Penguins in St Kilda, Melbourne

With over 50% of the world’s population living in urban areas, urbanization is one of the main threats to biodiversity. Some plant and animal species may thrive in urban areas, whereas others find the pressures of urbanization challenging. Urbanization has been linked with local extinctions. The little penguin (Eudyptula minor) (AKA blue or fairy penguins) has colonized an area by the St Kilda breakwater in Melbourne harbour. The colony is only a few kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD. The birds are ...

Visual Arts and the M Word (“MEANING!”)

Recently I’ve been in correspondence with a friend and colleague, discussing the way that some students incorporate meaning into their art. My friend refers to this as the M word. His concern relates to the way that some students place too much value and importance on the meaning that they place on their art. Of course, art has meaning. Artworks can contain and communicate a huge variety of meanings, some intentional and some unintentional (and at this point this could stray into a ...

The icy blast of unfresh air!

As the western world is gripped by the ravages of double dip recessions, western governments look to the East with envy at the economic growth rates being achieved.  China's GDP in the first quarter of 2012 was 10,799.5 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 8.1%. From 1978 to 2010, average annual GDP growth rates in China were 9.8%, the highest in the world during the period. After more than 30 years of development, China can be called a modern economic miracle. What ...

Geobacter – a natural battery?

Geobacter are a remarkeable group of bacteria. I first read about them in a BBC news article about bacteria that were able to remove Uranium for contaminated water (click here for the article). But after some research they seem even more amazing as ... ... they can also be used to clean up spilt petroleum. What makes them remarkable is that they produce a series of nanowire that connects them to the substance being reacted. They substance is broken down outside the cell ...