The Facebook data scandal is the thin end of a very scary wedge

The privacy issues kicked up by the current Facebook data scandal – which reportedly saw $83 billion wiped off its stock value last week – are scary not so much for the specific relevations that triggered it, or for the particular issue itself; but because of the deeper issue underpinning it, one shared by all … More The Facebook data scandal is the thin end of a very scary wedge

Why I think opera is a kind of audio torture

I have never really understood why people like nineteenth century opera. You know, those bombastic audio-torture events that feature singers making the kind of noises you’d expect from someone who’s just had particularly delicate body part slammed in a door. Usually the songs involve an obese soprano waddling out on stage looking like a giant … More Why I think opera is a kind of audio torture

The Treaty of Waitangi and ‘Hobson’s pledge’

I have always thought it ironic that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840 largely by accident. If everything had gone according to prospective governor William Hobson’s plans, it would have been signed on 5 February. That was the day Maori assembled outside the house of James Busby at Waitangi to discuss … More The Treaty of Waitangi and ‘Hobson’s pledge’

Remembering the Hawke’s Bay quake of ’31 – and the ‘big ones’ of 1460

It’s the eighty-seventh anniversary today of New Zealand’s most lethal historical disaster;  the Hawke’s Bay earthquake. Around 10.47 am on the sunny morning of 3 February, a magnitude 7.8 quake struck the district and threw the towns of Napier and Hastings into ruin. Damage extended from Gisborne in the north to Whanganui in the south-west, … More Remembering the Hawke’s Bay quake of ’31 – and the ‘big ones’ of 1460

Why I think a ‘paleo’ diet is scientific rubbish

I noticed the other day that the McDonalds Corporation are releasing a vegan burger. It brings home a point; in the west, particularly, we are constantly barraged by dietary fads. Vegan is one. Another, and one that I particularly object to, is ‘paleo’, which ostensibly returns humanity to the diet we supposedly evolved with in … More Why I think a ‘paleo’ diet is scientific rubbish