Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Cameron Slater, aka Whale Oil, fights the good fight [update 2]

After his (first) day in court to answer charges that he broke a court order for name suppression, the Busted Blonde wonders whether Cameron Slater (aka the-blogger-known-as-Whale-Oil) is Hero or Dork?

A few others will no doubt be asking themselves that same question, especially after his cogent ‘to-camera’ before heading into court this morning to seek an adjournment until he can enlist legal support for his defence.

Fact is, Whale might be all the things people say about him but, just like Larry Flynt who defended free speech through the American courts, on this issue Whale is fighting the good fight.

What  he did on his blog, for which he’s being prosecuted, was to hint about the names of two low-lifes who were then before the courts; two low-lifes who were yet to be proven guilty, it’s true, but who were given name suppression solely on the basis of their “celebrity”—and whose names are still suppressed even now their guilt has been decided.

I say that’s not good enough.  I say that justice must be seen to be done. In fact, I’ve said just that before:

    “In recent years New Zealand's courts have admitted TV cameras, for which our justices have patted themselves on the back for their “openness,” but at the same time they’ve more and more frequently enforced orders suppressing information about what's going on inside those courts.  Justice may be being done inside our courts (though reports suggests serious doubts on that score) but we can’t see that it’s being done.  We can see pictures, but we're frequently not allowed to know who's on trial, and what the evidence against them is.
    “Like a patronising parent protecting innocent children we’re given picture but no sound. We're being treated like children, with no justification for it.
    “Are we really that immature?  Name suppression, evidence suppression – in recent years the media has been gagged from reporting important details that would help we the people  to judge for ourselves whether justice is being done in the courts assembled in our names.
    “I've argued before that ‘It's unfortunate that our courts seem to have forgotten the crucial principle that underpins their work: that justice must not only be done must must be seen to be done. When justice is kept under wraps, all sorts of nonsense appears in the vacuum instead ... Why do the courts consider us so immature that we can't handle hearing the evidence for ourselves in media reports, instead of hearing only the nonsense that its absence has generated?’
    “Talking about suppression orders issued over the Emma Agnew murder back in 2007, Stephen Franks quite properly slammed this ‘recent fad to elevate privacy and possible embarrassment over substantive justice’:

    “The law around pre-trial contempt of court (and sub judice) is based on the theory that the risk of biasing judges and juries outweighs freedom of speech, including open disclosure of what is known and obtainable by insiders, or those determined to find out.
    “I am not aware of any balance of evidence to support [this] fear... Indeed the attempt to treat juries like computers, cleansed of any pre-knowledge, and sheltered by evidence exclusion rules from anything a judge patronisingly considers prejudicial, turns upside down the original justification for a jury of your peers.”

    “When ‘justice’ comes complete with gagging orders, then justice is neither being done nor seen to be done.  It's time to urgently reconsider their popularity.”


UPDATE 1: If you’re still undecided on the ‘Hero or Dork?’ question, then it’s time to forget personalities and start thinking in principles. Defending a poor bastard jailed in Finland for two years and four months on nine counts of "gross defamation, inciting ethnic hatred and inciting religious hatred" blogger Baron Bodissey put the relevant argument:

    “As was pointed out by several commenters at the time, Mr. Lehto is not the most appealing poster child for freedom of expression.
    “Unfortunately, one can’t choose only the most noble and upstanding people as defendants in civil liberties cases. When it comes to the suppression of free speech, authorities are more likely to pick off the stragglers — the unpopular, unpleasant, and unattractive media personalities who inhabit the fringes of public discourse.”

So if you’re “not impressed by this” or just think “this is actually attention seeking and it's not actually that productive,” then may I suggest you think things through more thoroughly. And harden up.

Blog stats to the end of 2009

I’ve pinched Lindsay Mitchell’s format of showing the growth in her readership (congratulations Lindsay), and taken  it back to the birth of this blog.  See . . .


That’s really all the stats I’ve got time for at the moment.

'Six of the best' -- more posts from the archives [update: links fixed]

Six more posts from the early days of NOT PC.  Six classics from the archives here that you've probably never seen before, or wish you hadn't.

Six more things to contemplate over summer

* * * * *

April, 2005 

The Ministers of Contaminated Blood

Q: What do Simon Upton and Helen Clark have in common?
A: As Ministers of Health they both presided over the Contaminated Blood scandal of the early nineties, and both have since sought to suppress sensitive information about the scandal.
    In the early nineties, Clark and Upton decided that technology allowing screening of blood for Hepatitis C would not be used in the New Zealand health system; 250 haemophiliacs were infected and up to 20 people may have died as a result of this decision. Like the Berrymans, the people infected have found it impossible ever since to get justice. And as with the Berryman case, both Labour and National Governments are implicated in the commission and the cover-up.
    A story in today's Press reports, "Haemophiliacs who contracted hepatitis C in the bad blood saga have won a chance at compensation, with health officials agreeing to consider a paper outlining a proposed settlement." But there are no guarantees, and as this story reminds us even getting to this stage has not been easy: "Haemophiliacs investigating the "bad blood scandal" of the 1990s have been stymied by a 30-year embargo placed on sensitive documents from Prime Minister Helen Clark's time as health minister."
    It seems that the lesson from Watergate has still not been learned here in NZ, i.e., that it was the cover-up that ruined the President, not the break-in. Or maybe they're confident we don't have a Woodward or a Bernstein here to chase the story down. Or a Deep Throat.
    Both Clark and Upton have been in denial of their role in the scandal ever since. Clark still suppresses documents about the scandal - why? - what does she have to hide, one wonders? - and when Upton left Parliament for his cushy sinecure with the OECD, he was asked whether he regretted anything in his career as a Minister. "No," he told Radio Pacific News, "nothing gnaws at my soul."
    Perhaps he doesn't have one.

* * * *

April, 2005

Rothbard and the 7.5 million

    In 1975 Saigon fell to the Vietcong, and murder ensued. Much murder. As a recent article notes:

"April 30th, 2005 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Three decades in which the Vietnamese communist government and proxies killed 7.5 million people."

   When the South Vietnamese government collapsed, anti-government anarchist Murray Rothbard cheered. He celebrated. He wrote Hosannahs to "the death of a state," oblivious to the butchers who steeped into the vacuum he cheered on. And he cheered American deaths then just as today his followers (such as the antiwar.com crowd) celebrate American deaths in Iraq, and dissemble over Rothbard's calumny.
    Such is the response when the reasoned love of liberty is replaced instead by blind hatred of the state. 
    To be anti-government is not to be pro-liberty. Tom Palmer explains the point, and I argue it again here and here. Rothbard and his followers are anti-government.  They are not pro-liberty.
    7.5 million deaths at the hands of a brutal government underscores a crucial point that all lovers of peace and freedom need to grasp: that hatred of the state evinces no love of liberty; that hatred of oppression guarantees no help for those oppressed; that peace without freedom is injustice to the innocent.
    That it's not enough just to hate the state.  It's much more important to love liberty.

* * * * *

April, 2005

Elephant dung with your art, sir?

    If you've given up visiting art galleries because they're full of elephant dung, animals pickled in formaldehyde and Colin McCahon wannabes, and none of these are your thing, then you might have wondered how they could ever have become anyone's thing?
    Stephen Hicks explains here how today's 'post-modern art' came to be so ugly. (And if you like what he's got here, keep your eye out for his next book - after slaying the Postmodernist dragon, for his next job he'll be be moving in on postmodernist art.)
    Hicks concludes: "The world of postmodern art is a run-down hall of mirrors reflecting tiredly some innovations introduced a century ago. It is time to move on."
    Sure is.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Con-art in Kaipara

    It's his money to waste, but if you want to see what Alan Gibbs has wasted his money on you can watch thirteen-and-a-half minutes of streaming TVNZ video showing much of what he calls 'art.' For a supposedly hard-nosed man, it's somewhat surprising to see what craftless tat some con artists have erected to persuade him to part with his cash.
    Pictured at right by way of example is a chunk of rusting steel, an enormous wall of which by the same 'sculptor' has been erected at great expense in one of Gibbs's Kaipara paddocks.
    "It's some of the very best art in the world," Gibbs says of it all. I think not. It's neither good nor art. "Capitalism is the greatest natural gift to mankind," Gibbs also says. Now there's more hard sense.
LINKS: Sunday: Alan Gibbs - TVNZ (13:25)

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Collapsed: Jared Diamond's arguments

