Lisa Roberts blog


Old growth forests

Filed under: Science — Lisa @ 21:56

I made this painting in 2006, of an old growth forest in Tasmania's 'Walls of Jeruselum'.

What IS an old growth forest?

Are there different definitions of this term?

Why is old growth forest thought to be more precious than young or re-growth forest?

What IS an old growth forest?

I grew up next to Sherbrooke Forest in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges.


A physics thing

Filed under: Science — Lisa @ 20:08

I find a way to upload an old film Beware of Pedestrians:

Human forms express diverse and often contradictory responses to an environment co-created by fellow pedestrians: a self portrait from inner suburban Melbourne, 1994 to 1995. The cage is a house and the grid maps Melbourne roads.

How does the film relate to my experience of the current environment? How does it relate to yours?

For me the film reflects my anxiety about what can be done to regain balance in the natural world. But it does not reflect my faith people to affect change. Beware of Pedestrians was made by a pessimist struggling to be an optimist. Now I am an optimist! I agree with the artist and educator Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack who advocated ‘belief in individual creativity in benefiting the common good’ (Jacqueline Strecker in The Mad Square exhibition catalogue, p. 130.). Artists, scientists and engineers must be encouraged to keep creating.

My engineering house mate sends me this video.

He describes it as “a physics thing”. I see it as a dance. That we see the world from our own perspectives can be challenging when working together on such a massive project as regaining global balance. But conversations between people with different views are a great start.


Strecker, J. The Mad Square: Modernity in German art 1910-37 (2011) Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales


Acidification demonstration

Filed under: Climate-Change-Communication, Presentations, Science — Lisa @ 07:57

In today’s Scuttlebutt newsletter I read:

Event Description

Guest lecturer Dr. Richard Feely will discuss the present and future implications of increased temperature and CO2 levels as they relate to the health of our West Coast ocean ecosystems. He will also conduct a live demonstration of ocean acidification.

Dr. Feely is a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.
He also holds an affiliate full professor faculty position at the
University of Washington’s School of Oceanography. His major research
areas are carbon cycling in the ocean and ocean acidification processes.
He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of St.
Thomas, in St Paul, Minnesota in 1969. He then went on to Texas A&M
University where he received both a master’s of science degree in 1971
and a Ph.D. in 1974. Both of his post-graduate degrees were in chemical

He is the co-chair of the U.S. CLIVAR (Climate Variability and
Prediction)/CO2 Repeat Hydrography Program. He is also a member of the
steering committee for the U.S. Ocean Carbon and Biochemistry Program. He
is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the American
Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Feely has authored more than 200 refereed research publications. He
was awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Award in 2006 for his
pioneering research on ocean acidification. In 2007 he was elected to be a
Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.
For more information, please visit our website or call (562) 590-3100,
ext. 0.


$5 for public; FREE for Aquarium members, seniors (age 62+), teachers, and
students with valid ID and advanced reservations


Wednesday, May. 25 (7pm—8:30pm)


Aquarium of the Pacific

100 Aquarium Way

(562) 951-1663

LIMELIGHT Long Beach Events Calendar, more information.

Method of performing in situ calibrated potentiometric pH measurements

Posted: 23 May 2011 12:37 AM PDT

A device for the precise and accurate potentiometric pH measurements in
situ. Embodiments of a potentiometric device according to the invention
consist of one or more glass pH-sensitive electrodes connected to a
potentiometer. A key feature of the device is that, rather than being
calibrated conventionally with buffers, it can be calibrated with an in
situ device that measures pH spectrophotometrically. Spectrophotometric pH
measurements obtained via sulfonephthalein absorbance measurements are
inherently calibrated (do not require buffers). Thus, devices according to
the invention allow for continuous potentiometric pH measurements with
occasional spectrophotometric calibrations. The spectrophotometric
calibration device consists of a spectrophotometer with associated pumps
for combining a sulfonephthalein pH indicator with the aqueous medium whose
pH is to be measured. The device will record potentiometric pH measurements
for an extended period of time until the spectrophotometric device is
autonomously activated for another calibration. In this manner precise and
accurate pH measurements can be obtained continuously in the environment,
and the low energy expenditure of the potentiometric device provides
excellent endurance. Also provided is a method and associated devices for
spectrophotometrically determining the salinity of an aqueous medium.

