I spent the day working (discussions about how to beat the HIV epidemic...), but did reflect on the fact that it was Waitangi Day just before falling asleep (Honey, it was Waitangi Day today, well you know, up until 12 hours ago | Oh, yeah, happy Waitangi Day | Cheers, to you too, nigh night).
Living in South Africa certainly provides a different perspective on race and ethnicity - felt very disturbed to be told during the day that there was an Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging enclave on the outskirts of the town where we live in KwaZulu Natal. I have yet to verify this for myself, but suffice to say there is still some very crazy politics going down here. Which doesn't diminish at all the challenges of ethnicity and politics in Aotearoa NZ, but the conversation is certainly a different one.
The last Waitangi Day I had out of the country I was in Moscow, in 2006. That year we went to the NZ Embassy for canapes and music by Moana Maniapoto - if ever you have chance it's nice to see inside our territory in foreign lands. I seem to remember someone from the Russian foreign ministry (if not the foreign minister), saying something along the lines of Obama and Kerry's message. I didn't take the opportunity then to pipe up and say it was a bit soon for congrats, but it's exactly what I thought.
The poor ducks looked a bit confused though - what is this inedible crap you're throwing in our river?!?.
I spent 12.51 at my son's primary school. The kids all stood in 'The Big Field' in the class rows, surrounded by a large circle of parents, for two minutes of silence. It had a good feeling - the school community was there to remember people's loss and be there together to support our kids. The kids quietly sang a waiata, released balloons, and went down to the Heathcote to throw flowers and petals in the river.
it seems odd to be commemorating the anniversary of something that's still happening
I'd agree with that - how can we honour the memory of something that is still disrupting our lives and giving us grief?
But then I think of those that died or were injured, and perhaps a year is the time to mark some kind of moving on or bringing to remembrance.
I know there has been planning to deal with a greater level of psychological aftermath following the anniversary. I live in hope that that might mean people are continuing on a recovery process, not one that is finishing, but at least one that is moving along rather than being supressed.
The NY Times says "half the nation’s rivers and lakes are unfit for human contact"
And "Cadmium poisoning has been a persistent problem, especially among those working at battery plants or living near them."
Food Bank? Perhaps too many insensitive connotations. But it will also be about the politics of food - food security/insecurity included. But not so good when discussing the latest truffle-flavoured oil...
Bring a Plate. A little more up to date than Ladies...
Makes me think that at least half of the meme that the other sex are alien arseholes is simply rejection at work.
Some don't get the rejection. Clearly there are different interpretations for the signals we send out - some people fit the meme much better than others...
I’ve had proper official access to a university library for the first time in a long time for a couple of years. The main benefit is being able to search journal databases for articles and then download the pdf.
Google books etc is ok, but it’s annoying. This is great. All those footnote refs you wished to consult? Well, now you can.
I thought society as a whole was paying for university research. I don’t understand why these articles aren’t freely available to everyone.
George Monbiot has the answer for you: economic parasitism by academic publishers who have prfoit margins approaching 40%.
The returns are astronomical: in the past financial year, for example, Elsevier's operating profit margin was 36% (£724m on revenues of £2bn). They result from a stranglehold on the market. Elsevier, Springer and Wiley, who have bought up many of their competitors, now publish 42% of journal articles.
More importantly, universities are locked into buying their products. Academic papers are published in only one place, and they have to be read by researchers trying to keep up with their subject. Demand is inelastic and competition non-existent, because different journals can't publish the same material. In many cases the publishers oblige the libraries to buy a large package of journals, whether or not they want them all. Perhaps it's not surprising that one of the biggest crooks ever to have preyed upon the people of this country – Robert Maxwell – made much of his money through academic publishing.
The publishers claim that they have to charge these fees as a result of the costs of production and distribution, and that they add value (in Springer's words) because they "develop journal brands and maintain and improve the digital infrastructure which has revolutionised scientific communication in the past 15 years". But an analysis by Deutsche Bank reaches different conclusions. "We believe the publisher adds relatively little value to the publishing process … if the process really were as complex, costly and value-added as the publishers protest that it is, 40% margins wouldn't be available." Far from assisting the dissemination of research, the big publishers impede it, as their long turnaround times can delay the release of findings by a year or more.
What we see here is pure rentier capitalism: monopolising a public resource then charging exorbitant fees to use it. Another term for it is economic parasitism. To obtain the knowledge for which we have already paid, we must surrender our feu to the lairds of learning.