    Jared Diamond’s much praised book Guns, Germs and Steel contains erudition by the plenty, but for me it fell down because his thesis had no place for the greatest boon in mankind’s history, the Industrial Revolution, and no understanding of what that Revolution demonstrated so thoroughly: the role of the mind in transforming existence for human ends.
    No, as far as Diamond's book was concerned it might have happened but he couldn’t explain it, it didn't fit his thesis, and so he just left it out.
    Bad Jared. 
    That's just one reason among many I prefer David E. Landes’ similar but superior work The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why some are so rich and some so poor to Diamonds’ book.
    Landes argues that in the end culture is a greater determinant for wealth than are geography or history alone. Cultures, as Thomas Sowell reminds us, are not museum pieces but the working machinery of everyday life – and by that standard some cultural machinery is more likely to make you wealthy than others. Cultures that value property and contract rights and personal liberty are in the end going to be more successful than those that don’t. Read a comparison of the two books here.
    And Diamond is ignoring the field of property rights again in his new book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. As Joel Schwartz points out here on Tech Central Station Diamond’s central thesis is once again worthless because he simply fails to address this point -- and this "oversight" means Diamond misses the fundamental explanation for the collapse of some societies, and the flourishing of others.
    So Diamond doesn’t appreciate the rolse of the mind really understand markets, he doesn’t understand resource-pricing, and he doesn’t understand how property rights fixed the Tragedy of the Commons problems he cites for the societal collapses in his book.
    In short, he doesn’t fully understand his subject. Sad really, because he writes so damn well.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Learning from Easter Island: something for Russel Norman and his Greens to think about

Russel Norman's acceptance speech for the leadership of the Greens shows the intellectual horsepower that got him the Greens' co-leaders job--or the lack thereof. It has all the scope of a TVNZ Special Report and all the depth and resilience of moist tissue paper. (And Liberty Scott has another critique of it this morning). I want to examine Russel's view in that speech of our alleged "impending environmental collapse," which is his supposed political raison d'être, and his solution for averting it:

"I wanted to start [he says in his acceptance speech] by talking a little about the history of Easter Island... The story of Easter Island is the story of one potential future of the planet writ small..."
Okay, stop laughing there at the back. Let the man continue:
"A hierarchical society was built around the construction and worship of ... giant statues. The largest and heaviest statues were carved and raised just before the civilisation collapsed. And the civilisation collapsed because they had cut down every substantial tree on the island ...
"After the last tree was felled they could no longer build ocean going canoes to catch fish, they ran out of timber to build houses and keep themselves warm, the soil eroded into the sea, there was no wild fruit to eat, and all species of land birds became extinct. Their civilisation collapsed due to civil war over resources and famine, resulting in the loss of 90 percent of the population."
According to Russel, our own culture of industrialism, worldwide trade, contract and property law, and shackled capitalism is the same as the Easter Islanders, only larger:
"Now, our society has its own cult of the ever-bigger statue, and it's called the cult of never ending growth in material consumption and GDP. Each year we must build an ever-bigger statue consuming yet more resources taken from the forests and quarries and factories of the four corners of the earth. Every year we must consume more of resources available from the planet in order to expand our material consumption."
I'll let you work out for yourself for a moment just some of the many things Russel has to overlook to make his comparison between the dirt-poor Easter Islanders and free-wheeling, ever-productive modern man. But what's Russel's solution to the impending collapse he predicts for us?
"If we are to avoid the fate of the Easter Islanders then we need international environmental treaties that empower governments to discriminate on the basis of how products are made - that is whether they were made in an environmentally harmful way or not."
      This is the sort of "thinking" that got Russel the co-leaders' job. Like author Jared Diamond, who he gives as one source of his 'arguments,' he lacks understanding both of the Easter Islanders' collapse, and what allows the modern semi-capitalist world to work so damn well, and to produce so damn much. And he lacks an awful lot of perspective. What he wants as a solution to the problem he thinks he's identified is to shackle the production that makes human life possible, and to return to the primitivism that killed the Easter Islanders.
    Here's something to consider: The Easter Islanders are not us. Their way of life, fortunately, is not ours. Crucially, their culture is not ours. As David Landes argues in his book Poverty and the Wealth of Nations, it is culture that matters above all.
"Culture is a greater determinant for wealth than are geography or history alone... Cultures that value property and contract rights and personal liberty are in the end going to be more successful than those that don’t."
      That is the crucial thing. As is found so often, what the 'have-not' cultures had not and have not is freedom, and what makes freedom possible. As Landes says, it's these three things that have underpinned the rise of the western world since at least the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they were of course spectacularly absent both in the culture of Easter Island, and the Green Party policy manifesto. Property rights. Contract rights. Personal liberty. To ignore these three boons is to ignore human history since about the middle of the sixteenth-century, and to fail to understand human productivity and wealth production.
    Perhaps Russel and the Greens could take that lesson from the Easter Islanders: the importance of property rights and contract rights and personal liberty, and what happens in their absence? Sadly, it is these answers to the problem he poses that Russel and his party are set firmly against. As Gene Callahan says of Diamond's analysis,
   "he has not realized that ... there is a ... discipline called history that concerns itself with discovering the particular antecedents of some unique going-on that explain its occurrence, based on critically analyzing artifacts from the past that have survived into the historian's present.
    "... Diamond's mistake is not merely of concern to scholars. The view that 'vast, impersonal forces' largely determine the course of history, whether those forces are taken to be 'the material conditions of production,' as in Marxism, or geographical circumstances, as in Diamond, naturally suggests that individuals can do little to affect their own future.
    "As a logical consequence, in order to improve the lives of those who have been dealt a poor hand by those forces, it seems necessary to counteract them with another vast, impersonal force, namely, the State. Huge international programs intended to redress the arbitrary outcomes brought about by historical forces are recommended. The cases of countries with few geographic advantages but relatively free economies, such as Japan, prospering, and those of nations blessed with natural resources but ruled by highly interventionist governments, for example, Brazil or Nigeria, lagging behind, are easily dismissed as anomalies by those who are convinced that human action plays an insignificant part in history."

