopod species. (Three of the five ornithopods known from Victoria were already named and described on the basis of upper jawbones, which enabled a direct comparison).

He found one upper jawbone was attributable to Atlascopcosaurus (the most complete specimen known of this species) and another to Leaellynasaura (the first adult specimen known of this species).

We had expected the final two bones might belong to a Diluvicursor. Instead, we were surprised to discover they were closely comparable with Galleonosaurus — the species previously only known from the Bass Coast, with rocks that were roughly 15-20 million years older than those exposed at ETRW.

In other words, we’d found evidence of an ornithopod species that had remained almost unchanged for at least 15 million years!

Line drawings of ornithopod jaws from ETRW. Top: Atlascopcosaurus loadsi. Middle: cf. Galleonosaurus dorisae. Bottom: Leaellynasaura amicagraphica. Ruairidh Duncan

Possible Explanations

The presence of an ornithopod so similar to Galleonosaurus at ETRW implies that very little change in tooth and jaw anatomy (and presumably diet) took place in these dinosaurs in almost 20 million years, despite marked climatic change.

This might mean their favourite plants changed little in abundance throughout this time, in which case they would have faced little pressure to change the shape or structure of their teeth and jaws.

It remains impossible to compare the jawbones from ETRW with the only specimen of Diluvicursor pickeringi — as no jawbones were found with it.

But perhaps the absence of a unique jawbone type for Diluvicursor might mean this species is actually the same as one of the other species which are represented by jawbones. If so, it’s most likely Atlascopcosaurus or the Galleonosaurus-like species; a very different tail and foot have been tentatively assigned to Leaellynasaura.

Unfortunately, determining this will hinge on discovering an ornithopod skeleton matching that of Diluvicursor, associated with a skull matching the jaws of Atlascopcosaurus or Galleonosaurus.

And given that more than 40 years of digging for dinosaurs in Victoria has revealed only four partial ornithopod skeletons, we might be waiting a while.

Nonetheless, Ruairidh’s research has demonstrated three different ornithopod species were happily living in southeast Australia, within the Antarctic Circle about 110 million to 107 million years ago — when the world was generally much warmer than it is today.

To date, the ETRW site has produced an abundance of fossil evidence, including plants (mostly conifers, ferns and early flowering plants), bony fish, lungfish, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs, huge-clawed megaraptorid theropods, Australia’s only toothless and long-necked elaphrosaurine theropod, and even ancient mammals.

It has only produced one ornithopod skeleton: the aforementioned Diluvicursor. But who knows what we might find next?

Read more: Introducing Australotitan: Australia's largest dinosaur yet spanned the length of 2 buses The Conversation

Stephen Poropat, Adjunct Researcher, Swinburne University of Technology

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Friday essay: how ancient beliefs in underwater worlds can shed light in a time of rising sea levels

A submerged coconut palm on Kadavu Island, Fiji. Ethan Daniels/shutterstock
Patrick D. NunnUniversity of the Sunshine Coast

The small boat sliced its way through the waveless ocean. The Fiji air was warm and still, the silhouettes of distant islands like sentinels watching our progress. It seemed a perfect day to visit the Solo Lighthouse and the “drowned land” reputed to surround it.

As we entered the gap through the coral reef bordering the Solo Lagoon, we all removed our headgear and bowed, clapping gently with cupped hands to show our respect to the people locals say live on the land beneath the sea.

The Solo Lagoon lies at the northern extremity of the Kadavu island group in the south of Fiji. In the local dialect, solo means rock, which is all that is left of a more extensive land that once existed here. Ancient tales recall this land was abruptly submerged during an earthquake and tsunami, perhaps hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

Our boat raced on, towards the lighthouse built on remnant rock in 1888. The people with me, from Dravuni and Buliya islands, told how on a still night when they come here to fish, they sometimes hear from beneath the lagoon the sounds of mosquitoes buzzing, roosters crowing and people talking.

Every local resident learns strict protocols upon entering the realm above this underwater world … and the perils of ignoring them. It is believed if you fail to slow and bow as you enter the Solo Lagoon, your boat will never leave it. If you take more fish from the lagoon than you need, you will never take your catch home.

The Solo Lighthouse stands on a rock in southern Fiji. Vasemaca Setariki

It is deceptively easy to ridicule such beliefs in underwater worlds but they likely represent memories of places that really were once submerged. Several groups of people living throughout Fiji today trace their lineage back to Lomanikoro, the name of the drowned land in the Solo Lagoon. Though there is no written record of the event, it is believed submergence reconfigured the power structures of Fijian society in ways that people still remember. Similar traditions are found elsewhere.

In northern Australia, many Aboriginal groups trace their lineage to lands now underwater. A story told decades ago by Mangurug, a Gunwinggu elder from Djamalingi or Cape Don in the Northern Territory, explained how his people came from an island named Aragaládi in the middle of the sea that was later submerged. “Trees and ground, creatures, kangaroos, they all drowned when the sea covered them,” he stated.

Other groups living around the Gulf of Carpentaria claim their ancestors fled the drowning land of Baralku, possibly an ancient memory of the submergence of the land bridge connecting Australia and New Guinea during the last ice age.

In northwest Europe, meanwhile, there are countless stories of underwater lands off the coast where bells are said to toll eerily in drowned church steeples. Such stories abound in Cardigan Bay, Wales, where several “sunken cities” are said to lie. In medieval Brittany, in France, fisher-folk in the Baie de Douarnenez used to see the “streets and monuments” of the sunken city named Ys beneath the water surface, stories of which abound in local traditions.

Coast line near Tresaith, Cardigan Bay. shutterstock

Indeed in many cultures across the world there are stories about underwater worlds inhabited by people strikingly similar to ourselves, cities where benevolent bearded monarchs and multi-tentacled sea witches organise the lives of younger merfolk, many of whom aspire to become part of human society. Fantasy? Undoubtedly. Arbitrary inventions? Perhaps not.

Such ideas may derive from ancient memories about submerged lands and the peoples who once inhabited them.

Read more: Mermaids aren't real – but they've fascinated people around the world for ages

And if we allow that some of these stories may actually be founded on millennia-old memories of coastal submergence, then they may also have some practical application to human futures. For coastal lands are being submerged today; birthplaces in living memory now underwater.

The annual Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, New York. Peter Foley/EPA


In the 200,000 years or so that we — modern humans — have roamed the earth, the level of the ocean, which currently occupies over 70% of the earth’s surface, has gone up and down by tens of metres. At the end of the last great ice age, around 18,000 years ago, the average ocean level was 120 metres or more lower than it is today.

As land ice melted in the aftermath of the ice age, sea level rose. Coastal peoples in every part of the world had no choice except to adapt. Most moved inland, some offshore. Being unable to read or write, they encoded their experiences into their oral traditions.

We know that observations of memorable events can endure in oral cultures for thousands of years, plausibly more than seven millennia in the case of Indigenous Australian stories of volcanic eruptions and coastal submergence. So how might people’s memories of once populated lands have evolved in oral traditions to reach us today?

Read more: Ancient Aboriginal stories preserve history of a rise in sea level

Initially they would have recalled the precise places where drowned lands existed and histories of the people who had occupied them. Perhaps, as time went on, as these oral tales became less convincing, so links were made with the present. Listen carefully. You can hear the dogs barking below the water, the bells tolling, the people talking. You might even, as with Solo, embed these stories within cultural protocols to ensure history did not disappear.

A mosaic depicting Triton. Wikimedia Commons

Traditions involving people of the land interacting with their submarine counterparts are quite old; the Greek story of a merman named Triton is mentioned in Hesiod’s Theogony, written almost 3,000 years ago. In Ireland, there are stories hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years old that tell of high ranking men wedding mermaids, begetting notable families, and even giving rise to taboos about killing seals, whom these mermaids regarded as kin.

Stories of people occupying undersea lands also abound in Indigenous Australia. They include those about the yawkyawk (or “young spirit woman” in the Kundjeyhmi language of western Arnhem Land), who has come to be represented in similar ways to a mermaid.

