Home' Greymouth Star : October 6th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, October 6, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1892 - Death of Alfred, Lord Tennyson,
English poet and Poet Laureate from 1850.
1927 - The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson,
opens in New York: it is the first full-length
feature film to include spoken
1949 - “ Tokyo Rose” (Mrs Iva
Toguri D’Aquino), who broadcast
Japanese propaganda to US forces in
the Pacific during World War II, is
sentenced to 10 years’ jail.
1976 - In China, Mao Zedong ’s
widow Jiang Qing and three others,
the Gang of Four, are arrested.
1978 - Death of rocker Johnny O’Keefe.
1991 - Elizabeth Taylor weds for the eighth
time, to truck driver Larry Fortensky.
2008 - Wall Street joins in a worldwide
cascade of despair over the financial crisis,
driving the Dow Jones industrials to their
biggest loss ever during a trading day. They
close below 10,000 for the first time since 2004.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Louis Philippe, king of France (1773-
1850); George Westinghouse, US inventor
(1846-1914); Carole Lombard, US actress
(1908-1942); Richie Benaud, Australian
cricketer and commentator
(1930-); Britt Ekland, Swedish
actress (1942-); Tony Greig, South
African-born English cricketer
(1946-2012); Gerry Adams, Irish
politician (1948-); Kevin Cronin,
US singer of REO Speedwagon
(1951-); Elisabeth Shue, US actress
(1963-); Matthew Sweet, US singer (1964-);
Ioan Gruffudd, Welsh actor (1973-); Ricky
Hatton, English boxer (1978-).
“ Every ambitious man is a captive, and every
covetous one, a pauper. ” — Arab proverb.
“ Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from
the hand of the wicked.” — Psalm 82:3-4
Up today. Down
tomorrow. This is the
sad nutshell history
of the ill-fated Paroa
Hall. The hall was burned down some months
ago and rebuilding started last August. It was
wll under way by last Saturday with the major
steel framework in position.
A Greymouth photographer was passing
the building project on Saturday and decided
this was a stage in the construction worth
recording. When he was passing again
yesterday he found the scene had changed. A
gale force wind had ripped into the framework,
wrenching it down and leaving only one end
section, badly twisted, still standing.
Owing to rain, it had not been possible to
weld the bottom of the steel section before
the weekend This may have been a blessing
in disguise, according to the contractors this
morning, as there was no damage to the
steel and the twisted portion will be easily
Quick action by Punakaiki sawmill worker
Mr Ben Mahuika saved a man from drowning
in the waters of the Pororari River at the
weekend. Mr Mahuika was whitebaiting
on the banks of the river about 10.45am on
Saturday when he heard an excited call from a
woman on the opposite bank. She said a man
had tumbled into the water about 250 yards
Mr Mahuika dropped his gear and rushed
to the scene. He dragged the man out from
face down in about 18 in of water. For a
time he and a helper were at a loss for what
to do because the man in his 30s seemed to
have taken a turn. But they tried artificial
resuscitation and the man improved until a
Greymouth doctor was called.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
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e were less narcissistic.
Facebook had just
launched in February
2004 and there were
barely a million users
worldwide. We had no outlet to constantly
update our status or bombard our friends
with photos of our children, our pets, or
that fancy meal we just ate. There was no
such thing as Instagram or Twitter. We
managed to make it through most events
without taking a selfie.
In Cruise control
We still loved Tom Cruise. Before any
couch-jumping or Scientology rants,
he was the Hollywood mega-star who
stopped to help a family in a car broken
down on the side of the road in Taranaki.
Kim Kardashian was only known as Paris
Hilton’s best friend and Lorde was still in
Food for thought
Most of us had never heard of kale or
quinoa or tried coconut water. Cronuts
had not been invented and gluten was not
the evil entity is has become. Cadbury still
Same-sex couples were not legally
recognised. The Civil Union act was
passed in December that year and became
legal in April 2005. Same-sex marriage
became legal eight years later.
iPhone? What iPhone?
We could switch off more. The first
iPhone was not released until 2007.
Our work e-mails stayed on our desktop
computer and did not encroach on our
weekends. Angry birds were the nesting
magpies you disturbed at the beach.
Social media editors, professional
bloggers, app developers, You Tube stars,
those people whose job it is to point you
to the next available self-checkout at the
supermarket — all jobs which did not
exist a decade ago.
