Science and other true stories

Brian Rogers
Rogers Rabbits

This week on RR we are bringing you a crapload of science.

That is the collective name for lots of sciences. Today there will be some highly-scientific terms used, as I was a prolific attender of Miss Smolenski's fourth form Otumoetai College chemistry class of the seventies, and imminently qualified to comment on discoveries of a scientific nature. Mr Hume's fifth form physics class featured daring young scholars who proved that if you flung a paper spitball fast enough over Ross Willoughby you could avoid detection and possibly also hit a freckled geek in the background. Then there was the longest-running science experiment of all time, Stu Henderson, the objective to see how many decades of torture by young people can one mortal can withstand. Apparently Mr Henderson is still there and from all reports, the experiment is going well. The biology department may be eyeing him up for their fossil collection.

Back in the day

Speed was a common theme in the seventies, when a teacher could get away with racing the students on their motorbikes to and from the college; and bring a gun to school to demonstrate velocity. Imagine if that happened in today's society? The only demonstration of speed would be the pace at which said teacher would be incarcerated. However the relatively uncensored attitude of school life did provide some extra-curricular learning opportunities…invaluable life experiences, which are sadly lacking from today's PC white-washed world in which you can't even climb a tree without a risk assessment of falling from it, or hurting its feelings.

Quake science

There's a lot of science coming out of North Canterbury and Wellington regions in the aftermath of the quakes. We wish all those affected a speedy recovery. The Sun is planning a promotional boost for Kaikoura businesses once they're up and running. More on this in the coming months. The best way we can help recovery is to support those businesses once they're back on their feet. Watch this space.

Peace of my mind

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the peace protesters are still banging on a tired old drum, long after the party ended. It was great to see the armed forces, especially the navy, with all hands on deck for earthquake assistance. This is the meaningful action we need from our tax spend, rather than posturing and pomp. Well done the crew of Canterbury and special thanks to our mates from the US Navy, in their first visit since the thawing of the silly ships ban. As we've said before in this column, it's pretty much a waste of time New Zealand attempting to have a warfaring strike force, better to focus on coastal patrols, disaster relief, fisheries patrols and customs back-up. We have big brothers with real strike capability on our side should the need ever arise. I'd like to see some science on how many of these are habitual protesters who turn up to every event involving a megaphone and a placard. There would be a huge crossover of characters who regularly chant, barricade, hoick and hikoi at whatever fashionable protest is Special of the Day.

Beer motivation

From the ‘Not Much Has Changed Department', comes this riveting piece of science: Researchers have concluded from studies of barley genetics, that beer motivated early farmers. The Okayama University researching barley dormancy mutation have identified the gene mutation and the enzyme it encodes to determine whether the dormancy of barley is long (better for food crops) or short (better for beer-making). And to cut a very long story short, it seems the early beer-makers won out. This will be of no surprise to modern day farmers, as most I know are also motivated by beer. The mutation for short dormancy “contributes further to the debate as to what extent the development of ancient agrarian societies was driven by the human appetite for flour and bread, or for beer and alcohol”. Here at RR, we are experts at interpreting science discoveries and also have a conclusion: The ancient farmers probably took more interest in cropping for flour and bread when they discovered things that go well with beer…fish and chips; and barbecued sausages slapped in a sauce-slathered slice.

Doh, Auckland

Dumb science led Auckland Council to a new slogan, considering the number of inmates trying to escape. The former City of Sails, which lately has become the City of (House) Sales, now apparently has a new tag. Not many residents are happy about that. Auckland spent half a million to come up with ‘The place desired by many'. Which is ironic, considering the landslide of people leaving for the provinces. The alternate slogans are coming thick and fast, and here at RR we're keen to help stir that pot. The ACT party has been quick to seize on the subject with better slogans reflecting what Aucklanders want from council: “The place where my kids will afford a home before I die.” “The place where I'm not stuck in traffic all the time.” “The place where my consents get processed within the 20 day statutory requirement.” “The place where my rates bear some resemblance to services rendered.”

If you have a better slogan for Auckland city, we'd love to hear it. Drop a line to:

Parting shot:

Here's a scene from downtown Tauranga. You don't have to be a science genius to figure out the flaw in this security measure.


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Opinion Poll

What did you do when quake hit the Kaikoura area early last Monday morning and a tsunami warning was sent out?

Heeded the warning and quickly made our way to higher ground.
Didn't receive a tsunami warning at all.
Received a tsunami warning from Civil Defence but was too late - when we woke that morning.
Ignored the warning.

Bay Today

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