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Dr. William Chester Minor, American army surgeon, had worked as a surgeon during the American Civil War and his experiences on the battlefield led to paranoid delusions and an unstable mind.

Dr. William Chester Minor, American army surgeon, had worked as a surgeon during the American Civil War and his experiences on the battlefield led to paranoid delusions and an unstable mind.

WILLIAM MINOR (1834 -1920)

Insane Doctor Who Contributed to the Oxford English Dictionary

Compiling the dictionary is no easy task—especially when it’s the Oxford English Dictionary. It wasn’t just definitions that were needed, but sentences as well. A massive project ultimately passed down to editor James Murray, the project was ultimately assembled by an impressive display of 19th-century crowd sourcing. One of the most prolific contributors with tens of thousands of submissions was a man named Dr. William C. Minor. Murray struck up a friendship with the man, and eventually found he was less of a professional, practicing doctor and more of a patient at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, where he’d been living for decades.

The Oxford English Dictionary (called the OED) is a wonderful, many-volume account of the English language. Most dictionaries simply define words, but the OED is a dictionary of usage. It traces words historically through a sequence of quotations. That way we see how each word came to be used the way it is.

Murray began putting the OED together in 1879. Murray’s biggest problem was collecting hundreds of thousands of quotations. He needed many for each word. So he advertised for volunteers to submit quotations. That worked. Soon bundles of them were coming in.

One of Murray’s most dedicated suppliers was a Dr. William C. Minor. Over the years, Minor supplied tens of thousands of quotations. Murray would invite Minor to come up to Oxford and visit him. Minor always found some excuse not to come. Finally, Murray went to visit Minor. Whether he’d learned Minor’s circumstances ahead of time is unclear. It is clear that he was met at the train station and taken to the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum.

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If you couldn’t tell the difference, would you eat fake meat?


A New Zealand clean tech specialist says the patty inside a new burger will be as disruptive as Uber.

She warns the meat industry here needs to prepare and adapt to avoid being displaced completely by its younger cousin.

It looks like beef, cooks like beef, bleeds like beef and tastes like beef, but it’s not beef.

How did they get it to look so similar? Science is the short answer. The breakthrough is the extraction of a molecule called heme from plants.

“[Heme is] what gives meat it’s unique meaty flavour. It’s the bloody taste of raw meat,” Impossible Foods founder Patrick Brown said. Read more »

Race for the White House a race for the bottom


As is just about every political contest these days.  Barry Soper shares his thoughts

There’s nothing like the wacky hoopla of American politics, although no one’s ever seen anything quite like the battle going on there at the moment.

It’s a race to the bottom for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, which will come to a climax on November the 8th when the least unpopular of the two will get the key to the White House door. It’s not a contest of popularity because neither of them are.

Not matter how both the Republican and the Democrat conventions tried to soften their image, which turned into family outings, they didn’t succeed. Read more »

Bob Jones on being pedestrian

Following the arrival of Wellington Council’s new CEO, Englishman Kevin Lavery, I broke my life-long wariness of contact with Kevins and invited him to our office for drinks. “So what’s your impression of Wellington?” I asked. “It screams out for pedestrianisation,” Kevin replied, unsurprisingly as all English cities have pedestrianised their CBD centres, so too throughout Europe, North America, Australia and the more advanced Latin American nations.

I told Kevin of my efforts to promote the pedestrianisation of Lambton Quay two elections back. There was a positive feedback from sophisticated retailers and people such as the capital’s leading CBD retail leasing agent, Ty Dallas of Colliers. Conversely, it elicited some mind-boggling stupidity, none more so than from John Milford, then manager of the city’s only department store, Kirkcaldie, who told the Dominion Post he was opposed as his customers like to park outside. Pointing out that there were no parks outside Kirks made no difference.

No surprise then that Kirks was slowly going broke. Indeed, as my company owns the building, we had already drawn up plans to chop it into shops. Then I suggested to Kirks’ long-suffering chairman that he approach David Jones, given its new owners were plainly into international expansion.

CBD businesses are rarely forward looking and fear anything but the status quo.  In provincial towns this is even worse, and their power over development, or even what kind of business is allowed to set up is remarkable in its likeness to a mafia protection racket.  Read more »

Does it take extremism to stop extremism?


