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Open mike 01/11/09

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 1st, 2009 - 33 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:


We’re trying a daily “Open mike”.

This is a place for anyone to post comments on topics that might be of interest, and for any discussion following up on the comments. Over to you…

33 comments on “Open mike 01/11/09 ”

  1. John Dalley 1

    Reading this mornings Herald online i see that Rodney Hide is even a bigger liar and hypocrite that was first reported. It now seems that Ms Crome lives with him in Wellington during the week.
    Makes his claim about time for MP’s relationships a bit hollow!

    • jcuknz 1.1

      But doesn’t she go away on playing tours? so they have to grab what time together they can. For such a hard working person, like most MPs, I think it is completely reasonable that they should travel together when they can.

      • Armchair Critic 1.1.1

        Yeah, I think it is the “say one thing when in opposition, do the opposite when in government” approach that Rodney is taking that seems to be the issue. There is a single word that sums it up and it begins with “H”.

      • Armchair Critic 1.1.2

        Oh, and it bugs me that Rodney has tried to justify his travel allowance by saying “it didn’t come from the trough we have been told not to use, it came from a different one that we are allowed to use”.
        JK set the principle – “if you want to take your partner, pay for them yourself.” Which is quite different to “if you want to take your partner, take it from a different trough.” In the end it is all taxpayer funded. I mostly pay two different kinds of tax (income tax and GST), it goes to thousands of different places and I don’t get, or want, a detailed breakdown of how it is spent. But spending taxpayer money on travel is spending taxpayer money on travel, irrespective of whether it comes through a ministers account or an MPs account. To be consistent with the PM’s direction, Rodney should have paid for his partner’s travel himself. If he pays back the amount and apologises that might go some way, otherwise I will have to conclude that the PM does not mean what he says.

        • kiwiteen123

          I must agree… Come on Rodney:pay it back!

        • So Bored

          Lets get the whole Rodney thing back where it should be. The whole travel thing is a siideshow and distraction. It is not going to sink him, it merely shows him for what he is, a blown up in your face frick you egomaniac.

          More to the point this whole thing is having a smokescreen effect on the real issue, that Hide is colluding with Auckland big business in an undemocratic way to strip the people of their assetts. ARC and councils (aka the Auckland regions ratepayers) currently own as much capital wealth as the whole NZSX, and these larcenists want it. They also then want you to pay forr the capital they need to bankroll the larceny over the forseeable future through such devices as privatised water bodies.

          Is the electorate so thick as to not care? .

  2. Doug 2

    When will Labour ever come clean, determined to drop below the Greens.

    Another MP poll-busted
    4:00AM Sunday Nov 01, 2009
    By Matt Nippert
    A second Labour MP has been implicated in the fake-name polling scandal uncovered last week by the Herald on Sunday.

    The volunteer who came forward last week to blow the whistle said she was recruited by MP Iain Lees-Galloway, who was also present when the polling took place.


  3. tsmithfield 3

    When it comes to the climate change debate, the common criticism I have seen is that contrary evidence can’t be accepted because it hasn’t been peer reviewed.

    I want to take the opportunity to point out that the peer review process isn’t all its cracked up to be, and that the published evidence in any field can provide an extremely distorted picture due to a number of potential biases in the process.

    A common bias is the positivity bias. This bias means that reviewers tend to prefer to publish research that shows a positive effect rather than research that shows no effect. However, in reality, the research that shows no effect can be just as important as research that shows a positive effect. Here is an article from another field, medicine, that provides empirical evidence of the problem:


    This bias is potentially very serious for the field of climate change. This is because the null hypothesis will often be something like “observed changes are due to natural variability”. Thus, any research that confirms the null hypothesis is much less likely to be published, potentially providing a skewed view of reality. Lets assume that the research was 50/50 either way. In that case I would expect there to be much more published research in favour of climate change, than against it due to the positivity bias alone.

    There are several other relevant biases that are likely to have an impact:

    For instance, the name and affiliation of a research can have a substantial effect on whether an article is published:


    Thus, if most reviewers hold a position of supporting the climate change debate, it is less likely they will accept research from those with contrary views, regardless of the objective merits of the research.

    Another possibility arising from these types of biases is that even scientists who support climate change are less likely to put forward research if it fails to find an effect from climate change. This is because they are likely to fear being seen in the camp of “the deniers” simply because their research has not found an effect.

