4 deaths in Flash Floods in Australia

Toowoomba is Australia's second largest inland city, and its largest non-capital inland city.

With an estimated district population of 128,600.
There are more than 150 public parks and gardens in Toowoomba
Elevation: 691 m (2,267 ft)
Toowoomba sits on the crest of the Great Dividing Range - a mountain range.

But today, right now in fact, flash floods have taken the lives of 4 people.

Four confirmed dead in Toowoomba flash flooding
Police have been able to confirm four people have died, including a female pedestrian who was swept to her death as flash floods struck Toowoomba, west of Brisbane.

Overcoming Apathy in Australia - Project Omelas

2006-07 Australian bushfire season
The 2006-07 Australian bushfire season was one of the most extensive bushfire seasons in Australia's history. Victoria experienced the longest continuously burning bushfire complex in Australia's history, with fires in the Victorian Alps and Gippsland burning over 1 million hectares of land over the course of 69 days.

January 2009
The early 2009 southeastern Australia heat wave was a heat wave that commenced in late January and led to record-breaking prolonged high temperatures in the region. The heat wave is considered one of, if not the most, extreme in the region's history. During the heat wave, 50 separate locations set various records for consecutive, highest daytime and overnight temperatures.

According to a Monash University study of funeral notices, more than 200 people died as a result of the heat wave. A 45% increase in the death rate was noted during the time. A subsequent report by Victoria's chief health officer, Dr John Carnie, put the final figure at 374.

February 2009
As many as 400 individual fires were recorded on 7 February. Following the events of the 7th of February 2009, that date has since been referred to as Black Saturday.

173 people died as a result of the fires and 414 were injured.

November 2009
Senior climatologist Blair Trewin said 68 long-term weather stations recorded their highest November maximum temperature and 39 stations recorded their highest overnight minimum temperature.

''That represents 10.2 per cent of Australia recording record highs, including 41 per cent of NSW and 29 per cent of South Australia,'' Dr Trewin said.

In Adelaide, the eight consecutive days above 35 degrees doubled the previous November record. It also had a record high of 43.

So records are broken, two years later they are broken again. Not the kind of record you want to break though. When temperatures are causing multiple heat related deaths and bushfires causing loss of life and property, you'd think we'd realize something is up with that. And just as Australia is about to head into Summer, we see the same conditions occurring at the start of Summer which we just saw at the end of Summer immediately prior to the worst bushfires in Australia's history earlier this year.

Scary stuff hey?

Yesterday I wrote of my visit to a solar thermal power station in the Nevada Desert, at Boulder City, near Las Vegas. The plant produces 65 MW of electricity which, during the day, would be close to supplying the needs of 65,000 homes.

The accumulation of CO2 emissions we have been told for over 20 years would create conditions like those described above. So from a risk management point of view, seeking alternatives to where the source of those emissions comes from makes sense. In other words reducing or replacing the source of those emissions is the optimum outcome without eliminating the benefit of the plant itself.

What I would like to talk about is what I think Australia can do to meet energy generated from some of these types of means.

Has the Australian Opposition Party devolved to "Lord of the Flies"? Updated. Abbott wins

Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding. It discusses how culture created by man fails, using as an example a group of British schoolboys stuck on a deserted island who try to govern themselves, but with disastrous results.

Right now a similar story is playing out with the current Australian political opposition party, our version of the Right Wing GOP, a COALition of Australia's Agricultural/Farmers party, The Nationals, and the party which claims it is for Big Business, The Australian Liberal Party.

This is the same party who, when in power from 1996-2007, in 1997, sent a delegation to Kyoto, negotiated a great deal for Australia on carbon emissions, then in 2002 reversed course reneging on this agreement and throwing its lot in with the climate change deniers.
So what has happened to bring about this comparison to the Lord of the Flies? Follow after the fold and I'll give you a bit of history.

Oz Solar Technologies

For a few years now I have been following the development of a number of renewable energy technologies. This is a keen interest of mine as my background has been predominantly in the power industry, and I of course am very concerned about the release that millions of years of stored carbon is having on the climate.

Throughout 2009 I have visited a few Solar companies in Australia and in August I visited the United States and did likewise. My intent was to stop at a number of solar company installations, preferably unannounced, to see whether what they were telling people was going on with their business, did actually reflect the reality on the ground.

This is what I saw, and my interpretation of where solar technology could be headed.

Intentional economic paralysis?

In two articles I've written HERE and HERE I have laid out the importance of energy in our everyday lives and how where we obtain the primary energy we use, governments around the world do have an input in. I have also shown that decision making on how and what form of energy systems we will have has been kept behind closed doors without transparency for a number of years which has resulted in behavior which politicians ought not partake in if they truly have free market principles and public good at heart.

