The ABC’s Catalyst is a regular part of my (limited) TV viewing and last night’s programme was exceptionally good, tackling an important subject intelligently and entertainingly.
The topic? Peak Oil, the idea that global oil production has to decline after all the easily-extractable oil is exploited. Some experts think the peak was in 2006, others claim we haven’t reached it yet, but the consequences are going to be challenging either way: much higher oil prices forcing enormous economic, and hence social, changes. (Did someone say ‘collapse’?)
The good news is that the programme is available online, with some bonuses as well. Go to http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/oilcrunch/ when you have half an hour or so and you won’t be disappointed. Searching the net for ‘Peak Oil’ will get you a lot more, not all of it deadly serious:
I was walking down the roadway to the old car-ferry terminal (people who know Maggie Island will know where I mean, but it isn’t really important) and stopped at this bush because it was alive with a huge variety of insects. I stood there, snapping away as fast as I could aim the camera, and got pictures of:
Wasps: this one, another black-winged one with a yellow head, one with orange wings and legs and a black abdomen, one with orange wings and black-and-orange abdomen, and at least two black wasps with clear wings.
Butterflies: Common Eggfly, Eastern Brown Crow (Euploea tulliolus), a Pierid (yellow) I haven’t identified, and Australian Rustic (Cupha prosope)
Others: Carpenter bee, a large hairy grey fly, and a hover-fly with unusual black-banded wings.
I’m sure there were others I missed, and I was only there for a short time anyway. What makes the bush so special? Sure, it’s flowering – but the flowers are insignificant little yellowy-white things. My ignorance of botany is encylopedic, so I would be grateful to anyone who can tell me what the shrub is.
Some more of the insects I mentioned – click on the thumbnails for larger pics:
Another Magnetic Island resident, the Glasswing is a butterfly I have seen in bushland an hour’s drive inland from Townsville but not in the city itself. The translucent wings are unusual (I only know one similar butterfly, the Clearwing Swallowtail) and attractive.
More pics on Flickr, here and nearby.
I have never seen these on the mainland but there were obviously quite a lot of them on Magnetic Island. This one (with a lot of friends and relations) was near the old car ferry terminal at Arcadia, and I saw another at Picnic Bay.
We took advantage of the Easter break to visit Magnetic Island, just half an hour by ferry from Townsville – close enough that quite a few people live on the Island and work in town. Most of the island is National Park, with just a few mini-suburbs (Picnic Bay, Arcadia, Nelly Bay, Horseshoe Bay) around the southern and eastern coast.
This skink was visiting the sign outside our cabin, possibly in search of ants. Looking at the photo afterwards I noticed some tiny eggs glued to the sign. I have no idea what they are. (As usual, clicking on the photos will get you a better view.)
We were only on the island for 24 hours and it was dark, of course, for half of that time, but I managed to return home with a couple of hundred photographs; I will post the best of them here as I get them sorted out.