It’s 85 years since the Hawke’s Bay quake and we still don’t know how many died

On 3 February 1931 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand – particularly hitting the town centres of Napier and Hastings. It remains the worst natural disaster ever to strike New Zealand in historic times – despite some doubt as to the precise casualty figure, it was still 50 percent more than the … More It’s 85 years since the Hawke’s Bay quake and we still don’t know how many died

In which I discover ‘decadent’ paleo food

The other day I spotted something on sale in a sandwich bar and decided I’d seen it all. Paleo Muesli, a Paleo Roll and other Paleo-labelled products, all described as ‘decadent’. I almost rolled about laughing, because one of the reasons why the ‘Paleo diet’ is so popular is because it rejects the foods that have fuelled … More In which I discover ‘decadent’ paleo food

Chickenosaurus lives! But should we really play God with genes?

In what has to be one of the biggest ‘ewwww-factor’ experiments in a while, paleontologists at Yale recently tweaked chicken DNA to give the birds toothed jaws, a bit like Velociraptor. Although there was a lot of work involved in finding out which two DNA strands to tamper with, the process apparently didn’t add anything … More Chickenosaurus lives! But should we really play God with genes?

Summer writing inspirations – Monarch caterpillars

A swan plant in the back garden is filled with Monarch caterpillars. Eventually they’ll eat their fill, chrysalise, and turn into butterflies – all irrespective of the human society around them and all its drama and stupidities. It’s an inspiring thought. Taking a photo wasn’t easy. The plant was moving in the wind and the target miniscule, … More Summer writing inspirations – Monarch caterpillars

What happens when somebody does something stupid to the environment

I thought I’d share a photo I took a little while ago as an object lesson in what happens when somebody does something stupid with the environment. This is a was-a-road on the coast south of Napier, in New Zealand. It’s at the edge of an alluvial plain. Last time I saw this road – just … More What happens when somebody does something stupid to the environment