It’s 11.30am on Thursday 20 April 2023 and this is the eclipse at very near totality. There’s a greyness when I look outside and a slight chill in the air. It’s almost totally silent, and the wind has dropped to stillness. No birds are cheeping either. It feels eery.
I did a long drive yesterday, from my place in Butler, “way oop north” 45km north of the city, to Rockingham, about 35km south of the city. Why? I chose to go there to see a specialist physician, in her suburban office. Just because I felt like a long drive.
But the road works along the freeway! Holy smoke, will they ever finish? This freeway (we’ve only got one 🙂 ) has been under change for the last three years, at least. It never seems to end. I was down to slower than walking pace at one point.
I was going to take the Peugeot, despite its missing front number plate, but when I went to start it, “click” and I got just a bunch of warning lights. No go. I hope it’s only a flat battery. I haven’t been driving it lately due to the missing number plate, but I started it and ran it in the garage a couple of weeks ago without trouble. I hope the battery only needs a charge and is not dead. It’s in the boot, and is a bit difficult to get leads onto.
By the way, the specialist physician’s fee for about a 45 mins consultation was $390. Ugh! Medcare pays $245 of that, so that helps.
Therefore I took the Honda MDX and as always, it was smooth and trouble free. It’s a 3.5 litre V6 with fuel injection, twin OHC, 4 speed automatic, with cruise control. Unfortunately it weighs over 2 tonnes so it’s no sports car. I ended up with 14.9 l/100km, not great.
The aircon needs regassing too. Not that I needed it. It was a beautiful 26deg day, with a cloudless sky.
“Amid the incessant cries of budget constraints we lose sight of the fact we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
“We can somehow afford the stage-three tax cuts, hundreds of billions on submarines, generous capital gains tax concessions on investment properties, billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies and we can afford not to tax windfall profits. But we can’t afford to look after Australians who need our support.”
These are the words of Senator David Pocock, an independent in federal parliament with a platform of action on climate change, and other social needs.
Exactly! For the life of me, I cannot see why we should be using taxpayer money to subsidise fossil fuel companies! The stage three tax cuts refers to a scheme brought in by the previous conservative government (“the rich man’s friends”) to reduce taxes on the wealthiest people in the country. Why should we? They tax-dodge their way out of paying tax anyway. If you’re a millionaire in Australia, paying tax is optional. There are so many “clever” accountants finding loopholes in the taxation act that even the cost of hiring the tax avoiding accountant is deductible. It’s obscene.
The “windfall profits” refers to fossil fuel, coal and gas companies vastly increasing their profits from the big increases in commodity prices due to the war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia. Yet, somehow taxing these windfall profits is too hard. I’m fed up with this.
The fact is that the Reserve Bank’s increases in interest rates to control inflation are crushing the poorest people, the ones who can least afford it. People on $150k and above don’t notice these interest rate increases. All it means is that they earn more interest on their savings and investment accounts.
At 12.10pm we’re well past totality of the eclipse:
It looks as bright as normal outside now. It only got dim in Perth, not the near total darkness they would have seen in Exmouth. Oh well, the next eclipse is a few years away. I’ll see it again then.
There’s a lot of discussion about monochrome cameras lately. Monochrome? This is where the sensor has its colour filters removed, so that it only produces black and white images (and all the greys in between, of course).
Pentax has just released such a camera, the K-3 Mk III Monochrome.
To me, this is an exceedingly beautiful camera, but for it to be incapable of capturing colour information? You must be crazy. The price is USD$2,300 (~A$3,400) by the way.
Yet my favourite photo blogger, Mike Johnston of The On-line Photographer regards this as very desirable. I own a Pentax K-5:
It’s one of my favourite cameras (I have about 11 digital cameras! Plus four film cameras 🙂 ), although it doesn’t get much use due to its size and weight, especially when I carry the extra lenses I have for it. I have:
- Sigma 10-20mm (= 15-30mm in 35mm film terms)
- Sigma 28-135mm (= 42-200mm)
- Pentax 12-45mm (= 18-67mm)
- Pentax 55-200mm (= 82-300mm)
- Sigma 120-400mm (= 180-600mm)
- Pentax 50mm (= 75mm)
This represents a heavy bag, so I rarely carry the first and last Sigma lenses. They are heavy!
Anyway, I’m waffling. I was out driving yesterday (Wednesday) and around 5pm I was driving through a smoky haze, from burning off. It was very beautiful, with soft shadows and warm colours.
I was driving through the Kwinana industrial area and I spied a huge white oil storage tank, you know, those enormous round pots with a spiral ladder up the side.
So this one looked creamy white, with a red logo of some kind on the side. The shadows were bluish. I instantly recognised it as “a picture”! But the traffic was such that I couldn’t stop. In any case, I didn’t have my camera with me, except for my phone camera. So I lost the shot. Damn.
It occurred to me last night that if I had the software called Dall-E, I could generate that picture by artificial intelligence, just by describing it in words. Lawdy, what’s the world coming to?