When it tried to climb back up the bank it had trouble – sliding back in the loose sand. I watched its efforts for a few minutes then thought that its best option was to come around to where I was standing and go up the easier slope, so I wandered down the dry creek bed for a while. When I returned it was just managing to work its way up the form-work on the top right of the picture.
The Black Snake is venomous but not aggressive unless threatened. I've had closer encounters than this that have all been resolved amicably. Years earlier, and a few kilometers downstream, I was walking along a wallaby and wombat track that was heading straight up a fairly steep ridge when I realised that there was a black snake beside the track a few metres further up. It was shorter than this one but considerably fatter.
I froze, then slowly lifted one foot onto a rock beside the track with the intention of standing on that until I could judge its intentions – most likely a retreat to concede ground temporarily. There was no time to think, but my intuition was that its preferred direction would be downhill rather than up. I was right. Before I had time to move my other foot it was slithering past it, brushing against the inner side of my shoe. As I watched it pass under me it was obvious that this was just territorial diplomacy and that neither of us intended or expected aggression.
As a child, I lived for a while out west on the flat open plains where the most common snake was the Brown Snake. These are reputed to be aggressive but I have seen someone walk straight up to one without it reacting. The usual practice was to kill any you saw. In my twenties, I lived for a while in the eastern coastal ranges and learned a different approach from a long established local family. This was an approach of mutual accommodation and benefit.
Out west in open grassland the snake population was low and if you killed one you weren't likely to see another for a while. In the eastern ranges, living in or beside bush that stretched for hundreds of kilometers and having high snake populations, it made sense to develop an understanding with the snake thats territory you lived in.
If you killed it, another would soon take over the territory and, being a newcomer, was likely to be aggressive, or at least edgy. A more sensible approach was to build up a territorial claim. I've heard that in the past – and, I presume, if you didn't keep chickens – Black Snakes could serve a useful role in keeping the populations of rabbits, rats and mice down.
Most animals have evolved an understanding of territory that, for the most part, involves members of their own species, but also accommodation with other species. There is no doubt in my mind that Homo Sapiens still possess these instincts and that the process of developing cultural beliefs and practices – civilisations – has, over our full evolutionary history, tended to temper and deflected these into a more productive mix of competition and cooperation.
Over this time scale – albeit short by evolutionary time scales – we may even have evolved new instincts – ones that recognise the need for this cultural shift from our earlier behaviour – insticts that recognise the need for these hard won cultural beliefs and practices that have evolved over many millenia through trial and error, suffering and sacrifice.
I also believe, counter to modern hubris, that we are a long long way from achieving the degree of understanding of the world around us that would allow us to dispense with the idea that there are forces at play that we just don't understand.
Select the OCM.html file to run it now, or download the OCMdemo.zip file.
This article, Energy and Atmosphere, looks at the energy dynamics of the Earth's atmosphere. Since the role of radiative
gasses has become a political issue that is undermining the stability of industrial
economies and denying the many benefits of cheap and reliable energy to billions of people, the
precise nature of the energy dynamics of our atmosphere has become a trillion dollar question.
It shows a new derivation for the adiabatic temperature lapse rate in the atmosphere.
It also points to a possible explanation for why the Earth's water thermostat cuts in so suddenly at 30 Cº.
The IPCC and the Carbon Cycle
We are told by the IPCC that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels are causing atmospheric CO2 levels to rise and that these are causing global warming. Of the two links in this chain of reasoning this article addresses the first.
I show that the IPCC view of the carbon cycle is fundamentally flawed in many ways, and is not supportable at any meaningful level of confidence. This is not esoteric science to be left to specialists or ‘great minds’. Any numerate person who cares to look and think can understand the insignificance of our total industrial era CO2 emissions at less than 1% of the carbon cycle and our annual emissions at just 5% of the air-sea fluxes.
The article Radiative Delay in Context challenges a core assumption of the contemporary climate science consensus, that the Greenhouse (or Radiative Delay) Effect is the sole mechanism by which the Earth's atmosphere raises the Earth's surface temperature above that which would exist without an atmosphere.
In it I show that the Radiative Delay heating of the atmosphere is negligible, and a well established alternative mechanism arising from atmospheric buffering over the diurnal temperature cycle is capable of producing the temperatures we experience.
The role of Carbon Dioxide is shown to be negligible.
This is a personal view of the political nature of the CO2 scare from an environmentalist who has watched on in dismay at the extreme politicisation of the environment. I watched the takeover of the environment movement since the 1970s by the extreme left acting with motives that have nothing to do with reducing our environmental impact.
Moving forward we see the actions of the totalitarian left in the United Nations and associated NGOs forming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and how this has perverted the already corrupted nexus between science and public policy.