The last of the Wet

I have noticed before that our Wet seasons can end with a farewell deluge. If what we’re getting now – 200 mm and more in a day or two – is this year’s example, it’s a bit late.

John Anderson, veteran rural reporter for our local paper, reckons that if we haven’t had rain before Anzac Day, we’re not getting any. My own rule of thumb was that Easter marked the end of the Wet season, and I suspected that it might be tied somehow to the lunar and solar calendars. Easter, after all, falls just after the first full moon after the Equinox (more detail here).

Either way, this rain is later and and heavier than we would expect. It follows the drenching that Gympie, Brisbane and Northern NSW copped earlier this year. Both events are entirely in line with what we’ve been told – repeatedly – to expect from climate change, although we can’t say that they were “caused by” climate change (for a look at the difficulties in event attribution, try this video).

Our climate has already changed and further changes are unavoidable. None of them are for the better.

Climate action now is imperative, which is why I have neglected Green Path for nearly a month in favour of political action. Normal service will not resume until after the election but I will try to maintain some continuity here on the blog until then.

The new IPCC report (AR6) – an introduction

The IPCC is one of the world’s biggest scientific projects, with thousands of scientists in dozens of countries collaborating since 1988 to produce a series of reports. Its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) is in three parts. Working Group 1 released Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis last August, and WG2 has just released Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability which “assesses the impacts of climate change, looking at ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities at global and regional levels,” to quote its home page. Part 3 and a Summary will appear later this year.

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SF bookshelf

Jeff Vandermeer’s latest deserves at least a short review but it has a lot in common with Slow River, a re-issue in the SF Masterworks series, so I thought I should write about that at the same time. Slow River in turn connects to an intriguing anthology of newer short SF, so here we go.

Hummingbird Salamander

Vandermeer book cover Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff Vandermeer (2021, Harper Collins) was described on the back cover as, “An intellectual mindf*ck disguised as a thriller,” and by the time I finished it I was inclined to agree.

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EV overview 2 – freight transport

The first part of this overview of Electric Vehicles looked at the progress in electrifying everything from bicycles to cars, 4WDs and tradie trucks. Now for the heavy haulage!

As vehicle size and weight increase, batteries need to get bigger to maintain similar ranges; but bigger batteries increase vehicle weight, too, as well as costing more and taking longer to recharge. At some point the combined weight and range requirements seemed to be ‘too hard’ to achieve with battery-electric power. That is where everyone thought that hydrogen power would find its niche, but the latest studies show the point being pushed out so far that the niche has probably vanished.

Delivery vans and small trucks

The Brits already have plenty of vans to choose from, Continue reading “EV overview 2 – freight transport”

The Windup Girl

Paolo Bacigalupi book cover Another meta-review?

The Ministry for the Future was the last book I treated in this way. It, too, was a dystopian vision but other than that the two books have little in common, except that both have been very highly recommended by all sorts of people.

The Wind-up Girl is twelve years old, not one, and was a first novel, not the latest of many from an acknowledged master. Perhaps more importantly for the reader, the Ministry is somewhat nerdy and the Girl is a cracking thriller.

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