Introducing a new blog: Southern Science

Hurrah! Today, I introduce the first of a number of new bloggers starting over the next few months.  The Southern Genes blog, to be contributed to by a number of people from Genetics Otago, aims not only to talk about genetic science, but also to examine its effects on our society and to showcase some of the brilliant work which goes into it. Welcome, everyone, and we look forward to all that lovely knowledge you’ll […]

Why the Caster Semenya sillyness makes me so angry

I am, I would be the first to admit, generally pretty flippant and light-hearted in my blogging. Not for me the heavy-handed nor overly serious style adopted by many others.  No, I prefer that my readers have a bit of a giggle, maybe pick up some new knowledge, and go skipping off into the rest of their day. Not today, gentle readers, not today. Upon perusing our fine print news media this morning (in this […]

Adrian Shaughnessy and the 15 Paradoxes of graphic design

Adrian Shaughnessy spoke last weekend at this year’s Semi-Permanent, and had some pretty brilliant, and practical, advice for graphic designers. Why are they called paradoxes?  Well, because they address statements/beliefs which many in the field take to be true, but which, on closer inspection, turn out to be less true (not necessarily wrong, though). So below are his tips for graphic designers. 1. There’s no such thing as bad clients. Only bad designers. (He went […]

Filthy foreigner Pt I: Letter

There will be a few of these. Yes, I am teh filthy foreigner (S’African in New Zealand).  A stranger in a slightly odd land (sometimes).  Filled with sheep, and grass, and, um, cows.  And the very occasional person. Oh yeah, and awesome geeks and food and wine and views etc. Anyhoo, I have been trying to persuade immigration to give me residency.  And asked some friends to write reference letters for me.  Below is one […]

Friedrich Nietzsche on Originality

What is originality? To see something that does not yet bear a name, that cannot yet be named, although it is before everybody’s eyes. As people are usually constituted, it is the name that first makes a thing generally visible to them. Original persons have also for the most part been the namers of things.

Cooking: where science and art already meet

I come from an extremely foody family. I’ve always explained it to people as follows: “you know that place in their hearts where fundamentalist religious people keep their god?  That’s where my parents keep food’. So yes.  And I now find myself living in a particularly foody city (Wellington has, apparently, the highest number of eateries per capita in the world), and with a flatmate who is also, well, you get the point*.  And it’s […]


During an email conversation with friend, the following happened.  Related as it ocurred.  Friend shall be referred to as ‘x’ x: /winks aimee: depending on wink: /looks scared ; /yet more deadpan ; /eye twitches ; /runs screaming x: Sorry I will have to resort to coding, either that or I have to deal with with parallel universes.Which is fine, cause I can code for that, but I am not sure gmails support parallel universe responses if ( […]

Reprise #3: the value of memory

Last reprise for the moment! According to this marvellous post, a British (yes, the Brits feature again) brain has actually worked out a formula able to place a precise, sterling value on one’s memories. It factors in elements such as how vividly you recall it, its perceived importance, and a host of other interesting factoids. It’s also available here, if you’d like to try it out… It’s all part of his research into how, essentially, […]

Reprise #2: Sixty Symbols

Something fun to explore over the weekend! (And my first ever post) The link is to Sixty Symbols (click on the logo above), kindly brought to us by the University of Nottingham (nice one, chaps). Sixty Symbols is brilliant: it’s perfect for those of us with an interest in physics, but not, perhaps, the ability to read and comprehend the often dense physics textbooks (or the accompanying lectures, for that matter). The fact that the […]