Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What I like and don't

A few articles in the news point out what I like and don’t like about living in New Zealand.

First, Australian Nature.

Look, there’s a lot about
Australia that’s really interesting, places that are must-see. However, there are a few other things I could do without.

A news story reported that a diver on New South Wales’ south coast was attacked by a 3-metre white pointer shark (usually known in America as a great white). It chomped on his head before biting his torso. The diver eventually fought off the shark and survived.

Meanwhile another article begins “Forget the sharks, it's the tiny bluebottle jellyfish that could get you.” Apparently more than 30,000 swimmers were stung last year, double the previous year. “They come in invasions called armadas,” Reuters was told. Their stings aren’t normally fatal, just painful.

has several species of the world’s deadliest snakes and spiders, plus crocodiles and other creatures that can kill or maim humans. New Zealand has nothing even remotely similar apart from one species of spider that’s seldom seen and highly unlikely to kill a person. We have no snakes, no crocodiles, and seldom have white pointers in our waters (which, to be fair, isn’t nearly as great a threat to humans as other species, despite their reputation).

The lack of snakes in particular is one of the things I like best about
New Zealand.

Auckland may be at risk of a very big bang.

There’s at least one thing that I don’t like about
Auckland: The prospect of sudden geologic destruction.

New research has shown that five
Auckland volcanoes erupted within 50-100 years of each other—possibly all at once. A researcher with the University of Auckland's School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science department, said:

This is the first evidence that multiple volcanic eruptions in such fields may have occurred at the same time and could have tremendous consequences for people living in these highly active areas.

“Tremendous consequences?” You think? The researchers point out that most disaster preparation follows the assumption that there will be a single eruption, which may not be the case.

In a geologically active place area like
Auckland, it’s important to be prepared for disaster. Even so, I’m not going to lose any sleep over the prospect of several volcanic eruptions all at once. Actually, I’m not living in fear of even a single eruption. I’ve never experienced even an earthquake in Auckland (though I did once in the Waikato).

Naturally, there are plenty of other places that face this risk, like
Honolulu and Mexico City, for example. There are a lot of places living on borrowed time, including those threatened by rising sea levels.

Volcanic risk or deadly snakes? For me, it’s an easy choice.

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