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Open mike 01/05/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 1st, 2020 - 126 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

126 comments on “Open mike 01/05/2020 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Media reports of mental health consequences of lockdown are emerging. Could become a trend so I'll post a proactive response. "It’s easy to roll your eyes when you hear Sarah Tuck start to describe CoLiberate, the “mental health gym” she started with friend and co-director Bop Murdoch. But as she explains the way it works, those doubts quickly fade."https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/30-04-2020/mental-health-first-aid-could-be-just-what-our-country-needs/

    Shift from focus on problem to focus on solution is the best way to handle the task of extricating oneself from a hole one has fallen into. Here's a good description of resilience theory: https://positivepsychology.com/resilience-theory/

    "Resilience is something we can all develop, whether we want to grow as individuals, as a family, or as a society more broadly." Incorporating this thought is part of an essential response to covid-19. Then the challenge is moving from theory into practice! "Resilience Theory argues that it’s not the nature of adversity that is most important, but how we deal with it."

    "Resilience has been defined in numerous ways, including the following:

    “…the ability to bounce back from adversity, frustration, and misfortune…” (Ledesma, 2014: 1);

    “the developable capacity to rebound or bounce back from adversity, conflict, and failure or even positive events, progress, and increased responsibility” (Luthans, 2002a: 702);

    “…a stable trajectory of healthy functioning after a highly adverse event” (Bonanno et al., 2004; Bonanno et al., 2011); and

    “…the capacity of a dynamic system to adapt successfully” (Masten, 2014; Southwick, 2014).

    When a panel discussion was called asking researchers to debate the nature of resilience, all agreed that resilience is complex – as a construct, it can have a different meaning between people, companies, cultures, and society."

    And that, in our globalisation context, is the crux of the issue. Humanity must incorporate resilience thinking and planning – to shift away from addiction to neoliberalism. Collective survival requires us to do this shift. And it must be done at all the relevant levels: individual, family, community, tribe or nation. Permaculture teaches this thinking via practical techniques and methods in local contexts – but the bioregional context is more vital to collective survival. That part of the shift is currently not being attempted even, in most places.

    • tc 1.1

      Good points and something I've seen millennials rejecting outright as they expect 'business as usual' a return to their consumerisitic ways and to carry on.

      They seem tied to the system and it's influencers, can't wait for us to push off as they've got echo Chambers telling them it's just a blip normality will return.

    • Peter 1 1.2

      I have heard that a good site to go to if you are feeling depressed is clearhead.org.nz

      I am only going buy what I have been told , they said it's good for students and farmers wife because they can put info about there other half.

      • Dennis Frank 1.2.1

        I took a look. Does indeed seem well-designed, user-friendly, incorporating diagnostic process for those who can't afford professional fees. 👍

    • tc 2.1

      This is good however it's our production of steel, concrete, fertilizer and industry which give us the big headache.

      Personal and residential use could become quite small but it's not the elephant in the room. Industry is.

    • mary_a 2.2

      Same problem here @ Stephen D (2). Sometimes I can't reply because the option isn't available. I'm using a Chromebook.

  2. ScottGN 3

    I have the same problem with my iPad. Mods can’t seem to fix it?

    • Incognito 3.1

      This is neither within the Moderators’ capability nor within their admin rights. The SYSOP is aware of these and other technical issues, but he also has a daytime job – most of his efforts here go unnoticed. Mostly, the site is functioning well.

  3. dv 4

    This is clever

    They are training sniffer dogs to detect covid infections.

    Cant find the reference again.

    • Andre 4.1

      A week or two ago there was a big fluffy of articles easily found by googling covid sniffer dogs. But I've yet to see any claimed successes.

      • dv 4.1.1

        Fair enough
        I had seen it in stuff or herald. Didn’t think to google andre.

  4. Dennis Frank 5

    Gone batshit: "The Wuhan Institute of Virology has dissected bats that carry RaTG13, the closest pathogen to SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19. The reports suggest that Five Eyes inquiries have centered on Wuhan scientists Peng Zhou and Shi Zhengli. Shi led a team from Wuhan and the US that took samples of droppings from horseshoe bats at a cave in Yunnan province in 2004 and was the first to find a definite connection between the animals and RaTG13. Her database found a 96% virus match between the droppings and Covid-19."

    "Three other species of bats were also studied by the laboratory in a five-year period, according to papers published in 2005 and 2017. Shi disputed the belief that a host is needed for the virus to leap from bats to humans." https://asiatimes.com/2020/04/china-drops-a-covid-19-gauntlet-on-australia/

    So the Oz/China batshit thingy is now having foreign policy consequences. "Peng and Shi also separately took part in research in the past decade at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory near Melbourne, which looked at links between coronaviruses and bats caught at a colony in Queensland. These bats were studied because they harbor hendra and nipah viruses, which have infected large fruit bats and can be transmitted to humans."

    "Beijing initially said Covid-19, which was first detected in early January, originated in a wet market selling live animals near the Wuhan laboratory, but now maintains that there is no evidence that it came from China at all." Waving the red herring at the world did work initially, to distract attention from the research facility, but now the regime has switched to denial. Works for climate, so why not for covid, they think…

    • RedLogix 5.1

      If I was to cause so much as an 'unintentional movement' on a piece of plant machinery, much less hurt someone, or (my always worst fear) kill just one person in the course of my work, there would have been a formal investigation. On any of the big sites here in Australia if it turned out that I had broken the rules, I would be given what is popularly known as the choice of "aisle or window seat".

