Monday, 21 April 2014

Taking time to smell the flowers

Unidentified jumping spider
I'm yet to get a good identification guide for spiders, and I have no idea what species is in the photo above. I noticed it as I wandered out of the cafe at the Botanic Gardens today. After a lunch of chicken and mushroom in filo pastry with mango chutney (very nice, though I would have preferred more salad instead of the coleslaw), I took a wander around the Red Arrow trail.

It seems that some of the joggers that use the trail find carrying their water bottles with them, and leave them on a banister near the bottom of the trail. It seems awfully trusting of them, and I couldn't help but wonder about colourless laxatives. I walked on, and came to a bench in a gully in the rainforest. I stopped for a while, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the rainforest. I watched joggers pass by, their eyes intently focussed on the track, music playing through earphones, huffing and puffing as they ran up the steps. It seems such a waste.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Happy Easter

Jesus and Mo always makes me a little happier. Wouldn't it be nice if the Cairns Post carried the strip.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The latter half of the weekend sees normality return

Tropical Cyclone Ita has headed far south, bringing rain to Mackay today. Blue skies have returned to Cairns, and I spent some time this afternoon at the Bar and Grill (sitting under the new "skylight") and then the beach while I read. The erosion isn't as bad as I had expected, though we have lost a lot of sand.

The waves are much reduced, though still a little more than usual. I noticed two guys around 20 years old trying to ride boogie boards, and hooting with delight as they got 3 or 4 meter rides. Maybe they should have been there yesterday.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

More TC Ita

Sensing a bit of a lull in the storm, I slipped out for another look around. I was right about the Bar and Grill's awning:

And here's the beach this evening:

TC Ita comes closer

Tropical Cyclone Ita continues to move south, and is now out around Mareeba. Feeling like a wander, I slipped out for a little bit and wandered down to the beach. There's more leaf litter and small branches lying around the street.

Getting to the Beach, my eye was caught by the corrugated iron awning at the Trinity Beach Bar and Grill being buffeted by the winds, and decided to grab a short video of it before retreating back home. When metal starts threatening to fly you probably want to be inside.

We've had a couple of power fluctuations recently, so I'm no longer entirely confident we will keep power for the afternoon. My generator is ready to go.

Ita drops by

It's a wet and windy day in Trinity Beach with Tropical Cyclone Ita passing inland of us after it made landfall north of Cooktown last night. A quick wander around my area found a few coconut palm fronds had been torn off by winds, and there's some leaf litter around, but we haven't had any significant winds. It's looking increasingly likely that we won't, as Ita de-intensifies and becomes a tropical low.

The Council had ordered Vasey Esplanade businesses closed, in part to discourage people from wandering around the area. It probably didn't help much, with many people heading down to have a peek. Most did so in cars but there were a few of us on foot. The Trinity Beach Bar and Grill's associated mini-store was open and serving coffee, and I grabbed a cappuccino, wandered round to the Esplanade, and sat on some sandbags to watch the waves at the beach for a bit.

We're now in a fairly quiet period, with light rain and only a few strong breezes. Businesses should reopen tomorrow and life will return to normal. I half expect to see at least patches of blue sky on Monday just in time for work.

I do wish Mother Nature would schedule cyclones for the working week instead of my time off.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Cyclone Ita

Oz Cyclone Chasers should really get a half hour slot on the local TV stations up here when cyclones are blowing through. Here's their update for Cyclone Ita today:

Friday, 4 April 2014

Your inner fish

Neil Shubin's main claim to fame is being one of the discoverers of Tiktaalik roseae, a Devonian era fossil that illustrates how our distant ancestors made the transition onto land. He later wrote a book, Your Inner Fish, discussing the myriad of ways in which our evolutionary history is writ into our development. I've recommended the book to others before, but never thought I could have told them to wait and see the film.

It should appear on SBS or ABC in time, though I'll probably cave to temptation and buy it on BluRay before that.

See below the fold for other clips.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Ulysses' begining

The egg of a Ulysses butterfly (Papilio ulysses)
I'm not sure when I planted my pink flowered doughwood (Melicope elleryana), perhaps two years ago. It has grown vigorously, and I've pruned it back to around two and a half metres height a couple of times. It was planted to attract the Ulysses blue butterfly to the garden, and it seems that it's now at the stage it's attractive to the butterflies. I'm yet to see any caterpillars, but a few eggs have been deposited in recent days.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Cyclones: Hoping for a big troughy mess

We have two low pressure systems developing in our area, one in the Coral Sea and one in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The former is expected to head south of us, while the latter may cross the Cape and have some effects on the Cairns area.

The above video, from Oz Cyclone Chasers, has some discussion of the possibility of the two systems interacting and creating "a big troughy mess" which could bring us some good rains mid-week. Hopefully we'll get a decent drenching.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Kudos to Apple

The Mac Observer reports that Apple CEO Tim Cook responded rather nicely to a right wing think tank's questioning its commitment to environmental sustainability:
The first question challenged an assertion from Mr. Cook that Apple's sustainability programs and goals—Apple plans on having 100 percent of its power come from green sources—are good for the bottom line. The representative asked Mr. Cook if that was the case only because of government subsidies on green energy.

Mr. Cook didn't directly answer that question, but instead focused on the second question: the NCPPR representative asked Mr. Cook to commit right then and there to doing only those things that were profitable.

What ensued was the only time I can recall seeing Tim Cook angry, and he categorically rejected the worldview behind the NCPPR's advocacy. He said that there are many things Apple does because they are right and just, and that a return on investment (ROI) was not the primary consideration on such issues.

"When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind," he said, "I don't consider the bloody ROI." He said that the same thing about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader.
He didn't stop there, however, as he looked directly at the NCPPR representative and said, "If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock."