Open mike 18/07/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 18th, 2015 - 103 comments
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103 comments on “Open mike 18/07/2015 ”

  1. Paul 1

    John Roughan writes a wilfully ignorant piece on Climate Change.
    It is wilfully ignorant if he wishes to claim to be a serious journalist.
    Wonder if he’s watched Alister Barry’s ‘Hot Air’? As a New Zealand journalist, he should have.
    Or if not, has he read the book ‘Merchants of Doubt’ by Conway and Oreskes. The film based on it is showing at the NZ Festival. I recommend he watches it.

    If he does, he will realise how ridiculous the following statement of his is.
    “But if the worst that can happen is a rise of a metre in sea levels and a few degrees in mean temperatures over a century, I think we’ll cope.”
    Yes, that’s right Roughan is saying, without any Science to back himself up (apart from a chat with a pschchologist), that a 2 per cent temperature rise isn’t much.

    Climate change is according to him “on a political mission.” Yet it is clear from his snide comments about obesity and sugar taxes that the main reason for this article being written was political. For some context , Roughan wrote the hagiography of Key. Despite his claims , it is Roughan who is using politics to muddy the Science.

    Shame on the Herald for publishing this climate denial piece in 2015.

  2. vaughan little 2

    I sent this to the moderators a couple of days ago. It may have got spammed out, so I thought I’d post it in open mike, in reduced form. Being an elite technophobe, I didn’t know how to transfer the chart boxes. they disappeared when I cut an pasted from word. So it’s slightly unclear.

    I was having a poke around on Skykiwi to see what I could find about local Chinese opinions of Labour’s press release on Chinese (sounding) investment in the Auckland real estate market, and I found the item below. Skykiwi is NZ’s most popular Chinese language website. Here’s the translation:

    Are Chinese really speculating on the real estate market? Skykiwi stats tell you NZ Chinese perspectives.

    Skykiwi has broken down your comments on three different NZ Herald articles into different categories…within the circle of Chinese people, perspectives are clashing and very intense, and are certainly not monolithic.

    Is Labour discriminating against Chinese people?

    Percentage Number of commenters
    Yes 46% 67
    No 25% 36
    Neutral 10% 15
    Other 19% unstated

    Chinese people in the Auckland housing market

    Percentage Commenter No.
    Chinese speculation is driving up house prices 36% 52
    Overseas investment should be restricted 12% 18
    Chinese house purchasing is reasonable 32% 46
    Other 20% 29

    Do you support what Labour is saying?

    Percentage Number of commenters
    Support 39% 26
    Opposed 31% 21
    Neutral 18% 12
    Invalid 12% unstated

    We also took a vote on the question: are Chinese buyers pushing up Auckland house prices?
    Vote percentage Vote number
    Yes 61% 1515
    No 19% 467
    说不好 (literally, say not good(?)) 19% 471

    The item was written by the editorial team, published on the 13th, and according to the website has had nearly 9,000 views. You can see the original here, with pretty pie charts:

  3. Paul 3

    I agree with Fran O’Sullivan.
    ‘Labour must dig deeper in foreign buyer data.’

    ‘What Labour should do is spend some funds and buy data from Quotable Value itself (something that Labour MP Phil Twyford, who ran the story, admitted he considered) so they have a tighter, fact-based arsenal when the issue is next raised.’

    • RedBaronCV 3.1

      Which brings me to a slightly off topic point. Why has the access to land information moved so far beyond the reach of the general public? It’s collected with public money and yet it costs over $500 to even look at any part of the data base. Once it was possible to go into a LINZ office and have at least a basic look at data before having to spend money. I can understand it not being a free for all on the internet but why cannot the data be accessed at a kiosk at a local governement office?

  4. Paul 4

    Bankers putting the squeeze on farmers.

    ‘Whangarei dairy farmer Alex Wright said many farmers were in a dire situation and, following comments from Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce, the Government’s view that struggling dairy farmers were resilient was out of touch with reality.

    “They talk about farmers being resilient – well, you can be resilient for a certain amount of time, but if you reach the point where you can’t function your business because you can’t even pay for the basics to run the business, then I feel that the government are just sitting on the fence.

