And another recommendation: Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer. It is quite a departure from his earlier books Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, and is about the murky and weird world of Mormon fundamentalism, and more generally about the nature of religious belief and its role in American society.
Happy New Year, good peoples. here is another nonfiction reading treat - great article by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker, about NZ's crusade against mammals.
How could I forget Dirty Politics? Word of the year, book of the year!
Travelling overseas today so a bit pressed for time, but wanted to say that this new collection sounds really fabulous. We already own the Great NZ Argument and have much enjoyed it.
Thanks to being lucky enough to belong to a wonderful science book group, I’ve gotten to read some excellent nonfiction this year. Highlights include:
Spillover by David Quammen (who also wrote the excellent Song of the Dodo. Spillover is about zoonoses (infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans) and is just a really great, and prescient, read.
Junkyard Planet, by Adam Minter, about the global recycling trade – fascinating and full of unexpected insights.
Tragedy at Pike River Mine, by, of course, Rebecca Macfie. Needs no introduction to PA readers, stunning book, should be read by everyone.
Better Angels of our Nature< by Steven Pinker. A very interesting read about how the common perception that the modern world is more violent and nasty than ever before is probably quite wrong.
Looking forward to hearing others’ recommendations.
Perhaps you need some resistors…
I thought they were futile?
I’d love for Cut the Crap to win WOTY2015.
if they were refused as such, they were refused improperly.
They weren’t refused. They were all met within the specified timeframe.
Looking back, they probably just hastened the inevitable changes.
It’s very debatable that they were made in good faith in the sense that they were not about finding out information but about tying up board processes and scoring points. We had a ministry-supported facilitator working with us at the time, and she didn’t think they were good faith.
I totally get your point that OIAs are an important tool for making governments more transparent. It just wasn’t a lot of fun to be on the receiving end of, as a parent volunteer.
Can you give a rough estimate of what proportion of the OIAs made to your school board were vexatious?
They were all made by the same person with the same motivation ..
To be fair, the context was that there were a lot of trust problems at the time between the board, the school management and the school community, as the subsequent ERO report identified. But the use of the OIAs in that way was corrosive.
It should also be acknowledged that OIAs can be used in a vexatious way as well. Our school board had experience of this.
Vexatious in the sense that the motivation was not about finding out the information - which would have been readily available had the person simply asked for it.
Yes, I agree with this concern too. The front page of the DomPost this morning was dominated by a huge story about how National seem to have it all sewn up, despite today's polls being substantially different to yesterday's. It seems self-fulfilling at some level and I wish it would stop.
Oh, if only his spelling was the worst of his faults.