Me too! Although I made the mistake of taking the grammatical option rather than the conversational option, which meant that although I had a working knowledge of the subjunctive I was pretty rubbish at communicating with people.
I then went on to do 6th form Music by correspondence, for the same reason (the decile 1 school didn’t have the resources to offer it to me). And it was excellent.
I took seventh-form Latin via correspondence - our school only offered it through fifth form. It wasn't perfect - I struggled somewhat with the lack of direct feedback - but it worked, and I can only imagine online options would improve it. But you don't need an entire new provider for that.
Probably, and not entirely senseless on that account, since they may compete for similar food sources. Or perhaps their young do.
Killing stuff for fun is far more prevalent a hobby in nature than the average nature documentary wants you to think about.
Not so cute to note that their numbers roughly halve before maturity, and I never see dead ducklings around - presumably they are being hoovered up by cats.
Not necessarily - ducks are pretty terrible parents. Seagulls also like a tasty duckling meal (I have a vivid childhood memory of seeing this in action on Somes Island.) Cats are probably getting some of them, though.Then again, if we're talking mallards, not much loss; they're introduced and are hybridising out some native species.
The birds in Wellington! I’ve always lived near the edge of the bush, and I remember as a kid seeing a tui was something special. Then a while back I was surprised to see one in central Wellington. Now the damn things constantly divebomb one another in my back garden and take baths in the neighbour’s blocked gutter. They’re ubiquitous, and kereru are common enough, but last week we had a kaka land on our deck. I’d never seen one before I visited Kapiti Island ten years ago, now you can hear them most days rarking in the skies above the western suburbs.
We went for a walk along the top of Tinakori Hill (Te Ahumairangi Hill, now) a few weeks ago at dusk, and had kaka circling over us most of the way home. I walked down the same hill to town yesterday and heard them talking to each other in the trees. And the tui are bloody everywhere. It really is a most incredible change.
Places like Hawaii feel very “homelike” to me, for the same reason. And the cultural mix.
When I was in the States I found the big West Coast cities more like NZ than anywhere else - San Francisco + north have similar weather, similar vegetation (lots of Monterey pines and even pohutukawa, imported for their colour), more similar cultural environment, similar urban environments, easier access to some home treats (proper ginger beer, that sort of thing.) And they were on the right ocean. It wasn't home, but it was...something closer, especially when I hadn't actually been home for years.
I moved back to Wellington two months ago, after eleven years, near enough, first in Christchurch and then in the US. I couldn't get out of home fast enough when it came time to go to university - not for any bad reasons, just because I was eager to stretch my wings and try (semi)-independent adult life. Then I went overseas for a holiday with my family and came back desperate to get out of NZ for my postgrad studies - there was a whole wide world out there I could be visiting! So we packed up and left for the US.
Like some other people in this thread, living overseas intensified my sense of New Zealand as home. The Christchurch quakes happened in the six months after we'd left the city, which felt like a weird severing of our ties to our life in NZ - Christchurch was where we'd met and gotten married, as well as my wife's city of birth, and in an important way it wasn't there anymore, it had crumbled behind us. After a couple of years we were talking about maybe staying in the US longer-term. But the longer we stayed the more and more we missed NZ - didn't help that we only had the time and money to make one visit home in five years.
We came back to Wellington not knowing whether we'd be staying there, at least at first, and I realised while we were waiting to find out that I really wanted to stay. I'd been worried after all that time that I'd get sick of the place after a few weeks, maybe sick of living in NZ again, that it'd seem too small and too isolated and too much like trying to fit myself back into a space I'd outgrown. But, especially after Christchurch, it seemed like such an impossible gift to be living somewhere I knew the streets, where things were as I remembered them, somewhere I could talk to friends and family without having to calculate time zones and who was on Daylight Saving and who wasn't - or see them in person, even!
It helps in some ways - though it makes me sad in others - that my parents have so comprehensively redecorated their house since I lived there that almost every room looks entirely different. It's not the place I grew up in anymore, and if they sell it in the next few years - as they're talking about doing - I think I'll be OK with that. Wellington is going to be home again, but it's going to be a home I'm making.
Solar PV with no batteries and no grid tie would be fairly useless (except for special purposes), not least because you generally want lights on during the hours of darkness.
I went to a fascinating talk last week in Lower Hutt (run by Cafe Scientifique) which was all about solar/wind power, particularly the system they've set up on Somes Island for the DOC people there. It's a combination of a wind turbine, solar panels, batteries, and I believe some natural gas (for a stove, that sort of thing). Apparently it works really well because the wind in Wellington Harbour tends to rise around sunset, which is when the solar cuts out, and they can reliably switch to turbine generation for night stuff - otherwise they'd need more batteries.
The thing I also remember from the talk is that they've found for more remote Pacific islands switching from diesel generation to solar/wind can be a problem because the regular diesel deliveries are also how other stuff is delivered (presumably it's otherwise uneconomic to ship the other stuff without the diesel) - taking away those boat runs can cause more problems than generating their own power solves.
I like Hansen’s approach to players’ drinking. In the past we’ve lurched from booziness to alcohol bans, which only serve to make it seem more of a problem. Hansen basically said: “If you want to have a beer, have a beer. But remember your responsibilities.”
Re: the last part, it has been my experience working in environments where alcohol availability is restricted that making it unmonitored but reminding people of their responsibilities really does result in moderate drinking habits. This goes for everyone from teenage university students to sailors - people respond to the expectations set for them. I'm not surprised it would work for a sports team.
Most of the time I spent in the UCSA was in the Ballroom, but never for a ball or even a gig; it's where the fencing club met, because it was free for us to use on Saturday mornings (except when they were having an event, which wasn't that often) and hiring a room at the gym would have cost money we didn't have. I spent a lot of Saturday mornings over five years going up and down the ballroom, hauling out equipment from the cupboard we kept it in, putting it away again. Occasionally the floor was a wee bit sticky, if it was the Saturday morning after a particularly good night before, but we tried not to think too hard about that. They meet in the College of Education gym now, I think. It's not quite the same.
I spent a bit of time in the Foundry, too, although probably not nearly as much as some. It was okay if you just wanted a beer right after class, but not much more. There was that weird period around 2007 where they tried to change the name to "The Common Room", but it never took, except to confuse new students with the signage. I still have a few Polaroids from a thing they were running there the first couple of weeks I was at Canty, in 2005, where they breath-tested you and then gave you a Polaroid photo with the reading on the back, to try and stop drink-driving. My readings are all absurdly high because they always managed to find me right after I'd taken my first sip of beer.
I didn't have any particular love for the building, architecturally, but knowing it's coming down...it's another little bit of history wiped away.
Yep, same here. No career path, not even a start on one should a youngster be mad enough to want to try.
So, off they go overseas, taking their intellects with them.
Scientific careers are difficult to come by everywhere; here in the US, for example, the odds of a biomedical PhD getting a long-term (i.e. tenure-track) job are somewhere between 10-20%. Maybe lower. NZ certainly isn't making itself a haven for scientists right now, though.