First World Problems (plus Tweets)

Tweets is about all I’m up for today. There are a lot of things going wrong in my life at the moment (again), though to be fair, there are probably tens of millions around the world who would swap their life for mine in an instant. Just look what President Assad is doing to his own people in Ghouta at the moment with the help of Russia’s Putin.

And I’m not one of the thousands of women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. The Musab al-Barnawi faction has apparently confirmed that they have the 110 girls most recently kidnapped from Dapchi. The mother of the leader of that group says her son is a “… very nice boy. He will not harm them, he will not touch them, and he will not kill them.” She also says they will give the girls back. “They will definitely give us the girls. All I am begging Nigerians is to calm down, be prayerful, everything will be over in God grace.”

If you believe that you’ll believe anything.

We’re still waiting for literally thousands of other girls and women to be returned, including over one hundred of the Chibok girls. Remember the #BringBackOurGirls campaign? That was 2014. Time flies when the media attention isn’t on the situation.

The sort of problems I mostly have are First World Problems, such as two of my sports teams failing to win on the weekend. The Black Caps (NZ men’s cricket team) lost to England, and the NZ Breakers (men’s basketball) lost to Melbourne United in the first game of the semi-finals series. Thank goodness for the Crusaders (men’s rugby) who had a good win over the Stormers (South Africa). And NZ’s Tom Walsh is still world champion in the shot put and got a new championship record in the process.

In young countries like New Zealand and Australia, victories in sports are significant. The mood of the whole country can change if the wrong team loses. For example, if the All Blacks (NZ world champion rugby team) has a big loss close to an election, the incumbent government worries. It makes swing voters more likely to vote for an opposition party, and New Zealand has a lot of uncommitted voters.

On with the tweets. I’ve been mucking around with getting these tweets for several days, so some may be old or out-of-date by now. Sorry about that.


Political Tweets

This is a really good point! I’m going to think of something else to call what Russia did to the US and others, and is continuing to do. Probably cyber warfare, but I’m open to other suggestions.
(Via Ann German.)


I can’t get over how disgusting this is. I actually think it’s even worse than all the shennanigans over fake White House meetings and the Nunes memo that attempts to paint Democrats and the FBI as doing something wrong when they didn’t. Although that’s wrong, we’ve come to expect that kind of extreme partisan political behaviour from too many Republicans. But with this situation, Nunes is in charge of the Senate Intelligence committee in the most powerful country in the world. They’re supposed to provide a watch dog role, and he can’t even manage the basics of keeping private text messages private. WTF is wrong with these people?
(Via Ann German.)


News from inside the White House.
(Via Ann German.)


Electoral Reform Tweets

I couldn’t agree more!
(Via Ann German.)


Economics Tweets

This short video from Robert Reich is from Facebook. If you’ve ever wondered what the big deal is about Ayn Rand, Reich explains it here. He speaks of Rand in the US context, but of course many of us have politicians for whom unbridled capitalism and complete selfishness are their values.



Pre-Mueller Time Tweets

Well, well, well. (Three holes in the ground.)
(Via Ann German.)


It’s all catching up with him. I’ve heard people who know him say he’s brilliant, and maybe he is. He also seems to think that the rules don’t apply to him – a common problem with the highly intelligent.
(Via Ann German.)


Gun Safety Tweets

Un-effing-believable! Perhaps this is another reason why Trump refuses to institute the sanctions against Russia that have bi-partisan support?
(Via Ann German.)


I naturally read the article in the tweet above before I re-tweeted it. Here’s what happened.


Keep reading until you find it!


Excellent! This man is a plague on his country.
(Via Ann German.)


Religion Tweets

This speaks for itself:



This is the video linked to in my tweet above:


Healthcare Tweets

The flu is killing a lot of people in the northern hemisphere this season and the flu vaccine isn’t covering all strains, especially the Australian strain that went north after the last southern hemisphere winter. Despite NZ being much closer, that strain wasn’t a problem here last year. There is a vaccine for it now, and it is included in this year’s flu vaccine in NZ.


