Open mike 28/07/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 28th, 2022 - 122 comments
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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 …

122 comments on “Open mike 28/07/2022 ”

  1. Jester 1

    "If the party and its various factions are led well, there is nothing inherently unstable about the Greens' relatively horizontal structure. The problem now is that there is clearly a strong disagreement over the party's direction – with some prominent members explicitly critical of even being in government.

    This, wedded to the fact no-one really seems to know what they want to do about it, has created a perfect storm of instability and indecision."

    Unforced errors hurting Christopher Luxon and the Greens – Thomas Coughlan – NZ Herald

    It's paywalled so I pasted part of the article. They need to let James get on with his job (as co leader) and the others should come out and support him not spend days deciding whether they will run or not for leadership.

    • Jimmy 1.1

      I was a bit surprised the only Green MP to actually publicly support James was Eugenie Sage. All the others were not very supportive with their "lets follow the process" type statements.

      As they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

    • roy cartland 1.2

      A good piece by Nandor on TDB today. Pretty much:

      'James has done much but the country hasn't done enough, hope he gets elected again, and learns from it and improves his efforts. '

      Imagine if, say, Luxon acted like that as a leader!

      • roy cartland 1.2.1

        And of course, Gordon's nailed that Luxon question.

        “Confusingly though, Luxon has since claimed to be (a) taking responsibility for the mis-representation while (b) claiming he had not nothing to apologise for, and moreover (c) it had all been a valuable learning experience:”

        • Sanctuary

          Hmmm has anyone seen Ian Foster and Chris Luxon in the same room together?

          • Robert Guyton

            Both seen together last week in a phone box in Te Puke.


            • Incognito

              That wasn’t a phone box but a Tardis, which is how Luxon can time-travel between Hawaii and Te Puke.

              Question is were they wearing their masks?

        • pat

          As well as he nailed the issue within the Greens….

          "What the Greens rebels seem to want is for the party to vehemently pursue policies that are almost certainly bound to fail, and/or to then exit from government altogether. Sure, there can be virtue in righteous failure. The Greens used to be very good at being right, and being ignored. An exit on principle would certainly feel great for a while. It would just as certainly deliver a centre right victory in Election 2023 that would be devastating for the goals expressed in the Greens’ founding principles, on social justice and the environment."

          • weka

            why would leaving the agreement now ensure that National wins the next election? Talk us through how that would work IRL.

            • pat

              What agreement are you speaking of?….Gordon Campbell makes no reference to any agreement.

              • weka

                Campbell, from your quote.

                and/or to then exit from government altogether

                Labour and the Greens have a cooperation agreement that outlines how they work together while Labour is the government.


                But let me rephrase,

                why would the Greens leaving the government now ensure that National wins the next election? Talk us through how that would work IRL.

                • pat

                  Thats not what Campbell has said.

                  • weka

                    do you disagree with what you quoted?

                    "What the Greens rebels seem to want is for the party to vehemently pursue policies that are almost certainly bound to fail, and/or to then exit from government altogether. Sure, there can be virtue in righteous failure. The Greens used to be very good at being right, and being ignored. An exit on principle would certainly feel great for a while. It would just as certainly deliver a centre right victory in Election 2023 that would be devastating for the goals expressed in the Greens’ founding principles, on social justice and the environment."

                    • pat

                      Obviously not as its part of the link I described as having 'nailed' it.

                      What is your point?

                    • weka

                      my point is that there's no argument supporting the idea that the Greens leaving the current arrangement would ‘certainly’ lead to a Nact govt in 2023. I already said that, and you evaded and didn't provide the argument.

                    • pat

                      you are fixated on some agreement (I assume you are referring to the agreement that provides the Greens Ministerial positions outside Cabinet)….Campbell makes no mention of the agreement and its not the basis of his argument….even Robert appears to have grasped this.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      "even Robert"?

                      That dullard?

                    • weka

                      I already restated it thus,

                      why would the Greens leaving the government now ensure that National wins the next election? Talk us through how that would work IRL.


                      Pat: good argument by Campbell, the Greens leaving government would = certain Nact government in 2023

                      weka: how?

