As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now we have a new royal baby, and it’s a boy. Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a son just after 11 am 23 April London time. I can’t let that pass without a mention, if only to piss off the USians! I won’t go into raptures about how cute he is or anything. He’s not a kitten after all! ???? Most of the details are available via tweets, so I’ve included several below.

23 April is St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday, so has historical significance for those of English ancestry too.

For some reason, this all compelled me to look up what the Queen’s full title is. In the process, I made the discovery that in New Zealand, Queen Elizabeth II’s official title is:

Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of New Zealand and Her Other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith

Elizabeth II's cypher

Elizabeth II’s cypher. (Source: Wikipedia.)

I didn’t know about the “by the Grace of God” bit until I went looking for that official title. As you can imagine, I find the idea ghastly.

Since ascending the throne in 1952, New Zealand has made a couple of changes to what we call her. The above title came into being in 1973, and is the first time “New Zealand” got pride of place. However, “by the Grace of God” has always been there.

Despite being one of the world’s most secular countries, New Zealand does pretty badly when it comes to religious symbolism. I don’t think the Queen’s official title is even one of the things that gives is such a bad rating.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), who does the ratings, is holding their annual General Assembly in New Zealand this year. I won’t be attending as it’s beyond my means. However, I’m hoping that it will bring attention to the fact that New Zealand still has a blasphemy law. More and more countries are abolishing their blasphemy laws, and it’s about time too. Great Britain and Australia got rid of theirs some time ago.

There will be a group of representatives attending a parliamentary reception as part of the General Assembly. This would be an ideal time to announce that the government will be looking at abolishing our embarrassing blasphemy law.

I can hope.

Royalty Tweets: Kensington Palace

The Kensington Palace Twitter feed is where Prince William, Kate, and Prince Harry post official announcements and pics relating to themselves and their mental health foundation.

(The dates and times are NZ times. We’re currently eleven hours ahead of London – it changes with daylight saving.)





Royalty Tweets: Buckingham Palace

The official announcement.




Here’s how the new baby fits into the royal succession. He’s fifth in line after Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte.

Royal succession.

Royal succession. (Source BBC. Click graphic to go to source.)


Political Tweets

I think this is the happiest I’ve ever seen Melania Trump – relaxed and away from her husband at Barbara Bush’s funeral.
(Via Ann German.)


Trump’s economic leadership isn’t quite what is was supposed to be.


I was going to write another post on North Korea following the latest developments, and still might. In the meantime, this is important info to remember when making your calculations about what Kim Jong-un is up to.
(Via Ann German.)


It looks like the Utah Republican party are too scared to stand up to Trump. They’re going to make Romney get the nomination via a primary!
(Via Ann German.)


This is my favourite, but some I’m not even going to post were far more popular.


On Paul Ryan …


(Via Ann German.)


Sean Hannity Tweets

More ha!
(Via Ann German.)


And more ha still!


Still going …


You thought that was enough? Too bad …


Environment Tweets

Scott Pruitt was surprised by Trump’s reaction to Syria given his approval of Pruitt’s own work …


More on Pruitt …


Well said!
(Via Ann German.)

Pruitt Tweet.

Election Tweets

I found this really interesting. If you have the time (about fifteen minutes), I recommend watching it.


Interesting Stuff Tweets

Most of you probably know about the Dunning-Kruger effect. Here’s a good short video summarizing it.


This is SO COOL!!! Seriously, watch this! I love these things.
(Via Ann German.)


Human Rights Tweets

More brave young Iranian women joining in the #NoForcedHijab movement. The Iranian government made a big mistake when they arrested the young woman on the plinth who took off her hijab and waved it in the air. They’ve created a martyr.


We need more men to speak out like this.


Religion Tweets

My last post was about evangelical Christian and Australian rugby star Israel Folau Tweeting that gays were going to hell. One person that didn’t get a mention in that post was New Zealand’s self-proclaimed bishop, the revolting Brian Tamaki. He’s built quite a business on his ability to hear God’s voice. He came out in support of Folau.


Here he is with Israel and Maria Folau.


Proof God is Real? ????

This is Brian Tamaki’s Twitter page header:

Tamaki's Twitter Header


Following Tamaki’s announcement that “cry baby gays” would “burn in hell,” he thought it would be a good idea to break council by-laws and burn a pile of rubbish. He fell in and received severe burns.


Of course, I don’t wish ill on anyone. However, the irony of Tamaki being seriously burnt hasn’t escaped New Zealanders.



(The Silver Ferns = Maria Folau. Warratahs = Israel Folau.)


Most of the tweets are like this one. They see the irony, but don’t stoop to Tamaki’s level.


You can find out more about Brian Tamaki and the Destiny Church, such as his 2003 prophecy that by 2008 he’d be ruling New Zealand, here.


History Tweets

How cool is this! How rubber toys were made in 1957. (With all those women doing the work, you can imagine how another rubber item was dreamed up!)


How things change.
(Via Ann German.)


Fun Tweets

Good advice.
(Via Ann German.)


The article in the link is a well done piece of satire. Very funny.
(Via Ann German.)


Space Tweets

The last series from these guys was the story of Rosetta and Philae. Now we have a great new series about ESO’s trip to Mercury. Here’s episode one, introducing the craft.


Very cool.
(Via Ann German.)


Science Tweets

Okay! Best tweet of the day! I want one! This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen!!! I could get to all the places I can’t get to because I can’t walk very far, like the top of the nearby mountains and other places in New Zealand’s great outdoors! All the places I used to go to but can’t anymore!
(Via Ann German.)


Reptile Tweets

Still scary looking …


Marine Tweets

Beautiful New Zealand.


But it looks so cute!
(Via Ann German.)


Creepy-Crawlies Tweets

There’s nothing creepy about monarchs. I love them!


Other Animals Tweets

How cute is this! A hedgehog taking a bath!
(Via Ann German.)


He’s a long way from home!


Bird Tweets



Another great story from Wildlife Aid.


Owls are cool, and this is cool too.
(Via Ann German.)


Dog Tweets

Well, dog and horse tweet!


That would be lovely. (Except I might not be able to get back up again!)


Cat Tweets

Gotta get those stretches in before cuddles …


Okay …?


Most of you have probably seen this one because I sent it to Jerry Coyne and Grania for WEIT.


Mark Twain and his cats.


A new kitten is born to a rare breed.


A new pic from Ainoshima Island in Japan.
(Via Ann German.)


Wow! Absolutely gorgeous!!! Lovely one to finish on!
(Via Ann German.)


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