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Open mike 19/07/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 19th, 2015 - 131 comments
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131 comments on “Open mike 19/07/2015 ”

  1. Skinny 1

    Just sitting down to watch Q&A. Let’s see if they can extract some sense out the Housing Minister Smith after Gower didn’t have the skills on The Nation yesterday. So far he is dodging the real question of the lack of available data from his regime.

    • Paul 1.1

      Don’t hold your breath.

      • Skinny 1.1.1

        Smith was woeful showing up how hopeless their front bench is without Key, who will be back on deck tomorrow, all sun tanned having jetted back in from his Hawaiian holiday.

        Expect Key to be sucking air in and sounding like a bath tub drain pipe after pulling the plug. The issues are mounting economically and Key is getting hamstrung and tied down with his odd hair fondling fetish.

    • vto 1.2

      ask him what has happened to the “demand” side of the “supply and demand” equation so beloved of right wing nutbars everywhere…

      Smith will look you in the eye while standing on the lawn and tell you that grass is not green …….. why do you think he has one wonky eye?

    • half crown 1.3

      What’s Q&A?. Oh I remember that party political broadcast on behalf of the National Party used as a current affairs programme.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.4

      This turned up in my twitter feed:

      Nick Smith said on #thenationtv3 the Massey Affordability Unit shows affordability improving. Not according to
      Home Affordability Report

  2. Herodotus 2

    No one has made the comment that with less than 3 months before the earth works season commences, many earth moving companies are already filling their books for work this year, It will not be long before the capabilities of this sector will be maxed out. Rates for this work will rise rapidly not only affecting land development but also to a large degree roading. That is if you will be able to find anyone wanting to commit to the work, we will soon hear land owners lamenting about being unable to develop or how expensive the process is and not just limiting their comments towards council costs.

    • cricklewood 2.1

      Rates for excavation and site works have already risen and will lift again soon As you say a large number of contractors are booked already, similar story for builders charge rates are now hitting $70+gst per hour. Makes me laugh when politicians talk about affordable housing in Auckland when the labour rates are rising so quickly…

  3. AsleepWhileWalking 3

    Do they ever check their stories? A brief look and the first thing that stands out is an error on their front page. It isn’t Oprah’s first time in NZ as she stayed at Huka Lodge a few years back.

    Useless MSM


  4. Morrissey 4

    “It’s not to Television New Zealand’s credit that they employ him.”
    Nicky Hager damns Mike “Contra” Hosking

    Mediawatch, Radio NZ National, Sunday 19 July 2015

    One year after the release of his latest exposé of the National Party’s assault on democracy, Nicky Hager was interviewed by Colin Peacock. Hager said that there is a huge gap between journalists and the organisations that employ them. In spite of having to work for organisations like the New Zealand Herald, Mediaworks and TVNZ, most people in the media are serious and well informed journalists—with the exception of one or two, who didn’t let the fact they had not read the book stop them from launching crazed attacks on him.

    Colin Peacock pressed him to name one of those lazy, ill-informed National Party loyalists. Hager hesitated, and then said: “Well, Mike Hosking. It’s not to Television New Zealand’s credit that they hire him…”

    If you can bear it, there’s more Hosking here….

    Open mike 15/03/2015

    Open mike 05/02/2015

  5. Sirenia 5

    Man on Q and A says Colmar Brunton poll tonight hasn’t given Labour a boost.

    • Anne 5.1

      I thought he said: the bounce isn’t as high as Labour would have hoped.

      Well of course it isn’t – yet. The story only broke a week ago and it takes much longer than a week for these issues to sink in among the majority of voters – plus the poll must have started before the story broke.

      • Ergo Robertina 5.1.1

        A sharp bounce would be undesirable anyway, as it would feed the Labour’s Orewa narrative.

        • Anne


        • Skinny

          Or you could look at it differently. Business confidence dropping effects of the low milk solids price is starting to effect every town and city in New Zealand. Gone is the rhetoric of our economy being solid as a rock, hence the Rock Star title, down to more realistic economic view of snap crackle and finally bang…pop deflated. So Pop Star is more fitting these days.

          • Ergo Robertina

            Yep and that dynamic is building slowly and likely caused the RM lift. I was just thinking of how a sudden bounce now might be characterised by some commentators.

      • The Colmar Brunton poll period was 11-15 July, i.e. started the day the story broke.

        • te reo putake

          It’ll be interesting, but Colmar Brunton’s built in 5% lean to the right should make it look OK for the Nats. Expect the lead story to be a beat up about how the housing crisis exposure hasn’t helped Labour. As if that was why it was done.

          • Skinny

            Maybe by the odd media shill, however with our economy on the skids and heading to a crisis the punters will see a wider range of issues not just Housing.

            • te reo putake

              Yep. I don’t see much to boost the nats in our future. Mind you, All Black captain John Key has won two tests already this year, so there’s that.

