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Open mike 04/12/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 4th, 2022 - 61 comments
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61 comments on “Open mike 04/12/2022 ”

  1. Joe90 1

    Today 38 years ago 27 tons of methyl isocyanate leaked from the majority owned Union Carbide plant in Bhopal. An estimated 3,800 people died instantly, and more than 22,000 have died since.

    In 1989 the Indian government settled on a payout of $500 per survivor, owners Dow continue to deny responsibility for the disaster and refuse to clean up the site.

    The disaster was entirely preventable.


    The initial effects of exposure were coughing, severe eye irritation and a feeling of suffocation, burning in the respiratory tract, blepharospasm, breathlessness, stomach pains and vomiting. People awakened by these symptoms fled from the plant. Those who ran inhaled more than those in vehicles. Owing to their height, children and other residents of shorter stature inhaled higher concentrations, as methyl isocyanate gas is approximately twice as dense as air and, therefore, in an open environment has a tendency to fall toward the ground.[29]

    Thousands of people had died by the following morning. Primary causes of deaths were choking, reflexogenic circulatory collapse and pulmonary oedema. Findings during autopsies revealed changes not only in the lungs but also cerebral oedema, tubular necrosis of the kidneys, fatty degeneration of the liver and necrotising enteritis.[30][5] The individuals who did not die were exposed to cancers, blindness, loss of livelihood, and financial strain.[31]

    The initial effects of exposure were coughing, severe eye irritation and a feeling of suffocation, burning in the respiratory tract, blepharospasm, breathlessness, stomach pains and vomiting. People awakened by these symptoms fled from the plant. Those who ran inhaled more than those in vehicles. Owing to their height, children and other residents of shorter stature inhaled higher concentrations, as methyl isocyanate gas is approximately twice as dense as air and, therefore, in an open environment has a tendency to fall toward the ground.[29]

    Thousands of people had died by the following morning. Primary causes of deaths were choking, reflexogenic circulatory collapse and pulmonary oedema. Findings during autopsies revealed changes not only in the lungs but also cerebral oedema, tubular necrosis of the kidneys, fatty degeneration of the liver and necrotising enteritis.[30][5] The individuals who did not die were exposed to cancers, blindness, loss of livelihood, and financial strain.[31]


    • dvT 1.1

      GEEZ Dow arse######s

    • RedLogix 1.2

      A timely reminder joe. All automation engineers who are involved with process safety have encountered the Bhopal story at some stage. It was both a traumatic and transformative moment, and became one of the primary drivers in the safety technology systems revolution that has happened since early 90's. There is a great deal of detailed information on the disaster available online. This paper seems fairly accessible:


      The root causes of this disaster lay in a complex chain of events; but the core one that stood out for me was that the plant was scheduled for closure and someone within operations decided to temporarily store more MIC in the critical vessel than it was designed for. That lack of training and insight led to everything else that happened.

      Many have argued the plant should never have been built in the first place; and these days even a rudimentary HAZOP analysis would likely come to this same conclusion.

      What we can say for certain is in the intervening 38 yrs, the entire approach to process safety has radically improved, invoking far more sophisticated and rigorous training and procedures. Entirely new technology platforms are now routinely applied to processes like this – technologies that simply did not exist when the Bhopal plant was designed in the late 70's.


      It also drove a transformation in corporate liability. These days the safety obligations and liabilities of corporate management and directors is clearly spelled out in legislation and case law. And while the cover and effectiveness of this legislation still varies around the world, the chances of a Union Carbide being able to so egregiously evade liability are very much lower in 2022.

      • bwaghorn 1.2.1

        Yeah but $500 measly dollars for the survivors !!!!

        • RedLogix

          Yes – the entire litigation story is a long and complex one. Central to the problem was the sheer number of victims and the fact that Union Carbide simply did not have the funds to cover. There were multiple parties, governments and courts involved – few of whom covered themselves in any glory.

          The plant itself was a mistake, it never made money and Union Carbide had already decided to shut it down and dispose of it. That decision in itself was part of the chain of causal events that led to the worst industrial disaster ever.

