Tonga is dropping out of the global news cycle, but it will be a slow road to recovery for the country.

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28 January 2022 · Events

Too Loud to Hear

More first-hand accounts are emerging from Tonga.

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23 January 2022 · Events

Blood Tests

Could microclots help explain long Covid?

A virus likely triggers almost all multiple sclerosis, and mRNA vaccines could prevent it.

Thingu in HD. The blood test scene from Frozen.

Teenage sarcasm is a sign of intelligence.

Brexiters now worry about the judgment of history. The Brexit mug.

Cassetteboy on Boris Johnson’s latest woes. Led By Donkeys on same. What happened to non-Boris-Johnsons who broke lockdown rules. Most have no idea about the set-up of 10 Downing St. Let’s assume he’s going. What then?

Britain’s Defence Secretary on Russia and Ukraine.

The Federal President of Germany (PDF in English) on The Conference: “Bureaucratic and political structures can only resist their misuse as long as there is a stable, democratic constitution that keeps an equally stable government from slipping over the edge into the ideological abyss.”

A story of Easter Island.

What world do we want to live in after Covid?

Always famous.

23 January 2022 · Weblog


The news of a volcanic eruption in Tonga a week ago threatened to monopolize my attention during a typically busy start of semester; more than news of increasing Covid hospitalizations in the UK, Boris Johnson’s blatant attempts to distract attention from his political plight, Vladimir Putin’s imminent invasion of Ukraine, or Brexit-caused miles-long lorry queues at Dover and Calais. While I was engaging with new students on two different courses and marking and moderating assignments from two more, my mind kept returning to my own postgraduate years, which involved studying and writing about Tonga throughout the 1990s and spending two months there in 1993. Anyone knowing the country will have been taken aback at the sight of the satellite image of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai’s ash cloud.

Tonga volcano satellite image
Taken by the Japanese weather satellite Himawari-8, 15 January 2022.

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22 January 2022 · 1 Comment · Events

Long White Shadow

I spent the final few months of last year gradually working my way through my negatives from late 1997, when I was a visiting scholar at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand—one of the happiest periods of my life, which made revisiting it in 2021 a poignant exercise. J. and I spent our weekends exploring the city and its South Island surrounds, making trips west to Greymouth, south to Dunedin and north to Hanmer Springs and the Marlborough Sounds, discovering for ourselves one of the most beautiful places on earth a few years before Peter Jackson showed it off to the world in The Fellowship of the Ring.

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11 January 2022 · Memory

New Year, Old Links

Happy new year (we hope). The theme this year is chains, as befitting this restricted time, from a set of photos of a giant rusty chain that I took in Shetland and hadn’t found a use for yet. Tune in every month for a new lump of iron.

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9 January 2022 · Site News

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