Archive for September, 2007

New Zealandising the flag

I may have blogged this subject before, but I’m reiterating my opposition to changing the New Zealand flag. The debate has been kicking about for a while, but yesterday marked the 100 year anniverary of New Zealand’s transition from Colony to Dominion so it’s back in the media.

Prime Minister Helen Clark has been quoted in the Herald:

Helen Clark said if the public did want to “New Zealandise our flag” the Union Jack could be taken out, leaving it with the “rather attractive Southern Cross”.

I ask: How can you New Zealandise the New Zealand Flag. It is New Zealand. By definition that is what it says, is, and represents.

I sometimes wonder about people who say they are proud to be a kiwi, but hate the flag and want a new one. I’m not calling them unpatriotic, I just wonder how they can look upon a symbol that represents New Zealand and not feel proud of it.

New Zealand is not a product of its flag. Kiwis built this nation with their blood, sweat and tears, not by picking a nice emblem that said we were a British Colony and we’re in the Southern Ocean. To me, the New Zealand flag is a visual summary of New Zealand. And therefore, because I like New Zealand I like it’s flag.

People arguing for the change are saying things like ‘we should have a flag that represents our unique character, and emphasises our maori and pacific island heritage.’ I have no objection to that in principal, but my question is: why do we not feel that that is already the case? As I said already, the flag, to me, represents all that already.

I think the key point is ownership. Take the Aussies. They have fantastic national pride and character, especially abroad. They love their flag, and you can see that at any international sporting event. Their flag is very similar to ours. They have an even more diverse cultural spread. I think the difference is that they went out and said ‘I’m from a fantastic country, and this is the flag that I carry.’ It’s all about attitude, and they just went out and owned it.

I believe in working with what you have. I would very much like to see all those people stop whinging that our flag doesn’t represent us sufficiently and go out and make it represent us, rather than the reverse.

Ain’t broke. Don’t fix it. Let’s not wag the dog any more.

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Destructomeme

I have discovered every blogger’s wet dream:  http://www.netdisaster.com

This nifty wee site allows you to enter any URL and pick a means of destruction, and lo – it destroys that page before your very eyes! Some are even interactive, with intuitive point and click action.

Want to drop nukes on Aerchie? No problem.

Want to attack Metro with a chainsaw? Don’t we all.

Want The Lord Above to smite Raincoaster? Not as much as she seems to, with her continuous worshipping of other deities and Old Beings, Aerchie or otherwise.

There’s lots of other neat ones, including Mars Attacks, Scribbling Baby, Cow Dung, Wasps etc.

I hereby coin a new meme: Destructomeme! Destroy three bloggers with this neat tool.  Go nuts.

The Wheel Stops Spinning

Robert Jordan, author of The Wheel of Time, has passed away of a rare blood disorder.

Everyone I have ever met that has read fantasy has read at least one of the Wheel of Time series. Few have read less than all of them. A great number of them have expressed frustration that they don’t actually like the books all that much, but the story has hooked them years ago, and now they need closure. That’s the mark of an excellent storyteller.

It seems especially cruel that Mr Jordan should die before managing to complete the 12th and final book of the series.  Truly the work of a lifetime, and of epic proportions.

I think it is likely that the 12th book will still make it to print. His death was not sudden, and he will have ensured that his notes were sufficient for the book to be finished. His wife was his editor, and I am sure she will want to see the series completed in his memory. Certainly it wouldn’t be the first epic series to continue after the death of its author, the most notable example that comes to mind being Dune.

Hopefully the panic from fans will be minor…

Give the People What They Want

Question: how do you create the world’s most powerful meme?

Answer: Fuse the world’s most powerful memes

First up: Miss South Carolina! Everyone on teh interwebs has seen this, so I won’t post the youtube link. I will instead post the tubemap of the answer!

tubemapmisscarolina.jpg

And behold, for if that is not sufficiently funny, we will fuse it with an even
more potent meme.

LOLCAT:

the-iraq-2.jpg

If something this dangerous had actually been in The Iraq, the war might actualy have been considered legal!!

Help me out here

I’ve had a tenfold increase in hits in the last week. I have no idea why.

Moreover, there have been no new incoming links in the last week, and referrals account for probably only five percent of those hits.
So is it a viral email campaign? A new generation of WordPress crawling bots?

Or is it simply a rabid increase in the number of people searching for “topless” and/or “haka”?

An oldie but a goodie.

Aircraft Maintenance Problems and Solutions:

Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humour. Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints and problems, known as squawks,” submitted by pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers.

P = The problem logged by the pilot.
S = The solution and action taken by the engineers.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except autoland very rough.
S: Autoland not installed on this aircraft.

P: No. 2 propeller seeping prop fluid.
S: No. 2 propeller seepage normal. Nos. 1, 3 and 4 propellers lack normal
seepage.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on backorder.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-fpm descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That’s what they’re there for!

P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windscreen.
S: Suspect you’re right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with words.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

Make the world a Library

It has come to my attention that an enterprising bunch called BookCrossing is attempting to turn the world into a library.

There are many reasons this should happen, including encouraging the proliferation of hot librarians, but they’re using a particularly novel mechanism:

Release books into the wild!

While they may not meet other nice books and spawn, books will have interesting journeys and inspire many random people.  Books have a code number added by sticker and are simply left in a public space. People can log when they have found or released a book, and the website tracks them. I love this kind of idea.

More info can be found at http://www.bookcrossing.com

There are presently 188 books at large in New Zealand. I encourage there to be more!