Open mike 25/01/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 25th, 2022 - 143 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

143 comments on “Open mike 25/01/2022 ”

  1. Adrian Thornton 1

    Here is a good interview that helps in damping down the general slightly hysterical MSM reportage and allowing for a more balanced look at the overall situation in the Ukraine….

  2. Jenny how to get there 2

    Genius Tik Tok video in my inbox this morning.

    • Gristle 2.1

      Love it.

      Other trigger words for me include "theory" and "opinion. " (To which my wife said, "why stop there?)

    • Yes Jenny, Dr. Google and Dr. Facebook have a lot to answer for!

    • Ross 2.3

      Should I believe some random person on Tik Tok, insightful as it is, or this guy?

      In October 2020, Professor Peter Doshi, the associate editor of the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), claimed: “None of the [phase 3] trials currently under way are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths. Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus”.

      More recently, he’s complained that Pfizer has refused to release the raw data until 2025. That’s four years since rollout here began. Why should we have to wait until 2025 to get the raw data? And what if the data contradicts the picture painted by Pfizer?

      Doshi made the following comment earlier this month:

      As well as [getting] access to the underlying data, transparent decision making is essential. Regulators and public health bodies could release details such as why vaccine trials were not designed to test efficacy against infection and spread of SARS-CoV-2. Had regulators insisted on this outcome, countries would have learnt sooner about the effect of vaccines on transmission and been able to plan accordingly.

      Big pharma is the least trusted industry. At least three of the many companies making covid-19 vaccines have past criminal and civil settlements costing them billions of dollars. One pleaded guilty to fraud. Other companies have no pre-covid track record. Now the covid pandemic has minted many new pharma billionaires, and vaccine manufacturers have reported tens of billions in revenue.

      The BMJ supports vaccination policies based on sound evidence. As the global vaccine rollout continues, it cannot be justifiable or in the best interests of patients and the public that we are left to just trust ‘in the system,’ with the distant hope that the underlying data may become available for independent scrutiny at some point in the future. The same applies to treatments for covid-19. Transparency is the key to building trust and an important route to answering people’s legitimate questions about the efficacy and safety of vaccines and treatments and the clinical and public health policies established for their use…There is no place for wholesale exemptions from good practice during a pandemic. The public has paid for covid-19 vaccines through vast public funding of research, and it is the public that takes on the balance of benefits and harms that accompany vaccination. The public, therefore, has a right and entitlement to those data, as well as to the interrogation of those data by experts.

      What possible reason could they have for not releasing the data? Pfizer’s revenue reportedly could top $100 billion in 2022, the first pharmaceutical company to reach that figure.

      • Ross 2.3.1

        Doshi leads the RIAT Support Center, funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. The Restoring Invisible and Abandoned Trials (RIAT) initiative enables researchers everywhere to address two long-standing problems in the biomedical literature: non-publication and misreporting of trials. The RIAT Support Center aims to accelerate the correction of the scientific record of clinical trials by making publications more accurate and more complete, addressing these problems of publication bias and reporting bias.

        Sounds like useful research.

        • Jenny how to get there

          Hi Ross, a question for you;

          Do you believe children have collapsed here in New Zealand, as a result of the Pfizer's vaccine (rather than other factors)?

          • gsays

            Excuse me for butting in…

            I can see how a child may faint in and around getting vaccinated.

            Imagine at home you have parents on opposing sides of the administration of Pfizer's drugs.

            One parent has lost their job and other domestic tensions arise because they don't have a passport. Can't go to that family wedding, dinner with the family etc.

            Children aren't oblivious to these stresses and then they are put in a situation that implies choosing one parent over another.

            • Robert Guyton

              That's a very good observation, gsays.

              I imagine any "passing out" that may have occurred, if in fact there was any at all, will have been the result of something like that, or the general tension that exists around the process, or perhaps the heat – not though, because of the contents of the needle, coursing through the child's veins, reacting badly and causing a physical reaction, as implied by the antivaxxers.

              • francesca

                I rather object to Jenny's question though, in response to a post that is essentially a long quote from the associate editor of the BMJ

                • Jenny how to get there

                  The Merchants of Doubt

                  How the antivaxxer propagandists take advantage of slightest of scientific disputes and side shows to sneakilly sow seeds of doubt to encourage vaccine hesitancy, to undermine our nation's collective health response to the pandemic.

                  More fodder for anti-vaxxers

                  H. Holden Thorp – 11 November 2021

                  I talk about the extraordinary scrutiny that science is under and how any ineptness can be magnified and distorted in the public eye. Normal revisions to hypotheses and conclusions based on new data are being preyed upon by antiscience forces to sow doubt.

                  …….Moderna and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) are at odds on inventorship of the COVID-19 vaccine. Inventorship is a highly technical and legal determination, and the collaborators have been trying to hash this out for a year. If patent issues are not resolved, the dispute will go to court. The quarrel feeds into anti-vaxxer beliefs that pharmaceutical companies and government scientists are willing to distort facts and harm the public in exchange for money and glory.

                  ….Communication scholar Kathleen Hall Jamieson compellingly lays out examples of how conspiracy theorists erode public trust in science by exploiting the realities of how science is conducted.

                  …..So toughen up, everybody, and tread ever thoughtfully and transparently. This fight is nowhere close to being over.


              • gsays

                As to the contents of that needle, it is pointed out above that Pfizer are not releasing the raw data until 2025.

                I have read/heard (possibly Andrew Campbell), Pfizer were obliged or implied the data information would be made available well before then.

            • Jenny how to get there


              25 January 2022 at 9:08 am

              Excuse me for butting in…

              No probs Gsays. Any time. You're very welcome to butt in. As we will most likely not be getting any straight answers from our resident closet anti-vaxxers any time soon.

              Robert Guyton

              24 January 2022 at 5:35 pm

              I reckon a "litmus test" here on TS would be: Do you believe children have collapsed here in New Zealand, as a result of the Pfizer's vaccine (rather than other factors)?

