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Open mike 24/08/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 24th, 2010 - 57 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

57 comments on “Open mike 24/08/2010 ”

  1. Bored 1

    Early morning squizz at the NY Times gave me this little beauty on climate change denial…..Climate change has become an ideologically polarizing issue. It taps into deep personal identities and causes what Dan Kahan of Yale calls “protective cognition’ — we judge things in part on whether we see ourselves as rugged individualists mastering nature or as members of interconnected societies who live in harmony with the environment. Powerful special interests like the coal and oil industries have learned how to halt movement on climate policy by exploiting the fear people feel when their identities are threatened.

    What can save us form the bloody “aspirational” selfish individuals who conquer nature daily in 4 wheel drives?

    • RedLogix 1.1

      What is the most powerful, and acceptable means of re-directing human behaviour?

      • Bored 1.1.1

        Not sure Red, group approval or opprobrium? I’m open to enlightenment.

        • RedLogix

          Not sure either. History is full of ideas, some more successful than others. It was a genuine question because the current paradigm of ‘do nothing … let the free market sort it out’ is a dead-end.

          I don’t think there is any one silver bullet. If there was an obvious answer then many far smarter people than me would have worked it out by now.

          Whatever it is, the usual problem is that any institution/cause/movement sufficiently powerful to bring about genuine transformation in the ‘hearts and minds’ of the mass of people, is also desperately prone to being subverted to interests of an elite minority. Inevitably any hierarchical system concentrates power into the hands of a few; some of whom will mis-appropriate that power to serve their own interests. Often with catastrophically tragic results.

          As a result vast numbers of people are understandably alienated from the idea of transformational mass movements and the power of unified collective action. (As vto is so radically tapped into this morning…)

          Some conclude that it is the nature of hierarchies that is the root of the problem, and strive to devise methods of governance that avoid power concentration. I’ll not disrespect those efforts, they are well-intentioned and can teach us much… but I have reservations that they will ever fulfill the high hopes of their proponents.

          Another approach to consider how to permanently decouple the inherent power and authorities of the heirarchy from the depredations of individual ambitions and ego. How to combine the immediacy and coherency of the hierarchy, with accountability and consensus?

          Because until we solve this problem, buried at the heart of our collective nature, we’ll not generate the harmony of values and unity of purpose we desperately need to progress out of the cul-de-sac we’ve backed ourselves into.

          (Sorry…bit heavy footed for this early in the day)

          • Bored

            Actually a good start, not too heavy handed at all. I wrote (3.1) to VTO about changing the language of engagement. I somehow doubt that we will abandon institutions, but we desparately need to change the interaction which means the language has to change.

            I think one of the key nasties the free market ideologues left us with was the State Sector Act which changed the “public service” into “businesses”. Public servants became case managers for their clients, who in turn ceased to be “citizens”. Service per se does not exist as an isolated transaction which is what the interactions are now reduced to. The bi directional ethos between the organs of government and the citizens was lost, our relationship became poorer as a result. Its a good place to start the change.

            I noted last night Anderton promising that the councillors would run Chch if he was elected mayor, not a closed committee of managers and mayor. And their doors he said would be open to the public. Thats a vision we need to spread.

          • ZB

            Its what neo-liberals do to stymie a free-market when they say the free market will sort it out!

            What is a free market, its people with money trading with other people, not computers
            trading with other computers!

            Free markets of individuals who engage in trust relationships, have means to trust
            but verify, are very very good means to allievate poverty. But this is not what
            the neo-liberals go on to create, they back industrial groups, collectives of investors,
            who engage in under minding each other to get ahead, holding information back.
            So much so that individuals are misinformed, don’t have the money, and don’t
            trust and cannot verify – neo-liberals destroy the free-market.

            Computers trading with computers cuts individuals out of the free market.

            Its just one massive distraction made to enrich the few, for the few and by the few.

            Free-markets depend on openness, trust, and the ability to remedy quickly market
            errors. What we have now are governments that act very very slowly and are the
            only means to solve any of our problems. What free-market?

