Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Those Icebergs off the Otago Coast

Its been a few weeks now since the first icebergs were spotted off the Otago coast. A flotilla of maybe up to a hundred icebergs have drifted into New Zealand waters, having travelled for the last 8 years from Antarctica after breaking off an ice shelf.

The unusual visitors have proved a hit with Dunedinites and tourists, who've kept local helicopter and charter plane operators busy with regular flights to the constantly moving icebergs.

I was able to fly over a couple of the larger bergs last Monday, which was an amazing experience. We flew over in 40 knot winds, and watched as the ocean waves crashed against the massive ice structures.

The largest was around 500m long, 400m wide and 400m high (above the water at least - around 90% of the volume of an iceberg is actually under the water.)

* Australia's Channel 9 television network was one of the overseas media outlets that came to Dunedin to visit the icebergs.

They did a very good piece for A Current Affair, which you can check out here... (even they did steal our Martini glass and idea for their piece to camera on the berg! ;-)

Posted in | 0 comments

Otago Icebergs 2

Looking through the front side window

Another helicopter flies over the front ice pillars as waves crash below

The warmer Otago ocean water carves stunning patterns into the ice

Posted in | 0 comments

Otago Icebergs 3

Posted in | 0 comments
Saturday, 25 November 2006


Posted in | 0 comments
Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Labour's big whip around revealed

Cor lummy! You'll need a solid stomach for the latest allegations out of Investigate Magazine HQ...

MP David Benson-Pope, Labour's former Associate Minister of Education and current Minister of Social Development (including the Child, Youth and Family Service) is accused of being a pervert. Again.

Investigate's breaking story involves some very adult allegations about Benson-Pope's after hours hobbies... Quite shocking if they can prove there's any truth in the detailed claims. No word yet on where he stands on the anti-smacking bill.

* Update: Investigate Online claims to have an audio recording of a phone conversation with members of the Dunedin adult club that Benson-Pope is alleged to have been connected with. The magazine's news forum claims one of the members admits lying to a journalist (ODT?) about links with the MP, denies knowing other key members of the group, and discusses combat measures for the leaked information.

David Benson-Pope has yet to made any public statement on the allegations, other than to ask "When would I have time for this?", and issuing legal warnings. The MP failed to turn up for his regular weekly interview with a Dunedin radio station, and has not returned calls to the local paper.

* The Secret Life of David Benson-Pope
* Sir Humphrey's: Tennis Ball back in Play
* Kiwiblog: Investigate Breaking News thread
* NZ Herald/ODT article

Posted in | 2 comments
Tuesday, 21 November 2006

State TV closes due to lack of interest

Is it any wonder State TV in New Zealand falls over itself to praise the work of Hillin Cluck's Labour-led minority Government, when its staff members are trying their best to be the poster-kids of the Union movement.

Around 300 staff members walked off the job again this morning... for the 16th (!?!) time in the last month. Workers at Wellington's Avalon studio joined in the lightning strike action for the first time, forcing TV One's lifestyle/chat show Good Morning off the air.

They joined with other colleagues (both on and off screen) in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch... all members of the EPMU and PSA unions.

Workers want a 5% pay rise, and an extra week's annual leave. TVNZ in return is offering a 2.25% increase across the board (including incentive payments based on performance), but no extra leave.

The latest strike action comes just a week after suggestions TVNZ may be preparing to make staff cuts, after months of major budget blowouts. The State broadcaster's rumoured to be as much as $30 million behind budget, after a sharp fall in advertising revenue caused by sliding ratings.
TV One recently slashed its primetime ad rates for next year by around 14%, while TV2 announced a 1% ratecard cut. Rival CanWest MediaWorks meanwhile increased its primetime ratecard for TV3 by around 4%, bouyed by solid ratings and a stable programming lineup.

TVNZ CEO Rick Ellis told a Parliamentary committee the company was not planning redundancies, despite speculation of between 100 and 200 job losses. However, he admitted that a 'culture of excess' has hurt the state broadcaster.
While 300 workers are striking for better pay and conditions, it's been revealed TVNZ has 156 staff earning more that $100,000 a year, while a generous 507 workers have company credit cards (some with limits of over $75,000). A total of 136 staff also had Koru club air memberships paid for by the company.

