I often wish that I’d studied marine biology. Of course at school, I was told that there were no jobs in the field and I should do something “real”. Neither my advisors nor I seemed able to imagine that 10 years down the track, I might be living in a country with some of the best diving in the world and plenty of opportunity to explore the sea.
I digress – the point of this post is to show you what a small electrical fault can do to a marine biology research station. Specifically Heron Island station, run by the University of Queensland for over 50 years.
Happily there were no casualties and “most of the long-term data sets had been backed up” (well, you’d hope so – in fact you’d hope all of them were backed up).
It’s not every day that you wake up to a tsunami warning. I can report that the east coast of Australia is just fine, in case anyone was concerned. Spare a thought instead for the Solomon Islands.
Web resources: Pacific Tsunami Warning Center; USGS Earthquake Hazard Program. Plenty of scope for data scraping and mash-ups at those two sites.
The UK government have decided to steal 68 million pounds from the science budget to pay for corporate failures. This is unprecented so far as I know – this is earmarked science money which is now being taken away. If there’s any legal recourse available to the UK research community, I hope that they’re pursuing it.
In local news, the tentacles of the Fairfax media empire have reached Brisbane and according to issue #1 of the Brisbane Times, Australian university students are being offered Microsoft Office for AUD 75. The question is – why? Don’t they know that they could get Open Office for free? If not, they should be told.
Esperance is a town in Western Australia. It’s currently a natural disaster zone following a freak storm. In a tale worthy of the X-Files, thousands of dead birds recently fell from the skies, until almost no living birds were left. Cause unknown, residents baffled.
In other news from the Australian environment, Brisbane is king of the home rainwater tank:
The council issued 16,581 rebates for tanks in the 12 months to November 30. Yet in the far larger city of Melbourne, only about 13,000 tanks have been installed since 2003, while in Sydney, the nation’s biggest metropolis, 8424 rebates were issued in the 2004-05 financial year.
And at the end of the article:
The maximum rebate available in Sydney is $800, while rebates of up to $1000 can be claimed in Melbourne.
The Brisbane rebate is $1700. Twice the rebate, twice the tanks – coincidence? Or are the Sydney millionaires just not claiming their rebate?
This weekend saw the opening of Brisbane’s newest bridge and the end of an era – the last Dutton Park ferry, closing after 40 years of service. If you enjoy reading snippets of local history from other places, read on…
Read the rest…
Next March, WWF Australia are organising Earth Hour. If all goes to plan, Sydney homes and businesses will switch off the lights for one hour, the city will fade to black and we’ll get an interesting snapshot of energy consumption.
It’s an interesting idea and a good publicity stunt. What I’d really like to see though, are some incentives and/or legislation to make energy conservation in cities the norm, not a one-off event. Do we really need all those office buildings and shop fronts illuminated throughout the night?