Just a fun piece of writing

Occasionally you see some good stuff in a newspaper. ¬†Something that hasn’t been through the spin cycle and us just a roaring good read.

Talia Shadwell, thanks for bringing several smiles to my face today

Police officers have filthy mouths, and Khandallah schoolgirl Sarah Scott can prove it – even though her dog ate some of the evidence.

Her science project investigation into whether police dogs or their handlers have more bacteria in their mouths has won her a chance to compete in a science and technology fair – but it also produced some disturbingly close results.

Sarah, 11, of St Benedict’s School, examined bacteria from the mouths of eight police dogs and their handlers. Fortunately for the handlers’ reputations, their mouths proved cleaner than the dogs, but only just.

Sarah’s project won her school science competition – despite her jack russell Rupert climbing on to the dining table and eating four of the samples just two weeks before the project was due.

His behaviour was not only unhelpful, but pretty gross, Sarah said.

“Those petri dishes were smelly and they had heaps of bacteria.”

The dog handlers helped Sarah out by repeating the experiment, swabbing their dogs’ mouths to avoid Sarah being bitten.

She said she was very grateful for their help.

“I feel that they dedicated a lot of time to my project and helped me a lot.”

Six-year-old Rupert, however, was collared for destroying evidence – incriminated by photographs of broken petri dishes at the “crime scene”.

For ethical reasons, Sarah, who hopes to become a vet, refused to entertain The Dominion Post’s questions about which of the eight Wellington police officers involved in her research had the worst breath.

However, she did reveal police dog Link had the highest oral bacterial count – and that the dogs proved the most obedient research subjects.

Link’s handler, Wellington police dog section head Senior Sergeant Mark Davidson, said he was proud of his “top dog”. He and his colleagues who volunteered to take part in Sarah’s project admired her work ethic.

“To get up in front of a bunch of hairy-arse dog handlers and get her spiel across takes a huge amount of courage for a young kid. She did great.”

Speaking of dogs, did you know there is such a thing as dog racism? ¬†Katy Waldman has that story ¬† Read more »


Telecom it was, Telecom it will be


Truth be told, I’ve always been someone to buck a trend. ¬†And¬†this whole Telecom / Spark rebranding exercise is motivating me to do it again.

Telecom will change its name to Spark on August 8 – and will have a new ticker code on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges from then.

Spark New Zealand will have the following core business units and brands: ¬† Read more »


Massive Underground City Uncovered!!!

Guest post

Professor Luis Forchi has uncovered a massive subterranean city in Brazil.

The Megapolis is an architectural marvel with highways and side roads connecting each chamber. Tunnels span most of the city and ensure good ventilation and provide the shortest transport routes ‚Äėeverything looks like it was built by an architect, a single mind‚Äô. The entire structure covers 50 square meters, and goes 8 meters into the earth. ‚ÄėIt is the equivalent of building the Great Wall of China, a wonder of the world.

The customer is always right. Yeah… Nah.



National don’t get social media either… #juststop

Today, some flunky at the end of John Key’s Twitter account live tweeted every line from Key’s keynote as individual tweets.


As a result, anything else in the timeline of those that follow Twitter was completely downed out. ¬† Twitter isn’t meant to be used this way. ¬†It annoys people, and it shows a total lack of understanding (and respect) for people’s time. ¬† Read more »

Face of the day

Female Announcer robot

Female Announcer robot

Look out overpaid TV stars – here is the news… with an ANDROID! World’s first robotic broadcasters are so lifelike they can read reports without stumbling

The Kodomoroid and Otonaroid droids were revealed at Tokyo Museum
Both droids have silicone skin, artificial muscles and are remote-controlled
The creepy-looking robots speak so smoothly they are eerily lifelike
In a demonstration, robots read the news and interacted with the audience
There were some glitches such as lips not moving while one robot spoke

Read more »


Is this the sort of thing the Greens meant when they promoted 3D printing?

Last week the Green party pushed a policy that will utilise petroleum products but because it is cool tech they ignored that.