Like mermaids in Europe, Australian yawkyawk have long hair, which sometimes floats on the ocean surface as seaweed, and fish tails.

Contemporary representations of Australian mermaids (yawkyawk) by Kunwinjku artists Marina Murdilnga, left, and Lulu Laradjbi. These mythical beings have the tails of fish and hair resembling algal blooms. Dragi Markovic, NGA

In the central Pacific islands of Kiribati, meanwhile, it was once widely believed worlds existed parallel to the tangible one we inhabit. Entire islands moved between these, wandering through time and space, disappearing one day only to reappear some time later in a different place. Humans also moved between these worlds — and I suspect this was once a widespread belief of people occupying islands and archipelagos.

Sometimes the inhabitants of these worlds were believed to be equipped with fish tails, replaced with legs when they moved onshore. An ancient ballad from the Orkney Islands (Scotland), where such merfolk are often called silkies, goes:

I am a man upon the land
I am a silkie in the sea.

At one time, the people of the Aran Islands (Galway, Ireland) would believe they had spotted the island of Hy-Brasail far to the west; scrambling to reach it in their boats. No-one ever did. On the other side of the world, the fabulous island named Burotukula that “wanders” through Fiji waters is periodically claimed to be sighted off the coast of Matuku Island.

Matuku Island, Fiji. shutterstock

Anxiety And Solutions

In oral societies, such as those that existed almost everywhere a thousand years ago, knowledge was amassed and communicated systematically by older people to younger ones because it was considered essential to their survival. Much of this knowledge was communicated as narrative, some through poetry and song, dance, performance and art.

In harsh environments, where water and food were often scarce, it was vital to communicate knowledge fully and accurately. Australia provides excellent examples, where Indigenous law was cross-checked for completeness and accuracy when transmitted from father to son.

Part of the law considered essential to survival was people’s experiences of life-altering events. This included bursts of volcanic activity and the multi-generational land loss that affected the entire Australian fringe in the wake of the last ice age, reducing land mass by around 23%.

Recent research has shown some ancient Indigenous Australian “submergence stories” contain more than simply descriptions of rising sea level and associated land loss. They also include expressions of people’s anxiety.

For instance, a story told in 1941 by Sugar Billy Rindjana, Jimmy Moore and Win-gari (Andingari people) and by Tommy Nedabi (Wiranggu-Kokatato) recalled how, millennia earlier, their forebears living along the Fowlers Bay coast in South Australia “feared the sea flood would spread over the whole country”.

These stories also talk about people’s practical responses to try to stop the rising waters. The Wati Nyiinyii peoples from the Nullarbor Plain in Western Australia once “bundled thousands of [wooden] spears to stop the ocean’s encroachment” on the lands that once existed below the Bunda Cliffs.

In a story told by the Gungganyji people of the Cairns district in northeast Australia, they heated boulders in a mountain-top fire, then rolled these into the face of the encroaching ocean to stop its rise.

Today the ocean surface along most of the world’s coasts is rising faster than it has for several thousand years. It is placing growing stress on coastal societies and the landscapes and infrastructures on which they have come to depend. Anxiety is building, especially in the face of scientific projections involving sea-level rise of at least 70 cm by the end of this century.

A family stand outside their submerged huts near Beira, Mozambique, in 2019. Much of the city is below sea level on a coastline that experts call one of the world’s most vulnerable to global warming’s rising waters. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

We are responding with practical solutions, building hard structures such as walls and wooden palisades along coastlines. We look to science to curb climate change but many people still feel anxious and powerless.

Read more: Ignoring young people's climate change fears is a recipe for anxiety

Our ancient ancestors, confronted with a seemingly unceasing rise in the ocean surface — and associated loss of coastal lands — also felt anxiety and built structures. And, as some people do today, many almost certainly sought spiritual remedies too. Of course we know little about the latter, but there are clues.

In many places along the coasts of Australia and northwest Europe, there are stone arrangements, ranging from simple stone circles to the extraordinary parallel “stone lines” at Carnac in France, kilometres long.

Part of the stone lines of Carnac, considered to represent a spiritual response by people in this part of coastal Brittany more than six millennia ago to the rising sea level. Patrick Nunn

These stone lines, built more than 6,000 years ago have been interpreted by French archaeologists as a “cognitive barrier” intended to stop the gods interfering with human affairs, specifically to stop the rapid and enduring rise of the sea level along this part of the Brittany coast. Ritual burials of people and valuables along the shore in northwest Europe may once have served a similar purpose.

We can take hope from our ancestors’ experiences with rising sea level. Most people survived it, so shall we. But the experience was so profound, so physically and psychologically challenging, that the survivors kept their memories of it alive as stories passed on from one generation to the next. Their stories became enduring oral traditions — intended to inform and empower future generations. And to show us that the past is not without meaning; it is not irrelevant to our future.

Patrick Nunn’s new book Worlds in Shadow: Submerged Lands in Science, Memory and Myth is published by Bloomsbury Sigma.The Conversation

Patrick D. Nunn, Professor of Geography, School of Law and Society, University of the Sunshine Coast

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Einstein’s too hard for school science? No, students love learning real modern physics

Einstein-FirstAuthor provided
David BlairThe University of Western Australia

Why are middle school students losing interest in physics? Why is Australia falling behind in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)?

We in the Einstein-First project think we have the answer. It is because students’ internet experience of science is in complete conflict with the school curriculum.

Read more: Why don't we teach Einstein's theories in school?

For National Science Week, I spoke to 650 students aged from 5 to 11. I asked if they had heard of black holes. At least 80% raised their hands.

Where do we find black holes in the school curriculum? We don’t. You can’t talk about black holes using 19th-century physics because they are all about curved space and warped time.

Students have made it clear to us they think science at school is about “old stuff”.

This is why we must modernise the curriculum. We must replace 19th-century concepts with 21st-century concepts, and teach everyone the language of modern physics, starting in primary school.

Today we launch our book Teaching Einsteinian Physics in Schools. It is designed to spearhead a revolution in school science starting from year 3.

Young Students Grasp Einsteinian Concepts

Einstein’s discoveries in 1905 started a conceptual revolution. The final steps, Einstein’s theory of gravity in 1915 and de Broglie’s 1924 discovery that all matter and radiation have a combination of waviness and bulletiness (normally called wave particle duality), radically changed physicists’ ideas of space, time, matter and radiation. These discoveries are the foundational concepts for almost all modern technology.

Read more: Explainer: what is wave-particle duality

Students stand around a lycra surface simulating spacetime
Students explore orbits on a spacetime simulator. Einstein-FirstAuthor provided

Ten years ago I asked: “Is it possible to teach Einsteinian concepts in primary school?” Colleagues said: “Of course not. You have to learn Newton’s physics first!”

I responded bluntly! Newtonian physics is wrong, both conceptually and factually. It says things can travel arbitrarily fast and gravity travels instantaneously, time is the same everywhere, mass and energy are independent of each other, and the universe runs like clockwork.

Our team ran an initial trial teaching Einsteinian physics in a primary school. Our most astonishing discovery was that children were not astonished: they just took the ideas in their stride. This led to eight years of trials in a variety of primary and high schools.

We taught the students that light comes as photons that have a combination of waviness and bulletiness, that space is curved by matter and this changes geometry, and that time is different on top of a mountain. None of this particularly surprised them.

And the children loved it. One year 3 teacher said:

“By the end they were using vocabulary and clearly understanding concepts that would normally not be introduced until high school. It was really hard to drag them away from their activities. What was surprising was that they so easily accepted concepts that most adults and teachers find very difficult.”

Activity-Based Learning Works — And It’s Fun

Students use nerf guns to model photons ejecting electrons
Students use nerf guns to learn about how photons eject electrons. Einstein-FirstAuthor provided

The children love the activity-based learning. And they love toys, so we use toys wherever possible.

