How do I feel about trophy hunters?

Warning. This is a big, long rant which I saved for posterity.

Personally, I think that trophy hunters should have a bounty placed on THEIR head… of about $500,000 – $1.0 million. To see how they like being shot at (and at any time of day when they might be taking a piss without their weapon for example).

What annoys me even more than the bastard that shot Cecil and his stupid face with over-whitened teeth, is all the stupid dumb bitches lying down smiling with dead animals. And propping dead animals’ limp heads up so they make a ‘better’ photograph. Somehow I don’t think that is an appropriate image to be taking for posterity.

From my perspective, this shows a complete and utter lack of respect for the animal. It shows that they’d rather gloat over a corpse than to respect another sentient, feeling being. So this to me is truly unethical. It’s immoral.

Where does this lack of respect originate? Well, I have a hunch that many hunters have a religious upbringing. And religious people always think that humans are somehow ‘above’ animals. They think that humans are superior beings. But the fact is, we are all animals!
Once you accept that we too are animals (because as David Suzuki says, we’re certainly not plants), then you can start to see how out-dated trophy hunting really is.

To me, lying down with a dead animal is a bit like lying down with a slain human! Except it’s worse! It’s worse because there might be 7,000 of those animals in existence in the known universe. And yet there are 7,000,000,000+ humans! So naturally I respect the animals about a million times more, don’t I?

How do I feel about the lying down with dead animals thing? Well, they are the only women that I would love to punch in the face. Or shoot in the back. That’s how I feel and unfortunately it would be illegal to act on that…
But you know anger and hatred doesn’t solve much, so I prefer to put their behaviour down to their upbringing. Trophy hunters can’t help what their parents taught them about morality and purpose in life. So it’s probably not even their fault. But I think if they are truly good people they should definitely learn something from it. Rather than be controversial, I think they should just go “Oh I didn’t know this would piss off a million people so much. Right. I better not do that any more.”

And that’s the thing with the Cecil killer. He completely justified his actions. He’s not a 19 year old teenager. And apparently he wants to continue trophy hunting!

I don’t even think people are annoyed that Cecil was a celebrity. There’s more to it than that. Cecil was merely the last straw in something that is coming under increasing pressure globally. I can assure you that the average citizen on Earth does not want to see ANY lions hunted, famous or otherwise. The fact that he was a celebrity is just the fucking icing on the cake as far as poaching is concerned.

So I don’t like his response. It’s pathetic. It’s like arguing that killing non-celebrity lions is okay. But it’s not. I think lions can and should take care of themselves. There were loads more lions, elephants and tigers, etc before humans came along. Humans are the ones that decimated their population. Before humans, lions and tigers ‘managed’ themselves just fine. The only thing that needs ‘managing’ are poachers and trophy hunters!

There’s still more to it than that though. As an Australian, I actually have an affinity for the underdog. And the underdog is the rhino. It’s the giraffe. It’s the lion. I have an affinity for the underdog. Because the odds are stacked against them and they definitely stand less chance of survival than a bunch of cowardly humans with high-powered rifles. As if human encroachment isn’t enough for them to deal with! So I have an affinity for the underdog, because they are out-gunned.

A much fairer fight would be to go hunting with your fingernails filed into little points!

I can understand people wanting to eat deer and other game for their meat. I can understand that and I can accept that it happens on a daily/hourly/minute-by-minute basis. I get it. I get that people eat meat. I too was brought up to eat meat! We ate meat every single day. And I still sometimes eat meat. Although I have to say that I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to.

And yes I can even go so far as to admit that some hunters do seem to care about keeping nature alive. That’s not something I was previously willing to accept. It’s true that they pay for hunting and fishing licenses… it’s true that they are contributing more to conservation efforts than the average Joe (certainly not the average conservationist or activist though who donates money and asks for NOTHING in return).

What I truly don’t understand is people wanting to stuff dead animals in the name of conservation. Especially endangered animals. Why? I see this as no different to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi who allegedly stored his victims’ heads in freezers — to preserve them so that he could look at them from time to time. But even Colonel Gaddafi had his good points! Even Colonel Gaddafi didn’t take selfies with his victims!! Even Colonel Gaddafi had his limits!!! Am I right?

The way I see it, ‘taxidermy is preservation’ not ‘conservation’. It wouldn’t bother me if the practice was completely outlawed. It’s probably illegal to stuff human beings. And likewise, it should be illegal to stuff endangered animals.
You asked how do I feel about it? Well, it’s a good thing that dentist isn’t living in in my suburb. Because it makes me so seething mad I have already committed all manner of horrible thought crimes. If it was legal, I’m sure there are many people that would want to torture the dude. Like it or not, that’s how it makes thousands of people feel.

