Daily Archives: 26 May 2004

Of Mice and Rats

Can you tell a mouse from a baby rat? After reading these tips, I correctly identified 12 out of 12. (And I didn’t have to count the nipples!) Can you tell the relatively civilized Black Rat (Rattus rattus) of the Pacific Islands from the marauding imperialist Norwegian Rat (Rattus norvegicus), which has conquered most of Eurasia and North America? Do you know how to launder your pet rat? It’s all at ratbehavior.org.

via Language Hat, who linked to the authoritative Rat-English, English-Rat Dictionary.

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Elections in New Caledonia

Head Heeb has been doing a great job keeping up on the recent elections in New Caledonia and French Polynesia. In both cases, the preponderant sentiment seems to be for autonomy, but not full independence. Like Micronesia, perhaps?

On a related note, the Australian National University’s Pandanus Books imprint has published The Kanak Apple Season: Selected Short Fiction of Déwé Gorodé.

Mme Déwé Gorodé, Vice-President of the Government and the leading Kanak writer of New Caledonia, visited Australia to attend and speak at the Sydney Writers Festival (19-25 May 2004)….

This collection is the first English translation of Gorodé’s work, and is part of Pandanus’ efforts to bring Francophone writing to the attention of Australian readers. A remarkable collection reflecting the ethnic complexities of the colonial past of New Caledonia, the author’s approach to language reveals an original voice that compels attention. Drawing on the heritage of blood-lines, family, cultural tradition and colonialism, Gorodé takes her reader on a journey into the Kanak world providing fascinating insight into the culture of New Caledonia, at once both Pacific island and French colonial possession.

Head Heeb also has an interesting post entitled The Pyramids of PNG:

Economist Utpal Bhattacharya of the World Bank has argued that transition economies are particularly vulnerable to Ponzi schemes, pointing to the large-scale frauds that occurred in post-Communist Russia and Romania as well as Albania. Although Papua New Guinea is not a post-Communist country, it is also in transition from subsistence agriculture and fishing to a modern urban economy, and its people are still adapting to new economic conditions. Such circumstances have facilitated Ponzi schemes in the past, particularly where – as in Haiti in 2002 – prominent citizens and political leaders are induced to participate. Although the PNG government has begun to take measures to combat fraud, “in an environment where economic challenge is a daily reality, most expect the promise of a quick and fantastic return will continue to attract many.”

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