Archive for June 2022


The very simple Maramataka and Chinese lunar calendar conversion table

26.06.2022

When I first started commemorating Matariki a few years ago, I had figured out, since both ancient Māori and Chinese worked out the lunar calendar, that it was roughly five lunar months after ours. I was also told that it marked the Māori New Year.

Maybe it’s due to local iwi, but my recollection was that Matariki was about three days before exactly five months had passed, which would make it today, June 26.

As it’s incredibly common among Chinese people to have calendars that show both the Gregorian dates and our dates side by side, I began looking for a Māori equivalent. In fact, here’s my Windows version:
 

 

I came across this page from Te Papa (our national museum, for those who mightn’t know), which at least gives the names of the months in te reo Māori. And this was a pleasant surprise:

In the traditional Māori Maramataka, or lunar calendar, the new year begins with the first new moon following the appearance of Matariki (Pleiades) on the eastern horizon. Usually this takes place in the period June-July.

In other words, Matariki might mark the start of the New Year for Māori but isn’t the exact date.

From what I can understand, and I am more than happy to be corrected by tangata whenua, the Matariki period can encompass the exact first day of Pipiri (the first month of the lunar year under the Maramataka), and this is among the celebratory period.

What’s exciting for me as a person of Chinese ethnicity is that there is an exact parallel between our cultures in how we mark new months with new moons, and that this extends to the year, too.

In the interests of cross-cultural sharing, I’ve taken the Māori months and placed them alongside ours, so we can figure out when each of our people celebrates the New Year.

It’s so delightfully simple and way easier to convert than, say, the Islamic or Jewish calendars to Gregorian.
 

Pipiri 六月
Hōngongoi 七月
Hereturikōkā 八月
Mahuru 九月
Whiringa-ā-nuku 十月
Whiringa-ā-rangi 十一月
Hakihea 十二月
Kohitātea 一月
Huitānguru 二月
Poutūterangi 三月
Paengawhāwhā 四月
Haratua 五月

 

I assume Māori, like us, figure out when repeat months happen in order for Pipiri to fall right after Matariki, which technically makes their calendar lunisolar, too.

It’s then very easy for someone with a Chinese calendar to figure out when the Māori New Year begins, namely 六月初一, and it’s very easy for someone with a Māori calendar to figure out when ours begins, namely Whiro, or the first day, of Kohitātea.

Celebrating Matariki has always come very naturally to me, and even how we observe it (family time, giving thanks to the year gone and for the one ahead) is similar. And no wonder.

I apologize if this is way too simple and already basic general knowledge but I only found out today!
 
PS.: It does mean, for instance, that this page (and presumably, many others) from the Parliament website is dead wrong. January 26, 2017 is not the same as 26 Kohitātea 2017:
 

 
So it seems it isn’t basic general knowledge.
 
P.PS.: There’s a lot more information confirming the above here, including the leap months. However:

The maramataka was revived in 1990 by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission). Instead of using transliterations of the English names, such as Hānuere for January and Mei for May, they promoted the traditional names cited by Tūtakangāhau. However, lunar months were dropped in favour of calendar months, so that, for example, Pipiri became June.

To me, that’s a shame; there’s a reason ancient Māori created their lunar calendar. I can understand why the Commission did it, in order to keep the names of the months alive, and of course these names are preferable to transliterations. It’s just that Pipiri isn’t June, and this year, it spans more of July. Therefore, the conversion table only works with the traditional Maramataka, not the one adapted to the colonists.

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My notes from RNZ’s The Panel, Wednesday, June 22

25.06.2022


I write notes for my appearances on RNZ’s The Panel, and while I don’t read them verbatim, they are useful for copying and pasting into this blog afterwards. (Anyone who has ever attended a conference where I’ve spoken might find this familiar: I’ll upload the notes but they aren’t a word-for-word reflection of what I said.)

Last Wednesday’s notes for ‘I’ve been thinking’ are:

I’ve been thinking that we pay our politicians a lot, and in some cases we get value for money. But I want politicians to be pragmatists, not ideologues. No government is perfect, and ours isn’t. When ours makes mistakes, what does the opposition do? Spout more ideology, rather than do the hard yards and genuinely figure out how to fix things. There are some incredibly able MPs in National, some of whom I know well. Yet they’re not the loudmouths who get press. Why are we giving these folks air time when they don’t do their homework, don’t have basic awareness of Kiwi political history, and what makes economies work? Why do some media talking heads fawn over them, looking at them doey-eyed like Stephen Colbert looks at Jacinda Ardern? I thought by the time you’re 25 you have a reasonable understanding of actions and consequences, and spouting ideology in the hope that a little gaslighting might fool voters isn’t going to swing this swing voter. George Gair, whose politics were similar to my own, would not recognize his party, and neither do I.