            • Bill

              I don’t think tha neo-liberals stymie markets so much as exalt in the attitudes and behaviours that markets encourage and reward.

              Whether the market is free or regulated, there is an underlying constant. Buyers mustseek to buy low and sellersmust seek to sell high. Markets demand competition. And the more ruthless you are in competing, the more rewarded you will be. And the less ruthless you are, the more your situation will tend towards poverty

              Openness and trust aren’t encouraged by markets. On the contrary, these attitudes are not just actively discouraged, but punished in a market environment.

              Blaming neo-liberals for innate market characteristics is just plain wrong.

          • prism

            I thought I’d look up my wee book on Schopenhauer’s aphorisms and essays to see what he thought about changing human behaviour. He’s rather cynical I think. He comments on our mistakes in thinking when taking a course of action. People can gain insight he says if they spend less time reading every popular publication for information and more time thinking about what they have learned. 😀

            ‘Students and learned men of every kind and every age go as a rule in search of information, not insight. They make it a point of honour to have information about everything: it does not occur to them that information is merely a means towards insight and possesses little or no value in itself.

      • ZB 1.1.2

        Showing a person that what they currently believe is not in their best interest.

  2. vto 2

    The morning’s rant … and today it is the lies of politicians. With me this morning is John Key, Simon Power and Nick Smith.

    Gentlemen, recently your government enacted instantaneous legislation to sack Environment Canterbury Councillors and install your own governors. This was carried out due to the importance of water, surely an issue of great importance in Canterbury.

    Then even more recently, yesterday in fact, you announced legislation to amend the sale of liquor laws with a particular emphasis on youth. This is of course of even more importance than water because approximately 1,000 people die each year.

    Now we have had many viewers emailing and texting us to find out why the liquor legislation could not be enacted instantaeously also. Murray McCully said a whle ago that nothign would be done to upset the World Cup at the end of next year. I also note that it will also put the start date out past the next election.

    Simon Power claims it needs to go through due process. Why not with the Ecan legislation then?

    Our viewers claim you have lied to them about the reason for the differences in manner of dealing with these things.

    Gentlemen (well, far from it actually) you are liars.

    You are also willing to allow people to die of alcohol poisoning rather than upset the rugby and have votes lost at the next election. You are exchanging lives for votes.

    Our viewers also note that water and dairy money are more important than young people’s lives.

    Why the difference in the manner of dealing with the two pieces of legislation?

    • The Chairman 2.1

      Prime Minister John Key is asking 120,000 Canterbury households whether the Government should have sacked Environment Canterbury (ECan) councillors.

      A spokesman for Key said it was not unusual for the Prime Minister to write directly to the public.

      Asked what would happen if survey respondents overwhelmingly opposed the sackings and called for immediate regional elections, the Prime Minister’s Office did not reply.

      Former ECan chairman Sir Kerry Burke said the letter was “self-serving” six weeks out from the local body elections. “It is a party political broadcast actually.”

      Former councillor Jane Demeter said it was a sham.

      More here: http://tinyurl.com/2wvwyjh

    • Pascal's bookie 2.2

      I initially read that as

      ‘You are exchanging livers for votes’

      which also works.

  3. vto 3

    Right, that does it, I have finally worked out how to vote, given the way every government lies and cheats and deceives.

    I will simply vote against the incumbent each and every time.


    • Bored 3.1

      All you have said above is absolutely accurate, you wont be the first or last to call a spade a spade. In terms of voting I have a few times put a line through the ballot paper stating no confidence. Quite often my own side of the spectrum diisgust me as much as the foul right, so its hard to vote for the lesser evil.

      IMHO the real answer is that we need to challenge the language and legitimacy of the institutions of state and to rebuild them with a new language of honesty and openess. No acronyms, no recieved wisdom or double meaning terms to hide real intentions behind. No “specialist advice from experts”. No tea leaf reading economists. Replacing the occupants with equivalents of themselves is not an option. The language and what passes for dialogue within the old system is well past its use by date and needs to be rejected.

      • vto 3.1.1

        Quite right. I imagine that would be a very long process, if it was at all possible to change it from within.