              Gsays; "I can see how a child may faint in and around getting vaccinated." ie other factors.

              Good, you have passed the test and are not an antivaxxer troll sneakily trying to sow doubt and muddy the waters, with screeds of irrelevant marginal studies.

          • Treetop

            So many causes why a child could faint. Just waiting in a queue in hot weather to needing questions answered about being vaccinated and not feeling as though questions can be asked.

            Not an easy time for parents (especially single parents or parents who have parents overseas) and school has not opened yet.

            I would not want to be a 5 year old starting school or a parent who has been told to work from home with a baby, a preschooler and a primary age child and a partner who is an essential worker.

      • Blazer 2.3.2

        Alot of trust vested in Big Pharma.

        I recall when the virus was first identified, it was supposedly spread by touch.

        Sanitisation of surfaces and washing hands was the recommended response.

        Nek minit….transmitted by air.

        Nek minit …vaccine will protect you

        Nek minit….you need 2 shots

        Nek minit…it won't protect you from getting it or spreading it…but it will lessen the chances.

        Nek minit….the main benefit of vaccines is to prevent the health system from being over whelmed.

        Nek minit…there is another new variant…2 shots will not protect you.

        Nek minit…you must have a booster shot.

        Nek minit…the booster will not protect you from getting or spreading Omicron.

        Nek minit….if you do contract Omicron,isolate at home and rest for 10-14 days…

        Nek minit…you may need ongoing…boo$ter$.

        Trust Big Pharma?

        • Blazer

          Billions in Govt funding for vaccines….4 mins in…

          [lprent: don’t write teasers like this – state why why you think others should look at an external link. If I see too many of these, then I’ll add a rule that requires at least a attached paragraph before a video link will be accepted.]

          • Jenny how to get there

            Hey, Blazer, before he pleads the Fifth. Maybe you would like to answer the question, I asked Ross above;

            Do you believe children have collapsed here in New Zealand, as a result of the Pfizer's vaccine (rather than other factors)?

            • lprent

              Jenny – before blazer “pleads the fifth” and you start claiming a pwned victory. And before I start getting annoyed with pig-fucker questions…

              Like everything else in medicine and public health, vaccinations against infectious diseases are a question about balancing multiple risks against each other. Medical practices aren’t magic – they are a question of probabilities.

              So rather than posing “why did you kill your baby?” questions, perhaps you might consider that the pig-fucker tactic is a two way path, causes really stupid flame wars, and I’m likely to land hard on whoever does it.

              So getting whatever conversation that this is back to a reasonable level…

              Are you aware that children get hospitalised and die from covid-19? Have you looked at the numbers? Can you understand the numbers?

              Study observes severe Covid-19 infections in children

              The study – published in JAMA Network Open this week – followed more than 3000 children who presented to emergency departments and tested positive to the virus from 10 countries, including New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

              It aimed to find out how frequently children presenting to emergency departments and infected with the virus experienced severe outcomes (such as myocarditis, neurological, respiratory, or infectious problems) and what were the risk factors.

              Nearly a quarter of those observed in the emergency deparments required hospitalisation, four died, and three percent experienced severe outcomes within two weeks of being admitted to an emergency department.

              “There is a perception that Covid-19 is only a very mild infection in children. However, as the pandemic has progressed, we are seeing greater numbers of children being infected and presenting to hospital worldwide,” Prof Dalziel said.

              “There is certainly some benefit to adults with immunising children but I think what we forget with this discussion is that they also give protection to children.

              “If we look at the US, there have 8,700,000 children diagnosed with Covid and of those 747 have died so that means one in 11,000 children who get Covid are likely to die, and we know that immunisations give us over 90 percent protection against hospitalisation, against severe outcomes and against death.”

              • Robert Guyton

                parent – in Jenny's defence, the question was mine, and posed as a "litmus test", not in connection to pigs, as you put it. My proposal was that the response to the question would sort respondents into distinct "camps", cutting through the fog of multiple opinions, cutting to the chase, so to speak. It was intended as a clarifying device, but seems to fit the purpose badly. My apologies to Jenny for dropping her/you into it.

                • francesca

                  So do we want to find common ground , or do we just want to divide people into "tents" so we can ignore them?

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Provide clarity, in my view. What anyone does from that point on, is up to them. It seems to me that the reports of "children collapsing" were delivered and received differently and that acceptance, one way or the other, is indicative. It's like asking if a person accepts that humans have exacerbated the warming of the climate, or had no role in the change. My concept may well be flawed (seems so) but the opportunity seems a good one, to me, as it's quite clear-cut, in my opinion. Finding common ground is a fair objective, but so is honest declaration of position.
                    And sorry, Iprent, “parent” is the default spelling on my machine.

                    • weka

                      no-one is obligated to state their position though. Have to run, will come back to this later.

                    • gsays

                      Into 'camps', 'declaration of position' are nice, harmless sounding euphemisms for othering. I have been fortunate through my life to mostly not be othered and if I was on the outer, it was my choice and I was confortable with it.

                      I have noticed no matter how many times it is pointed out, there is a world of difference between 'anti-vax' and against the mandates, passports and the state's power to coerce an individual into a medication they do not want. They may have folk in both camps, but being one does not necessarily make you the other.

                • weka

                  sorting commenters on TS into camps is likely to lead to flamewars. And create an antagonistic atmosphere that puts other people off from commenting.

                  There are good reasons to nip that in the bud (which is what Lynn is doing).

                  You can see from how Lynn framed his question, that it elicits better debate, better information, and gives people room to learn and change (or even just back down). Putting people into camps does the opposite.

        • Ross

          Spot on, Blazer.

          For the reasons you’ve given, the vaccine should really be called a drug, not a vaccine.

