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Author Archive

Oh Canada! – let us not follow you.

Written By: - Date published: 3:19 pm, April 17th, 2021 - 23 comments

Looking at the vaccination program in NZ, I feel that many people are focusing on the wrong things. The most dangerous period in pandemic life cycle – gaining a sufficient population immunity fast enough to stop the inevitable complacency that allows another wave of infections. Ontario appears to have managed to get a new wave of infection rising as they are trying to run their vaccination program. That is the last thing we need.

The daily critics whinge

Written By: - Date published: 4:09 pm, April 16th, 2021 - 22 comments

I was just reading a post by Bryan Gould on his current perspective on news media in “The Government v. the people”. It resonated because some news and opinion media are getting tedious. It made me reflect on my current habits because much of what he is discussing is that I remember as something in my rear view mirror. Not what I do today.

A new lever on the standard model?

Written By: - Date published: 8:51 am, April 12th, 2021 - 10 comments

For me the most notable thing about the last week hasn’t been the repetitive and ill-informed braying from the opposition about covid-19. It has been about the announcement that Fermilab in the US has partially confirmed that there may be a wobble in the behaviour of muons. Definitely showing promise of a lever into the 1970s standard model of physics. Explaining this is likely to open new technologies and more subtle ways of working with our universe.

West Australia result

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 am, March 15th, 2021 - 8 comments

The weekend state elections in West Australia are a astonishing landslide. On top of nearly a 13% two party swing swing for Labour in 2017, there appears to have been about a 17% swing to Labour in the weekend election in preliminary results. The Liberals are likely to be left with just 2 seats in a 59 seat Assembly. The main opposition party, now the National party, with 3 seats.  

The case for mandatory legislative review

Written By: - Date published: 9:12 am, February 24th, 2021 - 15 comments

You can’t read legislation for very long without finding instances of weird edge cases. But is also why we have kids trying to walk or bike on gravel roads with no sidewalks to get to school. When modern cars travel these narrow lanes at up to 100km/hour. Parliament has no systematic way to review obsolete legislation.

Pandemic to endemic covid-19

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, February 13th, 2021 - 84 comments

Back in May, I wrote a post “Covid-19: may be endemic“. That is looking like it is more and more likely. The depth of infection in world populations means that recombinant variants are likely. Vaccines and previous immunity will reduce the death rates and infection rates. But won’t stop reinfection. Human behaviour will keep covid-19 as an endemic disease.

Frogs swimming in the heated pot

Written By: - Date published: 8:52 am, January 23rd, 2021 - 34 comments

The distracting political stupidities in places like the US and now in Russia tend to be entertaining for us southerners. But changes in climate are getting faster and more extreme. The continued instability in the northern polar vortex and the extreme weather it causes cut into our global food creating systems. The foundation of our population and societies. Froggies, the heat is still rising.

Freedom of speech – the knife-edge.

Written By: - Date published: 4:43 pm, January 17th, 2021 - 18 comments

I have a problem with dimwits waving around a slogan of “free speech” without understanding it. Ignorant fools more interested in screaming slogans than understanding the constraints of their ‘right’. The events of the last 4 years in the USA have made that very clear. So I thought I’d point out a few facts of life about constraints on freedom of speech – with a sidetrack through Trumps’ incitements to riot.

BluffGeld

Written By: - Date published: 3:41 pm, January 14th, 2021 - 46 comments

The way that the smelter operates is the exact equivalent of some thuggish barbarians with big swords extracting tribute for not burning, raping and pillaging. In other words Danegeld or any other form of protection racket exactly as No Right Turn points out.  I’ll repeat his succinct post here. Meantime how can I encourage the wasteful fools at Meridian (and Contact) to start thinking about their paying customers rather than barbarian freeloaders

Covid-19 lessons from a plagued flight

Written By: - Date published: 10:43 pm, January 11th, 2021 - 22 comments

In September there was a 18 hour flight Dubai that ended in Auckland. A relatively close group on that plane showed infection after arrival, and a genetically similar version. The evidence of in-flight infection is very strong and points to the on-going issues with shipping virus hosts around the world. This has some pretty strong implications for long-haul flights in particular. But also to the risks of having travel ‘bubbles’ without enforced quarantine.

