Do You Know Who I Am?

A few days ago one of our MPs (and I use the term ‘our’ advisedly!) was out with friends (and they use the term ‘friends’ advisedly?) having dinner (and, as it transpired I use the term ‘dinner’ advisedly!!) at a hotel in Hanmer.

Now there is absolutely nothing noteworthy in this so why should I be posting about it, you might ask? I’m sure there are plenty of people who dined out at the same hotel on that evening so why am I not talking about them? And what on Earth can it have to do with the heading of my post?

In a nutshell- one of the ‘friends’ at said dinner was the MP, whose name is Aaron Gilmore and who is in parliament because somehow he got onto the National Party ‘list’, and when the Hon. Lockwood Smith moved on to greater things was moved in to fill the seat vacated by the Honourable Gentleman. During the evening drinks were drunk and the mood generated (or should that be de-generated) to the ‘boisterous’ -their word, not mine. Apparently one of the party was somewhat more ‘boisterous’ than the others and when this person asked the waiter for more wine he was refused- they had already consumed 8 bottles among other beverages (it is reported). At this refusal it was reported the MP became somewhat tetchy and called the waiter a ‘dickhead’, inquired of the waiter whether he knew who the MP was, and even (it is reported) threatened to use his power as “a very important politician” and (it is reported) his influence with the PM (important reversal of initials here!) to remove the waiter from his job.

There are a number of issues here and I will leave the headline until later.

In this fair country it is everybody’s right to enjoy the company of friends, to enjoy fine dining, the enjoy the fine wines of this fair country, AND TO CARRY OUT ONES JOB WITHOUT BEING ABUSED OR THREATENED FOR SIMPLY DOING THAT JOB!

The waiter obviously believed he was within his rights to refuse to provide further alcohol, in fact I am sure he would have already had advice from others as to whether it was likely that a refusal was probably going to have to be made based on the behaviour of the ‘boisterous’ group should a further request be made for drink. What the waiter will not have had would be instructions that include making allowances for ‘important people’ to be more ‘boisterous’ than less important people. Neither would he be any less of a waiter if he wasn’t able to recognise ‘important people’ if they dined at his tables- in fact many ‘important people’ might even value their anonymity when dining out with ‘friends’.

Other diners also have the same rights to fine dining and an expectation that they can enjoy their meals in peace without the peaceful atmosphere being upset by over ‘boisterous’ behaviour. (I would imagine in this case you could probably use ‘boorish’ for ‘boisterous’.)

I am sure this ‘important politician’ is soon going to find out just how not-important he is in the greater scheme of things, more especially given it is strongly suspected he stupidly used the position of his leader, the PM in his threats against the waiter, because this is something that is only marginally less stupid and career-ending than abusing The Leader!

And so back to his question “don’t you know who I am” and his assertion that he is “a very important politician”. Check this out, Mr Important Person Probably Soon To Not Be MP Aaron Gilmore…

Feeling important? As you scroll down you may feel ever so slightly less so!!universeOh, and who, what and where were you on one of those minuscule dots?

There is a postscript to this- one of the MP’s ‘friends’, who initially left a note apologising to staff for the unseemly behaviour in his group the previous night (more strength to HIM) has subsequently identified the MP as the one who was being ‘boisterous’ and has appeared to put an end to any ‘friendship’ by clearly accusing Gilmore of further ‘disappointing behaviour’ by making his apologies on behalf of his dining group when it was Gilmore himself who was the ‘boisterous’ one (MUCH more strength to HIM).

