@inproceedings { NPB1621, title = {The CUBAn Crisis: The story of how prophet can triumph over evil}, booktitle = {Science Exchange 2011}, year = {2011}, month = {09/02/2011}, address = {Barossa Valley}, abstract = {

The air was dank and cold. The prophet stared blankly at the empty consultation room. The halcyon days when industry had sought him out in his hilltop retreat to advise them of their biosecurity risks were far behind him. In the three productive years he had spent preparing pest impact simulation models and communicating the results to industry audiences eager to listen, he had sown the seeds of his own demise. Now that they had all the materials and knew how to use them to manage their biosecurity risks, there was no need for the industries to consult the prophet any more. Little by little, the torrent of business activity had slowed to a trickle and finally stopped.

The prophet now sat in his chair a shadow of his former self, frail and prematurely aged. He sighed aloud as he fondly recalled working with wonderful folk like the apple and pear growers. His personal assistant, Flora McKitchen, interrupted her game of Medal of Honour to enquire as to the source of his distress. “What troubles you, oh wise one?”, she enquired as she sauntered into his office.

“Oh, my dear Flora”, he laboured, “Long has it been since someone has sought my advice on biosecurity matters, and since I have felt the warmth and excitement of dispensing that advice. You know, a lesser prophet once said ‘pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall’. I fear my spirit is ebbing away”.

Flora despaired at the broken man who slouched before her. She needed to inspire him and give him back the pride that once filled him so entirely. She stood there in the doorway, staring in to the same piece of nothingness as the prophet, when suddenly she hit upon an idea.

“Why don’t you go spatial?”, she suggested, excitedly.

“You mean like Michael Jackson in Moonwalker?”, replied the prophet.

“Not exactly”, replied Flora, “I mean rather than handing industry aggregated indications of potential pest impacts as you’ve done in the past, why not present a similar set of information on a finer spatial resolution, thereby making it more relevant to policy-makers operating at regional or sub-regional scales”. Heavily inspired by the computer game she had just been playing, she continued. “You could then encourage industry representatives to play war games in which a pest arrives in a region, and they have to work together to formulate the best way of managing it. Do you remember that Jolly Apple Farmer with the crazy dog, Erat? Why not talk to her about the idea?”

At this suggestion, it was as if a fire had been reignited within the old prophet. The sparkle returned to his eye and his back straightened, as he suddenly rose and declared, “Flora, you are almost as amazing as I! What a truly splendid idea. I was a little uncertain about the process of aggregation anyway. Hey, we could incorporate uncertainty into the information we provide too so that growers know when we’re not so sure about our predictions, as when we are. We shall call our new venture ‘Communicating Uncertainties in Biosecurity for Agriculture’, or CUBA for short. Summon the Jolly Apple Farmer at once. Only, tell her to leave that meddlesome pooch of hers at home, would you? Quickly now, we’ve much to do”.

And with that, the prophet embarked on what would later become his crowning achievement, including all the magic and inspiration of his first research project with the added bonus of spatial relevance. Little did he know what adventure and mirth it would bring not just to the apple and pear producers, but to the banana growers to.

}, author = {David Cook and Shuang Liu and Darren Kriticos and Kim Lowell and Art Diggle} }