John Bratland makes a related point, against both Diamond and Russel Norman:

    "For Diamond [and Norman] societies are entities that act independent of the actions of individuals. He sees societal ascent or collapse as being contingent upon the extent to which societies embrace a centralized structure and management. But in so doing, he ignores institutions critical to peaceful, prosperous social interaction and the formation of society: (1) private property rights and (2) human action leading to division of labor and emergence of cooperative monetary exchange. With these institutions, individuals are able to avoid conflict and rationally reckon both scarcity and capital. Without these institutions, societies such as the Soviet Union and Easter Island are seen to have a common fate in that scarcity implies conflict, chaos, ‘waste’ and eventual collapse."

    The fate of a culture is not fixed in the stars; it is set by the extent to which "institutions critical to peaceful, prosperous social interaction" are valued, and to which human genius is free to create.   Curiously, it is this model for human life that Norman rejects, and it is the centralised Soviet model that he seems to favour as a model for society.
    Perhaps if he was serious about his own critique, he might reconsider his position.

LINKS: Russel Norman's links Easter Island and the WTO and comes up with ? - Liberty Scott
Collapsed: Jared Diamond's arguments - Not PC
The Diamond fallacy - Gene Callahan, Mises Institute
On societal ascendance and collapse: An Austrian challenge to Jared Diamond's explications - John Brätland (US Dept. of the Interior), Mises Institute

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Check back tomorrow for more classics from the archives. In the meantime, here's the GoBetweens:

Monday, 4 January 2010

Made your New Year's Resolutions yet? [updated]

Made your New Year's Resolutions yet? "Unfortunately," observes Alex Epstein, "this ritual commitment to self-improvement is widely viewed as something of a joke." So here's his idea [hat tip Voices for Reason]:

_quoteThis New Year’s, resolve to think about how to make your life better, not just once a year, but every day. Resolve to set goals, not just in one or two aspects of life, but in every important aspect and in your life as a whole. Resolve to pursue the goals that will make you successful and happy, not as the exception in a life of passivity, but as the rule that becomes second-nature."

See how that works for you. 

And it's not too late--just resolve to be more punctual in future.