          Another definition worth checking is “vaccine.” I am one of the academics that argues that these mRNA products which everybody calls vaccines are qualitatively different than standard vaccines. And so I found it fascinating to learn that Merriam-Webster changed its definition of vaccine early this year. mRNA products did not meet the definition of vaccine that has been in place for 15 years at Merriam-Webster. But the definition was expanded such that the mRNA products are now vaccines.
          I highlight this to ask a question: how would you feel about mandating covid vaccines if we didn’t call them “vaccines”? What if these injections were called “drugs” instead?

          So here’s the scenario: we have this DRUG – and we have evidence that it doesn’t prevent infection, nor does it stop viral transmission. But the drug is understood to reduce your risk of becoming very sick and dying of covid. Would you take a dose of this drug every six months or so for possibly the rest of your life, if that’s what it took for the drug to stay effective? Would you not just take this drug yourself, but support regulations mandating that everybody else around you take this drug? Or would you say “hold on a sec.” Maybe you’d say that if that’s all the drug does, why not use a normal medicine instead – the kind we take when we’re sick and want to get better? And why would you mandate it?

          • Jenny how to get there

            So what do you think of reports that children in this country have been collapsing after receiving the childhood covid vaccination?

            No comment?

          • Nic the NZer

            This Doshi guy appears to have no idea. Administering the vaccine to infected people won't make them better at all. It needs to be administered before infection to be effective and calling it a drug doesn't alter this one bit.

          • Incognito

            For the reasons you’ve given, the vaccine should really be called a drug, not a vaccine. [my italics]

            Which reasons did Blazer give @ 2.3.2 that support your confirmation bias and logical fallacy?

          • lprent

            So here’s the scenario: we have this DRUG – and we have evidence that it doesn’t prevent infection, nor does it stop viral transmission. But the drug is understood to reduce your risk of becoming very sick and dying of covid.

            Basically a completely spurious argument based on nitpicking word definitions.

            Most vaccines ever developed during the initial phases of development required decades of development before they became capable of producing long-lasting effects. The goes for polio all the way through to the most recent ones. Some vaccines lose their efficacy regularly ever after decades of development – influenza vaccines for instance.

            Whoever this Peter Doshi is, they either don’t know the history of vaccines or they are a PR wanker pushing a line for fooling illiterates.

            • Fran

              Quick search and

              Peter Doshi is an associate professor of pharmaceutical health services research in the School of Pharmacy and associate editor at The BMJ. His research focuses on policies related to drug safety and effectiveness evaluation in the context of regulation, evidence-based medicine, and debates over access to data. Doshi also has strong interests in journalism as a vehicle for encouraging better practice and improving the research enterprise.

              So I think this guy does know what he is on about.

              • UncookedSelachimorpha

                He appears to have no specific expertise or research experience in:

                • statistics and experimental design
                • clinical trials
                • immunology
                • vaccinology
                • pharmaceuticals
                • medicine
                • biology
                • chemistry
              • lprent

                Doshi also has strong interests in journalism as a vehicle for encouraging better practice and improving the research enterprise.

                So I think this guy does know what he is on about.

                Actually I never said that they didn't know what they were speaking about. I was pretty specific.

                The three I pointed out as probable explanations were.. Nitpicky word definitions. PR wanker. Lack of history on vaccine development.

                First two sound probable.

                The most effective way to make a name for yourself in academic circles if you can't do research, is to provide a new word definition and attach it to a field of study.

                Another other effective way (especially in the US) is to become a talking head who spends time greasing up the media.

                No particular evidence on knowing the history of vaccines. May have skipped those classes. From what I have heard, history of medicine and the development side of the medical profession is a low attendance set of classes.

                What I was pointing at was that by the quoted definition and even my limited knowledge of the development history of vaccines, his statement doesn't stand up under even a basic scrutiny.

                Simply claiming authority based on straight academic training and qualification isn't authoritative on its own. You have to have a argument that stands up to scrutiny and challenge.

                Otherwise we'd still be living in a world dominated by the rather rigid scientific views of Lord Kelvin who at the end of the 19th century was proclaiming that physics was virtually all known and that the pesky experimental evidence of rays of radiation penetrating solid matter were irrelevant.

              • Incognito

                So I think this guy does know what he is on about.

                A fine example of authority bias.

                For obvious reasons, the Merriam-Webster dictionary is not on any list of recommended reading for any student of Immunology.

                Doshi conveniently ignores that both science and language are not fixed but evolve over time and need constant revision to stay up-to-date and accurate.

          • McFlock

            For the reasons you’ve given, the vaccine should really be called a drug, not a vaccine.


            Merriam-webster changed their definition beyond virus.

            OED describes the use of the word to include virus products from an example published in 1983:

            1983 Sci. Amer. Feb. 48/2 There has been increasing interest in the preparation of synthetic vaccines, which is to say vaccines containing not intact viruses but merely peptides..that have been constructed in the laboratory to mimic a very small region of the virus's outer coat

            Sounds like targeting the spike protein to me.

            Yes, word definitions change over time, for example as new technology emerges. But either the board of M-W were a bit slow in keeping up with the technical literature around vaccines and then the MrNA use hit the spotlight, or they're the slow peddlers in a global conspiracy to inject people with "drugs".

            I think the former is more likely.

            • McFlock

              Fuck I love books – they appear today as they did when published on the date on the front pages.

              Collins Gem (as in "pocket") Dictionary and Thesaurus, London, 1995:

              Vaccine n. any substance used for inoculation against disease

              Inoc'ulate vt. immunize by injecting vaccine –inocula'tion n.

              Justifies the book hoarding for another 30 years, lol

        • Jenny how to get there

          The Merchants of Doubt II

          To make your case, you've covered a lot of ground there Blazer

          How conspiracists exploited [exploit] COVID-19 science

          Kathleen Hall Jamieson – 01 November 2021

          ……on topics that range from mask wearing and COVID-19 treatments to vaccine safety and the funding of coronavirus research. Understanding the susceptibilities that conspiracists exploit should help us to identify ways to better safeguard both the trustworthiness of health science and public trust in it.

