Dbytes #120 (1 October 2013)

Dbytes #120 (1 October 2013)
Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group

“A major problem with metrics is the well-charted tendency for people to distort their own behaviour to optimize whatever is being measured (such as publications in highly cited journals) at the expense of what is not (such as careful teaching).”
Colin Macilwain Nature http://www.nature.com/news/halt-the-avalanche-of-performance-metrics-1.13553

General News

1. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis (summary for policy makers)
2. A ‘nudge’ in the right direction: a tool for pro-environmental behaviour

3. Predicting who will publish or perish as career academics
4. Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments
5. Don’t be that dude: Handy tips for the male academic

EDG News (more details on these items follows general news)

Brisbane:
Duan Biggs debates the legalisation of the rhino horn trade
Canberra: David Lindenmayer features in radio doco on the Leadbeater’s possum
Perth: Marit Kragt is working on NERP project 5.6 “Carbon biodiversity trade-ons”
Melbourne: Geoff Heard has moved to York

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General News

1. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis (summary for policy makers)

The IPCC report on climate change – a summary for policy makers

http://www.climatechange2013.org/

The Minister for the Environment’s media release on the IPCC Report is available here: http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/hunt/2013/mr20130927.html?utm_source=mins&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=feed

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2. A ‘nudge’ in the right direction: a tool for pro-environmental behaviour

An overview of research into ‘nudge’ theory and practices has recently been presented. While there is much evidence to show how humans make decisions, translating these psychological and economic insights into viable policy instruments that encourage behavioural change remains challenging, the authors conclude. The study draws on experiences from a range of sectors, including health and finance, which could help inform nudge strategies designed to encourage pro-environmental behaviour. Nudge strategies have arisen in response to modern society’s shift towards a focus on individuals, who are no longer passive to authority. This social change requires new ways for policymakers to interact with citizens. These strategies reject the idea that humans are rational, calculating and effective information processors. In fact, research suggests that people are less than perfect decision makers, and react according to social norms and pressures, as well as their own moral values.

Source: Moseley, A. & Stoker, G. (2013) Nudging citizens? Prospects and pitfalls confronting a new heuristic. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2013.04.008.

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3. Predicting who will publish or perish as career academics
A Conversation editorial by Bill Laurance et al.

http://theconversation.com/predicting-who-will-publish-or-perish-as-career-academics-18473

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4. Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments
Claire Runge recommended this story from Popular Science on how internet trolls are changing the way we see the world.

“Starting today, PopularScience.com will no longer accept comments on new articles. Here’s why. Comments can be bad for science. That’s why, here at PopularScience.com, we’re shutting them off. It wasn’t a decision we made lightly. As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter.

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-09/why-were-shutting-our-comments?dom=PSC&loc=topstories&con=why-were-shutting-off-our-comments-

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5. Don’t be that dude: Handy tips for the male academic
Recommended by Megan Evans

Posted in Diversity & Intersectionality, Professional Development by Acclimatrix

There is a plethora of research on the causes of hostile environments for women in academia, and on why we have an underrepresentation of women in many fields. There are support groups for women, societies entirely devoted to women academics (broadly and field-specific), workshops for women in academia, and countless articles and blogs devoted to the topic.

http://tenureshewrote.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/dont-be-that-dude-handy-tips-for-the-male-academic/

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EDG News

Brisbane: Duan Biggs debates the legalisation of the rhino horns
Duan Biggs is speaking in an international debate on the legalisation of the sale of rhino horns. It’s the The Big Earthwatch Debate 2013: Bone of Contention.

Is it time to reconsider a legal global trade in tiger, elephant, and rhino products?
It’s on 17 October and you can read all about it at:
http://au.earthwatch.org/events/2013/08/20/the-big-earthwatch-debate-2013-bone-of-contention

Canberra: David Lindenmayer features in radio doco on the Leadbeater’s possum
Radio National’s Off Track gives us the latest on the plight of the Leadbeater’s possum. It summarizes the critical things that need to be done to save the species in 15 minutes of easy listening.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/offtrack/leadbeater27s-possum/4980550

Perth: Marit Kragt is working on NERP project 5.6 “Carbon biodiversity trade-ons”
Marit gave a presentation at the UWA Future Farm field-day about her research, focussing in particularly on the feasibility for farmers to sequester carbon and generate biodiversity benefits. Approximately 120 farmers and agricultural consultants attended the Field Day.

Melbourne: Geoff Heard has moved to York
I am now happily ensconced in York. Yep, I’ve left the colony and headed back to the old country. I’ll be here for the next two years visiting Prof. Chris Thomas at the University of York and Dr Jenny Hodgson at the University of Liverpool. Chris and Jenny have long standing interests in metapopulation dynamics, and so their respective labs represents a logical place for me to hone my metapopulation capacities.”
http://gwheardresearch.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/old-blighty/

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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David Salt (David.Salt@anu.edu.au). Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. Also, email David if you want to unsubscribe (or subscribe someone else). While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

About EDG
The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG is jointly funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program (NERP) and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence program (CEED).

CEED: http://ceed.edu.au/
NERP ED: http://www.nerpdecisions.edu.au/
EDG: http://www.edg.org.au/

EDG major events: http://www.edg.org.au/events.html
Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

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