The obscure word of the week is ‘fig’, but not ‘fig’ as in fruit

The obscure word this week is fig. No really. Let me explain. Yes, it’s a well known type of fruit. But it had a meaning in the nineteenth century in reference to military uniform – from ‘figure’, as in ‘cut a fine figure’. It was also used to mean ‘condition’, as in ‘fine fig’. I’ve … More The obscure word of the week is ‘fig’, but not ‘fig’ as in fruit

New Zealand’s asthma rates and immune system problems aren’t ‘psychological’

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, and a good deal of research has been done locally to find out why. Recently it appeared that tests run on asthmatics and non-asthmatics show much the same response to specific inflammatory markers, therefore asthma can’t be due to allergy and must … More New Zealand’s asthma rates and immune system problems aren’t ‘psychological’

The illusions of revolution – how Karl Marx misled historians…and the world…

I spotted some protestors a while back in central Wellington. “Aha,” I said to myself, “the people’s revolution is happening a century too late.” But it wasn’t. It was a group of public servants wanting a pay rise. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the western world was riven by upheaval; the radical … More The illusions of revolution – how Karl Marx misled historians…and the world…