We still bought our music on CD. Apple
launched iTunes in April 2003 but the
on-line store only became available here
in December 2006. Last year, digital
sales overtook CD sales for the first time
and Marbecks record store, an Auckland
institution for almost 80 years, closed its
Fair Trade had nothing to do with coffee
or bananas. While the movement was slow
to take off in New Zealand, four years
after its launch in 2004 we boasted the
fastest growing fair trade market in the
Hear them roar
Women ran the world — or at least
the country. O ur top three positions of
power were held by Helen Clark as Prime
Minister, Dame Silvia Cartwright as
Governor-General and Dame Sian Elias
as Chief Justice. Fast for ward to 2014 and
the balance of power has shifted back in
favour of the men. Dame Sian is the only
woman to still hold her position.
Hip to be square
The term “hipster” referred to a style
of jeans, not a sub-culture of cool young
urbanites. Beards were for old men or the
uncool. We had never heard of uber-
hipsters Bret McKenzie and Jemaine
Clement, who were fresh from the
Edinburgh Fringe Festival and still three
years away from taking the United States
Nine becomes eight
There were nine planets in the solar
system, a belief we had held for three-
quarters of a century. But that theory
was shattered in January 2005 with the
discovery of Eris, a rocky mass larger than
Pluto. This prompted the International
Astronomical Union to redefine what
it meant to be a planet and Pluto was
downgraded to a dwarf planet.
Kim Dotcom was an unknown German
called Kim Schmitz and most of us did
not know what the GCSB was. George W
Bush was Time magazine’s Person of the
Secrets no more
The SAS was a mysterious organisation.
We did not know much about who they
were or what they were up to. But all of
that changed when a bearded, gun-toting
Willie Apiata was photographed leaving
a firefight in Kabul in January 2010.
Controversy over the SAS involvement
in the incident prompted Prime Minister
John Key to lift the veil on secrecy
surrounding their deployments.
We were not obsessed with cooking
shows. The first season of Master Chef
Australia aired in 2009 and the New
Zealand series debuted the following
year. Few of us had ever heard of a
croquembouche. Suddenly, there was a
proliferation of celebrity chefs, including
Josh Emett and we all turned into amateur
Living is easy
The average price of a house in Auckland
was $337,000 — and we thought that was
steep. Now it has more than doubled to
We were not able to while the hours
away watching videos of dancing cats,
80s power ballads with alternate lyrics or
skateboarding tricks gone wrong. But 2005
heralded the age of You Tube. It brought
the world to our fingertips and became the
go-to place to find everything from on-line
tutorials on how to make a pinata to raw
and uncensored footage straight out of
war zones. It is now the third most visited
website in the world behind Google and
Facebook and has launched the career of
many a star, from Dynamo the Magician to
Out of the shades
Romance novels tended to be found
only by your grandmother’s bedside. Mills
and Boon had that market cornered. But
the genre received an overhaul and “erotic
fiction” exploded into the mainstream in
2011 with the release of Fifty Shades of
Grey. Women pored over its risque subject
matter and it became the fastest-selling
paperback of all time. The Tauranga City
library hit the headlines when it had to
replace its copy after it was returned with
bite marks on the cover.
On the box
Gone are the days when we had to
spend a fortune on DVD box sets or cram
an entire tv series viewing into a weekly
video rental period. Nor do we have to
wait a week for the next screening after
that last cliffhanger episode. Now we can
“ binge watch” to our hearts’ content thanks
to internet streaming and on-demand
ser vices. It is all about choice — and we are
no longer beholden to the tv networks.
Heroes, but for how long?
We still held Lance Armstrong, Tiger
Woods, Lou Vincent and Chris Cairns in
high esteem — before cheating, doping
and match-fixing allegations engulfed
them. John Mitchell was still the most
vilified man in New Zealand sport
following the All Blacks’ 2003 World Cup
semi-final defeat and Oscar Pistorius was a
rising young star on the Paralympic scene.
Consumers had less of a voice. It was
hard to get noticed. But the advent of
social media has given rise to people
power. When Cadbury revealed in
2009 it was using palm oil, an on-line
backlash forced it to go back to using
cocoa butter. The rate word can spread
through social media has shifted power
towards the consumer. Want your faulty
phone replaced? Just tweet the phone
company about it. Fancy bringing back
your favourite childhood chocolate biscuit?