The Republican ostrich effect

Written By: - Date published: 8:54 am, January 11th, 2021 - 21 comments

Reading the effect of the Wednesday riot at the US Congress has been interesting. The Trump position has as usual been as infantile and self-adsorbed as all of his disaster of a presidency has been. The Republican politicians have been been more nuanced. But it looks to me like they would like to not rely on cheeseburgers to stop Donald Trump running again in 2024.

Prison conditions

Written By: - Date published: 12:56 pm, January 4th, 2021 - 27 comments

Statements by the Minister for Corrections and Corrections themselves asserting that there had been no complaints about prison conditions at Waikeria, in the face of the Ombudsman’s report, just look to me to be pure sophistry and bullshit. The report on conditions in the high security make grim reading. Even ignoring the inmates protest – I want to protest about the waste of my taxes in providing such a unproductive, inhumane and outright evil environment.

Chris Bishop goes woof woof on variant ‘B.1.1.7’

Written By: - Date published: 1:26 pm, December 28th, 2020 - 43 comments

I realise that this would normally be our silly season, but it seems a bit macabre with the northern winter death toll. But nothing really excuses Chris Bishop for being a complete dickhead in barking for immediate offshore testing for travellers from the UK. It is pointless. The government are a bit more sensible. They’re instituting an extra test at our border.

Beefing up the border – expensive and essential

Written By: - Date published: 11:31 am, December 21st, 2020 - 30 comments

From a few days ago (it seems like an eternity), RNZ reported “Govt to pump almost $3 billion into its Covid-19 response after report identified failings”. There were several points I’d make about the border controls and generally with our border and the long slow years in constraining this pandemic. But the Sydney outbreak and the UK Xmas Grinch appear to be making them for me already.

A joy to read

Written By: - Date published: 9:24 am, December 10th, 2020 - 18 comments

There are the odd occasions when you find a political opinion that is a joy to read and quite revealing. An analysis piece by the Bagehot columnist that refers to the Conservatives as the dysmorphic Tory party completes its transition from the natural party of government into a British version of the Taliban…

The human Pangaea

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, December 9th, 2020 - 16 comments

Humans have created the most recent virtual super-continent. At least as far as species movement has been concerned world wide. We’ve picked up species from around the world and transplanted them almost everywhere else – including microbiological. Pandemics will be the inevitable result. Could be amphibians dying off. It could be us. Perhaps it is time to have an intelligent discussion about the risks.

Colin James looking forward

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 pm, December 4th, 2020 - 38 comments

There is a public meeting in Wellington on Monday evening from the Fabians – which is also conveniently being streamed via Youtube and accessible by Zoom. Colin James doing a crystal ball gazing. While I’ve liked Colin James analysis for nearly 40 years, I’m also excited that the Fabians are starting to stream these nowdays so I don’t have to do the meat thing and actually attend.

Power across the Tasman

Written By: - Date published: 8:22 am, November 30th, 2020 - 25 comments

Australia is likely to have less of an issue with raging bush fires this year. La Niña is likely to give a break to the droughts with a wetter East Coast. Doesn’t stop record heatwaves as is happening at present. Climate change in action. What is also happening is equally predictable – the power systems get affected as well. Interesting to consider for similar climate issues here hitting our power. 

A tsunami of wing clipped kiwi?

Written By: - Date published: 9:52 am, November 9th, 2020 - 45 comments

The rush back home has definitely been happening and appears to mainly be constrained at present by the limits on quarantine facilities. It has already helped to mitigate the drops in immigration and probably will in the future. Nowhere near as economically important and productive as our exports. But useful for reducing unemployment for those not exposed to the export economy.

President Biden and Vice President Harris.

Written By: - Date published: 6:54 am, November 8th, 2020 - 92 comments

At last. All of the main US media organisations have now called the election for for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris with Pennsylvania. The eventual electoral college vote looks to be over 300 – well above the 270 required as Arizona and Nevada are called. It looks like Georgia will wind up the same way.

