Let’s share the road!

I see OCBC Cycle Singapore “Respect”
posters up on lamp posts along Lornie Road. Cyclists use this stretch in wee hours of the morning and there are three turnoffs/turnins to/from PIE which can make the climb dicey, even at 6am.

I am always well lit and have been gratified by drivers who keep their distance and slow down instead of racing past and cutting in. Thank you drivers!

“Everything is Faster” – the new Google Sheets

The “NEW” Google Sheets promises several improvements including offline access in Chrome, faster loading and scrolling, new function editing tools, spreadsheet functions, filter views and improvements to advanced conditional formatting [link].

The NEW Google Spreadsheets

To use the new Google Sheets, you’ll need to opt in by doing the following:

  1. Open Google Drive at drive.google.com
  2. Click the gear menu in the top right corner of the screen and select Settings.
  3. Click the Editing tab.
  4. Select the checkbox next to “Try the new Google Sheets.”

The caveat? Well, some features are not ready yet

  1. Protected sheets and ranges
  2. Notification rules
  3. Spell check
  4. API support

Up an at ’em!

Fix that security flaw on your iPhone and Mac now! iOS 7.0.6 & OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 Combo Updater

Have you updated your iPhone software to iOS 7.0.6?

All you have to do is go to Settings > General > Software Update. If you cannot manage this, ask a friend!



The significant security flaw in Apple’s OS X Mavericks was identified last Friday and the fix is here. So do update your macs immediately, as this is critical.

OS X can be automatically updated by clicking the Apple logo on the top-left of your screen. But this is incremental and the better option is to manually download and apply the combo updater. It is available at the Apple Support page.

The combo updater applies a wholesale update of all affected system files instead of onlly specific files. This is the option I’ve adopted for over a decade now.

OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 Update (Combo)

I ran my update after posting this!
2014 02 26 15 03 OSX 10 9 2

Long-tailed macaques walking into the sun at Southern Ridges

Recently, Civetgirl Weiting and I have been walking Southern Ridges from NUS to Harbour Front weekly. We enjoy seeing people using Henderson Waves which, at 36m above Henderson Road, is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore [see the NParks guide]. The bridge connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park.

Henderson Waves
Photo by Brandon Chia

2014-02-24 18.43 LTM3 on Henderson Waves

What we love seeing even more are wild long-tailed macaques, indifferent to the humans around them who are behaving sensibly and enjoying the experience of watching a wild native species of Singapore.

The best signs put up by NParks about how to behave around monkeys are to be found all along the Southern Ridges. These were put up a a year or two ago, possibly in response to an aggressive male which had learnt to approach people carrying plastic bags and erm, insist on a reward for his efforts!

2014-02-10 19.22.15

A long-lasting and hopefully pre-emptive solution? Signs which educate the public clearly about how to behave around macaques. These also add a unique clear message for those who would persist in bad behaviour (inevitably resulting in the call to kill monkeys) – “please avoid this trail if you are not comfortable with the presence of wild monkeys”.

With not a single plastic bag in sight and everyone mostly keeping a respectful distance from the macaques as advised by the signs, the public stopped to admire and photograph the three monkeys yesterday evening. The long-tailed macaques ambled along the bridge edge of Henderson Waves with quadrupedal grace as the sun sank into the horizon.

2014-02-24 18.43 LTM on Henderson Waves

Thanks to Amy Klegarth for bringing my attention to that very special bit of advise on the sign earlier in the day.

U@live featuring Bernard Harrison – 26 February 2014: 7.30pm @ Shaw Foundation Alumni House

OAR presents:

Join us for an evening with Bernard Harrison! – 26 February 7.30pm

We welcome you to join the former CEO of Wildlife Reserves Singapore as he discusses a review of our prevailing moral and ethical practices when dealing with the fellow species we share the earth and its resources with.

Details of the event are as follows:

A unique feature of U@live is that not only will it be viewed by a live audience, it will be streamed live through a dedicated website (www.nus.edu.sg/ualive). The event will also incorporate a new interactive application that allows users to post questions and vote for their favourite questions in real time. The event will consist of a 10-minute talk by the speaker followed by a 20-minute interview conducted by Mr Viswa Sadasivan and a 30-minute Q&A session open to the live and online audience.

Date: 26 February 2014 (Wednesday)
Time: 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
(Registration at 6:45pm, Seated at 7:15pm, Cocktail reception after event)
Location: Auditorium (2nd Storey), Shaw Foundation Alumni House, National University of Singapore, 11 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119244

We sincerely hope that you will be able to join us for this event.

Register HERE

Blood, sweat and tears – 50+ research students since Chek Jawa

One aspect of teaching is the supervision of research students. And I now see I have worked with some 50 honours (final or fourth year), UROPS (mostly third year, some second year) and a sprinkling of MSc research students since after the events surrounding Chek Jawa in 2001.

It is a trickle, mostly comradely assitance of unlisted individuals before the floodgates open when I move from Raffles Museum back to the department to do full-time teaching in 2007.

In the absence of a lab, the students and I have had to be competent at communicating digitally – which has been good training for their future and which promotes independence. Many have experienced a nomadic existence in the department and will know how to survive as a backpacker in s strange land. Over the years, I have had to beg, borrow and steal space and will continue to try to secure permanent space for these research students. It will certainly enhance their experience, even if I am not around to make them suffer (no pain no gain!)

Despite this, the students have contributed to a variety of topics on faunal and mangrove ecology, and more recently, awareness and conflict. And we’ve even begun to examine a common palm fruit which our common palm civets eat, finally responding to a motivation unveiled in 2001.

Otterman Holt

I have been updating my folder of pdfs for students to access and build on, identifying papers to work on, and ensuring we’ve done the relevant follow-up with managers. Thankfully I have been particular about the end of project “data dump”, so the pdfs are safe in Dropbox or the server which the Faculty of Science has provided me with since 1999.

Some of the old material needs some tweaking and coercion to fit into a pdf document, and this has become much easier now with OS X Mavericks’s Preview – one of the reasons I became an early adopter!

The names and projects is a list of blood, sweat and tears by students who have certainly learnt many life lessons in the process and I’ve meant it to be primary a learning process as teaching is my focus. And in the process they have made useful contributions in research, educated peers and juniors, many have raised raised public awareness through Raffles Museum Toddycats and I have used their work extensively in management and conservation.

I’ve posted the list in tab on this blog called Otterman’s Holt. May they live long and prosper.

Marcus Chua’s lecture in the Tropical Conservation class

Marcus Chua who completed his MSc last year and set to join the Raffles Museum is guest lecturer at Mingko’s (Mary Rose Posa) LSM4262 Tropical Conservation biology class today.

Being part of the Otterman Holt since his honours year, he is no stranger to communicating his work, and has spoken about mouse deer, leopard cats, biodiversity on Pulau Ubin at private sessions with OBS, NParks, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, URA and NUS.

He has also presented at public sessions through An Evening of Biodiversity (NUS), the Biodiversity Symposium of Singapore (NUS), the Nature Conservation for a Sustainable Singapore (NSS) and the 11th International Mammalogical Congress at Belfast.

This is the first time in class. His numerous engagements with the public through the Raffles Museum Toddycats will have helped prepare him. Hope the class is energetic!

Have fun Marcus!

20140211 marcus chua tropconclass

Photo by Xu Weiting.