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Open mike 26/11/09

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 26th, 2009 - 37 comments
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Topics of interest, announcements, general discussion. The usual rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

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37 comments on “Open mike 26/11/09 ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    I read an earlier posting here with respect to the leaked e-mails from EA University.
    The tenor of the post was to minimise the seriousness of the leaks, and try to explain the apparent meanings as due to e-mails being taken out of context. However, as the e-mails are being delved into further, it is obvious that the situation is very much more serious.

    Here are some recent revelations:

    1. An article by a pro-AGW commentator:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/nov/23/global-warming-leaked-email-climate-scientists

    Notice that the author considers: “The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them.”

    and that: “Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.”

    In depth, detailed analysis by other sites, including extensive contextual material can be found at these links:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/11/24/taking_liberties/entry5761180.shtml

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/24/the-people-vs-the-cru-freedom-of-information-my-okole%E2%80%A6/

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/three-things-you-absolutely-must-know-about-climategate/

    What is emerging is an orchestrated effort to:

    1. Manipulate and distort data that the authors consider poor or conflicting with their hypothesis.
    2. Wilfully conceal or destroy data to prevent it being analysed by other researchers.
    3. Manipulate computer code by including arbitrary factors to force the programs to produce the desired results.
    4. Attempt to force out editors of journals considered to be too accomodating to scientists with opposing points of view; as one of the articles points out, a number of the editors referred to have subsequently resigned from their positions. As pointed out, the scientists who have been trying to manipulate the freedom of journals to publish what they see fit are the very same scientists who have criticised their opponents for not producing enough published work!

    This behaviour, seems to me, to be highly unethical at the least, and bordering on criminal given Britain’s OIA laws.

    Furthermore, these sort of efforts are undermining legitimate research into the field. The article below makes this point:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/earth-environment/article6896152.ece

    • Bill 1.1

      It’s a complete PR disaster for sure, but I think this Monbiot piece puts things in perspective rather well. Here’s an excerpt.

      “Phil Jones (…) wrote “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

      One of these papers which was published in the journal Climate Research turned out to be so badly flawed that the scandal resulted in the resignation of the editor-in-chief. Jones knew that any incorrect papers by sceptical scientists would be picked up and amplified by climate change deniers funded by the fossil fuel industry, who often as I documented in my book Heat use all sorts of dirty tricks to advance their cause.

      Even so, his message looks awful. It gives the impression of confirming a potent meme circulated by those who campaign against taking action on climate change: that the IPCC process is biased. However good the detailed explanations may be, most people aren’t going to follow or understand them. Jones’s statement, on the other hand, is stark and easy to grasp”

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/nov/25/monbiot-climate-leak-crisis-response

      • tsmithfield 1.1.1

        Bill,

        I think what the leak does does demonstrate is the dangers of mixing activism with science.

        When the goal is to persuade the public with research, then there is a great temptation to shoe-horn the research to fit the political aims of the researchers.

        I don’t believe there is anything so silly as a global conspiracy by AGW scientists. However, I do believe that the same drivers are likely to exist for any scientist trying to mix activist type goals with science. This being the case, there may be other research that is called into question on the same basis.

  2. Bored 2

    Just a quick one to register my complete disgust at Key and Turiana for the ETS fiasco, may they rot.

  3. Next to capital punishment incarceration is the most severe sanction the state can impose upon a citizen and should be administered seriously. Crush ’em and crate ’em Collins McPrisons in no way take this responsibility seriously. Private prisons serving beans on paper plates, run by police rejects and failed security guards really do indicate where the ship is headed. And they are abusing urgency again to boot.

  4. pentwig 4

    Tiger Mountain

    So you saying that murderers and rapists and robbers and house breakers
    deserve hotel status while being penalised for committing their henious crimes?

    Get real!!

  5. Tigger 5

    pentwig – your kneejerk reaction is exactly why it’s hard to have a proper debate about prision conditions. But yep, I agree wotj Toger that murderers, rapists and robbers and house breakers deserve to be housed appropriately. Badly run prisons aren’t good for anyone. We (the people) locked them away, they’re our responsibility.