Rerun reeferendum

Written By: - Date published: 3:46 pm, November 6th, 2020 - 33 comments

One of the other results from the final results on was the reeferendum. The loss was minuscule in the final results. If I was the yes campaign, I’d be considering pushing this to another referendum soon. It was so close, that the result was mainly due to being run with Covid-19 in the background of the campaign, a unreadable proposed bill, and a surprisingly well funded No campaign.

Less buzz and more cooperative governing

Written By: - Date published: 10:45 am, November 1st, 2020 - 49 comments

I liked the process for the Greens and Labour agreement. From Labour’s side after this election it was logically completely unnecessary, except maybe under some weird scenarios. But it is cooperative and that is clearly something that voters reward these days. Politics isn’t about buzz. It is about effective governance.

Its all just manure – mix it in and avoid the river.

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 am, October 30th, 2020 - 39 comments

There has been a rather patronising meme running in recent weeks that voters who previously voted National did so because they wanted to make sure Labour didn’t want the Greens to be in government. Just complete bullshit. As far as I can see most voters and their MPs vote for our collective future like I do and expect the political mixing to provide good outcomes for us all.

Trump Hacked.

Written By: - Date published: 7:54 pm, October 28th, 2020 - 8 comments

Had to laugh, albeit with a resigned anger, when I saw this in my emails today. This afternoon, the official Trump campaign website was hacked and defaced.

Election day rules 2020

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 pm, October 16th, 2020 - 50 comments

There are some rules around Election day material on a website like ours. These are mandated by the legislation. We will allow comments here during election day. But they will be limited and we expect you to comment lawfully, and moderation will be on our interpretation of the Act. Please read this post before commenting between midnight and 7pm on saturday.

SFO exonerates NZ First

Written By: - Date published: 5:51 pm, September 29th, 2020 - 56 comments

The SFO has put out a press release a few days before overseas voting starts. They have not laid charges against NZ First or anyone in it. They have laid charges against two other people. What I find appalling is that they waited so close to the election before making it clear that whatever NZF did was lawful. To me that smacks of political malfeasance. And the complainants probably should be brought up on charges themselves for wasting police and SFO time. 

The background traffic is loud.

Written By: - Date published: 8:41 am, September 2nd, 2020 - 16 comments

Along with the grey weather, the weather around our local net is downright annoying at present. There are a massive increase in attempts to break into this site via backend systems and brute force front-end logins, a surge in scans from the search engine spider bots, and a lot of requests for putting up paid content. All of which have been ignored or dealt with. Good thing that we aren’t a target like the NZX, banks, mainstream media and the MetService are. 

Greenland ice sheet is disintegrating

Written By: - Date published: 4:48 pm, August 28th, 2020 - 34 comments

For the last 30 years, earth scientists have been warning that Greenland was nearing a tipping point into complete disintegration. Now authors of a new study published in Nature has claimed that, even if the climate now reverted to the levels where it was stable a few decades ago, that would still happen. It is now clear that the IPCC worst case for Greenland is what is now being observed.

Blogs and election fatigue

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, August 18th, 2020 - 28 comments

One of the characteristics of a political blog in New Zealand is the way that our operations reflect the political cycle. Coming into an election after mid-year, we have a steadily increasing level of traffic, posts, and comments. Moderators, commenters and even authors start showing a more cranky disposition. Now we have a extra month of the campaign. Be kind. Because there tends to be a problem when the system operator gets cranky.

Let them have gardening leave…

Written By: - Date published: 6:59 pm, August 17th, 2020 - 25 comments

“A bunch of retired MPs will now have to come back to work as well, which they will no doubt hate. But at least with current border restrictions, they are unlikely to have fled the country.”. Uh – why exactly? They are almost a sixth of the current parliament. They’re out the door, and there is no substantive work for them to do. I’m sure that puritans of thought will think otherwise – but I think gardening leave is appropiate.

Extend advance voting

Written By: - Date published: 9:15 am, August 17th, 2020 - 11 comments

One thing that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should look at asking the Electoral Commission to do would be to extend the period of Advance voting. This was more than a third of the votes in 2017, and is ideal for pandemic voting. It allows to the pressure on polling places to reduce to something similar to queuing for the supermarket.

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