          Everyone accepts that it was a very ugly episode, but it is worth noting that a great deal changed afterward to reduce the risk of something similar happening again.

  2. Stephen D 2

    Andrea Vance asks how our politics got so stupid.


    ”How did our politics get so stupid? Political life has become one long, permanent campaign where parties cynically offer up trivial sound bites in staged photo-ops – while kicking the most difficult decisions down the road.”

    A disengenuous answer. At no point does she point the finger at her own media industry. We can’t keep blaming Hosking et al. All media trivialise the issues, and go for gotcha sounbites.
    Perhaps Andrea could have a chat to other media companies to up their game /sarc

    • KJT 2.1

      Hypocrisy much

    • bwaghorn 2.2

      Egged on by a full-blown media moral panic, dairy crime became last week’s topic du jour.

      Probably being a little unfair on Vance

    • Anne 2.3

      In terms of the meeting of Finnish PM, Sanna Marin with Jacinda Ardern, Vance has this to say:

      Only the naive would fail to see that that summit was as much about the optics of two glamorous, progressive leaders sharing a handshake, than boosting two-way trade that already sits firmly in Finland’s favour.

      And there is a good example of the snide and cynical attitude of NZ journalists and commentators . It is a partisan attempt to introduce an erroneous interpretation of Ardern's meeting with Marin. Global trade and economic matters plus the war in Ukraine would have been front and centre of that meeting.

      She also fails to point out that the trip was part of an Australasian tour and that the Finnish PM is currently there discussing the same topics with Aussie's PM who happens to be male.

      It leads nicely into the Q&A Tane interview this morning with Willie Jackson, Minister of Broadcasting. It was the same mode of cynicism and attempt to create a false interpretation of the government's proposed merger of TVNZ and RNZ.

      These 40 years and under journos show their ignorance of the history of NZ broadcasting:

      We had exactly that set-up for decades and it worked well. The standard and accuracy of reporting and commentary was vastly superior to what we have today. We can thank the neoliberal acolytes for the decline.

      I do have some idea what I'm talking about:

      I was an NZBC employee working at the sharp end of broadcasting in the 1960s.

  3. Reality 3

    Politicians and the media are hand in hand. As bad as each other. Jacinda Arden does show dignity in how she responds to events and does not rush off to buy flowers and get filmed placing them at the site of a tragedy. Luxon and Seymour's recent photo opportunities were awful, on a par with Judith Collins' faux prayers.

  4. Stephen D 4

    Replying to Reality at 3. (Can’t reply on iPhone or iPad??)

    And yet on Andrea Vance, in a throwaway line, is the only mainstream journalist to pick up on the hypocrisy of politicians using personal tragedies for political gain.

  5. Incognito 5

    Hipkins said he hoped National and ACT would commit to keeping water assets in public ownership.


    It’s a pity that they never gave that commitment and perhaps just as well because National has form in breaking its promises on asset sales.

    On a related note, Wayne Brown seems to be in the deep pockets of investors.

    Any sale would likely be welcomed by other potential investors.

    "An asset of that quality will be well received by the many investors in New Zealand and there's certainly enough cash availability for investors to partake," New Zealand Shareholders Association CEO Olver Mander told Newshub.


    • RedLogix 5.1

      Years back I proposed a simple test of whether an asset should be in public or private control. All you have to do is ask the question – 'if this enterprise was to encounter commercial or technical difficulties that threatened its continued operations, would there be overwhelming political pressure for the public sector to step in to save it?'

      In the case of Auckland Airport I suspect the answer is yes. In which case it should remain in at least a majority public control.

      • Shanreagh 5.1.1

        I agree, sort of, but not sure yet about your definition of commercial. I would exclude a drop, demonstrated by a drop in shareholder value, in the definition of 'commercial'. Astute investors will be always looking at the reasons this is happening and using this to guide their (continued) investment strategies .

        Would it work if you had 'should be in majority public or private control'?

        The test also works when looking at whether the Govt, any Govt, should answer calls for rescue in cases like RAL.


        Still pondering Canterbury Finance.

        Still pondering if large-scale BoD or organisational fraud would be covered in 'commercial' difficulties.

