Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas New Zealand Sea Lions!

Here's what New Zealand sea lions were up to on Christmas day...

This is a pretty girl. I wonder if she is pregnant this year? She has a distinctive circular scar on her left front flipper.

Here I am admiring a lovely young male on Pilot's Beach.

Awwww. Here is 2595, a sweet boy who is maybe 1 or 2 years old, I'd have to check with the sea lion researchers to be sure, like Shaun or Shannon or Jojo.

When he grows up he'll look like this gorgeous specimen of a male, 300 kilos + !!!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Appetite For Power - At Any Cost

The death of Chile's Augusto Pinochet on Dec. 10, 2006 was more than the passing of another dictator. His violent regime spurred an international human rights movement. Activist and lawyer Reed Brody from Human Rights Watch, who has closely followed the legal case against Pinochet for a decade, provides the commentary for this essay.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

If only you could hear... Pip and I, doing our number. Sarah took these great photos.

Styx - Mr. Roboto Lyrics

(Dennis DeYoung)

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,

Mata ah-oo hima de

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,

Himitsu wo shiri tai

You're wondering who I am-machine or mannequin

With parts made in Japan, I am the modren man

I've got a secret I've been hiding under my skin

My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain I.B.M.

So if you see me acting strangely, don't be surprised

I'm just a man who needed someone, and somewhere to hide

To keep me alive-just keep me alive

Somewhere to hide to keep me alive

I'm not a robot without emotions-I'm not what you see

I've come to help you with your problems, so we can be free

I'm not a hero, I'm not a saviour, forget what you know

I'm just a man whose circumstances went beyond his control

Beyond my control-we all need control

I need control-we all need control

I am the modren man, who hides behind a mask

So no one else can see my true identity

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, domo...domo

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, domo...domo

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, domo...domo

Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto

For doing the jobs that nobody wants to

And thank you very much, Mr. Roboto

For helping me escape just when I needed to

Thank you-thank you, thank you

I want to thank you, please, thank you

The problem's plain to see: too much technology

Machines to save our lives. Machines dehumanize.

The time has come at last

To throw away this mask

So everyone can see

My true identity...

I'm Kilroy! Kilroy! Kilroy! Kilroy!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fiordland -A photo odyssey

One of the best things about being a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar is that clubs invite you out to share their little corner of the world with you. I recently visited Fiordland Rotary Club, about 4 hours drive away from where I live in Dunedin. I had the pleasure of enjoying a fun filled evening with hilarious stories and a comprehensive and intimate tour of the region. Fiordland was designated a world heritage site in 1986. I was enchanted. 8 meters of rain falls in this area every year. It is a place of waterfalls and lush forest like I've never seen.

New Zealand Sea Lion Family Tree

What you see here is the elegant result of research lead by Shaun McConkey. This is a family tree of the individual sea lions currently populating the South Island of New Zealand. Those in red are deceased. Shaun has identified the vulnerable and rare sea lions of the Otago coast. He does this through combinations of photo and video identification, DNA sampling and an ongoing survey of habitat used by these animals.
What blows my mind is that one animal makes the difference. One female, nicknamed 'Mum' decided that it was worth trying to raise a pup a year along the Otago coast. Now there's a chance that this one individual's efforts will pay off, that a real colony will be established. What made her come back to New Zealand instead of living out her life in the Sub Antarctic Islands? That is a mystery. But what a wonderful thing, to have the New Zealand Sea lion back on the mainland.