Friday, 19 December 2008

FREE - SciAmEarth 3.0 issue

It really seems to be the season for giving. Other than the Project Seahorse free ID e-book, Scientific American is offering their Earth 3.0 special issue for free download ^_^ Catch is that you are only allowed one download per email address. But then again, how many times would YOU need to DL it? Brilliant idea to guard against hotlinking! The file size is 25.7 MB (97 pages), which might be a bit taxing on those who have a slower connection.... From the content page, it sure looks like a promising read!

Listing of contents/main articles:
(1) COVER STORY: ENERGY Can Nuclear Energy Compete? by Matthew L. Wald
New reactor designs could reduce global warming and fossil-fuel dependence, but utilities are grappling with whether better nukes make more market sense.

(2) ENVIRONMENT China's Energy Paradox by David Biello
A firsthand look at how China's relentlessly expanding use of dirty coal may offset its equally forceful push for cleaner cities and renewable power.

(3) NATIONAL AFFAIRS The Need to Lead in Clean Tech - A conversation with Thomas L. Friedman by Steve Mirsky
The best selling journalist discusses why national security and economics, not just environmentalism, should drive the U.S. to get green aggressively.

(4) URBAN PLANNING Chicago Goes Green by Josh Boak
Can the legendary gritty Windy City really remake itself into a model of sustainable urban living?

(5) CLIMATE STRATEGIES Carbon Cowboys by Ashley Ahearn
Ranchers in Montana get paid by polluters to let the grass grow.

(6) BIODIVERSITY Sharking Guadalupe by Jim Cornfield
Ecotourism has become the unlikely protector of an unexpected endangered species: the great white shark.

(7) HABITAT Regrowing Borneo, Tree by Tree by Jane Braxton Little
To save orangutans, biologist Willie Smits is restoring a rain forest - and creating new livelihoods for the Indonesian families who help him.
Click for the rambling...

"Do one thing for nature this Christmas..."

It's Christmas season and we spread the festive joy to our family and friends, how about sharing a little of the cheer with the critters around us? This is basically a UK/BBC initiative called "Breathing Places", in a bid "to help you get friendlier with wildlife and give you lots of ideas on how you can do just that." With the current economic downturn and all, guess a number of us would be cutting down on overseas travels, so why try out some of the ideas with connecting to nature instead? Would certainly give us a more cost effective alternative to try something different. The suggested ideas are also categorised to "quick", "simple", and "adventurous" so no worries about biting more than you can chew. ^_^ How I wish more of these suggestions are applicable here in sunny SG.....

More details here:
Click for the rambling...

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Sentosa with the SWA folks ^_^

While the usual bunch were having their overnight at St John's Island last weekend, divejunkie was kidnapped asked to help guide a bunch of Scouts at Sentosa's intertidal.

Not sure about the details of why they were here in Singapore for a few days (naturescouter was the one who got me into this spot of unplanned guiding ;P), but it's a nice cozy of group made up of 3 Thais, 1 Malaysian, and 3 Singaporeans. EDIT: Did a quick search, and this small group of Scouts were exploring Sentosa's intertidal as part of their 3 day Scouts of the World Discovery Workshop, with them focusing on the environment. Seems like it's a rather large international award for Scouts, though I seem to be only starting to know about stuff like this via diffusion from SJ.....

Sentosa's rocky shore is quite a but of an adventure to explore. And we certainly had fun exploring all the naturally eroded caves and holes, even posing for some "refugee" shots! ^_^

Even trying out some creative poses with the scenery ^_^ Real glad that the weather held up despite the overcast sky that evening.

With the algae in full bloom, some of the parts were tricky, and slippery, so it took a bit of teamwork and hand-holding (with a few minor slips) to get us through the entire route.

Here's some of the critters we saw....Didn't snap all, most of these were taken after we met up with SJ at the hunter-seeking area where he and Jerald were looking for critters for the Scouts to see.

First off, 2 differently coloured egg crabs, as well as a swimming crab.

The last time I was at Sentosa, it was octopus frenzy, with a number of small octopus(es) all venturing out as the sun set, and on Sat, we were also fortunate enough to come across at least 2!

And of course, me favouritest of all.... the sluggies!! The one on the left is the Jorunna funebris aka chocolate chip nudibranch/Oreo cookie nudibranch. They seem to be in season at the moment and are regularly seen on our local intertidals, and in recent months, the young 'uns seem to be venturing out and about! The one on the right is a first intertidal spotting for me, well, actually my first in Singapore. Usually see this Phyllodesmium briareum while diving. It's been spotted by some of the other local divers before at Hantu, whilst I have been seeing them at the Tioman and Dayang dive sites in Malaysia.

Of course, since the Scouts were there as part of a workshop, they had to do a report of sorts, so many of them were armed with cameras (of course, for taking fun people shots too!), and at least one of them had a notebook to take down the names of the critters we came across. Notice that there's also a plastic bag full of stuff. No, we weren't collecting anything for a dinner BBQ. One of them actually had spare plastic bags for collecting trash, so we also did a little bit of a shore clean-up as we trooped along. Good thinking, dude!

More photos on Facebook:
Jun's shots
Scouts' photos
Click for the rambling...

Saturday, 13 December 2008

New Seahorse ID book available!!

Project Seahorse and TRAFFIC North America have come up with an e-book on seahorse identification. Kudos to I-NSC for the heads up ^_^

"The new guide is being distributed to Customs agents around the world to help them implement the new listing of seahorses on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It is also available here as a single PDF file."
It's a free e-book so do head over to DiveBooks.Net download your own copy too ^_^ Our local species Hippocampus comes and H.kuda are also inside, so this is definitely yet another valuable resource for guides and would-be-guides to have! dj here is all tuckered out after a relatively packed week of intertidal and underwater activities, so the book review would hafta wait until next week. Do stay tuned and get your own copy now!

EDIT: Seems like there's a bit of unwarranted direct linking to the download (without directing net traffic to the I-NSC website, so the "product page" has been taken off for now. Netizens can't seem to read in detail.... In the meantime, while waiting for the I-NSC mirror to be up again, here's the original distributor, Project Seahorse.

EDIT2: The I-NSC link on is up again ^_^ Thanks once again to Ivan!!
Click for the rambling...