    She said the Government should be putting pressure on the banks to act more compassionately towards struggling farmers.

    Janette Walker, a negotiator working with heavily indebted farmers, said banks were putting pressure on family members to put up their own properties as guarantees.

    She said there was a risk that parents could lose their own homes.

    “40 percent of farmers are not going to make any money this year, and probably at the same for the following season. Some of them may have to sell some assets, some of them may have to exit farming.”

    Ms Walker said banks had been cutting off cashflow for struggling dairy farmers in particular and demanding more security for further loans.’

    The only words I have to describe bankers cannot be typed here.

    2 questions.

    1. What were the 4 Australian banks’ profit last year?
    2. Wonder who will buy the farms at rock bottom prices? Foreign speculators?'benefit-of-doubt'-to-farmers-bnz

    • vto 4.1

      This was all so very clear and obvious when times were good……

      eh? Why the crying? This scene has been played out so very many times over the generations in New Zealand that anybody who cries now and thinks it is something new is a frikkin’ idiot.

      If people didn’t want to deal with banks when they get mean and tough, then they should quite simply not have had anything to do with them. Everybody knows that banks are cunts. Full bloody stop.


      The entire scene is loaded with the idiocy of humanity

      idiots for making deals with banks

      idiots idiots idiots

      short term thinking with no regard for history past and present – no wonder people have got themselves into trouble

      • Paul 4.1.1

        Yes it is very unwise to depend on banks.
        They are are to hard to avoid, though.

        • vto

          They are not hard to avoid, I disagree.

          People simply turn a blind eye to the fatal flaws in our farming/banking sector because of la-la land dreamy romantic poorly thought out notions of farming heaven.

          If by saying they are “hard to avoid” you mean that it is not possible to be a farmer unless you have a banker then the entire premise of the current approach to farming is resting in a pile of cowshit steaming away in the morning sun……

    • vto 4.2

      “wonder who will buy the farms at rock bottom prices? Foreign speculators?”

      This will be what pretty much every single farmer that is in debt-trouble will be eyeing nervously…. hoping that those foreign buyers who have ramped up demand and prices for farmland will stay ……. but sheesh, if all you;ve got is hope then you’ve got nothing..

      But foreign buyers should be banned. And the voting farmer will be watching this political issue nervously too…

      If this happened right now you would see farmland values plummet like never before in NZ….. I mean, if the number of buyers of New Zealand farmland was restricted to only New Zealand residents,….. ask yourself……. total meltdown…….


      the lessons from this???

      watch out for banks. watch out for foreign ownership. both of these distort our lands and our people….. they should both fuck off

      • Paul 4.2.1

        Nationalise banks.

        • vto

          I have come to the conclusion that the provision of credit into a society is, in the big sense, a common good and as such should be controlled by parameters that reflect that….

          Currently the banking structures are anything but for the common good ….

          (it is in the common good due mostly to the massive impact it has on society – ether for better or for worse. It is such an enormous player that to leave it in private hands is not right)

          • The lost sheep

            Because if you put a bunch of humans into a group and call them a government, they lose the ability to act like idiots?

            • vto


              • The lost sheep

                You talk about “the idiocy of humanity”, and then you say that credit should not be in private hands, i.e. it should be under the control of a public body / Government.

                But a public body is made up of individual humans, and as you say, humanity is prone to ‘idiocy’?
                What I don’t understand is why you think a group of idiots in a public body will be any more effective than a group of idiots in a private one?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  What I don’t understand is why you think a group of idiots in a public body will be any more effective than a group of idiots in a private one?

                  1. The government gets to regulate public services better than it does private corporations
                  2. Public servants are more accountable than the private corporations

                  Really, the problem we have is that we’ve allowed the private sector to work solely for greed while destroying the public service that actually built NZ.

                • Brigid

                  “What I don’t understand is why you think a group of idiots in a public body will be any more effective than a group of idiots in a private one?”
                  The answer is simple.
                  Those of the private body have a mandate to make a profit from the creation of credit for its shareholders.
                  Those of the public body have a mandate to manage the creation of credit for the benefit of all of us.
                  So you see the agenda of each is different.