* NZ Herald: Striking TVNZ workers force programme off air
* Stuff: 300 TVNZ workers walk off the job

Posted in | 0 comments
Monday, 20 November 2006

Sony paint the town for new TV Ad

Sony's spectacular bouncing coloured balls advert for their Bravia TV's were a big hit, spawning at least one ambitious imitation.

Now Sony are looking to make an even bigger splash with their followup campaign.

Drawing just a little inspiration from the guys at Eepybird and their famous Coke & Mentos fountains, Sony's new Bravia TV ads feature massive paint explosions, covering an abandoned 23-storey tower block in a rainbow of exploding colour.

The ad, shot at an unused counsil estate in Glasgow, Scotland was filmed in a single take, with the help of around 250 people. 70,000 litres of coloured paint was used to cover the building in colour, thanks to hundreds of paint bombs. More explosives were used in the synchronised pyrotechnics routine than in the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan.

Award-winning director Jonathan Glazer headed up the paint fireworks shoot. (He's responsible for a number of memorable music videos for the likes of Radiohead and Jamiroquai, as well as other ad campaigns for Guinness and Stella Artois).

The paint was delivered in 1 tonne trucks and mixed on location by 20 people. Pyrotechnics experts spent weeks getting all the explosions ready.

Their arsenal included 358 single bottle bombs, 33 sextuple air cluster bombs, 22 triple hung cluster bombs, 268 mortars, 33 triple mortars, 22 double mortars, 330 metres of steel pipe, and 57 km of copper wire.

Sixty people spent the next five days after the shoot on a major clean-up operation. A special water-based non-toxic paint was used, making it safe for workers and local, and a little easier to clean up!

Watch the new Sony Bravia TV commercial...

And a look Behind the Scenes at the 'Making Of the Ad'...

(Hi-res version of the new commercial available here...)

Posted in | 0 comments
Saturday, 4 November 2006

Water Filter story nothing to sniff at

Good to hear the reporters involved in the recent "Filtergate" story are all back fit and well and 100%.

3News reporter Beverly Lockhart and freelance cameraman Joe Morgan both fell ill after sampling the water from a new iodine-based filtration system during a recent story.

Its hoped the filter system, designed by a Christchurch inventor, may be used in remote areas with badly polluted water supplies.

Inventor Russell Kelly mixed water from Christchurch's Avon River and with sewage water, before putting it through his filter system.

He then invited members of the news media to try the processed water. However, after four of them became sick in the days following, fingers were pointed at the filtered water.
There's different versions of stories, depending on who you talk to...

Some tv shots suggest some of the sewage water may have dripped down onto the tap nozzle while Mr Kelly was refilling the filter. The other theory is that the water drunk by the journalists could have become contaminated, because Mr Kelly didn't disinfect his hands after handling the dirty water.

NZ Herald journalist Jarrod Booker needed a trip to the doctors after he became ill. State TV reporter Blair Norton also required medical treatment, but claims he had a viral - rather than a bacterial - infection, so may not be blaming his illness on drinking pooey water ;-)

* Stuff: Journalists ill after 'filtered' water test
* NZ Herald: Low-tech filter turns muck to drinking water

Posted in | 0 comments
Thursday, 2 November 2006

Extreme Coke & Mentos II - The Domino Effect

The mad scientist guys over at Eepybird who created the original and best Diet Coke & Mentos display are back. The pair's classic experiment was creating a minty-soda version of the the Bellagio Hotel's famous dancing fountains in Las Vegas.

Now they have created a Coke & Mentos flavoured domino-effect chain reaction, in an impressive experiment using over 500 litres of Diet Coke, and over 1,500 Mentos candies.

The Extreme Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments II - The Domino Effect...

(Also, check out the Eepybird site for a preview video on how they actually set up their latest experiment)

Posted in | 1 comments