Postcard from Portland: coastal research and coffee roasters

By Chris Owers, Global Challenges Travel Scholar

The Global Challenges Travel Scholarship gave me the opportunity to attend one of the largest international conferences for coastal and estuarine science. It did not disappoint.

The CERF conference was held in Portland, Oregon in November. Photo credit: Chris Owers

The CERF conference was held in Portland, Oregon in November. Photo credit: Chris Owers

The Coastal and Estuarine Research Foundation (CERF) is a North American-based organisation focused on ‘advancing human understanding and appreciation of the Earth’s estuaries and coasts’.

This year’s CERF conference was held in Portland, Oregon, attracting more than 1500 scientists, managers and graduate students. Among the fantastic coffee roasters and microbreweries, the venue was well placed for the theme of ‘Grand Challenges in Coastal and Estuarine Science: Securing Our Future’.

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PetaJakarta talks social media at Big Boulder Conference

SMART Infrastructure’s Dr Tomas Holderness recently spoke at the Big Boulder Conference in Boulder, Colorado about his work on the PetaJakarta project.

The annual conference features two days of educational sessions, networking events, and outdoor activities all centered around social data. This year’s conference featured sessions from top social media sources, industry leaders, and consumers of publicly-available social data. They discussed trends, best practices, use cases, and the future of the industry.

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Whose job is it to clear up all the rubbish floating in the oceans?

By Alistair McIlgorm, University of Wollongong

Our oceans are filled with rubbish. Photo credit: ThinkStock

Our oceans are filled with rubbish. Photo credit: ThinkStock

I was in the middle of giving a talk on the marine debris problem at a notable Californian marine research institute, when I drank the last of my water bottle, threw it onto the hall floor from the podium, and kept talking.

There it sat, to the surprise of several members of the audience. One well-meaning citizen then picked it up and returned it to the lectern.

“Why did you do that?” I asked. “It just seemed wrong to leave it there,” he replied. Individuals know that something is wrong when the oceans are filled with debris. It is time for governments to act on that knowledge.

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Lessons from Cleveland: why manufacturing matters

By Manufacturing Innovation leader Professor Geoff Spinks

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo credit: iStock

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo credit: iStock

CLEVELAND, OHIO: Manufacturing Innovation is one of the three inaugural themes within the University of Wollongongs Global Challenges Program, which are united under the aim of Transforming Lives and Regions.

But why should we worry about manufacturing? Is it a problem if all manufacturing disappears from the Illawarra and Australia? After all, as consumers we already benefit considerably from low-cost imported manufactured goods of all varieties, from iPods to cars.

A University of Manchester study has estimated Apple’s profits would decrease by 50 per cent if iPhones were assembled in the United States, compared to China. Presumably, the ‘on-shoring’ of iPhone assembly would drive selling prices through the roof.

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