          • Colonial Viper

            I have come to the conclusion that the provision of credit into a society is, in the big sense, a common good and as such should be controlled by parameters that reflect that….

            The Government could restart the Rural Bank (its circumstances like this its forerunner facilities were created for in the late 1800s…) and buy back land from farmers for a fair price; or allow farmers to refinance their mortgages at a lower interest rate – with some employment and environmental strings attached of course.

            And ignore The Lost Sheep. Who is desperate to try and derail productive discussion here.

    • infused 4.3

      Well its tough really. When you take a loan, you know the outcome. This has been known about for some time.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.4

      So, that would be the farmers asking for more handouts from the government?

      • Paul 4.4.1

        Don’t be wrong…I’m only concerned at more of our land being sold to overseas speculators

        • Draco T Bastard

          I’m concerned about that as well but the farmers are asking for the government to step in and save the farmers and the government only has two options for that:

          1. Cough up money to cover the farmers debt or
          2. Pass legislation preventing the sale of farms to foreigners

          And this government definitely won’t do the second so that only leaves the first and they probably won’t do that one either – unless the banks also demand it to protect them.

          So, basically, the farmers are asking for a government handout.

          • Colonial Viper

            there are many ways to structure this “hand out” to serve the interests of the nation, and the environment.

  5. ScottGN 5

    NDP now has a clear lead in Canada’s complicated three-way Federal Election campaign.

    • ianmac 5.1

      Looked at the graph Scott. Where does the NDP sit? Left or Right?

      • odot 5.1.1

        This is a basic summary of the NDPs ethics/background:

        “New Democrats seek a future that brings together the best of the insights and objectives of Canadians who, within the social democratic and democratic socialist traditions, have worked through farmer, labour, co-operative, feminist, human rights and environmental movements, and with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, to build a more just, equal, and sustainable Canada within a global community dedicated to the same goals.”

        Good to see a party focused on sustainability and equality gaining ground on the conservatives in Canada. The NDP won the last election in Alberta, which was an achievement because Alberta is the “oil state,” and had been a strong hold of the conservatives for quite some time.

  6. vaughan little 6

    nice piece on the sausage factory of Chinese GDP measurement.

    basically no one has a clue. and they keep changing measurement criteria so the stats aren’t even internally reliable over time.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      yep…when the Chinese leadership says that growth will be 7.5% next year, that is EXACTLY what they mean lol

  7. weka 7

    Old article but bears reposting,

    People who like money too much ought to be kicked out of politics, Uruguayan President José Mujica told CNN en Español in an interview posted online Wednesday.

    “We invented this thing called representative democracy, where we say the majority is who decides,” Mujica said in the interview. “So it seems to me that we [heads of state] should live like the majority and not like the minority.”

    “I’m not against people who have money, who like money, who go crazy for money,” Mujica said. “But in politics we have to separate them. We have to run people who love money too much out of politics, they’re a danger in politics… People who love money should dedicate themselves to industry, to commerce, to multiply wealth. But politics is the struggle for the happiness of all.”

    I especially like that last sentence because it shows the start contrast between NZ traditional values and the current govt that believes that some people deserve happiness more than others and if the other’s needs don’t get met, well that’s just how the game goes.

    • Paul 7.1

      Just wish we had a leader like Mujica.
      One with more visionary aspirations than just money and materialism.

      • weka 7.1.1

        We do have leaders like that but not enough of the NZ people vote for them. What does that tell us?

        • aidan

          to many new zealanders are self interested jerks? maybe we shouldn’t let people who love money vote either

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      People who love money should dedicate themselves to industry, to commerce, to multiply wealth.

      Sounds like a nice idea but people who love money never do that.

    • aidan 7.3

      yeah!!!! politics is the struggle for the happiness of all… i say we should start right right away with ejecting people who love money from our political landscape. who’s with me?

  8. ankerawshark 8

    Just watched The Nation……Winston Peters, I have to say was stunning re Labour and overseas investors………

    • weka 8.1

      in what way anker?

      • ankerawshark 8.1.1

        Weka WP just stuck with saying we have been saying foreign investment is a problem for years. He desisted Tova’s overgeneralizations and stuck to his points. When she said “aren’t you worried that Labour is stealing your voters?” (or words to that effect) he just replied, we welcome them saying it.

        Any kept going back to young NZders not being able to buy their own homes.

        What I noticed that when the panel talked, the discussion with Mark Solomon dominated including the case with the board member and the wood pigeons (sorry I haven’t followed that story fully), rather than commenting on Winston and what he was saying about housing affordability………………….They completely omitted commenting on it.

  9. ankerawshark 9

    More on the Nation……Paddy introducing the panelists “for National Press secretary and a good friend of mine” (Ben Thomas?????? I think).

    Former National Press secretary and Paddy introduces him as a a good friend of his. He’s not even trying to pretend or hide it anymore

    • tc 9.1

      Gower, garner, hoskins, henry etc don’t possess the professional subtelty to hide their shilling for the NACT regime.

      It’s what happens when the bar is so low and the pool so small that the over paid/hyped personalities end up tinking they’re above and beyond it all with an arrogant smugness they can’t mask.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    George Monbiot: Let’s make Britain wild again and find ourselves in nature

    The living systems that conservationists seek to protect in some parts of this country are a parody of the natural world, kept, through intensive management, in suspended animation, like a collection in a museum. An ecosystem is not just a place. It is also a process. I believe their diminished state also restricts the scope of human life. We head for the hills to escape the order and control that sometimes seem to crush the breath out of us. When we get there, we discover that the same forces prevail. Even our national parks are little better than wet deserts.

    The same could be said about our natural environment here in NZ and our farms are the ‘wet deserts’ that he refers to there.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    And this is why the private sector can’t do many government services (Health, social security, etc) any cheaper than the government:

    And the true fallacy is that of scalable products. In a PSO [Professional Services Organization], there are a very small number of services that would actually achieve scale and drive advantage. Remember that a scalable product is where the marginal unit cost of sales is negligible—in other words, the cost structure is predominantly fixed. This is precisely the opposite of the cost structure of most professional services firms.

    With the typical PSO, each additional engagement will incur substantial variable costs in the form of compensation (a direct expense). The fixed costs are typically negligible in considering the overall profitability of an engagement. In these cases, scale is never achieved—the service is not scalable and additional growth leads to either steady, or declining, margins.

    Many government services are personal requiring one on one personal meetings and thus economies of scale simply cannot be applied.

  12. rhinocrates 12

    The farce of “centrism”:

    Dear Sir/Madam (select one assigned at birth),

    Have you ever asked yourself this question, “Do I have what it takes to be a National/Labour (delete one) supporter?” and thought that you were not good enough?

    Have you ever wished that you could sip your lattes in a Parnell cafe while reading the property press to reassure yourself that your Point Chevalier villa is retaining its inflated value and tut-tutting over the difficulties faced by first-time home buyers without feeling in the least bit hypocritical?

    Have you ever wanted to be able to pay lip service to social justice so that you could impress your friends at dinner parties without the stress and possible embarrassment of actually committing to it or marching for it?

    Have you ever wanted to utter the phrase “I’m not a racist, but…” without the least sense of self-awareness or irony?

    When you talk about “swallowing dead rats”, haven’t you always wished that someone else had to swallow them instead of you?

    Have you ever felt stifled by vestigial principles and never been able to say “but in the real world…” without feeling that you’re making excuses?

    NOW you can aspire to be a genuine National/Labour (delete one) Supporter!

    For the time of this strictly limited never-to-be-repeated offer we are offering you the opportunity to be assessed to determine whether you have what it takes to be a National/Labour (delete one) supporter. There are many advantages to becoming a National/Labour (delete one) Supporter and we offer a full range of package deals.

    As a Basic National/Labour (delete one) Supporter, you will enjoy many benefits, including having a specially-selected minority acquaintance so that you can claim to understand their experience and empathise with them. This acquaintance will be guaranteed to have no embarrassing contrary views and will validate your stances at all times (please indicate whether you require a socioeconomic, ethnic or sexual/gender minority acquaintance).

    As a Special National/Labour (delete one) Supporter, we will send MPs to your exclusive box at a sports stadium to provide valuable photo opportunities that will enable you to present yourself as influential and well-connected in the halls of government. As an added service, they will provide charming conversation and help you to dispose of your excess chardonnay.

    As a Prospective Partnership National/Labour (delete one) Supporter, we will ensure that you are first in line for any future Public-Private Partnerships with a chance to have personally crafted legislation composed just for you, written by hand in Comic Sans on a Maui Dolphin vellum scroll.

    Just call this number below and you will be contacted by a National/Labour (delete one) representative to begin the process of assessing whether you can become a fully-accredited National/Labour (delete one) Supporter!

    (Please note, persons and groups considered politically expendable by our focus groups need not apply)

    • marty mars 12.2

      “As a Basic National/Labour (delete one) Supporter, you will enjoy many benefits, including having a specially-selected minority acquaintance so that you can claim to understand their experience and empathise with them. This acquaintance will be guaranteed to have no embarrassing contrary views and will validate your stances at all times (please indicate whether you require a socioeconomic, ethnic or sexual/gender minority acquaintance).”

      That is very good indeed rhino – keep this stuff coming, kia kaha!!!

    • Colonial Viper 12.3

      good god you are a devil, RC

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    Wellington businesswoman dodges paying former employee thousands

    For a time Edwin Rozario was forced to live off of bread and milk after his boss – Wellington businesswoman Michelle Spooner – failed to pay his wages.

    Spooner’s $7700 debt to the software developer is still outstanding despite a ruling by the Employment Relations Authority to stump up with the cash by the end of March – the same day her company, MC2IT, was liquidated.

    So, when is the government going to move in with the Proceeds of Crime Act (not paying employees is a crime and she’s obviously benefited from it) and take everything from her and then pay her employees?

    • Charles 13.1

      Come now Draco, if an employer is held responsible for that, what will we have next? The world will end. No, employees must be skilled managers of their managers, psychotherapists, political genius’, to assist the employer to understand themselves. And if the employer has to abuse and drive the employee into poverty during that treatment, then it is the employees fault for not realising the employer is just plain human. What does an employee know about their situation? Nothing. The cost must be on the employee, because to scare the employer into thinking they’re incompetent would damage their self esteem and goal of popular gratitude and social status without effort. Employees must be able to make up for employer’s incompetence and illegal behaviours with assistance from legislation. Employers are simply people that are too big to fail.

  14. lprent 14

    What is it with this winter. So far I had a nasty flu that knocked me over for about 5 days back in May/June. Now I have a headcold (I think) that has knocked me over for 2 and half days. That is finally dissipating.

    This is after having a flu jab earlier in the year.

    Am I being unlucky or is this just a lousy year for colds?

    • Charles 14.1

      Lousy year I think. Paper said “they” (medical people) are recording more strains of previously unseen flu than last few years.

      Anecdotally, I haven’t been sick for five years or so. Now, two colds, in the last month. Shoulda taken the woman’s advice at the supermarket an not used the tongs for grabbing muffins all those last years. Let the immune system beef up a bit. Maybe licking the windows of the bus will help.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        if you want to greatly increase the work load on your immune system, exposing yourself to a dozen versions of flu virus simultaneously via a flu jab might help.

        • northshoredoc

          Three actually – none active as I’m sure you know.

          A/California/7/2009 (NYMC X-181) (A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) – like): 15 μg haemagglutinin per dose
          A/South Australia/55/2014 (IVR-175) (A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2) – like): 15 μg haemagglutinin per dose
          B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Phuket/3073/2013 – like): 15 μg haemagglutinin per dose

      • maui 14.1.2

        Lol, when you don’t use the tongs you feel like a rebel and you also feel there is an old lady nearby looking into your soul. That’s been my experience anyway.

    • Rosemary McDonald 14.2

      Grandma here.

      Drink heaps. Stay warm…wear a hat for godsakes! Eat garlic, onions, make soup from same.

      Take manuka and propolis when the lurgy looms. And lemons.

      Take 1000 mg of Vit C x 2 daily.

      Get outside in the fresh air….take your portable interweb device if you have to.

      IMHO….the flu jab is a scam. The viruses causing such ills are constantly changing and adapting…clever little buggers….much better if you strengthen your immune system.

      Grandma out.

      • Jenny Kirk 14.2.1

        Tried all that Grandma ! This is the first year I’ve ever been laid down like this ….. raided friends’ trees for lemons and limes – nothing works – and yes – maybe the flu jab wasn’t such a good idea !!

        • Paul

          It would be interesting to see who has got the flu who had the jab and who didn’t.
          Anecdotally, from my own experience, it seems more people get the flu who get the jab than those who don’t.

          • northshoredoc


          • Ergo Robertina

            This is why I don’t get the flu jab – I couldn’t afford to be put out of action for weeks at a time with flu. I’ve never had the flu, or the vaccine, but have had immune-related chronic ailments (which have been resolved thankfully), and wouldn’t put anything into my system that could stress my immune system.
            We’re in the dark ages of understanding the immune system and how it interacts with bacteria, stress, and the environment.

            • northshoredoc

              “We’re in the dark ages of understanding the immune system and how it interacts with bacteria, stress, and the environment.”

              Um no we’re not.

              [G’day, Doc! Can you check the spelling of your handle next time you post? Noth not north sends you into moderation. Cheers, TRP]

              • northshoredoc

                Will do TRP, thanks for that.

              • Ergo Robertina

                What stage do you think it’s at?
                Are you familiar with research about the links between the role of gut bacteria and diabetes, allergies, obesity, IBD?
                Are enough measures being taken in NZ to reduce antibiotic over-use?
                Do you consider antibiotic over-use a major problem?
                Does the presence of gut bacteria play a role in the efficacy of vaccines?

                • northshoredoc

                  ER to state we are in the dark ages in relation to understanding the immune system was clearly incorrect as the scientific community has increased its knowledge immensely during the last 50 and dramatically in the last 5-10 years in almost all areas.

                  In relation to gut bacteria it is not an area of expertise for me although no – one in the medical area would deny that gut flora are extremely important in relation to the body’s wellbeing.

                  In NZ we do have sufficient measures in place to limit antibiotic usage although unfortunately there are far less measures in place throughout the world especially in India and South East Asia.

                  Regarding gut flora and efficacy of vaccines it depends which vaccines one is discussing, there is some limited evidence in animal models to suggest that influenza vaccine and polio vaccine that there is decreased efficacy when there is a strongly suppressed gut flora.

                  • weka

                    “although no – one in the medical area would deny that gut flora are extremely important in relation to the body’s wellbeing”

                    I think you will find many people that will disagree with you on that. You probably don’t get to hear the stories of people whose doctors write off such concerns.

              • weka

                well we blew the advantage of antibiotics in the first 50 years we had them. 50 years, in the context of evolution. How fucking stupid is that?

                • northshoredoc

                  No don’t believe all the stories in the MSM – antibiotics are still extremely valuable tools in all sorts of conditions.

                  Much of our modern surgery as an example would be hugely curtailed without antibiotics.

                  • weka

                    Patronising much?

                    Of course antibiotics have done some amazing things. And yes, they’re still incredibly useful. But can you honestly say that getting to MRSA etc in such a short period of time wasn’t because of misuse? And currently isn’t because of willful misuse?

                    • northshoredoc

                      Yes Methicillin resistant S. Aureus would have been unlikely to have developed without S. Aureus being exposed to methicillin.

                      Not sure why you’re accusing me of being patronising ? I was just making the point that antibiotics are still very useful and will continue to be so into the future.

                    • weka

                      You seemed to be assuming that I get my information from stories from the MSM, and that I somehow am not capable of analysing the validity of my sources. That’s patronising.

                      It’s not just methicillin right? Nice neutral framing but you avoided my point.

