Published Articles

Science Writer Robotics

Flies and robot eyes

We’ve all seen insect eyes portrayed in movies (The Fly, Monsters Vs Aliens). Bizarrely beautiful, almost other-worldly, such compound eyes are the oldest and most dominant vision system on Earth, used by 75% of all animals, including 10 million species of insects. And Australian robotics researchers are tapping this well of visual expertise to make smarter machines. Researchers such as Prof Brinkworth, and collaborators Prof. Matt Garratt, Dr Sridhar Ravi of UNSW Canberra and Prof. Mandyam Srinivasan of UQ.

Science Writer, Moles, melanoma

Moles, the spin of the Earth and the kids.

We all know about UV, and ‘Australia has the worst skin cancer rate in the world’ has become a cliché after forty years of sun-safe campaigns.
It’s all in the spin. Our summer sun is 7-10% stronger than similar northern latitudes during the same season, as Earth’s elliptical orbit brings the Southern Hemisphere closer to the sun than it does the Northern.

Kiwis can fly… rockets

4am, Launch Day, 21 June, 2023 Alicia Smith wakes with a surge of adrenaline. Excitement! Its Launch Day – time to go! Smith, a fourth-year Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Aerospace) student at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, and her team, are far from home. It’s been hot overnight – almost 30oC – and sleep was patchy after a late-night checking and re-checking their one precious rocket. Today, after eighteen months of work, they will launch their rocket into the clear blue New Mexico sky, hoping to win a coveted Spaceport America Cup prize. “We aim to win”, says Smith, also Team Leader.

The complexities of mapping Pacific and Asian reefs

Des and Kelvin of Gladstone, Katy and Filimone of Fiji and Victor and Christina of Palau all have the same issue – reefs under their care face unprecedented threats. Reefs that have protected shores and supported local fisheries for thousands of years. Fisheries sustained through customary management rooted in traditional ecological knowledge accumulated over millennia, reflecting local peoples’ deep understanding of their ecosystems. They are not alone...

On the frontline of the mosquito wars in the Pacific

hat high-pitched whine in your ear signals the world’s deadliest animal – a female mosquito. Disease-causing parasites in her gut kill at least 670,000 people each year. She brings malaria, Ross River virus, dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika, Japanese encephalitis and lymphatic filariasis, also called elephantiasis. All in the Pacific, some on our doorstep, and some have even reached Australia’s mainland.

Why add carbon dioxide to concrete?

The world is desperate for solutions to the crisis brought on by the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N₂O), hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and ground-level ozone (O3), these gases trap heat, and are causing global earth and ocean temperatures to rise to unsustainable levels. They are acknowledged by-products of mining, manufacturing, transport and agricultural industries, but these sectors cannot simply shut up shop. So, industries seek new answers, including capturing and burying emissions, called ‘sequestration’.

Wanted: a climate-focused leader to secure Australia’s future

Almost 60% of voters want “much more” cuts to emissions with 79% supporting further action, as we approach the 2022 federal election, although major differences

Carbon offsets

Your Business with Carbon Offsets

Carbon offsetting, carbon credits, and the booming carbon market have been in the news a lot, lately. And if your business has emissions which you can’t otherwise reduce, you may be curious about the potential for offsetting the remainder. (Co-authored with Warren Bradey)

Was COP26 a success?

COP26* was described by Chairman, Alok Sharma, as “our last best hope to keep 1.5oC in reach”. The COP had to deliver on its four main objectives to be considered a success, but failed, with emissions reduction pledges by the 197 attending countries leaving us on track for a dangerous 1.8 – 2.4oC global warming.

COP26 — Holding back climate catastrophe?

The 30th of October will be a hopeful day, the opening of COP26 — the two weeks that follow will determine our future and that of our only planet.

Climate Change

Climate and Hope

Your well-being and happiness are underpinned by financial security, and all depend on a stable, liveable environment. Think about that, as you read on. It is IPCC time again. I’ve been digesting the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report over the last few days, and it is a little terrifying, to be honest. There is no easy way to put this — we are facing a threat to our social well-being and financial security the likes of which we have never seen before. ‘Business as usual’ is unsustainable.