                      Pat: deflect, deflect, crickets…

                    • weka

                      you are fixated on some agreement (I assume you are referring to the agreement that provides the Greens Ministerial positions outside Cabinet)

                      I already linked to it. It's the agreement that underpins the Greens working with the Labour government (or being in government if you prefer, although they're kind of in govt and not in govt). It covers a lot more than the Ministerial positions. Understanding that agreement is necessary for understanding the current situation within the GP.

                    • pat

                      Covered hours ago…

                      "Where is the evidence to support a view that the more radical policies sought by the faction challenging Shaws position will attract more (and not less) support for the Green Party?…..have any other political party adopted more radical policies?….where is the growth in Green Party support indicating that the wider public want more of what is on offer?

                      If the majority of Green Party members believed the radicals were more likely to succeed than the status quo then the status quo wouldnt be what it is.

                      But that would mean submitting to the majority view…..or democracy."

          • Robert Guyton

            "What the Greens rebels seem to want is for the party to vehemently pursue policies that are almost certainly bound to fail, and/or to then exit from government altogether. "

            That's unclear writing, imo. The "Green rebels" might indeed want to pursue policies, but don't necessarily see those as leading to failure and/or an exit from government. They may well believe they'll cause a great increase in public support and a better position for The Greens post-election.

            Has anyone delved into the rationale of the "rebels" and published that anywhere?

            The general consensus seems to be that ousting James would be damaging for the party's hopes, and I agree with that. I expect James will remain in his roles. I expect the "rebels" will come to their senses 🙂 and learn from their outburst/rush of blood to their heads and seek other avenues of change within the structure of the party. I expect the existing Green MP's will be more alert to the ebb and flow of their own party and supporters.

            • Incognito

              Seems to me that a faction within the Green Party is trying to shift the internal Overton window within the party. This will then somehow magically shift Labour’s thinking and acting towards a bolder CC approach. Or so the belief system seems to operate with some, I believe.

            • pat

              "That's unclear writing, imo. The "Green rebels" might indeed want to pursue policies, but don't necessarily see those as leading to failure and/or an exit from government. They may well believe they'll cause a great increase in public support and a better position for The Greens post-election."

              Then we disagree…its perfectly clear.

              Where is the evidence to support a view that the more radical policies sought by the faction challenging Shaws position will attract more (and not less) support for the Green Party?…..have any other political party adopted more radical policies?….where is the growth in Green Party support indicating that the wider public want more of what is on offer?

              If the majority of Green Party members believed the radicals were more likely to succeed than the status quo then the status quo wouldnt be what it is.

              But that would mean submitting to the majority view…..or democracy.

              • Robert Guyton

                "Where is the evidence to support a view that the more radical policies sought by the faction challenging Shaws position will attract more (and not less) support for the Green Party?"

                You're asking the wrong question. The pertinent one is: "Do the "rebels" believe "that the more radical policies sought by the faction challenging Shaws position will attract more (and not less) support for the Green Party?""

                I suspect the did/do.

                • pat

                  "In sum, hard choices are involved if the Green rebels ever do get serious about their insurgency. Stay in government, or not ? Stay in the party and accept the limits of party politicking, or not? Regard a deeply flawed unity as the price of averting a worse government, or not?"

      • Robert Guyton 1.2.2

        Nandor's summation is excellent and right on the button.

        • gsays

          I agree.

          When centralist, neo-liberal lobbyists like Clint Smith and Neale Jones are singing Shaw's praises, then I can understand while those who want urgent action (lets face it, that is what is required now), are putting the heavies on Shaw.

      • Anker 1.2.3

        Yep I thought Nandor's piece was excellent

  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    Scientists say there is "compelling evidence" that Wuhan's Huanan seafood and wildlife market was at the centre of the Covid-19 outbreak.

    One of the researchers involved, virologist Prof David Robertson from the University of Glasgow, told the BBC that he hoped the studies would "correct the false record that the virus came from a lab".

    Crowded, live animal markets, many scientists agree, provide an ideal transmission hotspot for new diseases to "spill over" from animals. And in the 18 months up to the beginning of the pandemic, a separate study showed that nearly 50,000 animals – of 38 different species – were sold at markets in Wuhan.

    Prof Neil said the pandemic was very likely to have been a consequence of an "unhealthy, cruel and unhygienic practice that Chinese authorities had been warned about".