      Here we have a catastrophe many orders of magnitude worse and the CCP insists that there shall be no investigation and "maintains that there is no evidence that it came from China at all". From any perspective this is self-serving bullshit.

      Indeed the Chinese authorities early in January commanded all their biotech researchers to immediately stop work, destroy any samples and submit any papers to the govt before publishing. Any technical information you are seeing coming out of China on this virus is now strictly controlled.

      But however you cut it, the real world facts are undeniable. The Wuhan Institute had been working with this class of virus for years, had published papers and presented on it. The research was so risky, their standards of operation so sloppy, that it was protested by other nations (the US in particular).

      Without invoking any genetic tech argument, that frankly few people are qualified to evaluate, the coincidence of this flawed and dangerous research being undertaken in the same damned city which experienced the first major outbreak is beyond question. Only made worse by the subsequent self-serving denials, cover-ups and obfuscations from the CCP .

      Parallels can be drawn with the Pike River debacle, the problem was not that an investigation would find someone liable, but that too many people would be found guilty. People way too far up the food chain.

      • francesca 5.1.1

        Parallels can also be drawn with the Iraq debacle

        Was there ever any investigation into state culpability for that murderous spree.

        The death toll is still rising all these years later.

        You're pushing shit uphill anyway, there's such a thing as sovereign immunity

        Instead put your shoulder to the wheel , and demand better food production policies

        Sue Macdonalds!Coca Cola!KFC!

        Our battery farms, pig farms, salmon farms, and intensive dairy aren't doing humanity or the world any favours either

        It disgusts me that most beef produced in the world gets minced up for fucking hamburgers

        Get that supply line cranking, the people must eat , even if its total shite and contributes to the very same underlying conditions that make coronavirus a sure fire killer …diabetes and obesity.



        • RedLogix

          What about prosecuting the French for the 1066 invasion? History being an endless reservoir of whataboutism that we can tap into all day. But not very useful imo.

          Your point about sovereign immunity is however a good one. If the CCP are going to hold themselves innocent of this crisis, make childishly transparent denials you wouldn't tolerate from a 4yr old, then you must accept that other nations also have the right to act in their own sovereign interests as well.

          Over the past two days we've seen the Chinese Ambassador in Canberra threaten the Australian govt with trade reprisals for daring to suggest an independent investigation. Well if the consequence of open borders and trade with China is going to be catastrophic events as we have seen these past few months, then maybe the correct sovereign response is 'aisle seat or window'?

          • Dennis Frank

            The French would go "Huh? Weren't us. Were the Normans. Buggers invaded us too!" Still, prosecuting Russel Norman for the war crimes of his ancestors could be fun.

            Winston supported the prosecution of China, didn't he? Think I saw that somewhere. So the leaders of USA & Australia are getting support from conservatives elsewhere. Boris has yet to accede to the calls from his rump, but doubt he can hold out long. Will liberals jump on the bandwagon?

            Ought I to be the first cab off the rank and suggest it was a dastardly communist plot to wreck the capitalist economy that succeeded? People would probably respond that it was always obvious to everyone so I was just articulating common knowledge. Folks are real good at hindsight! 🙄

          • sumsuch

            Why Oz and us should keep our trade lower with China unless we want to follow their undemocratic standards.

      • Gabby 5.1.2

        And then when it got loose the yankers turned the other way and whistled? Dodgy.

  5. All that is pure supposition with a fair lashing of scapegoating

    My reading is that the science is pointing to a natural evolution

    Blaming China is a very simplistic solution


    • Andre 6.1

      But it is a very convenient distraction from covfefailures. So CoronaCamacho will do all he can to put that story out through Faux News and White House Lying Hour (previously known as press briefings).


    • KJT 6.2

      Good distraction from the USA's abject failure to contain it.

      What are they going to do, if the next virus starts in a US, abattoir?

    • aj 6.3

      How the Chinese Authorities and the World Health Organization Handled the Coronavirus

      A very interesting article which considers the role of the the western bloc in weakening the regulatory role of the WHO

      By the 1990s, it had become clear that the WHO’s old International Health Regulations—originally issued in 1969, with only a few minor updates and new editions over the two decades after that—were inadequate. For one, these regulations were produced before the emergence of very infectious, lethal, and recurrent infections such as Ebola and the avian influenzas. Secondly, these old regulations were made before air travel began to move about 4.3 billion passengers per year, the scale of air traffic now making the movement of viruses so much easier.

      In May 2005, the 58th World Health Assembly revised the 1969 regulations, pointing out that the new regulations would “prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the internatioal spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.”

      The North American and European states, in particular, insisted that the declaration of a PHEIC or global pandemic only be made after it was clear that air travel and trade would not be unduly interrupted. This restriction, essentially the core foundations of globalization, has constrained the WHO since 2005.

    • David Mac 6.4

      I think most people are looking towards the CCP on account of the wisps of smoke that continue to escape from the barrel of the gun they are holding.

      • aj 6.4.1

        Whereas we can not only see smoke from the gun being held by the USA and others but also the blood pouring from the holes in their feet.

  6. Cinny 7

    During lockdown my girls have been allowed to take over the kitchen and cook to their hearts content.

    Sneaked out and brought them Macca's as a surprise yesterday. Thankfully there was no queue.

