The other week my YouTube feed proposed a channel of intriguing title: Beard meets food. I am not sure why this was presented to me, but because I deliberately turn off Google’s surveillance systems (insofar as I can), Google’s algorithms keep coming up with a default potpourri of wildly irrelevant offerings. This was one of … More How to eat a burger bigger than your head in one sitting
Last week’s attack on Salman Rushdie underscored, for me, one of the harder realities of being a writer. You get hated by total strangers. And sometimes they go berserk. Its sad that authors get targeted, physically or otherwise. One might argue that Rushdie was a special case; but on my experience it’s a risk all … More Salman Rushdie and author danger: a cautionary tale
New Zealand has a fantastic record of biosecurity. We are the only country in the world to have eliminated microplasma bovis from the cattle population. We eliminated hydatids from the sheep population. We got rid of fireblight from the apples. And recently we also eliminated pea weevil where it had arrived in the Wairarapa. New … More New Zealand’s looming failure to control Covid
I am often puzzled by the idea that – in this enlightened day and age – people with cognitive differences such as dyslexia are properly considered and catered for. Actually, it’s not really happening. As the latest example, cheques are being taken out of use in New Zealand. I guess it had to happen one … More Cognitive issues in a digital world
Humans are an odd species. A few weeks back I was enjoying a cup of coffee at a footpath table, outside a café in a small shopping centre. A vehicle pulled up nearby, sound system absolutely thundering. The car stopped, doors and windows open, and somebody ran into a shop. They obviously weren’t going to … More Human nature and car boom-boxes
Last Monday – a public holiday in Wellington – was a sunny day and I went for a casual saunter along the waterfront, starting a block from the Freyberg Building, before heading along it to the Freyberg Pool and Freyberg Beach. In case you think there’s a certain theme there, you’re right. Just then my … More Hot news about matters Freyberg
When I was a kid, the primary school I went to had a special way of dealing with people who suffered from cognitive issues. The method was simple. If a kid had a cognitive issue, the teacher would relentlessly bash at them. They’d usually begin by demanding the kid explain why they couldn’t get letters … More The burden of having cognitive issues
The year 2020 is upon us. It seems incredible that it’s 20 years since the turn of the millennium – a socially-defined key date in western society where the predominant beliefs were always millenarian, although we have to accept that a ‘millennium’ was sometimes figured to be other than a thousand years, hence the social … More Is 2020 the future of the future?
The idea of a political spectrum defined by ‘left’ and ‘right’ wing views has been around ever since September 1789, when they were invented. The revolutionaries had set up a National Assembly – meeting initially in a tennis court – which they declared indissoluble until they had resolved their issues with the King Louis XVI. … More What do we mean by ‘left’ and ‘right’?
I am somewhat bemused by the way ‘literature’ is so often assumed to be a superior form of writing, above any form of genre fiction and, particularly, science fiction (‘ptooey’). Authors known for ‘literature’ are, apparently, more talented, competent and intelligent than ‘sci fi’ authors, who by definition are hacks, talentless and ignorant of basic … More Literature versus science fiction