          • Stephanie Rodgers

            I’m only going to note that it’s really interesting how the first defence of the story was “Labour has to appeal to more voters” and now that there’s not going to be a bump out of it the new defence is “oh we didn’t do it to get more votes anyway.” (Or Anne’s alternative, “voters are too stupid to have figured out whether they support this or not yet”.)

            • Skinny

              The non resident foreigners buying property issue won’t be showing to any great degree in this poll. And even in the next polls, as there are numerous issues that those surveyed may have an axe to grind with this incumbent regime. It can be as simple as the more the population hear our economy is on the rocks, the more likely they are going to blame Key and his cronies for their unacceptable inaction. That is my opinion for what it’s worth.

              • It’s a very fair opinion. I just tire of the paradoxical arguments, i.e. “this will appeal to voters, but that appeal will mysteriously not be reflected in poll results”.

                The idea that dogwhistling on people’s surnames wasn’t actually a great move is apparently unspeakable.

                • Lanthanide

                  Just because something will appeal to voters, doesn’t mean it should result in a clear signal in the polls, particularly immediately after the event. Also if the polling started on the Saturday, a lot of people simply would not have heard about it until Monday anyway.

                  Labour lost the last election because they didn’t look like they could form a credible government. Their attack on foreign speculators in the last week doesn’t speak directly towards that particular criticism either.

                  Also notable is that National haven’t really responded to Labour’s attacks on them; that will likely be occurring in this week. National’s response is partly what will drive polling intentions – do they agree with the problem and are they doing something concrete about it, or are they just going to keep on claiming that there is no problem? Or, most likely, are they just going to deflect onto the ‘racism’ angle and refuse to talk about the issue?

                • Skinny

                  Thanks for that Stephanie, yes I was very disappointed at the dog whistle tactic, the sloppiness was amateurish. There was a lack of being honest and frank. Where was the confession “Labour doesn’t have the funds to resource for paying an agency to provide the details…unlike National who have large donators like property magnates like Mr Barfoot who contributed $20,000 at last year’s election”.

            • te reo putake

              You didn’t see that approach from me, Stephanie. In fact, I’m struggling to recall anybody who made an argument that it was done because “Labour has to appeal to more voters”. I’m pretty sure that most people accept that it was an issue that needed raising, but there was considerable difference on how it should have been done.

            • Anne

              Stephanie… you seem to like reading things into people’s comment that are not there. It’s a well known fact that most people are not into politics in the same way we are, and therefore take longer to respond to political issues when they arise. Nothing to do with “stupidity” as you well know. I will respond in kind by saying I think that was a witting attempt to drive a wedge where no wedges should exist.

  6. greywarshark 6

    Wallace Chapman talking to author about NZ wines and regions! WTF – that’s Metros area or the Sunday inserts. Why waste valuable interviewing time on such lifestyle matters. It isn’t even part of a business overview which informed people should know about.

    • Marvellous Bearded Git 6.1

      Wallace is pretty damn good most of the time though. Asks hard questions while not seeming to.

      • Morrissey 6.1.1

        Wallace is pretty damn good most of the time though. Asks hard questions while not seeming to.

        Sadly, that’s not true. He has provided an unquestioning, even groveling platform for some utterly despicable ideologues.

        There was his pathetic interview with the right wing author Lee Child….

        Open mike 31/08/2014

        Even worse was this interview with Israeli apologist Jonathon Spyer. No sign of even one “hard question” from anyone “pretty damn good” on this occasion….

        Open mike 14/12/2014

        • greywarshark

          Jane Kelsey is being interviewed on her new book The Fire Economy. Good.
          Perhaps we are being presented with a ‘balanced’ set of interview, the acceptable lifestyle ones, with a token piece of searching, thoughtful stuff to show that it’s all not souffles with madeira wine flavouring. Now wouldn’t that be an attractive dessert. If you like the idea, it’s yours.

        • Marvellous Bearded Git

          According to wikipedia Lee Child was “involved with shows including Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker…”

          These are some of the best shows that have ever been on British TV.

          He also “told the Daily Mail that he writes while high on marijuana, and that he has smoked cannabis five nights a week for 44 years..’

          On the negative side he is a Villa fan…..

          I haven’t read his books. Is there solid evidence of his rightist leanings?

    • Morrissey 6.2

      There’s nothing wrong with talking about wine. The problem is the utter triviality of most of the rest of his programme. A few minutes ago, he said: “What’s your favorite tree? THAT is the theme of the day.”

      Chapman also has people texting in about what their favorite David Bowie song is. A few weeks ago, he begged people to text in about their favorite Beatles song. Every week, he asks people to say what their favorite city, or favorite snack or favorite movie is.

      Unlike some people in the media—Mike “Contra” Hosking, Leighton Smith, Larry “Lackwit” Williams, Sean Plunket—Wallace Chapman is neither lazy nor ill-informed. This trivialization of the Sunday morning programme is not his idea, it’s something that some genius in Radio New Zealand management has forced on him.

      • Rosemary McDonald 6.2.1

        “This trivialization of the Sunday morning programme is not his idea, it’s something that some genius in Radio New Zealand management has forced on him.”