    They had a couple of bites of a burger and the rest ended up in the bin. Telling me it tasted yuck and they prefer healthy food now. Then they made a delicious salad instead.

    Am so happy about this. Life is good.

    • Carolyn_Nth 7.1

      I found this after eating healthy for a few years. On occasions I went out and bought some fast food, which looked good in the promo photos. And my stomach protested. It now feels indigestible.

    • JanM 7.2

      That is really cool – another silver lining smiley

    • Andre 7.3

      Get 'em some of the junkiest sugared oversalted grease-dripping pizza you can find. They'll relapse.

      Or not.

    • patricia 7.4

      +1 Cinny Well done girls

    • sumsuch 7.5

      KFC the last time I ate it was vile. Salt and fat.

  7. Adrian Thornton 8

    When even the the guard dog of the liberal establishment has to start running this story you know you got problems…still as all centrists are so used to selling out their morals and values I am sure they will find a way around even voting for an (alleged) rapist…

    Pressure mounts on Joe Biden to address sexual assault claim


    This distressing saga has also exposed the #metoo movement to be a hollow vessel and of course the outrageous double standards of all liberal media didn't need any more exposing (well unless you are a complete idiot that is).

    • bill 8.1

      This is plain scary in terms of tribal bullshit determining what can and cannot be explored, questioned or reported.

    • McFlock 8.2

      Jesus, it takes down all of metoo not just the dem voters who thought Biden was the best chance to ditch trump? What a joke.

      Yes, it's a quandary. For anyone who doesn't look at dolt45 for a millisecond.

    • Andre 8.3

      Just curious, have you tried to gain a broader picture of the whole situation beyond just what's been spoon-fed by hard-core Berners?

      Y'know, like maybe trying to get a feel for Reade's credibility by doing something like googling tara reade backstory?

      • Morrissey 8.3.1

        Yesterday you posted an item saying that the makers of Planet of the Humans were suspect because they were white men; today you insinuate that Tara Reade lacks credibility because of her "backstory".

        And how do those sinister "hard-core Berners" fit into the picture?

      • Adrian Thornton 8.3.2

        @ Andre + McFlock

        Of course no surprises that you and McFlock are completely fine in displaying your hypocrisy for all the world to see.

        Any semblance of a guiding internal moral and ethical balance you guys might have once held, has long been burnt on the bonfire of your hollow, deranged and extremely selfish liberal centrist ideology.

        • Andre

          I take it that's a no, you haven't made any attempt to gain a wider picture of the situation surrounding the allegations nor attempted to independently assess Reade's credibility?

          • Siobhan

            Does Bidens handling of the Anita Hill/ Clarence Thomas count as part of your 'wider picture'? Or this, from back when the liberals weren't in love with Biden…


            • Andre

              Indeed it does factor in to what aspects of the allegations I think likely happened and what aspects likely didn't. Furthermore, Biden's treatment of Anita Hill and his other creepy-handsy behaviour towards women were just two of the many reasons I would have much preferred someone else as the nominee, and in fact voted for Warren.

              Nevertheless, a strong majority of Dem primary voters so far haven't shared my negative opinion of Biden but have chosen him to be the nominee.

              So when it comes to she said/he said allegations sufficiently serious to be disqualifying from long ago with no physical evidence, assessment of credibility is about all there is for fair investigation to go on. Frankly, while Biden's creepy disrespect for women's personal space that doesn't reach the threshold of sexual touching makes it very likely something happened, Reade's credibility falls short when it comes to the allegations that go further than that.

              Looking further out to November, it then becomes a choice between a self admitted, boasting actually, genital-grabbing golem with dozens of credible accusations, versus the slightly creepy guy with one dubious serious acccusation that has acknowledged the discomfort his behaviour causes and vowed to respect other people's space. Seriously, is that even a question?

              • Morrissey

                I would have much preferred someone else as the nominee, and in fact voted for Warren.

                Well, THERE's a sure-fire winner. Honest and ethical too.

                Ms. Warren faced criticism last year after she released the results of a DNA test that provided evidence she had a Native American ancestor. After entering the presidential race, she apologized for the DNA test and for identifying herself as Native American during her career as a law professor.


              • McFlock

                Didn't even get so far as to question Reade's allegation.

                If Biden were going up against a moderate Republican with competent governorship experience, some cross-partisan history, and nothing in the way of allegations then I could see there being some question about whom to vote for or wheter to vote at all.

                But that's not who the voters chose. Not the DNC, dem voters in the primaries. Didn't even get to superdelegates.

                So we've got one with boundary and consent issues vs one guy with dozens of rape and sexual assault allegations from across much of his life. Oh, and the serial rapist is astronomically incompetent.

                I don't get how it's even a question.

                • Andre

                  Well, at this stage there is still time for the Dems to change course on Biden, if there really is something that disqualifies him.

                  But what would happen in that case if the primaries were opened back up again for Sanders to unsuspend his campaign, probably others would unsuspend as well. Which means Sanders wouldn't have a majority going into the convention, so it would be a brokered convention. I just can't see Sanders getting the nod in that scenario, especially after superdelegates come into play.

                  Given that most of the people pushing the story are hard-core Sanders supporters that frankly stretch the limits of rationality at the best of times, along with convergence wingnuts, I can't help wondering if they're operating under a fantasy that if they can somehow knock Biden out, then Sanders automatically becomes the nominee. Sanders himself really doesn't seem to be a part of it, but he sure seems to attract some shitbags mixed in amongst his bulk of ordinary reasonable supporters.

