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Open mike 22/12/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 22nd, 2020 - 123 comments
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123 comments on “Open mike 22/12/2020 ”

  1. aom 1

    This is the latest ride on the merry-go-round of legal shit-fuckery that penalises community groups who dare to face off in opposition to the rape and pillage of the environment. Less than a decade ago, voluntary community organisations were able to apply for Government financed grants, now no longer available, when challenging the likes of Councils, big-moneyed developers, international consortiums and Government agencies in respect of environmental concerns. In almost all but the most frivolous of cases, legal costs were never awarded against community groups but left to lie where they may. This was in the interests of justice being seen to be done in both quasi and full legal proceedings that were being tested by those who were committed to upholding the incrementally unfolding joke of ‘A Clean Green New Zealand’ by their works and deeds. Up and down the country, these communities of voluntary environmental workers and supporters of the notion that we are only caretakers of the land for future generations attempted to mount cases on hard come by donations fund raising efforts and their own knowledge and informational resources that are now regarded as unqualified opinions in hearings, even if they are unpaid witnesses or presenters who are acknowledged experts in their fields. These usually unheralded challengers of 'the system' are rapidly learning that you don’t fuck with rapacious wealth accumulators, Councils, and Government without risking eye-wateringly heavy sanctions and financial penalties. With stuff-all resources, the would-be protectors now not only have to somehow engage expensive lawyers and 'experts' but will be denigrated during hearings by the paid liars who the vested interests can munificently reward, the snide demeaning attitudes of the assembled ‘specialist’ legal teams of the ‘I want brigade’ and usually associated local bodies, various intended beneficiaries of the primary parties and, as in the Coromandel case, the Government, all of who are backed by very deep pockets, often, in part, paid for by the various charges, rates or taxes of the challengers. This could end up a long dissertation of examples and bitter experience from the bottom end of the disenchanted 'protest' chain but no doubt, the shit-fuckery and perversion of environmental legal protection is already sufficiently evident!

    • Ad 1.1

      Some semblance of syntax, grammar, and a link to whatever you're on about would be useful if you want any kind of engagement.

      For example you could always publish the High Court decision on the reasons that their costs application was not considered in the public interest.

      • RosieLee 1.1.1

        Agree about the link, but not a lot wrong with the grammar and syntax.

      • Ed 1.1.2

        You appear more annoyed by poor grammar than the rape and pillage of our environment Ad.

        aom’s passionate piece highlights how far our nation has fallen into being a neoliberal playground for massive multinational corporations.

        Whose side are on, Ad?

        • lprent

          I read hundreds of passionate pleas every day. Many of them from people who want to write on this site and are willing to pay money to do it. Those I file them into spam because most of them are made by robots and are passionate about making money for casinos or NGOs. Others are heart rending appeals for donations – like the flood of ones for the Georgian Senate race that I'm getting right now.

          My immediate reaction when I read an unformatted message like the one above is that it was probably done by a badly formed robot copy and pasting text (think of tat as the moderator response). My second is that whoever was making it doesn't care enough to make their points readable (I have a lot of reading to do and not a lot of time to do it). My third is is there was a bug in the comment editor (the programmer response).

          But an ability to communicate clearly is an essential skill in all of them to get me to read the actual content of what they say. That is the responsibility of the person making the passionate plea.

        • Incognito

          Whose side are on, Ad? [sic]

          In addition to your premise being wrong, Ad’s record is here for all to judge for themselves: https://thestandard.org.nz/author/advantage/

      • aom 1.1.3

        The link to the RNZ report is contained in the text of the comment. Someone didn't notice the third three words ARE the link. Geez – some people! Not sure what your issue is regarding syntax and grammar but style, like yours is personal and usually experientially influenced.However, if it deters your engagement, perhaps you haven't much of value to contribute on the topic anyway!

      • Adrian Thornton 1.1.4

        @Ad, what the hell is wrong with you?, someone comes on and writes a solid piece on a subject obviously close to their heart and you can do nothing but critique their “syntax, grammar” …maybe you need to go and sit in the corner and think about what you have done.

      • left for dead 1.1.5

        @Ad,,…..At the current rate of knots it will be you and and a couple others that will bother writing or reply to anything on this site,maybe that's for the better.On second thoughts,, nah

        • Incognito

          Imagine you go a restaurant and order a three-course meal with drinks. The chef cooks it to your specifications, puts all of it in a blender, and the grumpy waiter dumps a big bowl with the blended mess on your table giving you a straw telling you to “suck it up”.

          Style and presentation are important, as are clarity of thought & word, if you wish to engage in on-line discussion. It doesn’t take much effort to make comments more inviting, accessible, and readable.

          Many readers access the site on mobile phone with tiny screens and not all have the time, energy, or inclination to turn a dense comment into something that their brain can digest more easily let alone respond to.

          Ad has a point, except he missed the link that started at the third word.

    • Rosemary McDonald 1.2

      Here's the link for those who failed to read the article.


      I get your blind rage aom. I was just about incandescent when I read about this at about 5am this morning. I don't need to add to your well justified rant.

