3D printed flutes: Instagram snapshots

THE FAR FUTURE IS RAPIDLY DRAWING CLOSER – AND IT WORRIES US

When it comes to the future of humanity, many people fear the worst.

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A study that investigated the perceived probability of threats to humanity and different responses to them in four Western nations — US, UK, Canada and Australia — has found that many people are seriously concerned that our existing way of life will end. A significant amount of people are also concerned that humans will be wiped out within the next 100 years.

The study found that:

  • 54 per cent of people surveyed rated the risk of our way of life ending within the next 100 years at 50 per cent or greater;
  • Almost a quarter (24 per cent) rated the risk of humans being wiped out within a century at 50 per cent or greater;
  • Almost three quarters (73 per cent) believe there is a 30 per cent or greater risk of our way of life ending (30 per cent said that the risk is 70 per cent or more);
  • Almost four in ten (39 per cent) believe there is a 30 per cent or greater danger of humanity being wiped out (10 per cent said the danger is 70 per cent or more).

Responses to the survey were categorised as nihilism (the loss of belief in a social or moral order; decadence rules), fundamentalism (the retreat to certain belief; dogma rules), or activism (the transformation of belief; hope rules):

  • Almost 80 per cent agreed “we need to transform our worldview and way of life if we are to create a better future for the world” (activism);
  • About a half agreed that “the world’s future looks grim so we have to focus on looking after ourselves and those we love” (nihilism);
  • More than a third said “we are facing a final conflict between good and evil in the world” (fundamentalism).

The results of the study, conducted by Dr Melanie Randle of the School of Management, Operations and Marketing at the University of Wollongong, and Richard Eckersley, a Director of Australia21 Ltd, a non-profit strategic research company, is published in the journal Futures.

Read: Public perceptions of future threats to humanity and different societal responses: A cross-national study, Futures

Richard Eckersley said many of the threats we face – such as climate change, depletion and degradation of natural resources and ecosystems, nuclear and biological war and terrorism and runaway technological change — are not new. Scientists and other experts and reputable journals have warned of the dangers for decades.

“Nevertheless, the evidence is growing stronger, especially about climate change, and never before have the possible impacts been so powerfully reinforced by actual events, including natural disasters and calamities, and their sustained and graphic media coverage.”

Dr Randle said people’s responses to the study likely represent a general uncertainty and fear rather than a fear based on a considered assessment of a specific threat.

“It shows a loss of faith in a future constructed around notions of material progress, economic growth and scientific and technological fixes to the challenges we face. This loss is important, yet barely registers in current debate and political discussion.”

“At best, the high perception of risk and the strong endorsement of an activist response could drive a much greater effort to confront global threats. At worst, with a loss of hope, fear of a catastrophic future erodes people’s faith in society, affecting their roles and responsibilities, and their relationship to social institutions, especially government.”

Mr Eckersley added: “Despite increasing political action on specific issues like climate change, globally the scale of our response falls far short of matching the magnitude of the threats. Closing this gap requires a deeper understanding of how people perceive the risks and how they might respond. Offering false hope is not the solution. For the challenges to be addressed, they must first be acknowledged.

“Ultimately, the far future is rapidly drawing closer – and it worries us.”

NB: The study involved a survey of over 2,000 people in Australia, US, UK and Canada. Findings were similar across countries, age, sex and other demographic groups, although some interesting differences emerged.

For University of Wollongong. Read the original article.

STUDENT PERFORMANCE GROUP TAKES THE STAGE IN SINGAPORE

A student directed show travelled to Singapore to perform in June 2015.

Undergraduate director Mark Churchill, with student performers Simon Arthur, Liam Megarrity, Bernice Mumbulla, Adrian Tolhurst, and technician Gigi Gregory, travelled to the island state having raised more than $6,000 to support their trip.

The show, Duet and Bogey Man, combines two plays by Australian multi-award winning playwright Daniel Keene. Duet, is about two men living in a sewer while Bogey Man is about a couple dealing with a stillbirth.

The Asian Pacific Bureau Theatre Schools Festival aims to promote professional development among theatre schools and practitioners in the region.

