Black Milk: What happens to the dairy industry when the lights go out?

Milking dairy cows in Gippsland, Victoria.

Having no power, such as the state-wide power loss in South Australia this month can be stressful, slow, and costly.

Storms and power-outages are an everyday worry in Australian life. Usually, the most people will lose is the warm milk in their fridge.

But what happens to everyone else’s milk when the power goes out?

Continue reading “Black Milk: What happens to the dairy industry when the lights go out?”

Could this be the cutest creature in the world!?

They’re known as water bears or moss piglets, and if that hasn’t grabbed your cuteness attention yet, the picture will.

TTARDTardigrades are eight-legged segmented micro-animals and are known as being the most durable creature.

In a recent study by the CSIRO, tardigrades were found as the dominant microfauna in Antarctica – that 99.7% is permanently covered by snow and ice.

TARS

A total 126 tardigrades were isolated in soil samples. Although frozen at -80% for about two years, a large amount of these adorable creatures were still alive.

They live everywhere – from Mt Fuji to that pond your aunty doesn’t upkeep in her backyard. Facinating scientists for over 200 years, little is known why they are so withstanding to extreme stresses.

TARRD

However, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) suggests that foreign genes have impacted the composition of the tardigrade genome: supplementing, expanding, and replacing endogenous gene families.

TARDI

Simplified, if they’re sitting next to a pansy, they will steal their DNA (in a way). We’ve all had those days where we wish he were a flower. Scientifically, these include families implicated in stress tolerance.
TARR

Either way it goes, these creatures could certainly take over the world in the apocalypse – cuteness overload.

 

For more information on CSIRO study: http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/IS14019.htm

For more information on PNAS study: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/52/15976.abstract

 

Quoll-ity Hop to Life

Researchers teaching endangered Quolls not to eat cane toads. Now, Quolls are teaching their young.

Doubling his life expectancy, Brian the quoll has become the favourite amongst rangers at Brisbane’s Walkabout Creek.

Fed only a carnivorous diet, the life expectancy of native Quoll ranges from two to five years. Brian is currently eight years young, with nothing affecting his cheeky attitude.

Quolls are not frequented to the D’Aguilar National Parks, as Brian was bought from a breeder in Northern Queensland. However, Quolls nationally remain a severely endangered species.

Cane toads are quoll’s major threat, since their introduction to Queensland in 1935. Numbers have grown exponentially, and thus the Quoll species declining as they consume their poisonous glands.

In recent years, Queensland has implemented conservation efforts of native species and the eradication of the invasive toad. In spite of this, it looks like we won’t be seeing the back of the toad any time soon.

In a recent report conducted by the CSIRO, the most cost-effective strategies for predator control including cane toads still have an “estimated annualised cost of $16 million over the next 50 years”.

This includes “asset protection, PhD research projects on control efforts, monitoring and trapping: localised eradication, surveillance and biosecurity hotspots, and education.”

In a race to further protect native marsupials, including the endangered Quoll, the University of Sydney created a program in 2010 in a bid to teach species to be repulsed by the smell of cane toads.

The study fed half of 62 young quolls with sausages laced with nausea-inducing thisbendazole along with the scent cane toads – without their fatal toxin. The other half were left as a comparison sample.

After being tagged and released back into the wild, it was found that “toad-smart” quolls survived up to five times longer than “toad-naïve” quolls.

Researchers were inspired by this approach through an adaptation of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, where the Grandma sews raw onions into the wolf’s stomach – so he felt sick and would vow never to eat another Grandma again.

This study has now been implemented throughout Australia, including Northern Queensland wildlife centres and parks.

In recent months, researchers have noticed “toad-smart” quolls have begun teaching their offspring the dangers of cane toads.

Northern Territory Wildlife Park ranger Damien Stanioch says that the second and third generation released into Kakadu have been surviving alongside cane toads.

“Whether that’s because of a genetic adaptation or a behavioural adaptation we don’t know,” Mr Stanioch said.

“Once they’re bred here at the park we will be crossing Queensland northern quolls with Territory northern quolls.”

Death of Print is all a Game

Why game reviewers are a good example for the death of print journalism

Woah – look at all the radical things we can do on the web! Read articles, write articles, leek articles, masturbate to articles – probably. After the breakthrough of the internet, social media, and later citizen journalism; it’s become old hat to hear the phrase “the death of print”. However, much like how Trump’s orange hue, the solution to this problem has yet to be found.

Newspapers and their organisations have collectively reduced 35% of their newsrooms over the past five years. That’s professional journalists left to be freelance – or worse – writing TripAdvisor reviews for a living. All because no one buys the humble newspaper like they used to. 45% less than they used to (from 2005).

The main cause of this is simple: why would you pay for a boring newspaper, when online is free?

The solution to save journalism has yet to be completely solved, or implemented; as news organisations persistently try. However, next time you tell a baby-boomer that “newspapers are dud, dude”, or it’s all on Facebook now – the content you’re referencing is from newspaper newsrooms and journalists. The death of print isn’t the problem. The problem is that this death is just the early indicator of organisations not having enough money to pay journalists.

To use something more relatable, this is the exact problem Youtubers or game reviewers are currently facing also. Providing content costs money – so how do you continue?