                    • northshoredoc

                      @ Weka from our provious discussion the only conclusions I can make about you is that you are usually polite and tend to be more on the ‘natural medicine” side of a debate rather than the “pharmaceutical, surgical intervention” side.

                    • weka

                      “@ Weka from our provious discussion the only conclusions I can make about you is that you are usually polite and tend to be more on the ‘natural medicine” side of a debate rather than the “pharmaceutical, surgical intervention” side.”

                      nsd, I find you considerably better than most in these debates 🙂 but your comment represents a profound misundersanding of my view. I don’t see it as two sides. Conventional medicine is important. Natural medicine is important. We need both and other things besides.

                      With due respect, I think your framing of things in the above duality is part of the problem (a framing which lots of people here also use).

                      Besides all that, I don’t see how that relates to my comment about being patronising.

                  • RedLogix

                    True enough – but given the rapid rate at which bugs are evolving in response to antibiotics – how much longer do you think they will remain generally useful?

                    Asking this in the context of a relative dying of a drug-resistant pneumonia just a week ago.

                    • weka

                      Watching the move of antibiotic resistance bacterial infections from hospitals to becoming established in communities, and the only word I can think of is criminal. It’s not like medical people and health authorities didn’t know what the problem was.

                      And we haven’t even gotten to the use of antibiotics in growing food or how they’re acting in the environment.

                    • northshoredoc

                      That’s a fair call, Even when antibiotics are used appropriately, they contribute to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria because they don’t destroy every bug they target.

                      Bacteria (and many viruses) live on an evolutionary fast track, so germs that survive treatment with one antibiotic soon learn to resist others.

                      There’s no doubt that MRSA in particular is the result of decades of often unnecessary antibiotic use. For years, antibiotics have been prescribed for colds, flu and other viral infections that don’t respond to these drugs.

                      That being said antibiotics (both those used now any new agents) will continue to be useful for long into the future.

                    • RedLogix

                      For years, antibiotics have been prescribed for colds, flu and other viral infections that don’t respond to these drugs.

                      Yet they are frequently needed to treat the secondary bacterial infections which so often follow in the footsteps of the viral attack.

                      And I do believe these secondary attacks happen because people do not look after themselves properly. Simple supportive care that our grandmothers often knew about has gone awol these days – because too many people think that if they get ill it’s not something they have to take seriously because ultimately the drugs will fix it if necessary.

                      And as weka hints above – given the rampant misuse of antibiotics outside strict medicinal use, and your own understanding of how rapidly bugs evolve – your sanguinary attitude here baffles me a little.

                    • northshoredoc

                      “Yet they are frequently needed to treat the secondary bacterial infections which so often follow in the footsteps of the viral attack.”

                      More occasionally needed, I would think that most GPs in NZ would send the patient home with some paracetamol for the fever of a viral infection and instructions for bed rest and to call if no improvement in 48 hours or if the symptoms are worsening before Rxing antibiotics.

                      I also agree that people don’t look after themselves – too many people feel they have to turn up at work rather than resting at home.

                      “… your sanguinary attitude here baffles me a little.”

                      Don’t know why, yes antibiotics are overused worldwide and bacteria evolve rapidly, however very broad spectrum resistance is still relatively rare and we continue to improve rXing protocols and development of new medicines.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Why on earth would someone agree to take paracetamol to suppress a fever response generated and used by the body to fight off a viral infection? Sheeesh.

                    • northshoredoc

                      @ CV true enough, however, people, parents in particular, like to avoid the pain and discomfort associated with fevers.

      • lprent 14.2.2

        I now wear a beanie wool hat in bed when I am crook. It really makes a heck of difference – especially as my heads yields to male pattern baldness.

        Mind you there are down sides. Last night when after the fever broke, I found myself living in a wet morass of sweat. I’d gone to bed with a duvet, merino carriage blanket, thick cotton PJ’s, terrycloth dressing gown, and wool hat because I was still cold despite Lyn complaining about getting roasted.

        I had to get up at 0530, have a shower, change, and discard everything I was wearing into the basket. Everything including the wool hat was completely soaked. Then I crashed on the couch with another duvet and set of carriage blankets.