We use Nerf gun bullets as toy photons, ping-pong balls as toy electrons and toy molecules made of magnetic tennis balls and ping-pong balls. Sometimes we use toy cars as photons and use objects with increasing mass to increase their bulletiness (i.e. momentum). These toys allow experiments such as the dissociation of toy molecules by toy UV photons to explain why UV light can break our DNA and cause skin cancer, and why radio (and 5G!) photons are safe because they have much less bulletiness.

Einsteinian physics has enormous explanatory power, whether at the level of quantum interactions or gravity. Einsteinian gravity describes space as an elastic fabric. We use lycra as our two-dimensional toy spacetime. The stretching of space and time is easily measured and almost all gravitational phenomena can be observed by rolling various balls on the lycra, as the video below shows.

Students from year 3 and up have taken part in trials of the Einsteinian physics program.

Read more: Curious Kids: why is there gravity?

Students at all levels love to play with these spacetime simulators. They study how photon trajectories are deflected when space is curved, how gravity gradient forces tear up comets, how orbits change their orientation in space (called precession), how stars and planets form and how galaxies get their shapes. As a year 7 teacher said:

“[It] makes it much easier to talk to students about interesting things, like the latest black hole discovery.”

Lessons That Make Sense Of Our World

The absorption of infrared photons by CO₂ molecules drives climate change. Toy molecules held together by magnets allow students to explore the different ways a CO₂ molecule vibrates compared with an O₂ molecule, and learn how photon absorption causes this.

We combine our toys with real but relatively low-cost devices, such as solar panels, electric drills, LED lights and laser pointers.

Laser pointers allow the waviness of light to be explored in a whole range of interference experiments. Solar panels demonstrate bulletiness, photons ejecting electrons, and are ideal for almost all electricity and energy studies at primary and middle school. A solar panel can drive a 12V electric drill, which can be used for lifting, creating frictional heat and using energy that comes from converting photons to a stream of electrons – the photoelectric effect for which Einstein won the Nobel Prize.

Helping Teachers Overcome Their Fears

The biggest obstacle to introducing Einsteinian physics is the scare factor for teachers. People still claim it’s too difficult for teachers. We have found if we put the activity first, like geometry on woks for example, teachers with no science background easily grasp the concept that the shape of space can be measured doing geometry.

Primary school children moving magnetic pins around a shiny metal domed surface
Learning about geometry on curved space using an upturned wok. Einstein-FirstAuthor provided

Teaching Einsteinian Physics in Schools is based on international experience involving more than 20 authors. It is presented at the level needed for school teachers, including some material for senior high school.

It is free of scary equations because these, whether Einsteinian or Newtonian, have no place in the school curriculum. Instead we teach lots about how to deal with the huge numbers and tiny numbers we must envisage to deal with the universe, as well as probability and “the maths of arrows” (vectors) because these powerful concepts are important for everyone.

Most students will not specialise in physics. The goal of Einstein-First is that all students should finish the compulsory years of science with the basic knowledge and vocabulary of our best understanding of the physical universe.

Read more: We must include more women in physics — it would help the whole of humanity

After trialling our year 7 program on gravity, a teacher reported:

“The lessons feature the modelling of concepts with hands-on ‘concrete’ materials, an instructional approach that provides multisensory learning opportunities allowing all students to be successfully included.”

“Girls benefit especially from the way the program is presented with group learning and activities. It is not intimidating, and teachers like myself enjoy the program because it makes my teaching feel much more worthwhile.”

“The notable thing about the Einsteinian physics lessons is that students are fully engaged, disruption is rare, and students with learning difficulties are practically indistinguishable from mainstream students.”The Conversation

David Blair, Emeritus Professor, ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, OzGrav, The University of Western Australia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

If I could go anywhere: a world through the eyes of botanical artist Marianne North at Kew Gardens

Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens. Flickr/Helen.2006CC BY-NC
Mary VoiceThe University of Melbourne

In this series we pay tribute to the art we wish could visit — and hope to see once travel restrictions are lifted.

Have you ever entered a gallery, cathedral or grand old ballroom and drawn breath with surprise? Usually, it is opulence, vastness or one stunning painting or sculpture that evokes this response — think Michelangelo’s David, or Chartres Cathedral or the hall of mirrors at Versailles.

In London, an extraordinary gallery draws gasps because there is none like it anywhere else. It is like entering a giant “globe” covered in paintings of faraway places and plants. You can walk from South America to North America to Asia in a few paces.

All the paintings are by the Victorian-era female botanical artist and explorer Marianne North. The small gallery nestles in a stunning natural setting — Kew Gardens beside the Thames River.

Read more: If I could go anywhere: Marie Antoinette's private boudoir and mechanical mirror room at Versailles

A Very Intrepid Painter

The design of the gallery and the layout of the 800-plus paintings were largely North’s idea, assisted by Kew Gardens staff. Though she was a largely self-taught botanical illustrator, she also discovered four specimens that were named in her honour.

woman with palm trees
Victorian-era adventurer and artist Marianne North, photographed at her home in Ceylon by Julia Margaret Cameron around the 1870s. Wikimedia Commons

I remember my first impression of the peacefulness and softness on entering the gallery, elicited by a timber-panelled gallery covered top-to-bottom with paintings. It is a tightly packed mosaic of artworks.

Then I notice the gold lettering of countries and continents above the panels —America, Australia, Japan, Jamaica — and begin to explore the natural world as it was in Victorian times.

The vibrancy, colour and beauty in each individual painting emerges on closer viewing.

I walk from one continent to another noticing the unique vegetation of each, but also the similarity and diversity of natural forms — when these paintings were being created and collated, Charles Darwin had already written:

[…] endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

The gallery displays this exquisitely, from a grand avenue of Indian rubber trees in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), medicinal plants from the tropics, vivid tangerine flowers on coral trees in Brazil, early coffee plantations in Jamaica, to a tall and majestic monkey puzzle tree in Chile. Australian banksia, bottle tree and bottle-brush are accurately and beautifully depicted.

Within the walls of the gallery, I can even travel back in time to see what Mudgee in NSW looked like in the late 1800s.

Over 14 years, Marianne North visited 15 countries and created more than 800 detailed paintings.

Read more: Friday essay: the forgotten German botanist who took 200,000 Australian plants to Europe

Then there are the four specimens named in North’s honourKniphofia northiae, discovered in South Africa, now grows in many gardens with the common name red hot poker (Painting no. 367). Northia seychellana is also called the capucin tree Painting no. 501). Nepenthes northiana, a large and unusual pitcher plant, was discovered by Marianne in Borneo (Painting no. 561). And crinum northianum , in the lily family (Painting no. 602), comes from Sarawak, Borneo.

pitcher plant drawing
A New Pitcher Plant from the Limestone Mountains of Sarawak Borneo, painted by Marianne North, circa 1876. Wikimedia Commons/Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

When Charles Met Marianne

North was one of several Victorian-era British female explorers. She was born (1830) into a wealthy family and had early connections to Kew gardens since her father knew its first director, Sir William Hooker.

Her interest in botanical art grew as an educational activity and as a means of passing on knowledge in pre-photography times. She made nearly 900 works from across the continents and larger islands.

North set out on her first main botanical tours in the 1870s, 40 years after Darwin sailed on HMS Beagle, determined to “paint from nature”. Her paintings of vegetation, birds, mammals and terrain, depicted with close accuracy, helped to foster awareness of the evolutionary connections between plants, animals and environment.

North and Darwin were in fact acquainted. In 1880 they met and discussed her paintings and he advised her to see and paint the Australian vegetation “which was unlike that of any other country”. North took Darwin’s advice, and returned to Down house in 1881 with a new collection spanning Townsville to Perth.

painting of flowers and landscape
View near Brighton, Victoria by Marianne North, circa 1879. Wikimedia Commons/Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Read more: Guide to the classics: Darwin's The Descent of Man 150 years on — sex, race and our 'lowly' ape ancestry

The World Through Her Eyes

North gifted her botanical collection to Kew Gardens along with a gallery to house it. She arranged the paintings and also the decorations surrounding the doors to the gallery. Hence the unique design and global feel of the gallery interior. It opened in 1882.

