geekgirl (r)osiex aka the metal cupcake publishing about interesting things for a really long time!
  • “Half of European bumblebees in decline, quarter face extinction…” [#geekgirl]

    [From an article at RT] “Almost one-quarter of European crops’ vital pollinators – bumblebees – could die out in the coming years, as half of the species are declining, a new study says. Citing human factor and climate change, it warns of “serious implications” for agriculture.

    A preview of the recent European Commission-funded study, published on the website of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Wednesday, says it has some “bad news” for Europe’s bumblebees.

    As much as 46 percent of the 68 bumblebee species living in Europe have a declining population and just 13 percent are increasing in numbers, the study shows. According to IUCN, 24 percent of those species are “threatened with extinction.”

    The study, which contributes to the European Red List of pollinators and is part of the Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) project, stresses that three of the five “most important insect pollinators of European crops” are bumblebee species.

    Bumblebees have for thousands of years played a “critical role” in agriculture as they help crops reproduce by transferring pollen from plant to plant. However, as agriculture and urban development have intensified in recent years and cultivated land has been changed, bumblebees have been hit by the loss of habitat and the loss of their preferred forage, as well as pollution and insecticides. “

  • Judge #Gender Diversity Threatened By #OneTermTony [#geekgirl]


    [From  this Sydney Morning Herald article]: ‘A senior NSW judge has warned there are ”worrying signs” the Abbott government is winding back measures to promote greater gender diversity on the bench and called for vigilance to ensure hard-won advancements for female lawyers are not lost.

    Ruth McColl, who has served on the Court of Appeal for more than a decade, said changes introduced by the former Labor government to improve the transparency of the appointment process for federal judges appeared to have been scrapped by the Coalition.

    ”The aim of the process was to ensure the evolution of the federal judiciary into one that better reflected the diversity of the Australian community,” Justice McColl said in a speech in Sydney on Thursday night.

    ”That position has now changed. According to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department website as at 22 February, 2014: ‘There are no current judicial appointment processes’ for any of the federal courts. Read what you like into that rather Delphic statement.”’

  • #OneTermTony’s “Wimp” Comments about #NoMoralsMorrison [#geekgirl] [#threewordslogans]

    No Morals Morrison

    No Morals Morrison [Image Credit: smh.com.au]

    [Via smh.com.au] “Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s bungled information about the death and violence on Manus Island, adding that there was “very little damage” to the detention centre and that the riot had been “dealt with”.

    You don’t want a wimp running border protection, you want someone who is strong, who is decent and Scott Morrison is both strong and decent.” – One Term Tony

    Mr Morrison also did not explain why it took until Saturday night to confirm conclusively that Mr Berati had died inside the centre.

    “As time goes on the picture becomes clearer,” he said.

    He declined to comment on whether he believed that Mr Berati was necessarily behaving in a “riotous” manner, or the behaviour of G4S staff at the time of the incident.

    “I’m not going to speculate,” he said.

    Mr Morrison said these questions would be determined by an independent review and police investigation.

    Mr Morrison said Mr Berati’s body was in the process of being sent to Port Moresby and would undergo an autopsy.

    Mr Morrison said he had faith in the PNG justice system and would not comment on whether it was appropriate to have allowed G4S guards to watch over Mr Berati’s body despite also potentially being subjects of an investigation.

    “These centres by definition will always be tense places because people don’t want to be there,” he said.Mr Morrison said the government was in control of the Manus Island centre.

    “The centre is under control as we speak right now,” he said. “Within hours of this incident taking place, the centre resumed operations.”

    Mr Morrison also quashed reports the government was considering closing the PNG detention centre.

    “The Manus Island processing centre will remain under this government,” he said.”

  • #Abbott Moves Against The ABC & SBS [#geekgirl] [#GrrRRrr]

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has launched a calculated attack against the freedom of the press with today’s announcement of a governmental “efficiency study” into both of Australia’s public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS:

    “In a statement, the Department of Communications says it will examine operational costs as well as products and services in order to “increase efficiency and reduce expense”. The decision comes a day after Prime Minister Tony Abbott claimed the broadcaster was unpatriotic in its coverage of the Edward Snowden leaks and asylum seeker abuse claims.”

    Doesn’t Tony Abbott remember the following comments he so stridently voiced back when he was Opposition Leader (that are freely available on his own Political Party’s website) regarding how the then Prime Minister of Australia should accept that:

    “… politicians don’t always like the coverage that they get but if you’re in public life you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and a vigorous, critical media is an important part of a healthy democracy…what I will never support is any attempt to try to bluff the media out of doing its job which is to hold bad governments to account….regardless of who owns the newspapers I think it’s important that the media in Australia robustly hold governments to account and any attempt by government to slide out from under critical scrutiny is just wrong.”

