Every CV should be verified.


 It would seem when you get to this stage

And you’re way past the minimum wage

     It can’t be a must

     To just take things on trust

When we’re all in the digital age

Synopsis:  I’m a family practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa.  On sabbatical to avoid burnout, while my non-compete clause ticks away I’m having adventures, visiting family and friends, and working in out-of-the-way places.  On assignment on the North Island of New Zealand, I’m living in an apartment attached to a clinic in Matakana, north of Auckland.

When the Maori arrived in New Zealand about a thousand years ago, they found two islands with no land mammals aside from three species of bats; birds dominated the ecology.  The Maori brought dogs and the Pacific rat, and the ecologic destruction began. 

After work last evening Bethany called me into the back yard to see an animal and asked me for identification.

Hedgehogs cause enough damage in their native environments that they have no legal protection.  Some misguided soul thought enough of the idea of importation that New Zealand now has hedgehogs, which wreak terrible havoc with birds and local plants.

This particular specimen appeared unsteady on his feet.  I had to get close to produce a decent image with my wide-angle lens.  Bethany warned me not to get too close; she remembered the day I came across a raccoon with the blind staggers (I had to shoot the animal on the assumption it had rabies).

Hedgehog in Matakana, at a distance of twenty centimeters

But it didn’t look like it could move very fast, and I got a good photograph. 

We took a walk for a half hour in the cool, clear, clean air, then we drove the harrowing narrow road back to Leigh for a dinner gathering.

We arrived early and I volunteered to cut vegetables.  I’m good at sharpening knives, and on this trip I learned how to use the back of a ceramic plate as a hone.  I sharpened four knives to razor edges, and Bethany gave me the signal that I’d done enough.

I sat next to a geologist.

New Zealand’s volcanic activity includes hot mineral springs that actively deposit gold, in stark contrast to most of earth’s gold, whose deposition dates back two billion years.  Both of us agreed that the most likely source of life on earth were the extreme environments of undersea volcanic vents.  I learned that most DNA sequencing is done using a thermophilic bacterium isolated from a hot spring with temperatures suitable for making hard-boiled eggs. 

New Zealand built a prison in a bog where the heavy metals borne from the earth’s interior include mercury.  The liquid metal can be found in places near the site, and the peat has enough to qualify as mercury ore.  The committee that placed the prison ignored the recommendation of the geologists.

The Southern Alps, the main range of mountains on the South Island, lie on a fault where the earth moves an inch or two a year.

Eventually, the conversation touched on groups, leadership, and credibility.  I talked about my experiences getting my medical credentials in New Zealand.

In short order the conversation at the table buzzed about the scientific head of the New Zealand Defense Technology Agency, who got his position on the basis of a fraudulent CV and held it for five years.

No one checked his bona fides.

I said I hoped the information I put on my forms hadn’t been taken on faith, that in the digital age it could have all be verified or generated via the internet, so why the heck would I have to fill out the form in the first place?

I guess because I’m a doctor, and not a top government scientist.

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