Racism in New Zealand, Teapot, and Lena

Lest we get carried away with the beauty, grooviness and coolness-in-general of New Zealand — where 1 in 160 of the population was involved in the making of the LoTR trilogy — up pops this story. It seems racism and xenophobia is finally arriving on the shores of Aotearoa.

Under the headline ‘Whose country is it anyway?’ Peters’s leaflet rails against Asian immigrants, falsely claiming that hundreds of thousands are coming to New Zealand and blaming them for, among other things, traffic problems in Auckland. These immigrants are, according to Peters, simultaneously poor enough to be leeches on the welfare system, and rich enough to drive up the cost of housing.

It would be easy to dismiss all this as a piece of desperate populism. But, unlike the Australian One Nation party, New Zealand First is not a collapsing political joke: it is the third-biggest party in Wellington’s parliament, and until 1999 Mr Peters was the country’s deputy prime minister. Barring an electoral miracle, the opposition National party will have to take them on as coalition partners if it is ever to win another election.

‘Traffic problems in Auckland’? WTF? (found via Danny Yee)

Computing: Amazing. via GirlHacker, it turns out that a teapot has long been used as a demonstration of complex computer graphics techiques — with it’s curved surfaces, hidden surfaces and the like (don’t ask me, I’m no graphics guru). If you were around for the early 3-D graphics days, you’ve almost definitely seen the teapot.

Well, it turns out there was a real teapot. Here’s the history.

A related image is that of ‘Lenna’, a standard test image used when testing image compression schemes, which features a woman giving the viewer a rather saucy come-hither look. It turns out she was a Swedish model, who posed for Playboy in 1972, and that picture was scanned by an (unauthorized) researcher at USC. Piracy!

Playboy later threatened to prosecute over the unauthorized use, but by now has recognised the unique history this now has, and has relented. Cool.

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  1. James Skinner
    Posted November 1, 2007 at 17:33 | Permalink

    My new wife and I are honeymooning in Malta, and thought, why on earth do we live in england. We cannot understand malteese, so we considered many other places to live. Naturally we arived at New Zealand, I am white english and my wife is english too but decends frrom Zimbabwe, she has an mcse in computer things and stuff? and I have many construction skills and have my own printing business, we are young healthy and love life. Is there a future for us in New Zealand do you think, and what would be the best way to go about this, we are obviously concerned about crime and racism, good schools hospitals, spiders etc etc do you know where I could start, you are the first person I have contacted, appoligies if this is not your field

    many thanks James and Tapiwa

  2. Alice Charlton
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 22:17 | Permalink

    This is a reply to James Skinner. I live in New Zealand and have done so for my whole life. I think it’s an amazing place to live, but, like any other country, it has it’s problems. I live just outside of Christchurch and crime and racism aren’t particularly big issues here, but in South Auckland it’s completely different. I think it all depends on where you choose to live. Your worry about spiders I don’t understand, but the only one that’s bad for you if you get too close is the white tail, which isn’t very common and easily treatable. I think you should maybe start by actually coming to NZ for a holiday, as this would give you a good idea as to wether or not you would like to live here. Good luck!