    The major risk of being distracted by looking for someone in a laboratory to blame for all this, he added, "is that we run the risk of letting this happen again because we've focused on the wrong problem".

    Prof Neil said the pandemic was very likely to have been a consequence of an “unhealthy, cruel and unhygienic practice that Chinese authorities had been warned about”.

    I always thought this. And absolutely agree.

    • Sanctuary 2.1

      I was told by my watchmaker yesterday with absolute certainty that the virus is a Chinese government plot and they have at least ten more variants waiting to be released.

      Still, he is an excellent watchmaker.

      • Robert Guyton 2.1.1

        He makes watches?

        From what?

        If he repairs watches, many of which will be Chinese manufactured, has he considered the likelihood of catching viruses, maleficently inserted, whenever he opens the back of a watch?

        He needs to know…

        • Sanctuary

          He is a watchmaker. Which means he can repair and rebuild mechanical watches (as opposed to the quartz movements possessed by vast mass of watch wearing peasants out there). Get yourself an automatic watch with a lovely movement, if you can't afford a good Swiss one buy a Seiko. A mechanical watch will last three lifetimes and doesn’t require a polluting battery. They are the Green option.

          Avoid the once proud brands laid low by the 1970s quartz revolution and purchased by soulless corporates to produce a facade of class to their Chinese knock offs.

          Watchmaking itself is a literally dying profession. Like other professions it is a footnote to the bitter tragedy of Rogernomics. Nowadays it's largely staffed by men in their late sixties and early seventies, because watchmaking apprenticeships were done away with by the Rogernomics revolution and have never come back. One day soon the last of the New Zealand trained watchmakers will retire, to infirm of hand and eye to continue the intricate art of maintaining a mechanical watch. And they'll pass into history. And then we'll need to bring in watchmakers from China or India, while young New Zealander who might find joy in the beauty of a watch movement will never get a chance. “Too expensive” they’ll say.

          • lprent

            Who uses watches?

            If I want to know the time, well I look at the screen. Or if I'm out and about I look at the phone of the time in the car.

            A lot easier than carrying jewellery on my wrist. Especially while I’m working on a keyboard and mouse.

            (incidentally this debate goes all the way back to the arguments about the value and efficacy of wristwatches vs pocket watches that was such a feature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries)

            • Robert Guyton

              I've not worn a watch for 50 years now 🙂

              Nor do I have a phone.

              Time is a tyrant 🙂

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                yes Barely 40 years for me. The only times I've missed a watch is on those increasingly rare occasions when someone else asks for the time – I can give my time, but when is comes to 'the time', a near guess is the best I can do.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Likewise. Mind you, no one asks me 🙂

                  My response would be, "Don't you have a phone?"


            • Sanctuary

              Well I write with fountain pens using only Japanese Iroshizuku ink because I love the sound the pen makes on the paper, the shine of the fresh ink and way it looks on the page. It elevates the mundane to a moment of beauty. So I guess it depends on how much you value beauty over utility, how much pleasure you derive from the aesthetic of possessing a piece of horological beauty and how much you value the elevation of a mundane task "What time is it?" to a minor pleasure. For me, every time I look at my watch I get to see a perfection in design, detail and execution that is thrilling.

              I guess that like all luxury items my watches are a massive indulgence that I am lucky enought to be able to afford and they give me a great deal pleasure.

              • joe90

                Original documents tell a fascinating story about watch sales to British POWs.

                Lot 311: Ref. 3525, Stainless Steel So-Called "Monoblocco” with Exceptional Original Documentation. Rolex, “Oyster Chronograph, Antimagnetic”, Ref. 3525. Case No. 185983. Made in 1941, sold "gratis” on July 8, 1943 to Corporal Clive James Nutting whilst a prisoner of War in Stalag Luft III


              • Robert Guyton

                Writing is "mundane"? 🙂

                Technology is awfully alluring, especially when it's beautiful, horological or otherwise. I favour "elegant" as the aesthetic measure, but hey. I too, have fountain pens, though I use them rarely, despite my intention to use them always. This particular message wouldn't travel in as timely a manner, had I to scratch it onto paper, though I could photograph and attach as a jpeg. That which "makes" a thing aesthetically pleasing (or not) fascinates me; what is that judgement based upon and is there a universal aesthetic, recognised by all beings? Everything is beautiful, it is sung, but I'm not convinced entirely, though the case can be made. Differential seems a thing to consider.

