Changing GM policy will be good for the environment and Carbon Zero |

There are two science based issues I have changed my mind on. Genetic engineering is, I have concluded, a useful idea. New Zealand needs to reassess its attitude to the technology.

OPINION: The science has moved on since NZ restricted genetic modification.

Source: Changing GM policy will be good for the environment and Carbon Zero |

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The Mental Load: Honoring Your Story Over Your To-Do List | Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction

I struggle to write. Everyday my to-do-list grows longer with commitments that drag me out of the space where I can reflect, respond and report. When the work day finishes I’m zonked, wasted and useless; then onto YouTube and Kobo romances. And that’s my day.

Except that that is not quite the truth. Each morning I have between 20 and 30 minutes of clear-head-space. That’s when these notes are written. My record of deepening my life; responding to something more interesting than student reports.

And in the evening, for a time, I read something nutritious, before the sleeping tablets take me to sleep.

I’m a man, women have this worst.

The essay below from Brevity is crafted by Felicia Rose Chavez who explores her thoughts around this challenge; what feminists describe as the Mental Load. That’s the reality of having all-sorts of things to do: a family, a house and community, a man; and then the writing.

The essay, The Mental Load: Honoring Your Story Over Your To-Do, gives a writing mother’s point of view. She is right, when she describes the difficulties.

Now I’m a man, so I don’t face the full depths of distraction and socialization a woman has.

It’s not the same. But men suffer from mental load too. And, at least in my case, looking after my family, presents many of the barriers women face.

I find it impossible to write when my head is full of: two tests to write, twenty critiques to mark, lessons to plan, pointless random administration, and a minor crisis or two. That’s mental load! That shuts the brain down, makes it impossible to think, and I become a Zombie.

Except that writing is worth it. “It’s solid training in how to be present in our small lives, how to listen to our truth and the truth of others. We can write because we dare to, because it is healing, because it will teach us things we did not know about ourselves before we started to write“.

For me, slowing down; reading and writing a response that I publish here. That is my life. I feel present, alive and visible. Even if only two or three read my thoughts. To me, writing here is a commitment to a life lived. Not all of it. But an important piece of it.

Kia toa, Kia Ngakaunui.

Source: The Mental Load: Honoring Your Story Over Your To-Do List | Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction

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Oral History Workshop

I spend Saturday at this workshop.

I hoped the workshop would help me find ways to collect stories I can use. But the workshop is about collecting archive quality interviews for future researchers. Certainly an admirable act; however, for each hour recorded there is twenty hours or more preparation and administration. So, I am conflicted and torn. I would like to collect stories that express the humanity of scientists. I’m not sure how that matches with the goal of making recordings for archive; for future historians.

Still a useful and interesting workshop.

My hope was to learn how to record the stories of scientists. The personal stories on their lives and work. And in some way make these accessible to a wider community. What I am saying is that for scientists the work is in the scientific literature. The stories are not anywhere and they are lost as one generation of scientists passes onto the next.

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The problem with sex – Science Weekly podcast | Science | The Guardian

I found this fascinating and a little troubling: troubling because New Zealanders will have similar problems but our media don’t discuss sexuality and our health system, and as far as I know, doesn’t have these specialist services.

Still, worth listening to.

Access to help for sexual problems is patchy and many fear the consequences of cuts to sexual health services could be profound. Nicola Davis investigates

Source: The problem with sex – Science Weekly podcast | Science | The Guardian

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Everyone is ignoring the most interesting result from Finland’s basic income experiment | TreeHugger

There is a narrative that if we help people by providing social security benefits; they just become lazy. Is this true?

Well, maybe not. The results of a Finnish Study trialing a universal benefit, showed that the recipients found work pretty much the same as those receiving traditional support. That is, they were as motivated as those under traditional social security systems with sanctions. This result, that recipients look for work anyway, is what I would expected. From our evolutionary past cooperation and contributing -working- are natural behaviors. We don’t freeload.

Maybe persistent unemployment is the result of factors like: lack of jobs, digitization and artificial intelligence. Maybe new approaches to social security are required, like a Universal Income.

Giving out money revealed something that flew in the face of a common American philosophy.

Source: Everyone is ignoring the most interesting result from Finland’s basic income experiment | TreeHugger

Report is here:

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Sciblogs | Seeds of Change

For those who are interested (From my last blog) this is Bronwyn Hayward’s Science blog on Science Blogs New Zealand. Well worth a full read.

