Friday, 27 November 2015

The Literature

Well, I’d got as far as choosing my topic: Further regulation of farming and farming waste management is needed to protect our waterways.

Floundering around for somewhere to start I took the advice any teenager would give: Google it. Soon I was entrenched in the public stoush in 2012 between a Massey Lecturer - Mike Joy - and Federated farmers who were playing down the impact of farming on the environment. Mike Joy defended his position with a host of peer reviewed and scholarly resources. GOLD! Save to favourites 

It looks like a no brainer at this stage – Position that is reached through scholarly research vs Defencive and emotive arguments from self- interested groups. After some meditation (or was that medication) I decided not to make life difficult by taking the contrary view. I was in unfamiliar territory with this environmental stuff.

It was really interesting reading and the hours passed very pleasantly trolling the net. Without realizing it (probably because I hadn’t listened to that part of the lectures) I was doing background reading. Soon I felt I had the bones of the assignment - now for some serious hours in the gym (library) putting some muscle on it and then hours of grooming and reflection before the great reveal on 7th December.
When I started to look for more references I started to feel overwhelmed. So much new information about where and how to search.  Already so many random PDF downloaded and webpages saved to favourites.  I decided a good strategy would be to break it down and make some lists that could be modified if needed:

1. Follow up on Mike Joys references

2. Start searching the Massey library

3. Use Google scholar and Google

I made another list of what I needed to look for:

1. Scholarly articles to support the case for not regulating farming / Information about the contribution of farming to the economy

2. More information about the impact of other types of farming, besides dairy.

3. More up to date information

 UH Oh. Most of the books I found as references were in the Manawatu library. There was so much valid information on the internet so, after getting the OK from Pete, I decided to just use on-line sources.
Saturday team meet up at Ironique: Good coffee. Pretty straight forward, no detectable irony. Perhaps that in itself is ironic. Good to get away from the lists and be with other students facing the same demands of 119.115.

A good reminder of the power of teams: The endorsement of Endnote by Cherie was very timely.
“Download endnote” had been on another to do list. It’s a great tool for keeping it all together and keeping track of the references as they are used. It was almost an AHA moment.
I still had a lot of work to do but I could see the way forward very clearly.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

My 1st blog ever

Greetings from Auckland. I’m GJ and this is my 1st post

Let’s start with where I was last Thursday....
By good fortune I found myself in need of coffee, between appointments, near PC’s office in Dominion Rd
I needed to talk through issues arising from the “easy” option I’d chosen for Summer school – “Communication in the sciences”.
 It wasn’t going to be easy and I had to write a blog.
I’m a Technical Manager and Mum to an adorable teenager.  I’m as grown up as I’m ever going to be.  Without professional help (not counting baristas  and barmen) I was able to work through, correction,  EMBRACE, the concept of a group project and 20 hours of study a week just to get another paper for my BSc in Nutrition (Thank-you barman)
Seriously, it wasn’t just alcohol fueled bravado. I do like writing and learning. I learnt from the Stanford professors that you can’t have science without communication. As well as being important for lobbying and getting funding they talked about how important writing is in actually clarifying their thoughts. That got my interest.
It was the students on that site who talked about how writing has helped their personal growth and how enjoyable and rewarding they find it.  YES! I want enjoyment, rewards AND Personal growth. Can I pay on-line?
I will spend the summer holidays as usual: eating, drinking and talking. I will either cunningly turn the conversation to talk of water quality and farmers interests or just hang out with those dear friends and family that would talk about that stuff anyway (You think I’m kidding).
I can’t see me abandoning my goal to become a nutritional adviser in order to become a science researcher or writer. My interest in Polynesian dietary needs and food culture probably won’t change. That is where I want to make a contribution in a personal consulting role. In terms of developing skills relevant to my goals, I think the non writing aspects – the team interaction and the seminar – are more relevant. This course will also help me to evaluate the validity of the nutritional information that is available. It’s unbelievable what a lot of nonsense there is out there. Lemons changing blood PH?????
Anyway, back to Vinyl CafĂ©. As luck would have it PC is a blogger and I was keen to pick up some tips (put in lots of links – thanks PC, I will). After he repeated “You’re going to write a blog?” a few times (Think of an actor trying different meanings by emphasising different words) I started to realise, in a moment of self-actualization, that, Yes! I AM going to write a blog. I AM.