Sunday, 29 March 2015

Election "Day"

I have put quotes around the word 'day' as in modern times a fair proportion of voters will already have voted.  This makes it doubly annoying to have got a phone call at about 9:45 from the NSW Electoral Commission (I presume) urging me to go and have my say!

At least that is less annoying than it would have been to get an SMS from Mike Baird while I was watching the footy last night.  According to the SMH many folk weren't as lucky.  If they were Rabbitoh supporters they'd have been really gutted: team gets flogged and cop a spam text!

The current sportsbet market is $1.01 for the Coalition and $21.00 for Labour.  (By the way I do know the Party spells its name without a 'u' but that is merely an example of the impact of a poor education system so I ignore it!)  In the same way that I regarded an earlier price of $12 as good value but essentially meant you'd do your dough, I reckon only the numerator in the fraction changes -  the answer is still that you'd do your dough.

And so it was.

To some extent it was a contest between two invisible men.  Baird did a brilliant job of keeping the Monk out of the campaign - apparently he was too busy signing cheques to fund the campaign promises. Unfortunately the other MIA was the Leader of the Opposition, Luke - Who? - Foley.   If he is still Leader in 4 years time I will be amazed.  By way of example consider this quote:
Opposition Leader Luke Foley's declaration that "normal service had to be returned" in NSW politics.
So getting thumped by the Coalition is now normal?

There were a dense crop of a-frames outside the booth:
I was intrigued by the colours chosen by the Nationals: green for their posters and yellow with green writing for the t-shirts.
The red spots are obfuscation not acne (although most of the volunteers at this booth (central Queanbeyan) were of a dermatologically-challenged age.  By contrast in this illustration of a Steve Whan t, the red eye indicates that I had seen the early results coming through:
The shirt is actually redder than it appears.

By about midnight on the day the swing in our electorate was a whole 0.1% to the ALP!  This probably reflects the efforts of John Barilaro over the past 4 years (as well as the two factors mentioned above). If he keeps that up he has probably got a job for life.  It will be interesting how many of the promised loin chops:
  • New Police Station for Queanbeyan

  • a squillion dollars spent on the local roads ...
 ... actually emerge from the pork barrel.

The biggest loser is the environment.  No ban on CSG but land clearance gets a big go ahead.  While the Greens seem to have done OK, their presence in the Chamber will do nothing to upset the greedy sods on the Government benches.  To make matters worse it looks as though the Shooters and Fishers Party will have at least one of their troglodytic members back in the Council.


Friday, 27 March 2015

Geology Field trip 3 Wee Jasper

An excellent day!

We had a very easy drive in to Deakin, despite the early start and set off on time.  It was a tad disquieting to find a couple of overweight cyclists taking up the whole road going down into Urriara Crossing.  There were quite a lot more of them just over the Crossing.
Apparently they were heading for Sydney, and had chosen a scenic route.  Some of them must have been from overseas as they didn't which side of the road to ride.
Others were on the right side of the road (just) but averse to the soft shoulder.
Stone the crows - at the end of Fairlight Rd (about 5km after the Crossing) they all seemed to be having another rest period.  Fortunately we were able to get past them all and head off to Taemas.

The business there was spotting the limestone outcrops, forming the eastern side of the anticline of which we were to see the Western side at Wee Jasper.
After Crossing Mountain Creek many more outcrops were visible  on the lower LHS of the road towards Wee Jasper.  I really like the interaction of the outcrops with the interlocking spurs here.
After a morning tea break at the Fitzpatrick trailhead we moved to the vicinity of Carey's Caves.  Here we could see red soil (and pebbles in a watercourse) in front of dark limestone outcrops going up the hillside.
The red coloured material is of a Silurian nature, while the limestone is the last marine deposits of the Devonian period.