        • RedLogix

          I think my caveat 'that threatened its continued operations' gives some clarity around commercial difficulties. A simple drop in share price alone might not trigger that condition.

          On the other hand consider Air New Zealand.

      • AB 5.1.2

        Good rule of thumb that. If something must never go out of business, then it's not a business.

        • RedLogix

          It is more a case of risk. As Arnold Nordmeyer once famously pointed out, would anyone want to socialise every corner dairy?

          Because while they might provide an important social service (especially in the 50's before supermarkets came along) the failure of a single one would not likely have any political impact. The large majority of enterprises fall into this category and can be sensibly left to the private sector.

          By contrast only the state is large enough to absorb the intergenerational risk of large scale infrastructure – and thus should be in appropriate public control.

          • Visubversa

            Well, as "every corner dairy" seems to be demanding that the taxpayer fund their security costs – we are getting closer to that every day.

            • Shanreagh

              'Commercial difficulties' seem to me to be a term used to signal a view that a Govt handout/bailout is justified. Continued operations seem to mean that continued present operations. Sometime cutting one's cloth is a better response.

              But a good rough rule of thumb and as I said also works when assessing calls for Govt investment once firms face difficulties eg RAL.

            • Shanreagh

              Good point Visubversa.

              My response was to RL not you and I must have hit the wrong reply button.

      • Incognito 5.1.3

        Asset ≠ enterprise

        Wayne Brown likes writing rambling letters telling Wellington that he doesn’t like them to tell him what to do with his front porch but he doesn’t seem to mind investors taking over a strategic asset in his backyard.

        Hasn’t the ship long sailed on majority public control of Auckland Airport?

        It wouldn’t surprise me if the share price had been climbing since Brown rode into town.

    • Herodotus 5.2

      How can you show good faith when you are dealing with a devious group within Labour , who I now note say it was a mistake- really a mistake, not that you goy caught???Will do something so underhanded and yet no one will take ownership in voting in support of the SOP ? Is the PM so disinterested that what was discussed within caucus “discussed, despite her saying on Monday it was “not necessarily something I would be aware of”
      and when you are caught out – misdirect, hide, avoid anything to distance from what was such an underhanded attempt. Perhaps the PM Ardern should just retire as imo power has corrupted her into a person I am sure on reflection it is not someone a few years ago she would have thought she would become.


      • solkta 5.2.1

        How is it possible to pass a bill through parliament without getting "caught"? Your comment is ridiculous.

        • Shanreagh

          Yes it is a ridiculous comment by Herodotus. Bears no relation to a knowledge of Parliamentary process. It even goes against a close reading of the article they are linking

          'She cast doubt on whether Labour MPs knew exactly what was being voted on: "To be fair, the principle of entrenchment has generally attracted a 75% threshold. Everyone in Labour was very aware of that. What would have been happening in real time as you had both an entrenchment position, but a different threshold.”

          Similarly, Minister Chris Hipkins, the Leader of the House, also said he did not know it was being voted on. He said he knew the Government had previously sought a 75% entrenchment, but he understood this would have failed as it did not have cross-party support.'

          I linked to the lists of SoPs earlier. here it is again


          Anyone including opposition MPs can put forward an SoP at any time.

          As Solkta says discussion on the floor of Parliament is the least likely place to be able to slip something through with Hansard recorders, The Speaker, house majorities/whips and the ability to have all the drafts in front of the House and able to be read by all & sundry. We also have Parliamentary Counsel.

          Bearing mind the position of SoPs being able to be put in place at any time if there was nothing at the Caucus then there was probably not an SoP in place. I am not sure if a Green MP (Sage) would go to a Labour party Caucus but I would think not. As a Minister she will go to Cabinet.

          What is the big drama anyway? Legislation matters and the conduct of such through the House are are traditionally under the purview of the Leader of he House. The current Leader of the House is Chris Hipkins.

          In the view of whether cockup or conspiracy I think we would come down to the fact in a fast moving Parliamentary environment Hipkins may/maynot have been aware of, but no expectation that the PM would be, as it happened but would be soon after. Hipkins would have control and would be discussing.