You can find the three parts here on the RNZ website: the pre-Panel, part one, and part two. Wallace and Sally were in the Auckland studio, while I was in the Wellington one, trying not to change Kathryn Ryan’s desk set-up. I have to say Wallace is a very capable host as he knows I can’t see them, so he’ll give me little nudges where I can chime in. It was nice to be back on after six months and hopefully I kept up the notion that RNZ National is for the thinking New Zealander.

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We have been warned

25.06.2022

Let fellow Tweeters have the say on today’s events in the USA.

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Pirate sites, content mills and splogs exist because of Google

25.06.2022

In chatting to Alexandra Wolfe on Mastodon about the previous post, I had to draw a sombre conclusion. If it weren’t for Google, there’d be no incentive to do content mills or splogs.

I replied: ‘People really are that stupid, and itʼs all thanks to Google. Google doesn’t care about ad fraud, and anyone can be a Google publisher. So scammers set up fake sites, they have a script trawling Google News for stories, and they have another script that rewrites the stories, replacing words with synonyms. Google then pays them [for the ads they have on their sites]. Every now and then they get someone like me who tries to look after our crew.’

Google is the biggest ad tech operator out there. And over the years, I’ve seen them include splogs in Google News, which once was reserved only for legitimate news websites. And when we were hacked in 2013, the injected code looked to me like Google Adsense code. You could just see this develop in the 2000s with Blogger, and it’s only worsened.

Have a read of this piece, which quotes extensively from Bob Hoffman, and tell me that Google doesn’t know this is happening.

Google is part of the problem but as long as they keep getting rich off it, what motive do they have to change?

Speaking of ad fraud, Bob Hoffman’s last couple of newsletters mentions the Association of National Advertisers, who reported that ad fraud would cost advertisers $120 milliard this year. Conveniently enough for the industry, the ANA’s newsletter has since disappeared.
 
I still haven’t got into programmatic or header bidding or all the new buzzwords in online advertising, because I don’t understand them. And as it’s so murky, and there’s already so much fraud out there, why join in? Better buying simple ads directly with websites the old-fashioned way, since (again from Hoffman, in the link above):

Buying directly from quality publishers increases the productivity of display advertising by at least seven times and perhaps as much as 27 times compared to buying through a programmatic exchange.

Everyone wins.

And:

Ad tech drives money to the worst online publishers. Ad tech’s value proposition is this: we will find you the highest quality eyeballs at the cheapest possible locations. Ad tech can do this because your web browser and mobile platform are vulnerable to a problem called ‘data leakage’ where your activity on a trusted site is revealed to other companies … If you’re a quality online publisher, ad tech is stealing money from you by following your valuable audience to the crappiest website they can be found on, and serving them ads there instead of on your site.

In other words, Google et al have an incentive to give ads to sploggers, who are getting rich off the backs of legitimate, quality publishers. And as to the intermediaries, I give you Bob Hoffman again, here.

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Stealing an article and hotlinking its images are bad ideas

24.06.2022

Last night, in the spirit of Matariki, and because Lucire’s 25th anniversary in October is almost upon us, I paid tribute to a lot of our team. We also put up on our website our 2019 feature on Violett Beane, which I was always very proud of, since it was the first shoot I organized with the intent that it would be the cover story for both the home edition and for Lucire KSA. In fact, I was very surprised we hadn’t done the online version sooner.

Sadly, three websites decided to take our content without our permission. One has already removed their version, and I’m glad they did it within hours of my contacting them. The other two have dud email addresses, so I’ve had to DMCA them with their hosting companies.

They fed our text through a script, potentially to get around copyright claims.

The tribute story had two images that turned out to be duplicates, so we edited the code to link to the originals, and deleted the newer files. I then realized that they both hotlinked our images, and the deletion left two holes in one of the pirate stories—which meant a perfect and very obvious opportunity for mischief.
 

 

The moral of the story is: don’t pinch our articles and don’t hotlink our images. Haere mai te kāranga o te tau hou o Matariki!

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The missing second verse

16.06.2022

The second of three verses of the Scots College school song appears to be missing from the web. I posted them once on Facebook, back when people used Facebook, so of course it doesn’t appear in Google.

We sang it, but I understand that the generation before, and the one after, didn’t sing it. We seem to have been the anomaly.

In the interests of having them somewhere searchable on the web, and as the Secretary of Scots Collegians:
 
We’ll keep our tryst from day to day
And pledge our honour bright,
To follow truth’s unerring way
And march into the light.
Let God and right and the watchword be,
Let Scots have honoured name,
For joy be ours to know that we
Were heroes of its fame.
 

Corrections are welcome; these are to the best of my recollection.

