January 30, 2004

just when you think you have a handle on communication...

you read an interview like this one with a Russian who is working to preserve dying languages.

One of the distortionary things about living and working in English is how accommodating of other languages it is. Consequently there is a perception of knowing what a word like fiesta means, but actually the understanding is impoverished by the lack of context and culture.


faux-hawk: the I-want-a-mohawk,-but-my-boss-won't-let-me,-so-I'll-just-graduate-between-the-long-stuff-on-top-and-the-short-stuff-on-the-sides-so-they-won't-notice haircut.

Posted by carla at 07:59 AM

January 28, 2004

it was awe inspiring

well. A little awe was created in my sleep-ridden state. Don Brash happily explained on National Radio that he had got feedback from just 2 Maori people about draft versions of his no-special-treatment-Maori speech.

Okay, so I have no idea at all how many people leaders usually get to look over their speeches. Possibly there were only a handful who got to see his speech and 2 was a pretty good ratio; but it made him sound astoundingly out of touch. And like he hadn't noticed that he was.

And it also looks more like National is attacking ACT and NZ First rather than Labour. Presumably, most of the people currently supporting Labour would be looking for (at most) a slow-down on race issues rather than a unilateral return to the 60s.

Posted by carla at 03:05 PM

January 24, 2004

y'all probably don't care

but it matters to some of us.

Apparently (if you have dreadfully clever software like the basic web browsers that come with a linux installation) you can spoof your user agent string.

Your user string is what your web browser sends through to a web server to indicate what nature of beast it is. For example, my current user string is "Mozilla, XP" (or whatever would be appropriately formatted text representing the same info).

And web servers collect this information at great length in logs, and the people who make the site occasionally look at the results.

(Incidentally, if you want to see some results, check out Victoria's
analysis of the traffic to the Victoria International Student's site. Everything you could possibly want to know...)

One of the statistics traced is which browsers are looking at what, and mostly importantly, which browsers are turning up in numbers to be worth bothering with. At the moment, flavours of Internet Explorer on a Windows platform are the most popular web browsers, so most web designers will maximise their sites to look good in those types of set ups.

The badness of spoofing your user string is that you will turn up in statistics as mainstream, when you are not. This means that the people who make web sites will continue to believe that they are servicing the needs of the majority of people who look at their site - even though this may not be actually true.

But why on earth would I be arguing that people would want *more* web browsers to worry about designing for? Well, aside from my inherant dislike of any corporate building the main web browsing platform (monopoly anyone?) there is a standard, which is supposed to define what different web instructions should make a page look like. If the different browsers were prepared to follow those instructions, the plethora wouldn't be a problem.

Incidentally, yesterday at work, I checked out some statistics about homicide in America (as you do), and discovered that 40 odd % of all homicide victims are black, and 40 odd are white. Which makes me wonder what percentage were asian (including indian), hispanic, or native american. Or if, magically, all non-whites were black.

Posted by carla at 10:11 PM

January 21, 2004


I was walking over the weekend, mostly around Mirimar, and had one of those cheek by jowl experiences when I realised how close Scotts College is to the state housing in Strathmore. Spitting distance almost.

The Scotts college boys were playing cricket in whites on a manicured lawn, while a family in Strathmore was being visited by a cop in a car whose number plate started with BFG.

Posted by carla at 09:06 PM

January 18, 2004

consumer spending frrenzy

Yup. It happened. It only happens once or twice a year. I found clothes I want to buy at a reasonable price. And 6 out 7 items tried on looked better than expected. So I bought them ALL! he he he

I don't think the staff at the boyswear department at Farmers quite knew what was going on.

Posted by carla at 07:48 AM

January 16, 2004

don'tcha haite it when they are right?

Today I asserted that it doesn't rain in Wellington more in winter - it just feels that way because of the cold. S thought I was talking bollocks.

So I checked with the nice people at NIWA and discovered that I was, in fact, quite wrong. It rains at least 50% more in winter than summer. And October is wetter than September.

Sadly, we have more days of gale force winds (over 63kph ave for the day) than anywhere except Scott Base and Kaikoura. But our annual average wind speed isn't too bad. Very close to Wanganui, New Plymouth and Palmerston North. But still worse.

But we have less ground frost. Whaddya know.

Posted by carla at 10:10 AM

January 12, 2004


Niue is apparently an independant state. It isn't part of New Zealand (though it used to be run from here). It is now an self governing state in "free association" with New Zealand. Whatever that means.

Why should we help.

Well other than the obligations accrued by any most wealthy entity in an area, something like 90% of all Niueans live in New Zealand. And pay taxes.

One of the reasons for taxes is to provide a state-wide insurance policy. Should a cyclone send 50 meter waves into Wellington, the rest of the country will effectively pay for the rebuild. And (looking around me), it would be very expensive.

If we expect Niueans living in New Zealand to pay taxes, surely (at some point) we also acquire the state-wide insurance obligations?

Normally we think of national boundaries (mostly legal jurisdictions) as the most overwhelmingly important issue. But (particularly in the case of refugees, whether economic or otherwise) culture and chosen identity is also important.

Perhaps an awareness of the identity-based sense of citizenship would provide a way of dealing with some of the challenges globalisation is throwing up.

Posted by carla at 06:27 AM