The thing is, I know if Walter Palmer was my neighbour, I’m not sure I could stop myself from blowing up his letterbox at the very least. I’d just be plotting and scheming all sorts of Karma events. Possibly the letterbox would be sprayed with expanding foam. Possibly he would have nails propped up against his car tyres so that when he drives off he gets four instant flat tyres. Possibly there would be loads more sabotage events… you get the idea. Of course, that’s just how I feel. :-)
If Walter Palmer was my neighbour, I would undoubtedly have to move. Because, yes, basically I feel like torturing the little bastard myself. Does that anger come across in the text? The feelings you have asked for? I hope so. I hope it makes trophy hunters think twice. Because I’m predicting that before too long, they’re going to find themselves hunted.

So the last thing I am going to say is that I think that if trophy hunters GENUINELY cared about the environment, if they were really ‘concerned’ they’d be better off donating that $50,000 or $60,000 directly to an environmental charity.
They’re prime mission is not to save the world or make it a better place. They’re prime mission is not to feed African families. If it were, they would simply donate that money to Oxfam instead. Wouldn’t they?
So I think hunters in general should really be the ones to distinguish and distance themselves from trophy hunting, and fast. Before people start getting hurt. Because the world is ever-more connected. And what went on in the 1980’s doesn’t cut it in the age of information.

The only constant is change.

Today I’d like to talk about change. We live in a changing world. And yet most people seem to be very afraid of change…

When people talk about ‘change’, it’s usually on ordinary time scales: milliseconds, seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months and years.

Unless you’re a scientist, you rarely talk about change on timescales involving decades, centuries or millennia. Do you?

I’ve noticed most people don’t like change. People get all anxious whenever anyone speaks of change. We get anxious about changes outside of our control. We get anxious too about changes that are self-imposed.

Here’s the thing: most people are afraid of change when it is too great for them to cope. So they block it out, go into denial and distract themselves by doing something else like watching TV. [Read more…]

Kelvinator Foodarama

Here’s an interesting video for advertisers, marketers + product designers.

Last week one of my connections posted something about this being the “lemon age” of appliances. This got me thinking…

I had an old Kelvinator when I was growing up in the 80s. And yes, ever since then, the life expectancy of fridges has sorely decreased…

Ever since about the turn of the century, I’ve always wanted one those classic old vintage Kelvinators. Not for the style, just for the longevity. But I never did anything about it.

I must be getting old or something, because spurred on by “the age of lemons” post, tomorrow, that dream will become a reality! I’ll be the proud new owner of a working* vintage Kelvinator fridge.

Not a rebuilt modern ‘retro’ model. A fully original single upright “round shoulder” model. From the late 1950s.

These really should be in the MoMA collection or something if they aren’t already. For some reason I can’t find much info on them…

*In fact if you look inline, they all appear to be working still.

Word count

I just installed a word count plugin. It tells me that there are now over 138,006 published words on this site. I just thought you might like to know…

Ants in a field.

Mother nature herself

I’ve always wanted to catch a lightning storm on film!

We’ve just had two lightning storms in the space of 15 hours. Here’s a video I recorded last night. I’m very pleased that I was able to capture a lightning strike…

Open letter to Mcdonalds CEO, Steve Easterbrook.

“Hello, I was wondering who is in charge of selecting which drinking straws to use?”

Yes. Because I have a materials science degree/PhD under my belt and I can tell you right now that you are using the wrong material!

And right now I have 13,347 people who happen to agree with me on this one, 13,347 people who have signed a petition on Care2, specifically asking McDonalds to change to more eco-friendly straws.

I’d include the link, but LinkedIn won’t let me.
[you can google “mcdonalds eco paper straw” and find it easily enough though]

Why? Well, so that they don’t blow straight off of the landfill they all end up in, eventually ending up in the ocean, stuck up turtles’ nostrils and loads of other places that they shouldn’t be.

Why does the straw last thousands of years when your drinks barely last ten minutes? Why? Why those silly-looking stripes down the side of them? So we can identify all the McDonalds straws in the Pacific Ocean?

You, the entire McDonalds corporation, are giving polymers a bad name.

You can also read the following document, written by McDonalds itself in detailing your commitments to eco packaging in 2013-2015. Google “McDonald’s Australia Limited Australian Packaging Covenant” for more info on that.

But it seems you have done nothing since then. NOTHING. You even list plastic straws in the list.

Here’s a thought. Instead of writing useless reports on your [unbinding] commitment to ‘sustainability’, how about you actually DO something about it? Skip the report and issue a change notice.

Can your corporation not afford it? What’s the problem? Why the delay? And you are after all the CEO of McDonalds. Do you not have the power [or the balls] to convince the board members? What?

Even 7 year olds are requesting you to change your plastic straws for something more sustainable and less polluting…

I am truly sorry for being so rude blunt, but I am tired of getting the run around. I am tired of the polite reply. I want to get your attention and I want to see YOU make changes. Not in ten years. Now.

In the future, I’d like to be know for having a personality a bit like Gordon Ramsay — someone who knows his shit so well, he doesn’t even have to be polite.

dr leslie dean brown
[former materials scientist]
aka “the eco nazi

Is the weather becoming our enemy?