        So, its not just us then? Switched the squawk box off 1/2 an hour ago.

        I thought Natrad was trying to build its audience???

        I hope they’re following this….

      • greywarshark 6.2.2

        Yes I have noticed the attempt at drawing people to use their ‘apps’ to contact Wallace at Radionz about matters which is something that the commercial is likely to do. That may be necessary as so many young to middle-aged people view life through the tiny space of a reversed telescope their smartphone screen gives. There is a need to bring young people into the Radionz circle. But it dilutes the effective time for big media stuff. It seems to me like bringing special needs pupils into the ordinary everyday classroom, the teacher time and attention available to other children is lessened.

        But Radionz cannot be allowed to become only for the older age group, it will need to bring in the younger group. I hope that we don’t lose the majority of intelligent, informed discussion about the world’s news, in favour of the soft option of discussing the interests of the middle class and nice pieces from most favoured nations that imitate the pretty words of a travelogue.

        Your final sentence is also my worry. This trivialization of the Sunday morning programme is not his idea, it’s something that some genius in Radio New Zealand management has forced on him.

      • red-blooded 6.2.3

        Hey, the tree discussion was actually focused on the effects of climate change (trees dying in Melbourne because of long-term droughts), and explored the connection people feel to trees that form part of their sense of self and community. I thought it was an imaginative approach to a subject that people often find dry or abstract and hard to connect to. The sample emails he read out were great – heart-warming, moving, funny, poetic… Not everything has to be hard-hitting. Sometimes a more quirky or unexpected approach can really touch a nerve and get people thinking.

    • greywarshark 6.3

      Now Wallace is talking about food in Italy and an Italian visitor and an item on I think the film festival. So weekend lifestyle. Sh.t.

      • greywarshark 6.3.1

        Another thought re Wallace and wine buff interview. The sort of people that would enjoy listening to the talk about NZs fine wine are those who realise that the early favourites of Cold Duck or Blue Nun were rather sweet, perhaps even sugar-added, They now have more sophisticated palates, prefer something drier, appreciate the nuances in flavour.

        But they have equally developed a preference for their news to reflect the sweet life. The bitter aftertaste of thorough coverage of real-world news requires a higher sort of sophistication from them before it can be embraced.

  7. Morrissey 7

    Patty Culhane of Al Jazeera on Obama’s legacy
    Al Jazeera News, Saturday 18 July 2015

    The U.S.-friendly official mouthpiece of the Qatari dictatorship took several minutes out of its “news” for a specially prepared item by Patty Culhane in Washington, pondering the legacy of Barack Obama as he approaches the final year of his presidency. Over several photographs of Obama looking serious, dignified and “presidential”, Culhane assured viewers that “much, perhaps most, of what happens internationally is beyond his control”. To illustrate how helpless the U.S. President is, she cited Yemen and ISIS in Iraq and Syria—none of which, apparently, has any connection to the United States.

    The item finished with a long shot of a serious-looking President Obama gazing through the window, framed dramatically by the grand Oval Office windows.

    I’m not sure now, but I think there was reflective violin music playing for the whole item, to emphasise the lonely vigil of this embattled human rights warrior.

    More on Obama….

    Open mike 29/06/2015

    Amazing Grace

    Open mike 27/06/2015

  8. I prefer my humour watered down:

    • weka 8.1

      Gotta love ignorant people laughing at things they don’t understand.

      • Ergo Robertina 8.1.1


      • Not sure if ‘don’t understand’ is the same as ‘doesn’t actually exist’, weka! Generally, I prefer laughing at people who make money by exploiting the gullible, something I appear to have in common with Mitchell and Webb.

        • Ergo Robertina

          You better tell the BMJ – this week it hosted a debate on something that doesn’t actually exist!

          • Colonial Rawshark

            I can pretty much guarantee that homeopathy (and acupuncture and chiropractic and…) will outlast energy intensive complexity reliant high funding requiring ‘modern medicine’.

            • northshoredoc

              … and I can pretty much guarantee that treatments such as homeopathy will be continue to be completely ineffective for any serious illnesses such as cancer, diabetes etc ….

              • Colonial Rawshark

                well, I can pretty much guarantee to you that a traditional Japanese or African or Greek diet is better for cancer and diabetes than anything modern medicine can come up with 😉

            • te reo putake

              Agreed. Because there’s a sucker born every minute.

          • te reo putake

            Whatever. The BMJ is pretty convinced that it’s pants, actually, ER.

            • Ergo Robertina

              You don’t seem to get what ”hosted a debate” means. In Britain there isn’t the degree of professional and intellectual conformity that prevails in NZ.

              • They still have science there, though. So, yeah, still bollocks.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Fisher of “shaken not stirred” fame – a rich vein for comedy if it weren’t for the harm that Edzard Ernst points out.

                Why couldn’t the BMJ find someone credible on the woo-woo side?

        • weka

          “Not sure if ‘don’t understand’ is the same as ‘doesn’t actually exist’, weka!”