For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In our society the word extreme has negative connotations. If anyone suggests countering an extreme action with an extreme reaction most people feel very uncomfortable.  I will start with a simple story to illustrate my point.

When I was at primary school the next-door neighbour’s son was given an air rifle for his birthday. One day when I was outside playing with my dog he pointed his rifle across the fence and shot at my dog. Luckily he missed but my screams of outrage were heard by his father. His father asked me what had happened and I told him. I expected him to react by telling the boy off and taking the air rifle off him for a period of time. To my great shock the boy’s father grabbed the air rifle put it on the firewood chopping block and smashed it to pieces in front of me and his crying son.

I felt bad because I felt that the punishment was extreme. Admittedly if the boy had succeeded in shooting my dog ( his intention ) or had accidentally shot me in the eye and blinded me, I would not have felt that way. The only reason neither I or my dog were injured was dumb luck.


Air rifle pellet embedded in child’s face

Because of the ” extreme “action his father took, I and my dog were never shot at again. Because of the “extreme” action  his father took I was 100% safe  from being shot at by his son for the rest of my time living in that house. No one was hurt physically by his “extreme”action but he prevented any possibility of injury to me and my dog.

If an ” extreme ” action or actions could make us 100% safe from Islamic terrorism in the West should we consider it if it would kill no one and physically harm no one?

Read more »


Take the quiz to find out which American politician has the most policies aligned with your views

Click here to take the quiz.

Don’t forget to share your results with us all in the comments.

I took the quiz and this was my result. My Dad doesn’t like Trump but I bet Trump’s policies match his views. Go on Dad, take the quiz I dare you.

The Sabbatical Rifle

So Cam asks me, “do you think the readers will be interested in my rifle project?”.  I was at the other end of the Internet, so he couldn’t see my blank stare.  “Of course”, I said.  “If not just to fill up a gap, I know you have a strong following from fellow gun nutters”.   So here we are.  – Pete


While I take a break from the blog I wanted to do something creative…and destructive.

I’ve always wanted a rifle custom built to my specifications. This is my sabbatical project.

So far I have been researching and I have been visiting people talking long range shooting. It is all part of the research and now I’ve now done all of the research I thought I would share with you the thought processes.

The brief:

A long range rifle capable of killing a deer at more than 1000yds but under a mile. It must be a left hand bolt, use a detachable box magazine (AICS design) and have a carbon fibre wrapped barrel and a carbon fibre stock. Lightness and power are the key drivers.

I currently use a .308 Tikka T3 Lite as my main hunting rifle. I have taken Red deer and Sika at 600yds, but I really don’t want to push it much farther. The energy in the bullet past there makes kill shots marginal if slightly off. With wind and range variables it really isn’t suitable.

I also use a .22-250 for goats, and I rarely use it at more than 500yds. Only if it is dead still wind and the goat is in a prime position will I take the shot.

The caliber/ammunition selection

The first consideration therefore must be the caliber and the round. It has to be capable in ballistics as well as residual energy at up to a mile of killing. Anything less than .30 calibre wouldn’t cut it. So I only looked at rounds at 30 calibre and above.

I started looking at 300 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum). This is a .30 calibre round designed with magnum power but in a short action. I decided I’d prefer a long action so that I could extend the seating of the round, that meant there was no real benefit to using the 300 WSM round. I cast around looking at everything from 300 Winchester Magnum up to .338 Lapua Magnum. I have a friend who has the .338 Lapua Magnum and it is a big heavy rifle but more than capable of achieving the aims.

I quickly discounted .338 Lapua Magnum because only one company really makes left-hand bolt actions in .338 Lapua Magnum and that is Savage…it wouldn’t be a custom rifle if I used a Savage base rifle.

While researching I noticed that that SOCOM had selected 300 Norma Magnum for its new sniper rifle. I hadn’t read much about this round and once I started researching along with my armourer advisor we decided that this was the round upon which to build the rifle. It meets all the requirements, .30 calibre bullets, long range energy retention, flat ballistic trajectory, readily available brass and a wide variety of projectiles.


You can see from the photo that the 300 Norma Magnum is slightly shorter than the belted 300 Winchester Magnum, but the case is a whole lot fatter…and only slightly shorter than the mighty .338 Lapua Magnum.

