Hi, I’m Bernard Darnton. Welcome.

New Zealand’s Leading Amateur Geomythologist

That’s the claim I make in my Twitter bio. It’s niche enough that it might even be true, but what does it mean?

Geomythology straddles the boundary between science and myth. Oral traditions can contain kernels of historical knowledge. Ancient events, often catastrophic, can lie buried in protective layer of stories that have carried them down the generations. Is the North Island of New Zealand actually a giant fish?

I’m interested in earthquakes and volcanoes, which helps when you live in New Zealand. Before that, I remember spending time in the Geological Museum in London as a child with my grandmother. My interest in rocks and minerals was physical and scientific. Hers was more esoteric.

I grew up celebrating Christmas and Easter, and also Diwali. A generation later, on the other side of the world, our family celebrates Christmas and Easter, and also Matariki.

In New Zealand, the floor really is lava. Both the geology and the mythology are fascinating, and sometimes they overlap.

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My Background

I grew up in London and then moved to Dunedin, New Zealand, where I finished high school and did a physics degree.

My professional life has been 20 years in software development, usually in C#, sometimes as a team lead, often around financial systems. I’ve worked at Trade Me, New Zealand’s biggest auction and e-commerce site, and am currently a senior developer on the ETL (“extract-transform-load”) team at Phocas, a data analytics company.

I’ve been a member of Toastmasters for many years. Alongside public speaking, I’ve run training on topics including storytelling, using PowerPoint, and managing anxiety.


These days I live in the suburbs of Christchurch with my wife and two children, three chickens, and uncounted books.

Some Articles To Get Started

What’s a geomyth? Start with this example: Is the North Island of New Zealand actually a giant fish?

State Tectonics

Geology and mythology tell how we got here over timescales of thousands and millions years. Politics and technology work on shorter timescales.

Technology changes. Institutions don’t. Until they do. This is the phenomenon I’ve called “state tectonics”. When the technology we’ve built our institutions on shifts, the changes can be seismic.

What do I mean by “state tectonics”? A Theory of State Tectonics


A longer piece on the same idea.  Magnitude-Nine Politics

Instead of asking how democracy might be failing, let’s first ask: how did it ever succeed? Nobbling the Nobility

How gunpowder ended feudalism and gave us nation states. The Medieval Hiroshima

How warfare changed from the industrial age to the information age. The Laptop Luftwaffe

Politics as we know it is doomed and the democratisation of propaganda is to blame. Many-to-many Propaganda

Learning to Program Bitcoin in C#

As a professional programmer who’s worked with financial systems and someone with an interest in how shifting technology can undermine our institutions, Bitcoin is fascinating.

To learn more, I’ve been working through Jimmy Song’s book, Programming Bitcoin, and doing the exercises in my native programming language, C#. Fair warning: this is technical! BTC#: Learning to Program Bitcoin in C#


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