Bronwyn Hayward The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change deliberately left making decisions about what to do to achieve change up to governments and relies on citizens to press their governments to do more. This was a deliberate decision so that diverse governments could at least agree climate change was a problem (a first vital step in international change), but that decision not to impose expectations on governments places a huge burden on citizens who now have the responsibility to press their respective governments for more change. This burden can leave people feeling overwhelmed. In reality, to tackle climate change effectively we need collective, organized responses – and this can leave individuals feeling hopeless; what can I can do as just one person in the face of such a big issue?…

The full article goes on to give ideas for change. Please read the full article.

Source: Sciblogs | Seeds of Change

Young plant in the morning light on nature background

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Book Notes: Sea Change

I have always understood the challenges we face with environmental pollution. That was the topic of my first speech in Miss Lamason’s class in 1967. I was six years old. Since that time I have read and studied environmental science and – for the last ten years – science story telling.

There is always something to learn. Although I understand science, and a little about corporate social responsibility and sustainable business, I don’t know sociology. Bronwyn Hayward begins my education with her book Sea Change.

To me the most important point I have gained from her is that we must regain our strength as citizens and cooperative people to demand action on climate change and inequality. We must make a fuss: Politically! As individuals! And, as groups! Major change happens after citizens demand change. That is how: women gained the vote, that is how slavery was abolished, and that is how gay and lesbian couples gained the right to marriage; and that is how we will rescue ourselves from the horrors of climate change and societal collapse.

My notes are: (Many Quotes)

Bronwyn Hayward: Sea Change Climate Policy in New Zealand.

“I offer three ways that citizens could shift the tides of political debate to advance the objectives of the Paris Agreement. First, by reclaiming our capacity as political actors, secondly by challenging assumptions of continuous material growth; and thirdly by reconsidering values that influence our actions as citizens.”

“There is increasing international recognition that economies cannot expand indefinitely. Many people have begun to talk about ways to ‘live well with less stuff’. In New Zealand’s case, this might mean reducing energy demand by using less fossil fuel, eating less red meat and milk, investing in public transport, reducing the intensity of dairy farm stocking rates and land conversions, and diversifying away from a reliance on international fossil-fueled tourism”.

“We also need to transform how we see ourselves, to change the stories and metaphors we live buy, …. We need more than science; as important as climate science is, we also need storytellers, historians and poets, novelists and playwrights, actors and artists, grandparents, aunties, uncles and children who can help inspire us to new ways of living more sustainably”.

“The tide has turned, the sea is rising but so are we, and when ordinary people act together, we can and will achieve extraordinary things”.

I think Miss Lamason would be pleased. After so many years, my values have not changed and my passion for science is still bright. She is one of the teachers who made me.

Kia Toa, Kia Ngakaunui

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Fire festival and May Day dip in Scotland – in pictures | UK news | The Guardian

In traditional societies with their close links with the natural world the coming of summer was welcome. In Celtic Europe the festival of Beltane was one of four season marking events. This photo essay covers celebrations at the Beltane fire festival on Calton Hill in Edinburgh.

I would love a more organized response to Matriki our own Maori New Year coming soon.

I suggest celebrating the passage of the year. Have some sort of party. For years now my family have a mid-winter BBQ/picnic. We cook sausages over our lounge fire and have a picnic under candle light to acknowledge the passage of time. It’s fun and we finish with ice-cream and lemonade and chocolate in parfait glasses; and chocolate.

The Beltane Fire Society and students of St Andrews University have welcomed the advent of summer with a festival and a sea swim

Source: Fire festival and May Day dip in Scotland – in pictures | UK news | The Guardian

Picture from The Guardian

 Photo from The Guardian

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Misbehaving: being clever and wicked is a form of creativity | Aeon Ideas

I like this.

Would you steal a bunch of flowers from a graveside? The dark side of creativity means that you can be both clever and wicked

What an fascinating subject. Creativity has a dark side. We already knew that.

Source: Misbehaving: being clever and wicked is a form of creativity | Aeon Ideas

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Seven Ways to Feel More in Control of Your Life

This is useful and i am working on this. I encourage you to read this and practice at least one of the seven ways.

Kia Toa, Kia Ngakaunui

Developing greater agency can help you make important life decisions and feel less overwhelmed, stuck, and lost.

Source: Seven Ways to Feel More in Control of Your Life

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