Every time I turn on the news or read a newspaper, it seems as if everything is against us, the Earth itself included.

Have you noticed that certain weather incidents are now portrayed as a bad thing? Don’t misunderstand me. When I say they are bad, if there are casualties, it goes without saying that a tragedy has taken place.

What I don’t agree with is the notion that that the environment has somehow reached enemy status. Like it has a mind of its own and it’s out to get us to teach us a hard earned lesson. No! It’s our friend for Pete’s sake. It’s the oxygen we breathe. We grew up here. It’s almost like teenage children rebelling against their parents! Here’s a thought: if you’ve driven a car today, don’t attack the weather afterwards like some kind of evil foe. We’re the ones changing the weather.

I guess unlike a lot of other things, the weather can be dangerous and we’re naturally afraid of that. Just witness the air travel chaos caused by the recently erupting Icelandic volcano (Tenerife is a primary European holiday destination, so we were indirectly affected by all the flight cancellations). But then people begin to react with fear & anxiety which stems from a threat which usually can’t be controlled easily.

I’m just waiting for the day when some bright spark proposes [seriously] putting a stop to these ‘human inconveniences’ by plugging that Icelandic volcano or some other grandiose idea to reduce the volcanic ash cloud. Because my biggest fear is actually the moment when humans do try to stop or prevent weather phenomena in order to create a more ‘stable’ environment. Oh wait, seems it’s already happening:

Climate intervention is a field so new that the senior scientists who attended the five-day meeting don’t agree on its name. Some are calling it geoengineering; others call it climate remediation. Either way, it involves complex –and, some say, ethically questionable– processes to reduce the impact of global warming. Like dispersing sulfur particles into the atmosphere. I don’t think we should do that… we might just get sulfuric acid rain clouds.

You may or may not be aware that us humans have a great history of fucking things up big time. And the bigger the scheme, the greater the fuck-up.

Sorry to say this, but whatever we touch, we end up destroying in one way or another.

Sometimes we’re so stupid, we don’t even know what we’ve destroyed until it’s too late. Sometimes we’re that ignorant and we’ll never even know what we buggered up.

Mark my words people, because the first thing scientists do before attempting to create an artificial ‘solution’ is to measure or characterise something. Some of the most powerful computers on Earth are dedicated to weather prediction.

I hope we never reach the stage where we try to interfere with Earth’s natural systems. It’s probably too late, since it looks like we have already kick-started another global warming phase.

I wouldn’t be surprised, for example, if some clever schmuck is right now devising an artificial gas halo to protect the Earth and cool it back to it’s natural level. Or they could extend the Earth’s orbit a bit and cool it down that way. If it isn’t clear already, I think that these sort of grandiose schemes are doomed to failure right from the start. Not because they won’t work, but because of the unintended consequences.

Journalists are not entirely to blame. You even hear people being interviewed on the street. Too much rain is bad, too much hot weather is bad, too much snow is bad. There is drought and at the same time there is flooding. But who decides how much is too much? In my opinion, the rapid change in weather patterns we see now probably are caused by humans.

I’m not convinced that we can fix our mistakes quite so simply. Anyone who thinks otherwise should probably read the book “why things bight back”… In conclusion, I think it’s our entire mindset we really do need to change not just our lifestyle.

Eco search term trends

On self driving trucks

I actually got my truck license a few months ago. It weighed more than 8 tonnes. No not the license, the truck!

And what I discovered was that driving a truck is way harder than driving a car. There are way more things to consider than driving a car. Length, height, width, load, stopping distance, being a courteous driver, defensive driving.

During the driving test, a large piece of polystyrene foam blew onto the road in front of my lane. I was quickly able to work out that it was not really any great threat, because of its low weight/inertia. And so I *didn’t* do an emergency stop and just rolled straight over the top of it. Are self driving vehicles able to distinguish truly hazardous obstacles from non-hazardous ones? I’m not convinced that the software ‘understands’ what it sees.

Would a self driving truck stop if live powerlines went down in right front of the roadway? Or would the software only see that as fairly harmless ‘lines’ crossing the lanes?

Does a self driving truck take extra precautions when a approaching a school zone? Or does it merely “slow down”?

Does a self driving truck take extra precautions if they see a drunk man staggering on the pavement outside a pub on a friday or saturday night? Or does it merely drive right past — oblivious to the accident that almost happened?

Does a self driving truck know when a sports car is approaching from way behind and give that extra bit of room to overtake?

Can a self driving truck actually ‘anticipate’ other dangerous scenarios? I don’t think so.

I can’t imagine a self-driving B-double or road train. Someone still has to unload the truck. Someone still has to accept the delivery. Someone still has to maintain the truck. Driving a truck is definitely not an easy thing to do. I can’t imagine how much code would be required to replace a truckie. All I know is that I do have a lot more respect for truckies now. A lot more.