      For a fleeting moment I thought about posting here about this and suggesting a hat-passing to help Catherine Delahunty and Coro Watchdog with these costs. Decided it would be a waste of time considering the drubbing said former Green MP received from some here for her temerity at criticising Shaw over the Privileged Green School debacle.

      • aom 1.2.1

        There is no need to do anything about raising funds Rosemary, that is not the purpose of the Crown's strategy. In days past, the likes of Councils and more so the Crown would not make applicationsfor costs in such cases. It appears that somewhere along the way, it was realised that small 'pain in the arse' organisations could never be sufficiently solvent to comply with Orders for eye-watering costs, hence the applications. It has transpired that small organisations have defaulted and closed down in attempts to financially protect individual members. There is nothing like a legal 'mowing of the lawns' to threaten dissent. Along the similar lines, it was observed in a Wellington case that a developer, enjoined by the Council, attempted to preemptively close down a pending case. The strategy was to lodge an application to have the Court make an Order that funds be lodged in advance to meet indeterminate projected legal fees.

        • Anne

          There is nothing like a legal 'mowing of the lawns' to threaten dissent.

          Exactly. Like hiring private investigators tp spy on anyone who dared to protest the destruction of forests, birds and other forms of indigenous species. It went on for decades and various public and private entities used them.

          Thanks for bringing the subject up aom.

      • lprent 1.2.2

        "I think that there is clearly public interest when ministers disagree and when the Act is unclear and we sought clarification.

        "It's a terrible decision in the sense that if you award costs against people who are standing up for the public interest when government can't agree – to be penalised for that is a real kick in the face to a volunteer group that's been working to protect the environment for more than 40 years, and doing it absolutely with blood sweat and tears, so we're incredibly disappointed and appalled at this decision."


        "We can't ask the public to pay for this because we have many people who might want to help us, but they don't want to give money to Crown Law and the mining industry.

        "This is actually really unfair and a real deterrent to the public interest in taking cases like this."

        From the article I completely agree. I'd also say that there is a public interest in finding out the legal position. Funding an appeal about the costs being awarded against the group sounds right to me. Also the ruling does look somewhat suspicious to me. The whole point about legislation is that it needs to be fleshed out in court in the public interest. Penalising groups for doing that is definitely not.

        Does anyone have a link to the judgement?

    • "Less than a decade ago, voluntary community organisations were able to apply for Government financed grants, now no longer available…."

      The Environmental Legal Assistance scheme run by the government is still operating. The community group that I am president of gained grants for both legal assistance for a High Court appeal and for expert landscape evidence in an Environment Court case last year.

      The problem is that these grants only cover part of the cost and if you lose a case the community group may be liable for costs, though if the case is argued well and without wasting the court's time costs are usually left where they fall.

      • aom 1.3.1

        Thanks for that Bearded Git – my bad for not checking. It is ages since I heard of an organisation having successfully tapped that funding, so worked on an obviously incorrect assumption.

        • Bearded Git

          No worries….I have much sympathy with your post….the system works against small community groups and community interests

    • RedLogix 1.4

      I hope this helps a bit; I took the liberty of making a few edits … chrs.

      This is the latest ride on the merry-go-round of legal shit-fuckery that penalises community groups who dare to face off in opposition to the rape and pillage of the environment.

      Less than a decade ago, voluntary community organisations were able to apply for Government financed grants, now no longer available, when challenging the likes of Councils, big-moneyed developers, international consortiums and Government agencies in respect of environmental concerns. In almost all but the most frivolous of cases, legal costs were never awarded against community groups but left to lie where they may. This was in the interests of justice being seen to be done in both quasi and full legal proceedings that were being tested by those who were committed to upholding the incrementally unfolding joke of ‘A Clean Green New Zealand’ by their works and deeds.

      Up and down the country, these communities of voluntary environmental workers and supporters of the notion that we are only caretakers of the land for future generations attempted to mount cases on hard come by donations fund raising efforts and their own knowledge and informational resources. These are now treated as 'unqualified' opinions in hearings, even if they are unpaid witnesses or presenters who are acknowledged experts in their fields.

      These usually unheralded challengers of 'the system' are rapidly learning that you don’t fuck with rapacious wealth accumulators, Councils, and Government without risking eye-wateringly heavy sanctions and financial penalties.

      With stuff-all resources, these would-be protectors now not only have to somehow engage expensive lawyers and 'experts', but will be denigrated during hearings by the paid liars who the vested interests can munificently reward, the snide demeaning attitudes of the assembled ‘specialist’ legal teams of the ‘I want brigade’ and usually associated local bodies, various intended beneficiaries of the primary parties and, as in the Coromandel case, the Government. All of whom are backed by very deep pockets, often, in part, paid for by the various charges, rates or taxes of the challengers.

      This could end up a long dissertation of examples and bitter experience from the bottom end of the disenchanted 'protest' chain but no doubt, the shit-fuckery and perversion of environmental legal protection is already sufficiently evident!