    Read the rest of Abbott’s mindbogglingly hypocritical comments here, quickly, before the rush to censor it like they did to the Gonski Report website and other inflammatory “hoist-by-his-own-petard” speeches by Abbott. Oh, and in my not-so-humble-opinion, be prepared for the results of the “efficiency” [HA!] study to most likely show that the ABC *needs* (just imagine I’m a closed-minded typical right winger here for a sec, m’kay?) to:

    1. Have its funding significantly reduced and/or
    2. Be sold off to the highest bidder (considering privatisation is the acceptable right-wing-bog-standard-solution to fix a country’s woes, yes?).

     

  • “Tasmania forest heritage listing comes under threat from Coalition” [#geekgirl]

    [Via the Guardian] “The federal government has decided to push ahead with a plan to remove world heritage listing from a swath of Tasmanian forest, potentially reopening bitter divisions over the state’s timber industry.

    Richard Colbeck, parliamentary secretary for agriculture, said the government would write to Unesco’s world heritage committee to ask it to peel away about 170,000 hectares of forest from the protected region.”

  • Tim Wilson Tweets Protestors Should be Watercannoned [#geekgirl]

    [Via @GrogsGamut]

    [Via @GrogsGamut]
  • Australia Denies Somali Woman Surgery [#geekgirl]

    [From news.com.au] ‘Ayaan Mohamed, 25, had her face shattered by a bullet as her family tried to flee violence in Somalia’s brutal civil war. She was two years old at the time.

    Because the complicated facial reconstruction surgery she requires is not available in her homeland, Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital and Rotary had offered to bring her to Australia.

    But the government has refused to grant Ayaan a short-term medical visa.

    Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles said the Australian identity was one characterised by compassion.

    “Mr Morrison, this decision makes no sense,” he said.

    “It appears profoundly unfair and needs to be reconsidered.”‘

  • RSPCA Accredited Free Range Pork IS NOT Free Range [#geekgirl]

    To those of you that think buying RSPCA Accredited Free Range Pork means you’re not supporting intensive factory farms, think again. The Humane Choice website tells us that: “A video exposing the ‘indoor/outdoor combination’ conditions at an RSPCA accredited farm recently highlighted the fact the we need to clarify the differences in production systems and that the footage in this video is of bred free range (or indoor/outdoor combination) and is NOT free range.

    The RSPCA Standard does not address free range production.  They describe indoor, indoor/outdoor combination and outdoor.  All systems allow  very high stocking densities for the pigs with very limited outdoor area where applicable.”

     A video exposing the ‘indoor/outdoor combination’ conditions at an RSPCA accredited farm recently highlighted the fact the we need to clarify the differences in production systems and that the footage in this video is of bred free range (or indoor/outdoor combination) and is NOT free range.The RSPCA Standard does not address free range production.  They describe indoor, indoor/outdoor combination and outdoor.  All systems allow  very high stocking densities for the pigs with very limited outdoor area where applicable.We believe that true free range is not about massive sheds and stocking rates and token access to the outdoors.  Free range means pigs raised on pasture in a real farming system, with moveable hutches, wallows and plenty of room.

  • No More Free Range Eggs in Queensland [#geekgirl]

    No Free Range in QLD

    [From Eco Voice] “The Queensland government has quietly brought about changes to state regulations that will now ensure the end of true free range egg production in Queensland. The recent change  to regulations of free range eggs, lifting the number of hens allowed per hectare from 1,500 to 10,000.

    The Queensland government has bowed to the pressure of the corporate giants and sold out Queensland family farms, the egg buying consumer and condemned hens to a life of factory farming misery.

    Up until now, Queensland was applauded for their regulations that stipulated only 1,500 hens per hectare for free range farms. Queensland egg producers actually had an advantage over the other states that allowed higher stocking densities for free range hens. South Australia has just followed suit and developed a free range labelling system for producers, stocking hens at 1,500 or less per hectare. Given the public outrage over the industrialisation of free range egg production and the current position on this issue by the ACCC, we are appalled that the Queensland government has made this move.

    The Queensland government has made a mockery of the Model Code of Practice and is effectively allowing the supermarket giants to act as regulators for the industry. There is no science and no social conscience behind the decision to destroy the Queensland free range egg industry.”

  • Tony Abbott’s Trust Scorecard = 0 [#geekgirl] [#nosurprise]

    [Image from phonytonyabbott.com]

    [Image from phonytonyabbott.com]

    [Via Independent Australia] “The incoming Abbott government campaigned on “restoring trust” and “no surprises”, yet in power abandoned an astonishing number of pre-election promises extremely quickly. Alan Austin starts the count.

    MOST GOVERNMENTS fail to keep some commitments. Soon after their elections to office in 2007 and 2008 respectively, Australia’s PM Kevin Rudd and US President Barack Obama were confronted with the global financial crisis. Many pledges had to be set aside.

    In 2010, Australia’s PM Julia Gillard and her British counterpart David Cameron found themselves leading minority governments in hung parliaments. Both were obliged to shelve key undertakings.

    The Abbott Government, however, has no excuse for the multiplicity of post-election u-turns, broken promises and hypocrisies. The list is rapidly becoming longer than for any Western government in memory.