McDonalds’ straws suck.

This sucks, McDonalds. Sorry, but it just sucks. And I for one am not afraid to say so.

It took two design agencies to model a new type of straw for thickshakes using computational fluid dynamics. I don’t know about other designers, but I think McDonalds should be focusing on more eco straws, not pfaffing around with this. IMHO, it’s a waste of talent.

You generate 60 million plastic straws every single day on this planet, practically none of which actually get recycled (do they?). And half of them are ending up in turtles’ nostrils and other marine creatures’ stomachs whenever they blow off of landfill.

It’s 2017. Note that the first three pages of google’s search results when searching for the term “McDonalds straw”. And not a single webpage spouting off about how fucked up it is.

How about doing something about that problem? How about something like this:

This is my PhD thesis, today it is exactly 12 years old.


If you’d like to read all about the structure formation of natural opal, this is one of the most complete models of opal formation available anywhere.

Here is the link:

Characterisation of Australian Opals — leslie dean brown

At the time I remember my supervisor said to me that it was one of the most well-presented theses that he had ever seen.

Not necessarily the results, but the quality of the illustrations and I guess you could say the “design layout”.

I always want to be proud of my own work and do things to the best of my ability.

Today I was able to open up my original word document file that was almost 12 years old.

To my surprise, it kept the original formatting and page breaks. And why shouldn’t it? Although I am not so keen on the changes that have been implemented to Microsoft Word between since then.

Okay so truth be told,the original word document came in at 281 pages and the printed copy came in at 282. So something was not right.

It turns  out that one graph had to be pushed down by one line and the original date was also restored. I was so paraoid that I would forget to change the date, the field updated itself automatically.

The reason I am doing this and sharing it again here is that my thesis was finally digitised by the UTS library this week, but the quality ain’t all that great, because it was rescanned from the printed page.

Hopefully google robots will scour my site, find the pdf and index it so anyone can access it.

So I’m deciding to generate the pdf myself (I never got around to doing that).

The principle of “the five whys”.

It’s called “the five whys”. And it’s one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal.

I think more people should use this technique so that we can improve society. What is it? What does it entail?

It was ‘invented’ at the Toyota corporation as a method of determining the root cause of something unwanted. You keep asking the question why, a bit like a bratty little kid who first figures out the true power of the word ‘why’.

The central idea is to keep on asking ourselves the ‘why’ questions — we keep asking ourselves why something is so, even if we might not like the answers.

For example, if we apply the principles of the five whys to depression, we may discover the true cause of depression (at least in some people). Scientists have got to the point that they can determine whether someone is depressed based on their brain chemistry. Right, but do they then ask the further question: what causes those brain chemicals to be different? One line of research will lead to a ‘cure’. But the other will lead to ‘prevention’. Which is better? I already know the answer.

It’s no good knowing about brain chemicals if we don’t know what factor change the chemicals in the first place. Otherwise we will never prevent depression, we will only have a ‘cure’. So I think asking the five whys in terms of depression is a simple but effective approach. I think that is part of the success of the very simple approach to holistice medicine.

And this is why I think psychology is a very powerful and underrated tool. Because psychologists, unlike psychiatrists, get to the root causes. Psychologists are already three steps ahead of the scientists studying brain chemistry. Because first of all, psychologists have already figured this out. Secondly, they are already asking the five whys. In fact, they are asking a hundred or even a thousand whys. And they already know that depression has triggers. It’s their job to look for the triggers.

The triggers in my case are a mixture of genetic and environmental. They are genetic because I’m told that I have the ‘melancholy’ or inhereted type of depression as opposed to aquiring depression. That’s all I know.

I can tell you right now what causes my depression, what triggers it. I’m going to do this in point form:

  • Firstly, seeing concrete everywhere. I believe that it’s a horrible ugly material. It’s overused, it’s grey and —unlike nature— it’s very prone to being sprayed with graffiti.
  • Suburbs. Yes. suburbs. I generally find suburbs ugly and therefore depressing. Particularly places that have been either not well designed or overdesigned. That includes all forms of urbanisation, land clearing and ‘development’.
  • I generally find any place without trees quite literally depressing. So in my opinion, if you’re a town planner or an architect, and you’re reading this, the best thing you can do is a) design around existing trees b) plant more trees (and not just in a hole in the asphalt, because as one person put it: “a tree is a community”)
  • Cars with exhaust pipes. Because I have known for some 25 years now about global warming. It’s time to stop producing fucking internal combustion engines already and build more electric-powered cars.
  • Grass. I find the patch of mono-specific grass to be unnatural and therefore depressing. I think back gardens need to look more like meadows. That would attract bees and other insects like dragonflies.
  • Lately, mowers. Why do we even mow grass? Really, what for? If we don’t like long grass, why did we put it there to start with? Depressing.

