Man videos ‘meteorite strike’ in Cairns, Australia; loud explosion heard


The city’s “big bang” mystery continues to deepen with residents split on whether it was caused by a meteorite, gas bottle explosion, electrical transformer failure or sonic boom.

Beginning with the latter theory, a single FA-18 Hornet was heard flying loudly over Cairns on Sunday night, with a Department of Defence spokesman confirming it landed at Cairns Airport while carrying out a training exercise from RAAF Base Townsville.

But no jets were operating late on Saturday night when a god-almighty “explosion” was heard across the city.

As for the gas bottle theory — the most popular on social media — emergency services had no report of any such activity despite speculation it was the product of juvenile delinquents running rampant at Jensen St in Manoora.

The Cairns Post was called by an anonymous man trying to sell CCTV footage he swore showed a jolt of light shooting up a power pole and causing the ensuing aftershock.

Ergon Energy had no record of any issues.

Woree resident John Romanov went hunting for the bang’s source yesterday, using Facebook comments to triangulate the likely location of a meteorite strike.

He came across a deep smouldering hole surrounded by broken and burning tree limbs in bushland beside Edge Hill State School.

When he found the spot yesterday morning, there was a large chunk of what looked like concrete inside the hole but no meteorite.

“I’m sure this is the location of what caused that massive bang though,” he said.

QFRS confirmed crews attended a small fire in the bushland Sunday evening but an explosion was not reported.

The Cairns Post is seeking expert opinion on the mystery.

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Dead humpbabk whale buried on beach in Ballina, Australia


A dead whale which was found on the beach at South Ballina on Sunday has been buried.

A spokeswoman from National Parks and Wildlife confirmed the 5.2m baby humpback whale had been buried on Monday.

It is not known at this stage why the decision was made to bury the whale instead of removing it from the beach.

It comes less than a month after Port Macquarie-Hastings Council was forced to dig up a whale which had been buried on Nobbys Beach.

Locals had raised concerns that the carcass would attract sharks.

Council spokesman Matt Rogers told the ABC: “There’s no admission mistakes have been made, the council simply responded to a perception in the community and that’s what we’re dealing with.

“It’s not going to be a pleasant job.”

The ABC reported that 3000 people signed a petition calling for the whale to be dug up and removed.

A detector off Lighthouse Beach, near Nobbys Beach, had identified 12 white pointers in just five days.

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‘Australia Presses for More Facial Recognition in Terror Fight’

‘Australia Presses for More Facial Recognition in Terror Fight’

October 4th, 2017

Via: New York Times:

The Australian government wants to strengthen its counterterrorism efforts by making use of a fundamental part of all Australian citizens: their faces.

On Thursday, at a national security meeting in Canberra, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to pressure states and territories to hand over the driver’s license photos of every citizen, which would be added to the federal government’s database of passport and citizenship application photos.

The licenses would be a prized jewel: They are more prevalent than passports, and they have more regularly updated photos that can be fed into a sweeping surveillance system, to the alarm of privacy advocates.

The government contends that its Face Verification Service helps combat identity theft and terrorist plots. The push for more photos will “further advance and harmonize our response to the threat of terrorism,� Mr. Turnbull said.

Research Credit: Rb




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Dead pygmy right whale discovered near Port Vincent, South Australia


A whale has been collected for research after being found dead on a local beach.

Barmera twins Ashlee and Kady Schwertfeger were walking along the Walk the Yorke trail north of Port Vincent when they spotted the whale about noon last Thursday, September 28.

They went onto the beach for a closer look and discovered the pygmy right whale, a species rarely seen and not usually found in gulfs.

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Remember Elon Musk’s big bet on Australia? The clock is ticking

A few months ago we wrote that Tesla will kill the duck in Australia in 100 days or it’s free- when Elon Musk made a bet that he would install 100MW of batteries on schedule or eat the cost.

A lot of headlines are noting that it is now halfway done, but the real challenge is just starting- note that the bet starts at contract signature, he just completed the agreement to get access to loans from a renewable energy fund, and the grid connection agreement was just signed this past Friday 29 September, so he had a bit of a head start. But it is still an expensive, if less risky than previously thought, bet; the total cost was estimated to be US$ 32.35 million.

Batteries already installed© Tesla

Elon Musk was in Australia for the signing at the battery array and was quoted in ABC:

“To have that [construction] done in two months … you can’t remodel your kitchen in that period of time,” Mr Musk joked as he took to the stage. “This serves as a great example to the rest of the world of what can be done.”

Seriously, we know Musk is in the roofing business now, but hope that he goes into kitchen renovations, that’s quick work.

duck curve in Australia© Ravinder Soin, Midnight Energy

The battery pack is being used to “kill the duck”- on the right-hand drawing, the problem is that point where the solar panels stop producing power in the evening but when demand is highest. The batteries eat up some of the belly of the duck and disgorge it at dinner time.

The Tesla battery bank can store 129 MWh of electricity, which at “full power it will last for a little over an hour.” But this will prevent blackouts at times of peak demand during the coming summer, without the pollution that will be caused by the 250 MW of temporary diesel generators that are also boing to be used.

Musk is going after other projects in Australia, and noted that the entire country could be powered by “1,890 square kilometres [730 square miles] of solar panels — roughly a tenth the area of Sydney — backed up by seven square kilometres 2.7 mi2] of batteries.”

