Everyone can play a part in conserving Australia’s World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef — ScienceDaily

Many Australians do not know what they can individually do to make a difference to the health of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef (GBR), according to a survey led by QUT researchers.

The researchers found most Australians are not making a connection between climate change and reef health and say there is more individuals could do on this front, both in the home and to influence government policies.

Senior Research Fellow Dr Angela Dean conducted the online survey of 4,285 Australians with Professor Kerrie Wilson, Director of QUT’s Institute for Future Environments, and Dr Robyn Gulliver from the University of Queensland.

The resulting paper, “Taking action for the Reef?” — Australians do not connect Reef conservation with individual climate-related actions, has been published in Conservation Letters: a journal of the Society for Conservation Biology.

“While there are many threats to reef health, including poor water quality stemming from

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Australia’s telco and energy sectors agree to boost infrastructure resiliency

Communications Alliance and Energy Networks Australia (ENA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to improve the way the two sectors collaborate and share knowledge when responding to emergency situations.

Under the MoU, the pair have agreed to improve the safety of communities by mitigating risks caused by telecommunications or power outages during emergencies, as well as the sustainability of telecommunications and power supply services to communities affected by emergencies to support their recovery.

The MoU also sets out that the two sectors will collaborate and coordinate on preparing telecommunications and electricity networks and infrastructure for responding to emergencies at local, regional, and state level.

A report prepared by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in May found that during the peak period of the Black Summer bushfires, most telecommunication outages were due to power failures rather than direct fire damage to communication assets.

The report found that during

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Science vs humanities in Australia’s university fee shake-up | Australia

Canberra, Australia – University students enrolling in degrees in the humanities, law and economics in Australia will see their course fees more than double next year under legislation that has just passed the upper house which the government says will ensure higher education produces “job-ready graduates”.

Under the plan, a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree will cost as much as 58,000 Australian dollars ($41,619) from 2021, an increase of 113 percent compared with 2020.

The bill passed the Senate on Thursday after securing the votes of minority parties, all but guaranteeing it will become law when it returns to the lower house in a week or so.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has said the changes are necessary because students need “to make more job-relevant choices” and study more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses to ensure they become better prepared for the job market.

The bill comes as

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ACMA survey highlights how COVID-19 changed Australia’s online behaviour

Australia’s reliance on the internet and communication services grew significantly for the six months to June 2020, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) 2020 annual consumer survey has revealed.

It showed that 99% of Australians accessed the internet, an increase from 90% of Australians who accessed the internet during the same period last year.

The survey suggested the increase in online activities was likely driven by the COVID-19 restrictions that were introduced in March 2020, given that there were no significant changes from 2018 to 2019.

Emailing, web browsing, banking, and watching videos remained the most popular online activities during the six months.

Read: Long-term remote work is leading to a global drop in productivity (TechRepublic)

Also, for the first time, the ACMA survey showed the participation rates of users going online for accessing news, posting and engaging with content, video conferencing and calling, working from home, telehealth consultations,

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Australia’s report on agtech confirms technology can lead to a fertile future

The horizon scanning report on the future of agricultural technologies has identified how adopting new technologies — such as sensor, robotic, artificial intelligence (AI), data, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and distributed ledger — could improve the sector’s productivity, diversity, and profitability.

The Future of Agriculture Technologies report [PDF] was released by the Australian Council of Learned Academics (ACOLA) on Tuesday, after it was commissioned by Australia’s chief scientist Alan Finkel, on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), to undertake the project.

“Australia’s diverse agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sector is a AU$69 billion industry … however, reaching the government’s goal of AU$100 billion by 2030 will likely require more than just incremental technological advancements,” Finkel said.

“Historically, Australian producers have been rapid adopters of innovation, and these emerging technologies will help our agriculture sector to transform and tackle current and future challenges.”

The report highlighted how the deployment of technologies,

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Cathy Freeman’s Olympic victory etched into Australia’s DNA 20 years on

Cathy Freeman’s triumphant Olympic moment two decades ago officially became part of Australia’s genome Friday, with the nation’s archivists using synthetic DNA data storage to preserve the footage.

As footage of Freeman’s 400m dash to Olympic glory was projected onto the sails of Sydney Opera House, the National Film and Sound Archive(NFSA) celebrated the digitisation and successful storage of the video in synthetic DNA.

“Tonight our celebration is two-fold, the anniversary of that race… and we celebrate the awesome technological innovation,” NFSA chair Gabrielle Trainor said.

The announcement marked exactly 20 years since Freeman raced into sporting history by becoming the first Aboriginal person to win an individual gold medal.

The DNA storage works by converting data stored in a computer’s binary code of ones and zeros -— in this case digitised footage -— and transcribing it into DNA code made of four chemical rungs: adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine.

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