Today, that’s all I’d like to talk about. But in future I will return to the subject of the five whys, but next time it will be applied to GMOs.


I i irony

Why do we try to minimise human physical work by any means possible?

I‘ve noticed that Western society totally idolises an athletic body shape but resents the physical exertion required to attain it.

As far as I’m concerned, every time you switch on any form of electrical equipment, you’re basically signing an invisible contract that reads:

“I accept that as a consequence of using this device, I risk becoming physically and/or mentally unhealthy.”

We choose to avoid using our muscles at each and every opportunity and then suddenly wonder why we’re obese. We drive to work, drive home and then drive to the gymnasium (if at all).

So many have become too lazy to cook or make anything for ourselves – we invent power tools & kitchen utensils to do it all for us. Take this scenario for instance:

Rather than whip a cake using a wooden spoon the old-fashioned way, we’d now sooner collectively sit in front of a computers all day long, earn enough money for a mechanical cake mixer which can do it for us (basically employing a whole host of product design engineers, entrepreneurs, the sales & marketing department, and everyone else who works in the wholesale and retail chain).

But in so doing, have we really saved any time? And is it really any easier? It certainly doesn’t sound any more efficient. That’s because it’s not!

Even so, we’re now sending a global message that we’d rather do things this way and “bugger the consequences”. We don’t even question why we don’t do it the old way anymore.

We basically do it because everyone else does. Is it the fault of employers who continually expect a higher standard of work? Or does the blame lie with the consumers themselves, who insatiably demand “the latest and greatest”.

We become irritated just thinking about the repercussions. What repercussions? We blindly swallow some kind of pill to mask the long-term consequences of doing things which are unnatural… be it for cholesterol, obesity, stress, or some other kind of “disease”.

Perhaps it is our own mode of thinking which is the true disease?

Despite all this, some of us would still rather be ‘fat’ & ‘schizophrenic’ than utilise our muscles. Is laziness a human condition, or what? These days, I don’t think of laziness as laziness, but rather, the ultimate form of sustainability. Perhaps laziness is good or us humans in the long term? Perhaps it is a long-term srvival strategy?

There is currently no international standardisation for comparing the mental health of different countries. Granted, this is a difficult thing to measure. But I’m willing to bet that there is a direct correlation between the incidence of mental health problems in a society and the amount of energy it consumes per capita.

As we rely on artificial machines to a greater extent, we also now tend to isolate ourselves from our natural environment. It’s as if the very purpose of technology is to extract our dependence on -our very existence in- nature itself. We are fast becoming co-dependent with modern technology. Take away our machines and I expect that chaos would quickly ensue. At the same time, modern man is writhe with mental crises; as a species, it seems as if modern [westernised] man is failing to adapt to an environment which we ourselves have created.

If ever I had a conspiracy theory, this would be it: that we are training the next generation to live without the presence of the natural world. We encourage this behaviour, either consciously or subconsciously, because we expect that the natural world as we know it won’t last very much longer. I find this thought horrendously depressing.

People today entertain themselves indoors with computer programs and plasma screens. It’s not real entertainment, it’s virtual entertainment. We even eat packaged, artificial food (okay although a part of it might actually be real, it certainly looks 100% synthesised).

We’ve augmented our communications with technology so much, that we are fast losing the ability to communicate naturally. We’re becoming completely dysfunctional. I don’t even need to go into it. Pretty soon, we won’t even be able to survive without anything artificial. Imagine, a species so ‘advanced’, that it can’t survive without its own creations. I find that incredibly ironic. Well, I suppose that’s why I call this blog Vida Enigmatica (Strange Life).

Ain’t life ironic – we can’t survive without technology now?

Nature inspired design

“There is no such thing as global warming.”

Sharing this footage again, willemijn heideman, this time as a direct video link, with almost 10,000 connections. Because more people watch it that way. Nice to see it has 46 million views already. That’s a postive I suppose… Can we get this to 5 billion maybe?

Doesn’t it suck that a fuckin’ Justin Bieber video has 50 times as many views as this? I think that is just fucken sad. What a sad, sorry fucken planet we live on. When a fucking little tosser like that get’s more attention than this does. Well it’s not the planet that’s fucked, it’s half the people living on it. That’s what it is.

But who the fuck downvoted it? That’s what I want to know. Who the fuck downvoted it? Do people really think the problem will ‘disappear’  by simply pressing the downvote button?

Do you want to know what I think? I think people should be forced to watch this video … every single time they start their car.

See, this is one reason why I get so pissed off with Porsche, always advertising their Cayenne on LinkedIn. They should be leading the way with their technology… but no… still selling a 4.8 litre engine. Marvellous. I would like the whole world to read this next sentence: the CEO of Porsche, Oliver Blume, ought to be fuckin’ shot I reckon.

And all the 2,406 people who downvoted this particular video, well you should probably do the world a favour and all just go and neck yourselves right now. Ahhh yes. I get these things off my chest and I feel SO much better now. It’s slmost like visiting a psychologist. Except this is way cheaper!