          I’m reasonably confident that you have no idea how homeopathy is alleged to work, so ‘ignorant’ and ‘don’t understand’ seem appropriate.

          “Generally, I prefer laughing at people who make money by exploiting the gullible, something I appear to have in common with Mitchell and Webb.”

          Yet you appear very selective in that, which makes me think it’s ideological rather than reality based.

          • te reo putake

            Reality based! Gotta clean my keyboard now!!!

            • weka

              Yep, like I said, ideological which is why it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            We know how it’s supposed to work, Weka, because the woo-woo-witch-doctor gave evidence at the British Parliamentary Inquiry that:

            “Dr Fisher stated that the process of ‘shaking is important’ but was unable to say how much shaking was required. He said ‘that has not been fully investigated’ but did tell us that ‘You have to shake it vigorously […] if you just stir it gently, it does not work’.

            In other words, the woo-woo-witch-doctor hasn’t got a clue, but he believes it very very hard.

            Mainstream science, on the other hand, does have a clue: Homeopathy relies 100% on the Placebo effect.

            • Lanthanide

              The “placebo effect” can actually be broken down into many individual factors.

              In fact, what is measured by the “placebo effect” in drug trials is simply the the amount of healing that took place for the control group that weren’t given the drug. This naturally therefore lumps “the body’s natural healing ability” in under the umbrella “placebo effect”. Which is interesting.

              One factor that is known to have a big benefit, and this is probably why modern medicine is not as effective as it ‘should’ be, and these alternative medicines seem to show more effect than they ‘should’, is simply the level of attention given to the patient from the practitioner. Studies have been done where pain killers were given to patients, but the amount of attention given to the patient varied dramatically. Some patients were simply proscribed the intervention after a short discussion, while others had long conversations with frequent follow-ups and discussions of the progress. It was found that patients that had more involvement from their practitioners had a statistically significant improvement in symptoms compared to those who were simply proscribed the intervention and then left to their own devices.

              In other words, if modern medicine could be practised in a way that showed more concern for patients, overall we’d get better outcomes. A tricky question is whether the improved outcomes are worth the increased investment.

              Anyway, that ‘hands-on’ attention is a clear difference between alternative ‘medicine’ and modern medicine, and likely explains a lot of the positive results.


              • weka

                Placebo is more than the body’s normal healing processes. That’s why drug trials also include a control group. Placebo will often show better results than the control. What’s the mechanism behind that? I agree that pracitioner/client relationship is part of it, but it’s more than that. Natural health practitioners are much better at engaging the placebo response than conventional.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  [citation needed]

                  Although given that for many “natural” “health” “practitioners” the context effect is all they’ve got, they’d better be good at it, eh.

                • Lanthanide

                  “Placebo is more than the body’s normal healing processes.”
                  I never said it wasn’t. In fact I said it is made up of many parts, one of which is the body’s natural healing process. Re-reading I can see that this isn’t as clear as it should be, but reading the whole comment I don’t think you can construe that I said placebo is only natural healing.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Thanks for that Lanth: lots to absorb there 🙂

                …the placebo object is not necessary for the contextual effect.

                Much of the literature regarding bedside manner stresses the need for better practice: it looks like the profession agrees with you 🙂

            • weka

              “We know how it’s supposed to work, Weka”

              Succussing is how the remedy is prepared. That’s not what I am talking about. I’m talking about how homeopathic practice works. I’m happy to add you to the list of people who express opinions about this when they are still largely ignorant of the theory they are critiquing.

              What you are demonstrating is faith and superstition. The faith is in omnipotence of the metatrials, despite them being quite easily critiqued (i.e. I would guess you have no idea about the shortcomings). The superstition is ridiculing something you don’t get understand.

              “Mainstream science, on the other hand, does have a clue: Homeopathy relies 100% on the Placebo effect.”

              I suggest you go and extend your reading OAB. Placebo is a very useful thing in healing and health management. Even mainstream science is catching on to that one. The rest of us have know about it forever.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                I did a Google scholar search for “bedside manner” as a consequence of Lanth’s comment. The medical profession is way ahead of you, and was at the time of Hippocrates.

                As for further reading on Placebos, I recommend you read the link too.

                • weka

                  Yep, and the Persians were there before Hippocrates. But ffs, the Chinese have been doing this shit for thousands of years longer than we have. Btw, physicians in Hippocrates’ time did things and believed things that you would consider woowoo, so I’m not sure why you are invoking his name.

                  If you are suggesting that placebo from bedside manner is the only thing happening with alternative pracitioners, then you have a very limited idea of what placebo is or how it works. It also backs up my suspicion that you have no idea what homeopathic practice is. These are very basic illogics, it’s hard to believe I’m in a conversation with otherwise thoughtful people. But ideology trumps every time.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    It’s clear you haven’t absorbed the information in the article Lanth linked above.

          • Realblue


            If you believe this is medicine when it’s been proven to be ineffective other than for placebo effect you need your head read (by a doctor).