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Is Greg Loveridge going to be Labour’s Key killer?

Matthew Hooton does a post-mortem on Trevor Mallard being list-only

The old warhorse claims he plans to return to Parliament as a list MP but he knows he has no chance of making it back. Right now, Labour looks set to win 28 electorate seats but is unlikely to win enough party votes to bring in more than a couple of list MPs, if any.

And Andrew Little would have to be a list position number one…  how embarrassing if your party leader can’t even get back on the list?

Worse for poor Mr Mallard, the party’s controversial Rule 360 requires its list moderating committee to ensure there is an equal balance of male and female MPs after the 2017 election. With a big majority of the 28 electorate MPs likely to be male, the first eight effective places on its party list after leader Andrew Little will have to be female.

Our microphones in Fraser House have picked up some significant stress.  The sisterhood is being told to pull their heads in, and they’ll be rewarded in 2020.   Does that sound like equality, or equality after all the men are safely voted in?

The real reason Mr Mallard is abandoning Hutt South and bringing his 30 years in Parliament to a close is because he knows he would almost certainly lose the seat to National’s rising star Chris Bishop.

Mr Bishop, a born-and-bred Hutt boy, missed out on the previously safe Labour seat to Mr Mallard by just 709 votes in 2014. He probably would have won it had National taken it seriously earlier, and not left Mr Bishop’s selection to just four months before the election.

Nevertheless, Mr Bishop, who sneaked in as a list MP anyway, decided to act as if he had won. He opened National’s first office in Wainuiomata, involved himself in local issues, attends every local event and established his own Hutt City Youth Awards.  His close relationships with John Key, Bill English, Gerry Brownlee and Steven Joyce – including as a former staffer for the last two – have positioned him well to sprinkle corporate-welfare pixie dust throughout the electorate.

People who want to win an electorate seat must work 3 years in the seat to build up the profile and respect.  Incumbents frequently are coasting on their name recognition and aren’t to be seen locally at all.  People who think becoming an electorate MP is a 2-3 month job are almost always disappointed at the outcome.  Read more »

Western morality in the age of ISIS

Guest Post

The world is an interesting place just now. Not in my lifetime has the clash of ideas and beliefs been so intense, the contrast between evil and good thrown in such stark relief – both within people and without.

A religious creed has reared its head in the West that is either medieval or downright satanic, and so many seem unsure how to respond. The values and principles that should inform good decision-making have become so divorced from reality we march into obvious pitfalls (looking at you Germany) and ignore obvious solutions.

A better understanding of the complex relationship between faith and reason is essential if we are to destroy the creed of ISIS (I cannot say ideology because that implies a rational interlocking system of ideas; we are dealing here with a belief system so primitive it holds that everything happens because it is the will of Allah). Dealing with a creed that highlights the ability of pure faith to blend seamlessly into pure evil, it is tempting to conclude the answers must lie absolute rationalism. This is our Western weakness.

I have watched in fascination as many in the West pursue a worldview which attempts to combine rationalism with morality. They cannot bring themselves to believe in a Deity, but – cossetted by a Christian environment – cannot face the brutal world that remains in His absence. So they claim a (usually Christian) morality for themselves, while simultaneously asserting the absolute rights of Darwinian Reason. And being careful not to let the two accidentally touch.

It wasn’t always this way. There have been truly rational atheists in the past, people who recognised that without a God, there can be nothing but a struggle for the supremacy of one’s own blood and kin, no means is too underhand, and the destruction of the weak is merely an act of enlightened reason.  Read more »

Hide on government being the worst at spending public money


Why is it government is always and everywhere so universally bad? It’s not the people. Those in government are smarter than average and better qualified.They also mean well. Well, I suppose they do. They tell us so. Their mission statements are always wonderfully public-spirited.

But no matter: their efforts sum to rubbish.

Not sure if Rodney is blind to the irony or has gone through a process of self-acceptance, but let’s enjoy his train of thought nevertheless.

The entire government could not turn out a decent hamburger.

The problem is not the people, their ability or intentions. The problem is information and incentive.

In Christchurch, we have the just-completed Margaret Mahey playground. It cost $41 million. Is that a good use of money? For a playground? Read more »