Future optimism scale


Knowing what I know about materials, their effect on ecology and people’s obsession with consumerism, I give humanity a score of about, oooh, 2.9. (and that’s me trying *very* hard to be generous and optimistic)

And you can subtract 0.1 from that number for every decade after that.

The trouble I see is that people are becoming more and more disconnected from what they buy. They don’t see the impact that it is having on other parts of the world. They don’t see any direct or local impacts, so some people even think “everything is rosy”.

On top of that, product life cycles are getting shorter and shorter and shorter, which is bad. We should be reward companies that sell timeless designs. Because there is less of an environmental footprint if you manufacture the same thing without any changes. Every time a part changes shape, moulds also have to change, that is not good for the environment. And the manufacturing phase of synthetic products contributes more to pollution than their end-of-life disposal.

90% of people refuse to even talk about it, like the problems will all magically “go away”. Cat videos get more likes on social media than most current environmental issues. And I find that to be quite saddening.

I don’t even think climate change or overpopulation is the biggest threat. It’s probably land clearing. We’re not even giving nature the chance to recover! If urbanisation continues, there just won’t be anywhere for other species to go! And it has been said that if insects disappear, we will soon follow. I think a greater threat to humanity is a mass extinction.

People should try to realise that if you put a great big hermetically-sealed dome right over the top of Manhatten, for example, it probably wouldn’t even work, because central park does not produce enough oxygen, and there is not enough space to grow food and get other material resources…

Probably the worst thing of all is the collusion between government, politics and business. The wrong people are being the most rewarded.

It’s not even 2100 that people should even worry about. It’s the centuries that follow that. With the current rate of deforestation, it’s not going to be a very fun world to live in…

Do keep in mind, I give [some] other species a much higher score than us, many an 8, 9 or even 9.9999 for some. But unfortunately, many many others (mammals and amphibians) will be, like, 0.1, 0.2 or 0.3. That’s really how bad it is. There are species out there with only a dozen specimens in existence.

Putting trophy hunters in their place

This is a mile long rant in response to a trophy hunter on Quora. You’ve been warned.

Your ‘answer’ has been downvoted. What a bunch of self-righteous CRAP. Practically everything you say is complete rubbish. The most ridiculous arguments I have read all year.

  1. I just did an IUCN campaign on carnivorous plants, okay. many of which are endangered through poaching. So that invalidates that argument… just because you don’t see other campaigns as frequently, doesn’t mean that people don’t care about other strange and less-well known animals.
  2. No. Just no. First off, I don’t eat meat. Even so, there’s no way in hell that chickens, cows and sheep were ever in danger of going extinct. So that’s part of it. Lions used to roam by the 100,000. Furthermore, Cecil apparantly suffered for 40 hours. Average factory animals don’t suffer tha long at the time of slaughter.
  3. You can’t compare Lance Armstrong with Walter Palmer. My gosh that you are clutching at straws there. Yes it is ‘unsportsmanlike’. Just take a look at this fat bastard Michael Robinson. Notice I didn’t say fat ‘rich’ bastard? I know it’s not Walter Palmer, but don’t tell me that he’s a great ‘sportsman’. In my eyes, trophy hunting will never be deemed a sport, even if you can tally up a ‘score’. It’s basically going around murdering other creatures! How the féck is that sport? I suppose you think ISIS are sportsmen too do you? Same. They behead their victims too.
  4. Yes the giraffe is more beautiful than the stupid women that kill them. I’m sorry you don’t seem to understand that. If Kendall Jones was the last woman on Earth, okay, and she pulled that shit in front of me, I’d still rather cook the woman up and eat her flesh than procreate with her in order to save humanity.I don’t find rhinos to be particularly ‘beautiful’. They’re big. Cute maybe, but not beautiful. And if she killed a rhino instead of a giraffe, I’d *still *rather cook the woman up and eat her flesh than procreate to save humanity. Got it?  So beauty alone has nothing to do with it.

    It’s about having empathy, compassion and respect. Of course, you were probably indoctrinated as a child to think that that humans are above all other creatures.

  5. I don’t care how rich or poor Walter Palmer and others are. That has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with it. He could be homeless and I’d still react the same way! He could be a billion dollars in debt and I’d still react the same way!
  6. Actually what’s fasinating is how shocked some hunters are when you talk about killing and treating humans in EXACTLY the same way as the animals they themselves slaughtered. There is no difference between a human and an animal. No difference! We are all animals. That’s where trophy hunters go wrong. They see themselves as superior.

In fact, as I’ve said before, if there are 7,000 of one species, and 7,000,000,000 of the other, guess which I appreciate and value more? That’s right, the rarer breed. Not to say that I wish the average Joe on the street harm. Just the ones that threaten the rarer species.