            Or this


            Although effective in temporarily relieving back pain, that’s where it begins and ends.

            If you can accept the science behind climate change proven by reputable scientists and researchers, why the fuck would you accept these frauds perpetuated by charlatans which have been disproven through the similar research methodologies and rigour. It’s preying on the daft and the gullible. About as genuine as Scientology.

            • Lanthanide

              What I find funny about scientology is that even the name of it sounds bogus, like it was deliberately named to take in the naive and vulnerable.

            • Colonial Rawshark


              Otago and Southland residents have been using chiropractic care since post WWI. For many different reasons. And they continue to do so in their thousands and thousands. These are smart practical people who don’t put up with BS which doesn’t work. University lecturers, PhD candidates, medical doctors, nurses and physiotherapists, some of them 🙂

              • weka

                Kind of like all those people in India who use integrated health care that includes homeopathy. They must be suckers and idiots.

                Or the millions of people in China that use the integrated system there that includes that woo woo acupuncture.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                As I’ve said before, I’ve had very good results from Chiropractic treatment for sciatica. This is not unusual: cf the medical literature cited by Realblue above.

                • weka

                  Did bacteria exist before the microscope?

                  The argument that science has proved something doesn’t exist is flawed, and most people who are anti-homeopathy are not willing to be honest about this.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Of course that particular argument is flawed. The fact remains, however, that the best way to discredit a Homeopath is to let them speak.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      the ongoing multi-centuries long fucking arrogance of you scientism types who in your ignorance and pridefulness believe you possess all the valid knowledge of mankind; in fact the very same attitude as when the brightest medical doctors of the day were prescribing bleeding, arsenic and opium. Or thalidomide, vioxx and Dalkon Shields.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yeah whatever CR, have fun with your strawman.

                  • But it’s not science making the absurd claim. It’s really up to the rip off artists to justify themselves. Though they’re highly incentivised to do no such thing.

                  • northshoredoc

                    Hi Weka

                    Perhaps for the sake of clarity you should explain what yu mean by homeopathy.

                    Some people use the term to cover using such products as Arnica and other herbal/natural medications, while others use it in its narrowest definition relating to dilution and shaking to a level wherein no molecules are left within the product apart from the diluent.

                    In this narrow definition homeopathy has been repeatedly proven to be no more effective than placebo as such its use in preference to an active proven effective treatment in anything but simple maladies cannot be recommended by any healthcare professional, I’m not sure why you find that disturbing.

                    • RedLogix

                      Good-oh. I’ll take your placebo effect thank you very much. Cheap, reliable and often effective. And no list of risks and side-effects.

                      And besides, the moment you invoke the term ‘placebo effect’ you’re opening a remarkably interesting can of worms anyhow.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Yes, this.

                      Homoeopathy, where somehow the water ‘remembers’ the ‘cure’ that was put in it through mystical vibrations or whatever is utter bullshit. How come the water remembers the ‘cure’, but not all the other millions of years where it had literal shit or toxic metals in it?

                      Herbal remedies may have some limited healing powers in some uses.

                      @ RedLogix:
                      “Good-oh. I’ll take your placebo effect thank you very much. Cheap, reliable and often effective. And no list of risks and side-effects.”

                      Actually it works both ways: the “nocebo effect” is where drugs and actual treatments are less effective than they should be, because that brain of ours has some funny ideas about how its body should behave sometimes.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      How come the water remembers the ‘cure’, but not all the other millions of years where it had literal shit or toxic metals in it?

                      Because of human intention which can cross time and space FFS; how is it you people are so ignorant??? Are you all dyed in the wool materialists?

                    • northshoredoc

                      RL I don’t think you understand what the term ‘placebo effect’ means.

                    • Lanthanide

                      So the human intention of people dumping toxic waste into water (which is then diluted to huge degrees) doesn’t harm people, because…?

                      How come ‘human intention’ requires mixing stuff up with water? Why can’t we just pray disease away? What is the mechanism by which this works?

                    • McFlock

                      Is it strictly limited to “human” intention, I wander?

                      Otherwise there’s a massive vibe of fish-jizz in my morning cup of tea…

              • Prickles

                This is to follow on from Colonial Rawshark’s response to Realblue –
                Acupuncture is taught at Otago University and at AUT in Auckland as a post grad course and as Bachelor and Master programmes at private colleges in Auckland and Wellington. Wiki is well known for its bias against complementary and alternative medicine. Fortunately NZQA do not rely on Wiki.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  And acupuncture (and chinese medicine in general) is going to be taught to the medical specialists of the Russian defence forces – by the PLA.

            • weka

              “If you can accept the science behind climate change proven by reputable scientists and researchers, why the fuck would you accept these frauds perpetuated by charlatans which have been disproven through the similar research methodologies and rigour. It’s preying on the daft and the gullible.”

              If you can’t tell the difference between evidence of something and trying to prove the absence of something then you really shouldn’t be trying to use science as part of your argument.