        • RedLogix

          It's quite peculiar how a bit of white space makes such a difference … the human brain really is quite odd at times. cool

          • lprent

            I suspect it is an effort issue. By breaking up the text into what are essentially related argument points, you reduce the amount of brain parsing and reparsing.

            Computers are good at state engines and will happily churn through code without any formatting after the pre-parser removes the unrequired white space. Humans have some pretty severe stack limits for processing straight logic. Our writing styles reflect that.

            Humans are way way better as inference and associative engines though. You only need to read the text of any conspiracy theory to see the extremities of that.

          • Phillip ure

            @red logix..

            if you get into the habit of giving each sentence its' own line…

            soon the paragraphs that most use start to look like bricks..

            and you ask yourself 'why?'

            especially because the paragraph is a habit dictated by the high cost of paper/printing..

            pushing a bunch of sentences together under those circumstances makes perfect sense..

            but not so now..

            we all have acres of white space to stretch/loll about in…

            let your words breathe/gambol..

            banish the brick..

            (and I speak up on this ‘cos sentences don’t have a voice…eh..? they have nobody to speak for them..)

            • bwaghorn

              Mr Ure giving writing lessons…….

              Now that’s gold that will keep me smiling….

              Merry xmas..

            • Incognito

              Nonsense. Paragraphs provide structure to style & contents in and of written comments and help to present a clear and logical argument, just as sentences convey meaning by stringing together certain words in a certain order. In order to achieve this, you don’t pull apart the components but you group them together.

              • Phillip ure

                I can see times when what you say would apply..

                (say in the presentation of complex ideas..they are invaluable then..)

                but in general.. the paragraph has seen its' day…

                doomed to go the way of the whorl..

                • The Al1en

                  If you could write properly, you would, so I get why someone with your ‘can’t be wrong’ personality uses an easy cop out like 'evolving language' to try and disguise the fact.

                • Incognito

                  The world is a complex place and our issues are complex too. Therefore, I don’t see any point in trying to reduce things to single sentences that lack cohesion. Often, one ends up with just simplistic common sense and banal clichés. So, in general, for me, paragraphs are paramount.


    • Patricia Bremner 1.5

      Yes aom, this is a strategy. When the mine first wanted to do work in the area it was stopped as the land was slipping. You are right about deep pockets. They afford expensive ranks of lawyers which increases costs.

      My late Mother and I asked how Waihi's water table would be affected. We received a 70 page document which made it plain they would seek costs… made it scary.

      My Aunt and Uncle had a neighbour whose property subsided into old workings disturbed by the underground drilling, and subsequently their own property was shifted to a new section. That whole area has been bought by the mine and is sealed off.

      So much of Waihi has become dangerous or out of bounds. I admire the groups trying to make these mining bodies ethical. We could be worse off without the watch dogs.

  2. Jester 2

    I hope now that police no longer chase, there will not be more of this where a person causes an accident and fails to stop to even see if anyone injured. Time will tell.

    Southern Motorway crash: Car flips, police trying to locate vehicle that crossed two lanes – NZ Herald

    • gsays 2.1

      The police policy on chase had no bearing on this person leaving the scene.

      It is a good decision to end these pursuits, and I applaud the police on taking it.

      • satty 2.1.1

        It will be seen if the end of police pursuits is actually going to improve the situation. The people fleeing the now non-chasing police probably still drive dangerously anyway.

        I also think the fines for hit-and-run and other serious traffic offences should be increased significantly, for example to several years of suspended driver licenses as a starting point.

        Driving a car – especially dangerously – should not be an untouchable entitlement.

    • Andre 2.2

      Errm, how is this in any way relevant to a pursuit policy?

      It appears to be a case of a clueless menace on four wheels changing multiple lanes at once, causing other drivers to take evasive action resulting in those other drivers having a crash.

      The original clueless menace that caused it all is likely completely unaware of the carnage they were directly responsible for unfolding behind them.

    • Jimmy 2.3

      Fatalities from police chases will reduce significantly now as there will be hardly any police chases. I just hope deaths don't increase from more dangerous drivers on the road like the dickhead who caused this crash. Lucky they didn't kill anyone.

  3. Enough is Enough 3

    When people quote you GDP numbers to claim that we, as a country are doing well, tell them they're dreaming.

    Right now, as has been the case for a long time, the rich are getting very rich and looking forward to their Christmas holidays on the waterways at Pauanui, Omaha and Queenstown.

    Meanwhile, under this government, this is the reality for many:


  4. Sanctuary 4

    Looks like Judith Collins has made a pointless personal enemy of Shane Te Pou if his Herald column today is any guide!

    • KSaysHi 4.1

      Anyone can forgive, it doesn't require a Christian belief system (which, in case a clue of some kind were needed, shows she wouldn't have made a good PM anyway)

    • Jimmy 4.2

      I don't think they ever would of been friends anyway.

    • Incognito 4.3

      Even though it is pay-walled, you should still provide the link for those who can access the content and read it in full angry

      As such, your comment contains nothing of substance.


