March miscellany

About to visit Auckland? Read on…

If you’re thinking about visiting Auckland anytime soon, think again. The place has been overrun by the Hi-Viz Brigade, men and women whose weapon of choice is the orange road cone. These little pointy heads narrow lanes everywhere, block them in some cases. They choke traffic just about everywhere you drive in central Auckland. And why? You name it. Footpath improvements, broadband installation, drainage and a range of other nuisances. We understand the need – but all at the same time? Australian TV’s Comedy Company used to feature a segment called Bastards Incorporated. But now they’re real. And here.


Tats more than skin deep…

There’s no known cure for the common cold, but receiving multiple tattoos can strengthen your immunological responses, potentially making you heartier in fighting off common infections, according to research. However, receiving a single tattoo can, at least temporarily, lower your resistance.

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Not to mince words…

‘(Trump’s) proposed tax plan would bankrupt the government while enriching his fellow multimillionaires. But policy proposals, however ill-formed and destructive, are not the crux of the danger.

No, Mr. Trump must be stopped because he presents a threat to American democracy. Mr. Trump resembles other strongmen throughout history who have achieved power by manipulating democratic processes. Their playbook includes a casual embrace of violence; a willingness to wield government powers against personal enemies; contempt for a free press; demonization of anyone who is not white and Christian; intimations of dark conspiracies; and the propagation of sweeping, ugly lies.

Mr Trump has championed torture and the murder of innocent relatives of suspected terrorists. He has flirted with the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists. He has libelled and stereotyped wide swathes of humanity, including Mexicans and Muslims. He considers himself exempt from the norms of democratic contests, such as the release of tax returns, policy papers, lists of advisers and other information that voters have a right to expect.’

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An ally for antibiotics?

A new technique for killing bacteria in seconds using highly porous gold nanodisks and light has been developed by researchers. The method could one day help hospitals treat some common infections without using antibiotics, which could help reduce the risk of spreading antibiotics resistance.

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New definition of a common medical term:  Enema… not a friend.

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.