        Perhaps another way is to support those who do truly have integrity and principles. Which they follow. Quite how they would get their way up through the system to that point though I do not know.

        I imagine Andrew Little may be such a person… ?

    • Daveosaurus 3.2

      Or you could get involved with politics and lead by example. That’s a less defeatist way to go.

  4. The Chairman 4

    Chinese investors disappointed by campaign on farms

    The Prime Minister thinks calls for a complete ban on selling land to foreigners is going a bit far

    Given your support yet?

  5. vto 5

    edit: in reply to The Chairman at 8.20

    Key “Why wouldn’t it be no sales of beach houses and no sales of vineyards? So you can take this thing too an extreme position which I don’t think the bulk of New Zealanders would support.” Key.

    So according to Key China’s policy of no land sales to foreigners is extreme. Same for countless other countries around the world.

    And what of Key’s statement above? What on earth is he saying there? Vineyards? Beaches? The man makes no sense – maybe he is the true Joh Bjeikle-Peterson of NZ politics and not Winston Peters after all.

    He also says it may be ok for a dairy plant but not a house? Sheesh Mr Key – did you ever hear about leasing land? What a fucking dumbo. He must think we’re all thick.

    The man has such shallowness of thought.

    There is no depth to him or his policies which he seems to make up as he goes along. What a lightweight. I suspect he will go down as one of NZ\’s more useless \’leaders\’.

    rant rant… thats enough for me this a.m.

    • Olwyn 5.1

      We are pretty good at self-deception where land values are concerned. Last night on the news they showed a property-selling seminar in China, and a North Shore real-estate agent said, “We are only concerned about the big-ticket properties, which are too expensive for NZers anyway,” or words along those lines. Of course if you were not able to sell them to anyone other than NZers, the price would have to adjust accordingly. A similar tune was being sung a few months ago when people were complaining about not being able to buy houses, and getting angry with landlords: “We landlords are providing housing for those who can’t afford to buy,” was the reply. Yes, but if you had not jumped into the market in the first place, property may have stayed within people’s reach.

      One ought to remember that a century or so ago, blankets and beads had the same intoxicating effect as large numbers next to a dollar sign have now.

  6. Name 6

    Here’s something I think should catch on in New Zealand – in a big way:


    • Lanthanide 6.1

      “Who can participate? We welcome everyone! GoTopless was founded by the Raelian Movement, which recognizes that life on Earth was created by advanced extraterrestrial scientists. These scientists, both male and female, used their mastery of genetic engineering to create humans in their own image (breasts included!). GoTopless includes thousands of women and men, who have a wide variety of beliefs, affiliations, etc…”

      “Intelligent Design: Message from the Designers.
      Read for yourself the messages given to us by our creators during Rael’s UFO encounter in 1973!”

      No thanks.

      • Name 6.1.1

        So you automatically reject a good idea from a bad source?

        I’m not allowed to go supermarket shopping naked because my nakedness might offend a few people. A woman in a burka offends me and many others, but we are supposed to put up with being offended because they might be offended by our regarding their religious requirements as sexist manipulation and ridiculous nonsense.

        The annual baaing and bleating about the Boobs on bikes parade comes mainly, I’d bet, from those who earnestly believe that a ‘man’ two-thousand years ago who was born of a virgin and rose from the dead, and who although never actually expressing an opinion on the matter as far as I’m aware, somehow implied that women should keep their breasts covered because exposing them was a sinful act on their part which would provoke uncontrollably lustful thoughts in any man in the vicinity.

        The Raelians are nutters, but sometimes one has to be a nutter to question what the rest of us all do and think without question, and ask why.

        Remember the Emperor who went topless, and it took a child to wonder where his clothes were?

        • Pascal's bookie

          We’re not going to let you walk around naked in supermarkets just so as you can get reactions from children buddy. And you’re not fooling anyone with your atheist talk either, papist.