    Thus, relying only on published peer reviewed literature leaves people open to getting a skewed view of reality, especially in a field such as climate change where there are very polarised views.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      Peer review is as you say not what it is always cracked up to be. It is best described as a ‘necessary but not sufficient condition’. Peer review weeds out papers with bad errors and basic mistakes, however it’s also obvious that the process is not foolproof and that for a number of reasons, flawed work can and does get published.

      The perils of positivity and confirmation bias are drummed into every undergraduate student. While they are a real and present danger, they are strongly guarded against. Any working researcher who is shown to make this basic kind of error too often, will quickly find their career at an end.

      Scientists are not a uniform group who all think exactly alike. A consensus is just that, a model or line of thought that is agreed upon at that point in time… but no more than that. Every individual scientist has their own opinions, view points and line of attack on the problems. The idea of white coated hordes all trapped into the same hive mentality is so much nonsense.

      Indeed, given the profile of the AGW issue… there would be enormous rewards and several Nobel prizes for anyone who could conclusively prove that all the data really could be explained by natural variation alone, and that humans really could pump as much CO2 into the atmosphere and the resulting excess IR absorbtion would have no effect. Yet so far no-one has been able to do this.

      Really this whole argument boils down to three options:

      1. The large majority of qualified and experienced climate scientists have independently concluded that AGW is a real and threatening phenomonon.

      2. The large majority of qualified and experienced climate scientists have suddenly and mysteriously all lost competency at what they do, that they all made a whole lot of errors, across many different approaches to AGW, that have all independently reached the same wrong conclusion.

      3. The large majority of qualified and experienced climate scientists are all secretly colluding together to hoax the world in order to gain secure access to funding. And that no-one has so far been able to produce concrete evidence of this massive conspiracy.

      • Chris 3.1.1

        “The large majority of qualified and experienced climate scientists are all secretly colluding together to hoax the world in order to gain secure access to funding.”

        This is what tsmithfield is saying.

    • lprent 3.2

      This is because the null hypothesis will often be something like “observed changes are due to natural variability’.

      Umm it is clear that you’ve never been around science much.

      Your medical analogy is strained because the vast majority of medical research is funded by medical providers like drug and medical equipment companies. They don’t like publishing null hypotheses (ie it didn’t do anything or was detrimental) about their products – so it doesn’t get to peer review. It is pretty much a case of why the profit motivation of the market isn’t that good at doing basic research (and great for simple engineering research).

      By contrast most of the earth sciences research comes from various not-for-profit bodies, largely with tenure, and with few commercial attachments. Most of the participants are more than mildly cantankerous, and enjoy taking the contary positions if there was evidence to support it. The usual struggle is to get a place to publish rather than getting past reviewers. Reviewers tend to prefer letting through contary positions with substantiated evidence to papers on known material because to disagree with evidence is science.

      With the CCD ‘scientists’, what is always interesting about them consists of several factors.

      1. They usually have some quite interesting commercial links.
      2. They literally never have new data, just reinterpretations of old data.
      3. Their reinterpretations don’t have testable predictions.

      In other words they are crank critics, not scientists. That is mainly why they don’t present papers to reviewers, and when they do, they don’t get published. The quality is too damn poor.

      • RedLogix 3.2.1

        Most of the participants are more than mildly cantankerous,

        LOL… that is for fracken sure. (Thinking back to the five years I actually worked for some geo-phsycists.)

    • blacksand 3.3

      This is because the null hypothesis will often be something like “observed changes are due to natural variability’. Thus, any research that confirms the null hypothesis is much less likely to be published, potentially providing a skewed view of reality

      erm, no. Just about any pattern in the world is made up of a ton of contributing factors, and a lot of work is done in trying to tease out what these factors are. ‘Natural variability’ is not any sort of nailed down constant, it’s a huge & complex soup, with a few strong contenders for the ingredients list. A lot of climate change study is not focussed on AGW, but paleoclimatology, which is about the only place where you can look at a range of time scales and evidence to ease out what some of these ingredients are on different time scales. These range from plate tectonics (for eg. the opening of the Drake Passage & formation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current), to Milankovic cycles to Solar activity. What is typical is that not one pattern explains the variation seen in proxy records, particularly as the mechanisms are often indirect; what you can get however, is an idea of how much of the pattern you’re interested in (for example global temperature patterns over time) is explained by the factor you’re looking at, and what the ‘residuals’ are, that is the left over bits.

