I was taken aback this week by news that Jessi Combs had died in a crash during an effort to break the women’s World Land Speed Record, first set in 1908 by Dorothy Levitt in a 26 hp Napier, and last raised to 398 mph, by Combs herself, in 2013. I first heard about Combs … More Jessi Combs and the Land Speed Record
Thinking about human evolution never stands still. A little while ago I checked out where science was in regard to the Red Deer Cave People, an extinct species of humans who were discovered in the early 2010s. They’re intriguing – a species who manifestly aren’t us, Homo sapiens, but who seem to have been just … More Rethinking human evolution – again
I sometimes despair about the nature of the human condition and the likely future of our species on this planet. We don’t behave at all well towards each other – something that’s been thrown into sharp relief in the last generation or so in the west as we’ve become increasingly ‘wired’, and as the culture … More I despair about the future of humanity
Yesterday New Zealand launched a rocket from the only privately owned launch site in the world – just across the bay from my home town of Napier. And we joined an exclusive club of space-faring nations. The Electron booster and its Rutherford engines that did the job were invented and built here by a local … More New Zealand’s very own rocket – woohoo!
It would be nice to think that, as humans, we have something special about us. But when I look at the mess we’ve made of the world – at the way we’re destroying the planet that sustains us, all the while fighting among ourselves, with increasing venom and intolerance, over abstractions, I have to wonder. … More Are we exceptional humans? Or just stupid apes who do stupid ape things?
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?
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit New Zealand on 14 November – and the sequence of events that followed – has been complex in every sense. The main shock itself was a highly complex rupture of multiple faults that extended northwards and delivered a hefty punch to Wellington, well distant from the putative epicentre. That … More Does the Moon cause earthquakes – or is that a bit looney?
It’s been a rough week so far in New Zealand. How rough? Well, most of us were woken in the first minutes of Monday by the biggest onshore quake since 2009, and – at a magnitude of 7.5 – the largest to occur near any main population centres since 1931. [Update: figure officially revised to … More Earthquake, tsunami and floods…
My main website matthewwright.net has had a major makeover. Out went the old fixed-size site with steam age HTML coding – some of which dated back to 2001 when the site was first set up. It used to look like this: In came a modern CMS with a fully responsive layout – which means it’ll … More My website’s had a mondo makeover
The initial social media response to my Listener cover article was intriguing. It mostly riffed from snap judgement of the cover and headline without reading the actual content. Alas, being ignorant of what I’d said didn’t stop commenters from judging what they imagined I wrote, sight unseen. If I judge something, I have to know … More The common clay of the new social media. You know…