      • lprent 4.3.1

        Interesting. I'll quote the relevant interaction.

        "You're lucky I'm a Christian," Judith Collins said to me, like a bolt from the blue, in a radio studio the other day.

        I was incredulous. "Why's that, Judith?"

        "That way, I can forgive you," she replied.

        "Forgive me for what? I'm not seeking your forgiveness."

        Instead of elaborating, she turned to the other panellists to tell them what kind of person I was. Much awkward shuffling ensued.

        Usually, I would observe the unspoken kaupapa that what happens off-air stays off-air. But the truth is, this kind of unpleasant interaction is a rarity – in fact, I'd go as far as to say it was a first for me. Despite what you see and hear in the media, those of us who participate in the New Zealand political discourse are almost always respectful, friendly even, to one another when nobody's watching. We might disagree fiercely on issues but rarely does that translate to personal hostility. New Zealand's too small and, frankly, life's too short to turn every political disagreement into utu.

        So why am I sharing details of my exchange with Collins? It's simple really. She wants to be Prime Minister, and what Collins' conduct reveals about her temperament and mindset should be taken into account when we consider whether she's up to the task.

        Exposing that kind of sanctimonious 'forgiveness' is always a worth while activity.

        As Shane points out it, it just reeks of someone who is unprepared to deal with reality of other people and prefers to try to set their rules about the behaviour of others.

        Not someone suitable for any kind of politics in NZ. They'd never be able to make the kinds of decisions required for people that weren't exactly like their sanctimonious and their probably false internal image of who they are. Someone completely incapable of living up to the actual precepts of their own faith because they’re so busy passing judgement on others – they never look at them as being a person.

        Seen others do that. It never seems to end well. Just think of the fate of damn near every judgemental 'christian' party over the last 40 years in NZ.

        As opposed to those who actually live their faith. Who I usually look at as being somewhat brain strained – but usually trustworthy.

        • RedLogix

          I agree, as someone with track record with religion, I find her comment quite odd really. It's like she's learned a good concept, but hasn't worked out how to use it properly.

          Shane's response nails it really; forgiveness is a delicate interchange, and only has meaning when it's sincerely asked for and given.

          Either that or Judith was just taking the piss … she does have an acerbic sense of humour that trips over itself from time to time.

        • mac1

          Judith Collins, at least the one who is spoken of in Shane Te Pou's story, seems not to understand what forgiveness is.

          It's not a gift bestowed by a generous benefactor, but an act that frees the giver from the negativity of bearing a hurt.

          If Collins gave forgiveness, she benefits.

          If she still goes on about another's hurtful ways, then she has not forgiven them.

          Instead, the Collins in the story seems to be 'holier than thou', sanctimonious and requiring forgiveness?

  5. Pat 5

    “We are amazed that there are no government, private, or nongovernmental organisation programs or entities dedicated to attempting to understand and calculate EROI and its effects as well and as objectively as possible given that it may be the largest determinant of many aspects of our future.”

    Amazed….or dumbfounded? I'd go with the latter.


  6. KSaysHi 6

    I think we need a simplified two word petition, "DO SOMETHING", directed to the Ministers of Housing.

    Yesterday it was Christmas in a caravan, now this today

    • Jimmy 6.1

      I was just thinking that there seems to be a lot less stories in the media about homeless people and people unable to afford Christmas this year. Have things improved?

    • Adrian Thornton 6.2

      Well unfortunately as long as we have this current neo liberal duopoly (Labour/National) that completely control and dominate the political landscape and are protected by a complicit media in New Zealand, then nothing of substance can or will change.

      Ardern has proved herself to be little more than Tony Blair in heels (or flats), and we all know what he represents…but as has been pointed out on this forum many times, no one should have been surprised at this outcome, after all we all knew Arden worked for the war criminal Tony Blair after Iraq (Adren on this issue "It was totally pragmatic. I wanted to live overseas. I wanted to have that time and experience abroad.")…enough said.

      Jacinda Ardern is no radical, but the 21st-century face of Blair’s Third Way


      So sadly we will see no end any time soon of what is obviously nothing more than a ponzi scheme that pretends itself a political ideology, wreak havoc and rip apart any semblance that remains of local community though it’s unhinged and unquenchable thirst for endless growth…oh yeah and burn the planet while it’s at it…happy Christmas one and all!

      • Louis 6.2.1

        Rubbish, Ardern is nothing like Blair. Written by former Nat minister Wayne Mapp who "forgot' about civilian casualties"


        • Ed

          On.foreign policy she is different.

          However Robertson and Ardern follow orthodox neoliberal economic policies.

          The policies in place since the betrayal of the working class of New Zealand by Lange, Douglas and that traitorous crew.

          • Louis

            Labour is not the same party of 30 years ago and introducing a wellbeing budget, a world's first, is a step away from "orthodox neoliberal economic policies" It will take a number of years to fix the mess inherited from the previous National government.

            • Ed

              It is a step….a tiny step.

              Tinkering isn’t going to break the grip neoliberal economic thinking has on this country.