                  • Morrissey

                    hard-core Sanders supporters that frankly stretch the limits of rationality at the best of times,

                    How do they "stretch the limits of rationality"? Was it Sanders supporters that pushed the Russiagate conspiracy theory for the last three and a half years?

                    … along with convergence wingnuts,

                    What's a "convergence wingnut"?

                • Morrissey

                  So Biden's problem is "boundary and consent issues", is it? What he did to Tara Reade, as well as his brutal dismissal of her after she reacted to his assault, goes far beyond mere "handsiness" or even simple uncouthness.


                  • McFlock

                    From what I recall of the allegation (rather than focussing on your love of the term "digitally penetrated"), Biden even said at the time "I thought you were into me", and acted like a dick when she wasn't.

                    So, yeah, an arsehole. He assumed consent, because he thinks he's all that. Was a fucking jerk when it was clear that consent was refused.

                    But he also stopped when it was clear that consent was refused.

                    So yeah, not reading consent properly was an issue, rather than being aware consent was refused and not caring.

                    • David Mac

                      Made a dick of himself infront of a woman, thought he got a 'Hi baby' signal but it was a 'Hi client' signal….You better take me outside and shoot me now.

                      Ha, I can feel it like it was yesterday "Why are you holding my hand?'

                    • McFlock

                      He shouldn't have gone as far as he did without clear signals to proceed. That's definitely the area of sexual assault via carelessness/recklessness, and should rule him out of contention. But it didn't, so now it's him or dolt45.

              • Morrissey

                one dubious serious acccusation

                "Dubious"? How so? Her neighbour and her mother have corroborated what she says. And exactly how is the tape of her mother talking to Larry King shortly after the assault "dubious"?

                that has acknowledged the discomfort his behaviour causes…

                ???? He treated Tara Reade with utter contempt when she reacted negatively to his digital penetration of her.

        • McFlock

          Admitting reality contains ethical conflicts and quandaries is not hypocrisy.

          Claiming to not support dolt45 while spending 90% of your effort on the topic to hobble his opponent, on the other hand, is some next-level bullshit.

          Have you ever answered the question about what you expect a normal democrat to do come November? The only options I see are to vote for Biden, vote for dolt45, or not vote. Only one of those choices would be an attempt to change the guy in charge. The rest is preferring to leave the current guy in charge.

          • Morrissey

            Opposing one corrupt and discredited politician does not imply that one supports his opponent.

            Surely, instead of firing out wild accusations at Adrian—90 percent of his effort, indeed!—your own energies should be going into establishing exactly how someone as sleazy and corrupt and notoriously racist as Biden got to be the nominee.

            • McFlock

              Opposing one corrupt and discredited politician does not imply that one supports his opponent.

              It does when there is only one other candidate. It's called "running interference", in sporting parlance, and is as old as the hills.

              your own energies should be going into establishing exactly how someone as sleazy and corrupt and notoriously racist as Biden got to be the nominee.

              We know how. People voted for him. Examining that more closely does nothing in November, because it’s one nominee or the other.

              • Morrissey

                It's called "running interference", in sporting parlance, and is as old as the hills.

                It's not as old as the hills. Running interference occurs only in American football—that joyless "game" where hardly anyone ever kicks the ball, and most of the players never even touch it. Running interference is ridiculous and highly dangerous, and it's only been permitted since some fools in the universities legalized it in the late 19th century.

                People voted for him.

                They won't in November.

                • McFlock

                  The term is from american football.

                  Sun Tzu described the analagous technique in warfare and politics.

                  As for Biden not winning in November, I expressed similar sentiments when there were 20 people in the primaries. But he is the guy the voters chose, so getting rid of dolt45 means trying to stop that prediction from coming true. If dolt45 kills enough of his supporters between now and then, it might happen.

                  So what's more important to you and the rest of the bros: getting rid of the current "president", or being proved right about how unelectable Biden is?

                  • Morrissey

                    When you use that dismissive "bro" term to disparage the people who support the most popular, coherent and substantive mainstream American politician for the last thirty years, are you also sneering at the women who support him?

                    • gsays

                      You're coming in off a long run up tonight…

                    • McFlock

                      Primaries said not the most popular, but whatevs.

                      But nah, bro. Anyone who can't bring themselves to say that kicking dolt45 out of office is a bigger priority than being proved right about Biden's unelectability probably deserves being sneered at in a reasonably precise manner.

                    • Morrissey

                      Good time to retire from the crease for the evening. See you tomorrow, my friend.

                    • Morrissey

                      Good on you, McFlock! See you tomorrow. heartyes

                    • The Al1en

                      You're coming in off a long run up tonight…

                      And bowling spin, way wide outside off, going between slip and gully for extras. cheeky

            • Gabby

              So who you voting for? Oh, that's right, you can't. How many people do you rickn you'll dissuade from voting? Oh, that's right, we can't either. At this point you're just whinging pointlessly.

              • Morrissey

                The only whingeing here—ceaseless, daily whingeing—is by our friends Andre and Joe 90. I merely point out their shuddering inconsistencies and their susceptibility to conspiracy theories.

                • Incognito

                  Your contributions to the discourse have been dutifully noted.