Some 140 years later, we can explore her adventurous life and travels and view a global nature study in one gallery. With today’s technology we can see much of it online, which is handy during lockdown. I wonder what human expansion and global warming have done to those special places? If I could retrace North’s steps, what would I see?

After “browsing the continents”, you can exit the gallery into Kew Gardens. Among the 50,000 plants at the World Heritage site, you can search for the rare Australian Wollemi Pine, growing quite vigorously in the grounds.

The words of Darwin in 1859’s Origin of Species come to mind: “There is grandeur in this view of life”.

tree painting
African Baobab Tree in the Princess’s Garden at Tanjore, India. Painted by Marianne North, circa 1878. Wikimedia Commons/Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Read more: Janet Laurence: After Nature sounds an exquisite warning bell for extinction The Conversation

Mary Voice, Lecturer - Climate (Honorary), The University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Sydney University 'Inroads' Program:  Anxiety And Alcohol Program Reaches Youth Via Social Media

  • Successful free online program amended for covid, avoids stigma
  • New program reduces anxiety and problem drinking by reaching youth via digital media - where they spend much of their time
How do you help young people living with anxiety, impacted by the pandemic, and at risk of drinking alcohol excessively to cope with the uncertainty, stress and anxiety? Research led by the University of Sydney has found that a free online program is helping, and are using social media to get to youth on their medium of choice.

Led by the University of Sydney’s Matilda Centre, researchers developed the Inroads program for young adults with concerns about anxiety and drinking. Now with new funding support from the Australian Department of Health, the online program is freely available to help youth cope with the challenges of ongoing pandemic. Trial results just released show that the program is associated with significant improvements in anxiety symptoms and reductions in harmful alcohol use.

The results are detailed today in EClinicalMedicine, published by The Lancet group.

“The Inroads program is designed to be easy for young people to access and is the first to address both anxiety and alcohol issues, which are often linked,” said study lead, Associate Professor Lexine Stapinski.

“We sought to avoid the stigma some people feel with face-to-face sessions and reached out where young people spend much of their time – on TikTok, Instagram, and other social media.”

The clinical trial evaluated the Inroads program combined with follow-up phone/email support from a psychologist, compared to a control group receiving only factsheets encouraging safe alcohol use. Now, the program has gone fully online (with triggers to alert researchers if support from a psychologist is required) to enable it to be accessed at scale. It is now open to Australians aged 17-30.

A new animated video campaign on the Inroads Facebook says: “Many young Australians experience anxiety, stress, nervousness or worry; it’s also common to rely on alcohol to cope. Sound like you? Visit today.”

Key findings from the trial:
  • The average number of daily drinks more than halved, to 1.53 drinks a day.
  • Episodes of binge drinking (5+ standard drinks in a session) fell from about twice a week to less than once a week (3.8 times each month).
  • Before using the Inroads program, 90 percent of people had clinically significant anxiety symptoms, which reduced to 43 percent after using the Inroads program.
The Inroads participants and control group experienced similar alcohol reductions in the short term (2 months), but only participants receiving the Inroads program maintained these improvements at the six-month checkpoint. Participants who received the Inroads program also reported reduced symptoms of anxiety and stress compared to the control group. 

Associate Professor Stapinski said that in response to COVID-19, an additional trial of the program was launched this year that assesses whether the program helps mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on young people’s stress, anxiety and alcohol use. 

“Young Australians have reported that their anxiety got worse as a result of the pandemic,” said Dr Stapinski, from the Faculty of Medicine and Health. 

“Drinking to cope with anxiety and stress has also risen according to recent surveys, so we are pleased to be able to provide a tool to help during these times of lockdown and uncertainty.”

The paper notes the program fills a critical gap: “Despite the developmental connections identified between anxiety and alcohol use… there are no existing youth-focused interventions that target anxiety symptoms, hazardous alcohol use and the interconnections between them.”

About Inroads
The Inroads program, developed by the University of Sydney, comprises five weekly web-based modules, taking about 30 minutes each, including written information, videos, participant reflection and interactive exercises.

The program is evidence based, using cognitive behavioural therapy, where participants are guided to think realistically and take a stepped approach to facing their fears. It also encourages participants to explore their motivations to change and set goals. 

The program is tailored to ‘emerging adulthood’ as a key window of opportunity for intervention to prevent problem behaviours establishing.

About the study
123 eligible participants were recruited to the study between 19 December 2017 and 11 September 2018 via a comprehensive, targeted strategy including media coverage, social media, distribution of flyers at educational institutions, and referral from youth services. Eligible participants were i) aged between 17 to 24 years and living in Australia, ii) reporting hazardous levels of alcohol use, and iii) reporting at least mild anxiety symptoms.

With the second program trial just launched, it will likely extend into mid-next year.

Emerging adults aged 17 to 30 are encouraged to register to participate in the program, at

The trial was funded by Australian Rotary Health and the National Health and Medical Research Council. The Inroads program is currently available through funding provided by the Australian Government Department of Health. 

Next Steps For Digital Agriculture In Australia

August 16, 2021
Technology has improved our lives in numerous ways, but how often do we give up on new systems when they break down or seem too hard to use? This is the challenge facing the billion-dollar Australian agribusiness industry, where important innovations in digital agriculture have not yet been widely adopted.

“There have been great advances in digital agriculture in Australia,” Curtin researcher Dr Elizabeth Jackson says. “But the problem we’re seeing is in the adoption of these new systems. And that’s not a technology issue, but a human issue, which impacts businesses and our supply chain.”

Dr Jackson argues that a greater uptake in new digital technologies would significantly advance Australia’s food production supply chain by improving meat quality, creating greater profits for farmers and, importantly, enhancing standards of animal welfare.

“Creating value is essential for Australian food in the global market. Our competitors overseas can produce meat and grain for a lot less, so if we want to keep enjoying the prices we receive for our goods, we have to offer a premium product.”

And that’s where advances in digital agriculture come in.

“We have a really exciting new technology called DEXA,” she enthuses. “It’s a machine that can measure meat, fat and bone in a carcass before it’s further processed.

“What we want is the meat component of an animal because that’s where the value is. So, if we build a system of payment based on meat quality, and feed the information back to the producers, it’s a real monetary incentive for farmers to produce better-quality animals. And better-quality animals are animals raised with higher standards, so we lift animal welfare standards across the supply chain.

“Our competitors overseas can produce meat and grain for a lot less, so if we want to keep enjoying the prices we receive for our goods, we have to offer a premium product.”

Despite the promise of these improvements, DEXA technology remains prohibitively expensive for many meat processors and has yet to be widely adopted.

“DEXA is understandably too costly for many smaller meat processors,” says Dr Jackson. “But we’re also seeing issues with the adoption of traceability technology like electronic identification (EID).”

EID technology has been developed to monitor sheep throughout the supply chain, using electronic ear tags.

“The ear tags help trace the provenance of the sheep, which is a great selling point for consumers, enhancing their confidence in the quality of the meat. But despite the clear added value to the Australian meat industry, we’re having difficulty with its adoption.”

Dr Jackson has been working closely with industry to identify the reasons why.

“What I hear from industry is that the slow adoption of this technology is down to price and on-farm practicality,” she says. “But a major reason is that producers lack the support systems and motivation to embrace these new technologies.”

“We need to build better support mechanisms around these technologies to increase producer confidence and uptake.”

Another critical issue for producers is animal welfare. While new technologies are often centred on enhancing animal wellbeing, when they break down, the result is the exact opposite.

Dr Jackson shares the example of sensor technology.

“Many Australian farms are in vast, remote areas where it is costly and time-consuming to monitor animals in person,” she explains. “New sensor technology enables farmers to monitor their livestock remotely.”

For example, the technology can be used to monitor the welfare of pregnant cows and calves in ultra-remote locations.

“One of the most stressful times in a cow’s life is when she’s pregnant and giving birth,” explains Dr Jackson. “But in these remote locations, some cows may never see a human. Electronic identification can monitor the cows during this crucial pre-natal period and alert the farmer to any distress.”

