What happens when Earth is hit by a 10km wide banana…

This week I watched Don’t Look Up. I was impressed. Others may have different opinions, but to me it came across as a razor-sharp satire on the current zeitgiest, a social commentary of the highest order and a dark comedy with some solid science behind it. The scary part wasn’t the concept of a planet-killer … More What happens when Earth is hit by a 10km wide banana…

The obscure word of the week is poltophagy

This week’s obscure English word is poltophagy. It means the act of chewing food until it is reduced to a porridge-like consistency. This was once popular in the late nineteenth century and into the early twentieth, when US food writer Horace Fletcher advocated chewing each mouthful more than 30 times. This, he insisted, could cure … More The obscure word of the week is poltophagy

Predictions for 2022 – what’s going to happen?

In my previous post I suggested that 2022 was arriving like a Medieval butt-trumpet, with all that this implies. This wasn’t entirely for satirical effect though, you have to admit, Medieval butt-trumpets are pretty funny. But there’s a serious issue behind it (see what I did there). Back at the beginning of 2021 I joined … More Predictions for 2022 – what’s going to happen?

And so 2022 backs into view, complete with butt-trumpet

Back in January 2021 I published a rather gloomy post speculating that the year would be worse for the world than 2020. It was. By the end of 2021, New Zealand – which had escaped the pandemic until then – was amidst a Delta outbreak and struggling to keep Omicron out. The science was underscored … More And so 2022 backs into view, complete with butt-trumpet

How English sounds to speakers of other languages

I am always intrigued by the number of jokes made about the way other languages sound to English speakers. Usually they rest on some tired and long-discarded national stereotype such as Swedish allegedly consisting of people saying ‘borka borka borka’, or German consisting of people gutturally barking orders at each other: Speaker 1: Achtung! Panzer! … More How English sounds to speakers of other languages