  6. What is the public mood on the ETS? I suspect Nick Smith is widely regarded with at least suspicion, if not as a downright liar by the general public.

    The mood is against National on immigration, ETS and slowly turning against them on ACC – two out of three for Nick.

    • fizzleplug 6.1

      The general public doesn’t know who Nick Smith is. The vast majority of people in this country don’t follow politics closely or with any interest (and yes, the ETS is politics, despite it’s far-reaching consequences).

  7. pentwig 7

    Tigger
    Your kneejerk reaction to my reply to Tigger Mountain belies comprehension and belief.
    The purpose of incarceration is to take away the dignity and privileges that a person would normally enjoy had he not committed crime.
    In these days only the worst offenders get imprisonment.
    How does giving them the same enjoyment of life while in prison that they would enjoy if they where law abiding and outside prison in any way help their rehabilitation procedure?
    The idea of inprisonment is a deterent as well as a penalty.

    • BLiP 7.1

      People are sent to prison AS punishment, not FOR punishment.

      • Tigger 7.1.1

        Pentwig – the fact that you believe prison should remove a person’s dignity indicates to me that it’s not worth bothering arguing with you.

  8. prism 8

    captcha – ago
    A driving confidence program Safe with Age for older people is being scrapped by Land Transport because it is only reaching 40,000 people for cost $500,000. (Heard Morn Report Nat.) Not enough people they say, when there are 800,000 that fit the criteria which is people over 55! Why on earth would people at 55 have to be tutored on how to drive suitably?
    This is just another example of stupid, misdirected policies that are bound to be found too expensive, and sure to not deliver on targets which are too broad. Sort of like expectations heaped on ACC.
    Long ago were things better? Could we actually achieve better policies? We seem to go round in circles with the running of this country.

    • Because old people in my experience tend to lose awareness and/or confidence.

      [driving around a round about]
      “Oh I wonder where that noise is coming from, someone must be doing wheelies”
      “ah grandma, that noise is coming from your tires”

      • prism 8.1.1

        It appears that you are much younger than age 55 and don’t know or think much yet.

      • prism 8.1.2

        killinginthenameof
        When I talked about policy-making going round in circles (and getting nowhere worthwhile) it appears that your mind drove off in a different direction and thought I was referring to road roundabouts.

        Actually seeing you refer to roundabouts, it would be good if drivers all slowed slightly before entering them, checking the car’s speed for a second also the road, thus making accidents less likely (instead of approaching and driving through at a steady 45 or higher). The seconds taken are a small loss to the day’s mass of seconds, and outcomes would be a smoother, happier flow of drivers. And there would be less grief and killing in the name of getting somewhere fast on some probably trivial pursuit.

        • logie97 8.1.2.1

          Actually when it comes to roundabouts, the right hand rule has too much power. It is assumed that the cars in the big long stream of a rush-hour queue have priority over all other users. If we had a Stop sign at roundabouts rather than a Give Way, other users of the road would have a chance of negotiating the junction, without the need to gamble on their being a gap big enough to get through.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      A number of people over 55 have never driven before. Cars used to be expensive and not everybody needed drive.

      In my driving I’ve seen two instances of older people driving along completely impervious to what’s going on around them. Red lights didn’t faze them – they drove straight through without slowing down.

      • prism 8.2.1

        Strange how common that driver behaviour is in the younger age group Draco. Let’s all have defensive driving tests each time we have our licences renewed.

  9. prism 9

    Role of Infamy and Politician du jour
    Nov 2009 – Infamous
    Anne Tolley for closing school that is only bi-lingual one in large area. For taking a kiddies story book to meeting with educators implying they are at kindy level. (And for thinking if Trevor Mallard closed schools so can she).
    Nov 2009 – Infamous
    Judith Collins for overseeing privatising of a prison and saying that it isn’t a money matter. She says it is to benchmark best practice – I think that is the policyspeak.
    It’s known that businesses make profits, and they will exert influence for longer sentences and harsher treatments with less programmes, especially when they sell out to some other business. Perhaps it will lead to one of those healthy, open-air Arizona jobs.
    Nov 2009 – Politician du jour
    Tim Groser for being an intelligent, experienced bloke with business sense working for New Zealand’s interests. He can see Turners & Growers connections misusing the WTO process over our kiwifruit marketing control which maintains standards and continuing dominance and profit for New Zealand in our own hands.