UPDATE:  Instead of looking back like everyone does around New Year, I'm looking forward--forward to headlines  that I'd like to see sometime in 2010 [hat tip The New Clarion, from whom I've pinched a couple]. Only some of them are likely:

  • NZers See Through Spineless Nats: "No Clue What They Stand For" say Vox Pops
  • New Finance Minister Announces Cross-the-Board Tax Cuts: "Time We Kept Our Promises" he says
  • Environment Minister Scraps RMA: Announces "Property Rights Best For Environment"
  • "Gareth Morgan hasn't done well for us--too much time off the ball" say Investors
  • Inquiry Into ClimateGate Finds Widespread Corruption. NIWA Sacks Salinger's Spawn
  • Warmists Routed as Emissions Trading Schemes Collapse
  • Bennett's Ministry Told "Start Publishing Honest Unemployment Figures":  "If You Can't Or Won't Work Then You're Unemployed, No Matter What Your Benefit is Called" says Minister
  • Ben Bernanke Fails to Put Multi-Trillion Dollar Genie Back in Bottle: Senate Demands His Head
  • Obama says "Ayn Rand was right!": Begins Dismantling Big Govt
  • United Nations Announces "No Money for Development Programmes": Helen Clark to Head Back Home
  • Teachers Demand Separation of School & State: "Time for Ministry to Go" says Principal
  • Rugby Finds Mojo Again, Makes New Fans: "First Time I've Seen Rucking In Years" says Meads
  • Geelong Wins Third AFL Premiership in Four Years
  • Another Al Gore Lecture on GW Cancelled Due to Extreme Cold, and Violent Disinterest
  • Businessmen Gain Spine, Start Defending Themselves & Capitalism
  • "I'm Going on a Quango Hunt," says Brownlee, "and I'm Taking My Axe!"
  • Economists Announce Huge Attendance at 'Mises Circle' Conference in Wellington: Call for Reserve Bank to Shut Down
  • News Bosses Can Braindead News, Hire Intelligent Presenters: "We're Going to Stop Insulting Our Audience's Intelligence," says  Mogul
  • Nats Prepare Roster of SOEs for Sale, and Close Down Many More: "We're Paying Back Debt and Getting Out Of Your Way" says new Finance Minister
  • David Cunliffe Enrols in Humility Training: "Crunch Came When Head Too Big For Hat" says Wife
  • Greens Say Resource Consent Process "Too Authoritarian": "Common Law Works Best" says Norman
  • Maoris Look Forward To Day in Court After Simple Repeal of Foreshore & Seabead Act: "Common Law Works Best" says Tariana
  • Kelsey & Colleagues Sacked as Students Demand Rational Education on Campus:  "Sick of Warmed-Over Marxism and Post-Modern Crap" say Student Leaders

Five of the best FROM THE ARCHIVES: Engineering & Political Correctness

    Since it’s still the summer silly season and everyone down here is doing retrospectives instead of serious news, I’d thought I’d get in on that.
    So over the next while, I’ll be dusting off a few random pieces from the back catalogue you might like to take a look at.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Political Correctness: A classic documentary now online

    I thought it was time that a classic documentary on Political Correctness was taken out and dusted off: a forty minute radio documentary put together by Lindsay Perigo and Deborah Coddington for BBC World Service Radio just over a decade ago. (I've transferred it to MP3 and put it online, with links below.) How far have we come since then?
    The documentary covers the origins and effects of political correctness, the local and overseas manifestations of the phenomenon, and of course takes the piss out of PC whenever possible. The case of Anna Penn is discussed (Penn, if you recall, was the trainee nurse failed for being 'culturally unsafe' -- ahem, 'deficiency-achieved' -- in 1993, despite having a 92% average in the rest of her course) and there is also commentary from and interviews with luminaries such as journalist Carol du Chateau, economist and commentator Walter Williams, then-lecturer Rodney Hide, scientist and former Professor Robert Mann, andphilosopher Gary Hull.
    Hull points to post-modernism and its relativist, deconstructionist cousins as being responsible for political correctness. Says Williams, the corruption of language that political correctness demands brings to mind George Orwell's important point in 1984, that "to introduce totalitarianism into society, you first have to corrupt the language."
    How far have we come since 1993, and how much closer to 1984? You decide.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Nightclubbing, we're nightclubbing...

     Buying beer in a Swedish nightclub is amongst the most expensive purchases on the planet, whereas a Newcastle Brown at a nightclub in Newcastle is dirt cheap. However, Swedish nightclubs do have other significant advantages...
    Compare nightclubs in Sweden here, and Newcastle here. [Powerpoint needed.]
    Where would you rather spend the night, and with whom?

* * * *

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Is it true that the government that governs best, governs least?