3D printing has huge possibilities to transform our economy they told us. Gareth Hughes was ecstatic:

But could it be that this is what they were talking about when they launched the policy? ¬† Read more »

Taxi drivers lock down cities across Europe

Now this is really amusing. ¬† A smartphone app called Uber allows customers to book¬†taxi rides “near instantly” from any company. ¬†It shows the prices between companies, it shows taxis that are near you, and it allows customers to share feedback on service.

So how do Black Cab and licensed Taxi drivers react?


They go on strike.

Read more »

Something for Clayton that works better than plugs


There are a few people in parliament that could do this amazing new invention…Tony Ryall, Clayton Cosgrove, and Steven Joyce certainly.

Last August, a startup called Theradome began selling a device‚ÄĒaptly named the Theradome Laser Helmet‚ÄĒthat promised to regrow peoples‚Äô hair. Almost one year later, the company has sold thousands of the products, which look a bit like the lovechild of a bike helmet and an Apple laptop. The device sounds too good to be true. Wear it twice a week for about 20 minutes per session, and soon enough you end up looking like¬†Redfoo. In more clinical terms, Theradome boasts that 100 percent of users will see some kind of hair regrowth after six months of use and that, on average, people will have about 40 percent of their hair come back. ‚ÄúWe stop your hair loss; we thicken the hair you still have, and then you start seeing hair growth,‚ÄĚ says Tamim Hamid, the founder and chief executive of¬†Theradome.

I first ran into Hamid a couple of years ago. He‚Äôs a former research engineer at NASA, who, among other things, built a speech-recognition system for the space shuttle. After seven years with NASA at Kennedy Space Center, Hamid moved to Silicon Valley and got into the biomedical device market. He did four startups that made products that solved other peoples‚Äô problems. For the fifth, however, Hamid decided to go after a cause near and dear to his scalp: his once lustrous, thick black hair had started to thin, and he figured near-total baldness was about a year away. ¬† Read more »


Great news: Green Party agrees plastics are the way to the future

Gareth Hughes announced yesterday that 3D printing/manufacturing was going to be something the Green Party can get behind. ¬†So much in fact, they made it part for the “blueprint” for the future.

So I though it would be a good opportunity to have a look and see why the Green Party has thrown away decades of opposition to oil exploration, oil extraction, oil refining, and of course the result of all this, plastics.

But not all plastics are created equal. ¬†Plastics are bad. ¬†As is oil. ¬†But somehone, “3D” plastics are not.

(Perhaps we need to invent 3D oil?)

Now, truth be known, not all plastics are created equal, and we have been educated to hate plastic bags, and those things that used to hold 6 cans together, because somewhere in the world a tortoise gets stuck in them. ¬†And who can argue with that. ¬†Tortoises don’t come in six packs.

For 3D printing, you need a plastic called “Thermoplastic”.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene¬†(ABS) (chemical formula¬†(C8H8)x¬∑ (C4H6)y¬∑(C3H3N)z) is a common¬†thermoplastic. Its¬†glass transition¬†temperature is approximately 105 ¬įC (221 ¬įF).¬†ABS is¬†amorphous¬†and therefore has no true melting point.

ABS is a¬†terpolymer¬†made by polymerizing¬†styrene¬†and¬†acrylonitrile¬†in the presence of¬†polybutadiene. The proportions can vary from 15 to 35% acrylonitrile, 5 to 30%¬†butadiene¬†and 40 to 60% styrene. The result is a long chain of polybutadiene criss-crossed with shorter chains of poly(styrene-co-acrylonitrile). The¬†nitrilegroups from neighboring chains, being polar, attract each other and bind the chains together, making ABS stronger than pure¬†polystyrene. The styrene gives the plastic a shiny, impervious surface. The polybutadiene, a¬†rubbery¬†substance, provides resilience even at low¬†temperatures. For the majority of applications, ABS can be used between ‚ąí20 and 80¬†¬įC (‚ąí4 and 176¬†¬įF) as its mechanical properties vary with temperature.¬†The properties are created by¬†rubber toughening, where fine particles of elastomer are distributed throughout the rigid matrix. — Wikipedia

You can see what set Gareth’s motor spinning. ¬†This isn’t “just plastic”, this is “amorphous” and who can resist¬†styrene-co-acrylonitrile? ¬†The Green Party certainly can’t. ¬† Read more »