Rowes Bay wetlands

I took my camera down to the wetland boardwalk behind Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre and the (new) Landcare Nursery a week ago. It was a very hot day but I found a good shady spot with views to nearby swamp and perches, and waited for the birds to forget I was there.

They did, and I got nice photos of half a dozen species. The best of them have already been shared online so I will just post links to them as they appear on iNaturalist: Sacred Kingfisher, Masked Lapwing, Koel (female), Hornbill Friarbird, and Pheasant Coucal.

But I’m a bug-hunter too, so here are some of the smaller creatures I saw from the boardwalk.

Leaf beetle
Leaf beetle

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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”

Electric vehicles – an overview

Electric vehicles of all shapes and sizes have been developing so quickly over the last few years that it’s hard to keep up with the changes. This survey pulls together information on the current state of play of all sorts of EVs, from bikes and scooters to freight trains and ships. But first, a quick look at three technological issues common to all of them.

Basics

Batteries

Batteries are crucial, and development is still pushing ahead quite quickly.

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Ravenswood and the mine

Ravenswood is a heritage town dominated by an enormous gold mine, and tensions between its history and its future are inevitable.

The town was founded 150 years ago because of its gold and flourished for 50 years. Then it became a ghost town, drowsing for 70 years before coming back to life 30 years ago, again because of its gold. Now it is threatened by its gold.

When new technology made the gold profitable again in the early 1990s the mine re-opened as an open-cut pit south-east of the town. Another pit has now opened to the south-west, raising a long wall just a couple of hundred metres from the main street.

Ravenswood hall and shop
The community hall (restored) and shop in the main street with the mine wall behind them

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