In what’s becoming an annual rite of passage, Australia is in the midst of another record-setting heat wave. It’s less the eye-popping temperatures (though it’s definitely going to be hot, with areas reaching 113 degrees Fahrenheit) and more the relentlessness of the heat and how much of the country is afflicted. Temperatures are already well above normal and will stay that way into the new year. The sweltering conditions are the latest sign that Australia is basically a window into the hellacious future we all face as the climate warms. The heat began to blossom on Christmas Eve with temperatures up to more than 22 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) above normal in parts of the states of Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia. Christmas Day saw the heat intensify further, with a widespread area of temperatures anywhere between 11 to 22 degrees Fahrenheit (6 to 12 degrees Celsius) above normal. Western Australia got the worst of it in absolute … [Read more...] about Australia Is Ending 2018 With a Record-Breaking Heat Wave
Mourners hold hands during a memorial service in Melbourne, Australia, commemorating the anniversary of the Port Arthur massacre, in which 35 people were killed in 1996. The AGE/Fairfax Media/Getty Images April 28, 1996 was a day that Australians will never forget. As this 2016 article from the Guardian, a British newspaper, details, that's when a 28-year-old gunman named Martin Bryant entered a café in Port Arthur in southeastern Tasmania, pulled a semi-automatic rifle with a 30-round magazine out of his bag and started shooting at tourists and employees. He killed 12 people in the first 15 seconds. The killer then went back to his car, got a second semi-automatic rifle, and looked for more victims. In a little more than 30 minutes, he killed 35 people and wounded 23. It was the worst mass killing ever committed by a single person in Australia's history. Here are four eyewitness accounts of the killings from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. A Swift Response The Port … [Read more...] about How Well Has Strict Gun Control Worked in Australia?
Tesla has built the world's largest battery storage system at Hornsdale Wind Farm, near Jamestown in South Australia. Mark Brake/Getty Images Tesla co-founder, chief executive and product architect Elon Musk apparently isn't one to turn down a Twitter challenge. Another company official said publicly in March that Tesla could solve the blackout-plagued Australian state of South Australia's energy woes by installing a massive battery storage system in under 100 days. In response, Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes tweeted back, asking Musk how serious he was about the offer, and whether he could guarantee that it could be accomplished in that time. Musk's reply was to promise that Tesla would get the system installed and working 100 days from the signing of a contract, or else provide it for free. "Is that serious enough for you?" he asked. Blowin' in the Wind After a competitive bidding process that ended in July, the Australians agreed to the deal, and in late September, … [Read more...] about Tesla Installs World’s Largest Battery in Australia
This is the Australian brush turkey, Alectura lathami, a modern species related to the extinct P. gallinacea. Auscape/UIG via Getty Images Turkeys have an (unfair) reputation for being dumb. But Benjamin Franklin's supposed pick for the symbol of the U.S., a rumor that is also a myth, is more likely to be extremely aggressive and altogether intimidating. And these ground-scratching wild birds also fly, so don't forget to add that to your nightmare about turkey attacks. But if that's not scary enough, it turns out that paleontologists recently discovered that an ancient Australian brush turkey called Progura gallinacea was taller than a gray kangaroo (over 4 feet, or 122 centimeters) and once flew around the country. While a lot of other megapodes — birds in the family Megapodiidae found in Oceania — build mounds to cover their eggs, the researchers think that P. gallinacea simply buried them in sand or soil and flew into trees to roost, like modern turkeys do. The … [Read more...] about 4-foot Flying Turkeys Roamed Ancient Australia
This artist's rendition depicts a Mamenchisaurus, a sauropodian dinosaur that lived in what is today China; researchers recently discovered footprints in Australia that came from a large sauropod. StockTrek Images/Getty Images We live in a time of dainty little animals. After the fall of the dinosaurs, evolution decided to turn its laissez-faire attention to making miniature organisms like elephants. (We do have one stand-out colossus — the blue whale is likely the largest animal the world has ever known.) One of the enchanting things about terrestrial dinosaurs, besides their weird horns, proportions and protuberances, is the fact that being freaking immense was pretty commonplace back in the late Cretaceous. But the discovery of a complete skeleton of one of these big guys is pretty much unheard of, so it's tough to know exactly which of the known prehistoric behemoths was the biggest. A good indication of the size of an animal is the size of its foot, if that's what you've … [Read more...] about World’s Largest Dinosaur Footprints Discovered in Australia