The move to co-education at Scots several years ago means the song has had to change with the times, though I imagine that enough of us remember the lyrics to the other verses as they once were, and the old choruses, for me not to need to record them.

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Political coverage is not based around merit

15.06.2022

How fascinating. Eight years ago, I had high hopes for this Christopher Luxon, according to this blog. Who knew that as a politician, the guy would really let me down?

I Tweeted:

The reality is I see a guy who doesn’t have a full grasp of the issues at hand, spouting soundbites that fail to satisfy any real analysis, yet media are giving him an easy ride.

I’ve recorded my gripes with how some media cover politics before—and I reflect on how suited my 2010-campaign policies, authored in 2009, could have placed this city in such a great position for the pandemic—and once again, we realize that coverage is not meritorious.

In some cases, it will be down to the limited intellect of the journalist or editor to grasp the issues at hand (can I name some names!), and I believe in other cases, there is an editorial slant that proprietors want (and hire accordingly).

We saw it with Tony Blair in 1997 (‘Change’; ‘New Labour, new Britain’), and we’re seeing it again.

I tend to vote for people who do the hard yards, and this bloke isn’t the knight in shining armour that many thought he was. The likes of George Gair would not recognize this National Party.

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Send out warmth, get it back

14.06.2022

I’ve had a nice resolution after reaching out to FashioNZ over their Instagram tagline and a claim made on their website. There was a delay in their response due to the site being sold to its fifth owners (I must be out of touch, as I never knew who the second and third were!), but they addressed all my points, saying that they cared about journalistic integrity, and wrote to me in as friendly a way as I did to them. The tagline has already been changed, and I understand that they’ll get on to the rest.

To be extra-careful, I had two colleagues in Auckland who knew the (outgoing) publisher read through my email to make sure I was being as collegial as possible, and they gave me the all-clear.

I contrast this to an email I received last year, from a US designer who shall remain nameless.

They had asked for an article to be removed from Lucire but did not explain why. I said I would if we had written something factually wrong, or misrepresented them.

No, it wasn’t that: after some probing, they revealed that they just didn’t like our photo of the designer’s work appearing so high up in Google Images. Reading between the lines, they wanted to dominate the search results and were irritated that we were messing it up.

I noted that we were contacted by their firm’s PR people (and before I made that claim, I looked back through my email archives from the 2000s to confirm this—it was a PR firm in their own state, and yes, it was an item published that long ago), to which they countered that they had never heard of us prior to this and would not have issued us the press release. Folks, I have the email.

The whole thing was combative from the get-go, and after they suggested I was a liar, they earned their whole company a block on our email system.

What a strange way for their marketing person to try to get something they wanted, to call the person you’re asking a favour of a liar. I submit that they don’t know much about marketing. And in this country, we have such a thing as freedom of the press.

They have one of our editors’ phone numbers so they can talk to her if they wish—though I had suggested their boss talk directly to me since I wasn’t going to deal with rude underlings. The boss never called.

I won’t name these folks since I consider the dialogue confidential, but sometimes it’s tempting to say, ‘**** may be a famous designer, but they have really shit people working for them.’

There’s a right way and a wrong way to correspond, and I’m glad that a misspent youth, reading some of my father’s Pitman guides, put me on a better track.

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One award, one interview—positive publicity for May–June 2022

07.06.2022


 
On to more positive things. Earlier this year, Luxlife got in touch with us, to say Lucire had been shortlisted for their awards. It was later confirmed that we had become their ‘Most Pioneering Online Fashion Magazine 2022’, which I was very happy about—especially as we started 25 years ago.

The judges did know of our UNEP partnership, and the fact we had diversified into print in 2004 (and kept that going in different countries). These points differentiate us from pretty much every fashion magazine. The fact family (namely my father) helped keep things going even during the toughest times, including the GFC, also distinguishes us—and a lot of this success is down to him.

You can read our release here, and I mention it on the Lucire website, too.

I was also stoked to see my interview with Komoneed go online. Komoneed is an online community providing global and local knowledge on sustainability, while avoiding false and unfounded information. You can even read it in German, and I had to clarify to a few people that no, I’m not fluent—this was thanks to Komoneed’s translators. The Aston Martin is also not mine—this was a press car from 2007, but I said to Komoneed they could pick whatever photos they wanted from our photo gallery. In fact, I’m still very proud of the story I wrote on the car 15 years ago.
 

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June 2022 gallery

03.06.2022

Here are June 2022’s images—aides-mémoires, photos of interest, and miscellaneous items. I append to this gallery through the month.
 


 

Notes
Most of these are self-explanatory, though the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper page with Panos Papadopoulos gets a mention. Panos name-drops me about his autobiography.

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