Saturday, August 12, 2006

All Things Considered

"We need to respect the fact that it is possible to
know without knowing why we know,
and - sometimes - we are better off that way".

-Malcolm Gladwell

Why do we know what we know? In Malcolm Gladwells groundbreaking social work Blink, he makes the case for intuition quite lucid and mainstream. More than a boook about snap judgements and "thin slicing, it goes to the core of the psyche as a valuable tool in the collection of life instruments to be respected and enhanced. Sometimes we just know. Most times we need to experience. The difference is what he explains so well with varied examples.

Feeling "winter" in New Zealand is an exhilarating and elemental exercise. The skies change rapidly, almost as if in synchronisation with moods. There are as many different types of days as there are moods, I suppose. I had a nice urban walk around downtown Auckland with a friend the other night, and it was invigorating not just because of the winter weather, but also because it is a vibrant and changing city. New people, new ideas, new architecture. There was the flea market in Aotea square, the Mexican Cafe, the Academy theatre, the library. All established stops on my downtown journeys. Yet the feel is that a change is underway, and the newer, ethnically diverse, and creative inhabitants (many of whom live in older buildings now as CBD apartments) are making their mark. Fashion, food, film, fun. All things a good city should have, and Auckland is well on its way.

Definitely not winterish (because it isn't right now in the Northern Hemisphere), is the kayak with the glass bottom from that famous store-that-has-everything, Hammacher and Schlemmer in New York, would be a must-have for the summers out here on Waiheke.

Another fascinating piece of design is the floating bed, which I can only presume, will give the user a new and uplifitng experience. Gotta love it.

Arguably the most famous footballer in the world, David Beckham, can now no longer count on a place in his national team. This is definitely the passing of an era, and although he has had his critics en masse, as the English press can so quickly become, I believe he still has skills that keep him at the top level of the game. At 31, it must be a difficult pill to swallow. He was one of the standout players for England at the failed World Cup bid (which is not saying much), but as the captain he took responsibility for the loss, and showed great character. He is not a bad businessman either, and with an annual income of well over $100 million in salary and endorsements, he won't be hurting. "Brand Beckham" still has a bit more in it. But for a professional athlete, it is the competition that counts, and under his leadership, they never achieved their potential. Later, Becks.

A couple of good pieces on my favourite subject, food and farming. One from the Worldwatch Institute on the Tipping Point for American agriculture, and the other on the popularity of old fashioned Food Markets in Britain. All this leads to consistently to the movement of people wanting to know more about what they are putting into their body. Where it comes from, who grew it and how, and what is in it. Not altogether an unreasonable request, given what can be fed to us in the name of food these days. Good reading.

If you are still travelling by air (and it is hard to avoid depite the mounting inconveniences), there are ways to get the seat you want for whatever reason. This NYTimes article shows you how. It won't tell you how to get past the endless security checkpoints, as they is here to stay, it would appear.

Great gallery of rainbows if you are so inclined. They are plentiful at this time of year down here, and enjoyable diversions.

And finally, from both ends of the sustainability spectrum, the Space Agency NASA has found something quite useful to do with all of its hi tech resources. That is, search for the elusive Ivory Billed Woodpecker, last seen in some of the Mississippi River valleys. Go guys! And then, the big automakers, who will do whatever it takes to sell more cars, are making sure their new models are equipped to easily fit iPods. I hope no one is driving near me while they are navigating their iPod playlist and surfing the web on their cellphone! Take a walk.

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