              You also shouldn’t go anywhere near healthcare other than your own given you appear to have no clue about informed consent or patient centred practice.

              btw, it’s those attitudes that keep the gulf between the scienceheads and the woo wooers. They’re both entrenched in belief systems that they can’t see out of, but the sad thing is that the woo wooers will never come back to science while it is so damn patronising and mean.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Perhaps the reason woo-wooers find scientists patronising and mean [citation needed] is that woo-wooers expect to be taken seriously when they have a profound information deficit.

                Or are you ok with unqualified civil engineers too?

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  What a dick comment.

                  Ancient civilisations built pyramids, aquaducts, irrigation systems and highways without your ‘qualified civil engineers’. And some of that shit lasted for centuries – better than anything built today is going to last.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Yes, they had no master builders or architects and had not learned from experience. They just let anyone design and build things like the tomb of the Emperor or The Parthenon.

                    No, wait…

                    • Lanthanide

                      He’s also using survivorship bias to ignore the 99.99% of buildings built by ancient cultures that aren’t still standing today.

                    • Iron Hoof

                      The narrow bands have been packaged up and locked into mind traps which they mistake for knowledge

                      Some of the wee monkeys understand limitations ,while other wee monkeys prefer to masturbate in public believing they are the apex of universal evolution

                      Human beings are monkeys with prehistoric tools believing they are unlocking the secrets of the universe.

                      Stroke on wee monkeys

                      [I’ve pointed out previously that your chosen handle is homophobic. Please don’t use it again. TRP]

                    • RedLogix


                      I think CV’s point might be better interpreted like this; that the ancients were capable of building remarkable structures based purely on their observational and artisan skills.

                      Yes the people entrusted with supervising these projects would have been carefully chosen as the most talented and trusted people to do it – but few of them would have been burdened much by many years of mathematics, structural analysis, finite object analysis and so on. In other words they achieved all those things prior to any of the scientific revolution, and with none of the tools civil engineers take for granted today.


                      Well yes but what portion of structures that WE build do you think will stand in 1000 years time?

            • RedLogix

              As I stated elsewhere today, I’m as much a creature and beneficiary of the experimental scientific method as anyone here. I was trained in it and have earned a living at it all my life.

              But as a method it has it’s limits, and I’ve always been aware that all other non-Western cultures use a more observational approach arrive at quite another set of rules and guides for understanding the world they live in. And with quite remarkable degrees of coherence across multiple cultures. It’s a pretty gross arrogance, a racist conceit even, to simply erase that vast, complex and correlated body of knowledge as mere superstition and ignorance.

              And I’m old enough to have my own modest little collection of experiences that no explanation within the scientific model. Most of these experiences arrived uninvited, unexpected and left their own very specific memories.

              One example: when I was younger I used to have very vivid OOBE dreams. When I was six years old one night I ‘visited’ a house, down the driveway, around the back and into the kitchen. Next day at school I actually made a drawing of it.

              At the age of ten my family moved into that house. My mum recognised the room and found the old drawing. One problem; there was a big set of cupboards in my picture which was not definitely not there. Still she was pretty impressed.

              About four years later my dad and I lifted the flooring to move a wall – and there on the boards was the clear outline of the missing cupboards.

              Western Science has zero explanation for this kind of thing, yet in conversation with people over the years I know that it’s also pretty common. Yes I know anecdote ‘proves’ nothing. I’m not trying to.

              Yet tell this tale to most non-Westerners, indigenous peoples especially – and the response is a ‘so what boringly ho-hum and commonplace’. They’d typically find it no more remarkable than a detailed description of my last bowel movement.

              At no point am I suggesting that this invalidates or diminishes the scientific method. It remains the reliable pivot around which I understand my world. But neither is there any proof to show that it is the ONLY way to understand reality, or indeed that it’s method can ever encompass an understanding of ALL reality.

              Because I think this is all that people like CV, weka and myself ask for; is that science has the humility to acknowledge the boundaries of it’s domain, and remain open to the possibility that future generations will uncover new ideas and new knowledge that none of us can properly imagine just now.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Western Science has zero explanations for OOBEs, does it? Shall I Google the studies for you?

                • RedLogix

                  sighs … but not the ability to ‘see’ a place you have definitely never been to. Nor explain why that particular house and not the one next door.

                  And I only chose that example because of it’s pretty commonplace, banal even, nature.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    I’ve had a few myself.

                    To my mind that makes them explicable by Physics. Science hasn’t yet demonstrated the mechanism: it’s still the best tool for researching the phenomenon.

                    • RedLogix

                      And that’s the point I was making. I totally agree that physics (or some yet to be understood extension of it) will be the best explanation.

                      Indeed that IS the power of the scientific method. Once it can create a reliable model of a phenomenon, it can then be expanded into a reproducible technology.

                      But just dismissing these out-of-domain experiences as woo-woo simply slows the process down – and crucially is a betrayal of the fundamental spirit of science. And ordinary people are pretty good at detecting that sort of thing.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I characterised Fisher’s pathetic testimony to the Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee as “woo-woo-witch-doctor”. I stand by that description.

