Archive for May 2008

Punk band or plant disease?

Following on from the Microeconomics term, or grunge rock song title? quiz, half of these are the names of punk bands; half are the names of plant diseases. But which is which?

1. Hairy Root
2. Dag Nasty
the rest

Odd little corners of the Budget and of my mind

Stuffed away in the Byzantine depths of the Budget is $10 million for the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme, basically RFIDing all our livestock.

This is a good thing, so consumers can have trust in NZ food, and so we can track and solve disease outbreaks faster. It means better and cheaper information back to farmers about how their stock are doing. It’s also going to get more important, coz we’re not just producing food here, plenty of nations can do that. We’re trying to produce in particular ways, whether that’s organic, grass-fed, low pesticide or whatever rich people want. This helps us show that the product on their plate meets those standards.

So what is Federated Farmers’ response? Grumpy and negative, just like always. This doesn’t help anyone, let along farmers. So why do Fed Farmers keep shooting themselves in the foot like this?

In other news, I have too much hair, and 86% of NZ’s population now counts as urban. Admittedly, ‘urban’ includes towns with more than 1000 people, so Shannon counts as urban, but even ignoring that, it’s around 75%.

Also, only 2% of people live in 50% of the land. Plenty of room for more suburbia then?

I’d post the plucking song, but I’m at work. It’s on youtube, and thanks to for introducing me, though I’m still planning on waking him up at god-awful times of the day, in revenge.

Macroeconomics in the event of zombie invasion

After last week’s discussions of requirements in case of zombie apocalypse, it seems obvious that we’ll be sorted for the essentials – food, shelter, diesel, chainsaws mounted on big trucks, light armoured vehicles, and the rest. So my brain turns, as it often does at four in the bloody morning, to the harder questions, like how do we maintain a stable currency in the event of zombie invasion?

You can probably guess my conclusion from here

More pics from Tuesday


IMG_7716, originally uploaded by Bailey (Eclipse Photographic).

Tut tut, shameless.

More.

Me, last night


IMG_5834, originally uploaded by GIALIAT.

Moar picatures!

Thanks to and the rest of the photo crew last night.

Can the universe stop beating up on my friends? Thanks.

World Famous in New Zealand

Our very own “pint-sized dynamo”, is featured in this month’s Next magazine as an example of what they’re calling sunlighting – having a job that pays and another job that’s fun:

In other news, the Mitochondrion dirver board design seems to be working, even if the main board has decided not to.
*scratches head*

Recording TV

Woop! Woop! Arcane technology alert!

I want to watch something on TV. I don’t have a TV, nor video cassette player.

So, the plan is to find someone with a TV tuner card, a hard disk, and some form of programmable controller, like a PC. And then ply them with beer in return for a digital copy.

Who wants beer?

It’s “Paul Callaghan Presents” on Stratos Television (Freeview Ch 21 and Sky 89) on Monday 19 May at 7.00 p.m, and, I assume, for nine more mondays after. It’s in-depth interviews with prominent New Zealand business people and commentators, including Richard Taylor, Weta Workshop; Stephen Tindall, The Warehouse; Neville Jordan, Endeavour Capital; Di McCarthy, The Royal Society of New Zealand; Michael Chick, Tait Electronics; Mike Daniell, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare; Rod Oram, financial journalist; Bill Denny, Proacta; Andrew Coy, Magritek. That’s quite a few of the more interesting people in NZ.

Overheard in Wellington

I’m sitting on the bus this morn, two kids get on and stand next to me. Must have been all of eleven years old. The first thing I hear one say is:
“Are you gonna take drugs, when you’re older?”

The other says:
“I already do, caffine, panadol…”

It was all I could do not to crack up. Yay for kids with their heads screwed on right.

Things not to do, part 47:

I’ve been up at the section, building retaining walls. This one is a biggie, 1.5 metres, as high as you’re allowed to build before getting the engineers in. That means the hole needs to be 750 mm or deeper, depending upon which set of regs/advice you choose to read. Now, digging a hole like that is a sod, try lifting a post hole borer from your feet to over your head to get the mud out. Then get down on your knees and reach into hole to get more soil out, by hand. Then lie on your side, reaching down, arm stretched, coz it’s not deep enough until you can’t reach any further. Then leave it for a few months, letting the hole fill up with water, vegetation and soil, all decomposing with that lovely anaerobic ming of rot. Nice. Use a random plastic container to get the water out, dig down again by hand to remove the slurry at the bottom, and you’ve a hole ready for the post.

The post is two and a half metres long, weighs about as much as you, and has a centre of gravity above your own. You can lift it, barely, but putting it on only one shoulder is likely to do nasty things to your back. So, stand it on end, hug it, lift with just your legs, then carry it along the path (easy), down the mud slope (tricky), through the bush (fine so long as you don’t stand on any slippery bits), then down the slope you’re going to retain (near lethal). Then stand on all the muck that you’ve just hand-dug from the hole, which is slippery, loose-as and trying to squelch out from under your boots.

Now comes the enjoyable part, the only fun part of this process. You get to drop the post in the hole. There’s going to be a beautiful thud as eighty kilos of wood drops a metre, landing on the solid bottom of the hole, where it’s going to be concreted in and stay for the rest of eternity. Oh yes.

Except, the bottom of the hole isn’t solid. It was, the last time you were doing this, coz that was summer. You forgot the remains of the slurry at the bottom of the hole. All the muck that you couldn’t lift out, or trickled through your fingers, or just leaked back into the hole from the surrouding earth. Yeah, you just dropped the equivalent of your own weight on it. It’s like jumping into a puddle, from the bonnet of a car. And that’s all a tad messy to start with, but the muck is at the bottom of a hole which acts like a gun barrel. Because you could only move the pole by hugging it, your head is directly in line with that barrel. The muck doesn’t just spray up at you, what doesn’t hit you in the face goes past, into the air, and then falls back down upon you. Eyes, ears, nose. Everywhere.

So yes, don’t do this. Ignore the temptation of that beautiful thud, and lower the next poles into their soggy holes very slowly. Then go home and shower.

Manly stroking of chins

We’ve found someone who is keen to take all the wood off our hands. His plan involves winches, trucks, cargo nets, hiabs, big fellas with single syllable names and assorted other hefty kit, all of which he has. So yay! I don’t have to spend next week getting rained on.

There are, of course, several drawbacks to this change of plan:
a) I don’t have an excuse to buy a chainsaw. *cries*
b) All the people who were planning on puting their backs out helping themselves to our huge pile of wood? You’ll just have to find another way to get sore and blistered. Sorry about that.

Of course, this does mean that I’m free this weekend and next, and will need consolation for the loss of the chainsaw that I never had.

Console me!

I am feeling unusually superior today, for no good reason.

I’m warning you of this, not coz I’ll be even more annyoing than usual, but coz the Universe is likely to enact retribution. You may want to be ready to dive for cover during the arrival of the inevitable pustulous catastrophe/explosive dog/rotting cow falling from the sky/accidental self-immolation.

Quiet, dignified slurping

The Great British Art of Understatement, part 53:
The world may have just ended in a nuclear war, but the important factor, the really key factor that we need to consider is will we have enough tea?

The latest must-watch reality TV show:
Trading Leaders

The best joke in the world