Inventors: Byrne, Robert H. (St. Petersburg, FL, US)

Application Number: 12/180021

Publication Date: 05/17/2011, 17 May 2011. More information.


Celestial dance NOW

Filed under: Science, dance — Lisa @ 07:46



Filed under: Datavisualization, Science — Lisa @ 15:39


Bioengineered Meat

Filed under: Researchers, Science — Lisa @ 14:40

Artist James King says

I am a speculative designer working in the fields of biotechnology and interaction design. I design applications for emerging technologies and through this work examine their social and aesthetic implications.

On Mar 23, 2011 11:57 AM, he is published in the Scientific American:

If you take a small sample of animal tissue and encourage it to grow in vitro, separate from the original animal’s body, it is possible to create an edible piece of meat.

Bioengineering our brains

Filed under: Human rights, Iconography, Presentations, Science — Lisa @ 14:17

Ted Talk: American Journal of Bioethics, Neuroscience Editor, Paul Root Wolpe, says it’s time to question the bioengineering of animals, our brains and more.

I found this presentation frustratingly manipulating, but am pleased that I saw it. It brought my attention to the reality of genetic engineering. As I watched I found myself asking how genetic engineering works, but my desire for this knowledge battled with my own Nnormalcy Bias*, triggered by the continuous stream of cute animals. I wanted a more objective, balanced point of view. I wanted to see positive examples (if there are any) of positive of genetic engineering.

In order to make ethical decisions about how to regulate our behaviour, ways need to be found to communicate accurate information that do not trigger the Normalcy Bias. We face the same challenge when communicating climate change information. Because we each participate in shaping ourselves and our environment, it makes sense that we work together to decide what is good and what is bad.

*Wikipedia explains that:
The normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred that it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.[1]


Body Narratives

Filed under: Science, drawing — Lisa @ 20:40
Ocean-bottom krill sex

Ocean-bottom krill sex

Today I discover Chris Freemantle, his reference to Krill Sex animation in, and the Art $ Science Collaborations Inc. (ASCI), founded and directed by Cynthia Pannucci.


How to help scientists

Filed under: Science — Lisa @ 13:23

Scientists have shown for the first time that human activity has made extreme rainfall and floods around the world worse in recent decades. is a distributed computing project to produce predictions of the Earth’s climate up to 2100 and to test the accuracy of climate models. To do this, we need people around the world to give us time on their computers – time when they have their computers switched on, but are not using them to their full capacity.

Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday Feb 2011 News, p.3


Crinoid – feather star

Filed under: Iconography, Science, animation, dance — Lisa @ 13:27

At last I try the ‘bones’ tool in Flash CS4 and am animating a crinoid like the one filmed by Torvaansar (Uploaded to U-tube 28 sec – 22 Mar 2008):

What are crinoids?

Crinoids, also known as sea lilies or feather-stars, are marine animals that make up the class Crinoidea of the echinoderms (phylum Echinodermata). Crinoidea comes from the Greek word krinon, “a lily”, and eidos, “form”. [1] They live both in shallow water and in depths as great as 6,000 meters.[citation needed]

Crinoids are characterized by a mouth on the top surface that is surrounded by feeding arms. They have a U-shaped gut, and their anus is located next to the mouth. Although the basic echinoderm pattern of fivefold symmetry can be recognized, most crinoids have many more than five arms. Crinoids usually have a stem used to attach themselves to a substrate, but many live attached only as juveniles and become free-swimming as adults.

There are only a few hundred known modern forms, but crinoids were much more numerous both in species and numbers in the past. Some thick limestone beds dating to the mid- to late-Paleozoic are almost entirely made up of disarticulated crinoid fragments. (Wikipedia)

I find an excellent U-tube tutorial by LilredheadComics on how to use the bones tool.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress