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Open mike 13/01/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 13th, 2021 - 95 comments
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95 comments on “Open mike 13/01/2021 ”

  1. Ad 2

    Why is it our intelligence agencies cant tell us why when or who the NZX and Reserve Bank cyberattacks occurred but other 5Eyes partners can figure out theirs.

    They need to join the dots between that 5Eyes support for Hong Kong protesters and against the Chinese government and the timing of the attacks on us.

    • Nic the NZer 2.1

      Do we suffer from a shortage of uncontestable accusations, in this regard?

      • Ad 2.1.1

        We certainly don't suffer from a shortage of attacks.

        • Nic the NZer

          In leau of being told you can feel free to make your own judgements. You seem to have a strong idea about who the spooks will blame anyway.

          • Ad

            On critical infrastructure failure we deserve more than a vacuum. 5 Eyes membership should give us that relevant analysis access. We have no reason to be the only silent agency in the group.

            • Nic the NZer

              Ohh, you actually think the SIS doesn't have an idea of who is responsible?

              They very probably do and any limitations are related to the traceability and security of the systems compromised, rather than the pervue of the SIS anyway.

              • Ad

                Your faith is touching but on their record unwarranted.

                Every other 5Eyes participant regularly roasts their attackers. If we know, so should we. If we dont, we should state our pursuit.

                • Nic the NZer

                  Faith? I would suggest we can hardly trust who the security services choose to blame. That should apply even if we consider them on-side because its often in the attackers best interests to create miss direction.

                  You do realise all those 'Russian' attackers discussed don't actually use usernames with 'bear' in them don't you?

                  I don't see the benefits of the SIS being politically active.

  2. NZJester 3

    A trump is facing a second impeachment there is talk that at least 3 members of congress where helping the rioters. One is said to have been involved in planning, another was live tweeting info on other members of congress the rioters where after and where they are being taken for their safety. Some of those that broke in went right to unmarked offices of certain members of congress they where targeting knowing exactly where to go as they had information they should not have known about the exact locations of those offices.

    Also 2 members of the Capitol police force are reported to have been suspended and 10 more are under investigation for their alleged roles in the riot.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to those members of congress and the police offices in the coming weeks.

    • Ad 3.1

      The Academy Awards should just livestream Inauguration Day as Rise Of The Tribe of Bane.

      Smile for the profilers team.

    • Maurice 3.2

      Old Roman meme:

      "It's always the Praetorian Guard!"

      • Phillip ure 3.2.1

        that would be from the final years of the empire..

        they fair ripped thru the emporers then.

        and all of them were installed and uninstalled/executed by the praetorian guard..

        who essentially ran rome in those dying decades of empire..

        it was a dangerous gig..for emperors..

  3. Sacha 4

    Explaining how truthiness is a deliberate ingredient of fascism – incredibly clear 1 minute clip:

  4. Janet 5


    “New Zealanders' lacklustre Covid-19 tracer app use means contact tracers would not be able to do their job properly if an outbreak occurred today.

    Ministry of Health data shows there were only 407,301 scans in the 24 hours from 1pm on Saturday, January 9 – the most recent day available.

    University of Auckland research fellow with Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures Dr Andrew Chen says the numbers are not sufficient enough.”

    Better people were no being asked to use their Covid-19 tracer app when there is no Covid in the community – because it feels pointless to be doing that – and the number of scans underlines that. Encourage people to have down loaded the app and be ready to use them immediately if an out-break occurs.

    • Forget now 5.1


      How then would you trace the initial spread of infection that is so important in limiting an outbreak? Though I guess you may have a point about highly motivated public health experts not getting the halfarsed complacency so prevalent in Aotearoa.

      But just because something feels pointless doesn't mean that there isn't a point to it.

    • Ad 5.2

      Both my company and my key clients are expecting lockdowns this year.

      Our preparedness is routinely grilled on big bids.

      So we should all prepare for lockdowns this year.

      • Robert Guyton 5.2.1

        That's advice I will take.

      • Sabine 5.2.2

        anyone who has not got a plan for another shut down is not paying attention.

      • McFlock 5.2.3

        The nice thing is, if everyone acts like we'll go into lockdown in a few weeks, there's less likelihood we'll have to go into lockdown in the next few months.

        But it's a function of probability: pick a period long enough and the odds of some problem leading to another outbreak are a practical certainty. Like the rest of life, all we can do is delay the inevitable.

      • weka 5.2.4

        what interests me is whether it's reasonable to expect most people to scan every time they go into a shop/business over the whole year. Being prepared is a whole range of things, and covid fatigue and scanning fatigue need to be taken into account in that.

        • Macro

          I can't understand why people don't. It takes less than a second in most cases. Certainly after you have the app up and running. I've looked at my diary now and then and honestly am astonished at how many places I've been and there is no way I would be able to recall them all exactly and the time of day. I realise that not all people have the technology. But if you have then for goodness sake please use it.

          • Sacha

            Admittedly I am not wrangling kids or anything but I also do not understand what people are complaining about. Piss easy.

          • weka

            I don't have the app, but I know that I don't always have my phone on me, and often I am just thinking about other things. I understand intellectually the rationale for doing it, but it just seems so outside of what many people can manage. My sense at the moment is that there should be a push to get people in populated areas to be keeping records, not just the app option, as well as everyone getting ready for the next outbreak. Trying to get everyone to use the app 24/7/365 just seems futile.

            • Sacha

              it just seems so outside of what many people can manage

              Kind of like brushing our teeth – no immediate payback, yet many people remember to do it.

            • Forget now

              You could take a paper notebook everywhere with you I guess, Weka. I did that last year before I got a new phone able to host the app. It is a bit more fiddly and time consuming that way though. Also not so good in the rain (though less expensive to drop in a puddle).

              I didn't bother writing down any place I had used eftpos after a while. Which was most places with a scan code really.

              • weka

                I rely on eftpos/credit card transactions. When we had community transmission I kind of ran a spreadsheet of contact points, but I'm not doing that now. But it's not about me. It's about creating a system that people will actually engage with and use. We don't have that yet, I think it needs adapting.

                • Sacha

                  Adapting how?

                  • weka

                    not sure. The push seems to be about getting everyone using the app, preferably the blutooth option, but that's not working. Maybe we need to work with the reality of that rather than the ideal.

                    If people aren't going to use the system now, run campaigns to get people ready for the next community outbreak? Do we know how many people are thinking it will all be over soon, the vaccine etc vs those that understand the long haul?

                    I'm outside the mainstream enough that I don't know what the current campaigns are in detail, but mostly I see people on twitter telling off people (generally) for not using the app and I just don't see this as a winning strategy. (yes I am conflating govt campaigns with social media reckons, but I think there is a relationship).

                    • weka

                      I guess that takes us back to the issue of whether the govt can afford to be blunt about our situation (and I'm sure they have their own levels of cognitive dissonance and denial).

    • gsays 5.3

      In regards your last paragraph, how about practice makes perfect.

      I have made a conscious effort to scan since I have upgraded my phone about 4 months ago. I notice often, someone else doing so after me.

      I think it is an example of leadership to do so.

      I also thrive when lockdown happens. Full pay, a couple of hobbies, empty nest, elderly Mum nearby, great support.

  5. alwyn 6

    There appears to be a fair old barney going on in the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology about what vaccines to use.

    The Society originally came out with a statement that AstraZeneca introduction should be paused because it does not appear to be effective enough to provide herd immunity. Then after comments by the Australian Virology Society that agreed with them there appears to have been a backdown. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines seem to be much more effective with 90+% effectiveness compared to the AstraZeneca 62%.

    Does anyone know the effectiveness of the various vaccines New Zealand has ordered, apart from the 3 mentioned here?


    • Andre 6.1

      NZ has ordered vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Janssen/Johnson&Johnson, AstraZeneca/Oxford, and Novavax. We have not ordered any from Moderna AFAIK.

      Novavax and Janssen haven't yet completed any Phase 3 trials, so there's no data yet for efficacy.

      We have previously discussed the inadvisability of comparing the headline efficacy numbers for the different vaccines, because of the different levels of checking and reporting of asymptomatic infections. https://thestandard.org.nz/without-the-handbrake-what-should-this-government-do/#comment-1773071

      I note one vaccine in trials in Canada is described as a plant-based virus-like particle. I wonder if that's a play to win over the vegan anti-vax natural products crowd?

      • Red 6.1.1

        British American Tobacco also moving into the Covid vaccine gamehttps://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/dec/16/british-american-tobacco-approval-test-covid-vaccine-humans

        Capitalism at its best in reallocating resources 😊

      • alwyn 6.1.2

        Thank you. I do remember what you said earlier but when the professional bodies start expressing doubts one does start to wonder.

        I hope that this story about the senior executives of Novavax doesn't mean any more than did the sell down by the CEO of Xero did when the company simply continued on its upward path.


      • Ad 6.1.3

        Just claim on Twitter that organic marijuana cigarettes cure Covid. Easy.

      • weka 6.1.4

        as an aside, can you or anyone please explain what 60% or 95% effective means with covid? (and how that is assessed/measured). I'm assuming they're not deliberately infecting people with covid to see what happens.

        • Andre

          No they're not deliberately infecting anyone with covid.

          What happens with a Phase 3 trial is the volunteers get split into two groups, one group getting the trial covid vaccine, and the control group getting something else (maybe just a saline solution, maybe some other vaccine, in some cases a meningococcal vaccine IIRC, don't want to say placebo because sometimes they got something active, just not something expected to be active against covid).

          The volunteers don't know which they're getting, the people administering the injections don't know which they're giving, the people monitoring the volunteers post-vaccination don't know which was given, all that info is held by a different group.

          Then the volunteers go about their daily lives. Some trials regularly tested volunteers for asymptomatic infections, some trials did not. After a predetermined number of the volunteers have suffered a covid infection, then the data is pulled to see how many of the infected got the trial vaccine and how many got the something else.

          If the rate of infection among the volunteers that got the vaccine was only 5% of the rate among those that got the something else, then the vaccine is 95% effective. If the rate of infection among those that got the vaccine is 40% of those in the control group, then the vaccine is 60% effective.

          What was also checked but not as widely reported is how many volunteers got severe cases of covid, often defined as needing hospitalisation. IIRC, the Moderna, Pfizer, and Oxfard/AstraZeneca vaccines all were 100% effective in preventing severe infection, but there were quite a few in the control groups that got severely ill. (note that 100% is among the 10,000 or so in the trial group, as the vaccine gets given to millions, that 100% will likely become 99.something%)

          This graph shows really clearly the difference in outcomes for the Pfizer vaccine:

          from: https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/12/10/1013914/pfizer-biontech-vaccine-chart-covid-19/

          • weka

            followed all of that, except for this bit,

            Then the volunteers go about their daily lives. Some trials regularly tested volunteers for asymptomatic infections, some trials did not. After a predetermined number of the volunteers have suffered a covid infection, then the data is pulled to see how many of the infected got the trial vaccine and how many got the something else.

            If the rate of infection among the volunteers that got the vaccine was only 5% of the rate among those that got the something else, then the vaccine is 95% effective. If the rate of infection among those that got the vaccine is 40% of those in the control group, then the vaccine is 60% effective.

            I don't get why they're comparing vaccinated people who got covid with people who got a different illness.

            • Sacha

              "the something else" is the placebo/control, not a different illness.

            • Nic the NZer

              Its a comparison of Covid-19 contraction rates between a treated population and an untreated population. You are correct that any other treatment should have very minimal impact on Covid-19 for experimental validity. In general that would be known from knowing how the vacine works. There are also potential confounding factors which is why a 'fake' treatment is applied to one group. For example if one group knows they got the vacine they might choose to take more risks in public. The experiment relies on both treated and untreated groups responding similarly to treatment and the sample having enough participants that individual responses by some individuals to treatment don't much effect the experiment.

              • weka

                ok, so in Andre's explanation I can just ignore all the bits about other illnesses/vaccinations, and see it as the vax group and the control being non-vax?

                • Nic the NZer

                  Yes. For the other group is untreated (for Covid-19). No doubt the researchers are also considering the effects of the vacine on different strains. But they will work more broadly than one particular RNA sequence.

                  • Incognito

                    But they will work more broadly than one particular RNA sequence.

                    What do you mean with that?

                    • Nic the NZer

                      The 'virus' mutates meaning its specific RNA sequence can change when it reproduces. But hopefully the vacine still works for new mutated virus strains.

                      This doesn't have to be true however. Flu vacines for example don't seem to handle a wide range of flu variants.

                • Andre

                  There was nothing intended to be about other illnesses in what I wrote. Sacha and Nic both picked up where I explained the control group got something else other than the vaccine that might have more side effects that a pure placebo, which is why I didn't want to use placebo for what was given to the group. But what was given to the control group was different for the different trials. Hence the reason for using the words "something else".

                  A common mild side effect of the vaccines is a sore shoulder and feeling out of sorts for a day or two. Many vaccines have this as a mild side effect.

                  A lot of people in the vaccine trial would have thought "oh, I got a sore shoulder and felt a bit sick for a couple days, I must have got the vaccine, I don't need any more precautions". To have roughly the same numbers of people in the control group and vaccine test group of the trial thinking that, the better designed studies gave the control group a different vaccine to provoke roughly the same number of side effects. So that both groups would have roughly the same post-vaccination behaviour.

                  Also, a lot of people have no reaction to the vaccine. Again, the trial designers would want roughly the same numbers of people in the vaccine group and the control group to have no reaction.

                  At the simplest level, just focus on the graph. The red line is the group that got the vaccine, the blue line is the group that didn’t get the vaccine. Starting from about day 14 when the vaccine really starts to work, up to about day 110 when enough data had been collected for analysis, about 0.12% of the people that received the vaccine got covid, while about 2.4% of the people in the control group that didn’t get the vaccine got covid.

                  • weka

                    I don't understand what cumulative incidence is, so the graph isn't much help I'm afraid.

                    Two groups (vaxed and control), once a certain number get covid, they count efficacy by what? This is the bit I don't get yet.

                    • weka

                      .12% of vax group got covid, 2.4% of control group got covid, what's the effectiveness %?

                    • Andre

                      0.12 divided by 2.4 = 0.05 (5%). That is, 5% of the people in the vaccine group were not completely protected by the vaccine, so 95% of the people in the vaccine group were completely protected by the vaccine.

                      For every 240 people in the control group that got covid, only 12 vaccinated people (5%) got covid, and about 228 people (95%) that probably would have got covid without the vaccine were protected by the vaccine and did not get covid.

                      Hence efficacy is 95%.

                      Cumulative incidence is just adding up all the people in that group that got sick from covid (IIRC the Pfizer trial did not check for asymptomatic infections). It's explained in the linked Technology Review article that the graph came from. Every blue square or red circle is one more volunteer in the trial getting covid.

  6. Ad 7

    McConnell's purge of elected Republicans following the insurrection should help form the breakaway party needed to really fissure the US hard right in time for mid-terms.

    • alwyn 7.1

      What are you talking about? McConnell doesn't really have the power to do anything much to any other Republican.

      • Ad 7.1.1

        You misunderstand his position, both formally and informally.

        The initial splits are occurring today and tomorrow as impeachment and other censures are debated.

  7. Scud 8

    This is an interesting article on CC which is happening down the rd (80-90km & plus another hr or so in the Bismarck down the Mary River) from me. It’s quite amazing at the change that is happening since I’ve started to head down Mary River in the 10yrs that I have been in the NT and the other major River Systems on the massive Kakadu flood plain. I haven’t down the Mary in the last two very dry seasons to due my other commitments, but watching this last night. It would appear we are getting very close to that tipping point where change will happen very quickly as the flood plain isn’t that high above the high tide mark.


    • Stuart Munro 8.1

      Where the salt is in, they might be better to sow mangroves – get the successor ecosystem running strong as fast as possible. Mangrove swamp is super productive. When the climate hands you lemons, best learn to like 'em – not much you do individually will change it back.

      • Scud 8.1.1

        Down in the lower reaches of the Mary River and the other major rivers on the flood plain are seeing self seeding Mangroves as the salt water is slowly moving inland over the flood plain which is amazing to see, but also sad when you realise just fragile the our unique environment is in the Nth’ern Australia. As some species will survive and others will eventually die out as the sea levels rise, the wet season becomes less reliable and likely to be more intense. Plus coupled with longer dry seasons which would lead to more intense fire as what happened last yr when we 3 reportable crown fires within one towards the tail end of the dry seasons which is unheard of up in this neck of woods.

  8. weka 9

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