The obscure word of the week is adsum

This week’s obscure English word is adsum. It is directly from Latin and means to indicate one’s presence, for instance during a roll call. Usually, of course, the answer is simply ‘here’. One can imagine it being used at assembly in any large English boarding school: Headmaster: Timpton Minor! Timpton: Adsum, sir. Headmaster: Ah yes. … More The obscure word of the week is adsum

The social media dilemma and its consequences

I watched ‘The Social Dilemma’ a few days ago, the Netflix semi-dramatised documentary exposing the business model behind social media, and what it’s doing to world society. I wasn’t surprised; the social outcomes have been clear for a while. The ‘confirmation bubbles’ to which social media reduces people are a function of the way in … More The social media dilemma and its consequences

The obscure word of the week is empanoply

This week’s obscure English word is empanoply. It means to enclose in a full suit of armour. It’s related, of course, to the word ‘panoply’, which today means an impressive display or collection; the prefix ’em-‘ means ‘to apply’ in this case. And I guess a fully-armoured knight was, indeed, a pretty impressive display. The … More The obscure word of the week is empanoply

The obscure word of the week is paroicous

This week’s obscure English word is paroicous. According to my Unabridged Websters Third International dictionary it means ‘having archegonia and anthiredia on the same branch with the antheridia’. This is correct information, but it’s about as informative as being poked in the eye with a stick. The more informative meaning is that this is a … More The obscure word of the week is paroicous

How to understand 2020 – the worst year in living memory

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been the worst year in living memory. The world has, in the span of just a few months, been plunged into one of the most widespread and severe crises since the Second World War. Even the Cuba Crisis of 1962, with all its implication of nuclear armageddon, was … More How to understand 2020 – the worst year in living memory

What it’s like in the fourth best democracy in the world

Back in 2019 New Zealand was listed on the EIU Democracy Index as the fourth best democracy in the world with a score of 9.26. That follows Norway (9.87), Iceland (9.58) and Sweden (9.39). To put that in perspective, the top twenty two countries of the 167 listed are classed as ‘full democracies’. And New … More What it’s like in the fourth best democracy in the world