The Blue Marble

blue marbleI came across this stunning photograph today on a pretty exciting website called TwistedSifter but although it is a stunning image and is of the views that never cease to amaze me (those of our mother Earth from space) its tag annoyed me- “The Precious Blue Marble“. Why? Thisbluemarblemay go some way to explaining why. Get it? Well, for one thing, to caption a photo as one thing and to show another gets my goat. Unfair? You may think so but the second picture might fairly be captioned “The Blue Marble” while the first would much better be called “The Blue and Brown Marble”, or “The Marble With The North American Continent On It”, or even “The US From Space”, but no, TwistedShifter (or  NASA whose photograph it is) chose to call it “The Blue Marble” (2012). And this goes to what really ‘got my goat’, that so often we see stunning images from space of our fantastic planet that are centred on the North American continent, or even more likely the United States of America. The North American continent is not the world any more than the US is, and you could do worse than taking a minute or two (well, about seven and a half actually!) to hear Aaron Sorkin’s words from the TV series ‘Newsroom’ go somewhat to explain why we shouldn’t necessarily be fixated on the US. OK, they put most of the hardware up there that supplies us with the stunning images, but they fly that hardware over my country, they spend 50% of their skytime in my hemisphere (Eastern or Southern, take your pick!) and as their cameras are clicking away almost continuously there are plenty of other views of the world to highlight, not necessarily of ‘my’ country, ocean or quadrant. I am aware, of course that there are hundreds of options open for me to find such images, and I do, but I will continue to be irked by the US being representative of US!


(If you are of a sensitive nature or are somewhat ‘prudish’, please leave this post.)The year is 2222 and my wife and I land on Mars after accumulating enough Frequent Flier miles.

After exiting immigration we went to the bar for a welcome wet one and there we met a delightful Martian couple of about our age. Yeah! I know- about 270 but still a bit frisky. We got chatting and covered all sorts of things. I asked if Mars has a stock market, if they have laptop computers, how they make money, if he shops for the groceries, what golf handicap they were on, etc. My wife asks about pets, knitting, pearling, grand-kids, and such.

Ever the realist The Missus eventually brings up the subject of sex. ‘Just how do you guys do it?’ she asks.

The Martian responds, ‘Pretty much the way you do.’

A discussion ensues and finally we decide to swap partners for the night and experience one another. My wife and the male Martian go off to a bedroom where they expectantly disrobe. She’s a bit dismayed- he’s got only a teeny, weenie member about half an inch long and just a quarter-inch thick.

‘I don’t think this is going to work,’ says Wifey.

‘Why?’ he asks. ‘What’s the matter?’

‘Well,’ she replies, ‘it’s just not long enough to reach me!’

‘No problem,’ he says, and proceeds to slap his forehead with his palm. With each slap of his forehead, his member grows until it’s quite impressively long.

‘Well,’ she says, ‘that’s quite impressive, but it is still VERY skinny!’

‘No problem,’ he says, and starts pulling his ears. With each pull, his member grows wider and wider until the entire measurement is extremely exciting to Herself.

‘Wow!’ she exclaims, as they fell into bed and made mad passionate thingy.

The next day we got back together for breakfast and then went our separate ways. As my good lady and I walked along I (sort of casually) ask, ‘Well, was it any good?’

‘I hate to say it,’ she says, ‘but it was wonderful. How about you?’

‘It was horrible,’ I replied. ‘All I got was a headache. She kept slapping my forehead and pulling my ears…’

Just A BIG Drop.

The South Island of New Zealand seen from the International Space Station

This is quite mind-boggling. We look at our world and can’t but agree with those who call it the ‘blue planet’ given that such a huge area of the surface of it is covered by oceans and seas, somewhere in the region of 70% in fact.Add to that we have thousands of rivers,and thousands and thousands of lakes.Don’t forget, too, our ice-caps in the Arctic and Antarctica, to say nothing of the snow capped mountainsand glaciers all over the world.We can also look up and on many, many days we will see cloudsand of course clouds are…? And finally we have stupendous volumes of ground water, water we seldom see until it’s fiercely ejected as geysersor bubbles up in springs, or is sucked up by farmers to dowse their thirsty crops. Water. So it’s clearly fair enough we call it the ‘blue planet’.

But! Look!This great graphic illustrates how big a bubble ALL of the water on Earth would create. Yes, it’s a BIG bubble but it’s only around 860 miles or 1400 kilometres in diameter. Yes it’s a VERY big bubble but it is just the driving distance from Whangarei to Invercargill, or thereabouts, and we can see from the second picture above how truly insignificant that is in the context of the true size of the world.

So, PLEASE don’t waste your water, we don’t have a whole helluva lot to spare.