  7. Tigger 7

    So last night John Key told us how he handles alcohol with his teens – holding himself up as a model parent. (a) he’s now telling us how to parent, (b) he’s opening the door to using his private life to push a policy issue – a dangerous move which no doubt will come back to bite him and (c) just another example of how everything has to come back to him, his life, his opinion…

    And why couldn’t he just have let the very capable Power front…why does Key ALWAYS have to front! Egotistical Ken doll…

  8. Santi 8

    No research required. Nanny National has already decided they dairies are a problem and shouldn’t be selling alcohol. What a brave government we have!

  9. vto 9

    Why are supermarkets allowed to sell alcohol and not dairies?

    Am I missing some logic there?????

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    hell of a story in the NYT today:


    It’s amazing how we think can just charge into countries expecting that regioanl players will make our interests their top priority.
    They know more about what’s going on than we do, always
    We will one day leave. They cannot.
    They will act in their own long term interest, always.

    If we cannot ally ourselves with people in the region that share our goals, if such people do not exist, or are not powerful enough, then our long goals will not be achieved.

    In which case we shouldn’t ask soldiers to die, and kill, in pursuit of them.

  11. gobsmacked 11

    ACT wars, episode 472 …

    Who said this, today?

    “I regard Rodney Hide as the biggest liability the ACT party has ever had to deal with and I intend not to rest until somehow or another, he is removed.”

    a) A ranting leftie on the Standard, or …
    b) Peter Tashkoff, number 7 on the ACT list.

    Yep, that’s right. If Heather Roy and Roger Douglas quit Parliament, this guy becomes an MP.

    But remember, the party is now united behind the leader, and ready to move on …


  12. TightyRighty 12


    The science is settled huh? looks like science just woke up, and trolled the shit of mann

    • lprent 12.1

      TR: You’re just being idiotic, science is always fluctuating and getting adapted to new evidence and techniques. That is all that this paper is. There doesn’t seem to be anything that is either surprising or earth shattering in there. Your link to Watts just shows him doing his usual idiotic wankfest without any understanding of the issues.

      Try RealClimate on the paper. They have a look at the McShane and Wyner paper in a bit more depth than Watts has the capability to do.

      The M&W paper introduces a number of new methods to do reconstructions and assess uncertainties, that haven’t previously been used in the climate literature. That’s not a bad thing of course, but it remains to be seen whether they are an improvement and those tests have yet to be done.

      How much of a difference do the new techniques make to the temperature reconstructions? As far as I can see – bugger all…

      Looks like RC had fun with the datasets included in the paper….

      It’s also easy to test a few sensitivities. People seem inordinately fond of obsessing over the Tiljander proxies (a set of four lake sediment records from Finland that have indications of non-climatic disturbances in recent centuries two of which are used in M&W). So what happens if you leave them out?

      not much, but it’s curious that for the green curves (which show the OLS 10PC method used later in the Bayesian analysis) the reconstructed medieval period gets colder!

      There’s lots more that can be done here (and almost certainly will be) though it will take a little time. In the meantime, consider the irony of the critics embracing a paper that contains the line “our model gives a 80% chance that [the last decade] was the warmest in the past thousand years’ .

      Personally, I’d say it just shows that neither you or Watts has ever understood confidence intervals (or more likely just fail to understand statistics).

      • TightyRighty 12.1.1

        oh noes, we does understand it Lprent. I also understand that the likes of real climate are hardly the leading authoroties on climate science. their refusal to even begin to look at differeing points of view points to the understanding they are scared of the science being discussed, in case they are wrong and their gravy train is upset. basing your rebuttal on Real Climate is like taking all the law commissions recommendations on alcohol seriously, it’s a bit weak on the intellectual front.

        • Draco T Bastard

          No, you don’t understand it, or anything else for that matter, at all. Getting a good understanding of the paper takes time but they will do so and then post a more comprehensive article later. This is the bit that you don’t understand as your “understanding” usually consists of reading something that seems to support what you agree with and then shouting it from the rooftops without taking any time to understand what was actually said.

        • lprent

          Real Climate is run by actual climate scientists. It is respected by anyone in the area of earth sciences and beyond.