While the technology offers significant cost and time savings, farmers are concerned about the consequences should the technology fail.

“Losing a cow due to pregnancy or birth would be disastrous.”

Livestock Council of WA Farmers President David Slade with Dr Elizabeth Jackson. Photo: Jessica Wallace, WA Farmers.

Hope on the horizon
Dr Jackson says a new system to monitor remote watering points is enjoying greater success, due to an innovative support network devised by local farmers.

“As I mentioned, many Australian farms are enormous,” she says. “It takes a huge amount of time and money to check on livestock watering points. But watering points need monitoring because they’re often in arid conditions, and frequently service livestock and wildlife.”

Farmers are now able to monitor these watering points remotely from their phones.

“It’s a fantastic innovation and everyone is really happy with it, until the technology breaks down, as new technologies often do,” Dr Jackson says. “It’s unforgiveable for animals to be deprived of water, so there is a great risk farmers will ‘dis-adopt’ the system because of the high-stakes consequences of its failure.”

But a group of farmers in Western Australia has banded together to find a solution.

“This group has got together to fund a local support service,” explains Dr Jackson. “They’ve said, ‘We want this to work, and if the system breaks down, you don’t have to call a tech support centre that might be based overseas, we’ve got someone locally who can speak to you and help you out.”

“It’s a great example of how we can build businesses and supply chains differently to facilitate the adoption of digital innovations so they continue into the future.”

Dr Jackson hopes her research into these supply chain technologies will encourage the development of further support systems.

“If we can encourage producers to embrace these new technologies, there will be tremendous benefits for Australian agribusiness,” she says. “It’s about putting the right support systems in place and understanding that the adoption of digital agriculture is not merely a technological process, but a social one.”

UQ Leads Climate Action As First Australian University To Provide Carbon Literacy Training

August 16, 2021
Helping individuals and organisations tackle the climate crisis is the focus of an Australian-first training program adopted by The University of Queensland.

After a successful pilot, UQ Business School became an accredited partner with the Carbon Literacy Project as the first university in Australia to launch a Carbon Literacy Program.

Director for the United Nations (UN) Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) for the UQ Business School Dr Cle-Anne Gabriel, climate expert Dr Saphira Rekker and PRME manager Roxane Valier-Brasier are leading the program. 

Dr Gabriel said Carbon Literacy was a term used to describe the knowledge and capacity to act on climate change, and that the program would align efforts between individuals and organisations. 

“We’re empowered to partner with the Carbon Literacy Project to help the community and organisations understand the impact of their daily activities on the climate, and highlight the steps they need to take to reduce their carbon footprint and advocate change,” Dr Gabriel said.

After completing the short course, participants undergo a pledge and assessment to become certified as Carbon Literate via the Carbon Literacy Project – a global not-for-profit organisation specialising in climate-action training that has certified more than 20,000 people worldwide.

Carbon Literacy Project co-founder Phil Korbel said partnering with UQ was an important step in spreading awareness about climate change and would give participants the tools to reduce emissions at a personal and corporate level.

“The partnership with UQ is ground-breaking for the Australian education sector and helps to build a network of Carbon Literacy training to embed climate action throughout the institution and broader public,” Mr Korbel said.

“UQ’s vision for Carbon Literacy aligns with this UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released last week, which underlines the need for all sectors to get on board with the fight to minimise the climate crisis.  

“Carbon Literacy is a professional skill set that applies to all subject specialisms, and UQ will make that skill set a reality.”

UQ is also partnering with other Australian universities to roll out the Carbon Literacy Program nationally.

PRME manager Ms Valier-Brasier said it was crucial to build a greater understanding of carbon impacts in Australia and globally.

“We’re contributing to the development of a Carbon Literate Australia and will foster collaborative partnerships to help provide access to the training anywhere in the country,” she said.

To help amplify the national Carbon Literacy capability, participants can also apply to become a trainer once they are certified by the UQ Carbon Literacy Program.

The program will open during UQ’s Sustainability Week on Monday 16 August.

It will train more than 100 people online on the first day and 1000 people by the end of the year.

As the Taliban returns, 20 years of progress for women looks set to disappear overnight

Michael Reynolds/EPA/AAP
Azadah Raz MohammadThe University of Melbourne and Jenna SapianoMonash University

As the Taliban takes control of the country, Afghanistan has again become an extremely dangerous place to be a woman.

Even before the fall of Kabul on Sunday, the situation was rapidly deteriorating, exacerbated by the planned withdrawal of all foreign military personnel and declining international aid.

In the past few weeks alone, there have been many reports of casualties and violence. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes. The United Nations Refugee Agency says about 80% of those who have fled since the end of May are women and children.

What does the return of the Taliban mean for women and girls?

The History Of The Taliban

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 1996, enforcing harsh conditions and rules following their strict interpretation of Islamic law.

A crowd of Taliban fighters and supporters.
The Taliban have been taking back control of Afghanistan with the withdrawal of foreign troops. Rahmut Gul/AP/AAP

Under their rule, women had to cover themselves and only leave the house in the company of a male relative. The Taliban also banned girls from attending school, and women from working outside the home. They were also banned from voting.

Women were subject to cruel punishments for disobeying these rules, including being beaten and flogged, and stoned to death if found guilty of adultery. Afghanistan had the highest maternal mortality rate in the world.

The Past 20 Years

With the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the situation for women and girls vastly improved, although these gains were partial and fragile.

Women now hold positions as ambassadors, ministers, governors, and police and security force members. In 2003, the new government ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which requires states to incorporate gender equality into their domestic law.

Read more: Afghan government collapses, Taliban seize control: 5 essential reads

The 2004 Afghan Constitution holds that “citizens of Afghanistan, man and woman, have equal rights and duties before the law”. Meanwhile, a 2009 law was introduced to protect women from forced and under-age marriage, and violence.

According to Human Rights Watch, the law saw a rise in the reporting, investigation and, to a lesser extent, conviction, of violent crimes against women and girls.

While the country has gone from having almost no girls at school to tens of thousands at university, the progress has been slow and unstable. UNICEF reports of the 3.7 million Afghan children out of school some 60% are girls.

A Return To Dark Days

Officially, Taliban leaders have said they want to grant women’s rights “according to Islam”. But this has been met with great scepticism, including by women leaders in Afghanistan. Indeed, the Taliban has given every indication they will reimpose their repressive regime.

In July, the United Nations reported the number of women and girls killed and injured in the first six months of the year nearly doubled compared to the same period the year before.

In the areas again under Taliban control, girls have been banned from school and their freedom of movement restricted. There have also been reports of forced marriages.

Afghan woman looking out a window.
Afghan women and human rights groups have been sounding the alarm over the Taliban’s return. Hedayatullah Amid/EPA/AAP

Women are putting burqas back on and speak of destroying evidence of their education and life outside the home to protect themselves from the Taliban.

As one anonymous Afghan woman writes in The Guardian:

I did not expect that we would be deprived of all our basic rights again and travel back to 20 years ago. That after 20 years of fighting for our rights and freedom, we should be hunting for burqas and hiding our identity.

Many Afghans are angered by the return of the Taliban and what they see as their abandonment by the international community. There have been protests in the streets. Women have even taken up guns in a rare show of defiance.

But this alone will not be enough to protect women and girls.

The World Looks The Other Way

Currently, the US and its allies are engaged in frantic rescue operations to get their citizens and staff out of Afghanistan. But what of Afghan citizens and their future?

US President Joe Biden remains largely unmoved by the Taliban’s advance and the worsening humanitarian crisis. In an August 14 statement, he said:

an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.

And yet, the US and its allies — including Australia — went to Afghanistan 20 years ago on the premise of removing the Taliban and protecting women’s rights. However, most Afghans do not believe they have experienced peace in their lifetimes.