            • Phillip ure

              @ louis..

              we are in year four now..

              and still waiting..

              how much longer do you think..

              ..before we can be a bit questioning..?

              possibly even grumpy..?

        • Adrian Thornton

          OK, it is me not Mapp saying Ardern js in the ideological mold of Blair…how about that?

        • The Al1en

          Rubbish, Ardern is nothing like Blair

          Apart from them both winning landslide general elections, although at present, Blair has two more in the bag.

          Whilst both are not as left leaning as I had hoped for, they do have similarly impressive records in taking the public with them as they rout tories.

        • Anne

          Not sure what the connection is between your link and J Ardern but thanks for reminding me of Wayne Mapp. He has been conspicuous by his absence from TS. Quote from link:

          He [Mapp] said when he checked his diary – which he had under his house – he realised he did get a briefing.

          "Somehow it surfaced back into my memory that I could remember Colonel Blackwell sitting opposite me.”

          He was commenting on his previous claims he had never been told there were casualties.

          I have empathy for him because it happened to me. I was attempting to get to the bottom of some covert incidents in my life and then one day while checking some old material – also under my house – my subconscious threw up an image from a long forgotten occasion and I knew instantly it was the cause of the problems I was encountering.

          It's an intriguing story which should be of much interest to political historians at the least but that is for another time.

          • Andre

            conspicuous by his absence from TS

            It's an involuntary but self-inflicted absence. The involuntary bit is finished with around Jan 1st or 2nd.

          • gsays

            Without wanting to pry into your past life, Anne, Mapp was being briefed on NZ Defence Force personnel murdering civilians and children. That sort of thing must leave an impact.

            As it appears now, there seems to be a culture of 'men behaving badly' in Afghanistan among the US, Aus and NZ special forces. So this briefing is hardly likely to be an isolated affair

            • Anne

              It would depend on the way it was delivered to him. If the military officer in question had just mentioned there may have been one or two casualties and gave no further detail, I can well imagine it not registering with Mapp what it meant at the time. It is also what happened to me, and I have wanted to kick myself over and over again for not realising what was going on.

              Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

      • Ed 6.2.2

        Totally agree Adrian.

        Comment of the day.

      • Incognito 6.2.3

        This is just another episode or chapter in and of NZ politics and another will follow it. Ardern and Robertson are stereotypical exemplars of their generation and others from the next and different generation will succeed them.



    • Incognito 6.3

      Make it so.

  7. mikesh 7

    I have been reading, in the paper, about Mike Hosking's gains from crypto currency trading, and wondered what the source of the gain was. Income comes from providing a product or service, and even capital gain comes from some enhancement in the location of, or performance of, an asset, but I don't see either of the above in the case of crypto currencies. In investing in these, as far as I can see see, one is just putting one's cash into sophisticated ponzi schemes.

    • lprent 7.1

      In investing in these, as far as I can see see, one is just putting one's cash into sophisticated ponzi schemes.

      Not quite, but very close. There is a scarcity factor in that it takes resources and effort to mine the bit chain.

      However most of the demand, in my opinion, appears to intimately be driven by demand for untraceable transportable realisable currency from unlawful sources.

      • Andre 7.1.1

        Those mining resources and efforts are permanently gone. A bitcoin is simply a certificate of gratuitously wasted electricity. It's of zero use for creating anything tangible. It's the ultimate expression of something that has value purely and only because a bunch of people collectively decide it has value.

        Shit, even a small rectangle of printed plastic issued by a government has a tangible worth expressed in units of that government's powers of compulsion. Or you can at least grow a pretty flower from a tulip bulb. But a bitcoin has nothing, nada, zilch …

        • Incognito

          Hosking and Bitcoin make perfect sense together.

        • Nic the NZer

          Slightly paradoxically it appears to be a good way to get illegal activities paid for on a public ledger. I imagine if the govt could identify a buyer and sellers bitcoin identities the amount of drugs they traded could be easily traced for the courts pleasure.

  8. Jimmy 8

    Good to see The Warehouse doing the morally correct thing and paying back the government covid wage subsidy. I'm sure they would have been legally entitled to claim it as their turnover would have reduced way more than 30% while closed down. As the economy has bounced back and they have made up the lost turnover in subsequent months they will get good PR out of paying it back.


    • Ed 8.1

      I find little to admire about the Warehouse as a company – ethically or environmentally.

    • RedBaronCV 8.2

      Well that's a good thing. And as they are now sitting on piles of cash perhaps they could look at making up the lower end wages back to 100% (I suspect that legally firms who pay back the subsidy can no longer leave the wages paid in that period at the 80% mark?) for the relevant periods.

      That's about it for the top 50 on the NZX -apart from Fletchers.

    • Stuart Munro 8.3

      Props to Jilnaught Wong, who seems to have helped them find their moral compass.

      • Phillip ure 8.3.1

        heh..!..yeah…I heard a couple of interviews he gave..

        and he clearly wasn't going to let up..

        until this was sorted..

        good on him..

  9. Ed 9

    Peru has suspended flights from Europe for two weeks and has put its health and travel authorities on high alert to prevent the entry of a new strain of coronavirus that appeared in the UK.

    We should too.


  10. Adrian Thornton 10

    The Courage of Hopelessness

    • Andre 10.1

      It is indeed a state of courageous hopelessness that might lead one to tackle viewing an hour and three quarters of what looks likely to be just rambling from someone that has dedicated a large portion of their life's efforts to dumping on the idea of happiness. With no further hints as to why that might be a worthwhile use of that time, that is.

      • mac1 10.1.1

        Agreed, Andre. I read at least five times as fast as a speaker. I would have read that script of Slavov Zizek in twenty minutes, been able to re-read parts if needed and had 80 minutes left- three of which to write this reply.

        That's why I don't really get Ted Talks et al.

        Also, why I agree with lprent up further where he made a plea for proper paragraphing. How we present arguments, and material for discussion, is important.

        Today I read a poster advertising a talk about conspiracy theory, entitled "Conspiacy Theory." Won't go there either.

        Unless I were Australian……….

        • RedLogix

          I read at least five times as fast as a speaker.

          It's an interesting question; like a few others here I'm fortunate to be a pretty good speed reader. I can scan a document about five times faster than my partner for instance. (Oddly enough I sometimes start at the end of a document and then flip backward through the paragraphs to reconstruct the argument. It's not a substitute for a complete and considered read, and sometime I make silly mistakes doing it, but overall it's a handy skill in a world saturated in information.)

          On the other hand unlimited streaming video has been a revolution; I probably listen to as much as I read now. More importantly, while not everyone is a good reader, almost everyone can watch and listen very well. I agree however that it's not always the most time efficient mode, and if that's a concern, I'll listen to podcasts while doing something else.

          Two good YT tricks, one is that you can turn on an 'audio only mode' that saves bandwidth if you're only listening. The other is that you can speed up the playback speed, often to about 1.5 times with most speakers and still track the content just fine. Works well with people who have a naturally slower cadence.

          And if you want to learn something, it's almost certainly on YT. The depth of content is astonishing; future generations may well look back on this past decade where unlimited video streaming became available to a mass audience, as something of equal or even greater significance as the invention of the printing press.

          I think there is a real place for both the text and visual modes; I like the written mode because it's concise, efficient and it favours clear, rigorous thought. But the video mode can be a lot richer and persuasive, and for many people it's a better learning method.

          We're lucky to have both, and I'd never choose one over the other.

          • McFlock

            I find YT good for seeing how things are done, made, or designed. Someone actually talking and pointing to the specific cam or roller in question is much more informative than "see photo B", in my experience. It's been really useful for a lot of home projects.

            But a person delivering a powerpoint or speech for an hour? Meh. Firstly, my undergrad reflex is still with me to this day – staying awake is always an issue. Secondly, having it on in the background/second monitor while working always seems to end up with one task being tuned out. Usually the one that doesn't attract brain power.

            YT is also good for background music, though

            • Incognito

              I immediately thought of you:

              • McFlock


                If things are going well, it's classical. Otherwise there seems to be a scale of 80s new wave, anything that would be on a Tarantino soundtrack, club stuff like KMFDM, or Rammstein/Laibach if everything's gone to crap.

                But I'll try something more serene next year…

            • mac1

              Even background music disappears when fully engaged in another task. As a muso, it is too distracting. But, music must be heard- it's not much good to me for reading. It must be experienced at its own tempo.

              The only time I found it useful playing music faster was as a bass player to work out the bass line listening to vinyl recordings. There is no 'speed listening' to music.

              • Incognito

                When I was young, I did a holiday job pressing vinyl recordings. After visual inspection, we had to check the sound quality on special sound-tables and usually at 45 rpm to speed up the process while the press was running. I remember that Gregorian chants had a ‘bit of swing’ at 45 rpm 😉

                Classical music LPs were the hardest because they required the highest/perfect quality.

                That was one of the more fun jobs (evening and night shifts) I did in my summer holidays although the smell of overheated/burning vinyl is awful.

            • RedLogix

              I find YT good for seeing how things are done, made, or designed.

              Yes I find that's much the case as well. The channels I subscribe to are usually of this nature. Yet that can't be the whole story; you only have to look at content creators like Joe Rogan to see a quite different and huge demand for people having conversations in a way they can't access in print.

              Right now for instance I've got six YT tabs open, one on COVID, two on next gen nuclear, another on Peter Sagan's 2108 highlights (pro-cycling), a Canadian guy homesteading in the northern wilderness, and finally my favourite sailing channel on a massive 4yr long yacht rebuild. Yes my mind is a bit of a mess … but you knew that already laugh

              • McFlock

                I've watched some interesting interviews, sure. And I'm not saying that YT lectures aren't popular.

                But a written article or a blog can deliver most lectures in a fraction of the time – and that includes speeding up the "is this a waste of my time" assessment. And most of the internet fails that assessment, probably for everyone.