          Being real scientists, they’re perfectly happy to look at real objections – which is what they did with this paper. To be precise, the author of the post at RC effectively said “thats interesting, I wonder what the effect of that is” and ran a few tests on the R data and algorithms to see what effect it would have on existing conclusions. Used the data to have a peek at a disputed area. Delineated the bounds of their skepticism and suggested what it would take to convince them that this new approach is worth pursuing. It is precisely what I’d have expected someone actually interested in the contents of the paper to do.

          It is only the faith-healers that don’t respect RC.

          Now have a look at what Watts did. He selectively quoted from the paper, highlighting the phrases that he thought sounded like what he wanted to hear, obviously misinterpreting them on the way through, ignored the actual interesting parts of the paper, ignored the attached data entirely (and didn’t link to it),

          Basically not only is he a faith-healing charlatan of ‘science’, he is also bloody lazy and pig-ignorant on the subject he was writing about. Looks like you may be the same?

        • RedLogix

          Nothing much to add except this link from Deep Climate… who seems to have led the charge in reply to McShane and Wyner. It’s a very technical argument and my statistics is barely up to following the outlines of the discussion much less get all cock-sure I know the answer.

          The root of the problem with M&W is that as statisticians they’ve failed on some critical insights around the physical meaning of the information they are dealing with.

          In summary however DC concludes:

          So there you have it. McShane and Wyner’s background exposition of the scientific history of the “hockey stick’ relies excessively on “grey’ literature and is replete with errors, some of which appear to be have been introduced through a misreading of secondary sources, without direct consultation of the cited sources. And the authors’ claims concerning the performance of “null’ proxies are clearly contradicted by findings in two key studies cited at length, Mann et al 2008 and Ammann and Wahl 2007.These contradictions are not even mentioned, let alone explained, by the authors.

          In short, this is a deeply flawed study and if it were to be published as anything resembling the draft I have examined, that would certainly raise troubling questions about the peer review process at the Annals of Applied Statistics.

          Not a promising start. The comment thread has several very readable contributions here.

          • lprent

            Good link – too deep to read whilst coding earlier. Back reading the M&W paper. It is interesting to see how many assumptions and techniques that they change from the Mann method without explaining why they picked the particular method that they use. The change to use 30 years rather than 42 does seem kind of weird. Especially since they criticize Mann for using short periods

            I suspect that this is going to get ripped to pieces after publication. But regardless, the end results wind up as being pretty much the same as Mann when you look at the confidence levels

  13. felix 13

    I had the strangest dream last night.

    I was watching parliament on telly and John Key was reading a prepared statement about something or other, and apparently didn’t realise that some of the words on the page were not supposed to be read out loud.

    Perhaps he was a bit drunkerer than usual because he started his speech by saying “Just read this verbatim and the dumb fuckers will lap it up”.

    And it went downhill from there. He read out tips on delivery, instructions on pronunciation, and even suggestions for affecting a more masculine body language and posture. The house was roaring with laughter but the grinning Johnny seemed to take it as acknowledgment of his oratory brilliance and just plowed on through, Anchorman style.

    It all went dead silent though when he got to the racist in-joke. And the wording somehow made it obvious it was one of his racist jokes, one he does all the time in private. It wasn’t that lovable old fashioned kiwi racism either, it was really nasty stuff.

    There was also something going on simultaneously to do with a NY baked cheesecake – I think I was having trouble finding the right one – but that might be unrelated. Precognitive dream perhaps? I get a few of those. Anyway the weird thing is I don’t even have a telly.

    • Bored 13.1

      Its a very sad event when dreams of this nature disturb a mans sleep, Jonkey has a lot to answer for. Unhappily your deepest fears as reflected in this dream are real. If you stay awake you can see it on night time TV (might have to go sleep on next doors couch).

  14. Bored 14

    Changing back to a few global issues as opposed to the local political stuff, have a look on http://energybulletin.net/stories/2010-08-23/major-reports-point-oil-supply-turmoil-and-price-volatility for the tacit if very low on the radar acceptance by government agencies that Peak Oil is real.
    Noted government and private sector agencies (linked on this page with their research) are the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil & Energy Security, United States Joint Forces Command, and Lloyds. All actuallty admit there is an issue, then what they “might’ do. Stage one is the realization there is a problem which they seem to mirror each other on, they all fall into the techno cure cargo cult fixes, but hey it’s a start that they realize there is an issue.

