Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Saturday 28 November, 02009

Questions our rented feijoa tree provoked this morning

by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:34 am
  • There are lots of waxeyes hanging around our feijoa tree. The tree is in flower, so I wonder — are they drinking the nectar and helping pollinate it? There is a family of bumblebees who live in a brick wall at our place, but I don’t recall seeing them hanging around the feijoa. Can birds assist pollination?
  • The flowers of the feijoa (Feijoa sellowiana) look a lot like pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) flowers, though the leaves are quite different. Are they related?
  • In a non-evolutionary framework, is there any such concept as species being related to one another?

Sunday 22 November, 02009

Getting 10:10 to New Zealand

by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:40 pm

10:10 is a campaign to get individuals, businesses and organisations to commit to reducing their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010. It was started in the UK by the excellent director of The Age of Stupid, Franny Armstrong. Chris Laidlaw interviewed 10:10 manager Daniel Vockins a couple of Saturdays ago (download it here). 10:10 has had quite a bit of success in Britain, with about 50,000 committed so far, including celebrity-types, MPs and sports teams. Vockins said if 1,010 New Zealanders sign up on the 10:10 global website they’ll launch it here by Christmas. I have signed up, and I think you should to. If you sign up you’ll receive pointers on achieving the cuts. Although individual consumption choices dictate only a small percentage of total emissions (see graph below – as Alex Steffen says “the parts of our lives that actually fall within our direct control are the tips of systemic icebergs”), the campaign has the potential to build a movement that would show politicians and industry (who can actually make the necessary reductions), as well as the public itself, that there is widespread support for real change. There’s lots more guff about 10:10 on the Guardian website if you’re interested.


Saturday 21 November, 02009

In case you were wondering what to buy me for my birthday, …

by Matthew Bartlett @ 12:01 pm

… which is on December 17 (every year – though this one is particularly special as I’m turning 30), I would like vegetable seedlings, a baby bike seat for my bike (like this), a helmet for Elke, a beard trimmer and some books from my Amazon wishlist (wow, dig the potential erudition in that list).

Sunday 15 November, 02009

A sermon from me on the ‘Little Apocalypse’ of Mark 13

by Matthew Bartlett @ 1:53 pm

Sermon for St Michael’s, Kelburn
Psalm 16:5-11; Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14,18; Mark 13:24-32

Today I’m going to concentrate on the Gospel reading. It’s difficult material on more than one level. There is a lot of strange stuff about the sun and moon going dark, the stars falling out of the sky, and the Son of Man coming in the clouds – what, if anything, does this have to do with us, sophisticated city-dwellers, university students and graduates in the 21st century?