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green issues, geology, geography, space, astronomy

Birds versus climate change

Something new for the lefties:

Federal investigators in California have requested that BrightSource — owner of thermal solar plants — halt the construction of more (and bigger) plants until their impact on wildlife has been further investigated.

“Unlike many other solar plants, the Ivanpah plant does not generate energy using photovoltaic solar panels. Instead, it has more than 300,000 mirrors, each the size of a garage door. Together, they cover 1,416 hectares. Each mirror collects and reflects solar rays, focusing and concentrating solar energy from their entire surfaces upward onto three boiler towers, each looming up to 40 stories high.

The solar energy heats the water inside the towers to produce steam, which turns turbines that generate enough electricity for 140,000 homes.”

The concentrated solar energy chars and incinerates the feathers of passing birds. BrightSource estimates about a thousand bird die this way every year, but an environmental group claims the real number is much higher.

Greenfingers? A Gardener’s Tale


Nature has a way of redressing the balance on many things, and I am not referring to climate change.

This has been my first full year at the new house and with plots manured and greenhouse propagator and automatic watering system all up and running, this should have been a bumper year considering the early start this year offered with temperatures well above normal at the start of the year.

But as so often is the case, mother nature has a say in these things and despite those early promises of bumper crops and tropical fruits, it hasn’t quite turned out that way. Sure some items have been in abundance and some items exceptional in quality, but this has been more than offset by the blight of disease and natural predators.

It started to go wrong at the very beginning when, despite seed sowing at the normal time, the abnormally hot early weather pushed things on so that they were ready for planting out at least three weeks before normal, meaning the tomatoes were half way up their supports before any sign of flowering so that now the plants are being trained across the roof of the greenhouse as they run out of space, plenty of toms but all from halfway up the stems, but that is a minor inconvenience

The first sign of real trouble was the strawberries, a bumper and superb crop was decimated with the torrential rains that induced mould at a rate I have never seen before.…


wisteria street

What does it do for you, Wisteria? My first thought is:

[Some nice watching for Sunday late afternoon]

Further reading

At Gutenberg



#  Wisteria is an extremely hardy plant that is considered an invasive species in many parts of the U.S., especially the Southeast, due to its ability to overtake and choke out other native plant species.

# Fuji Musumè or Wisteria Maiden is an Otsu-e (Japanese folk painting in Ōtsu, Shiga) subject thought to have been inspired by popular dances. These paintings were often sold as good-luck charms for marriages. Fuji Musumè is also a famous classical Kabuki dance.

Hmmmm, I’ve always thought of Wisteria as somehow old person’s, part of my parents’ brothers and sisters – their generation, quite feminine, maiden aunt sort of thing – Great Aunt Maude or Hannah or Emily or Bertha.

A long, tangled history

Wisteria comes to Europe

Wisteria symbolism

There’s something vaguely reassuring about Wisteria, a bit like families – I don’t have one and am not involved but can see it is quite important and I wish them all well.…


It’s only when I see public announcements such as this:

Please be aware, Cats fans, that the Domain Tunnel will be closed after the Cats v Hawks clash from 11pm Saturday 23 August to 8am Sunday 24 August for routine maintenance.

On your way home from the MCG, City Link suggest to detour via Batman Avenue, Alexandra Avenue, City Road and Power Street.

… that it becomes truly live, as if I were there. [Click and click again on the pic to embiggen]:

my stomping ground 2

I used to live where the A is, down by the river, within walking distance to the MCG, so naturally I’d spend most Saturdays there in winter and go sailing in summer.  And looking at this map, it all comes back.  Clear as day walking up Swan Street, looking in at Dimmies the emporium on the left, going past Richmond station [dangerous place after a night game] and into the sports mecca which includes the MCG and its vast park.…