Zero Invasive Predators

This week past the NEXT Foundation of New Zealand made the major announcement of start-up funding for a company named ZIP. Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) aims to regenerate our native birdlife by transforming the way invasive predators are managed on mainland New Zealand. On small islands (in the range of 10,000 hectares) we have the amazing ability, and luxury, to be able to remove all of an invasive predator species using targeted eradication methodologies, and then manage reinvasion at near-zero leveraging the strong deterrent of surrounding waters acting as a barrier. On the ‘mainland’, or equivalently very large islands, this is not possible, and true eradication of predators has never been possible as they rapidly re-invade from nearby connected areas in a sort of ‘vacuum effect‘ from the gap left by their predecessors. The ZIP company is an exciting step-forward for conservation in New Zealand, because it will be able to combine many different lines of already active research and development and enhance their overall impacts.

In the media this week also is a report in The New Yorker entitled “The Big Kill” describing —> Read More Here

Forensic Science Is Not CSI, in Ferguson or Anywhere Else

The other day, I wrote about how unreliable eyewitness testimony is, despite the fact that the criminal justice system treats it as solid evidence. However, this is not the only type of evidence that is far less reliable than we perceive it: There are also major shortcomings to almost all forms of “scientific” evidence used in court cases, namely forensic evidence and expert witnesses. Yet the public has been conditioned, thanks in no small part to CSI and other crime shows, to think that forensic science is perfect.

Forensic evidence is important for criminal investigations and subsequent convictions. Americans are fortunate enough not to live in a police state, so there will not always be a cop or a camera around when every crime transpires. However, the depiction on television of forensic experts doing 100% accurate science is about as realistic as their delivering snappy one-liners. Scientific methods have the potential for error, both flawed science and human error (or humans just plain lying). Nevertheless, as in the case of eyewitness testimony, juries are not informed of the shortcomings.

Most folks would be quite surprised to learn just how misguided our trust in forensic evidence is. A 2009 —> Read More Here

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