Tag Archives | Australia

Spiders Grow Bigger and Multiply Faster in Urban Areas

"The largest and smallest spiders collected for the study (5 millimeters is about the length of an adult ladybug, which an orb weaver would probably eat)."  Elizabeth Lowe/University of Sydney

“The largest and smallest spiders collected for the study (5 millimeters is about the length of an adult ladybug, which an orb weaver would probably eat).” Elizabeth Lowe/University of Sydney

As much as I hate spiders, I don’t hate them as much as some of the other creepy crawlies. I will let them live as long as they don’t bother me.

via Wired:

Something about city life appears to be causing spiders to grow larger than their rural counterparts. And if that’s not enough to give you nightmares, these bigger urban spiders are also multiplying faster.

new study published today in PLOS One shows that golden orb weaver spiders living near heavily urbanized areas in Sydney, Australia tend to be bigger, better fed, and have more babies than those living in places less touched by human hands.

The study’s authors collected 222 of the creatures from parks and bushland throughout Sydney, and correlated their sizes to features of the built and natural landscape.

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The Star Chamber: Episode 2: The Great Immigration Debate.

Intriguing Chat Show from DownUnder. The pace is languid, but the discussion is fascinating and relevant.

And the house-band are kind of weird (in a good way).

Hosts Richard Wolstencroft and David Thrussell
With Guests Richard Lowenstein and Mandy Kane

https://www.facebook.com/TheStarChamberTV

https://twitter.com/StarChamber_TV

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“The Good Fight” warns of rise of business oligarchs

the-good-fightAustralia’s former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan outlines the growing oligarchy in his newest book.

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via The Guardian:

Vested business interests helped destroy the former Labor government and are now trying to run the country, according to the former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan.

Quotes from Swan’s book, The Good Fight, have been published in the Australian Financial Review, ahead of its release next week.

The paper quoted Swan as saying a small but growing group of “oligarchs” were trying to run the country, and that this was clear from some of the policies in the Coalition’s budget.

“Vested interests, backed by the ­current government, have prevailed, much to the detriment of our people and our nation’s future,” he said.

“In their world, a high-quality ­universal education and health ­services are a drain on the budget, not a platform for a fairer and more prosperous ­economy.”

“At the time of writing, the very people I have discussed … are now running the Abbott government.

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Did YouTube Copyright Rules Help to Silence Activists?

Activists love putting up their videos on YouTube (Luke Rudkowski, for example), but the video-sharing site’s copyright rules aren’t always favorable to activists, reports New Media Rockstars:

File this under “dirty tricks” if you’re the sort of person who files things! The Australian environmental activist group Get Up! is claiming that its opponents have exploited YouTube’s copyright policies in a sneaky attempt to silence them. The group, which campaigns for various social and environmental causes, suggests that an anti-coal video they produced may have been pulled from their channel by a strategically timed copyright claim just before a critical vote on the issue.

The video was allegedly produced by Get Up! to educate the public about a proposed coal transportation facility that could potentially endanger part of the Great Barrier Reef. The video highlights other environmental abuses by Adani, the energy conglomerate that would own and operate the expanded facility.

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According to the World Bank, Preventing Climate Change Would Help the Economy

Credit: Collection of Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, Chief Scientist National Ice Center.

Credit: Collection of Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, Chief Scientist National Ice Center.

Yes, you read that right. Implementing preventative measures and tackling the climate change before it gets worse would actually save us money and boost the economy. Well, according to the World Bank, who seem to be pro-climate change when dollar signs are in the mix.

Fighting climate change would help grow the world economy, according to the World Bank, adding up to $2.6tn (£1.5tn) a year to global GDP in the coming decades.

The findings, made available in a report on Tuesday, offer a sharp contrast with claims by the Australian government that fighting climate change would “clobber” the economy.

The report also advances on the work of economists who have argued that it will be far more costly in the long run to delay action on climate change.

Instead, Tuesday’s report found a number of key policies – none of which included putting an economy-wide price on carbon – would lead to global GDP gains of between $1.8tn and $2.6tn a year by 2030, in terms of new jobs, increased crop productivity and public health benefits.

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Photographer Snaps Pics of Awesome Battle Between Crocodile and Python

Pic: TNT Corliss via ABC Northwest Queensland (C) -

Pic: TNT Corliss via ABC Northwest Queensland (C) -

While many of us might run like hell if we happened upon a battle between these two Australian alpha predator reptiles, local writer Tiffany McCorliss grabbed her camera instead. There are more pictures – many of which might be potent nightmare fuel for the ophidophobic among you – at the site. Click through for more.

Via BBC News:

Tiffany Corlis, a local author, saw the fight and took these pictures, which have been widely used in the Australian media.

“It was amazing,” she told the BBC. “We saw the snake fighting with the crocodile – it would roll the crocodile around to get a better grip, and coil its body around the crocodile’s legs to hold it tight.”

“The fight began in the water – the crocodile was trying to hold its head out of the water at one time, and the snake was constricting it.”

“After the crocodile had died, the snake uncoiled itself, came around to the front, and started to eat the crocodile, face-first,” she added.

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Smart Phone, Dumb Person: Woman Checking Facebook Status Walks Off Pier

Pic: fineartamerica.com

Pic: fineartamerica.com

A Taiwanese tourist almost drowned after she walked off the edge of a pier while playing with her phone. Don’t worry: She didn’t lose the phone.

Via BBC:

Police were alerted to the incident by a witness and rescued her in a speedboat after about 20 minutes.

The woman, who apologised, was taken to hospital for observation but police said she was fine.

Senior Constable Dean Kelly of the water police said officers found her floating metres from the pier.

“She was still out in the water laying on her back in a floating position because she told us later that she couldn’t swim,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoted him as saying.

“She still had her mobile phone in her hand and initially she apologised… she said ‘I was checking my Facebook page on the phone and I’ve fallen in’.”

Constable Kelly called on people to pay more attention when using social media around water.

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Cryptozoologists Hunting Tasmanian Tiger Declare ‘No Doubt’ Species Still Alive

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Could the thylacine exist? The Centre for Fortean Zoology claims it is likely. This reminds me The Hunter, starring Willem Dafoe

via The Guardian

Team claims that it has ‘highly credible’ witnesses and has found animal faeces that could belong to the extinct thylacine

It had been considered extinct for nearly 80 years, but the Tasmanian tiger has been declared alive and kicking by an intrepid group of British naturalists.

A team of investigators from the Centre for Fortean Zoology, which operates from a small farmhouse in north Devon, is currently in Tasmania hunting down clues to prove the thylacine, commonly known as the Tassie tiger, still exists.

The group claims to have gathered compelling evidence of the thylacine’s presence in remote parts of Tasmania’s north-west, despite the last known animal dying in Hobart Zoo on 7 September 1936.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology said it has talked to several “highly credible” witnesses of the thylacine and has found animal faeces that could belong to the beast.

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