                • Sanctuary

                  But I bet the sight of a glorious marrow thriving on a beautiful summers day makes your heart sing, eh? We all have our delights.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Sure and there's no accounting for taste; I find frogs compellingly elegant!

            • weka

              why did we switch from pocket to wrist?

              • joe90

                Because wrist watches are hands-free devices.

              • Sanctuary

                Before 1910 wristwatches were regarded as for women only. Men wore pocket watches. Once WW1 broke out however the need to check the time quickly led to the widespread adoption of wrist watches as male attire. That is why early mens watches are frequently referred to as "trench watches."

                • lprent

                  Depends on the situation. For instance wristwatches were extensively used in the European and American military from about the 1880s. In Europe the impetus was from the increased use of timed bombardments. In the US from coordinated and timed cavalry attacks.

                  Timing manoeuvres, which especially on horseback, was a hell of a lot easier than using a pocket watch. Some cavalry units issued them. It is likely that they drifted into civilian male fashions from ex-soldiers.

                  Of course the same applied in the trenches of WW1. If you’re holding a weapon, often a ladder, and burdened with too much gear in mud – then using a watch was damn sight easier than a pocket watch. That is a two handed operation to hold a pocket watch in one hand usually open with the other (most had lids).

                  Fortunately I’m no longer in the military. I have computers and they notify me when something is timed is to happen. Good thing as I’m chronic for finishing the bug task at hand – and never taking appointments.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    How I miss the notched candles and sand-filled hour-glasses of my youth.

                    • lprent

                      Not large monolithic circular clocks on a plateau?

                      I hear that setting the alarm function on those was as challenging as reading a 1980s IBM PC manual.

                      You could only set it for a few days in a year.

              • Sanctuary

                I love moments in history with hidden fashion import. There is a photo of Douglas Haig from 1915 with a trench watch peeking out from his sleeve – it was THE fashion signal that wrist watches were indeed for men.

                Or look at this photo of John F Kennedy at his inaugural address. Notice anything? Almost everyone except the president is wearing a hat. Hats were already falling out of fashion – some say it was because it was inconvenient to wear a hat in a car. After JFK didn't wear one at his inaugeration they vanished almost overnight as a required item of menswear for the modern man.

          • gsays

            Heh, as a younger person I wore my grandfathers watch, it was automatic, never needed winding.

            My significant other has a 'fitbit'. Or at least I think that's what it is. Heart rate, steps, time … but it's got to be charged each day or it is of no use.

            There's progress for ya.

      • AB 2.1.2

        I was told by a phlebotomist yesterday that it's just bad weather, not climate change, and if it was climate change, it would all be the fault of the Chinese anyway. Still, it was a quick and painless blood-taking and I was not about to argue with someone wielding a needle.

      • joe90 2.1.3

        The barber told me how hospitals were inflating number of covid deaths because they were getting payments for every covid death. Minutes later he was muttering about elderly clients not showing up because of these hospital payments.

        • Sanctuary

          Ah, this is a local variant of the American conspiracy theory where every death was being labelled as covid because they got a federal payment for them.

      • Bearded Git 2.1.4


      • Anne 2.1.5

        That can't be right Sanct @ 2.1 because I was told by a lady in the bank queue that Dr Fauci payed the Wuhan Lab millions of dollars to produce the virus and release it into the Chinese community.

        • Incognito

          No, you got that all wrong. Dr Fauci thought he was paying the Wuhan Lab but in fact he donated the money to the CCP. It was a cunning plan to divert attention away from dodgy donations to bat shit in a cave.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 2.2

      Almost one million people in a suburb of Wuhan – China's central city where the coronavirus was first recorded – have been placed under lockdown.

      Well…thats a bit ..synchronous.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    You know, hearing from boomers like Richard Prebble, Don Brash and Michael Bassett descending into unalloyed lunacy is kinda affirming – they are now powerless old men and their salty tears of resentment are music to my ears.

    Listening to ex-reserve bank head Arthur Grimes railing against government/reserve bank monetary policy after listening to Nicola Willis doing her best "first time as tragedy, second time as farce" Ruth Richardson Mk II advocacy of Thatcherism last week made me think the pandemic certainly has flushed out the monetarist/neoliberal right wing Gen X types out there. The struggle against the right never ceases, it seems.