   We've all heard the saying 'The Government that Governs Best, Governs Least.' But is it true?
    Well, no. It's not the whole truth -- which just shows you how reliable it is to get your philosophy from a slogan on someone else's T-shirt. What's missing from that slogan is what gets too many libertarians confused.
    What's missing is this: Now matter what she told you last night, size isn't always important. In particular, size is not the primary consideration when judging governments. What is of primary importance when sizing up a government is not that it's small, but that it protects individual rights.
    Let me say that again so you get it. A government governs best when it protects individual rights -- when it protects me from you, and you from me.  And in the end that's far  more important than whether or not you can fit your government into a small prefab-or a large jail cell--because protecting individual rights is what governments are for
    Size is a consequence of that primary role, not the generator.
    To protect me from you and you from me -- in other words, to protect our individual rights -- a government needs to be big enough to be able to do that job properly, and it needs to be properly constituted so they don't do you over themselves.
    There are too many example of small but vicious governments that don't do the job; some rare examples of big governments that (sometimes) do -- and some very rare but truly exceptional examples of small governments that very often do, and hardly ever don't. In judging them all, small is better, but proper protection of individual rights is best.
    As the T-shirt might well say, 'There's No Government Like No Government -- Unless it's Very, Very Small, and it Properly Protects Individual Rights."
    But to say all that, you'd need either a very big chest--or a rather large stomach.

* * * *

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Money does too buy happiness

    Material wealth doesn't bring happiness? "Bollocks," says a new study in the New Scientist.
    Not only is freedom what the have-nots haven't got, without it they ain't got lashings of happiness or prosperity either. Turns out generally that the more there is of one, the more of the other. And happiness is what we're here for, right?

According to the analysis, a country's happiness is closely related to its wealth, along with the health and education levels of its people... "There is a belief that capitalism leads to unhappy people," [says the author of the study]. "However, when people are asked if they are happy with their lives, people in countries with good healthcare, a higher [earnings] per capita, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy."
     Back in the nineteenth-century an otherwise sane but particularly rationalistic German 'scientist' Wilhem Ostwald tried to establish a mathematical formula for happiness. This was a serious undertaking -- he was German. It looked something like this:
HAPPINESS = E2W2, "where E denotes the energy spent intentionally and successfully, and W that spent with dislike." Note the squares.
     Now the New Scientist has shown the formula for per-capita happiness is, quite seriously, more likely something like this:
FREEDOM => PROSPERITY = > HAPPINESS, where the equation has a causal 'arrow' from left to right.
     Happiness Studies. Where Ethics meets Politics meets Science.

* * * *

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What is New Zealand’s all time greatest engineering feat?

The Faculty of Engineering at The University of Auckland celebrated its centennial year in 2006, and paid tribute by running a competition amongst alumni to help identify New Zealand's greatest engineering feat. Here were the leading contenders.

1983_40_7 Grafton Bridge (1910):
When it was built, Grafton Bridge was reputed to be the biggest span, reinforced concrete arch bridge in the world. It was pioneering in its use of reinforced concrete.

Auckland Harbour Bridge (1959):
New Zealand’s longest bridge with the largest span. ‘Clip-on’ extensions, doubling the traffic lanes, were added in 1969.

The Raurimu Railway Spiral (1908):
The famed spiral loop on the railway line between Auckland and Wellington overcomes an abrupt 132m rise in the topography.

underworld  Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World (1985):
Built in disused sewerage holding tanks, the 110m long transparent acrylic tunnel under Auckland’s waterfront was a world first.

The Skytower (1997):
At 328m it is New Zealand’s tallest structure. A feature of its design is its ability to safely withstand an earthquake, severe wind storms or fire.

Black Magic NZL32 (1995):
The yacht Sir Peter Blake and Team New Zealand sailed to glory in the 1995 America’s Cup race. Black Magic used cutting edge engineering and design technology to beat out the competition.

High-voltage DC link between the North and South Islands (1965):
The under-sea cable in Cook Strait was the world’s largest and longest submarine cable when it was built. The 600MW, 500kV HVDC transmission link integrates power supply between North and South Islands.

World’s first base isolated building (1982):
The William Clayton Building in Wellington was the world’s first base isolated building, designed to withstand earthquakes using a lead/rubber bearing as an isolator and energy absorber.

Manapouri Power Station:
The largest hydro power station in New Zealand. The majority of the station, including the machine hall and two 10km tunnels, was built under a mountain.