          ….conspiracy theorists have exploited the provisional nature of scientific consensus and the realities of how science is conducted to paint scientists and public health leaders as malign actors.

          ….The fluid nature of emergent science provides fuel for conspiracy theorists who offer certainty in place of the provisional, sometimes-updated statements of health experts.

          I suppose the only question I have for you Blazer, is your motive malign or are you just naively ignorant of how science works?

          • Blazer

            I am not a scientist.

            I just posted a chronological sequence of my personal…observations.

      • Incognito 2.3.3

        Should I believe some random person on Tik Tok, insightful as it is, or this guy?

        The irony is that the short Tik Tok clip is about confirmation bias and said nothing about COVID-19 as such, which you ‘countered’ using the words “believe” and “random” plus a strawman pulled out of Doshi’s rabbit hole (i.e. demonstrating his own strong bias and prejudice).

        You might as well have asked “should I believe in Taylor Swift or Santa Claus”, which would have made for a more entertaining discussion than your idiosyncratic diatribe.

      • Craig H 2.3.4

        What makes you think Medsafe and its overseas equivalents don't have access to the raw data? If they have access, why do I need it today?

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 2.3.5

        Here is a response refuting Doshi's comments. His basic claim that efficacy is less than claimed, seems well refuted to me. Technical complaints about data availability etc – I have not followed up.

        In the real world, a consistent (and global) pattern has emerged of vaccinated people having far better Covid19 outcomes than unvaccinated people. This confirms that the efficacy of the vaccines (as claimed in the trials) is true in the real world.

        The proof of the pudding is in in the eating.

        Note that Doshi’s qualifications are in Anthropology, East Asian Studies and his PhD was in “history, anthropology, and science, technology and society”. He does not have specific health, pharmaceutical, vaccine, statistics or immunology qualifications, nor does he conduct original research in these fields (i.e. he doesn’t develop drugs, vaccines, trials – or publish in immunology etc).

        • Tricledrown

          Thanks uncooked good that someone looks beyond the clickbait.

          Real World the world has had a unprecedented pandemic in our life times.

          A vaccine was needed many companies vied to produce vaccines.

          The mRNA was the quickest to be developed using nano technology.

          And is highly effective not perfect no vaccine is.

          Luckily the vast majority is very happy it's been developed.

          A very small but extremely vocal minority have pushed lies like sheading of vaccines will cause spread.5 g cell towers,then it was ivermectin, so and so on.

          None of the antivax propaganda has stood the test of time.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 2.4

      Bang on! Confirmation Bias is running rampant these days.

  3. Jester 3

    I feel sorry for the bus driver and they give him a final warning! I guess he must have said something to provoke the punch.

    Bus driver punched, given final warning after act of revenge caught on CCTV |

    • weka 3.1

      Yeah, nah, he had time to stop and think about that one but reacted instead. It wasn't self defense. He could have stopped the bus and called the police instead of assaulting him back. Given he knows that the CCTV is there, I'd guess he lost it, which means he needs to sort out his ability to do that job that often involves people being arseholes. I hope he gets some support though, because that's a really shitty situation to be in.

      Also hope they find the guy who punched him.

      • Ross 3.1.1

        he needs to sort out his ability to do that job that often involves people being arseholes.

        Well, some people are arseholes but I suspect that a driver being punched in the head is rather rare. Yeah I guess he could have called police but he might have wondered when they would turn up. As it was, the attacked quickly departed and hasn’t been identified.

        • weka

          and the driver is potentially going to lose this job.

          Let's just say that a woman would probably have handled it differently and not seen kicking someone in the back as the first response.

      • gsays 3.1.2

        A wee observation from the psychologist that dare not speak his Canadian name.

        Underlying male-male conversations, is the understanding that if a certain (changeable) line is crossed, it may be met with a physical violent response.

        When I heard him discuss this, a light went on. It wasn't a blatant, obvious not readily apparent thing, but I knew what he was talking about.

        Doesn't forgive or excuse either persons actions but may shed light on them.

        • weka

          makes sense to me. Thing is, it's still against the law to assault someone physically, and there was time to make a choice.

          If the passenger had punched him and then stood there leaning over him and shouting and basically boxing him in and threatening him, getting physical would seem appropriate. Cf to the Mitre10 staff manhandling the anti-mask dude out of the shop. Or someone defending themselves.

          Was Peterson saying that men can't help themselves? or just that it's socialised in men to behave like that? Or was he saying it's biological?

          • gsays

            The origin I took was biological/evolutional.

            A socialised example might be rugby, union or league, where there is all sorts of physical domination and aggression within an understanding.

            • weka

              yes, and men make choices all the time to not harm the rugby players in the opposing team. The issue then is whether and to what extent men have choice in the moment. I think socialisation around emotion, entitlement, maleness and manhood all play a significant part.

        • McFlock

          Except there wasn't much in the way of talking prior to violence.

          The problem generally isn't that a line might be crossed – that's basically a tautology. Every social interaction has a threat of violence, therefore there is always a "line". It's just that in nonviolent society, that line is rarely crossed.

          Thing is, the drive for status and dealing with the physiological reactions to confrontation involve learned techniques: impulse control, using your words, or being somewhat inoculated to the stress of violence. Having a constant threat of violence to conversations isn't actually the norm.

          Passenger dude had impulse control issues, maybe status issues and felt the crappy drive was a sign of disrespect. Driver was similarly controlled by his anger.

          One thing I always found funny was watching many of the stupid late teens street fights at 3am. There was definitely a social script, it was basically rams butting horns. Each idiot had opportunities to walk away, the buildup was call:response in pattern, then the mutual approach, while maybe hoping friends would drag them away.

          In contrast were folks who had obviously been around a bit. Very little in the way of puffing up, very quick to throw a punch (like passenger). They were a lot of work. If it was a status thing, they knew the winner was the person who could escalate first, so they didn't screw around.

          • gsays

            My comment was in response to weka's observation a woman would have handled it differently. While there are a few exceptions, you'd like to think Hi-Vis man would not have coward punched a woman driver.