Sarah Miller, Head of the School of the Arts, English and Media, and Chris Ryan, Director and Lecturer of Theatre and Performance, also travelled to Singapore to speak at the Director’s Conference and lead a skills workshop respectively.


View more Instagram snapshots on @UOWCreative
Originally published by the University of Wollongong

Designer investigates the power of information visualisation

Australia’s waste problem is the subject of Joanna Stirling’s current research project, which explores how design and visual thinking can be used to communicate complex issues and instigate change.

The Modern Midden, which is showing at the Innovation Campus between 26 September and 23 October, is an installation of sorts, designed to get us thinking about how we might act to reduce our dependence on materials that aren’t biodegradable. The installation is the creative component of Ms Stirling’s Masters by Research; the written component looks at behaviour change, design and visualisation, how we think about household waste and how it is currently visualised.

Waste is generally measured by weight, but weight is harder to visualise than volume, according to Ms Stirling. Hence her decision to shape seven days’ worth of non-organic waste from 10 households into a mound in the middle of a room for people to see and touch.

“As a designer, I want to find ways of communicating complex issues and ideas and this has required a spatial and participatory approach.

“We put our waste in the bin, it goes out for collection and is taken away in a truck. Most of us, it seems, don’t know where that truck goes or consider what happens to the contents of the red or yellow bin. Putting physical bodies in the same room as the items we often have fleeting contact with slow things down so we can consider where the items might have been, what they are made from, and what was inside of them. It opens up a space for dialogue.”

Ms Stirling’s installation is just a small part of a big story about waste: Australians are the second highest producers of waste per person globally and the estimated 900-plus landfill sites currently operating across Australia are filling up with the items we freely discard each day.

“In Australia, a huge amount of our waste goes to landfill. That’s an issue because we’re running out of room and consumption and waste generation are having extensive environmental impacts.”

While Australians are recycling more than ever before, our overall consumption of materials – recyclable and non-recyclable – is increasing.

“We often don’t consider the embodied energy that goes into making these products in the first place. All of this ‘stuff ‘ has been on a long journey. A plastic bottle, for example, is made using oil and gas, water and electricity, it’s then transported, filled with liquid and transported again before it reaches us. We use it for a short period of time and then throw it back into the system – to be recycled, (which is also a resource intensive process), or to end up as landfill.”

Iconic 1960s OZ magazine now available online

UOW digitises iconic alternative magazine that caused a furore throughout Sydney in the 1960s.

Available online via UOW’s Research Online open access digital archive, people of any age can delve into a time capsule of content from Australia in the 1960s from anywhere in the world.

When the first edition of OZ hit the streets of Sydney on April Fools’ Day 1963, readers were confronted with a frank conversation about the then illegal act of abortion. With each subsequent edition, filled with controversial and satirical coverage of the day’s issues and events, the magazine pushed the boundaries in an era of social change in Australia.

“I think we were coming to a time when there was a shift of some sort and the more that shift began to show itself, the more other people got interested in what was going on,” founder and co-editor of OZ, Richard Neville, said.

Over a period of seven years, OZ earned itself a reputation as an underground publication where youth used their words and artwork to express dissent toward social and cultural conservatism. On more than one occasion, the editors were charged with obscenity.

“There was a general climate of growing cultural and political dissent [in the 1960s] that OZ fitted into but what it added was a scatological sense of humour, and it did that quite brilliantly,” UOW history and politics lecturer Dr Anthony Ashbolt said.

As a resource for historians, researchers, or those who just wish to reminisce, OZ magazine, resurrected in a digital format, provides a snapshot of a tumultuous time from an alternative point of view, and a portfolio of some of Australia’s endearing creative minds, including artists Martin Sharp and Garry Shead, author Bob Ellis, and art critic Robert Hughes.

“UOW Library is the only library in the world that has the complete digitised set of OZ,” Margie Jantti, Director of Library Services, said.

“The world now has the opportunity to be introduced to OZ.”

Oz magazine is now available via UOW Library: http://bit.ly/OZMagazineUOW

For University of Wollongong. Read the original article.