Read more: Taliban 'has not changed,' say women facing subjugation in areas of Afghanistan under its extremist rule

As the Taliban reassert complete control over the country, the achievements of the past 20 years, especially those made to protect women’s rights and equality, are at risk if the international community once again abandons Afghanistan.

Women and girls are pleading for help as the Taliban advance. We hope the world will listen.The Conversation

Azadah Raz Mohammad, PhD student, The University of Melbourne and Jenna Sapiano, Australia Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associate and Lecturer, Monash Gender Peace & Security Centre, Monash University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

UNSW Partners With UK Government To Transform Ocean Accounting

August 16, 2021
The UK government has announced a $1.8 million initial contribution to the Global Ocean Accounts Partnership (GOAP), coordinated by UNSW Sydney. The GOAP is one of the first projects announced under the first £16.2 million in funding from the UK’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund. Established to tackle climate change, restore ocean health and reduce poverty in developing countries, the Blue Planet Fund is financed from the UK’s overseas aid budget. This round of funded projects will increase marine protection, tackle plastic pollution and the decline of global coral reefs.

The UK’s investment in the GOAP builds on the first global dialogue on ocean accounting at UNSW in late 2019. The University and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) co-hosted representatives of 18 governments on campus to explore options for technical and policy collaboration.

“This announcement by the UK government is welcomed by UNSW and is an important recognition of the shared responsibility for our natural environment,” UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said.

“It is incumbent upon all countries to collaborate and draw on the rich knowledge in our universities to support peoples whose wellbeing relies on the sustainability of our ocean.”

Measurement of progress for the ocean economy currently focuses on production indicators such as contribution to gross domestic product (GDP). With current data and technology, it’s now possible for all countries in the future to account for the status of the natural wealth of the ocean – the most important measure of progress towards sustainability of the ocean economy. The development and integration of ocean accounts into existing national accounts can provide a dynamic evidence base that goes beyond a single indicator of production to reflect the full value of the ocean economy.

The $1.8 million Blue Planet funding will provide strategic support for the GOAP, including scaling of pilot projects in five developing countries – in Africa and the Asia Pacific – and facilitation of increased global technical and policy collaboration. Global research collaboration will enable the development of common technical guidelines, supporting the UN Statistical Commission’s efforts to adopt internationally standardised guidance for ocean accounting by 2023. Technical guidance on ocean accounting for project and program developers and managers will facilitate comparable tracking of progress towards sustainable development across key social, environmental and economic indicators.

UNSW’s contributions to the collaboration will be led by Dr Ben Milligan, an interdisciplinary Scientia Fellow based at UNSW faculties of Law & Justice, Science and Business. Dr Milligan is director of the GOAP Secretariat, which the University has hosted since 2019.

“The ocean is one of our most precious assets and our well-being depends on a healthy ocean. This project is an exciting step towards ensuring that decision-makers around the world can account – and be held to account – for how the ocean is changing over time and how our decisions about the ocean affect society and the economy for better or worse,” Dr Milligan said.

The project links expertise across UNSW, spanning marine science, data science, accounting and economics, and ocean law and governance.

“The ocean is warming, acidifying, deoxygenating, and we have been replacing protein with plastic around the globe. If we are to thrive beyond this decade, we must work together at a frantic pace to firstly halt and then reverse the damage to our shared environmental assets.

“Our future depends on the work of Dr Milligan and his team assisting in the creation of highly integrated governance and accounting for our rapidly changing ocean and coasts,” UNSW Dean of Science Professor Emma Johnston said.

The project is supported by the UNSW Institute for Global Development (IGD) and UNSW Global Water Institute (GWI), both of which have played key roles in delivery of work to date. Hosted by UNSW Law & Justice, it also forms a key part of the faculty’s new Sustainable Development Reform Hub, which seeks to co-develop a cluster of enduring change-making collaborations with external stakeholders through a consultation process and seed funding.   

Australian government seed funding will grow community of practice
UNSW, partnering with Madras School of Economics (MSE), has also received funding to further the development and use of ocean accounting under the Australia-India Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative Partnership (AIIPOIP) program. Senator Marise Payne, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, recently announced the inaugural grants. In a media release, she said the program “reiterates Australia's strong commitment to working with close regional partners in delivering an open, inclusive, resilient, prosperous and rules-based maritime order”.

The UNSW–MSE partnership will support a growing community of practice developing ocean accounting. The team will tackle a range of ocean challenges, including marine plastic pollution, developing ways to measure where the plastic is coming from and how much may be reaching the ocean.

UNSW Science Scientia PhD candidate in marine sciences Jordan Gacutan, one of the members of the GOAP Secretariat team led by Dr Milligan, said both Australia and India face several challenges in maritime ecology.

“This partnership with Madras School of Economics will strengthen our ability to deliver a concerted international response to shared ocean challenges, such as the rapid loss of key ecosystems and the increase in harmful plastic pollutants.

“By understanding how much we rely on ocean ecosystems, and how much we stand to lose from their deterioration, we can better mobilise the resources and investment needed for ecosystems to thrive into the future,” Mr Gacutan said.

Many More Meat-Free Mondays Needed To Sustain World Population Of 9 Billion

August 17, 2021
The global food system could be pushed to breaking point unless major changes happen in the next 20 years. That’s the view of food and health expert Professor Johannes le Coutre, from UNSW’s School of Chemical Engineering, who says a major reduction in meat consumption is not only more environmentally sustainable, but could also help to reduce the impact of climate change.

Professor le Coutre took part in a discussion on The Future of Food as part of a Centre for Ideas event at the start of National Science Week.

He says that reducing traditional meat consumption will have a dramatic and beneficial effect on the planet, given the fact that livestock systems are currently estimated to be responsible for around 14 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions – compared to an estimated 2 per cent for the aviation industry.

And with the world’s population predicted to grow by around 1 billion within the next two decades, trying to feed so many people in the same way we do today will simply not be possible.

“We can look at health, and the role that food plays, in terms of three pillars – individual health, planetary health and economic health. And they are all intertwined,” Professor le Coutre says.

“As part of that we need to look at climate change, at sustainability, at biodiversity and also how food impacts on our individual health.
“Meat consumption clearly is a significant culprit on a global scale, which is linked to massive feed production and the use of arable land and water to keep all that livestock alive and growing to meet the demands of our current food system.

“The figures don’t add up, especially when the estimates are for 9 billion people on the planet in 20 years or so. We already have 800 million people who are going to sleep hungry each night, and 110 million people globally who are suffering from acute hunger.

“Some people say the food system right now is broken. I don’t believe it is, but we will certainly be breaking it if we just continue doing things the way they were done in the 20th Century.”

Novel meat and meat substitutes on the menu
Professor le Coutre says the main goal in terms of the future of food is to ensure that everyone on the planet has access to good quality nutrition, with hunger levels dramatically reduced or even eliminated completely.

He is a leading researcher in cellular agriculture – that is the process by which meat can be produced in food-grade facilities using cells taken from animals without killing them. The process is not limited to food only. Other products such as collagen or leather are also within the scope of potential products.

Cell-based meat could be the key to revolutionising not only our diets, but also the entire farming system given the fact that over 1 billion tonnes of animal feed has to be produced every year just to ensure current global meat demand is met.

Prof. le Coutre does not think that mammalian based meat consumption will ever be totally replaced, and he predicts that other organisms such as insects can become an increasingly important sources of protein for people across the planet in the decades to come.

“I do not think we will ever totally eliminate traditional animal-based meat – that will always be in our food system, and in our supermarkets and on our plates. And that’s OK, because we all need to be eating a balanced diet.

“But it needs to be at a much higher price point, like $25 for a real animal steak rather than $12 currently,” he says.

“In the future, our shops will sell a more diverse selection of products including animal-based meat, plant-based meats and cell-based meats, but this will not happen overnight.”

“This change in the foods we eat could be absolutely historic, and we are in the transition period right now. If we have a meaningful representation of cell-based meat on our supermarket shelves in 5-10 years, then that would be a really good result. 