            Spent six years running a rural town pub, what you say is very familiar. Especially the ‘been around a bit folks’. I had a memorable Christmas Eve ‘dance’ with one of them.
            Makes me damn grateful I met a good partner early in life and that massively informed a lot of decisions I made through my adolescence.

            • McFlock

              timestamps suggest otherwise. Weka brought up the idea a woman would have handled it differently well after the comment I replied to.

              I think women, on average would have handled being suckerpunched differently, but I also think that most men would have handled it differently. Not really judging the driver, but it was likely not his best work.

          • weka

            out of curiosity, do you see that playing out in online places like TS, or is it just a more superficial comparison?

            Every social interaction has a threat of violence, therefore there is always a "line". It's just that in nonviolent society, that line is rarely crossed.

            Hmm, really? Do you mean potentially has a threat of violence?

            • McFlock

              out of curiosity, do you see that playing out in online places like TS, or is it just a more superficial comparison?

              Well, I know I've been pissed off at some stuff personally, as opposed to just frustration at not getting my point across. Especially if it's an issue that I know about in real life, and the other party is talking bullshit. that definitely creates a reaction similar to instances that happened face to face. That's when I on occasion go do something else, or let a comment mellow overnight. And I've seen other folks throw their toys out of the cot – e.g. the folks who just start abusing moderators to get a permaban.

              But mostly online it's people talking past each other and barking at the moon, in my opinion.It's also safer than in real life, so that can encourage the naturally timid to over-express their machismo.

              • Every social interaction has a threat of violence, therefore there is always a "line". It's just that in nonviolent society, that line is rarely crossed.

              Hmm, really? Do you mean potentially has a threat of violence?

              Might be a definition difference there – potential is threat, in my context. So has a small possibility of violence.

              I knew a lecturer who had some anxiety issues. He once had to duck out of a hobnob drinkies event because he became worried that people would start throwing chocolate eclairs at him and laughing at him. Now, that's highly unlikely, but if there were chocolate eclairs at that do, it's possible that could have happened. But it's highly unlikely unlikely enough for most people to not even have the possibility of violence cross their mind at a do like that.

              I was working at a 21st when a young dude, sober (as everyone was at that stage), called the barman… names. So I told him to leave. He did, of his own accord, but it turned out he was the party person's ex, and was just looking to make life difficult for her because he didn't know how to deal with his own shit. That entire situation – happy people, still sober, all there for a birthday celebration, had a non-trivial potential for violence. Sure, it was guy/guy to start with, but he could have easily insulted a female bartender. Similarly, I saw a woman slap another woman's face in broad daylight, in a public hallway. That was unexpected, and almost certainly a learned way to express her own anger and pain.

              I don't catch the bus and spend all the trip worried that the bus driver will screw up so a passenger thumps him. But there's always the possibility that someone has issues, or I piss someone off.

              • weka

                right, there are lots of situations that have potential violence, but were you saying there are none that don't have that? Because I can think of most social interactions I've had this week and I would rate the chance of them being violent at so close to zero may as well be zero.

                Yeah, walking away from the keyboard at need is a very useful skill. The safer therefore more acting out thing makes sense.

                • McFlock

                  I mean sure, the odds in any particular instance might be essentially infinitesimal, but that's the problem with the angle of "that" canadian, which was:

                  Underlying male-male conversations, is the understanding that if a certain (changeable) line is crossed, it may be met with a physical violent response.

                  I mean sure, on one level that's true, if problematic: essentially it's the "fighting words" doctrine, where a statement that is outrageous enough will obviously start a fight.

                  But on the other hand, no, most people use their words, and there is not the ever-present knowledge that a faux pas could suddenly provoke a physical attack is not the norm.

                  It's bit weirder with strangers, but that's just because I don't want to make a dick of myself, rather than a worry about getting thumped.

    • Gezza 3.2

      Can't hear enough of the bleeped dialogue to know exactly who's saying what to whom after the punch was thrown. Also we have no idea whether there was any exchange between the two before the punch incident from this short video.

      It was a hard punch to the side of the face, though. Nothing justified that. Lots of guys would react to that with a rush of blood to the head and retaliate at least once.

      "He received a final written warning for serious misconduct for allegedly not waiting until all passengers were seated before setting off, and verbally abusing and assaulting the man who punched him."

      We don't know the driver's employment history. The bit about not waiting until all passengers were seated might be more significant than it seems, for example. I'm also wondering, after watching the clip several times, whether the driver's assailant is drunk or has mental health issues.

      There's possibly a bit more to this story than the limited information given in the article. Maybe someone might identify the puncher after seeing the clip?

      Best thing is for the driver to appeal the warning.

  4. Blade 4

    Whenever I have used public transport, which is a horrid experience I don't recommend to anyone, the bus driver sometimes moves the bus before passengers are seated. I have found both drivers and passengers can be obnoxious to deal with.

    The perpetrator looks like the usual suspect and started this physical confrontation.. The bus driver made one mistake…he kicked the offender in the back. He should have run up; pivoted 90 degrees and stomped the calf or ankle. That would have been the end of the confrontation. The bus driver is lucky this feral didn't pull a knife or weapon after being kicked in the back.

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    My grandson just asked me what concrete was made from. I was astonished to read, on Wikipedia, this:

    "Concrete is the second-most-used substance in the world after water, and is the most widely used building material. Its usage worldwide, ton for ton, is twice that of steel, wood, plastics, and aluminum combined …This widespread use results in a number of environmental impacts. Most notably, the production process for cement produces large volumes of greenhouse gas emissions, leading to net 8% of global emissions.""

    • lprent 5.1

      How did you miss that!

      Cement itself is mostly calcium carbonate (CaCO3) – ie usually mined from limestone or marble, mixed in with some fly ash. The usual process for making cement involved driving out water and any of its carbon dioxide at reasonably high temperatures (the first phase to clinker is CaCO3 -> CaO + CO2.

