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”

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”

Difficult decisions

I was looking at masks when I flew up to Auckland this week, and wondering how people decided to select the mask they were wearing that day. Mask selection is not something that anyone in New Zealand thought about until 2020. The lack of practice at mask wearing makes mask selection all the harder. However,Continue reading “Difficult decisions”

Blowing bubbles

I was rather surprised this week to read that the travel industry thinks the government should insure travellers against getting stuck in Australia, once a travel bubble is opened. The reason given was that insuring travellers to cover the costs of getting stuck overseas, if a country locks down, is too expensive and the governmentContinue reading “Blowing bubbles”

Squashed frog

Upon finishing our 3 week cycling trip I suddenly felt flat. Dead flat. Perhaps as flat as a frog we saw on the roadside while cycling uphill on the Forgotten Highway. The squashed frog inspired me to write a song, on which I am currently working. The planned chorus runs something like: I’m a squashedContinue reading “Squashed frog”

What’s in a year?

A year ago tomorrow I posted the start of this blog, prompted by Jacinda Ardern’s announcement on March 21 2020 that New Zealand was going into COVID Alert Level 2 and the knowledge that, for the first time ever, New Zealand’s borders were closed to anyone not a citizen or permanent resident. The government’s immediateContinue reading “What’s in a year?”