“In 20 or 30 years, if we start to see a dent in the consumption of animals, then again that will be a big success. But it will go slowly.”
Although research and development of slaughter-free meat has already produced some exciting results, one of the major hurdles to overcome is fully commercialising it.

“The big issue for cell-based meat is one of scaling, and also of cost. How long is it going to take to produce 1kg and what is the price going to be?” Prof. le Coutre says.

“The final product needs to be able to compete with traditional animal-based meat in terms of cost, otherwise consumers are always going to choose the cheaper option. 

“But it’s really important that the traditional meat industry is not scared and alienated by all these new concepts and technologies. There will always be beautiful Wagyu beef and Porterhouse steaks and that’s great – as long as the price point is appropriate.”

One of the near future innovations is the commercial production of insects as food – touted as being high in nutrition, as well as rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, folic acid and vitamins.

“Some people might think insects are horrible and they could never eat them,” Prof. le Coutre says.

“But insects are one of the four classes that make up the group biologists call Arthropods, and one of the other classes in the group are crustaceans – that is prawns and shrimps and crabs and lobsters, which many people happily consume.

“So, if people think of it in that way, the ‘yuck factor’ is gone and there is definitely potential for increased consumption of insects in global diets.”

Pollinators: First Global Risk Index For Species Declines And Effects On Humanity

August 16, 2021
Disappearing habitats and use of pesticides are driving the loss of pollinator species around the world, posing a threat to "ecosystem services" that provide food and wellbeing to many millions -- particularly in the Global South -- as well as billions of dollars in crop productivity.

This is according to an international panel of experts, led by the University of Cambridge, who used available evidence to create the first planetary risk index of the causes and effects of dramatic pollinator declines in six global regions.

The bees, butterflies, wasps, beetles, bats, flies and hummingbirds that distribute pollen, vital for the reproduction of over 75% of food crops and flowering plants -- including coffee, rapeseed and most fruits -- are visibly diminishing the world over, yet little is known of the consequences for human populations.

"What happens to pollinators could have huge knock-on effects for humanity," said Dr Lynn Dicks from Cambridge's Department of Zoology. "These small creatures play central roles in the world's ecosystems, including many that humans and other animals rely on for nutrition. If they go, we may be in serious trouble."

Dicks assembled a 20-strong team of scientists and indigenous representatives to attempt an initial evaluation of the drivers and risks for pollinator declines worldwide. The research is published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

The top three global causes of pollinator loss are habitat destruction, followed by land management -- primarily the grazing, fertilizers and crop monoculture of farming -- and then widespread pesticide use, according to the study. The effect of climate change comes in at number four, although data are limited.

Perhaps the biggest direct risk to humans across all regions is "crop pollination deficit": falls in quantity and quality of food and biofuel crops. Experts ranked the risk of crop yield "instability" as serious or high across two-thirds of the planet -- from Africa to Latin America -- where many rely directly on pollinated crops through small-holder farming.

"Crops dependent on pollinators fluctuate more in yield than, for example, cereals," said Dicks. "Increasingly unusual climatic phenomena, such as extreme rainfall and temperature, are already affecting crops. Pollinator loss adds further instability -- it's the last thing people need."

A major 2016 report to which Lynn Dicks contributed suggested there has been up to a 300% increase in pollinator-dependent food production over the past half century, with an annual market value that may be as much as US$577 billion.

Reduced species diversity was seen as a high-ranking global risk to humans, which not only risks food security but a loss of "aesthetic and cultural value." These species have been emblems of nature for millennia, argue the experts, and too little consideration is given to how their declines affect human wellbeing.

"Pollinators have been sources of inspiration for art, music, literature and technology since the dawn of human history," said Dicks. "All the major world religions have sacred passages about bees. When tragedy struck Manchester in 2017, people reached for bees as a symbol of community strength."

"Pollinators are often the most immediate representatives of the natural world in our daily lives. These are the creatures that captivate us early in life. We notice and feel their loss. Where are the clouds of butterflies in the late summer garden, or the myriad moths fluttering in through open windows at night?"

"We are in the midst of a species extinction crisis, but for many people that is intangible. Perhaps pollinators are the bellwether of mass extinction," said Dicks.

Loss of access to "managed pollinators" such as industrial beehives was ranked as a high risk to North American society, where they boost crops including apples and almonds, and have suffered serious declines from disease and 'colony collapse disorder'.

The impact of pollinator decline on wild plants and fruits was viewed a serious risk in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America -- regions with many low-income countries where rural populations rely on wild-growing foods.

In fact, Latin America was viewed as the region with most to lose. Insect-pollinated crops such as cashew, soybean, coffee and cocoa are essential to regional food supply and international trade right across the continent. It is also home to large indigenous populations reliant on pollinated plants, with pollinator species such as hummingbirds embedded in oral culture and history.

Asia Pacific was another global region where pollinator decline was perceived to pose serious risks to human well-being. China and India are increasingly reliant on fruit and vegetable crops that need pollinators, some of which now require people to pollinate by hand.

The researchers caution that not enough is known about the state of pollinator populations in the Global South, as evidence of decline is still primarily from wealthy regions such as Europe (where at least 37% of bee and 31% of butterfly species are in decline). Pollination deficits and biodiversity loss were seen as the biggest risks to Europeans, with potential to affect crops ranging from strawberries to oilseed rape.

Dr Tom Breeze, co-author and Ecological Economics Research Fellow at the University of Reading, said: "This study highlights just how much we still don't know about pollinator decline and the impacts this has on human societies, particularly in parts of the developing world.

"While we have data on how pollinators are doing in regions like Europe, there are significant knowledge gaps in many others. More research is needed on a global level so we can really understand the problems we face, and how we might address them."

Lynn V. Dicks, Tom D. Breeze, Hien T. Ngo, Deepa Senapathi, Jiandong An, Marcelo A. Aizen, Parthiba Basu, Damayanti Buchori, Leonardo Galetto, Lucas A. Garibaldi, Barbara Gemmill-Herren, Brad G. Howlett, Vera L. Imperatriz-Fonseca, Steven D. Johnson, Anikó Kovács-Hostyánszki, Yong Jung Kwon, H. Michael G. Lattorff, Thingreipi Lungharwo, Coleen L. Seymour, Adam J. Vanbergen & Simon G. Potts. A global-scale expert assessment of drivers and risks associated with pollinator decline. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s41559-021-01534-9

Histamine Could Be A Key Player In Depression

August 17, 2021
Bodily inflammation dampens levels of a 'feel-good molecule' and antidepressants' ability to boost them, according to new research in mice.
The findings, from researchers at Imperial College London and University of South Carolina, add to mounting evidence that inflammation, and the accompanying release of the molecule histamine, affects a key molecule responsible for mood in the brain -- serotonin.

If replicated in humans, the findings -- which identify histamine as a 'new molecule of interest' in depression -- could open new avenues for treating depression, which is the most common mental health problem worldwide.

Inflammation -- a blanket term describing an immune response -- triggers the release of histamine in the body. This increases blood flow to affected areas to flood them with immune cells. While these effects help the body fight infections, both long-term and acute inflammation is increasingly linked to depression. Inflammation accompanies infections but can also be caused by stress, allergic responses and a host of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Lead author Dr Parastoo Hashemi, from Imperial's Department of Bioengineering, said: "Inflammation could play a huge role in depression, and there is already strong evidence that patients with both depression and severe inflammation are the ones most likely not to respond to antidepressants.

"Our work shines a spotlight on histamine as a potential key player in depression. This, and its interactions with the 'feel-good molecule' serotonin, may thus be a crucial new avenue in improving serotonin-based treatments for depression."

Chemical messengers
Serotonin, often referred to as the 'feel-good molecule', is a key target for depression-tackling drugs. Commonly prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) inhibit the re-absorption of serotonin in the brain, allowing it to circulate for longer and improve mood.

However, although SSRIs bring relief to many who take them, a growing number of individuals are resistant to their effects. Researchers think one reason for this could lie in the specific interactions between chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, including serotonin and histamine.