Musk is being much quieter about his other humanitarian venture- delivering batteries to Puerto Rico.

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Mesmerizing White Humpback Whale Spotted Off The Coast Of Australia [Video]

By Amanda Froelich Truth Theory

Jump, Migaloo! In recent months, we’ve seen photographs of white giraffes and even a white moose. Now, footage has been shared of a rare white humpback whale, and nature enthusiasts can’t contain their excitement. The whale, named Migaloo (after the Aboriginal word meaning “white man”), was recently spotted off the coast of Sydney, Australia. And, he is just as majestic as many remember.

Migaloo was first spotted in 1990 and is believed to be around 30 years old. As National Geographic reports, it is unknown whether or not he has leucism (a condition which results in white or patchy skin, but the eyes remain dark) or is a true albino, meaning he doesn’t produce any pigment at all.

The video (below) was captured by Whale Watching Sydney photographer Jonas Liebschner, who had been patiently waiting for Migaloo all week.

According to Brian Clark Howard in National Geographic, three white males — including Migaloo — have been spotted off Australia in recent years. He wrote, “One has been dubbed Migaloo Junior’ or the ‘son of Migaloo’ – although no one knows whether this smaller whale is actually related to Migaloo. A third white humpback with black spots on its tail has also been spotted.”

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Meet the forest fairy, a magical marsupial from Australia

Nesting in tree hollows and flitting about the forest under the stars, the critically endangered cutie becomes the 7,000th species in Nat Geo’s Photo Ark project.

Documenting every creature in the zoos and wildlife sanctuaries of the world is clearly a daunting task, but National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is doing it with aplomb. He has made it to the 7,000th animal in the project, the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum, also known as the forest fairy.

The National Geographic Photo Ark is a multiyear project aiming to photograph every species living in captivity. Founded by Sartore, the aim is to document the planet’s biodiversity, as well as to find novel ways to save endangered species and protect their precious habitats. The marsupial shown here makes its home at the Healesville Sanctuary, part of Zoos Victoria, in Australia.

Native to the acacia forests of central Victoria in Australia, the forest fairy is named for the way it nests in tree hollows and quickly scampers about the forest at night. And as is becoming the fate of so many species, habitat loss from land clearing has led to fragmented populations; timber harvesting and forest fires have been the grim icing on the cake. National Geographic reports:

The species was missing in action for more than 50 years before being rediscovered by botanist Eric Wilkinson and two of his colleagues as they ventured into the woods near Marysville, Australia, on the evening of April 3, 1961.

With some estimates for the lowland population as low as 50 possums, the species has recently been upgraded from endangered to critically endangered. Zoos Victoria is hoping to start breeding them soon to increase their population.

With portrait number 7,000 completed, Sartore has a mere 5,000 species to go in order to reach the goal of 12,000 animals. Nobody ever said that being a modern day Noah, camera in hand, would be easy … it’s a project of biblical proportions, after all. But what an important and amazing project.

“I want people to care, to fall in love, and to take action,” says Satore. And with an assist from the irresistible lure of creatures like the forest fairy, consider the mission well on its way to being accomplished.

Learn more about the project and see what other species have been photographed so far here: Photo Ark.

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Great white shark attacks boat off Esperance, Western Australia; third such incident in a week


Anxious Esperance residents have pleaded for government help after a third attack on a boat by an aggressive great white shark this week.

The incident occurred near notorious attack site Kelp Beds Beach.

More untagged and aggressive great white sharks have been encountered by people in the past two weeks than the two sharks detected by Fisheries’ new $100,000 VR4 receivers, installed on Esperance beaches in June.

Fishermen Jacob Oversby, 25, and Luke Christian, 25, were fishing in Wylie Bay last weekend when their 6m boat was attacked by a 3.5m great white shark, the same aggressive shark they had seen two days earlier. After taking just 10 seconds of video of the attack, the fishermen fled.

Margaret River surfer and animal behaviourist Neil Innes said the video showed the shark giving a warning slap of its tail, before trying to “kill” the motor.

“It was bold,” Mr Innes said.

“It lifted its tail and slapped it — that was the first warning; ‘If you don’t go, I’ll bite you’.”

Mr Oversby said the same shark had attacked them last week: “It’s got a black mark, scar, on its side. (It’s) 100 per cent the same one.”

Filmmaker and local shark expert David Riggs said locals feared another great white shark attack was inevitable in Wylie Bay. He said for public safety, it should be tagged so the beacon was alerted when it was close.

Esperance Ocean Safety and Support Group leader Mitch Capelli said Fisheries WA told an Esperance community “shark information night” on May 17 it would tag great white sharks for three weeks in August, but nothing had been done.

If the seasonal aggregation of great white sharks were not tagged in Esperance, the town’s two VR4 receivers were a false sense of security.

A giant electronic sign with pages of warnings and updates on sharks was erected at Kelp Beds Beach by local MLC Colin de Grussa last weekend, after the first two aggressive attacks on boats.

The Esperance Ocean Safety and Support Group sent a letter to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly on Friday asking for permission to tag great white sharks when they were sighted and add lights and sirens to the VR4 shark monitors so water users knew when a tagged shark was within 500m.

Mr Kelly said he would ask his department to “evaluate the matters raised”.

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