What will save journalism?

 

Both Youtubers, gamers, and print organisations have devised four solutions to this funding problem. Firstly, paywalls. Paywalls are the subscription services or payments to view articles. In 2010, New York Times began implementing this with much success. However, much like last place in a popularity contest, The Australian’s paywall sunk readership dramatically.

The most effective use of paywalls can be seen by the Financial Review and game-based media Patreon, whom only allows subscribers to view content. In short, these work because they’re audience is a niche market – and in the case of the Financial Review, an affluent one.

However, most people wouldn’t subscribe to all news, as public service and social media seem to freely handle this.

Micro-payments also run from this idea, where by the reader pays for the single article they want to read – rather than a full subscription. However, this has undergone criticism for “want” of paying, as well as face the question: do readers get a refund if the article wasn’t worth that 20 cents?

Thus the third solution is native advertising, or sponsorship. Popularly on clickbait sites such as Buzzfeed, but also hidden throughout news organisations as “incentives to publish product”, articles and stories are covered by a journalist purely on that the product has paid them for it. In a heavily sold environment that is social media, audiences are usually aware of when they’re being sold something. Buzzfeed even publicises the “sponsored” martial in its byline.

Looking at Youtube, any Jontron or Friendlyjordies viewer would have noticed their irregular videos as including more paid content than there are jokes. Again, this method doesn’t work for news – because unless every car manufacturer pays journalists to include their brand, are journalists not going to cover a car chase? News becomes Kochie selling his Nutri-bullet on an Ab-Circle Pro whilst wearing BB cream surpreme – and no one wants that.

Lastly comes a less severe option: crowdfunding. This again can be best exemplified by reviewer Jontron or even a game such as Undertale – as Kickstarter and Crowdfund.com websites aim to support the quality content viewers seem to enjoy. In exchange, the reader will receive the content; as well as the occasional mug or t-shirt. In news, this method of funding has been experimented, with Kickstarters developed to fund sporting-event coverage, environmental, and international stories. However, what happens if there wasn’t enough crowdfunding to pay for journalists to cover the Iraq war – or the cyclone headed towards your home? Somehow, we haven’t reached the “snooze you lose” approach to journalism yet.

So, how does Polygon, Jontron, Friendlyjordies – or any of your favourite free creators – keep giving you content, without you having to give back? Newspapers really want to know.

 

Research credit: Caroline McKinnon and Richard Murray

Harley Quinn and the Australian Domestic Violence Act of 1992

Why America’s romanticism of Stockholm Syndrome may put Australia back twenty years

DC comics’ Harley Quinn isn’t a new concept, and neither are articles pointing out her obnoxious inclusion. If you’re like one of the many millennials recently, you would have seen the new Suicide Squad blockbuster. But as Australians sitting in a movie theatre in late 2016, is there something we’re missing?

 

What happens when we go from watching characters undergo severe PTSD and Stockholm Syndrome in a dark cinema room, to then return to “Violence Against Women: Australia Says No” campaigns on the bus-ride home?

 

In the movie, Dr Harleen Frances Quinzell was a psychiatrist to the famously psychopathic “Joker” – whose relationship gradually blossomed into a romance; with Dr Quinzell being tortured, tested, and titillated under her undying love for this joker. In short, this is the classic Bonnie and Clyde – love of danger – relationship as the backstory of this good girl turned bad. A good idea to illustrate in its 1992 conception.

 

Catapulting to the real world of Australia circa 2015, a real super hero of Rosie Batty fights for Domestic Violence incidences and orders to be brought to the forefront of the police system.  With her Australian of the Year role, publicity and police regulation methods are carried out nationwide to increase reporting of domestically violent incidents. This proved successful with a 20% increase in reports.

 

High profile incidences still occurred, including the public shooting at a Gold Coast McDonalds – of a mother shot by her ex-husband with multiple breaches of a Domestic Violence Order. It was deemed as barbaric, gruesome, and an incident that saddened locals and terrified anyone in the same position. Suffering with PTSD and psychological disorders is not a fun experience. Quite the opposite, enough to inherit the verb “suffering”.

 

Yet, popular culture seems to have a different – and rather sexualised – view, looking at the latest Suicide Squad release. Mid-way through the film, Quinn (and others) seems to relive flashbacks to torturous events under the spell of the Joker. But don’t worry boys, her harrowing events don’t seem to halt her wide-angle panty shots.  I could overhear a sigh of relief every time a “shut up” was directed at Quinn. Or, I know at least I did.

 

Excuse the “well, in the comics!” inclusion – but the film did a great job of adapting the characters and plot from the original. Visuals were innovative, and costuming designs classic.

 

The way the characters are portrayed is also not a surprise from Hollywood writers (Donald Trump being a good muse). If you’ve walked in Las Vegas – or Surfers Paradise for that matter – it’s old-hat to see women utilised as nothing other than a sex toy. I’m not expecting DC to change their plot or character development in any way. This article’s purpose – I’d hope – is to just get you thinking: what is the impact of pop culture reapplying PTSD with this sexy label? A label which looks more like a worn heart-smart sticker on the back of some Tim-Tams.

 

Have we outgrown Harley? I’d hope in the portrayal by the new Suicide Squad, we might have.