Word of the day


Concilliabule – a secret meeting between people who are hatching a plot.

Troll spotters’ guide


James Delinpole at The Telegraph has a very useful guide for spotting trolls:

There’s an argument which goes that we bloggers need our pet trolls almost as much as they need us. I’m not sure I value them that highly myself but I do find them a fascinating case study. What intrigues me is their psychopathology. I mean, it takes a certain sort of mentality actively to seek out columnists with whom you disagree and lurk below their blog being spiteful and angry and disruptive. Maybe I’d respect them more if they weren’t cowering behind the mask of anonymity, or if ever for once in their sad, deficient lives they actually strove to engage with the arguments made. But they never do, for such is the nature of trolling. . .

Whether or not we need them he identifies seven types:

1. Just Don’t Get It Troll. Just Don’t Get It Troll is the feeblest form of troll life.  . .

2. Failoblog Troll. Failoblog troll’s dream is to have a blog as successful as the one he trolls. . .

3. Stalker troll. It takes a fairly sick mentality to want to be a troll. . .

4. Pedant Troll. In his imagination, pedant troll is the very exemplar of reason, balance and moderation. . .

5. Spambot troll. Spambot troll is on a mission – quite possibly a paid-for mission to judge by the frequency with which he posts. . .

6. Cuckoo troll. Like most trolls, cuckoo trolls are tortured by a terrible nagging fear that no one will ever take what they have to say very seriously . . .

7. “I didn’t read what you said but here’s what I think” troll. He doesn’t read your piece. . .

Interestingly all seven are male.

Hat tip: Ross.



Police were criticised for charging the man whose tragic error led to his son drowning after the vehicle the father had been driving rolled into Lake Dunstan.

We might ask why they can’t have discretion in cases like this, but I do understand the danger of giving police the power which belongs to a judge and/or jury.

Judge Blackie who discharged Ashish Macwan  without conviction made that point:

 At his sentencing today Judge Blackie said he agreed with  Macwan’s lawyer that his “carelessness was minimal”.   

The police did not oppose the discharge without conviction and Judge Blackie said it was right for the police to bring the matter to court.   

“It is not for the police to decide the outcome, but the court.”  

That is a just outcome for a tragic case.

No punishment could be greater than the knowledge that Macwan’s carelessness, however minimal, led to the death of his son.

But that decision should be the judge’s not the police’s.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1.  Who said: “I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”?

2. Graphite and diamonds are both composed of what?

3. It’s bijoux in French, gioielliin Italian and  joyas in Spanish, what is it in English?

4. Name one of the two gems varieties of the mineral corundum.?

5. What percentage of silver is in sterling silver?

Points for answers:

Rob got 1 1/2 right, a grin for #1 and a enarly for #5;

Andrei got four, a bonus for extra informationa nd a sorry you couldn’t draw a picutre.

Zen got four right, a very good answer for #5 and a bonus for being cryptic.

GD got four, a bonus for extra informationa nd a no need to apologise.

Cadwallader earns the electronic bag of biscuits (same as the PM had in yesterday’s picnic) with a clean sweep.

Adam got two.

David got one and a sorry, I admire you for persevering with arts questions and thought a science theme  might suit you better.



Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Forsyth Barr Stadium opens


The controversy over Dunedin’s new Forsyth Barr Stadium continued this week with the news that Dunedin City Holdings Limited (DCHL) won’t be able to pay an $8m dividend to the city council. Part of that would have hleped fund the stadium.

That announcement was followed by news that negotiations between the stadium and  promoters of Rod Stewart and  Meat Loaf had broken down. It is, however, a moot point whether big name acts like that should need the venue for free.

But the stadium was officially opened this morning by Prime Minister John Key  so like it or not, it’s up and running.

And I do like it  – the only stadium in the country with a roof, and able to grow grass under that roof.

The opening game will be played this afternoon between university colleges Knox and Selwyn and on Sunday North Otago plays West Coast.


Meanwhile in the real world


It is possible that Opposition leader Phil Goff did more than one thing yesterday but all we – at least the media and other political tragics – know is that he engaged in a public argument with the head of the SIS.

Meanwhile in the real world Prime Minister John Key had got up at about 5am to do some work before catching a flight to Timaru where he was met by Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and whisked off to Geraldine for a meeting with pupils and the public at the high school.

When Goff was in the Waitaki electorate a few weeks ago, he had a crayfish lunch at Fleur’s. Jacqui and her team decided that enabling as many people as possible to meet John was more important than his dining pleasure. I provided a picnic for the entourage which they ate in their cars between Geraldine and Waimate High School where another meeting with pupils and public had been scheduled.

This visit was supposed to take only half an hour, but getting the PM away from the pupils who lined up to shake his hand, get photos and autographs almost doubled that. This had been taken into account in planning so more than enough time had been allowed to drive between stops at the legal speed limit without causing too much delay to the itinerary.

Senior pupils from Oamaru’s three secondary schools were waiting for him at Waitaki Girls’ where he delivered his third speech of the day and answered questions.

Outside he stopped to greet pupils, pose for photos and took a mintue to launch Jacqui’s campaign.