          Those trying to make a meal of this show very clearly their lack of knowledge of parliamentary process and their partisan approach, and this is par for the course as far as the media is concerned. That the approach has trapped Herodotus is also clear.

          To me it is yet another example of the idiotic expectations that the media places on the PM in a bid to achieve a prized ‘gotcha’.

          We saw it so often during Covid when there was the expectation that she was solely responsible for full or empty supermarket shelves, loading out delays from warehouses to said supermarkets etc etc

          • solkta

            Sage is not a minister. The Greens do not have a minister inside of cabinet.

            • Shanreagh

              Solkta …… Doh of course…….so even less likelihood of a anyone on the Govt's side knowing of an SoP about lowering the entrenchment %.

              • Mahuta spoke in favour of it (the amendment) on the floor – immediately following Sage's introduction of her SOP (which specifically referenced the 60% entrenchment) – so pretty certain that at last some Labour MPs knew about the provision & therefore what they were voting for.

                "There is a high constitutional threshold to be reached in order to put such a threshold within legislation, and often it's on constitutional matters—of which this bill is not—and it would be a novel approach to include an entrenchment clause. However, in saying that, I think that the member for the Green Party who has put up, still, and tested the will of the House in relation to having an entrenchment cause is a worthy matter to be considered, because at least the Government and the Greens are very clear about our position on privatisation: we don't want to see it."


                Mahuta has also said it was discussed at the Labour caucus immediately prior. Though she hasn't made it clear whether the discussion refrenced the 60% (which was achievable) or the general provision of entrenchment (75%) which was not. But the discussion did specifically talk about entrenchment (in some form) in relation to water. It's not really believable that Hipkins and Ardern could have been totally blindsided.

                • Shanreagh

                  I don't think anyone is saying either were totally blindsided, the Stuff article says they were prepared for 75% but not being fully aware that there was an SoP floating round with the percentage at 60% and not 75% and that a vote on the lower percentage was imminent.

                  • Incognito linked below to the exact wording – specifically drawing attention to the 60% as it was put to the vote.

                    Your alternatives are either that they weren't paying attention to the debate in the House (which is, actually, a real possibility, under urgency with multiple SOP being debated). Or that they actually did want to have entrenchment – and are backtracking now that the constitutional implications have become a public issue.

      • Incognito 5.2.2

        Yeah, right, they were caught with their pants down in the middle of the act and it is all on file:

        CHAIRPERSON (Greg O'Connor): Members, we're about to vote on an amendment which is a proposal for entrenchment requiring a 60 percent majority for repeal or amendment of the entrenched provision. Under Standing Order 270, this proposal must be carried by that majority. Therefore, this amendment must be agreed by a 60 percent majority, which would be 72 members. The question is that the Hon Eugenie Sage's amendment to insert new Subpart 4A into Part 6, set out on Supplementary Order Paper 285, be agreed to.

        A party vote was called for on the question, That the amendment be agreed to.


        • Shanreagh

          I fail to see what the big drama is. A percentage requirement was dropped. Hipkins has stated he did not think 75% was a go-er.

          It is clearly some sort of media beat-up.

          • Incognito

            When the focus should have been on privatisation of water or rather on keeping it as a public good it sadly became a technicality issue with some screaming that democracy was under attack. Government could have shown more unity and resolve but they looked like a bunch of flustered possums caught in the headlights.

    • psych nurse 5.3

      Isn't this now a neat trap for National and Act, agree to the proposal not to sell water assets. Or not, leaving them open to election jibes of wanting to sell.

  6. logie97 6

    Problems for dairy owners.

    If they were to stop selling tobacco products, would they be such targets of robberies?

    And the ram-raid in Christchurch on the gun shop.

    What if all gun-shops were required to moved their premises as close as possible to police stations?

  7. lprent 7

    The system will be going down for a reboot shortly.

    • Has been up continuously for 106 days.
    • I need to allow a kernel update through (it has a relevant security update).
    • Changing the UPS over to one with fresh batteries.

    Shouldn't take too long.


    • lprent 7.1

      Ok – that was annoying. Something failed on the TS raid during shutdown and it didn’t start up because it kept skipping drives.