In the video in this tweet, which is from November 2017, the speaker says that around 7% of USIans have depression. Other sources I’ve read say that it’s more like double that. The World Health Organization reports that in developed countries the average rate of depression is about 15%. What that means is that whether we realize it or not, we all know someone with depression.


Inspiring Tweets

This is what it’s all about – the look on that little girl’s face.
(Via Ann German.)


These libraries are just wonderful. When I was young it was my dream to do my PhD in history at Oxford University and be able to go to the Bodleian every day. I was only 19 when I hurt my back the first time and ended up in hospital for three months. I did escape for a few months, but had to return for my first major back surgery just after I turned twenty.
(Via Ann German.)


Sports Tweets

How cool is this?! Penny-Farthing racing!


Science Tweets

I’m not sure whether to say, “Wow,” or be very, very scared!
(Via Ann German.)



Scenic Tweets

One of the countries I most want to visit – France.
(Via Ann German.)


An amazing pic from Hawai’i
(Via Ann German.)


I want to go here!


Illuminated Manuscript Tweets

There are so many cool things to find in illuminated manuscripts from the medieval period and earlier. I’m going to start posting some of them.

People in medieval Britain and Europe traveled extensively around Europe and as far as the Holy Land, but rarely to Africa or Asia. They had heard of animals from those places, and had them described to them, but often had no idea what they actually looked like. Here, for example, is a panther drawn from a description.


The illustrators had great imaginations.


Women in History Tweets

March is Women in History month.

(First three tweets via Amy Carparelli, remainder Ann German.)








Women in History Tweets: Overview



Fun Tweets

Groan …


(Via Ann German.)


Unfortunate Facebook logo placement!


Chinese translations never fail as a source of amusement …


Lox him up! (I didn’t even know what lox was until last year. We just call it smoked fish.)
(Via Ann German.)


Anthropoid Tweets

The first tweet below was on Jerry Coyne’s site a few days ago, (that’s how long I’ve been doing this post!) and I was going to pinch it anyway because it’s so lovely. Then, Ann German sent it to me too with a second tweet that provides more info and a wider angle on the video.



Marine Tweets



I told you octopuses were cool!
(Via Ann German.)



Other Animals Tweets

Now that’s a hedgehog! It looks like the same one Jerry Coyne sent me on Facebook. It has such an expressive face!
(Via Ann German.)


Of course, that’s not a normal hedgehog lifestyle. Here’s how to look a after them in the real world.


Bird Tweets

Paleontologists have found a couple of new species of birds in New Zealand’s past – two tiny flightless rails.


Dog Tweets

What a kind man.


Find the dog!


Cat Tweets

Simon’s Cat is ten years old!


Cat’s are like water …


Just like mum!


Ann German sent this to me, and it’s too good not to post again!


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14 Responses to “First World Problems (plus Tweets)”

  1. Diana MacPherson says:

    I love mediaeval art, especially when they show animals doing weird human things. The medieaval mind was exposed to too many pathogens or maybe just lots of mead.

    • Well, they’ve found a strong correlation between witch burning and times when the wheat was likely infected by ergot. It probably took a threshold to tip a community into a place where they’d consider it, and mass ergot poisoning would do that.

      • Jenny Haniver says:

        There was also a theory that ergot poisoning was responsible for the medieval dancing manias. I don’t know if that has been debunked, but I thought it a compelling hypothesis on the face of it..

        I found more footage of that penny farthing bike race. The extended footage, shot from the particular vantage point that it is in relation to the wheels, is kinda mesmerizing.

  2. Commiserations on the cricket – New Zealand made a memorable effort to come so close after sinking from 80-1 to 107-6. All other individual performances in the match were dwarfed by Kane Williamson’s ton on a difficult pitch and with his team under the cosh.