    Also, is it just me or is everyone struggling to be interested at all in the Commonwealth Games? Seems to me it is now an obsolete event with no real purpose in the sporting calendar than allowing people to get gold medals in obscure sports like lawn bowls.

  4. Ad 4

    Without sounding like a Nordmeyer doomsayer, this Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Amendment Bill is the kind of thing that could put a Maori seat or two in play.

    Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill – New Zealand Parliament (

    The vast majority of the 10% of our population who still smoke regularly are Maori.

    The bill is aimed at getting smoking prevalence beneath 5% of the adult population within years (not decades). The bill provides for three key strategies:

    – drastically reducing nicotine content in tobacco so it is no longer addictive (known as “denicotinisation” or “very low nicotine cigarettes” (VLNC))

    – a 90% to 95% reduction in the number of shops that can sell tobacco

    – making it illegal to sell tobacco to people born in 2009 or later (thus creating a “smokefree generation”).

    If implemented effectively this is anticipated to have a profound impact on smoking.

    Now, there will be standard arguments brought up including: more ram-raids as the cigarette black market really heats up, more effective shaming and social criminalisaiton of Maori, more growth in gangs, more use of substitute legal vaping and illegal marijuana smoking, and more dairies going out of business.

    I will certainly be watching for fulsome support for this bill from the new Te Aka Whai Ora the new Maori health organisation. But will Winston still reach for the Winstons? He he given up? Will he 'fight' for their 'rights' anyway?

    Maybe this is the Helen Clark eco-lightbulb moment when the government has just spent the reform capital it had. Or maybe we are just in for a mature debate in which Maori leaders of all kinds have their own argument – and the legislation just goes ahead anyway.

    The public policy outcomes are a no-brainer. But there's always politics.

    • weka 4.1

      much will depend on the details, and on how Labour and the relevant government departments and NGOs handle the messaging.

      eg I can see a potential problem in rural communities with a huge reduction in sellers. Good design will make sure that this doesn't negatively affect low income rural communities esp Māori ones. Bad design will mean some bod in Wellington who doesn't understand rural life, doesn't think this through properly and there end up big geographical gaps. Cue bad headlines for Labour, as well as the more invisible pressures this places in whānau and communities.

      The shift to VLNC could potentially help people quite smoking, depending on how and how fast it was done. But if it's done fast, that's a lot of people struggling with a nicotine addiction suddenly.

    • Anker 4.2

      I haven't read the link Ad. But credit where credit is due. If smoking is significantly reduced then Maori's health outcomes will significantly improve. From memory Maori smoke at 4 times the rates of Pakeha per % of the population. This accounts for a large chunk of their high lung cancer statitics. I would be interested to see to what extent smokiig is corelated to class. The only people I see smoking now are our road side workers on their breaks (what I refer to as the real workers)

      I have to add, that this is what is needed, rather than an over priced health restructure with a separate Maori Health division (what about Pasifika who also have poorer health?). that an addressing our health workforce staffing crisis

      • pat 4.2.1

        Why do we think smoking has not been banned (not that banning has stopped the use of cannabis) ?…..there could be a billion reasons.

        • weka

          because banning is politically difficult to achieve and then operationally difficult to control because of the black market.

          Just as well it's not a ban.

          We have been very successful as a country in changing smoking culture and attitudes about it.

          • pat

            If we have successfully changed smoking culture how then is a ban politically and operationally difficult?

            • weka

              because bans are by their nature.

              What do you mean 'if'? You think we haven't changed how society views smoking?

              • pat

                whether I think society's view on smoking has changed is not at issue….as you asserted it I asked why it would then be difficult to ban…we have no difficulty 'banning' all manner of things politically and operationally (i even mentioned cannabis)….what is special about tobacco?

                • weka

                  name three things that have been banned in the past decade that are deeply entrenched in society.

                  • pat

                    Whats special about tobacco?

                    • weka

                      What do you mean by special?

                    • pat




                      1. 1.

                        better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.

                        "they always made a special effort at Christmas"

                      2. 2.

                        belonging specifically to a particular person or place.

                        "we want to preserve our town's special character"

                    • weka

                      ah, I see we're at the stage of the debate where you utterly fail to make any argument to support your position, or even explain what you mean, and instead resort to dictionary deflections and questions.