A good-sized crowd was waiting for John at his next stop in Waikouaiti where he made his fourth speech of the day.

He went straight from there to a cocktail party jointly hosted by National’s Dunedin North MP Michael Woodhouse and Dunedin South candidate Jo Hayes.

Five speeches, meeting hundreds of people and driving more than 300 kilometres in a car which had to double as a lunch room and mobile-office made it a very big day. But I bet the PM enjoyed his day in the real world far more than the Opposition Leader enjoyed his in the media.

One man’s word or the other’s


It’s one man’s word against another’s.

Phil Goff complained he wasn’t briefed on the Israeli tourists who were investigated after the Christchurch earthquake.

SIS director Dr Warren Tucker disputed that and responded to an OIO request from Cameron Slater with a record of the briefing.

Goff responded with a media release saying he hadn’t seen the briefing papers and said:

“I will not stand by and have my credibility questioned over this issue. In future, I will only meet with Warren Tucker or representatives of the SIS if there is someone independent in the room to keep a true and accurate record of what is discussed. . . “

It is most unusual for the head of any department, let alone the SIS, to release documents like this.

It is also most unusual for any politician, let alone the Leader of the Opposition, to debate with a head of department through the media in this manner. Goff is clearly saying that he doesn’t trust Tucker which means should Goff become Prime Minister, Tucker would have to resign.

Unless there was another witness to the meeting we have to accept one man’s word or the other’s. They can’t both be right.



August 5 in history


642  Battle of Maserfield – Penda of Mercia defeated and killed Oswald of Bernicia.


910  The last major Viking army to raid England was defeated at the Battle of Tettenhall by the allied forces of Mercia and Wessex, led by King Edward and Earl Aethelred.

1100 Henry I was crowned in Westminster Abbey.


1305 William Wallace, was captured by the English and transported to London where he was put on trial and executed.

1388 Battle of Otterburn, a border skirmish between the Scottish and the English in Northern England.

1583 Sir Humphrey Gilbert established the first English colony in North America, at what is now St John’s, Newfoundland.

1620 The Mayflower departed from Southampton on its first attempt to reach North America.


1689 – 1,500 Iroquois attacked the village of Lachine, in New France.

1716 The Battle of Petrovaradin.

1735  New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger was acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, on the basis that what he had published was true.

1763 Pontiac’s War: Battle of Bushy Run – British forces led by Henry Bouquet defeated Chief Pontiac’s Indians at Bushy Run.

1772 The First Partition of Poland began.

1858 Cyrus West Field and others completed the first transatlantic telegraph cable after several unsuccessful attempts.

1860 Carl IV of Sweden-Norway was crowned king of Norway, in Trondheim.

1861   The United States government levied the first income tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861 (3% of all incomes over US $800; rescinded in 1872) to help pay for the Civil War.

1861  The United States Army abolished flogging.

1862 Joseph Merrick, the “Elephant Man” , was born (d. 1890).

1862 American Civil War: Battle of Baton Rouge.


1864  American Civil War: the Battle of Mobile Bay began – Admiral David Farragut led a Union flotilla through Confederate defenses and sealed one of the last major Southern ports.


1870 Franco-Prussian War: the Battle of Spicheren resulted in a Prussian victory.

1884 The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid.

1888  Bertha Benz drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in the first long distance automobile trip.

1901  Peter O’Connor set the first IAAF recognised long jump world record of 24ft 11¾ins.

1908 Harold Holt, 17th Prime Minister of Australia, was born(d. 1967).

1914  World War I: The German minelayer Königin Luise laid a minefield about 40 miles off the Thames Estuary. She was intercepted and sunk by the British light-cruiser HMS Amphion.


1914 In Cleveland, Ohio, the first electric traffic light was installed.

1925 Plaid Cymru was formed with the aim of disseminating knowledge of the Welsh language.


1930 Neil Armstrong, American astronaut, was born.


1940 World War II: The Soviet Union formally annexed Latvia.

1944  World War II: possibly the biggest prison breakout in history as 545 Japanese POWs attempted to escape outside the town of Cowra, NSW.

1944  Holocaust: Polish insurgents liberated a German labour camp in Warsaw, freeing 348 Jewish prisoners.

1949  In Ecuador an earthquake destroyed 50 towns and killed more than 6000.

1957  American Bandstand debuted on the ABC television network.


1960  Burkina Faso, then known as Upper Volta, became independent from France.

1962 Nelson Mandela was jailed.

1963  The United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union signed a nuclear test ban treaty.

1964  Vietnam War: Operation Pierce Arrow – American aircraft from carriers USS Ticonderoga and USS Constellation bombed North Vietnam in retaliation for strikes which attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

1979   In Afghanistan, Maoists undertake an attempted military uprising.


1988 The Cartwright report condemned the tratment of cervical cancer.

Cartwright Report condemns cervical cancer treatment

1995  The city of Knin, a significant Serb stronghold, was captured by Croatian forces during Operation Storm.

2003  A car bomb exploded in Jakarta outside the Marriott Hotel killing 12 and injuring 150.

2010 – Copiapó mining accident  trapped 33 Chilean miners approximately 2,300 ft below the ground.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

If you want history with picutres, click here.

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