The last century unleashed some breathtakingly mind-blowing technology, although the combined effect of breathlessness and mindlessness is probably best avoided.

However, it's almost wearisome to recount this veritable tsunami of technological wizardry.

Early last century it was Richard Pearse swooping over his gorse boundary hedge out the back of his Temuka farm in his home-made aircraft powered by his own home-made engine — incidentally, a year before the Wright boys got off the ground at Kittyhawk.

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But nek minnet, robotised vehicles are clambering over Mars, and before too long, no doubt, Richard Branson will be stopping off there for a Big Mac and fries.

Surgeons now cut and paste major body organs with gay abandon, and transplant whole faces.

Doctors unleash mega-arsenals of lasers, anti-bacterial death rays and chemical battalions to turn back the hordes of nasties out to make life unpleasant.

Right up there, too, is all the electronic communication and internet stuff. Woman alive! All that knowledge and interconnectivity just there at the tap of a few keys, or even a few voice prompts.

So what has this particular Pandora's Box of knowledge acquisition done to advance our betterment of the planet and help drive the indomitable spirit of humankind?

Well, as we know, the Googles and Zuckerbergs of this new age world keep tabs on us all.

In 2017, for instance, their stat sheets showed that we had an obsession with slime — that gooey play-stuff both small kids and big kids just love to muck around with. And to the extent — can you believe this? — that four of the top 10 searches for the year were about aspects of slime, the number one search being on how to make the stuff.

Other searches making up the top 10 were on esoteric subjects like how to draw a dragon, lose weight, and cook pork belly, although inquiries as to how to vote in the 2017 election did provide a wee glimmer of slightly headier matters.


Moving on, Google recently released the stats on what were New Zealanders' most requested searches on its all-powerful search engine for this year.

It made for some pretty depressing reading.

High up there on the list were such mundanities as "what is Bitcoin?", "what is the Keto diet?", and "how to cut a mango?"

It's sort of reassuring to know that — given all the major issues facing the planet — climate collapse, planetary extinction, and so on — for a good many the major issue of the moment is how to get into a mango.

The Bitcoin thing is certainly a legitimate inquiry, but I'm pleased to be able to assuage readers' fears. In short, there are probably only about three people on the planet who actually know how Bitcoin works, and I can safely say that you and I are not two of them. Avoid it like the plague.

The Keto diet? It will probably have about as much success as every other diet since Wilma Flintstone's chopped dinosaur's liver rissoles diet.

Jacinda and baby Neve were also right up there on the search factor. Truckloads of people wanted to know how to find snaps of them on Instagram and whatnot.

Interestingly, one of the other most requested searches was how to delete an Instagram account. Whether the two are related is a moot point.

Featuring on other top-10 search lists were such necessities of life as how to cook rice, the difference between Good Friday and Black Friday, how to make biscuit cake and/or do a screen shot, although the football World Cup, cyclone Gita, Suzy Cato, and the Californian fires also got a look in.

Another top 10 perennial was the age-old "What is the time?"