Victim of Super Insects by Angela Caldin

I’ve been the victim of a complex marketing ploy and I may take some time to recover. Back in early September, as I was paying for my shopping in Countdown, the cashier asked me if I was collecting Super Insect cards. Not wanting to miss out on anything, I said yes, and she handed me three packs. Thinking that they might be educational, I gave them to one of my granddaughters. She was fairly enthusiastic and persuaded her mother to buy the $6 album designed to house all the cards. Complexity It… Read More

Seeing clearly by Angela Caldin

My husband has had his cataracts removed and a whole new world of light and detail has opened up before him to his delight and wonder. It had all got pretty bad over the last year or so. He had given up driving, especially at night, because he couldn’t judge distances. Things appeared blurry with milky overtones. In order to read any writing on the TV, he had to perch right in front of it sitting on the coffee table. Successful surgery He was nervous about the surgery which was to be… Read More

The oil industry fights back by Susan Grimsdell

The oil industry’s in trouble.  Consumption of fossil fuels is dropping because of travel bans all over the world and because of public recognition that climate change is a reality.  The writing’s on the wall for oil-based fuels. The counter attack The industry isn’t defeated however.  They’ve seen a brilliant solution to their plunging revenue – plastic.  They are building 350 new plastics plants in Appalachia, a very poor area that has lost its main industry – coal.  These plants turn fracked natural gas into plastic bottles, bags, straws, cups, all the… Read More

Staying healthy by Susan Grimsdell

There’s a new book out: “Dear NHS, 100 Letters to say Thank You.” 100 letters, 100 contributors, some of them very famous – Paul McCartney, Malala Yousafzai, Emma Thompson, Ricky Gervais and many others – well, 96 others.  Each has submitted a story of their experience of being admitted to hospital under the auspices of the NHS and the wonderful care they received. Public health and private health What got me thinking was that none of the contributors was short of a few bob, yet they had not been treated under the… Read More

The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law by Susan Grimsdell

The NZ Herald reports a South Island mayor urging farmers who have claimed the government wage subsidy  during the shutdown, to repay the money.  Prices have held, there has been no actual loss.  One farmer with a conscience has given back $177,000 he said he had claimed “just in case”. The letter of the law The policy states that money is available if the claimant experienced an actual or “predicted” loss of revenue of one third in any month over the 6-month period January to June compared with last year. This is… Read More