      The raid is now running on a single SSD. I’ll try adding the other disk and spare back in.

      • lprent 7.1.1

        The other array drives show a spare with an empty partition, and the other drive with a munted file system. My guess is that it powered off while it was resyncing.

        No disk errors. Resyncing.

        I’d better pop a new drive into the array and shift a spare. Note the hours on SSD 0
        SSD 0 = 3992 hours powered on (about 166 days)
        SSD 1 = 35474 hours (~4.14 years)
        SSD 2 = 759 hours (spare)

        • adam

          Can I ask the brand name for SSD 1 please?

          • lprent

            [email protected]:~$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sdf
            smartctl 7.2 2020-12-30 r5155 [x86_64-linux-5.15.0-43-generic] (local build)
            Copyright (C) 2002-20, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

            Model Family: Intel 730 and DC S35x0/3610/3700 Series SSDs
            Device Model: INTEL SSDSC2BB120G4

            Man this thing is old. the SSD Intel 730 series got sold in NZ from 2015. I suspect that this one was from 2016 or 2017 (I'd have to crack the case to see).

            SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 1
            Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
            5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
            9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 35480
            12 Power_Cycle_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 294
            170 Available_Reservd_Space 0x0033 100 100 010 Pre-fail Always - 0
            171 Program_Fail_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
            172 Erase_Fail_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
            174 Unsafe_Shutdown_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 250
            175 Power_Loss_Cap_Test 0x0033 100 100 010 Pre-fail Always - 647 (173 477)
            183 SATA_Downshift_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
            184 End-to-End_Error 0x0033 100 100 090 Pre-fail Always - 0
            187 Reported_Uncorrect 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
            190 Temperature_Case 0x0022 062 058 000 Old_age Always - 38 (Min/Max 31/42)
            192 Unsafe_Shutdown_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 250
            194 Temperature_Internal 0x0022 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 45
            197 Current_Pending_Sector 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
            199 CRC_Error_Count 0x003e 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
            225 Host_Writes_32MiB 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 1783323
            226 Workld_Media_Wear_Indic 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 23879
            227 Workld_Host_Reads_Perc 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 26
            228 Workload_Minutes 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 2127705
            232 Available_Reservd_Space 0x0033 100 100 010 Pre-fail Always - 0
            233 Media_Wearout_Indicator 0x0032 077 077 000 Old_age Always - 0
            234 Thermal_Throttle 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0/0
            241 Host_Writes_32MiB 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 1783323
            242 Host_Reads_32MiB 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 656517

            SMART Error Log Version: 1
            No Errors Logged

      • adam 7.1.2

        Boo Hiss

      • lprent 7.1.3

        Nope – something is wrong on one of those drives. Fails during startup.

        Ummm time to put in a new array and retire these SSDs

  8. Jester 8

    You have to feel sorry for the three people injured in the ute.

    Motorcyclist dies in crash after fleeing police, hitting ute, in Auckland | Stuff.co.nz

    • higherstandard 8.1

      'You have to feel sorry for the three people injured in the ute.'

      …and the police and the friends and family of the idiot on the motorcycle.

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        Last year over in Perth I was heading home from work when I was passed by a couple of loons on a motor-scooter, carrying something oversized and weaving wildly over the road. I followed them about a km to a major intersection with a main highway.

        Much to my horror they didn't even pretend to slow down, went straight through the red light and missed an Aussie road train at full speed – by less than a metre.

  9. joe90 9

    Canadian visual artist/designer Daniel Voshart used 800 images of busts and Artbreader, a machine learning-based art website, to create astonishingly realistic images of 54 Roman emperors.


  10. tWiggle 10

    The Guardian article below reports the problems of longtime Kiwis in Oz with non-permanent resident visas who've lost jobs. They are caught in a poverty trap when they cannot access CentreLink unemployment payments. Sobering reading. This is another unjust legal loophole for poorer Kiwi citizens in Oz, not just the 501 deportees, that the NZ government needs to sort out with their Aussie counterparts.

    Sorry but the link icon did not work for me today.


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