Monday, January 30, 2006

Sport and skiving

Apparently NZ primary schoolkids are going to have a compulsory hour's sport each day. That is, I think, around 25% of available teaching time.

I have numerous objections to this:
- Most kids get plenty of exercise without formal sport. The main reason some become obese is excess calorie input, not insufficient exercise.
- School sports just put most of the less athletically inclined kids off exercise. I hated sport. From the end of 5th year to about age 25 I took very little exercise (beyond riding a bike for the year until I got my first motorbike). I went back to exercising when (1) my lifelong struggle with porkiness started and (2) there were things like skiing and mountain biking that I actually *wanted* to do.
- Very few kids will make any sort of living at sport, and they're mostly deluding themselves if they think they can. School is supposed to train children for life - basically sport isn't going to be a necessary part of this. NZ in twenty years time won't have too many good jobs for fit, thick adults.
- PE stresses physical strength and conformity (that's why the military is so keen on it). Violence is a major problem both schools and for society outside- how does emphasising the physical help with that?

Strikes me this is another attempt to appeal to the braindead vote.

Save the bunny!

Today I was looking for evidence that rabbits and cats *can* live together - my partner reckons, probably correctly, that providing Poppy with a "bunny friend" will end in tears (and vet bills).

I came across (on a Californian website) these heartwarming tales of life with a physically challenged rabbit. I wanted to add to them with a story of how, after a long struggle against tail cancer, Flopsy succumbed, but was remembered by as all as we ate a delicious rabbit pie. In searching for rabbit recipes, I found this site:

Basically, unless enough people donate by November, the owners pet rabbit, Toby, is going to be cooked and eaten (using one of the no doubt yummy recipes therein).
Very sad...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sunburn - I nearly drowned!

Here is today's UV forecast for the Auckland area, courtesy of metservice:

For those not here, it's the wettest day for some months. Rick Breeze is showing 30mm of rain already today. I guess the "clear sky" bit means that the UV forecast has no weather input at all - e.g it will be "11 - Extreme" for all summer days no matter what happens with weather, volcanic eruptions or any other sun-attenuating events. Seems a bit pointless - they could just have a block reading:

Summer in New Zealand can often involve sunshine. You can detect this when you go outside and don't get wet. Hanging around in the sun too long can lead to sunburn. Wear sunblock. Or stay inside a movie theatre, underground carpark or shopping mall.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Fanzines of the 21st Century

I've been re-reading Tony Parsons The Stories We Could Tell - after all, one of the main characters is a thinly disguised Iggy Pop - who's playing tomorrow at the Big Day Out.

One of the characters writes a left wing fanzine called Red Mist, and reading about this makes me think that blogs are the fanzines (or minority political newspapers) of the 21st century. The difference is, in 1977 you had to *want* to spend 20p on buying Class War. Nowadays, you just have to click a link.

Which means that ideas and attitudes that didn't make the mainstream a few years ago now get wide circulation - to the annoyance of those like Deborah Coddington who expect the nation's reading material to fit inside certain boundaries. Way back when, I'm quite sure that you could find a poorly duplicated A4 mag comparing David Lange to Stalin - now you just need to click over to Sir Humphreys.

Strikes me, if you don't like it, then don't buy it - even if "it" is available free on the web instead of being sold by a lad on a street corner.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Got away with it!

The latest vulnerability in Windows seems to have attracted remarkably little coverage in the media. Surprisingly, given it's the silly season (at least in the southern hemisphere).

For those that missed it, there is a vulnerability that allowed a (fairly) obscure file format to be loaded with arbitrary code that'd run on your computer when you browsed a website or viewed an email. Quite nasty - most recent exploits have required an unusual configuration, or been easily blocked by firewalls - this one wouldn't (unless you run intrusive content security software like WebMarshal).

Perhaps it's that no confirmed exploit turned up before the patch was issued - or maybe kicking MSFT for security holes is just so 2005.

Movie Reviews

From Tim Dunlop (an Australian):
"Don't watch the new King Kong movie. Ever. Not even as a late-night re-run on commercial television in ten years time when you are sitting home one evening with nothing better to do than put lard on the cat's boils. Choose to lard the cat. Really."

From the esteemed Russell Brown:
"...we loved it. I thought it was a tremendous piece of film-making."
"The crowd cheered and applauded"
"Naomi Watts ... was great. The script was spot-on."

Whether to go and see it? One should perhaps factor in the views of Mr Brown in 2004 and indeed Damian Christie way back in '02. To summarise: watching NZ movies is like watching a national sports team - they may put on a piss-poor performance, but it's still a patriotic duty to go and yell for them.

Thus it's hard to tell whether Russell's right, it's a great movie and Tim is just smarting after they lost at League; or Tim's right and Russell is cheerleading like a true patriot.

Maybe I'll get it on DVD - that way I can always watch it at X8 with subtitles (thank you Douglas Coupland for this suggestion on how to deal with overlong movies).