                      Let me spell it out then.

                      Banning is politically tricky. Think ICEs or light bulbs.

                      You apparently believe they're not but can't name three significant bans in the past decade.

                      Tobacco use isn't special, it's just a particular health issue that Labour has been working on for decades. It's managed to decrease smoking rates in that time with a mix of legislation, education, and support programmes.

                      Labour now want to take the next step. They're not doing an outright ban, my guess is because that's politically and socially difficult to do. Instead they're bringing in a range of tactics to help lower the rate again by restricting access.

                  • Sanctuary

                    common sense pro nouns?

                  • pat

                    We've reached the point where dictionary definitions are required to elicit frank statements.

                    We have an estimated 10% of the population smoking (skewed to the low end of the income quintiles, who we know are also the most politically disengaged), we have medical consensus that smoking is both harmful and potentially fatal (the same health system that is overwhelmed), we have a social environment that excludes smoking (almost everywhere) …..all changes that align with your statement …"We have been very successful as a country in changing smoking culture and attitudes about it."….so I ask again where is the political and operational difficulty in banning it?

                    Bans 'are by their nature difficult' has not prevented them in other instances.

                    • Ad

                      7 Maori seats

                    • pat

                      Possibly…and 1.25 billion in revenue per annum.

                      Whatever the reasons, we can be sure they wont be the ones trotted out.

                    • weka

                      Bans 'are by their nature difficult' has not prevented them in other instances.

                      What other instances?

                    • pat

                      Good grief…everything from skyrockets (fireworks) to murder ….

                      including offshore oil exploration, nuclear ships, foreign buyers of existing residential property, ad infinitum.

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    Jolly jumpers
                    Cat skins
                    Winston Peters (well from parliament at least).

                • Robert Guyton

                  What's special about tobacco?

                  It contains nicotine which is an addictive substance.

                  The response to supply cut-off would be different to one where the "goods" were not physically addictive.

                  Careful management is needed when attempting to remove an element of everyday life from people with a physical addiction.

    • Sanctuary 4.3

      "…Without sounding like a Nordmeyer doomsayer…"

      Not sure if most people born since 1950 will get the reference!

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    One for RedLogix (he'll love this: Jack Lovelock, "Gaia" man and remarkable thinker, says stuff that makes my skin crawl 🙂

    "In the four decades since you published the Gaia hypothesis, the idea of interconnected earth systems has become mainstream. There is growing concern about how humans are affecting these planetary systems, pushing us into the Anthropocene, the age of humans.

    I think we’re forging ahead into the post-Anthropocene, into the Novacene. I think the chemical-physical type of humanity has had its time. We’ve mucked about with the planet and we’re moving towards a systems type of thing, [a future species] running on cybernetics. The great thing is that if you run your systems on electronics or optical devices, they’re up to 10,000 times faster than what we’ve got at the moment, and this opens up enormous possibilities.

    So will we and the rest of the natural world survive alongside these cyborgs?

    Well, the biological won’t necessarily vanish completely, but it will be of less fundamental importance. People automatically assume that therefore humans will be finished. That’s nonsense. We are much faster, more advanced, than plants and it doesn’t mean plants have all vanished – we rather enjoy having them around. I always imagine one of these new cyborg-type people standing on a five-bar gate and looking out at the humans…

    And when does your Novacene start?

    I’m not sure, it may have already started."

    • weka 5.1

      good lord. He should have lived in NZ for a few years to get to grips with what Rūaumoko will do to electronic and optical device systems.

      Does this come down to the people that side with nature and the people that side with humanity? (the latter missing that the former includes humans).

      • Robert Guyton 5.1.1

        He has just now died (I hear).

        His views surprised me greatly.

        • weka

          I guess the whole cyborg things makes sense after you support nuclear power. Because you still have to solve all the other problems created by the system that gave us the climate crisis. And if you don't do that by working with nature, I guess you have to work outside of nature (apologies for such a binary, haven't thought it through enough to see if it's a false one).

          • Robert Guyton

            Pretty hard though, for anything concrete or virtual, to be "outside of nature".