(Of course ‘wasting’ as in pouring down the drain or making it non-potable is vastly different from ‘wasting’ as in using it up and removing it from the total supply we have because that doesn’t happen. All the water we ever had we still have. Whether it is still the beautiful, clean and fresh water that it once was is up to us.) 

Thanks BB for the great image…and by the way you can experience all of these beautiful sights and many more if you visit New Zealand. See you down here one day!


Thanks to Ken Perrott  at “Open Parachute” for this neat bit of information.

The tiny blue dot is the extent of ALL radio transmissions into space from Earth since radio was discovered.

I love Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide…” and there have been a few sites such as this and others around recently that lend practical assistance to simple-minded earthlings like myself who just struggle with the enormity of some things (and who also find the other end of the spectrum “mind-boggling” too!) So I thank those people who create these sites and those who bring them to our attention.It’s ALL still very ‘mind-blogging’ for this simple-minded little Earthling!

7 Billion

That is a very scary number, isn’t it? Seven Billion. I know that numbers have grown and grown over the years. I was born in an age when million was a huge number. Few people had a million of anything, and whole countries would reckon national income in millions (or national debt) and reckon government budgets in a few million dollars. I find it somewhat scary nowadays that million has become something of a throwaway number, and forecasts can have a several million range, making us assume the difference between 1 and 2 million is a paltry sum to be quibbling about.

And the population of my home country, New Zealand was hardly a million, and the total population of the whole world was just 2 and a bit billion. Aha! Billion.

When I went to school we were taught the natural progression of numbers- 1 times 10, times 10, times 10, etc., and despite what the American system told us, we, as kids stuck with the progression of 10 times 10 was a hundred, then 10 times 100 was a thousand, then 1000 times 1000 was a million, and, logically thinking, of course the next BIG number was going to be the number times itself- 1,000,000 times 1,000,000 a billion? (…because, as the silly table below shows, we should value the ‘intermediate’ numbers).
1- one
10- ten
100- hundred
1000- thousand
10000- ten thousand
100000- hundred thousand
1000000- million
10000000- ten million
100000000- hundred million
1000000000- thousand million
10000000000- ten thousand million
100000000000000- hundred thousand million
1000000000000000- thousand thousand million…BILLION!

Of course it doesn’t work that way and the Americans had their way. Don’t let logic stand in the way of capitalists’ games. So a billion was arrived at by simply multiplying 1,000,000 by 1,000. Doesn’t seem fair to me, and this led to the minimalisation of BIG numbers. A trillion, which to my child’s mind SHOULD have been HUGE but, instead, it is only 1000 times a billion!!! Cheapskates!

Of course as time went by the Earth wasn’t a big enough place to fully occupy our minds and we looked into the stars, and improving techniques have enabled us to almost see bodies hovering around the beginning of time, but how could we understand the vastness by using such numbers as billions and trillions? Thankfully a school-boy in New York thought of a neat way around this by naming the number that was 1 followed by 100 zeros!!! GOOGOL. This sort of enabled ordinary people to get an idea of really BIG numbers that space exploration distances generated, but ass with numbers, space seemed to have no limits, no end, no ‘greatest’ so a new number was in vented. The GOOGLEPLEX. This is a 1 followed by a GOOGLE of zeros. Sorry, you’ve now lost me again!!

BUT, sometime in the next few days or, maybe, weeks (less likely given the almost exponential nature of this subject) the population of the Earth is going to reach 7 billion– that’s 7 with 9 zeros. At the time of publishing this post, the world population was 6,997,185,468, and it was reckoned that there were 15,347 live births an hour, and 6,418 deaths. (The population of New Zealand had reached 4, 384,273.)

Check this site to see where in the history of World population you stand.

And now start thinking about what the implications are for the World with this frightening number and rate of increase of the population and how this rate can only increase given improved health care and associated slowing of mortality. The most obvious issue is how we are going to feed the World. And, of course, how we are going to manage the effects on the planet of this press of humanity. Do we need a series of holocausts? Epidemics? Floods, pestilence and plagues? Or is the answer dealing with the number of people by feeding, clothing and keeping them healthy. Whatever needs to happen needs to get past the planning stage about NOW.