Tue 01 Mar 2016: 7.00pm – Tony O’Dempsey on “Conservation Engagement in Singapore and the Cross-Island Line”

We put this together for undergraduates to learn from “Uncle Tony” about the engagement process and how it has evolved over the years. Since it is to be held in a very large LT, all are welcome, i.e. it is open to the public; just register at http://bejc-crl.eventbrite.com.

Biodiversity & Ecology Journal Club
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore
Tuesday 01 March 2016: 7.00pm – 8.30pm @ Lecture Theatre 27

“Conservation Engagement in Singapore and the Cross-Island Line”

By Tony O’Dempsey
Council Member
Nature Society (Singapore)

Tuesday 01 March 2016: 7.00pm – 8.30pm
Lecture Theatre 27
Science Drive 1
National University of Singapore

All are welcome.
Please register at http://bejc-crl.eventbrite.com.

Hosted by: N. Sivasothi & Joelle Lai

About the talk – From early 2013, Tony O’Dempsey and other conservation experts in Singapore were in working group discussions with LTA since the announcement of the Cross Island Line in early 2013. He will present and contrast a historical view of conservation engagement over the past 50 years with a focus on the recent Cross Island Line engagement with government agencies. He will also reflect on the working group’s experience with the EIA process and review important lessons learned about how nature groups could improve the technical approach to EIA for our Nature Reserves in future engagements.

About the speaker – Tony is a GIS and Remote Sensing professional who has been living in Singapore for the past 20 years. He is a council member of Nature Society (Singapore) and is currently serving as Chairman of the Plant Group. Tony has participated in flora and fauna surveys throughout Singapore, his interests are in botany and history and sometimes mixes them up. He has been actively involved in Nature Conservation in Singapore for the past 15 years and most recently played an active role in NSS’ proposals and representations to government agencies for the Cross Island Line proposal.

Cross Island Line – ‘A remarkable engagement process between the nature community and LTA, MOT, NParks & MND’

Missing from coverage of the Cross Island Line is unprecedented and remarkable engagement process by government agencies and the concerned community since 2013. So Shawn Lum writes,

“What has been overlooked in the coverage of the Cross Island Line (CRL) issue has been a remarkable engagement process between the nature community, the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the Ministry of Transport, the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Ministry of National Development.

Over the past 21/2 years, they have dedicated hundreds of hours of their time and energy over meetings, discussions, site visits, and a careful review of draft documents.

Nature Society (Singapore) member Tony O’Dempsey stood out for his dedication.

The result is an environmental impact assessment (EIA) that brings the risk associated with soil investigation works for the proposed MRT alignments down to an acceptable level.

There is more to come.”

Read the full letter at “Engaging with stakeholders the way forward.” Letter to Forum page by Shawn Lum, President, Nature Society (Singapore). The Straits Times, 26 Feb 2016.

To learn about our Macritchie Forest, see lovemacritchie.wordpress.com.

Thu 25 Feb 2016: 7.00pm @ The Hangar – Richer De Forges on “Oceans Undiscovered: The Deep”

Conservation International Asia Pacific presents

“Oceans Undiscovered: The Deep,”
by Dr Bertrand Richer De Forges
Visiting Scientist,
National University Of Singapore

Thu 25 Feb 2016: 7.00pm to 8.00pm
(registration opens at 6.30pm)
@ The Hangar, 25 Arab Street, Singapore 199724
Register for the talk at: http://goo.gl/forms/RHs1osZjy5

Oceans cover 71% of our planet, rendering our world an aquatic haven, mostly very deep and unexplored. The deep sea is one of the largest ecosystems on Earth, yet, the area is poorly known – scientists have a better map of Mars than of the ocean oor.
In the deep sea, it is cold, with high pressure, no light and limited food. Remarkably, there is life. Bountiful and biodiverse. Life thrives in the Bathyal zone (200-2500 metres) across a wide range of habitats, from continental margins to hydrothermal vents pumping out water as hot as 400°C, to whale carcasses.

World renowned deep sea biologist Dr. Bertrand Richer de Forges will take you on his journey of exploring the deep sea – a mysterious yet mesmerising place where light is not essential, but where knowledge is wanting. He will share his discoveries, along with the impact the deep sea has on humans, and vice versa.
The era for deep sea exploration is far from over – much remains to be discovered – to find out what lies in the depths of the oceans.