With this in mind, researchers set out to investigate the relationship between histamine, serotonin, and SSRIs.

They created serotonin-measuring microelectrodes and put them into the hippocampus of the brains of live mice, an area known to regulate mood. The technique, known as fast scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV), allowed them to measure brain serotonin levels in real time without harming the brain, as they are biocompatible and only five micrometers wide.

After placing the microelectrodes, they injected half the mice with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an inflammation-causing toxin found in some bacteria, and half the mice with a saline solution as a control.

Brain serotonin levels dropped within minutes of LPS injection, whereas they remained the same in control mice, demonstrating how quickly inflammatory responses in the body translate to the brain and affect serotonin. LPS is unable to cross the protective blood-brain barrier and could therefore not have caused this drop directly.

On further examination they found that the histamine in the brain was triggered by the inflammatory response and directly inhibited the release of serotonin, by attaching to inhibitory receptors on the serotonin neurons. These inhibitory receptors are also present on human serotonin neurons, so this effect might translate to people.

To counter this, the researchers administered SSRIs to the mice, but they were much less able to boost serotonin levels than in control mice. They posited that this is because the SSRIs directly increased the amount of histamine in the brain, cancelling out its serotonin boosting action.

The researchers then administered histamine reducing drugs alongside the SSRIs to counter histamine's inhibitory effects, and saw serotonin levels rise back to control levels. This appears to confirm the theory that histamine directly dampens serotonin release in the mouse brain. These histamine reducing drugs cause a whole-body reduction in histamine and are distinct from antihistamines taken for allergies, which block histamine's effects on neurons.

A new molecule of interest
The researchers say that if their work translates to humans it could help us towards eventually diagnosing depression by measuring chemicals like serotonin and histamine in human brains.

They also say the findings open new avenues to explore histamine as a causative agent of depression, including potentially developing novel drugs that reduce histamine in the brain.

Because the work was done in animals, more research will be needed to know if the concepts translate to humans. However, it is not currently feasible to use microelectrodes to make similar measurements in human brains, so the researchers are now looking at other ways to get a snapshot of the brain by looking at other organs which use serotonin and histamine, like the gut.

Pain, which accompanies inflammation, can also change neurotransmitter levels -- but previous research shows that in similar models, these changes last a few minutes, whereas the serotonin drop shown in this research lasted much longer, ruling out pain as a reason for the serotonin decrease.

Dr Hashemi added: "Inflammation is a whole-body response and is therefore hugely complex. Depression is similarly complex, and the chemicals involved are affected in myriad ways by both genetic and environmental factors. Thus we need to look at more complex models of depression behaviours in both mice and humans to get a fuller picture of both histamine and serotonin's roles in depression."

Melinda Hersey, Srimal Samaranayake, Shane N. Berger, Navid Tavakoli, Sergio Mena, H. Frederik Nijhout, Michael C. Reed, Janet Best, Randy D. Blakely, Lawrence P. Reagan, Parastoo Hashemi. Inflammation-Induced Histamine Impairs the Capacity of Escitalopram to Increase Hippocampal Extracellular Serotonin. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2021; 41 (30): 6564 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2618-20.2021

'Missing Jigsaw Piece': Engineers Make Critical Advance In Quantum Computer Design

August 14, 2021
Quantum engineers from UNSW Sydney have removed a major obstacle that has stood in the way of quantum computers becoming a reality: they discovered a new technique they say will be capable of controlling millions of spin qubits -- the basic units of information in a silicon quantum processor.

Until now, quantum computer engineers and scientists have worked with a proof-of-concept model of quantum processors by demonstrating the control of only a handful of qubits.

But with their latest research, published today in Science Advances, the team have found what they consider 'the missing jigsaw piece' in the quantum computer architecture that should enable the control of the millions of qubits needed for extraordinarily complex calculations.

Dr Jarryd Pla, a faculty member in UNSW's School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications says his research team wanted to crack the problem that had stumped quantum computer scientists for decades: how to control not just a few, but millions of qubits without taking up valuable space with more wiring, using more electricity, and generating more heat.

"Up until this point, controlling electron spin qubits relied on us delivering microwave magnetic fields by putting a current through a wire right beside the qubit," Dr Pla says.

"This poses some real challenges if we want to scale up to the millions of qubits that a quantum computer will need to solve globally significant problems, such as the design of new vaccines.

"First off, the magnetic fields drop off really quickly with distance, so we can only control those qubits closest to the wire. That means we would need to add more and more wires as we brought in more and more qubits, which would take up a lot of real estate on the chip."

And since the chip must operate at freezing cold temperatures, below -270°C, Dr Pla says introducing more wires would generate way too much heat in the chip, interfering with the reliability of the qubits.

"So we come back to only being able to control a few qubits with this wire technique," Dr Pla says.

Lightbulb moment
The solution to this problem involved a complete reimagining of the silicon chip structure.

Rather than having thousands of control wires on the same thumbnail-sized silicon chip that also needs to contain millions of qubits, the team looked at the feasibility of generating a magnetic field from above the chip that could manipulate all of the qubits simultaneously.

This idea of controlling all qubits simultaneously was first posited by quantum computing scientists back in the 1990s, but so far, nobody had worked out a practical way to do this -- until now.

"First we removed the wire next to the qubits and then came up with a novel way to deliver microwave-frequency magnetic control fields across the entire system. So in principle, we could deliver control fields to up to four million qubits," says Dr Pla.

Dr Pla and the team introduced a new component directly above the silicon chip -- a crystal prism called a dielectric resonator. When microwaves are directed into the resonator, it focuses the wavelength of the microwaves down to a much smaller size.

"The dielectric resonator shrinks the wavelength down below one millimetre, so we now have a very efficient conversion of microwave power into the magnetic field that controls the spins of all the qubits.

"There are two key innovations here. The first is that we don't have to put in a lot of power to get a strong driving field for the qubits, which crucially means we don't generate much heat. The second is that the field is very uniform across the chip, so that millions of qubits all experience the same level of control."

Quantum team-up
Although Dr Pla and his team had developed the prototype resonator technology, they didn't have the silicon qubits to test it on. So he spoke with his engineering colleague at UNSW, Scientia Professor Andrew Dzurak, whose team had over the past decade demonstrated the first and the most accurate quantum logic using the same silicon manufacturing technology used to make conventional computer chips.

"I was completely blown away when Jarryd came to me with his new idea," Prof. Dzurak says, "and we immediately got down to work to see how we could integrate it with the qubit chips that my team has developed.

"We put two of our best PhD students on the project, Ensar Vahapoglu from my team, and James Slack-Smith from Jarryd's.

"We were overjoyed when the experiment proved successful. This problem of how to control millions of qubits had been worrying me for a long time, since it was a major roadblock to building a full-scale quantum computer."

Once only dreamt about in the 1980s, quantum computers using thousands of qubits to solve problems of commercial significance may now be less than a decade away. Beyond that, they are expected to bring new firepower to solving global challenges and developing new technologies because of their ability to model extraordinarily complex systems.

Climate change, drug and vaccine design, code decryption and artificial intelligence all stand to benefit from quantum computing technology.

Looking ahead
Next up, the team plans to use this new technology to simplify the design of near-term silicon quantum processors.

"Removing the on-chip control wire frees up space for additional qubits and all of the other electronics required to build a quantum processor. It makes the task of going to the next step of producing devices with some tens of qubits much simpler," says Prof. Dzurak.

"While there are engineering challenges to resolve before processors with a million qubits can be made, we are excited by the fact that we now have a way to control them," says Dr Pla.

Ensar Vahapoglu, James P. Slack-Smith, Ross C. C. Leon, Wee Han Lim, Fay E. Hudson, Tom Day, Tuomo Tanttu, Chih Hwan Yang, Arne Laucht, Andrew S. Dzurak, Jarryd J. Pla. Single-electron spin resonance in a nanoelectronic device using a global field. Science Advances, 2021; 7 (33): eabg9158 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg9158

Disclaimer: These articles are not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Pittwater Online News or its staff.