The Nerd Degree: WORD Christchurch Festival 2018

The thing I really enjoy about comedy podcast, The Nerd Degree, is that though there’s generally a theme running through the episodes, you really never know what you’re going to get. And neither do the panelists, for the most part. But a safe bet is that there’ll be amazing facts, nerdy knowledge and plenty of laughs.

If you’ve never experienced The Nerd Degree either in person, or in podcast, then the best way to describe it is as a local comedy quiz show for nerds of all stripes (there are many varieties). It’s QI meets the MCU (or MMORPG or… LARP) . There are two teams, the host asks the questions, and points are distributed in a rather haphazard fashion.

The nerds at last month’s very special episode at WORD Christchurch were local YA author Karen Healey and Jolisa “Tell you what” Gracewood competing as team Comparatively Literate with scary movie specialist Dr. Erin Harrington and Ngāi Tahu writer and artist Nic Low as Essentially Illiterate. With Brendon Bennetts in charge of time-keeping and correct answers.

The Nerd Degree
Karen Healey, Jolisa Gracewood, Brendon Bennetts, Nic Low and Erin Harrington at WORD Christchurch Festival 2018. Sunday 2 September August 2018. File reference: 2018-09-02-IMG_0374

The theme of the episode was “adventure” and we sure were taken on a journey. It’s hard to talk about the content of the episode without spoiling it though I can say that Nic Low is a man who has an amazing story about seemingly everything (if he ever writes a memoir it will be a must-read), that Karen Healey has missed her calling as a writer for Macgyver and that apparently armadillo tastes a bit like duck.

But it’s probably best if you just have a listen yourself, which you can do via iTunes or on the Nerd Degree website.

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Goooosseeebumps!!

Do you like ghosts and ghouls? Do you look for the ‘thing’ that’s hiding under the stairs in the dead of night? Do you like  worms, squirms, and other icky things? Well we have some news for you…

In anticipation for the up coming movie “Goosebumps 2,” where yet another lot of fabulous monstrosities will be coming to life on the big screen, here is a list of must reads to get you quench your thirst for books!

Read if you dare…

Whew you made it! In case you haven’t seen it, here is the first movie if you missed watching it!

Find more Goosebumps titles in the catalogue

World Animal Day – 4 October 2018

What did the Bison say when his son left for College?

“Bison.”

World Animal Day is on Thursday 4 October 2018. It is important to recognise our furry friends of the animal kingdom, and World Animal Day is all about raising awareness to improve animal welfare standards across the world. 

World Animal Day was a concept originating with German writer and publisher Heinrich Zimmermann. He coordinated the first World Animal Day event in Berlin on 24 March 1925, and held it in the Sport Palace (Berlin Sportpalast) where over 5,000 people attended. Aside: Incidentally, the Berlin Sportspalast later proved a popular venue for party rallies and speeches during the rise of the Third Reich. 

Four years later, in 1929, World Animal Day migrated to its current date of 4 October. Whilst involvement was initially limited to Germany, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and Austria, Zimmermann lobbied hard to have World Animal Day recognised universally. In 1931 he achieved this goal when his proposal was unanimously accepted at a congress of the world’s animal protection organisations in Italy, and World Animal Day became recognised globally as it is today.  

What is the significance of 4 October? This is the day of Francis of Assisi, the patron Saint of ecology. Two days before my birthday too, just in case husband is reading this (lol) and wants a birthday gift idea

Endangered Species

Endangered species are those plants or animals considered to be at risk of extinction. Contributing factors include loss of habitat (e.g. through deforestation), hunting, poaching, disease and climate change. 

The critically endangered Gorilla (photo not of real thing). Bosca by Chris Meder Ellerslie International Flower Show 2010. Flickr CCL-CHCH-2010-03-09-DSC-02997.

