The role of insurance

I hate insurance companies. That is not too strong a word. One could ask why I even get insurance because the very thought of dealing with an insurance company makes me feel stressed. My abhorrence of insurance companies stems from the Canterbury earthquakes. Up till that time, I thought of insurance as a generally expensiveContinue reading “The role of insurance”

Perverse incentives

Perverse incentives are incentives that have unintended, negative effects that are contrary to the intention of their designers. The ‘cobra effect’ is famous; the British government, concerned about the number of venomous cobras in Delhi, offered a bounty for every dead cobra. Initially, this was a success and large numbers of snakes were killed for the reward. Eventually, however, enterprisingContinue reading “Perverse incentives”

Living the divide

I find myself continually saddened by the effects of the cost of housing in Queenstown and Wanaka, and the resultant people who cannot ever aspire to buy a home where they live. A huge economic divide has formed and there are very few bridges that span it. At the Songwriters’ Society night on Thursday, theContinue reading “Living the divide”

Variations on a theme

In music, variations are commonly used to create new musical pieces – a set of notes are played and then repeated with changes in them. Variations are used at all scales of composition and in many forms of music. The changes to the original piece of music may involve variations in melody, rhythm or harmony.Continue reading “Variations on a theme”

End Day

I don’t know when I first heard about the day the world would end. There certainly was no government announcement; in future days it seemed like it was a topic the government shied away from. The knowledge seeped through social media quietly, infiltrating our collective consciousness until there was no doubt about something that we didn’tContinue reading “End Day”

Tricky separations

There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that the COVID-year has driven more couples to separate than normal. Family lawyers say that they have never been busier. They were already reporting a deluge back in August 2020 and it hasn’t ended yet. This doesn’t seem too surprising, for a whole lot of reasons: If you are lockedContinue reading “Tricky separations”

How free is your will?

When I started at the University of Canterbury in 1983, I underwent a minor rebellion and took philosophy instead of chemistry. I went to a couple of chemistry labs, didn’t find them very exciting at all, and thought that philosophy sounded like an interesting option to combine with geology, botany and zoology first year courses.Continue reading “How free is your will?”

Complacency and fatigue

Chronic fatigue is one of the common symptoms of ‘long COVID’. In Britain, there are estimates that 14% of people who tested positive for COVID-19 have symptoms which subsequently linger for more than 3 months, with most of these people aged between 25 and 70. The symptoms include coughs, headaches, muscle pain, shortness of breath,Continue reading “Complacency and fatigue”

How real is an earthquake?

As far as I was concerned this week’s news of the week (in a less than good way) was the restating of the risk of an Alpine Fault earthquake event. From talking with other people, it seems this news flew under the radar for many. This is probably a good thing, because there isn’t anythingContinue reading “How real is an earthquake?”

Introductions

I spent my work in COVID-ville, otherwise known as the City of Sails. The purpose of my visit was to run or facilitate a variety of workshops for different parts of the University. Running workshops is always a high energy and interesting experience, meeting a variety of people and attempting to use a wide setContinue reading “Introductions”