Doesn’t have to be critically endangered. A statue such as ‘threatened’ or “least concern” is enough for me to show empathy, compassion and respect. Especially if it has faced dwindling numbers or near extinction (like for example blue whales, fin whales).

Yes, some animal lovers really do hate some humans. What’s wrong with that? I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

Are you bothered by the fact that some animal lovers have a million times more respect for an ‘animal’ than a human? I think so. I think this fundamentally distrubs some hunters and their visions of other human beings. Or are trophy hunters so naive that they think that all animal lovers are all-loving, all-caring ‘nice’ people incapable of real and negative emotions? We’re just as capable of anger and revenge. The thing is, we would be more inclined to consider Walter Palmer’s family before doing anything stupid. Not to mention jail time.

What, trophy hunters think that animals lovers can’t get mad or violet? Wrong!

I think more surprising is the typical shocked reaction of pro-trophy hunters when the barrage of death wishes arrives. What, do you think trophy hunters are respected by their fellow humans? Wrong. They’re completely reviled, and it has nothing to do with any of the 5 or 6 points you make.

I can assure you that more people would wish them dead, except that they can’t speak out for fear of being “politicially incorrect”. They may not send a death threat or wish any suffering upon another being, but I bet they sure wish trophy hunters would simply vanish completely off the face of the Earth…

It’s not that Cecil was famous. That was just the icing on the cake… it was really the last straw. It’s really what made people aware that this is still going on after decades.

So I have a message to trophy hunters, don’t think that the rest of the world is at peace with you slaughtering African animals that aren’t ‘famous’. That’s just being igorant.

It’s that people the world over are fed up with both trophy hunters and poachers. People don’t want to see some fucktard grinning with overly whitened teeth mounting a majestic but dead lion on their wall. Most people want nothing to do with it. Don’t even compare it to ‘sport’.
Yes in Cecil’s case it’s probably the fact that that lion had a name. So people could empathise with it more.

But it’s not 1916. Or 1816 for that matter. It’s 2016. Maybe in 1980 Walter could’ve gotten away without being doxxed. But not today.

So. If you trophy hunters don’t want to be the victim of a barrage of hate, I suggest the following:

  • don’t ever take a selfie with a dead or a dying animal, especially not wearing makeup and smiling like a jackass and NEVER I repeat NEVER lying down next to them pretending theat they are still alive and just sleeping.
  • don’t ever kill anything outside your own country. Because that’ll never be seen as ‘good’ — even if it’s under the guise of “population management”. Why not? Because your fucking carbon footprint flying over there and back again just prevented you from being at all ‘sustainable’, that’s why.
  • don’t ever say that you are trophy hunting for ‘conservation’. Because if you are, why not simply donate the money straight to an environmental charity of your choice?

Combine all three points aboce and you have a sure fire recipe to be on the receiving end of that barrage of hate I was talking about earlier.

NYC cop.

Don’t you just love it when cops pull up people in Ferraris, Bentley’s and Lamborghinis?

Eco conditioner review

One of the things I’d like to do more of is product reviews with an eco focus.

I‘d also like to make this more of a video blog. Why? Because I don’t always have much time to write good articles and it is a relatively ‘quick’ way of generating content.

I say ‘quick’ because even a five minute video like this one takes about two or more hours to upload.

With all the depressing news lately, I believe it is very important to give credit to people who are trying to protect our environment. Not enough people do.

So without further ado, here is eco review #2!

If you are a manufacturer, markerter, retailer or distributor and you’d like me to do an eco focused review, I’m happy to do that. You may not get five stars, but you will get some free exposure!

Also, if you have suggestions for other eco product reviews, just drop me a line.

I often read reviews about eco products and reviewers often blindly miss the point. Particularly when reviewing electronic devices.

Such is the case with my next review: the Marley XLBT headphones.

Donald Trump’s own fake news.

How long have scientists known about climate change?

Time to change people. Time to change. Now.

The trouble is, from what I see, people only tend to believe in parts of science — and only when it suits them.

So when does it suit them? Whenever they want to use an electronic device or some other piece of latest technology they can’t do without.

I don’t hear many people denying … oh I don’t know… modern electron valence bond theory. Or semiconductor doping. We never hear about those subjects in parliamentary debates. Or anything at all to do with thermodynamics/physics/electronics/materials for that matter. Do we?

Why not? Because it’s this kind of knowledge that makes transistors and other electronic devices possible and allows things like computers and mobile phones to be built.

I don’t think people realise how serious this climate change thing is. Because scientists don’t like losing control of things. We don’t like it.

There ain’t no way of stoppin’ Jupiter’s great red spot. There ain’t no fixin’ the atmosphere of Venus either. And Mars is a fuckin’ frozen wasteland which right now is even more inhospitable than somewhere like the summit of mount Everest. Yet I don’t see people building houses way up there. Or on K2.

This planet Earth right here is all we’ve got. And there ain’t no guarantees.

Don’t make it hard for scientists in future.