With the research I have conducted one of the things which I have often questioned is why countries such as Spain and Germany have such a strong renewables sector, when Australia with more wide open country, uninhabited sunny areas than almost any other, we have not developed a strong domestic solar industry. Equally strange is lack of offshore wind, geothermal or wave power resource utilization.

Running to save our Earth


In a diary back in February, FishOutofWater wrote of the beginning of what would come to be known in Australia as the Black Saturday Bushfires.

Australia Fires Kill 128

Twenty-five people are confirmed to have died in fires north of Melbourne and this morning there are unconfirmed reports of bodies being found in cars overtaken by the fires in Gippsland in the state's east.

This morning Mr Brumby said 26 fires were still burning and up to a dozen of them are still very serious.

"Every effort is being thrown at the fires," he said.

"This is not over yet. Tragically I think there will be more bad news.

By the time the smoke had cleared, 173 people had perished in these fires. Two days ago I went to see some of the first responders, firefighters and police, who are currently sacrificing once again to raise funds for a good cause.

Back in February of this year in Victoria, Australia we had terrible heat waves taking the lives of many people, over taken in the news by the most destructive bushfire, wildfire in terms of lives and property, in Australia's history.

Did John Howard, Ex Aussie PM, condone a form of indentured servitude?

July 13, 2009

Navy intercepts Sri Lankan asylum seekers
MANY women and children are among more than 70 Sri Lankan asylum seekers now on Christmas Island after they were picked up at sea on Saturday.

A fishing boat carrying the group was spotted by a Customs and Border Protection aircraft about 80 nautical miles from Christmas Island and was intercepted by the navy patrol boat HMAS Armidale.

Offshore drilling disaster: West Atlas Oil Rig now on Fire

High Country to Appalachia

One of Australia's more iconic movies, based on a poem by one of our most famous poets, A.B. Banjo Paterson, tells the story of a young cattleman making a start, proving his worth in the mountains of NSW.

"He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,

Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,

Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,

The man that holds his own is good enough.

And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,

Where the river runs those giant hills between;

I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,

But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen".

"The Man from Snowy River" is based around an area they call the 'High Country', part of Australias Great Dividing Range which is where some of the most magnificent mountains anywhere in Australia can be found. Growing up it was an area I'd often visit for different reasons, leaving me with powerful memories and a love of the outdoors, of wilderness which I'd not trade for anything.

An Aussie Visiting America - Adrenalin Media

  Promoted. -- GH

Cross Posted on Daily Kos as part of a series of commentaries or diaries on an Australians trip across the USA during the month of August.

Yesterday in An Aussie Visiting America - LA, I discussed my gut reaction to a segment on Fox News in the US on one of their cable TV talk shows. As an Australian watching another (ex)Australians television network instructing people what to hate about 'other' Americans, I have to take issue with this.
It may be that too often though that one watches the personalities on Fox News Network, Bill O, Hannity and Beck without remembering that the station itself and the organization is ruled by a single man. The overriding ideology, what you are seeing which is labelled as News, is simply a public airing of the belief structure and comes with the express approval of one man. This gives that individual incredible power over public opinion and it is international influence where this power is wielded.

Rupert Murdoch, 78 years of age, born in 1931 and raised in Melbourne Australia, only became an American out of convenience in 1985 when he was 54 years of age.

May Madness: Invasion of the Giant Australian Barking Spiders

Beware the barking spider of Bowen, Australia!

Sophie in Sydney, reporting for the Times Online, tells of "scores" of eastern tarantulas, also known as "whistling" or "barking" spiders, have begun venturing about in public spaces in Bowen after heavy unseasonal rains pushed them out of their natural habitat.

Yes, the spiders are venomous. The spiders aren't considered "deadly" like other Australian spiders, but perhaps that's dependiing upon what one considers "deadly" -- something as big as those could likely scare a bloke to death without even having to hiss, whistle or bark, never mind actually biting anyone.  Often called "bird-eating" spiders, the eastern tarantulas don't actually eat birds, but "can kill a dog with one bite and make a human very very sick."

Reassuring, isn't it?

It's news like this that makes an Alaskan vacation look all the more appealing.

The U.S. on Military and Veterans Issues........No

Senate report criticises care of peacekeeper veterans

The Age - Melbourne,Victoria,Australia

Sarah Smiles
August 2, 2008

HUNDREDS of mental health disability claims are being made by peacekeepers who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor, a report reveals.

Iraq Getting Lonelier For U.S.

There's someone who gets it:

Rudd has said the Iraq deployment has made Australia more of a target for terrorism.

Though the damage is already done, from the invasion and occupation, the hatreds intensified, new enemies established, Australia ends Iraq combat operations, after their five years of wrongly following the failed policies of the U.S. and joining the small contingent of the coalition of the willing.