                      For anyone who thinks evidence-free drivel is a good idea I have one word: Neoliberalism.

                    • RedLogix

                      But equally the absence of evidence is not proof of absence.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      So what? Woo-woo-witch-doctors don’t give a fuck about evidence, absent or not: they just want to inflict their afflictions upon everyone else while demanding “respect” and most importantly, public money.

                      The Roger Douglases and Max Bradfords of this world: in any sane universe they only deserve oxygen because I let my foot off their throat.

                    • Lanthanide

                      I’ll just throw this into the mix as it’s semi-relevant.

                      People with near death experiences in hospitals often claim they have visions of hovering up and over their body, looking down on themselves while doctors crowd around trying to heal them etc.

                      So a study was done (it was mentioned on QI, unfortunately I haven’t been able to google it) where they placed various objects on top of cabinets and shelves high up in the room, that could only be seen by someone who had a genuine out-of-body experience.

                      Over the years that the study ran, none of the hundred or so people who reported OOBE where they were hovering over their beds were able to recall the objects so-placed.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      How quickly and easily RL’s comments are thrown away.

                      Fact is – a single incident of the type RL relates and you must admit that everything we know about the scientifically known universe – is not that much.

                      A prospect terrifying to some – but liberating to others.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The same study was mentioned in Supernature iirc. Perhaps not the most credible citation.

                      One reason neuroscience takes them seriously is the number of patients who’ve reported verifiable events that happened while they were ‘unconscious’.

                      In sports contexts there are many many accounts of people watching themselves perform athletic acts in real time.

                    • RedLogix

                      Sorry OAB – but for such a determined defender of science you’ve been quick to abandon it here. If there is no evidence for something there are at least four logical possibilities:

                      1. You haven’t found it yet, or more likely, you haven’t really looked

                      2. You’re looking for the wrong kind of evidence, in the wrong places

                      3. You have found it, but you’ve failed to recognise it’s significance

                      4. It really does not exist

                      You don’t have to have a go at me. I actually do logic on a daily basis for a living. And getting my head around ALL the possible states is the key to getting a complete and robust solution.

                      Of course you are quite right; charlatans of all types will indulge lazy and wishful thinkers by parting them from their money at every opportunity. But you have to accept – alternative medicines, while especially prone to it, do not have that affliction on their own.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      RL – when did I abandon it again? I’m not having a go at you – it’s quite clear that there is plenty of independent evidence that mirrors your own experience, and mine for that matter.

                      Neuroscience has mapped the territory a bit better, and will explore further if the rate of growth of literature on the subject is any indication. The only people I can see with grounds to be “frightened” of this are the woo-woo brigade, who are financially dependent on ignorance.

                      Meanwhile, CR’s strawman doesn’t stand scrutiny: ask any scientist and they’ll tell you that the more they learn the more they realise they don’t know.

                    • McFlock

                      Fact is – a single incident of the type RL relates and you must admit that everything we know about the scientifically known universe – is not that much.

                      Oh bollocks CR – there are dozens of possible explanations for RL’s experience before mysterious powers need to be introduced.

                      Did RL see their house in the future, or did RL’s parents like the house because it looked like RL’s picture? If a house has been around long enough, most walls would have had cupboards against them at one stage or another.

                      There is a huge amount to learn, yes. Maybe even remote viewing or something similar is possible. Hell, maybe even this is what RL’s experience was, rather than clouded memories of long ago or any other explanation. All I’m really saying is that confirmation bias is a wonderful thing, and eyewitness testimony is frequently unreliable.

                    • RedLogix


                      Yes I’ve done my best over the years to consider all of those possibilities. Most of them I can categorically rule out.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Déjà vu

                Déjà vu, (Listeni/ˌdeɪʒɑː ˈvuː/; French pronunciation: ​[de.ʒa.vy]) from French, literally “already seen”, is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced, has already been experienced in the past, whether it has actually happened or not.

                I figure that there’s an everyday description of it that’s known and understood by everybody because it’s, as you say, common.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Clinical experiments with patients who suffer from epilepsy…

                  found that synchronized neural firing between the rhinal cortices and the hippocampus or amygdala were increased in stimulations that induced déjà vu. This suggests that some sort of coincident occurrence in medial temporal lobe structures may “trigger” activation of the recollection system.


                  Epilepsy research has also yielded interesting results regarding OOBEs.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Including OOBE’s which can place furniture and fittings in exact locations from whence they have been gone for years?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      R/L may have visualised the house as it was the day they ‘visited’ it. That seems less unlikely.

    • Marvellous Bearded Git 8.2

      “if that doesn’t cure him I don’t know what will’…….lol!!

  9. Tory Entitlement Update No94: Oz

    Speaker Bronwyn Bishop blows $5 grand of taxpayer dosh on a helicopter trip from Melbourne to Geelong and back so that she can attend a Liberal Party fundraiser, doesn’t see the inherent problem.


  10. Sirenia 10

    Jane Kelsey on RNZ now for an interview about her new book. Should be good.