          • mac1

            Yes, we do have favoured and different learning modes, and for some it's reading, some listening and some it's doing.

            They do all have their place. At least with a document you can scan it for a quick appraisal.

            Adrian Thornton's recommendation had no supporting argument, synopsis or 'taster' for a 107 minute video, such as is useful for a prospective user. Adrian's say-so is not of itself a strong enough persuader, nor is the topic tempting enough with its enigmatic title. "The courage of hopelessness."

          • Incognito

            Some YT clips have transcripts as do some Zoom recordings, depending on settings used. With a little bit of fiddling, one can transcribe any audio into text and vice versa.

            I’m definitely a text person but when I watch videos or Zoom recordings, I use double playback speed and videos that rely on visual more than text I watch on mute (i.e. sound off). My auditory processing (not my actual hearing) of spoken information is relatively poor (and checked out by a specialist).

  11. aom 11

    Oh what a surprise! The Wellington City Council administration seems to have a few dodgy associations in its closet! The former Mayor was officially involved with The Property Council – the developer's outfit. He was than replaced by Mayor Wade Brown's neoliberal acolyte from the UK, the previous CEO. It seems that further down the executive tree there are other questionable associations given the behind closed door contracts that seem to be written up by the commercial beneficiaries rather than the Council. Wellingtonians hoped that a longstanding Councillor who is now Mayor would know where the skeletons for be hidden and lay them to rest. Instead, a newby Councillor did the detective work to uncover the link with the preposterously titled New Zealand Initiative think tank.

    • RedBaronCV 11.1

      Wellington seems to have managed to get itself a good group of councillors who are intelligently challenging the old boys back room MO.

  12. george.com 12

    anyone remember Simon Bridges comments about how National was going to 'light a bonfire under good ideas' and become a "red tape factory"

  13. Incognito 13

    Interesting thoughts from one expert, which could mean that the new variant might be heading in the direction of a less harmful endemic variant strain of Covid-19 virus:

    As viruses are transmitted, those that allow for increased virological ‘success’ can be selected for, which changes the properties of the virus over time. This typically leads to more transmission and less virulence and for human infecting coronaviruses the end result of this evolutionary process might look like the other 4 commonly found coronaviruses that cause symptoms that we recognise as the common cold – however, these 4 common cold viruses are highly contagious. The new B.1.1.7 may be on the path towards this but is not there yet, and still appears to have all the human lethality that the original had but with an increased ability to transmit.


    • Andre 13.1

      For a while now I've been vaguely musing on the topic of coronavirus lethality and long term effects.

      Consider: almost all of us are exposed to the common cold coronaviruses as infants, and very few of us die or apparently suffer long term ill effects from that very early infection. While there's really not yet enough time and data to make a definitive similar statement about SARS-CoV-2, I haven't seen reports of long covid in infants or very young children, but the data seems clear the mortality rate is way way lower in infants.

      It occurs to me that this new covid-causing coronavirus may be more similar to the cold coronaviruses than we currently think, and that the deaths and long-term harms we're getting are almost entirely because none of us have had that exposure as infants with subsequent partial immunity. The difference may be us, the host population, through not having had early exposure, and maybe the new coronavirus won't actually be significantly more dangerous to a population when it becomes endemic.

      No de-lethalisation through evolution needed, maybe we just need to make it through this first pandemic through vaccination and other measures, and then we can live with it just like we live with other cold coronaviruses.

      So once the current pandemic is extinguished by the vulnerable people (basically everyone currently alive that hasn't been exposed as an infant) getting vaccinated (or infected), we may find the new coronavirus behaviour becomes similar to the other cold coronaviruses. It might become something you get as an infant, no biggie, then again occasionally over the rest of your life as just a minor inconvenience. In which case, the benefit from the vaccine might become so minor it's no longer worth administering routinely to infants.

      • Incognito 13.1.1

        It is actually quite fascinating if one ignores the negative effects of this pandemic for a moment.

        In a nutshell, snotty & runny noses might be a good thing and provide some limited (?) and temporary (?) protection against Covid-19.

        Preexisting and de novo humoral immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in humans

        • Andre

          That cross-protection from other coronaviruses is another whole field all on its own.

          I can't help wondering if that's part of the reason places like Vietnam and Taiwan have had success that seems out of proportion to the stringency of their response in dealing with the pandemic. Perhaps they've had other coronaviruses circulating in their populations that happen to give good cross-protection.

          The spike protein is gonna be one hellluva intensively studied molecule for quite a while still to come.

          • Phillip ure

            malaria is an interesting factor to look at..

            countries with high levels of malaria seem to be less affected by covid..

            and on a personal level I was pleased to hear one of jim moras' (professorial) guests uttering the aside: 'of course if you have had malaria..you have immunity to covid'..

            'cos while in new guinea..I contracted malaria..

            also interesting with the flu thing…

            since having had malaria(a fucken hellish experience..I must say)..

            I have never had the flu..

            and I really thought i would never have anything good to say about the malaria thing..but there ya go..