      The most typical way of doing that is to use very very large fossil fuelled open ended or ventilated rotatory ovens.

      But if you look at the whole process of cement making and producing concrete, the greenhouse gas emissions go up markedly. Mining and moving large quantities of stone for concrete, cement and limestone for cement around are a large chunk of our transport emissions. Alternatives like shaped stone, steel, glass and even wood don’t cut that part of the building emission process.

      They’re starting to develop ways of doing the limestone burn without direct fossil fuels. But it is bloody hard to get alternative methods of producing the equivalent of those strong calcium bonds in construction materials.

      • arkie 5.1.1

        Hempcrete is an interesting product that helps to minimise the carbon costs, both in production and also after installation.

        Just like any crop, hemp absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere while growing, so hempcrete is considered a carbon-storing material. Accordingly, this CO2 will be stored in the hempcrete block after fabrication and for the duration of the block's life allowing positive environmental benefits. The specific amount of carbonates in the blocks actually increases with the age of the block.The amount of CO2 capture within the net life cycle CO2 emissions of hempcrete is estimated to be between -1.6 to -79 kg CO2e/m2.

    • McFlock 5.2

      I was well into adulthood before I learned that concrete "drying" was actually a specific chemical reaction forming a whole thing, rather than just being like a really good mud brick.

      Not that I ever considered concrete all that much, but still – funny the things we carry over from childhood.

      • Tricledrown 5.2.1

        Concrete today with acrylic moderfiers is much stronger than earlier forms of concrete except maybe early forms of concrete used in the Eastern Mediterranean.

        • Robert Guyton

          The soil beneath concrete, I believe, is dead.

          There's a lot of soil lying dead, beneath concrete!


        • Matiri

          In the river valley where I live, there is a concrete arch bridge built in the 1920s there are only two left of this type, the other is in Canada. It's protected as an Historic Place. Our local roading contractor is responsible for maintenance and he says the concrete is much stronger than that used today. The only maintenance needed has been repairs after a milk tanker clipped the approach to the bridge.

          His great great grandfather built the bridge – he couldn't read or write but also built a railway tunnel on the Nelson railway line!

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            I live not far from you.

            I always heard the name "Horse Terrace Bridge" was a bit of a joke – a reference to the ladies of a nearby house of ill-repute, serving the local mining community.

            • Matiri

              It's not a joke!! Original name was Whores Terrace back when it was a tree trunk over the river for access and all the associated deaths by drowning. Fascinating to read all the lobbying of parliament to get the bridge built – William Massey was PM in those days.

              • Robert Guyton

                Like most things we create, wonderful! Until we over-do it.

                Discretion! It's the challenge we face as a species.

  6. Robert Guyton 6

    Chris Trotter writes:

    "And, because all Covid variants surge, and peak, and then, after a few months of mayhem, go into decline,…"

    Which addresses a question I've been nursing for a while – do the Cover family of viruses "fade" naturally, and why?"

    Trotter goes on to say,

    "..the Prime Minister’s heroic after-image will remain imprinted upon the voters’ retinas long after they have entered, and left, the polling-booths in 2023."

    Which sounds reasonable to me.

  7. arkie 7

    It didn’t take long until the idiosyncrasies of the new self-isolation system to rear their head:

    Staff at the Motueka medical centre that saw patients linked to the Omicron outbreak don’t have to isolate.

    Patients who visited Greenwood Health on Friday between 11.40am to 1.45pm are considered close contacts and should isolate and get tested immediately and again on day five.

    Greenwood Health clinical manager Naomi Rosamond told Morning Report the staff members would have regular testing.

    • Craig H 7.1

      If staff are wearing all the appropriate PPE and distance as much as practicable, they're probably as protected as anyone. Health staff not isolating in these circumstances has been standard for months.

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    Novel traffic-calming method:

    A field blooming with thousands of sunflowers, intended to subdue speeding motorists, appears to be having the desired effect.

    Abbe​ Hoare planted 47,000 sunflower seeds in a half-hectare block near the roadside of her farm at Mangamaire, south of Pahīatua. The sunflowers started flowering about 10 days ago and now the field is filled with bright yellow heads all facing east, which are expected to last until the end of February.

    “I wanted to slow the traffic down. No-one ever stops at this railway crossing. This is meant to be 70kmh but no-one ever goes 70kmh.”

    • gsays 8.1

      If anyone is inclined to check the blooms out 'in the flesh', I heartily recommend Marima Domain just a little bit up the road. A beautiful river spot with the Mangahao River and lots of swimming holes.

  9. Dennis Frank 9

    Using money to control others seems as old as the hills. Good that taking it for granted seems to have been replaced by an effort to specify it…

    BNZ identified 12,000 abusive online banking transactions in the space of just six months last year. While there are no official figures about how widespread economic abuse is in New Zealand, experts believe it is just as prevalent as other types of domestic abuse.

    Holly Carrington, from the domestic abuse organisation Shine, said economic abuse did not happen in isolation. "It's important to understand that where there's economic abuse happening, it's almost always part of a larger pattern of behaviour where one person is controlling someone else," she said. Economic abuse has been added to the legal definition of family violence.

  10. francesca 10

    We're told that cloth masks are no longer fit for purpose, surgical masks not fully effective for covid , and more expensive disposable respirator masks like N95 the most effective.

    Is there any move to subsidise ?

    Even surgical masks can cost up to $25 a week if used correctly.Thats for one person, a family at least $50.How many families can even afford the less effective surgical masks?

    Weekly cost for one person wearing one N95 mask a day ..up to $70

    Another hazard for the poor, cramped deficient housing(or a car), rising food costs, inflation, and now the ability to stay alive via masks–but-are-they-affordable

    • We got several hundred KN95 masks for work (loops around the ears rather than the back of the head). These cost around $30 per box of 10. So, nothing like the prices you are talking about.