      I have a pattern of setting my alarm for 6:20 AM on weekday mornings, but actual real world results don’t match this. If I compare the real world results with the predicted results, I’m left with the odd discrepancy – the odd days when I forgot to switch the alarm on (or the weekends when I forgot to switch it off!), power cuts etc might explain the variation that would not have been expected.

      What I’m getting at is that determining these sorts of residuals & what causes them in climate data (be it global anomalies or local variation) are results, it doesn’t just come down to null vs alternative hypothesis. Secondly, it’s not that difficult to frame a null hypothesis in the other way, and I’d be surprised if no-one has eg have your null hypothesis as Anthropogenic Global Warming explaining the variation, vs your alternative hypothesis being solar activity (or whatever natural variability factor/s you’re looking at) explaining the same better and bingo; if AGW explains the pattern better then you might have a problem getting it published, if solar activity explains the pattern better you have a result.

      In reality you don’t get a whole lot of studies on ‘AGW or ‘natural variability’ as a whole, and nor as an simple either/ o proposition. What you get is people looking at where the data doesn’t fit the best matching patterns (CO2 concentrations & orbital geometry) and looking into why this is, ie what the residuals might be caused by.

      You won’t find many climate scientists who don’t believe in natural variability, but you will find that no-one has managed to explain observed warming trends by natural variability alone. As Redlogix points out above, there’s no shortage of incentive for someone to do this.

      Just like there was no shortage of incentive to find that tobacco smoke doesn’t contribute to ill health, and certainly no lack of support for those scientists who found it worth their while to find no evidence of harmful effects.

  4. Christina Carlyle 4

    Include John Key in this scam since Rodney “checked” with him twice before setting off on his perk trip with live in girlfriend. Why? Maybe a little voice was telling him THIS IS WRONG! Attempts to justify this episode prove Key & Hide lack integrity. SHAME on them both when there are NZers financially struggling.

  5. logie97 5

    Pecuniary Interests.

    What is the difference between Blinglish’s family trust and Jonkey’s family trust? I gather that when Tranzrail questions were being asked in the house the defence was that the questioner had no pecuniary interest in the trust that held the shares.

    • blacksand 6.1

      yeah, or to eat less meat, or to eat different meat.

      For my part I can walk 5 minutes away and buy wild venison/ bacon/ goat/ rabbit; to my mind you can’t get more environmentally friendly than that. Not that everyone’s so lucky with their local shopping. It’s certainly a lot more environmentally friendly than my more sanctimonious vegetarian friends who eat lots and lots of cheese (bobby calves, stream pollution etc).

  6. prism 7

    Interesting thinkpiece on global economy from Prof Robert Wade, NZ with London School of Economics affiliate aptly acronymed DESTIN (discussing our future likely destiny which can not be fully predicted, so the ‘Y’ is left hanging?). Can hear on radionz from Chris Laidlaw Sunday morning prog.

    Has the Rod Oram sound, careful, considered thinking around the problems and possibly solutions. The future isn’t great, a W effect in global finance, and we now are in the middle – likely to go down again in 2010/11 when the effect of the stimulus from govts fades, and those are unlikely to be similarly repeated. More war activity from USA. Sounds feasible looking at past history. Good insightful stuff.

  7. Akldnut 8

    When are we going to have more updates on the cycleway, cost “to date” and the number of jobs that’ve been created?

    I must have been so busy working that I missed them.

  8. Ianmac 9

    Don’t ya see Ak nut? The cycleway was a ploy to distract and give the Left something to debate while the serious stuff is deflected. Cunning plan eh!

  9. Paul Henry 10

    Use of the term ‘tipping point’ coined by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2000 book of that name which describes “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable” (wikipedia), has reached a tipping point. Hereafter people who use the term shall be regarded as unimaginative imbeciles.

  10. Steve 11

    It’s great to be clever on this site but wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to be firing this type of thing thru to Granny Herald or the like to get those rags to be held accountable for their lack of investigative journalism into the likes of the Rodney Hide rorts or the disgraceful self promotion of the finance minister? And where was the outcry from the media when 500 health jobs disappeared due to restructuring? The converted are being preahced to here. With the govt’s honeymoon going way beyond what is normal, now is the time to be bombarding the media with the type of comments made on this site.

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