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?