    • gitmo 9.1

      T’is interesting that often you can get a handle on which ministers are doing a good job/getting on with things by their relative lack of profile compared to their colleagues.

      • prism 9.1.1

        And gitmo we will probably never find out as they aren’t making sensational copy for the media. They would get covered perhaps if there was a specialty reporter who knew his or her field but there are less of those, so perhaps its left to the Press gallery who might just give an overview.
        Then backbenchers at election time suffer from comments in the media that they haven’t been heard from, implying that they haven’t been working hard. But the public wouldn’t know what the truth was.

    • Bored 9.2

      All with degrees???? Heaven forbid!

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    NYT has a round up of economists (both from academia and the private sector) on the US stimulus:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/21/business/economy/21stimulus.html

    with graph, strangely hidden behind a sidebar link:

    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/11/21/business/21stimulus_graphic.html

    rumours of it’s failure; unsupported.

    Main criticisms are of the tax cut aspects put in to appease right wingers and that those made less money available for the parts that, you know, worked.

  11. prism 11

    There is a secret anti counterfeiting treaty which could be written into NZ law in complete secrecy to comply with USA. The talks in NZ are through officials from the Min of Economic Development. (Colin Jackson on 9tonoon 26/11).
    Our politicians are forcing through so much on urgency, making a complete hash of policy, and thumbing their nose at expected democratic procedures and we have no chance of preventing such damaging and sinister controls being passed.

    The USA President says that everything must be secret because of national security. We are as much at risk from such secret machinations on the part of decision makers as we are from those of terrorists, just with differing types of damage.

    • rainman 11.1

      The bigger risk with FTA type negotiations is that undoubtedly those bastards in Wellington will bend over and take it from the likes of Monsanto and ADM in exchange for a few beads and blankets.

      I don’t hold much hope for the continuation of our (relatively) GE free status…

  12. prism 12

    Sensible sentencing trust losing its charitable status? Perhaps we might hear less from Garth McVicar and get more Kim Workman, and others with ideas on how to change crime trend line from up to down, and not just through employment options improving.

  13. Well once again a member of this Tory Government has been found abusing the system to get a bit more money. This time its Lindsey Tisch . An already very rich man, (,what a greedy lot these Right -Wing people are ). I just hope the good people of Waikato/Waipa are informed obout this mans juggling of the system in order to gain a measly $140 extra in his already bulging bank balance. This, the man who vehemently spoke out against raising the mininum wage . Every time it came up in parliament he voted against it. Who the bloody hell votes for such sleazy character ? It beats me ! .

    • rod 13.1

      No doubt our Populist Smiler will be relaxed about it!

    • prism 13.2

      pinkpostman – About politicians being creative at personal money grabbing – interesting contrast in Britain. While the British ones were padding their expenses with phantom mortgage payments for properties already sold, they were ignoring their nuclear handling system which is in disarray and they have “in tan cans at Sellafield” tonnes of separated uranium I think. It will cost millions to deal with, but first requires politicians to actually work hard alongside their advisors to make real effective policy (and heaven help us literally, if they decide to outsource or contract it out.)

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10611727

    Mr Joyce said his barber told him he loved travelling to work by train and, when asked why, explained they were cheaper than buses.

    The minister said last month that he did not know the reason for the difference in fares, and was keen to find an answer.

    Now, after the Government’s final commitment to the $1 billion electrification project, he says he believes rail fares should rise to match those of buses to ensure ratepayers and taxpayers do not pay unfair subsidies.

    Now we know where National MPs get their information from, ie, not their ministries. It obviously didn’t occur to him that the reason why trains were cheaper is because they’re cheaper to run.

    • Armchair Critic 14.1

      This did seem to be exceptionally dumb. I wonder what policy decisions he has made based on advice from taxi drivers?

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