At present, critically endangered species include: 

  • Black Rhinoceros – which is in fact grey, and has been poached to the point of near decimation. The black rhinoceros is sought after for its horn, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine and in the making of traditional dagger handles in Yemen. 
  • Both the Eastern and Western Gorilla – the largest of the apes. The decline of the Western Gorilla is attributable to loss of habitat through deforestation and the Ebola virus, which wiped out a third of their population between 1992-2007. Eastern Gorillas – situated in the Virunga Volcanoes region, the Democratic Republic of Congo and parts of Uganda – face the poaching of their young, and are often caught in the crossfire of armed conflict occurring in and around their habitat. 
  • The Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat of Australia. One of the worlds rarest critters, these wombats declined due to drought and the introduction of livestock, decreasing their access to food. Recovery plans are in place, but the plight of the animal is grave. 
  • Red Wolf – The red wolf roams the USA, and is threatened by loss of habitat due to agriculture, and being hunted to near extinction.  

Sadly, this is merely the tip of the iceberg, and many of the world’s beautiful and exotic creatures are in imminent danger of slipping away forever. Just to think that in my lifetime we may bid adieu to the majestic tiger, is a terrible thought. And it’s not only animals who are heading for extinction, many of the earth’s plants, algae and fungi are also disappearing. 

You can find information on the status of any animal on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and Arkive also has some in depth coverage on conservation issues and the endangered species of plants and animals. 

Quick Animal Facts

On a lighter note, here are some rather riveting animal facts in honour of World Animal Day:

  • An elephant creates around a tonne of poo every week. No more said. 
  • Caterpillars have 12 eyes. That’s four more than a spider. How creepy of them. 
  • Mosquitoes are attracted to feet that smell. Explains a lot. 

Explore more fun facts on National Geographic Kids

Animal eResources: Students & Adults

Find out all you need to know about animals and the natural world through Christchurch City Libraries’ impressive selection of eResources. Here are just a few, click on the links to find out all about your favourite animals 🙂 :

National Geographic Virtual Library & Britannica Library for Adults
Here you will find in-depth reference material, articles, photos and books on animals.

NZ Geo TV
NZ Geo TV contains documentaries on the natural world –  New Zealand and global.

Student Resources in Context
Focused reference material and images targeted at students.

Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries
If you prefer your music to be of the natural variety, check out this eResource which has access to thousands of music tracks, both animal and human made. Like this birdsong.

Explore these and much, much more on our eResource A-Z page. All you need is your library card and PIN

Animal eResources: Kids & Teens

New Zealand Birds and Animals, Dogs & Frogs
Informative pages put together for our website, by our librarians.

Britannica Library for Kids & World Book Kids
Encyclopedia and reference material aimed at school aged kids.

National Geographic Kids
Archives from the popular kids magazine- all sorts of fun images, maps and articles on the natural world around us.

All of our other eResources for Kids can be found on our website.

Web Resources 

Books & Magazines

I would recommend Adventures of A Young Naturalist, the exploits of British broadcaster David Attenborough, and any of his groundbreaking and educational documentaries about the natural world which you can borrow for FREE at Christchurch City Libraries (in case you hadn’t heard, documentaries are now free at our libraries!). 

Some of our latest animal titles: 

You will also find animal mags online through our eMagazine resource RBdigital:

Browse for other books about animals through our catalogue.

Programming: Reading With Our Furry Friends

Jock the dog at Christchurch City Libraries. Flickr 2015-07-02-9429.

What kind of monster could resist that face? Reading to Dogs sessions are designed to provide a relaxed, non-threatening atmosphere in which children may practice their reading skills and develop a love of reading. Our dogs are the beloved pets of the Christchurch City Council Animal Management team, and have all been trained and tested for health, safety and temperament. Our dogs:

  • Can increase a child’s relaxation while reading
  • Listen attentively
  • Do not laugh, judge or criticise
  • Allow children to proceed at their own pace
  • Can be less intimidating than a child’s peers

Library staff and a dog handler will be present at all times to help facilitate the sessions. 

See our online calendar for dates and times

How Can You Help? NZ Organisations Helping Animals

Animal Shelters, Rescues and Adoption Agencies

Animal Rights Organisations

Zoos & Educational Facilities

As always, more information can be found in our community directory CINCH: Community Information Christchurch.