    • As I was watching, I was thinking if we win, there’s no doubt Williamson would be man of the match.

      On another note, we lost the second game in the basketball series last night. We were thrashing Melbourne early on, but, as with the first game, it was like Melbourne just wanted the win more. The Breakers have been like this the whole second half of their season.

      • Yakaru says:

        Commiserations from me too, Heather! I know how such an unfortunate outcome against that particular opponent can burn. As a non-parochial Australian, I don’t mind watching Australia get beaten by any team that plays well, apart from England. I never got over that bit of early childhood conditioning. I hate watching England beat anyone at all for some reason. And I love watching anyone at all beat England. I’m laughing from when Iceland knocked them out of the Euro soccer comp two years ago. That was so funny! (Apologies to any English readers. I actually read the comments in the Guardian cricket section because English cricket fans are mostly extremely sensible, and get treated badly by the ECB. I never read comments in Aust papers, for the same reason I don’t live in Australia anymore.)

        • Actually, the ones we hate getting beaten by the most is the effing Aussies! (Sorry mate.) We can live with England beating us when they’re better. (We’ll always get them back at rugby, netball, and often several other sports they think they’re the best at like sailing, rowing, kayaking, cycling, and even equestrian.

          The really disappointing thing on the weekend was that NZ hasn’t been playing to their potential for about a month. For us, it’s Australia (especially the cricket because they’re so good) that’s the problem because they’re so effing arrogant about it when they win, which is most of the time, so they should have learnt to be humble by now. The Aussie commentators are one-eyed. Whoever they’re playing, the Brits and Kiwis usually make a point of being fair about both sides.

          Did you see the way David Warner performed over the weekend? That’s why we don’t like Aussies! (I admit you’re one of the good ones!)

          • Yakaru says:

            What an embarrassment.

            When I played cricket in the late 1980s (I quit when I was 24 because I found the ‘culture’ so repellent), there were a whole lot of Vietnam vets, who would turn up still drunk from the night before and would let out whatever remaining aggression they hadn’t let off in bar brawls. I think that’s how a lot of this idiocy started.

          • For a long time the Aussies were the best, and no one could touch them. They became very arrogant about it. The underarm incident of c. 1978 lives in infamy, where Captain Greg Chappell directed his brother Trevor Chappell to bowl an underarm ball so it was impossible for NZ to score a six off the last ball to win. I was watching and like everyone my age or older, I remember it.

            The ongoing immigration issue, where NZers are treated like second class citizens doesn’t help, especially the Manus Island situation. People of “questionable character,” which is completely arbitrary and subjective, are imprisoned there in appalling conditions until they crack and agree to sign deportation papers. Some were even born in Australia, though to NZ born parents, and have never set foot in NZ, but being born in Australia doesn’t get you Aussie citizenship IF your parents are NZers.

            If your parents are NZers but you’re born in Aussie you also don’t get free healthcare, social sservice, full education rights, and several other things every other kid born in Australia, no matter the nationality of their parents, gets.

            NZ doesn’t discriminate against Australians in the same way.

          • Yakaru says:

            I was watching it too, aged 11. Excuse me while I crawl away under a rock for a while.

            I haven’t lived in or even visited Australia for 20 years. Occasionally when I read about the immigration policies, I feel like burning my passport. I know some things have changed for the better though, but I still don’t feel any urge to go back.

          • At the time, there were NZers all over the country getting random phone calls from Aussies apologizing for what happened. They just rang a number. So there were obviously plenty of Aussies who didn’t (and don’t) have the win at any cost mentality.

          • Yakaru says:

            That’s nice to hear about Australians. The calls were for New Zealand to declare war on Australia was reported sympathetically in the Australian media as well.

  3. nicky says:

    Mohammad Hashem Alhadath Alyoum appears a courageous, calm and sane man. The one really needing psychiatric treatment is the presenter, Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim: he went berserk, I feared he would choke….

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