Start a Facebook page to lobby the makers,
as Upper-Hutt mum Amber Johnson did
to successfully campaign for the return of
Choco-ade in 2012.
Times are a-changing
We lived in a vastly different place in 2004. EMMA LAND of The Herald
on Sunday looks back at the way we were before Facebook — and how the last
decade has shaped our everyday lives.
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Ten years ago, there was no such thing as Instagram or Twitter.
She is Google’s secret weapon, charged
with guarding the world’s most valuable
Parisa Tabriz is the company ’s ace up its
sleeve — a young professional hacker they
call their “Security Princess”.
As a “ white-hat hacker”, the Iranian-
American is paid to attack her own
employer to stop the bad guys, “ black
hats”, doing it first.
Her task is to protect the nearly one
billion users of Google Chrome, the most
popular internet browser.
Tabriz, 31, is something of an anomaly
in Silicon Valley. Not only is she a woman,
a gender hugely under-represented in the
booming tech industry, but she also heads
up a mostly male team of 30 experts in the
United States and Europe.
“Security Princess” is on her business
card, a title she came up with at a
conference in Tokyo.
“I knew I’d have to hand out my card and
I thought information security engineer
sounded so boring,” she says.
“Guys in the industry take it so
seriously, so ‘security princess’ felt suitably
Earlier this year, Google revealed just 30
in every 100 staff members were female.
“Fifty years ago there were similar
percentages of women in medicine and
law. Now, thankfully, that ’s shifted,” Tabriz
“ Technology is one of the fastest-
growing fields, but in that respect it has a
lot of catching up to do.”
While she maintains she has never
encountered overt sexism at Google she
does say a male fellow college student told
her she only got the job “cos you’re a girl”.
“He said it to my face, but I’m sure a lot
of others were thinking it. The jerks are the
ones that tend to be the most insecure.”
Tabriz thinks the tech industry lacks
female representation because women do
“There was a study done a few years
ago which questioned people who had
dropped out of their computer science
course,” she says. “ Women who left tended
to have a B-minus average and the most
common reason they gave was that they
were finding it too hard, whereas among
the men the most common grade was a
low C but the reason they gave was that it
was not interesting. ”
Sheryl Sandberg, the former vice-
president at Google who is now chief
operating officer at Facebook, supports the
“ Women systematically underestimate
their own abilities. You ask men and
women to guess their GPAs (grade point
average) — men always get it slightly high
and women get it slightly low,” she told a
TED (technology, entertainment, design
conference) talk a few years ago. “It means
they don’t know their worth. ”
Tabriz grew up in the suburbs of
Chicago with her Iranian-immigrant
father, a doctor, and Polish-American
nurse mother, both of whom were
As the older sister of two brothers, she
was used to bossing boys around from an
early age. “ They’d say I was a bully, but I
played them at their own game, in sports
on the field, and at video games,” she
says. ”I was older and used to beat them up
all the time.”
But when her brothers grew up and she
was not able to anymore, she felt she had
to beat them some other way.
“ I didn’t know what I wanted to do at
first. I remember taking a careers test in
high school to see which job would suit
me, I got ‘police officer’.
“ I laughed at the time but I realise now
it wasn’t that far off, after all, I’m in the
business of protecting people.”
Tabriz studied computer engineering at
the University of Illinois.
Today, many are turning their hand
to hacking, from the common criminal
looking for ways to get hold of bank
account details to the anti-establishment
hacktivism networks such as Anonymous,
to those with grander aims, such as
bringing down Iran’s entire g-mail system.
Tabriz conducts in-house training of
Google engineers wanting to get into
In her seminars she starts by asking
students to think of a way to hack a
vending machine for chocolate - but
without the use of technology.
She knows from their answers who has
the curiosity and the mischievousness
needed to succeed. One of the smartest
solutions was to insert a 10 Thai baht piece
instead of a 2 coin, as both are the same
size, weight and alloy. At 25 cents, the
baht is worth a fraction of the euro coin.
Tabriz says “employees here are, on the
whole, good at outside-the-box thinking”.
For many black-hat hackers, Google is
the ultimate target, and it has had to work
to keep its enemies close.
Google offers outside hackers up to
$38,600 if they are able to find bugs or
faults on Chrome. To date, hackers have
been paid US$1.25 million, fixing more
than 700 bugs.
Google ‘police princess’ guarding world’s most valuable brand
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