        Reminds me. I have to change the bedding

    • Jenny Kirk 14.3

      You are blinkin’ lucky lprent that you’ve only been knocked out for 5 days with flu and 2 1/2 days with head cold.
      My flu lasted a full two weeks, then recovery period of another two weeks with slow energy returning plus relapses and just now – after 3 days of feeling good and energised – I’ve blinkin’ got another viral throat infection. Its non-stop and anecdotal comments from friends and neighbours (and the doctors’ rooms) say its happening to heaps of people. (and i had a flu jab too !) whatever it is, its nasty and hanging around ! Yeah – its a lousy year for colds/flu/sore throats !

      • lprent 14.3.1

        You are blinkin’ lucky lprent that you’ve only been knocked out for 5 days with flu and 2 1/2 days with head cold.

        That is probably because I go to bed immediately after I get a onset. Trying to work as a programmer just doesn’t work if you are sick. You make bad mistakes a lot, and if you don’t catch them or they get missed in code reviews, then they will hang around in the code.

        So after a few awful experiences of trying to deal with the downstream costs of that kind of thing, I have a cunning strategy. As soon as I am sure that my error rate is rising with the sore throat / headache / sneezing / coughing or whatever – I head for bed. And I stay there until I am sure that my body has handled it.

        I get hired to write code and make machines do what we want them to do. I sure as hell don’t get hired to make mistakes because I am crook. Most years this means that I have a day or two off. This year is a bit crazy so far.

        • Jenny Kirk

          Yeah – that’s what others up here in the north are saying …… its a long-lasting bug whatever sort it is.
          (and by the way, I too head for bed when feeling crook – hotwater bottles, lemon and honey drinks – but NOTHING worked this time !)

          • Rosemary McDonald

            Well…full of sympathy for you both…but got to go….feeling a vague tickley prickely thingy coming on….can’t think why!

            Raw onion and cheese sandwich methinks, then off to me virginal couch.

            Seriously though….Grandma was right about the losing heat through your head thing, but I think she mean’t before you get the lurgy…you know, as a prophylactic measure. When you’re feverish…might pay to leave it off to let the heat escape!

            My partner insists on shaving his head…then…wears a bloody hat to bed because he’s cold.

            Cheer up guys…this too shall pass.

            PS…Far North home grown limes…..yum!

            • Jenny Kirk

              Yes – absolutely delicious limes. Big and juicy. And heaps of them on my friend’s tree. I made lime marmalade a while back (before the flu bug hit) – first time ever – just delicious !

          • lprent

            It really is a bad season for colds and flus…

            Oh well grin and moan about it. That stops it getting too exasperating.

      • lprent 14.3.2

        Incidentally, the worst bug I ever had was around 1991/2 during a contract with Telecom. I was doing some insane hours working on some prototype code that was probably a little beyond what the 80386’s it was running on could really do.

        I’d been working through some flu bug. When we stopped and I ‘relaxed’, then it really started to get bad. A month later I went to doctor and immediately got stuffed on antibiotics to kill the pneumonia . It took near 6 weeks before I was fully operational again.

        That is why I have ever since then stopped working and live hot and sweaty in bed when a bug gets me.

    • Rodel 14.4

      Me too.Yes a bad year for colds.It’s the persistent after cough cough cough that gets me. Any remedies welcomed.

      • Jenny Kirk 14.4.1

        Rodel – try Gee’s Linctus for night-time. Buy at a chemist. Helps you sleep.
        (It’s got morphine in it. Great knock-out when you’re desperate) !

        • Rodel

          JK Thanks. Got some. – Vix original vapoDrops also good.
          86 year old neighbour, never ill – She swears by cider vinegar and honey

  15. Enough 15

    “The end of capitalism has begun” A little light reading from today’s Guardian.

    • RedLogix 15.1

      Yes I linked to that yesterday in another context. An interesting read. Not sure if I agree with his conclusions entirely, but the argument is neatly constructed and challenging.

      Critically he’s assuming the technology infrastructure underpinning his argument will be a permanent feature of future life. That’s not a given.

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