                  • Morrissey

                    Thanks Incognito. That makes two of us. wink

                    • sumsuch

                      Endless the oligarchy's idea of the Left. It's a legitimate question when that has produced an authoritarian anti-democrat and war on democracy whether to carry on voting for the lesser of two evils. We are at the point of whether there'll be a US election next November.

                      If you keep choking off democracy you up other less wordy opposition. And it's obviously time for such a ruction to put America back on FDR's path.

  8. Andre 9

    "Planet of the Humans" has certainly provoked discussion. I came across the piece below which partly explores a couple of the many different camps of environmental thought. It's a longish piece that certainly has its flaws, starting with its oversimplified dichotomous starting premise, but it contains a lot of worthwhile info and points. And unless you're a verrrrrry slooooooow reader, it's a small fraction of one hour forty minutes.

    When it comes to Environmentalism, there are two main schools of thought:
    A) that we humans must mend our technological ways, end our fossil fuel use, better manage Earth’s biosphere, and stop being a “throwaway” civilization.
    B) that we humans are too numerous, lack the discipline necessary for long-term sustainability, and that “green energy” tends to be counter-productive.

    School A holds that there is sufficient energy and everything else to go around on this planet or within our reach and that we must continue to get smarter about our technologies. The answers to our problems, accordingly, lie in science and medicine and engineering. We are a long way from using as much energy as the Sun provides at Earth, but we must cease burning non-renewable fuels that we happen to have inherited from previous epochs of living things, like fossil coal, gas, and oil. The idea of burning up everything flammable we can lay our hands-on, regardless of the by-products of that combustion, simply must go to the trash bin of history as soon as possible.

    School B holds that 7–10 billion humans are simply far more than this poor planet can handle, especially when we exhibit so little regard for the other life forms upon which we depend for our sustenance, not to mention all our other bad habits. The answer to our problems is “reduce, reuse, recycle”, and by “reduce” we mean to reduce our numbers, our demands for obsolescent new stuff, and our discarded refuse. There is a certain “fire and brimstone” aspect of School B, harking back to religious anxiety about (Nature’s) God and their reaction to humanity. There is a strongly held belief that Mother Earth will reduce our population if we won’t take care of it ourselves. Technological efforts to produce clean energy are regarded as misguided distractions that increase energy usage, and thus are as harmful as fossil energy has been.


    For those interested in further reaction to "Planet of the Humans" from actual environmentalists and renewable energy experts, here's a selection:

    Bill McKibben's response to the specific allegations made against him: https://350.org/response-planet-of-the-humans-documentary/

    A piece exploring how old and inaccurate information has been presented:

    In a red flag for any veteran of the wind farm debate, Gibbs then uses footage of a collection of old wind turbines – rusted, gross and horrible – to illustrate the short life and lasting damage of these huge spiky bastards.

    If you’re familiar with the network of anti-wind farm groups, you’ll recognise that they’re old machines from South Point on Big Island, Hawaii. They were removed in 2012, by the owner of the facility. All that is left now are small hexagonal pads on farmland used by the cattle that roam it:

    “Why for most of my life, have I fallen for the illusion that green energy would save us?” It sounds like he’s saying this in 2020, but he is saying it well in the past. Gibbs was posting anti-wind memes roughly 23 full epidemics ago.


    A piece that looks a bit more at the politics:

    Heated newsletter writer Emily Atkin, in a post enumerating questions on the film for Gibbs and Moore, wondered why POTH avoids backing up its claims on energy.

    "This movie repeatedly claims that humans are better off burning fossil fuels than using renewable energy," said Atkin. "But it also fails to cite any peer-reviewed science on lifecycle emissions, which show the cumulative impact of different renewable energy sources. Why?"

    In a more disturbing move, Gibbs promotes population control as the best answer to the warming of the planet.

    "There's a reason that Breitbart and other conservative voices aligned with climate denial and fossil fuel companies have taken a shine to the film," Earther's Brian Kahn wrote last week. "It's because it ignores the solution of holding power to account and sounds like a racist dog whistle."

    That sentiment was echoed by Joshi, who noted that the film's emphasis on prioritizing white American voices was in line with its argument on population control.

    "The film features a parade of—solely—white Americans, mostly male, insisting the planet has to reduce its population," wrote Joshi. "There is no information provided on which people in the world need to stop fucking, but we can take a guess, based on the demographics of the people doing the asking."


    • RedLogix 9.1

      Good comment Andre.

      Both School A and B make logical arguments.

      My view is closer to School A, and extends it to the notion of a technology based society using abundant, carbon free energy to create closed loop resource use at every level. The end goal is a highly urbanised, high efficiency societies that maximise decoupling from the nature world.

      I personally find School B morally unacceptable; as you say its way to adjacent to eugenics and the anti-human mass die-off advocates for my liking. But it makes the valid argument that our current population has over-shot our current carrying capacity. It also argues that we consume way more than is necessary.

      My response to School B is that you can have the reducing population you want if you extend human development universally across the whole human race, not just the 'golden 1b'.

      And as populations reach equilibrium and they start to age, they also tend toward consuming less. As people reach middle age they move from wanting things to wanting experiences, essentially moving up the Maslow pyramid.

      Of course getting to this vision is impossible with our current industrial technologies, I fully acknowledge this, but School B's assertions this means we have to shut them down is absolutely wrong-headed.