            I guess "some folks" such as myself, look to a particular expression of nature, the "oak, octopus, orangutan" presentment, and base our understanding and decision-making on that. Others might look to triangles and dodecahedrons, neutrons and quarks for their inspiration, and still others, Jung's deep ocean.

            Opinions may vary.

            • weka

              I also believe that everything exists within nature. Seems like a lot of people act as if that is not true. One can see the expression in the oak or maths or the unconscious, but if one takes the position that nature is over there/not us too, then it leads to the great harm unfolding. If one starts with nature it's hard to see how cybernetics would be a solution.

              • Robert Guyton

                If Picasso's claim is true (Everything you can imagine, is true) then try imagining something outside of nature, then arguing that everything is within nature 🙂

        • Poission

          His views surprised me greatly.

          His research actually constrained idealistic understanding of Gaia,and its constraints in the understanding of geoscience and both causal mechanisms with both biology and ecology,due to entropy.

          What would you do if you wanted to detect life on Mars?” Without thinking, I said I would look for an entropy reduction. Well, that made him spurt with laughter, but he gave me two days to come up with a practical experiment to find life on Mars or I was out.

          A reduction in entropy means an increase in complexity; it implies that life is creating order. But how could you measure it?

          In bed at night, it suddenly came to me: all you have to do is analyse the atmosphere of Mars. If it has got gases in it that react with one another, then it is at a low entropy.

          As he stated low entropy increases complexity,and significantly reduces predictive qualities in systems and models (such as tipping points and feedbacks) due to algorithmic irreducibility.

          Here, we argue that understanding the Earth as a complex system requires a consideration of the Gaia hypothesis: the Earth is a complex system because it instantiates life—and therefore an autopoietic, metabolic-repair (M,R) organization—at a planetary scale. This implies that the Earth’s complexity has formal equivalence to a self-referential system that inherently is non-algorithmic and, therefore, cannot be surrogated and simulated in a Turing machine.

          • Robert Guyton

            So our chances of making sense of all this; of making accurate predictions of what's to come, are falling fast?

            • Poission

              They are saying that there are limits into computational forecasting ( the ugly mathematics of numerical simulation) this is well known in weather forecasting with a temporal limit of 10 days for mid latitudes on a rotating planet..

              With planetary scale earth models,you need to be able to capture the response of negative feed backs in the MR systems,such as increased or heavy rainfall increasing the rate of weathering and carbon sequestion,or the rate of change from biological feedback to increased rain,mineral exposure (say river to ocean runoff with increased phytoplankton growth-increased DMS (sulfur) production transfer back to land and suppression of CH4),

              They use a good example that is well known with weathering and the CaCo2 feedback where under increasing solar irriadiance (and where biological life has existed) the surface temperature of the planet has decreased.(see references) or the limitations of scale to a metrological scale such as summer due to being almost intransitive and being too short to capture initial conditions (lorenz 1968)

              In theory, every state on the attractor has a climatological probability of being visited in a given summer if the trajectory is long enough such that the memory of the initial condition is lost. However, the summer season could well be too short for this to be the case before the heating distribution changes with the onset of autumn.


              • Robert Guyton

                So that's a yes?

                • Poission

                  They gave the answer in the conclusions (by analogy)

                  In other words, the relation between Earth complexity and power scaling laws, feedbacks, nonlinearity, and chaos may be compared to the situation faced by early cartographers, who were attempting to map the surface of a sphere while armed only with pieces of (tangent) planes. “As long as they only mapped local regions, the planar approximations sufficed; but as they tried to map larger and larger regions, the discrepancy between the map and the surface grew as well. If they wanted to make accurate maps of large regions of the sphere, they had to keep shifting their tangent planes. The surface of the sphere is in some sense a limit of its planar approximations, but to specify it in this way requires a new global concept (the topology of the sphere; i.e., its curvature) that cannot be inferred from local planar maps alone”

                  What they are saying is there are scales to the model,that converge from reality.The older cartographers got around this problem with a model of 1:1 as Borges described.


    • Stuart Munro 5.2

      Isn't the point of the Anthropocene that it is a geological stratum delineated by a series of extinctions? The obvious one being that of the eponymous ape-descended primate.

      Covenant archeologists may fight over the Novacene-Anthropocene boundary, but it is probable that our species will not get to, any more than the ammonites got to dispute the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary.

