The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has announced the appointment of seven distinguished Australian scientists and engineers to the independent body that helps guide the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The Murray–Darling Basin is the largest and most complex river system in Australia. Running from Queensland through New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia it spans 77,000 kilometres of rivers, many of which are connected. It’s also the food bowl of the nation with the agriculture industry worth $24 billion annually.
Increased extreme weather events and the challenges brought upon us by climate change will necessitate a new approach to how we think about disaster management. Devastating fires in Greece and the recent landslide in Sulawesi demonstrate some of the many challenges we face in dealing with extreme weather events and natural disasters.
In response to the devastation wreaked by environmental disasters, it’s easy to overlook the importance of continuing to use sustainable practices in our responses – a possibility which provided background for the creation of the Blueprint for Disaster Management Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
By Erin O’Donnell, Centre for Resources, Energy and Environment Law and Avril Horne, Department of Infrastructure Engineering
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack last week suggested the government would look at changing the law to allow water to be taken from the environment and given to farmers struggling with the drought.
This is a bad idea for several reasons. First, the environment needs water in dry years as well as wet ones. Second, unilaterally intervening in the way water is distributed between users undermines the water market, which is now worth billions of dollars. And, third, in dry years the environment gets a smaller allocation too, so there simply isn’t enough water to make this worthwhile.
Imagine if a drone could wash the windows on a tall skyscraper or a sensor could detect when a watermelon has reached its optimum ripeness. These aren’t crazy contraptions from Wallace and Gromit, but just a taste of some of the ingenious inventions designed and built by our engineering and IT masters students that will be on display at our Endeavour Exhibition.
These projects also include life-saving and life-enhancing devices, with an app designed to predict devastating bushfires, non-invasive medical tools to detect severe illness and 3D printed prosthetics for children in amongst 130 different projects.
The Australian Government and US State of Michigan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the future of transport safety advances in the field of connected and automated vehicles at the University of Melbourne on 1 October 2018. Coinciding with the Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES) Summit on Transport Safety in the Era of Digital Mobility, the signing of this agreement marked an important milestone in the collaborative relationship between the two governments.
Governor of Michigan Rick Snyder and Australia’s Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Andrew Broad MP signed the agreement, with Director of Michigan Department of Transportation Kirk Steudle representing the Governor of Michigan at the Summit.
Anyone writing a thesis understands how difficult it can be to quickly summarise their studies and make it engaging at a dinner party. They’ll often explain that it’s very ‘technical’, or niche when asked or avoid the question entirely. But then some others take the opposite approach, taking the challenge head-on and opting to not only condense their thesis down into a relatable three-minute speech, but to do so as part of a competition involving a recital in front of a large audience.
This is exactly what hydrology PhD student Chinchu Mohan did, winning the People’s Choice Award at the University of Melbourne’s 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition last month.
243 million people globally live with disabilities that require mobility aids such as walking sticks, walking frames, blind canes or wheelchairs to carry out everyday tasks.
One of the most significant challenges for this group is the ability to travel independently and safely with uneven surfaces carrying the risk of tripping and falling. This could soon be set to change, however, with an enterprising group of researchers tackling the problem head-on. Comprising members from Melbourne School of Engineering and Melbourne Business School, SenseSEE uses a novel sensor technology to help mobility-impaired people safely navigate their environment with a custom mobile app.
While all stories in this week’s round-up are wonderful (it’s not often you get a robot taking selfies on Mars), the story of Jocelyn Bell Burnell’s belated recognition for her discovery of pulsars after being passed over for a Nobel Prize in favour of a male colleague fifty years earlier is truly incredible.