      • Andre 9.1.1

        I tend to have the suspicion that School B types have very little understanding of how resource-intensive even a sharply pared-down lifestyle is in a western country. Nor how dependent it is on the vast web of interdependent industrial – technological infrastructure we have around us. Nor what kind of lifestyle is lived by those that only have access to the fringes of modern technological – industrial infrastructure.

        Maybe you need to actually see and experience it personally to gain that understanding. And to understand how damaging it would be to what little remains of the natural world if all 8 billion of us did suddenly try the depower detech deindustrial route.

        • RedLogix

          Maybe you need to actually see and experience it personally to gain that understanding.

          Yup. You are right, this is very much where I'm coming from, but I get the feeling that I'm not conveying message this effectively.

          I accept also that it means I'm a bit biased; yet there is enough unreconstructed hippie left in me to hold nothing against the School B types among us who personally prefer to pull back from directly living in the urbanised, industrial world. There is plenty of room for people to explore alternative ways to construct intentional communities, permacultures and similar. I really enjoy visiting these places, I like them as people.

          All I ask of them in return is the intellectual honesty to acknowledge their underlying dependency on the School A industrialised world to provide the many vital services enabling their welfare, security and standards of life.

      • AB 9.1.2

        School A and School B are points on a continuum – mixtures of both exist and these mixtures are morally healthier and less likely to go bad in some way.

        School A goes bad by being so in love with the economic status quo that it is determined to limit change to just swapping out the energy system to something low carbon, while leaving everything else in place. It is so compromised by this that not enough is done, and CC kills lots of people anyway. School B goes bad by genocidally eliminating 'inferior' populations. Not a nice choice – be wary of purists.

        • RedLogix

          Fair point; we only reduce it to a binary choice for the sake of a tidy argument, but reality is of course much more complex.

          My primary thesis is that science, tech and engineering are primary enablers of social change. For example slavery, while everyone considered it undesirable, was considered an inevitable feature of human life for millennia, until coal and steam engines came along. Then suddenly it wasn't so inevitable.

          I believe this means that features of human life we now regard as undesirable (such as our primitive tendencies toward rivalry, status seeking and excess consumption as a sexual signal) may turn out to be not nearly so hardwired into us as we like to imagine. That given the right context, both in material and spiritual terms, we may well find ourselves changing a lot more than we think possible.

    • gsays 9.2

      You remind me of Father Ted.

      Bringing all this attention on something you don't approve of.

      I am not down with population control, unless it is about us dialling back the population's thneeds.

  9. Stephen D 10

    It’s not often I follow links to the Daily Blog, and I gave up on Chris Trotter some time ago. However as a student of history, this makes some sense.


    • Carolyn_Nth 10.1

      Trotter's description of life per-neoliberalism is common knowledge to those of us who lived through the changes – don't need to be a student of history.

      Peters reminds me of my Dad, a pakeha Northland boy from a rural background, who made it up to the professional classes. The same pro-Muldoonism plus social conservativism. Something similar about their senses of humour.

      Very pro-capitalism, but always quite egalitarian in his men's club kind of work and social life, at a time when most women stayed at home after giving birth. Blokey, but still accepting of a very competent woman who managed to make her way into the professional work classes.

    • pat 10.2

      One of his better pieces….but its always difficult to instil an understanding of something not experienced so I'm not sure how successful Winston will be….though he may well select who's PM again (and spend considerable energy undermining him/her)

  10. joe90 11

    Kushner as Frank Nitti to tRump's Capone.

  11. joe90 13

    On cranks, scam artists, woo-pedlars, single-issue nutters, opportunists and click-bait revenue undermining science.

    A toxic legacy of poor-quality research, media hype, lax regulatory oversight, and vicious partisanship has come home to roost in the search for effective treatments for COVID-19.

    On September 14, 1918, in the midst of the worst pandemic in modern history, an article in the New York Times quoted Dr. Rupert Blue, then surgeon general of the US Public Health Service. Blue reported that doctors in many countries were treating their influenza patients with digitalis and the antimalaria drug quinine. There was no evidence that the two drugs were any more effective than folk remedies being used by patients, including cinnamon, goose grease poultices, and salt stuffed up the nose, but doctors were desperate and willing to try just about anything. They would eventually abandon quinine and digitalis as treatments for flu when studies showed they were not only ineffective but caused serious and sometimes deadly side effects.

    Today, just shy of two months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the media are once again flooded with cures, patients such as Michigan State Representative Karen Whitsett are being quoted with claims that hydroxychloroquine “saved my life,” and doctors are prescribing drugs that have not been shown to be effective. Only this time, it’s the twenty-first century, the age of “evidence-based medicine.” Or so it might seem. But instead of no science to back up treatments, we now have bad studies being reported uncritically in the press, and Twitter storms of doctors, journalists, and researchers arguing about the ethics of withholding drugs from dying patients, even though we have no idea if those drugs do more harm than good.


    • mauī 13.1

      You missed out including the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand in your list of cranks and nutters. They are currently researching your so called woo-woo medicine.


      • joe90 13.1.1

        And now you're equating an extension to a wider international study (REMAP-CAP) which has been recruiting patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia and a second trial that will see patients in the community who have tested positive for Covid-19, but do not require hospital treatment, also given hydroxychloroquine with your preferred woo-pedaling cranks and nutters.

        Your bone-headed fuckwittery is staggering.

    • Editractor 13.2

      "it’s the twenty-first century, the age of “evidence-based medicine."

