Ignorance is bliss – Canterbury earthquakes

PhotoOne of the first things I found in my inbox when I returned to work was the latest library newsletter, which referred to a destructive earthquake in Christchurch in 1888. My curiosity aroused, I thought I might look into the subject. Before I had the chance to however, Geoffrey Rice published a very interesting article in The Press outlining historical references to quakes in Christchurch in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Despite my naive belief that earthquakes are not frequent in Christchurch, the Cathedral Spire had to be redesigned because the Rhodes family got tired of having to pay to put it up again after it fell off during serious tremors.

I thought I would follow this up with a bit of a poke around in Papers Past to see what the news media of the time had to say and almost immediately came across a report by a Mr Hogben in which he states that, of the 748 quakes in New Zealand between 1848 and 1890, the most were around the Cook Strait region (going as far north as Wanganui) and the next region in frequency was Christchurch!

Mr Hogben was also looking for a correlation between the seasons and earthquakes. Unsurprisingly he didn’t find one. I could now tell him that he would have  been far better looking for the relationship between aftershocks and bedtime.

The 1888 quake was thought to be located in the Waiau region and it left “a well defined narrow depression in the ground which runs through the Waiau Valley, and almost straight across the country on either side over the hill and hollow” Sound familiar?

Read these articles in Papers Past:

Seeking the riches of geekdom – Software Freedom Day

CoverSoftware Freedom Day (18 September) sounded great – prize giveaways and demonstrations at Central and  South Libraries, including an install fest.

Boldly I sent forth my chic ubergeek agent for the inside story. She sloped off, dodging tech-head techno-babble and returned saying she recognized Tux the Penguin, before going back to her Nintendo for the rest of the afternoon.

The library’s free internet computers have Open Office – an open source software, and I wanted to know more. So Indiana Jones like, I set off to discover the hidden riches of computer geekdom.

Ubuntu I discovered is an operating system; Open Office is for documents, spreadsheets and presentations; and Firefox, of course,  is a web browser.  Kontact groupware handles your email and calendar; while Konqueror is the file manager.

It all sounded a bit much – but I was told the GNU/Linux Users ~ Sydenham GLU teach and give support for newbies and the Lucid Dojo is a place where you can upskill and learn at your own pace.

Software  freedom day is held each year in New Zealand based on the  principles of the user’s freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. You can read more about the four freedoms on the GNU website.

Find out more from our website:

Find books and electronic resources in the library catalogue:

Boy + iPhone = iBoy

Are you inseparable from your cellphone, iPhone or iPod Touch?  You have instant access to information and can connect with friends and family at the touch of a screen.  Imagine though, if you had access to any cellphone, could hack into any computer system, and you had your own built-in defence system.   When Tom Harvey wakes up in hospital with fragments of an iPhone imbedded in his brain, this power is inside him.

In Kevin Brooks’ new book, iBoy, Tom lives in a high-rise housing estate where violence, drugs and gangs are a part of daily life.  At nine and a half minutes to four on a Friday afternoon, as Tom is walking back to his flat, a 32 GB iPhone is thrown out a window on the 30th floor, landing on Tom and shattering his skull.  When he wakes in the hospital, he discovers two things 1) that his friend, Lucy, has been brutally assaulted and 2) fragments of the iPhone are still imbedded in his brain and have given him the powers of an iPhone plus much more.  Tom becomes ‘iBoy‘ and must now decide whether he will use his powers to exact revenge on those who have hurt Lucy or keep quiet.  But will Tom be able to control his powers or will iBoy take over?

Although Kevin Brooks has been writing for years I’ve only just discovered him.  His stories are gritty and often portray the harsh realities of life, but his characters are just normal teenagers who have to find ways to deal with their problems.  Unlike some young adult novels, Brooks doesn’t pile his characters up with problems just for the sake of it.

If you like your young adult books with gritty storylines and real characters, rather than sparkly vampires and swooning girls, try iBoy by Kevin Brooks.