  6. Siobhan 7

    Nice to see the good fight is being fought ..and atleast Starmer is self aware enough to realise he doesn't have any defense or counter argument.

    For those interested, the feisty Lady is Audrey White, the real woman behind the Glenda Jackson movie "Business As Usual".

    • Bearded Git 7.1

      Thanks for that Siobhan.

      Well said that woman. Smarmy Starmer caught in the headlights.

    • aj 7.2

      Speaking of why we should fight the good fight, Siobhan.

      Chris Williamson, the former Derby North MP who had declared himself the most pro-Corbyn candidate in Britain, paid the price for putting his head above the parapet and being the voice of the radical left. No fan of Starmer. Very direct interview with George Galloway.

      His segment should start about 58 mins into this video, if I have the start time correct.

  7. Ad 8

    Take a bow Mr Schumer.

    Joe Manchin has just agreed a massive piece of legislation that increases taxes on the rich, targets inflation, and gives a massive programme forage climate.

    At US$740B, that's a big Senate rescue for Biden's luckless Presidency once it proceeds through the Senate.

    • ianmac 8.1

      Manchin has been so busy chasing his selfish plans for Governor that he has blocked most reforms and voted with GOP. What a loser.

  8. joe90 9

    Probably the first Western sex tourist sanctioned by his own country.

    A British citizen who video blogs pro-Kremlin material from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine has been added to a UK government sanctions list.

    Graham Phillips, who has been accused of being a conduit for pro-Russian propaganda, is one of 42 new designations added to the UK’s Russia sanctions list. Other additions include Russia’s minister and deputy minister of justice and two nephews of the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who was himself placed under sanctions by Britain in March.

  9. Poission 10

    Every cloud has a silver lining as manna fell from heaven last week into the hydro storage.

    National hydro storage increased by 20% to 109% of the historical average for this time of year. North Island hydro storage decreased to 151% of the historical average. However, South Island storage increased to 105% of the historical average for this time of year due to a week of high inflows.

    Cheap water allowed increased hydro production last week (65% vs 58.9% 52 weeks) with reasonable wind (some reduction due to excess wind) renewables came to 89%.

    In the UK forward energy prices are meaning many are looking at a 500 quid energy bill for January alone.

    • Stuart Munro 10.1

      Here in Twizel, that rain and snow not only fills our lakes, but builds a cool reserve to see our salmon through the hot months. Huey is pretty good to us.

    • gsays 10.2

      Full hydro, that will explain power bills dropping.

      Great to see the omniscient market at work. /sarc.

      • Poission 10.2.1

        On the spot market now NZ wholesale rates are 10.07 mwh,Australia is 551 mwh.The UK is importing surplus electricity from Norway (as is the Netherlands ) at 397 euro mwh.

        Tonight due to high wind in NI,and high levels in run of river hydro,there is no SI transfer north,later tonight as demand lessens if wind sustains,flows will be from North to South to allow the battery ( lakes) to reduce outflow,as system is intended.

        • gsays

          That's the thing, we don't pay a power bill in the UK or Aus.

          We used to own the infrastructure here till Bradford did his thing. Now, it seems it's only business (read shareholders and executives) that can enjoy the upside of the market.

          I don’t mean any of this personally.

          • Poission

            No that is the difference in not being at risk from international markets (small risk with thermal coal) the Bradford reform let the brains trusts from many local distribution providers ( councils) sell offshore,or remove some generation (contact) to infrastructure companys that are adverse to tax.

            The JK sell off was to make the books look good for the budget,key and english then prior to a partial selloff,front loaded the generation soe's with debt,then got them to pay a special dividend.

            Woods decided to remove the low user charges discount as it discriminated against high users (hello hello) then labour brought in the winter subsidy,as people will be working from home more (5 year spend of 3 billion) or around the cost of 7 years of Transpower upgrades that could be done with low loss technology saving around 40% of transmission loss or around the equivalent of a weeks total nz electricity generation.

  10. Belladonna 11

    In the 'so weird I can't believe it's true' category – research is continuing into anti-Covid chewing gum – after highly positive initial results

    The intention is to introduce 'trap' cells with the ACE2 protein to which the Covid cells spike to (rather than infecting normal body cells).

    This is a pop science review – but the actual research is published in Molecular Therapy – which seems entirely legit.

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