I see politicians and leaders pleading with scientists in the future. Pleading for a way to get the Earth’s climate back on track.

And do you know what will happen? Some scientists will tell them –you– to just fuck off already. Or something like that.

“Why didn’t you listen to us when were telling you to change decades ago?” — Scientists of the future.

What I think of ‘Lord’ Christopher Monckton.

I‘ve become tired of being ‘nice’. So two years ago, okay, I got hypnotised. And this is basically the result of that. Now I call it like I see it. I don’t really care if I offend people. If they want to be stupid and remain ignorant, then that’s there perogative. Fine by me.

But don’t expect me to shut up and listen to you without calling you out on it. What am I talking about? This is what I am talking about. It is pretty hard to watch.
What kind of BULLSHIT is this? Seriously. The first thing I do is look up people’s credibility. And what do I see with this “Lord Muck” fellow? I see a degree in classics (languages). And another one in journalism. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I don’t see any science education anywhere in his CV.

[Read more…]

Muscle-powered bio-bots


Still not as good as a fly though is it?

Comparing this to your basic, everyday, run-of-the-mill “garden variety” house fly, here are my questions:

Can the actual printed flying thingo generate more copies of itself? No.
Can it fly without an external power source? No.
Is the laser biodegradeable? No.
Can it navigate obstacles? No.
Does it include sensors? No.

So in other words:

* It doesn’t actually assemble itself, because it requires an external laser.
* It’s not self-regenerative, meaning it can’t produce copies of itself
* It’s not truly ‘sustainable’.

In other words, I think insects are still vastly superior in more ways than one.


Artificial chameleon

This is it folks, an artificial chameleon:

The coal debate

Ex scientist here. Dr. qualified. (like that even matters today)
No we most certainly should NOT be relying on coal!! How many times do scientists have to tell you this??!! For one thing, coal is not renewable. It’s going to run out you know. Maybe not in the next few decades. But in a couple of centuries it will. Then what?!! But quite apart from that, the really clever scientists are telling you to keep it in the ground! Are you politicians all DEAF, or what? Hello global warming!
I know it’s hard for you to accept something that you don’t understand. But how many people know how and why their mobile phone works? Or their computer? Or their car? Eh?
You have enough sunshine in QLD to power that state for the next… 5 billion years!!!! It’s a no brainer. FFS living in this country is becoming embarrassing.
You politicans might know about money and rules and regulation, but you know sweet FA about how the world works. I.e. Physics and chemistry. Here’s a tip. Kindly look up the surface temperature of the planet Venus. That planet is hotter than it should be considering it’s proximity to the sun. It’s at least 30 degrees hotter than Mercury for Pete’s sake (and Mercury is MUCH closer to the Sun!). What’s the difference? Well, for one thing, Venus has a predominantly CO2 atmosphere. It’s the original greenhouse planet. Heck, it’s probably a hundred °C hotter than it should be because of that CO2. Now I suggest you politicians start taking notice of my fellow scientists… because otherwise you’re going to be even more out of touch than you are now. Les out
its not politically correct to say global “warming”, because we have no idea what its actually doing, so just to be safe . every social justice warrior knows that, you have to say climate “change” now to muddy the waters , or you will be socially ostracized. but at least you do agree that its the sun that drives climate, like on venus, and not human activities. but we should stop selling our coal to china, a brutal communist dictatorship, and others , after all we`re going to need it here to for some few hundred years to power our cities, what will we do when it runs out , our childrens childrens children will need it , unless one of these genius scientists can invent a better solution that wont cripple our nation and cause millions of deaths like solar and wind will
I think you completely missed my point. I was trying to point out that atmosphere also affects climate, not just the proximity to the sun.

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Characterisation of Australian opals

If you’d like to read all about the structure formation of natural opal, this is one of the most complete models of opal formation available anywhere.

At the time I remember my supervisor said to me that it was one of the most well-presented theses that he had ever seen. Not necessarily the results, but the quality of the illustrations and I guess you could say the “design layout”. I guess I always want to be proud of my own work and do things to the best of my ability:

This is my PhD thesis, from 12 years ago.

Today I was able to open up my original word document file that was almost 12 years old. To my surprise, it kept the original formatting and page breaks. And why shouldn’t it? Although I am not so keen on the changes that have been implemented to Microsoft Word between since then.

Okay so truth be told, the original word document came in at 281 pages and the printed copy came in at 282. So something was not right. It turns out that one graph had to be pushed down by one line and the original date was also restored. I was so paraoid that I would forget to change the date, the field updated itself automatically.

The reason I am doing this and sharing it again here is that my thesis was finally digitised by the UTS library this week, but the quality ain’t all that great, because it was rescanned from one of the original copies.

So I’m deciding to generate a brand new, clean pdf myself (I never got around to doing that, because I was compeltely over it at the time). Hopefully the google robots will scour my site, find this pdf and index it so anyone can access it.