Wairakei Geothermal Power Station (1963):
The first in the world to utilise super-heated geothermal water as a steam source for the turbines, and the first to utilise flash steam from geothermal water as an energy source. mclaren-f1-variations-thumbnail

McLaren F1 Supercar (1994):
The McLaren F1 was the fastest production car ever built (top speed 386.5 km/h). Most of the McLaren designers were New Zealanders and Team McLaren was founded by Bruce McLaren, a legendary New Zealand F1 driver.

World’s first flying machine (1903):
A claim open to interpretation, Richard Pearse flew a powered heavier-than-air machine on 31 March 1903, some nine months before the Wright brothers.

The electric fence (1936):
In 1936, New Zealand inventor William "Bill" Gallagher Snr built one of the world’s first electric fences from a car's ignition coil and a Meccano set. The Gallagher Group of companies is still involved in electric fencing.

The Modern Jet Boat (1950s):
Bill Hamilton developed the modern jetboat in the 1950s to navigate the shallow fast flowing rivers where he lived. In 1960 a Hamilton jet boat was the first boat to travel up the Grand Canyon.

The Taranaki Gate:
A ‘Taranaki Gate’ is made from battens strung together and connected to a fence by loops of wire. The phrase has come to mean a practical approach to a common problem.

John Britten Motorcycles (1990s):
John Britten designed a world-record-setting motorcycle that was years ahead of contemporary design.
In 1994 it broke four world speed records in its class.

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Thanks for browsing the archives.

And speaking of blasts from the past, here’s The Saints from 1978:

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

“So I love that summer song” – a few of the sounds of summer

Summer time, and the living is easy. Fish are jumping, and the music is fine. See what I mean:


Bix Beiderbecke – “Singing the Blues”

Louis Armstrong: “Lonesome”/”Summer Song”

Jimi Hendrix: “Long Hot Summer Night”

Herbie Hancock: “Butterfly” (Part 1 of 2)

Martha and the Vandellas: “Heatwave”

Alice Cooper: ''School's Out''

The Lovin' Spoonful: ''Summer in the City''

Martha and the Vandellas: ''Dancing in the Street''

The Kinks: “Sunny Afternoon”

Katrina & the Waves: “Walking on Sunshine”

The Stranglers: “Peaches”

Heitor Villa-Lobos: “Bachianas Brasileiras, No. 5”

Otis Redding: “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”

Lily Allen: “Smile”

Eddy Grant – “Feel My Love”

Too Darn Hot – Ella Fitzgerald

Louis Armstrong & his Hot Five: “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue”

Karita Mattila: “Il Bailero” from Canteloube’s “Chants d’Auvergne”

Luciano Pavarotti: “Volare”

Hello Sailor: “Lyin’ in the Sand”

Coup d’Etat: “Dr, I Like Your Medicine”

''All I Wanna Do'' Sheryl Crow

War: ''Summer''

Ralph Vaughan Williams: “The Lark Ascending”

Peggy Lee: “Fever”

Eddie Cochran: “Summertime Blues”

Billie Holiday: “Summertime”

Antoni Vivaldi: “Summer (excerpt” from “The Four Seasons”

Felix Mendelssohn: “Midsummer Night’s Dream”

The Other Side Of Summer - Elvis Costello

Yo La Tengo: “The Summer”

Violent Femmes: “Blister in the Sun”

Here Comes the Summer – Undertones

Ramones: “Rockaway Beach”

The Pogues: “Summer in Siam”

Canned Heat: “Going Up The Country”

Eric Burdon & War: ''Spill the Wine''

Beatles: “Here Comes the Sun”

Velvet Underground: “Who Loves the Sun”

Thin Lizzy: “Dancing in the Moonlight”

Robert Schumann: “Am Leuchtenden Sommermorgen”

Sola Rosa: “Humanised”

Teenage Fanclub: “Ain’t That Enough”

Bruce Paine, playing Francisco Tarrega’s “Recuerdos de la Alhambra”

Buena Vista Social Club – Veinte Años

XTC: “Summer’s Cauldron”

XTC: “Grass”

Harry James: “By the Sleepy Lagoon”

Rodrigo: “Concerto de Aranjuez”

Renee Fleming singing Alban Berg’s “Sommertage”

Leontyne Price: “The Last Rose of Summer”


See, it is possible to have summer without it being polluted by the sounds of Grease, the Eagles and the Beach Boys.

So what else have you got?