“I believe in free education”

At some point, that simple sentiment became controversial. I suspect it was a few decades ago. By then, free education (at tertiary level at least) was becoming a distant memory.

Yes, the loan scheme existed, but for families where no one had ever stepped foot in a university, the unknown was suddenly coupled with the prospect of debt levels previously only seen when you shackled yourself to a bank to buy your first Hardie-plank house.

I could bring out the old rant about the politicians who made the decision to remove free, post-school education being the ones who benefited from it themselves, which is still a fair point. However, increasingly the generation of politicians who we need to turn the bus around didn’t get a free ride – and won’t pay it forward.

I fear that we have grown a generation of “I had to pay for it, so you should, too” and it’s our own bloody fault.

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If brains were dynamite she wouldn’t have enough to blow her nose

Paula Penfold has tweeted that King’s School’s billboard is sexist.

idiot-paula-penfold Read more »

We’re on the cusp of reducing Alzheimer risk, but it may already be too late for most

Professor Michele Vendruscolo, from Cambridge University, who is leading the research, said: “This in terms of an approach for Alzheimer’s disease would be the equivalent of what statins do for heart conditions.

“So you would take them well in advance of developing the condition to reduce your risk.

“The dream would be to find a compound which is cheap and safe and therefore can be given early to everybody.”

He explained that Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disease occur in old age when natural defences that prevent the formation of protein aggregates in the brain, and help to clear them away, start to fail.

“Our idea is that we should supplement these natural defences by this chemical means,” he said.

Bexarotene was the first of about a dozen potential neurostatins identified by the scientists, whose research is reported in the journal Science Advances. Read more »

Mental Health Break

What a way to go, in your sleep after a day out hunting

While one of our judges apparently enjoys cavorting naked at a nudist camp, one of the US Supreme Court judges has died in his sleep after a hunting trip in Texas.

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas, federal officials said.

Scalia, 79, was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa.

According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.

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Map of the Day

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Did Obama create Trump?

Simon Heffer at The Telegraph explains that after 7 years of being run by a clever incompetent the voters are revolting.

The morning after Barack Obama was elected, in November 2008, I put the television on in my hotel room in New York to watch the reaction. Fox News was putting on a brave face, though the sourness and anger were barely contained: but MSNBC, an avowedly liberal network, was in a state of almost convulsive ecstasy.

As dawn broke a woman, interviewed outside her run-down house somewhere upstate, shed tears while telling an interviewer what the victory meant for her. “I now know,” she sobbed, “that my house won’t be foreclosed on.” I hope she was right: but the evidence of the seven years since Obama the miracle-worker took office suggests she may have been disappointed.

America was angry after two terms of George W Bush. Though he could not stand, his party’s candidate would be punished for how Mr Bush and the lunatics around him had made America an international pariah. The financial crisis of 2008 – the collapse of Lehmann Brothers came between the conventions and polling day – was the last straw.

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Rodney Hide on why he’s lost faith in James Shaw

Rodney Hide who, just a few weeks ago, was professing undying love for James Shaw, has now changed his mind.

Last week Green co-leader James Shaw evaporated my support.

I dropped him because of his press release quoting UN Independent “expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order” Professor Alfred de Zayas.

The professor’s UN position is supported by countries such as Angola, Cameroon, Cuba and Uganda. It is opposed by the likes of Austria, Norway, the US and the UK.

Sounds quite amorphous doesn’t it, until you pick the scab of Professor Alfred de Zayas’ life…and let the pus run.

[I]t’s the professor’s views that trouble me and here I must take care as he likes to be quoted in full. “The intellectual dishonesty expressed in the defamatory article against me is a disservice to readers, who are entitled to the full text of my argument.”

So let me quote from a review of his book Genocide as a State Secret that he provides on his own blog: “The Holocaust was planned by a small circle meeting outside Berlin in January 1942. In addressing his SS subordinates in Posen in 1943, Himmler boasted about how well their secret was being kept.    Read more »

Paul Little: blithering idiot [UPDATED]

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Paul Little likes to think he is a superior being. He exudes this in his pontificating columns in the Herald on Sunday, and today he outdoes himself by proving he is a jealous petulant idiot.

In trying to attack a school over their billboard, he gets everything completely wrong including the quotes:

If there’s one thing we can safely say about the billboard advertising an open day at King’s College on February 25 – the day after the headmaster’s garden party – it’s that you don’t need a private school education to be able to understand it.

The billboard shows a boy in King’s uniform holding the world in the palm of his hand. “Come to King’s,” it says, “and you will control the world.”

My education was very different from what you get at King’s. This might leave me open to charges of sour grapes, but I prefer to think of it as objectivity.

His objectivity went out the window when he said the billboard was advertising King’s College…it isn’t, it is King’s School. It even says so on the billboard that, by the way, does not contain the words that Little has put inside quote marks.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo, by Irving Penn 1947.In a portrait by Irving Penn, Peter Freuchen wears a vast coat, made from the fur of a polar bear, which only serves to emphasise his not undaunting 6'7" frame. Freuchen stands beside his third wife, Dagmar Cohn, whom he married in 1945. But the beguiling portrait only hints at the surprising life of Peter Freuchen.

Photo, by Irving Penn 1947.In a portrait by Irving Penn, Peter Freuchen wears a vast coat, made from the fur of a polar bear, which only serves to emphasise his not undaunting 6’7″ frame. Freuchen stands beside his third wife, Dagmar Cohn, whom he married in 1945. But the beguiling portrait only hints at the surprising life of Peter Freuchen.

The Key to Arctic Survival

Improvised Implements of Excrement

In a portrait by Irving Penn, Peter Freuchen wears a vast coat, made from the fur of a polar bear, which only serves to emphasise his not undaunting 6’7″ frame. Freuchen stands beside his third wife, Dagmar Cohn, whom he married in 1945. But the beguiling portrait only hints at the surprising life of Peter Freuchen.

Freuchen was an arctic explorer, journalist, author, and anthropologist. He participated in several arctic journeys (including a 1000-mile dogsled trip across Greenland), starred in an Oscar-winning film.

Freuchen also wrote more than a dozen books (novels and nonfiction, including his Famous Book of the Eskimos), had a peg leg he lost his leg to frostbite in 1926.

He was involved in the Danish resistance against Germany, was imprisoned and sentenced to death by the Nazis before escaping to Sweden, and studied to be a doctor at university. His first wife was Inuit and his second was a Danish margarine heiress, he was also friends with Jean Harlow and Mae West, and once escaped from a blizzard shelter by cutting his way out of it with a knife fashioned from his own faeces.

A woman offered to bite off Peter Freuchen’s toes. He declined. Instead, he chopped them off with shears and a hammer.

These are not tall tales. These are not fake Chuck Norris facts. Peter Freuchen was not the Most Interesting Man in the World. He was a Jewish Danish Arctic explorer, who had to survive glacial Greenland winters. On one occasion, he had to keep wolves away from his makeshift igloo by… singing.

Freuchen did make it out (be it without a leg) and went to… Hollywood. There, a movie was made based on a book he wrote. That movie was the Oscar-winning “Eskimo”, starring the previously-profiled Ray Mala. Oh, and Freuchen had a part as well. He played the villain.

After that, it was back to Denmark, but World War II broke out. So Freuchen joined the Danish resistance, was captured by the Germans, but managed to escape to Sweden.

And, last but certainly not least, with the war over, Freuchen made it back to America, where… he won $64,000, one of the first winners of the famed game show, “The $64,000 Question.”

Alright, maybe Peter Freuchen was the real Most Interesting Man in the World.

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