    • ZB 14.1

      I remember at school seeing a energy diagram, showing the wood peak, the coal peak (not yet
      with us) and the oil peak, and then the nuclear peak. Nuclear was predicted to over take
      oil as the predominent energy source. This was of course before alternatives and the
      realisation that humans after a billion years of evolution can actually survive with very
      little energy needs – we do not need a personal car, we can build better homes, we
      can tap earth heat, and solar, ever heat from the home off the scraps from the kitchen.
      Its pretty clear that the energy crisis is a management and expectation crisis, the
      problem is our elites have been selected not for their informed open liberal pramaticism,
      but their arrogant, greedy, controlling dictatorial social pathic natures.

  15. John 15

    Paula Bennett will be getting pointers on doing her job with the Eisenhower Foundation soon. This anti-commie outfit with general Colin Powell one of its leading lights who has helped to destroy Iraq will be telling her to privatize welfare provision as much as can be got away with. He’s a member of the Republicans who have charmers like the following in their benighted money grubbing ranks

    Refer link:

    [lprent: removed the bold shout… ]

    • John 15.1

      Another link showing that the US is in such dire straits economically and socially that going to them for guidance on anything other than making the rich richer is just plain daft Paula Bennett!

      • John 15.1.1

        Another link illustrating clearly the neo-liberal disaster zone the US has become.But John and Paula still think we should kow tow to this failed society where only the rich get richer and the rest just disappear somewhere, many into the prison population!This is the society Nact gets its ideology from!

        • John

          Hang on the Prison Industry in the US pays hansomely: “The reason Retardlicans want to put people in prison is simple – for every inmate in a private prison in the US , the prison owner makes between 50K and 60K!!! Sweet deal, eh? Is it any wonder that the percentage of our population in prison is the highest in the world? ” Well at least something’s working! Can Paula get some tips here?

      • prism 15.1.2

        Just thought is Paula related to Gordon Bennett that Brits call on when disturbed?

  16. TightyRighty 16

    9 years to do something, anything. but nothing happened. of course, now that someone else has to take responsibility, you’re all ideas.

    [lprent: Moved this thread to OpenMike as it didn’t seem to have much relationship to the post it was in. It was also spiraling off into a different topic.

    In fact I’m sure I’ve seen that exact same comment before – cut’n’paste?, TR’s equivalent of twiddling his thumbs?.]

    • Herodotus 16.1

      On Sunday Q&A I heard Jim Anderton comment re Bob Parker that he has had 3 years to fix Chch problems, I had to follow up with a replay on the internet to listen again, and yes he did say that. Sometimes politics can give us all a laugh or 2 !!!

      • TightyRighty 16.1.1

        who did jim anderton call to old to run for mayor at seventy? it was a while ago, i’m guessing only a crusty would know?

  17. Armchair Critic 17

    Goodness gracious me, did anyone just hear Lockwood Smith refer to Bill English as being “not on top of his game”, or was that just me? Can’t wait to see the transcript of question time.

    • Armchair Critic 17.1

      Followed closely by a long exchange where National complain about being misquoted. Oh the irony. Can’t wait to see Mr Farrar come out in favour of selective quoting.

  18. Carol 18

    So, today,
    * the first 90 Day Rule case before the Employment Court has resulted in a decision that Heather Smith was unfairly dismissed.

    * the government’s proposed liquor law changes have been widely criticised by many

    * the government has introduced it’s data sharing laws, which have some implications for privacy and power as it is proposed personal data could be shared between the government, banks and financial institutions.

    … to mention just a few debatable polticial issues of the day.

    And TV3 serves up as the main news, crime, crashes and Miss New Zealand. And it looks like something similar coming up on Campbell live (Miss NZ & U2).

    What a sick joke….

  19. joe90 19

    Covert Operations, The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.

    “They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times”


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