Oceans Undiscovered Print lowres pdf  1 page

Converting US dates to UK format in Excel

A simple, lovely way to convert mm/dd/yyyy (US format) to dd/mm/yyyy or any preferred format, e.g. dd mmm yyyy. in Microsoft Excel

  1. Select the column of dates
  2. Under DATA, select “Text to Columns”
  3. Select Delimited, then click “Next”
  4. Untick ALL delimiters, then click “Next”
  5. Select column format “Date: MDY”, then click “Finish” (this current data format and not your desired format)
  6. Excel recognises the text as a date; highlight the column; Format Cells and change the date format to your desired format

Annoying stuff I figured out (or am trying to)

This has bugged me for YEARS.

Take a column full of US dates in Excel that have been formatted as text and convert them to a “proper” format that can actually be used to sort by… i.e. the date format used by the rest of the world.

While annoying, this is relatively easy if all your dates are in fixed width mm/dd/yy (e.g. 03/12/14) or mm/dd/yyyy format, you can just use simple mid/left/right formulas to extract them knowing exactly where each will be.

If on the other hand the dates are in m/d/yy (e.g. 3/5/14 or 25/11/14) or m/d/yyyy format then it gets a bit messier as you now need to start finding and splitting the text at the slashes.

Today I found a really simple way to do it.

View original post 114 more words

News articles since the LTA Press Release about the Cross Island Line

Some reading to do for anyone who loves out little forest fragments.

  • “Cross Island Line site investigations will have moderate impact on nature reserve,” by Neo Chai Chin. Today, 05 Feb 2016 [link].
  • “Cross Island Line site investigation works to be modified to reduce environmental impact,” by Melissa Zhu and Liyana Othman. Channel News Asia, 05 Feb 2016 [link].
  • “Measures to lessen impact of MRT works on Singapore’s largest nature reserve: LTA,” by Audrey Tan
    Adrian Lim. The Straits Times, 05 Feb 2016 [link].

Join us for our annual Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk, Sat 13 Feb 2016: 7.00am – 12.00pm

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk, Sat 13 Feb 2016: 7.00am – 12.00pm with my Pasir Panjang Heritage kakis from NUS Toddycats, volunteers of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore: Kok Oi Yee, Airani S, Alvin Wong, Quek Kiah Shen, Wendy Sim, Lai Chee Kian, Stella Wee, Kenneth Pinto.

Register at Eventbrite and details at Habitatnews

Backing up my Mac – visualisation improves my protocol

I find it helpful to plan a backup protocol and review it every now and then, since I need to access data from years ago quite often. During the semester I can lose track if my setup is not simple and I report to stop gap measures when a backup hardisk is full. So during the semester-break, I review my setup and fix the inadvertent lapses, feeling quite lucky when data is intact!

Last December, I visualised the arrangement as I had lost track once again. It did become clear that I had been quite safe – current data on my laptop is always backed-up onto cloud storage and I had local backups as well. So I just ensured I was paid up for adequate subscription to cloud services. I did retire a very full 2007 external hardisk and replaced it with an external 3TB hardisk to handle daily backups.

Backup Protocol 001

My archives were residing on external hardisks which had been replaced about every half decade to increase their capacity and pre-empt hardware failure. I would rather work with archives on my laptop especially when preparing lectures and talks. However, the very fast SSD hardisks on my laptops which make work so much faster, are not large. So older data must be pushed to external drives.

The visualisation highlighted the fact my very old archives were only on a pair of redundant hard drives. I will now add those to CrashPlan, a cloud based backup plan – it might take weeks to upload but is a background process. I will just have to ensure the drives are powered on until that is complete.

When not active, all hardware is powered off, and this visualisation helped me figure out the most efficient arrangement for cabling and a safe power supply arrangement. With a more convenient setup, I find myself doing local daily backups and shifting data to archives much more frequently.

Yesterday morning, I learnt that Copy.com will be kaput by May 2016. Some of my students had used Copy.com for their thesis work as it offered them a higher capacity of free space compared to Dropbox. With those projects completed, I’ll just need to shift the lot to Dropbox or the archives, along with all my keynotes for public talks.

Actually, I already did!

Blood stocks for type O, B, AB are low (<55%) – donate a bloody pint this CNY!

Regular blood donor Joelle Lai received a call from the blood bank to donate blood. A check with blood stock levels show that levels are for blood groups O, B, AB are low. Joelle’s blood haemoglobin levels are a little low and she has been rejected as a donor several times!

But she will pay close attention to her diet and try on Sunday. How cool is that?

Only 1.78% of Singapore’s residential population are donors (see 2014 stats below), so do step forward if you are hale and hearty. A bloody red pint donation is a great Chinese New Year gift to a needy patient!

20160202 Blood stocks

Blood Donation Statistics 2014  redcrosssingapore