Bond. James Bond.

5 October 2012  marks 50 years since the first James Bond movie was released. Dr No was the first of what will be 23 official James Bond movies (Skyfall is released next month) or 25 if you include two unofficial Bond movies produced in the 1967 (Casino Royale) and 1983 (Never Say Never Again). With over $12 billion in revenues (when adjusted for inflation) the Bond films have been a financial and cultural phenomenon. Who can say they have not heard of the expression “Bond, James Bond” or would fail to recognise the iconic theme tune? James Bond is associated with fast cars, beautiful women, gadgets, guns and adventure, not to mention the vodka martini, “shaken not stirred.”

Christchurch is part of the celebrations. The CBS Canterbury Arena is hosting a musical celebration on 4 October 2012:  The music is Bond. James Bond.

What is the best James Bond movie of all time? It is hard to compare movies from 50 years ago to movies of today. It is tempting to choose a favourite Bond based on who has portrayed him (there have been six people play Bond). Or maybe you might pick a more recent release because it is relevant and production qualities appear better. I find myself having to consider them all to make a decision.

I would quite happily ignore all the Roger Moore movies as, although he brought in some humour and suaveness to the role, the movies were essentially rubbish and it still surprises me that the franchise didn’t stop there. Timothy Dalton’s tenure is vastly underrated – the films are better than Moore’s and in most cases, Pierce Brosnan’s. Casino Royale with Daniel Craig in the role was an excellent film, ditching the by now cliché gadgets and going for a more raw portrayal of the character, whilst amping up the action in an attempt to ward off the onslaught of franchises like Mission: Impossible and Bourne.

For me ‘Dr No’ is still one of the best, even with the ‘monster’ scene (it was moving so slowly, why didn’t he just move out of the way instead of being burnt to a crisp!?) but Goldfinger is my favourite Bond movie. It still had the rawness of the original Bond film and initiated the use of gadgets and one-liners we associate with the character including one of my favourites, “Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?” “No, Mr Bond… I expect you to die.” Here’s hoping that won’t happen and Bond will continue to entertain for another 50 years.

What is your favourite Bond movie and why?

Got a minute?

Do you ever find yourself running out of time to get the things done that need to be done? Wish you could travel into the future or back into the past for that matter? No worries! What if I told you I could make time slow down so you had more of it or could send you back into the annals of history or forward into the unknown future? I could, you know, at least theoretically.

To quote the English astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington:

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

Book coverAnd such is the nature of the universe that it is possible to slow time, so much so that you could age merely days in the a normal human life time. It is all to do with physics and equations like e=mc², which we all know of but know little if anything about. In a nutshell, what it tells us is that energy (e) and mass (m) i.e. things or stuff, are the basically the same, just in different forms and can be converted into one another using the speed of light squared (c²).

Albert Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity tells us that the speed of light (c) is the same for every person or observer no matter how fast they are moving but that they will witness the same events in different ways i.e. space and time become altered hence they are relative, not absolute i.e. like energy and mass, they are variations of the same thing. This means that the faster one moves relative to someone who is not moving (and by faster, I mean towards the speed of light (about 300,000 km per second – yes, per second, not per hour!), the person moving will appear to be moving very slowly and the person not moving will appear to be going faster. So, if you could move at close to the speed of light you would age more slowly than someone who was not moving at all and when you stopped moving you would find you were in the future relative to where in the future you would have been if you had stayed still.

Book coverHmmm, make sense? To go back in time it is theoretically possible by using black holes or going at the speed of light but you’ll have to read about that from Paul Davies and Stephen Hawking or build your own time machine. Of course the one thing I didn’t mention was the consequence of accelerating towards the speed of light and that is your mass increasing to the size of the universe (so, pretty big then) but of course you already knew that would happen from the description I gave you for the e=mc² equation, right?

Want to learn more? You should. Science and especially this aspect of it called cosmology, is more interesting than anything a science fiction novel could come up with and it is all real (at least theoretically).

Kia ora to Aranui Library

Mayor Bob Parker holds the girl who cut the ribbonThe new Aranui Library was officially opened by Mayor Bob Parker on Saturday 8 September 2012 at 11am with about 100 Aranui residents there to celebrate.

The mayor invited local children to help him cut the ribbon including ‘our newest politician’ – a young girl who cornered the Mayor as he arrived, and asked to cut the ribbon with him.

Several speakers spoke of the Aranui community and the benefits of a new library including James Robinson for Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Runanga, and Sandy Kaa, Kuamatua of ACTIS.

A waiata and blessing of the building took place and then the doors opened to the public. People loved the chance to take a look at their newest asset, and to browse the sparkling collection of new material.

The library has 500 square metres of floor space, ten free computers and a collection of 14,000 books as well as magazines, CDs and DVDs. Six new digital cameras and six iPods are available.

Baby times and Story times will be available for babies, kids and their whanau.

The library provides spaces for meetings and is set to become a centrepiece of the Aranui community.

Come along and visit – Aranui Library is located on 109 Aldershot Street, next to Wainoni Park.
Bob Parker and Sandy KaaAranui Library
Carolyn Robertson, Manager of the Libraries and Information Unit
The ribbon is cut