Here is some more of the limestone decorated with Kurrajong trees.
The Kurrajongs seem capable of getting into small fractures in the limestone, despite the apparent lack of a sol substrate.
And then they might form interesting shapes ....
.. while dropping seed pods all over the place.
Many of the limestone outcrops showed this grooved, or pleated, weathering.  This is due to slightly acid rain carving small channels.  The white colour is lichen rather than as I suspected guano from raptors using the rock as a launch site.
Here are some joints in the rock.  They are probably future habitat for Kurrajongs!
We then moved on to Cooradigbee Station where fossils were on the menu.  As revealed on this piece of butchers paper the area was a shallow sea in the Devonian period (about 400 million years ago).
Sediment dropped into the sea but water remained above leading to the build up of about 1200m of sediment.  This took about 16 million years.    As well as what was in the sediment, it covered and preserved corals on the sea bed.
This is the imprint of an armoured fish's (Placoderm) eyeball.
The owner of Cooradigbee (Ian Cathles) provided us with a wealth of information about the nature of the fossils found on the property and how they are handled.
  • A key factor is that the fossils are mainly bone (calcium phosphate) whereas limestone is calcium carbonate.  This enables acetic acid (ie vinegar) to be used to dissolve the rock but not the fossil.  
  • The fossils can then be scanned using a CAT scanner.  The ones used at ANU take 200 scans per mm (while a human CAT scanner takes a shot every mm). 
  • This enables the development of 3D prints of the objects such as this resin form of a Placoderm eyeball.
Another real fossil of a nautiloid,
Out to the rocks.  The white lines represent cracks in the rocks into which water later with dissolve d minerals has run.  When the water evaporates the mineral material crystallises out.  This might form calcite (if the mineral is calcium based) or quartz if silicon.
Here is a coral fossil in situ.
And a nautiloid.
This is looking South down the Goodradigbee River.  It is the back end of Burrinjuck Dam which started to be built in 1907: well before the Snowy scheme.   When the dam is full the water reaches the tide mark visible on the RH bank.  In the most recent wet period it reached the top of the green patch on the left.  The trees were all dead when Ian's family arrived in 1948
Looking downstream the triangular outcrop is a hard sandstone layer, which is unusual in the area.
As we walked a number of pebbles like this were seen.  The stone is sourced from about 15km away and if peered at closely it could be seen that they had been worked by human efforts.  In other words they were Aboriginal tools: a hammer on the left and an axe head on the right.  They had almost certainly been carried there by a human.
There were a good number of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos at the homestead ...
... and surprisingly Australian Pelicans on, and above the River.
At the invertebrate level this wasp was running about in the paddocks, probably looking for a tasty spider.
Near the homestead there was evidence of elm leaf beetles.
They had basically defoliated some very large trees in a year.  Ian was investigating how to react to this, with banding the trees being a likely outcome.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

ANPS Berries the Weather Radar

Today's walk went up - and I mean up - to the Canberra Weather Radar site in Tallaganda State Forest.  Here is the site; I think it just fits within Blogger's adult sites rules!
Getting the infrastructure stuff out of the way here is the excellent new bridge at Captains Flat: with an election on Saturday I am surprised there were no John Barilaro posters on it!
This is the Eucalyptus radiata forest at the start of the walk.
As Ros said in her email there were lotsa berries around.  Here are Pittosporum bicolor ...
.. Tasmannia lanceoloata (or Pepper bush)
.. Choretrum pauciflorum (technically a type of fruit known as a drupe rather than a berry)...
.. Polyscias sambucifolia ...
... Coprosma quadrifida...
 .. Dianella tasmanica - a particularly dense clump ...
.. and Leucopogon lanceolatus.
Let's move on to other seedy things: Arrenechthites mixtus 
.. and Gahnia sp.
OK.  There were some flowers: not many but quite nice.  The typical 'heathy 'thing of early Winter (although I found today quite OK temperature-wise others reckoned it was cold: wimps) Monotoca scoparia.
A nice example of Xerochrysum bracteatum plus butterfly (yet to be identified)
A close-up thereof, showing the proboscis to prove it is in focus.
Brachyscome spathulatum.
Helichrysum rutidolepis 
Although some Wahlenbergia gloriosa were seen they were uncooperative in the matter of open flowers.  This tiny jobbie was probably W. gracilis but from an abundance of caution will stick to Wahlenbergia sp.
This is a club moss!
A rock, well endowed with lichen!
A rather vertical rock, suggested by some to be a cliff, partially endowed with Pomaderris phylicifolia.
Nice scribbles on Eucalyptus pauciflora.
The blander bark of E. radiata.
I was surprised to find this car about 50m off the track.  Given the sapling growth around it, it had been there for some time.
The thought did cross my mind that there might have been a former person in it so went to check and (fortunately) resolved that question in the negative.
It was generally agreed that the presence of the baby seat implied it wasn't the owners of the car that stuck it there!