Saturday, January 22, 2005

Israeli neo-nazis

You read me right. Sociologists of knowledge will be busy for centuries trying to figure these guys out.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Tauomo reappears

Our local rag, the Central Leader, has a report on the re-emergence of Tauomo:

Mt Wellington's forgotten volcano has reappeared. Demolition of industrial buildings on Morrin Rd has revealed the remains of Purchas Hill, or Tauomo, which once stood 30 metres high, at the foot of Mt Wellington. Tauomo has been unseen for years and now lies within the Mt Wellington quarry land earmarked for subdivision...geologist Bruce Hayward wants to see the remains preserved, saying the volcano's cone could be recreated by looking at early photos and drawings and using dirt and other material gathered by quarrying...He would like Tauomo to become something like Mt Cambria in Devonport, which is a similar size and has been made into a park...

Like other volcanic cones in Auckland, Tauomo was terraced and fortified as a pa by pre-European Maori. Like the original cone, the earthworks are gone...The European name for Tauomo was given by Austrian geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter, who visited New Zealand in the 1850s. The Reverend Arthur Guyon Purchas, an Onehunga Anglican vicar with an interest in science, accompanied von Hochstetter on some of his expeditions.

The Central Leader's not online, so I can't refer you to a picture of Tauomo, but there's a good photo of Mt Wellington here, on a site dedicated to Auckland's volcanoes. You can see some of the subdivison work in the foreground.

Reading about Tauomo reminded me of my recent visit to Otuataua Stonefields, Mangere's one-hundred hectare 'Stonehenge of South Auckland'. Otuataua is almost as little-known as Tauomo, despite the efforts of the local Waiohua iwi and of archaeologists like Hayward, who together managed to save the site from development in the 90s.

Find out what you've been missing here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Man of the Future, et al

Tis the season (or thereabouts) for nostalgia and soothsaying, so here's a poem called 'My Back Pages' (hat tip: Bob) from the new (or, at least, most recent) issue of .brief. A few of the phrases come straight from JD Bernal's rather worrying 1929 volume The World, the Flesh, and the Devil. I think they could have left that one off the Marxists Internet Archive...


that man’s development has been for too long hindered
hill and dale and
what comes after

that evolution is closing down everywhere
summer camp or surgery
a calm collected, under dry tiger-lilies
under the lake the silver
dinner tray
that the man of the future must forsake classical form
forgive the sculptor his stone
forgive the waiter his empty plate
adopting instead a stout cylinder
hill and dale and what comes after
that the external casing must be made from stainless steel
hill and dale and
that inside, the brain, very carefully composed
to withstand constant shock
waiters who circulate as smoothly as lies
immersed in a constantly thickening liquid
of uniform depth and temperature
a cerebral spinal fluid
up to our knees, in insects
hill and
no brain a part
of a whole feelings
will instantly communicate themselves memories
must be collectivised
hill, and dale
that the new species will be the standard type
a few specimens of the old will exist, as curiousities
that even the new will outevolve itself
sky as stopped clock
moving shyly, toward the exit
from consciousness, to clarity
lake as stopped watch
that the human will resolve itself into clear atoms
hill, and dale, and what comes after
communicating by radiation
resolving itself
entirely, into light


Newsflash: Venezuela expropriates

News just came in today of the apparent expropriation of a 32,000 acre Vestey beef farm in Venezuela's Cojedes state. Vestey is a UK MNC, and several of their farms in Aussie were the target of landmark Aboriginal strikes and occupations in the 1960s, struggles commemorated in Paul Kelly's song 'From Little Things Big Things Grow'.

I found these photos (scroll down the page that opens) on the right-wing Venezuealan blog The Devil's Excrement (that's a Venezuelan term for oil!).

Take the commentary with a grain of salt...

Update: the trouble with these right-wing scaremongers is that they excite us irrational optimists on the left. It turns out that the Venezuelan government is not using the 'e' word, and is actually trying to work out some sort of compromise between Vestey and the landless peasants' movement. Jorge Martin's report, which you can read here, gives a sober appraisal of the situation, but the right-wingers aren't listening, if this new bout of hysteria on the v crisis blogsite is anything to go by.
Chavez as 'Marxist dictator'? If only...