The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit New Zealand on 14 November – and the sequence of events that followed – has been complex in every sense. The main shock itself was a highly complex rupture of multiple faults that extended northwards and delivered a hefty punch to Wellington, well distant from the putative epicentre. That … More Does the Moon cause earthquakes – or is that a bit looney?
I have to admit to a certain cynicism about the age of big data – the age of online convenience where we can shop from home, buy stuff with the click of a button, and have it sent to us. Books, among other things. But there’s a down-side. ‘They’ know what you bought – and … More Big brother is watching us because we asked for it – Huxley style
The latest batch of quakes to hammer central New Zealand got me thinking. In past decades the usual face of such events were street-scapes of broken buildings and scattered debris, typified by the ruin that struck Napier and Hastings in 1931. That disaster cued more than half a century of active quake-proofing measures, bolstered by … More The modern face of earthquakes in New Zealand
English has over a million words in it. More than any other language, although that’s largely because English riffles every other language it can find for content. But it also means most of them are quite obscure and deserve better attention than they get. This week’s is sackbut. It’s a kind of trombone used in … More The obscure word of the week is sackbut
My blog got found the other day by the search string ‘how Germany nearly won Wikipedia’. It intrigued me, not least because I didn’t know Wikipedia was something winnable. Then there were all the other possibilities attached to winning things – you know, ‘How the West Was Won…by Germany’, or ‘Win Lotto Before Germany Does’, … More How Germany Nearly Won Wikipedia and other search strings
One of the hardest things about writing is selling it to readers – especially today, where the old gatekeepers have gone and the web is full of writing that, once upon a time, would have been relegated to a publisher’s slush pile. The challenge for readers is finding the good stuff. And that’s where a … More Getting the right promotion for your story
November is just about over, and all things being equal, NaNoWriMo participants should end up with something like a ‘bad first draft’ at the end of that writing month. Which is very cool, because a bad first draft is better than no first draft. That sounds like an old aphorism, but it’s absolutely true, because … More Ten steps in book writing after the first draft’s done