  11. greywarshark 11

    The gummint has noticed that there are organised fights within our prisons, disapproves, and has put the entities in charge ‘on notice’.

    I know just how the gummint feels. As with so many in our country, I have listened to the farce of bouts needing Queensberry Rules that the gummint turn Parliament’s Question Time into. I and a great number of others, I hope, put them ‘on notice’ to be meted out at the next election.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    Fourteen tenants, one toilet: Donghua Liu’s ‘slum’ rental

    Can anybody really say that they’re surprised by this?

    • greywarshark 12.1

      And they can’t resist involving David Cunliffe on spurious grounds. (Note to political
      media advisor – Tell pollie to always say ‘I can’t remember.it was many years ago. I will have to check on that.’)
      Stuff has repeated :Former Labour leader David Cunliffe was also put on the back foot after it was proved he had signed a letter in 2003 supporting Liu, having initially denied doing so.

  13. Ergo Robertina 13


    VetSouth to offer free services to struggling dairy farmers (for a month, but it could be extended), who would otherwise shoot cows rather than call the vet.
    It’s really encouraging to see this kind of thing – the banks need to adopt a similar attitude to managing the dairy bust. If managed correctly land values and production can drop to a realistic level without exacting a severe toll on farmers and their families.

    ”We thought that wasn’t good enough and we could do better … by supporting the farmers who supported us. We wanted to tip the balance in favour of the cows.”
    Farmers typically wanted to do their best for their stock and it was hoped the offer would ”remove some of the pain” and ease both the situation for both farmers and cows, he said.
    ”The reasoning behind this is simple – it’s not a cow’s fault if she gets sick in a low-payout season.”

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    How population growth can make us worse off

    Of course, slower growth in the population means slower growth in the size of the economy. But what of it? What do we lose?

    The economic rationale for economic growth is that it raises our material standard of living. But this happens only if GDP grows faster than the population grows. So it doesn’t follow that slower GDP growth caused by slower population growth leaves us worse off materially.

    That would be true only if slower population growth caused slower growth in GDP per person. I suspect many people unconsciously assume it does, but where’s the evidence?

    I doubt there is any. The most significant recent study, conducted by the Productivity Commission in 2006, concluded that even skilled migration would do little to increase income per person. And what little growth the commission could find was appropriated by the new arrivals.

    An interesting article that raises interesting questions.

    • Lanthanide 14.1

      Assuming that higher GDP = better standard of living is stupid, anyway.

      It’s quite easy for GDP to increase, even increase at a rate faster than population growth, but general standard of living doesn’t go up.

      It’d even be quite easy for the GDP to go down while living standards increase. The two obvious causes are unequal distribution of the wealth, and then more efficient/effective technologies being introduced that improve living standards.

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    Rachel Stewart: Media should have seen dairy slump coming

    Throughout this era I’ve watched truckloads of provincial rural reporters do nothing more than suck, and grease, and fawn over the entire industry. With very few exceptions, nary a searching question has passed their lips.

    What questions should they have asked? Here’s a random selection of thousands that could and should have been asked.

    Why are we content to produce masses of low-commodity, low-value milk powder to the lactose-intolerant Chinese?

    Why aren’t we actively pursuing value-added products to trade with the rest of the world?

    Why do we think that high input farming – having to use imported feed like PKE – isn’t ‘factory farming’?

    How sustainable is this industry given the level of intensification, outside inputs, environmental damage and debt required to conduct “normal” business?

    Has the short-term boom been worth the long-term bust of our dying waterways?

    Have farmers been doing enough to protect the environment while making that quick buck?

    You see, right about here lies one of the problems. An indignant, arrogant press release would suddenly appear from “BigAg” saying that farmers have spent “$1b to date” on cleaning up their effects on the environment. Yet, not one journalist has ever asked ask them to quantify that figure. Not one.

    Makes you wonder what else is going straight over their heads, doesn’t it?

    Our economy and our environment is pretty much fucked and a large part of the blame lies squarely with farming but a lot of that could have been prevented if we’d had a Fourth Estate asking the correct questions and a government willing to reign in the depredations of the farmers.

  16. joe90 16

    Tory pigs are at it again.

    Tory peers like Lord
    Cormack argued in favour of moving away from tax funding, saying:

    “All forms of funding must be
    looked at. We have to have a plurality of funding if we are to have a
    sustainable NHS. Whether the extra funding comes from compulsory
    insurances or certain charges matters not
    , but it has to come.”

    Matters not!? As a true Tory, he says that
    the funding should not come from taxing the rich (which he does not even
    countenance), but instead from taxing the sick.

    More disappointing were the contributions from
    Labour peers like (the notoriously pro-privatisation) Lord Warner:

    Our tax-funded, largely free at the point of
    clinical need NHS is rapidly approaching an existential moment. The voices of
    dissent and outrage will no doubt be deafening but a wise Government
    should begin now the process of helping the public engage in a
    discourse about future funding of the NHS.”


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