Geography, astronomy and meteorology 12.12.2010


At the vigil last night a high school student on her way to a  concert excitedly told us that her class had studied the Laman Street figs issue in geography – how’s that?

Since one has Sunday evening-itis – which is so much worse than Monday-itis and always has been – tonight’s post is just a few news bits and pieces. On Tuesday and Wednesday this week between midnight and 4am will be the best times to witness the Geminid meteor shower. Don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of it before – sounds like something worth getting out of bed for. It’s annual, so if you miss it next year, there’s always next. (Beats Haley’s comet: I think I’m the only person my age who didn’t see it when it came around last time…) Look to the north at an elevation of 20 degrees. (?)

An arborist and I were discussing storms and tree risk and he told me about a storm in Sydney in January 1991 which caused havoc. 50 000 trees fell down causing an average of $10 000 damage per tree. How many people do you think were killed by those falling trees? None.

The 2007 Pasha Bulker storm caused $1.35 billion worth of damage in the Hunter and on the Central Coast, and ten deaths in the flooding caused by the storm.

 I wrote a long whining email to Premier Kenneally about six months ago with, I recall, seven complaints in it, mostly about health and waiting lists but also about our disgusting Kooragang coal piles, the lack of a tree buffer zone on Kooragang and the fact that we have to look at coal ships off our coast. I keep receiving replies from the appropriate ministers saying they’ve looked into the issue passed onto them and asking am I happy now through gritted teeth.  

There is no satisfactory reply to any of the complaints I made without vast changes of attitude and doubling or tripling of funds but venting my spleen helped me momentarily. The most recent letter was from whoever deals with ports defending the fact that we don’t have to look at thirty coal ships off our beautiful beaches now, we only have to look at thirteen (the count on the day he checked).

Wasn’t it great that the Pasha Bulker was within spitting distance of Nobbys beach in 2007 so that it was actually washed up onto the beach by the storm?

Newcastle people are so used to seeing all those ugly tankers that we just take it for granted. A relative pointed out to me that I should see parts of the US with all its ugly little oil wells wherever the eye can see and realise how fortunate I am. There must be something to be said for regulation after all.

And what great news that the Friends of the Regal – a lovely one-man-operated cinema that supporters have been working to reopen for four years –  were successful in their aplication for a grant of over $140 000 under the NSW government’s community Building Partnerships programme?  Talk soon. Home



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