Why yes, it’s proof of time travel, or not

Here’s a conundrum for you. Back in 1860, Austrian artist Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793-1865) worked up this little scene.  A woman, walking along in a pose very familiar to us today, is about to be confronted by a suitor bearing a flower. The painting was titled ‘Die Erwartete’ (‘The Expected’). So was Herr Waldmüller a … More Why yes, it’s proof of time travel, or not

What five super-powers would you most like to have?

Every so often I see something on Facebook asking you to name which super-powers you’d most like to have.That’s actually pretty cool, because – you know, super-powers. We all know what these are – invulnerability, invincible strength, teleportation, telekinesis, flying, being magnetic, telepathy, X-ray vision, squirting spider-web from your wrist and doing Tarzan swings with … More What five super-powers would you most like to have?

History’s all about shapes and patterns – and it’s all relative

I periodically find myself in conversation with people who start with ‘You’re a historian, so you must know…’ – and then ask me something about some obscure piece of trivia in an area I’ve never looked at. However, my answer’s the same every time: as Einstein said, I don’t need to keep stuff to that … More History’s all about shapes and patterns – and it’s all relative

Did Maori really understand the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840?

On 6 February 1840, as Hone Heke prepared to be the first Maori to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, the young missionary printer William Colenso stopped proceedings. He had a question for William Hobson, the man about to become governor of the New Zealand colony. Did Maori really understand the Treaty? It turned out that … More Did Maori really understand the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840?