      Except it isn't. There has been a push the past couple of decades to put medicine on an evidence-based footing but so little of it still is. This is especially so in intensive/critical/emergency care because it is so hard to run proper trials because of ethical issues around withholding treatment. So much of intensive care is just best practice, which isn't necessarily much use when faced with novel threats.

      • Incognito 13.2.1

        That’s an interesting distinction between best practice and evidence-based medicine. Would you like to elaborate, in the context of medicine?

        • Editractor

          Thinking about it, I have been careless in my use of terms for brevity sake.

          I was using the terms in the context as described here (https://www.medline.com/skin-health/evidence-based-vs-best-practice/):

          "Evidence-based practice is research-based practice that has been shown effective through rigorous scientific evaluation. Best practice typically does not undergo the same scientific evaluation—those processes used in research to validate the assessment or effectiveness of practice."

          However, as the "typically" implies, best practice could be evidence-based.

          Scientists/clinicians then use evidence hierarchies to indicate how good the evidence for a particular treatment is (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchy_of_evidence).

          As it is often ethically difficult to conduct randomised controlled trials in critical care (because patients might die because treatment is withheld or because they are given experimental treatments), the level of evidence to support critical care practices is often low.

          • Nic the NZer

            Also (as is practiced in medicine) statistical models like randomised controlled trials do not provide scientific evidence.


            What does the heavy lifting is all the stuff which occurs prior to the RCT (or double blind) studies where a treatment is developed and the causal nature of its effects it observed in experiments.

            • McFlock

              Well, medicine generally has greater "transportability" than economics (which is essentially a pseudoscience), but every properly-conducted study with peer reviewed results is scientific evidence.

              Bit harsh on RCTs, I reckon. It's important to know that the experimental results actually do translate to a safe and effective treatment in the real world, not just when the research team is watching closely.

            • Incognito

              Yes, the heavy lifting is done in the lab. Before you get to the larger randomised double-blind multi-centre clinical trials (AKA Phase 3 or III), you first have to conduct Safety trials (AKA Phase 1 or I) followed by Efficacy trials (AKA Phase 2 or II). It used to be that Phase 3 trials were the required Registration trials before obtaining market approval but some treatments are now fast-tracked based on Phase 2 trial results. Typically, in Phase 3 trials the new treatment is compared against the standard-of-care. At each step along the way data are collected, which generally builds a compelling ‘package’ of efficacy in the target patient population with a tolerable (acceptable) safety profile. However, these trials also serve to mitigate risk and provide a (crude) estimate of value-for-money. This, in turn, is used by regulatory and medical authorities, governments, and insurance companies to regulate (control) its use, subsidy, and reimbursement levels. Last, but not least, the pharma companies use it to set the market price and develop their marketing strategy. It is a very competitive market with loads of greedy shareholders to keep on board.

          • Incognito

            Thank you, I appreciate your considered response.

            I understand that critical care complicates things. However, there are many trials with patients that have life-threatening conditions/diseases with relatively short life expectancy (e.g. terminal cancer patients). In these situations, and as far as I know, a new experimental treatment is never compared to placebo (“treatment is withheld”) but compared to standard-of-care treatment. As you imply, ethics committees would not approve any other way for obvious reasons.

    • Ad 14.1

      Or Hongi Hika, or Te Rauparaha: musket war thugs who massacred and enslaved all before them.

      • left_forward 14.1.1

        Inaccurate (not from another land, or perhaps not even thugs) and bi-opically tunnel-visioned (unless you also accept the massively wider field of imperlialist whities from the Crusades to Desert Storm).

        • Gabby

          That northern thug came down here from another land, whatyoutalkinbout?

    • Morrissey 14.2

      Dr. van Diemen possibly has a rather large guilt complex, going by her name.


      • Incognito 14.2.1

        You seem to have a compulsive habit of taking aim at the messenger or source rather than addressing the message. This is going to trip you up. Just saying.

        • Morrissey

          Gosh, Incognito, I was only making a little joke about her surname. Literate people would have got it, surely?

          You got it, too, didn’t you?

          You are always ready to wield the hammer on my comments, I notice. I have not abused anyone, unlike many of the other commentators here.

          • Incognito

            No, I did not get you were joking. I am not a mind reader and you have form, as I said.

            I’m also not the only Moderator who’s taking an interest in you; you are quite ‘popular’ among some here.

            I don’t hammer your comments, I hint.

            You’re a long-time prolific commenter here who has a bad habit, which you share with many, I have to add, to be fair, of shooting at the messenger and/or source instead of debating the contents.

            If you’re trying to tell me what I should do or not do on this site, you’ll have to have extraordinarily good reasons to do so because otherwise it is as if you’re trying to deflect with whataboutery and I really cannot stand that.

            I cannot take a joke, but can you take a hint?

    • McFlock 15.1

      Whenever something like this happens, I remember that California expanded gun control in the 1960s because Black Power started doing open-carry in their communities.

  12. ianmac 16

    The National Party has dropped below 30 per cent in a UMR poll while Labour has reached as high as 55 per cent.

    And when it comes to preferred Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has reached a near record-breaking 65 per cent approval rating.

    Her popularity eclipses that of her National Party rival, Opposition leader Simon Bridges, who is on a mere 7 per cent.

    Be great if that lead can be sustained. Funnily enough Simon does not agree with the numbers. Suppose he has no choice but to disagree.


    • pat 16.1

      What does Judith have to say?