      • francesca 10.1.1

        I'm using a quote from the article .Not many households can afford to buy in bulk

        • tsmithfield

          These are disposable masks. But if you are only using them to go out to the shops or whatever, then a mask should last a week at least I would expect.

          BTW, the masks we purchased are identical to the one the person is wearing in the picture in the article you linked to.

    • weka 10.2

      We're told that cloth masks are no longer fit for purpose, surgical masks not fully effective for covid , and more expensive disposable respirator masks like N95 the most effective.

      Really wish people would stop saying that. Cloth masks, wellfitted and with an insert or doubled up reduce risk of covid transmission. Likewise surgical.

      Yes, N95/P2 are more effective, if fitted properly, but this doesn't mean the other masks are useless.

      Given there is a shortage of P2s already, I'm saving mine for when I really need them. I'm not using them yet, because there is no covid in the community where I live, and once there is I'll use them selectively eg when in town and people won't socially distance.

  11. Jenny how to get there 11

    Follow the money.

    Public Health vs. Private Wealth

    Why are the right wing almost universally opposed to our current government's world beating covid strategy?

    The Merchants of Doubt

    In their new book, Merchants of Doubt, historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway explain how a loose–knit group of high-level scientists, with extensive political connections, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. In seven compelling chapters addressing tobacco, acid rain, the ozone hole, global warming, and DDT, Oreskes and Conway roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how the ideology of free market fundamentalism, aided by a too-compliant media, has skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.

    “A well-documented, pulls-no-punches account of how science works and how political motives can hijack the process by which scientific information is disseminated to the public.”—Kirkus Review

    The relevance to the dispute of vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, Red light restrictions, lockdowns, is that prioritising public health comes at a cost to business, (and if not managed properly to the average citizen as well).
    However our government's response to the pandemic has wide public support, which is hard for the right to confront directly.
    Unable to confront the government directly, manufacturing doubt in our government's response to the pandemic has become a cottage industry among the right and far right..

  12. According to Michael Baker we need a lot more RAT tests:

    "Rationing tests is something that may well happen during a surge, he said, and rapid antigen tests will be an important part of the response.

    "When we have high levels of the virus circulating in the community the false negative and false positive side of the rapid antigen test doesn't matter so much."

    But rapid antigen tests won't keep businesses operating, he said.

    "It's not the golden chalice, it's a tool in the toolkit."

    Professor Michael Baker said 4.5 million rapid antigen tests won't be enough to regularly screen essential workers to keep operations functioning.

    According to Bill O'Reilly on Newstalk ZB last night (on demand at 5 about 7 minutes in), businesses have been trying for months to get tests approved to import. Only 4 brands approved here in New Zealand compared to 65 in Australia.

    By the time we get enough, we won't need them.

  13. Blade 13

    Excellent. Thanks farmers for your hard work. You get no thanks from this government. Hopefully his may make things a little better.

    Robbo will love this.

    • weston 13.1

      Surely the farmers didnt hve to do any extra "work " they just got paid more for their product .

      From what i can make out riding arround on a quad all day constitutes "work" these days in fact i wouldnt be supprized if some of them drive down the hallway to take a dump ! .

      typical day would involve getting on the quad ride 50 meters to the cowshed drain the cows of their milk ,then ride back home partake of a leisurely breakfast watch daytime tv til 3 jump back on the quad trundle up the race to open a gate reach down with a device that measures how long the grass is an tells you how much artificial nitrogen you are gonna have to put on to make the grass grow as much as you want it to , then back down to the cowshed again .etc .

      If theres any actual "work" done it gets done by contractors doesnt it ?

      • Tricledrown 13.1.1

        Weston this agriculture boom couldn't have come at a better time.

        All farmers I know work 60hr plus weeks.

        You would last a couple of hrs at best.

        We have lost tourism,hospitality,education etc

        We are lucky to have farmer's otherwise what do we export, 60% of our export earnings, probably higher now other areas have collapsed

        • weston

          Relax tricledrown was only a semi serious comment ! I know quite a few hard working farmers too an ive worked for some wonderful ones an some arseholes .

          At its heart tho the dairy industry is ruthless in the extreme .Essentially you engineer all of your cows to get pregnant at the same time then as soon as the calves are born you steal them off the mothers truck off most of them to be killed and keep all the milk yourself .Before organizations such as Farmsafe came along the rules arround how a farmer could deal with bobby calves were almost non existant and pretty much nobody cared certainly not the farmers .Theres some truely awfull vids out there of goings on in the processing plants where they take the calves pretty sure it would chill most people to the marrow unless youve already sold your soul .

          Your right about the two hrs i couldnt work on a dairy farm at least not a conventional one i wouldnt want the karma .

    • mac1 13.2

      Blade, at #18 below, you'll find reference to farmers seeking workers to pick crops. No mention of wages paid by the farmers but reference made to highlight incentives for the work aiding farmers by the Seasonal Work Scheme.

      No thanks from this government indeed!

  14. Stephen D 14

    I wanted a decent explanation of what’s going on in the Ukraine, and why. Got it here.

  15. Adrian 15

    65 years ago we ( not me, too tough) were dropping like flies during some random immunisation gig at school around mid 50s, most of them before they got anywhere near the front of the queue. Perfectly normal, and that was decades before Social Fucking Media putting the arse- clenching smoteing with lightning threat into us poor little buggers. Mind you we had just cause, vaccination needles then were just hollowed out 4 inch nails that had been used about a thousand times already, there was precautions ,they were wiped with an oily rag between shots. Happy days!.

    • Robert Guyton 15.1

      "hollowed out 4 inch nails"


      • Blazer 15.1.1

        Another…Yorkshire man!

      • mac1 15.1.2

        Aye! Driven in and then extracted with a claw hammer. Then they went all soft and introduced an oral vaccine. My mother still made me face the needle though.