            • Incognito

              and on a personal level I was pleased to hear one of jim moras’ (professorial) guests uttering the aside: ‘of course if you have had malaria..you have immunity to covid’..

              I think that either you may have misheard or the unnamed “(professorial) guests” [plural?] may have misspoken.

              Without a link we will never know 🙁

              • Phillip ure

                'one of'..

                and I couldn't face going back to listen/wade thru moras' shows..

                but of course I know..

                a shard of memory..a vivid one..

                shame we can't allow links into our brains..

                then I would be able to give you a memory-link..

                or else I just made it all up…

                tho' a simple covid malaria question to google..will reveal more..and contrary opinions..

                • Incognito

                  Can you remember the name(s) of the guest(s)?

                  tho' a simple covid malaria question to google..will reveal more..and contrary opinions..

                  And there we have it, the paint point, with only a vague recollection of Mora’s show, one of them, as starting point 🙁

                  I’m not going to start a wild goose chase on Google based on that! The onus is on you!

                  • McFlock

                    Heh. Funnily enough, this Medium article turned up in my FB feed today: A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon.

                    Basically arguing that QAnon has a number of structural tweaks that make it look more like a free-form game (not just computer – escape rooms, LARP, all that stuff. "Games" in the widest sense) than someone leaking hidden knowledge.

                    Part of the giveaway is "do your own research". The players (played) are primed for a particular finding, then encouraged to look for evidence to support the claim. They find it, so the idea becomes theirs (rather than them having to be persuaded by someone else), they get a wee clickbait rush as a reward for their achievement, and they get a sense of community.

                    Interesting article from a completely unexpected perspective.

    • McFlock 13.2

      Public Health England have released another briefing. (pdf download. h/t twitter Mads Albertsen).

      It continues to support via sampling that the variant is more transmissable, but also goes into a little bit of biological detail as to how a specific mutation might increase transmissability.

      But we're still talking <double transmissability, not like an order of magnitude or anything. So everyone suddenly going "isolate UK!" and bojo going "lockdown" is a bit of a joke. If we should do it now, we should have done it months ago.

      • Incognito 13.2.1


        Nobody likes surprises, least of all politicians who are already under considerable pressure.

        I found this recent update by CDC in the US illuminating too:

        The VUI 202012/01 variant has not been identified through sequencing efforts in the United States, although viruses have only been sequenced from about 51,000 of the 17 million US cases.

        Of the approximately 275,000 full-genome sequences currently in public databases, 51,000 are from the United States. (The UK currently has the most sequences, with 125,000).


  14. Macro 14

    So did anyone notice? Yesterday was the longest day of the longest year of our lives.

    • Andre 14.1

      No. I was anxiously waiting for nightfall and hoping for a break in the clouds so I could get a glimpse of the Great Conjunction.

      • Incognito 14.1.1

        Same here, and it was like a gathering in Glencoe during Summer Solstice without the horrible midges – the bitches. No sight of the celestial event though 🙁

        • mac1

          Glencoe is a fey place, On my mother's side I am a Glencoe McDonald. It was a memorable place to visit. I went there on a Rabbi's tour bus. The driver/guide asked the twelve passengers why they were going to Glencoe. I was last to answer and said I was going there because on my mother's side I am a McDonald of Glencoe

          There was a long pause. I thought, "Oh, no, he's a Campbell."

          Then he replied,"I, too, am a McDonald of Glencoe on my mother's side." He really looked after us after that!

          He showed me when we reached Glencoe the three islands in the loch, one of which was the ancestral burial ground close to the water, another the island where clans met to sort grievances, the third where clans met to sign their agreements.

          Missed the midges, though………….

          • Incognito

            Yup, a very special place. My most memorable trip was camping there in a little tent. The midges managed to get through the fly screen and into my tent. I used so much mozzie repellent (lotion) that my plastic cutlery started to dissolve in my hands; it must have been some cheap crap with some nasty chemical solvent – it certainly smelled like a clandestine chemical lab. The only place safe from the midges was literally in the smouldering and smoking campfire – I probably inhaled enough carcinogens to give me lung cancer combined with the chemical poisoning by the repellent. It was also the place and start of a lifelong friendship with a fellow traveller. Bloody good memories of that place 🙂

      • tc 14.1.2

        Alas twas not to be with all that cloud cover.
        Those sky train/satellites are wierd when the sun catches them tracking in a line across the night sky .
        Planned another 10,000 or so over the next few years with the inevitable congestion issues in the orbital space.

      • mac1 14.1.3


        That’s hard to make work when two other comments are interposed between the two comments needing to be conjoined to make sense or fun.

        • Andre

          Abject failure. I went to bed with a profound sense of bitter disappointment.

          Maybe better luck tonight.

          • mac1

            They're out there tonight. Some folks in the streets looking at Xmas lighted houses and Mr and Mrs Mac1 out looking for conjunctions.

            Light, distance, the solar system, the galaxy, time and place, universal wonder.

    • RedLogix 14.2

      That explains why I woke up this morning feeling older than usual devil

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