Why do we always see an apocalypse around the next corner?

A retired Professor from the University of Arizona, Guy McPherson, told an audience in New Zealand last year that the human race will be extinct from climate change in a decade. Except here. Apparently we’re well placed at the bottom of the South Pacific to survive. And there’s a precedent. Until the 1280s, for the … More Why do we always see an apocalypse around the next corner?

How societies get sucked into authoritarianism

I’ve been thinking lately about one of the eye-opening experiences of my university life, and what it tells us about today’s world. In 1981 I arrived at Victoria University of Wellington as a bright-eyed eighteen year old, filled with the idea that university was the place where people could express their intellectual ideas constructively. I … More How societies get sucked into authoritarianism

I like my dinosaur cooked with eleven secret herbs and spices. Do you?

Back when I was a kid, paleontology was simple. Life had evolved from one-celled creatures to fish to lizards to dinosaurs to mammals and finally to Tory-voting, club-going Englishmen – all in a giant and wonderful ‘advance’, a relentless march of ‘progress’ during which each new form automatically doomed the last to extinction. Today we’ve … More I like my dinosaur cooked with eleven secret herbs and spices. Do you?

I prefer operating systems that aren’t named after beaches. Or ice cream.

I’ve decided the other day that computer operating system names and numbers have lost something since the early eighties. Back then, Microsoft were producing a thing called ‘DOS’, which stood for ‘Disk Operating System’ and was sensibly issued in successive versions – 1, 2, 3 and so on. I think the last one I saw … More I prefer operating systems that aren’t named after beaches. Or ice cream.

Where did the commercial Christmas zombie frenzy start?

One of my pet irritations about Christmas is the zombie mall frenzy, when shoppers go into a kind of trance amidst the glitz and glitter of the mall and start shelling out cash for chintzy consumer items made of cheap plastic. Most of these gee-gaws break 28 seconds after being unwrapped, and by 29 December … More Where did the commercial Christmas zombie frenzy start?