Monday, July 30, 2012

Garden Bugs

As usual at this time of the year there is the daily patrol of the vegie patch looking for not so friendly insects. It's always a good idea to take the camera.

This birdwing chrysalis has finally hatched!
Looking very serious!
 Not sure if I should be worried about these guys.
 This fellow has a taste for white wine.
How many spots do the good ones have?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Views of the Earth like you've never seen!

Cairns 50 - 60+ years ago

I have seen this photograph before but I'm unable to acknowledge its source or the year it was taken (possibly pre World War 2) but it shows the area along the base of Mt Whitfield which is now of course the sprawling suburbs of Edge Hill and Whitfield. Redlynch Valley can be seen in the background.  I remember reading somewhere that there were large army camps established around this area during WW2.

More photographs can be found on The Pteropus Follow Me on Pinterest page.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Movie - Bimblebox

Movie Viewing today Sunday 22 July 5.30-7.30pm Urchins Rooms 2 and 3 Reef Hotel Casino, 35-41 Wharf Street, Cairns $10 cash donation at the door ($8 concession) [which will go to the campaign and costs of event] Bimblebox, the documentary, explores the huge Australian coal export industry from the grassroots up. The film features many prominent members of the debate against coal expansion in Australia including Guy Pearse (Global Change Institute), Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (University of Queensland) and Matthew Wright (Beyond Zero Emissions) and the music of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. More from

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Creek beautification update

As can be seen here the creek easement beautification project is moving along nicely.
Also a great way to cut home reno costs by saving on Council dumping fees and creating a stunning view at the same time.

The CRC's contribution?

On the upside it is much quieter now since the kookaburras' ten year old termite nesting site was destroyed. There was however a faint call in the distance last night from an orange footed scrub fowl somewhere further down from ground zero. Your turn is coming.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Derelict North Head Manly ferry on Trinity Inlet

This retired Manly ferry which can be seen on the eastern side of Trinity Inlet will be turning 100 next year - hopefully.

Built as Barrenjoey (1913) at Morts Dock Sydney, the North Head serviced the Sydney-Manly route for over 70 years. More information about its colourful history and a picture of her in better days can be found HERE

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mission Beach Cassowary survives devastating cyclone – but not crossing the road

The cassowary population of Mission Beach, considered the highest in Australia, was estimated to be approximately 110 in 2007. Numbers are now down to about 40. Over 60 cassowary deaths have been recorded at Mission Beach due to vehicle strikes since 1992. Pic by Campbell Clarke (WTMA).
More from Rainforest Rescue:
Mission Beach Cassowary survives devastating cyclone – but not crossing the road

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Higgs Boson explained

Animation of a Higgs Field from The Conversation (with comments from the experts). 

As mind stretching as the concept may seem to be, here is a pretty good explanation from a CERN physicist. He has even prepared written notes for it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Article from "The Conversation" Tony Abbott cannot escape the international climate game

Tony Abbott cannot escape the international climate game

By Daniel Bray, La Trobe University

What’s in a name? Well, like “Montague” and “Capulet” in Shakespeare’s play, names matter quite a lot in the tribal world of Australian climate politics. The notion of a “carbon tax” has struck a raw nerve in the Australian public. It will be the rallying cry for the Opposition all the way to the next election.

But as Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott slug it out, we shouldn’t forget the international politics of climate change. International developments suggest Australia will need far-reaching climate policies no matter which party forms government in the next decade.

What remains of the Australian climate debate has descended into a desperate struggle for government between Labor and the Coalition. Abbott won the opening round in this fight by successfully framing Labor’s policy as a “carbon tax”.

This is how almost everyone talks about it today, even the Prime Minister, who promised she wouldn’t introduce one. The Government made a serious mistake when it allowed its carbon price to be painted as a “great big new tax on everything”. This simple rhetorical act now reminds everyone of Gillard’s “lie” whenever climate change enters the conversation.

But it should be remembered that international developments can have dramatic effects on Australian climate politics. Labor’s dire position can in large part be attributed to the perceived lack of progress in the international climate change negotiations. Kevin Rudd never really recovered from Copenhagen and its failure to produce binding post-Kyoto targets. The Australian public were largely with him on the carbon price until then.

The problem for democratic governments is that climate change politics is a two-level game. Leaders must simultaneously negotiate with domestic and international constituencies in order to produce climate change policies.

At the domestic level, the game involves listening to the concerns of the citizens and interest groups, assuaging their fears (often through compensation) and generally convincing them to support climate action. At the international level, the game involves crafting effective agreements that meet the needs of other countries but do not hurt groups at home.

This creates enormous political difficulties for democratic governments. Labor’s strategy thus far has been to tell the Australian public it is not leading the world, while at the same time trying to demonstrate to the world that it is leading.

This apparent contradiction arises because the Government must calm domestic fears that Australia is making itself economically uncompetitive by doing more than other countries, while also providing the leadership expected of rich countries given their historical responsibility for the problem and their superior capacity to fix it. The principle that rich countries like Australia should lead is enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is a key demand of developing countries.

Abbott will inherit this two-level game if he becomes the next Prime Minister. So far the Coalition hasn’t worried too much about the international context. This was understandable when the negotiations seemed dead. But since 2010, at least 89 countries have made non-binding pledges to limit GHG emissions, including China and India. Some commentators point out that non-binding targets are meaningless. But in December all countries agreed in Durban to be part of a legally binding treaty by 2015. Existing pledges will presumably be used as the basis of this global agreement.

This means that a future Abbott Government will have to negotiate a legally binding reduction to Australia’s carbon emissions in its first term. It might choose to play hardball and let the burden fall on other countries. This would put Australia in breach of its responsibilities under the UNFCCC. Australia would also be free-riding on the cuts of other countries, which is fundamentally unjust for a rich country and will damage our diplomatic relationships, particularly with the developing world. Australia would then be isolated in global climate change negotiations.

It is more likely that Abbott will be forced to do something. The Coalition has made a bipartisan commitment to a 5% reduction by 2020, rising to 15% or 25% if other countries act. If Abbott sticks with these targets, his $3.2bn direct action plan won’t do the trick. A larger and more comprehensive policy will be required for cuts of 15% or 25%.

At that point, the Coalition will be drawn to the most cost-effective policy option: a carbon price. Abbott might then have to sell a policy to the Australian public that he vehemently contested in opposition. To be successful, he will need to be a better salesman than Gillard. So you can be sure he won’t be calling it a “carbon tax”. But that which we call a carbon tax by any other name will still be a necessary feat.

Daniel Bray does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
The Conversation
This article was originally published at The Conversation.
          Read the original article.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Busker in Brisbane

One thing you don't see much of around Cairns anymore are buskers, or maybe I don't frequent the right parts of the Town Centre. The sight of saxaphonists, violinists, poets, and even a tap dancer on recent trip to Brisbane jogged my memory back  to years ago when you would see the odd busker gracing street corners in Cairns. Whatever happened to them?
 This particular busker discovered in Adelaide St down from City Hall would have to be very careful where to set up for his performance.

I also found evidence of possible alien invasion - which would explain the strange  political events that have been happening in our state in recent months leading to scenes such as this protest against Campbell Newman's sacking of 20,000 public servants.