Fun Facts Part One

Okay, this is my last post for the evening. What can I say? There’s so much to talk about – and I really don’t feel like doing my homework right now. Did you know…

– New Zealand is the only world power with the spunk to stand up to the United States on the issue of nuclear weapons. The government has actively enforced a ban on nuclear powered/armed vessels since the 1980s, when the David Lange administration turned away the USS Buchanan because the United States refused to confirm or deny its nuclear capacity. The ensuing firestorm of debate ended at the Oxford Union in 1985, where David Lange bruised his opponent Jerry Falwell and the official position of the United States with the following speech:

David Lange at the Oxford Union 1985

– Buying New Zealand agricultural goods in the United States is usually more energy-efficient than purchasing comparable domestically produced goods, despite the massive distance New Zealand products must be transported. Much of this efficiency can be attributed to the South Island of New Zealand running almost exclusively on renewable energy and the country’s rigorous commitment to increase their environmental edge at every possible opportunity. New Zealand was named the most environmentally healthy country by Yale Univerity’s Environmental Performance Index in 2006; it defeated even the Scandinavian countries despite a comparative lack of financial resources (New Zealand’s GDP per capita hovers around $26,000; Norway’s exceeds $46,000).

– The human population of New Zealand is approximately 4 million. The ovine (that means sheep) population is ten multiples of this figure.

– That tongue-protruding eye-bugging face that Maori warriors and rugby captains always eem to make serves two purposes. In combat it simply intimidates and distracts the enemy. However, it also serves a key role in powhiri – a ritualized ceremony of extending hospitality to foreigners. The beginning of this elaborate rite consists of exceptionally impressive Maori warriors threatening their guests with spears while waggling their tongues and chanting, then laying gifts directly at their feet. This allows the Maori hosts to exhibit the strength and security they offer while simultaneously presenting guests with the opportunity to demonstrate their mana, a form of supernatural energy that bestows physical and spiritual strength, fortitude, and bravery. Should the guest exhibit the guts to bend before this massive show of force and accept these gifts – rather than run screaming in abject terror – the warriors abandon their threatening demeanor and take their place among the most generous hosts among the cultures of the world. What about those foreigners who choose to make a break for it? In days of yore, they would have probably ended up on the dinner menu, actually.


~ by Jack on July 23, 2007.

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