    • Whispering Kate 15.2

      My uncle during WW2 was a sapper in the first echelon and stationed in North Africa. When blood was required urgently which was often men were pulled out of the ranks randomly and frog marched to the nearest field hospital and were required to give up their blood for the betterment of the sick. No pussy footing around and PC nonsense. He said the needles were like you were describing and he said he just got on with the job and put up with it. They had four years of that before they got their first furlough home. We are 2 and a bit years into this pandemic and many are still complaining and going on about loss of freedom. Beggars belief.

      • Tricledrown 15.2.1

        Thanks whispering Kate for the best comment on this subject.

        Those soldiers endured that so we can have the freedoms of today.

        The freedoms of the self entitled seem to have no bounds.

        My parents were young teenagers who ran from abject poverty in Ireland to help the War effort in London circa 1943to 45.

        They endured bombing,V1doodle bugs and v2 rockets.Stupendously high rents as many houses we're uninhabitable.

        Landlords profiteered.

        Put today's antvaxxers and public health underminers back into that scenario.

        They would not even make a sound.

        • Whispering Kate

          Yes Tricledrown and on top of that they laid mines under bridges etc and had to defuse them as well. He was strafed often and had to huddle in ditches. He lost his hard hat on one trip into a ditch and ran back for it, the ditch was obliterated and he lost mates while retrieving his tin hat. We haven't had anything serious like that to affect us for so many years we have all gone soft on it. I do hope we have the fortitude to endure this pandemic and can stay with the PM to get through it. We all need to harden up.

          • gsays

            Thanks WK for those recollections.

            I wish no disrespect to your uncle, his response to his environment makes me think of a Jiddu Krishnamurti observation.

            "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

            I am starting to realise this may apply to our current situation, re Covid, in other ways. It may explain some of the resolve found in folk with dissenting views. The Public Health response may be one too many sacrifices or adjustments in this profoundly sick society.- Inequality, CC, environment degradation…

  16. Adrian 16

    BTW, there was no escape, no matter how daring, it was a convent school and we were all sheparded into the biggest classroom and the exits were well guarded by nuns dressed with the full flying kit and carrying the most evil yard long leather-soaked-in-vinegar-for-days straps and just itching to use them. Deliriously happy days! Strangely enough we Mickey Doolans had the best immunisation numbers in the country.

  17. Stephen D 17

    There are those of us interested in urban affairs such as transport and housing. The Greater Auckland blog is a great example of writers who are knowledgeable and passionate about their subject.

    The latest post takes a good look at road safety. Let’s hope is a blog read by Michael Wood and the mandarins at Waka Kowhai.

    ”In addition to the progressive safety programmes of work that are already underway, Waka Kotahi’s leaders need to let Vision Zero guide the entire programme. It isn’t something to “squeeze into” a sector feeling the pinch of funding pressures; it’s a way to critique everything in order to reprioritise funding. The scale of change required is immense, and some entirely new programmes are needed, based on Vision Zero principles and harnessing traffic circulation changes. Many programmes should also be discontinued, with their budgets reallocated.”

  18. UncookedSelachimorpha 18

    Another bullshit "Labour Shortage" (aka "WAGES shortage") campaign.

    Pick Nelson-Tasman to work, campaign urges

    Not a single mention of pay and conditions anywhere in the article!

    • weka 18.1

      that's unfortunate timing, not sure there will be many people wanting to flock to that area just now.

    • mac1 18.2

      No mention when you go to the Pick Nelson/Tasman website either except for 'good' wages and mention of government supplied incentives such as accommodation supplements.

      The site says, "These include the possibility of financial assistance for relocation costs, travel costs and work gear; an accommodation supplement; and up to $1,000 in cash incentives."

      Government funded under the Seasonal Work Scheme.

      Bloody socialists.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 18.2.1

        Excellent observation.

        Private business expecting everyone else to contribute to their profit margin because they won't pay the actual cost of labour.


  19. Robert Guyton 19

    With Omicron appearing in the Motueka/Golden Bay Area, famous for it's unvaxxed, unmasked, unhinged freedumb-fighter underbelly, it'll be very interesting to watch what happens over the next couple of weeks.

    (Apologies to the other good folk of Te Tauihu).

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    New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals is working to resolve almost 150 outstanding minerals permit applications by the end of the financial year, enabling valuable mining activity and signalling to the sector that New Zealand is open for business, Resources Minister Shane Jones says.  “While there are no set timeframes for ...
    1 week ago
  • Applications open for NZ-Ireland Research Call
    The New Zealand and Irish governments have today announced that applications for the 2024 New Zealand-Ireland Joint Research Call on Agriculture and Climate Change are now open. This is the third research call in the three-year Joint Research Initiative pilot launched in 2022 by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Ireland’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Tenancy rules changes to improve rental market
    The coalition Government has today announced changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to encourage landlords back to the rental property market, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The previous Government waged a war on landlords. Many landlords told us this caused them to exit the rental market altogether. It caused worse ...
    1 week ago
  • Boosting NZ’s trade and agricultural relationship with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay will visit China next week, to strengthen relationships, support Kiwi exporters and promote New Zealand businesses on the world stage. “China is one of New Zealand’s most significant trade and economic relationships and remains an important destination for New Zealand’s products, accounting for nearly 22 per cent of our good and ...
    1 week ago
  • Freshwater farm plan systems to be improved
    The coalition Government intends to improve freshwater farm plans so that they are more cost-effective and practical for farmers, Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay have announced. “A fit-for-purpose freshwater farm plan system will enable farmers and growers to find the right solutions for their farm ...
    1 week ago
  • New Fast Track Projects advisory group named
    The coalition Government has today announced the expert advisory group who will provide independent recommendations to Ministers on projects to be included in the Fast Track Approvals Bill, say RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Regional Development Minister Shane Jones. “Our Fast Track Approval process will make it easier and ...
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Gaza focus of UN talks
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters says his official talks with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York today focused on a shared commitment to partnering with the Pacific Islands region and a common concern about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.    “Small states in the Pacific rely on collective ...
    1 week ago

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