Sideswipe: January 7: Only in West Auckland

What I learned in 2021

Writer Tom Whitwell’s annual list of 52 things he learned during the past year includes these:

1. While recording the audiobook version of Charlotte’s Web, author EB White needed 17 takes to read Charlotte’s death scene because he kept crying.

2. There’s a Boeing 727 cargo plane that’s used exclusively for horse transportation nicknamed Air Horse One.

3. People age at different speeds. “People varied widely in biological ageing: The slowest ager gained only 0.4 ‘biological years’ for each chronological year in age; in contrast, the fastest-ageing participant gained nearly 2.5 biological years for every chronological year.”

4. How algorithms radicalise the users of social media platforms. “Facebook’s own research revealed that 64 per cent of the time a person joins an extremist Facebook Group, they do so because the platform recommended it.”

(Full list here)

Phone case for an idiot

Third attempt a pass

Paul Blakeney of Waihi writes: “In 1966 I presented myself for a driver’s licence at the Auckland Council traffic department. I was to be tested in a 15KW Renault 750 which took most of Tuesday afternoon to reach 68km/h. So, an aggressive approach was necessary with gears to make it travel. Of course, l failed for being “too confident” with this driving technique. Test number two:Before we could drive off (with the same testing officer) the key snapped off in the ignition of the Renault. Made another booking, which would be test number three, two weeks later. This time I did everything to the book and out of the corner of my eye l could see the officer (same guy) signing off the form for a pass, then out of nowhere comes an out-of-control brakeless Holden, T-boning the Renault. No one was hurt and the other driver l actually knew. He was very surprised to see a traffic cop get there so soon to direct traffic around the carnage. Needless to say, I had to do another test, this time with the same officer but in a different car.”

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