Just do it

The Holstee manifesto

“This is your life. Do what you want and do it often.
If you don’t like something, change it.
If you don’t like your job, quit.
If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
Stop over-analysing, life is simple.
All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
Life is simple.
Open your heart, mind and arms to new things and people, we are united in our differences.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them.
Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
Some opportunities only come once, seize them.
Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.
Life is short, live your dream and wear your passion.”

Notes for our grandchildren

Sir Paul CallaghanNew eyes to see

A few years ago I met a great New Zealander, Professor Paul Callaghan. He opened my eyes to new ways of looking at our world. It was a mixed blessing; he condemned me to a future of enlightenment on the one hand, and frustration, anger, and despair on the other. Dr Callaghan, a physicist from Wellington’s Victoria University, had recently been made a Fellow of the Royal Society. When he hopped on the plane to return to New Zealand after picking up the award, he also picked up a book called “The Undercover Economist”. In doing so, he changed the direction of his life. Mine too. I’ve talked about Paul and his must-see presentation “Beyond the Theme park and the Farm Gate” here.

Although it’s about New Zealand’s economic decline; why it’s happening, and how to reverse it, his conclusions are relevant to non-Kiwis, anyone who wants to understand the requirements for prosperity in an economy.

Dr Callaghan was knighted not long after I met him; then he was made New Zealander of the year in 2011; and the Labour Party had him as keynote speaker at their annual talkfest. He was a great New Zealander who understood where our country is going wrong; why 500,000 of us live in Australia; and what’s required to fix the problem. New Zealand isn’t awash with people I have great respect for. Sir Paul was definitely one.

I was enlisted to help him set up a website to promote his message, but he lost his battle with cancer and died, far too soon, in 2012.

Our politicians of all stripes thought enough of Sir Paul’s work to honour him, but they’ve never acted upon it. He motivated me to learn as much as I could about what’s going wrong in our country and on our planet. Here’s some of it:

When the world was young…

One of my earliest memories is of the VJ day parade in Dunedin, a celebration of the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II. I stood outside Whitcombe and Tombes on George Street listening to the bagpipes and watching someone in the parade pushing a hand cart which carried an effigy of Hitler’s body sans arms, legs and head. I was 4 years old but 70 years later I can still see it clearly. At that age children don’t usually understand much about political events, but the time between the start of World War I, the terrible influenza epidemic, and the end of World War II (with the catastrophe of the Great Depression squeezed in between) was so cataclysmic and all-pervasive that even small children probably had an inkling of what was going on, and well knew who Hitler was.

VJ day in DunedinMy generation’s childhood was dominated by that war long after it was over. Most adult men were veterans of at least one war; my best friends Onno and Ingrid were refugees from a devastated Europe and their parents told of wonderful things like eating rats and cats to survive; in those pre-TV days the movies, the news, and even the comics were about “The War”: the Dam Busters, Rockfist Rogan, Nazis, Tommies, Yanks, and Japs. Winston Churchill and Hitler, Berlin, London, and Hiroshima all loomed large in our young lives. Meat and butter were rationed so that we could send vast quantities of produce “Home” to England.

At the end of it all we had a new United Nations, a booming world economy, unbounded optimism and the general idea that we’d learned our lesson. The age of war was over.

Yeah, right.

Continue reading

Where’s Bruce Willis when you really need him

asteroidAs if you don’t have enough to worry about

If you’re of a nervous disposition this video may keep you awake at night. It shows all the asteroids discovered in the last 30 years, and their orbital paths. It starts off in 1980 when we only knew about a sprinkling of them, and flicks through a week or two a second to inexorably add to the number of new findings.

Newly discovered asteroids show briefly as white before turning to green.

The most worrying ones are coloured red and yellow. The red ones cross the Earth’s orbit and the yellow ones come fairly close to your back yard.

It’s clearer if you watch it using the HD setting.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k2vkLEE4ko?rel=0]
this is a dummy line break

The pattern of discovery looks like a searchlight pointing away from the sun. That’s the way astronomers have to look. There’s also a pattern of discovery between the Earth and Jupiter, that’s a by-product of the search for Jovian moons.

Don’t lose too much sleep. It’s not as bad as it looks. There’s a lot of empty space out there and we only get clobbered by a real biggie every 500,000 years or so. If you really need something to fret about there are billions of other quite large objects charging around the Kuiper Belt and trillions more farther out in the Oort Cloud.

Most of them are believed to be fairly stable.



If you do want to frighten the kids there’s more about Scott Manley’s video here. Including a high definition download of the 2010 version of the video.


Quotes on quotes 🙂

“After all, all he did was string together a lot of old well-known quotations.”
H.L. Mencken on Shakespeare

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know. ” Abraham Lincoln

“I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things.” Dorothy Parker

Recently a writer sounded off about aphorisms. Or maybe it was maxims, Anyway he hated them. I disagree, OK they’re abused and misused, they’re often boring and better left unsaid, but there are many which distil a lot of wisdom into a small space and help us avoid having to re-invent the wheel of life every time we’re confronted by a quandary or need a little advice.

Here are some I value or which make me smile. I’ll add to them from time to time, so I won’t put them in any logical order apart from the newest at the top. Or not.

Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!
George Carlin

If you have anything to tell me of importance, for God’s sake begin at the end.
Sara Jeannette Duncan

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right.
H L Mencken

Sometimes I’d like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I’m afraid God would ask me the same question.

Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?
Axel Gustafsson Oxenstierna af Södermöre

When poking an old bear in the eye with a sharp stick, always ensure that the stick is longer than the arm of the bear.
Continue reading

New shoes

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_GB/all.js#xfbml=1”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));