    • Incognito 16.2

      As with all things, such as our response to COVID-19, complacency can make way for smugness and then failure. Nobody wants to be a failed smug, right?

    • mac1 16.3

      I wonder what his advisers are telling him about his public pronouncements considering what Trumps advisers told him about poll numbers he too did not accept, and how he reacted. I wonder if for example Ms Pugh from the West Coast is having a quiet moment of ah reflection upon her leader's fortunes.

      I guess that this dog has now, after too long and often gone barking at passing cars, started in on biting his own tail.

  13. Dennis Frank 17

    "What’s the exact question on the referendum going to be? ‘Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?’" https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/01-05-2020/heres-what-well-be-voting-on-in-the-cannabis-referendum/

    "“It’s very good, I think it exceeds our expectations,” said the Drug Foundation’s Ross Bell. “We were already quite happy with the first draft, and the public health controls that were included. But to see the final bill, and all of those extra details that have been added – they’ve covered all the key issues, and public health remains at the heart of the bill.” He was also pleased with the provisions that would allow those currently working in the illicit market to move into the legal market."

    "And Green Party drug reform spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick said it was “an evidence-based, harm-reduction approach, to control access and produce better justice and mental health outcomes across Aotearoa. “The question facing New Zealanders is: do we want to continue to empower black market, unregulated chaos, or do we want to implement safety standards, duties of care and ease of access to help for those who need it?” she added."

    On the downside, only allowing two plants to grow-your-own folk poses a small problem: some seedlings don't make it, as any gardener knows, and what if both turn out to be male??? I hope some practical amendments result from further parliamentary processing of the bill. However, if not, growers will most likely wait till their plants sex up, then cull all except the two most vigorous females.

    • joe90 17.1

      Most folk have moved on from playing hit and miss with seed to ready to plant cuttings of their favoured variety.

      • Dennis Frank 17.1.1

        Hmm, so you're guessing that the specialist cannabis shops will provide young females for growers? Would make economic sense. I wonder if this apparently-intelligent design of legislation will reverse the poll trend of the past year. Hope so. Despite not having gotten high the past 7/8 years I may encounter the necessity to do so due to adverse aging trends in the future. Be good to have the option available.

        • Incognito

          Hmm, so you're guessing that the specialist cannabis shops will provide young females for growers?

          Hmm, I misread this so badly in the back-end without the context 🙁

    • Sabine 17.2

      are we allowed to have infused Gummi Bears or is that still a no-no with the Dear Drug Reform Spokes Person?

      just asking for those that like infused Gummi bears and other edibles.

      • Dennis Frank 17.2.1

        Problem with that notion is the risk to children. Spinoff says "any products deemed to be aimed at children would be banned." They also say a govt org will be established to administer the act, so we await further clarification. Parliament also has the opportunity to amend the act because it is merely a proposal at this stage…

      • gsays 17.2.2

        I understand plant material (cured and fresh) and seeds are stage 1.

        Edibles are in the next stage.

        They actually mentioned there will never be gummi bears nor space fizzy.

  14. joe90 18

    This could be worth the watch.

  15. Fabulous new Juice vid out today:

  16. Gabby 20

    Waitemata dhb deputy ceo does not fill me with confidence or admiration. Mind you, they're going through a process, so I guess everything's peachy. Doctors can be pratty bureaucrats too apparently.

  17. ianmac 21

    Bloomfield, Robertson and Ardern were shown on TV1 tonight saying there plenty of flu vaccines

    TV1 reported that the flu vaccine operators are saying that there are not enough and an email produced which warns that there may be a gap in supply next week. Pretty serious in spite of the record delivery of jabs compared with previous years.

    Unless some political elements are twisting the facts. Who should I believe? TV1 or the top three spokespeople. Easy.

  18. pat 22

    "The airport could sustain itself for 12 months even with no passengers, it said."


    "The British and Irish aviation industry appears to be running what basketball fans might term a full court press when it comes to requesting state aid: Heathrow Airport’s boss is also asking for help."

  19. Eco Maori 23

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    That's great another country banning automatic guns.

    I think its going to be a buyers house market.

    That's awesome breeding the endangered Spiders in Aotearoa.

    Ka kite Ano.

  20. Eco Maori 24

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    Its good that the mutton bird harvest has started under level 3 isolation it looks quite sestanable to.

    Correct the tangata should be lining up for flue vaxcernation before fast Kai.

    Ka kite Ano

  21. Eco Maori 25

  22. Eco Maori 26

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    I wonder who is making those fulse claims.

    Its great to see the kindness of people.

    Ka kite Ano

  23. Eco Maori 27

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    Farmers need to invest in water supply systems tanks and troughs.

    Come on tangata just keep yourselves isolated or else we could be in isolated longer.

    Mana Wahine

    Ka kite Ano

  24. Eco Maori 28

    Kia Ora The Am Show.

    Politicizeing the virus issues is not on if you have a plan and targets you don't change them because some people are sad and blue.

    There you go.


    Ka kite Ano.

  25. Eco Maori 29

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    Isolation would be quite easy for the people on the space station.

    The Rain is great the paddocks are finally starting to green up again.

    Ka kite Ano

  26. Eco Maori 30

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    I think that this government is providing better services for Māori than others have but we still have a fair way to travel for equality.

    The more Moana reserves the better I say so Our mokopuna can see and taste the taonga of Tangaroa for many generations to come.

    Ka kite Ano

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