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Open mike 30/01/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 30th, 2021 - 141 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 …

141 comments on “Open mike 30/01/2021 ”

  1. Forget now 1

    This is rather belated cancelling; but seems, to me at least, long overdue:

    In what was described by historians as an “unprecedented” public reckoning with Britain’s slavery and colonial past, an estimated 39 names – including streets, buildings and schools – and 30 statues, plaques and other memorials have been or are undergoing changes or removal since last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests…

    The University of Edinburgh has renamed the David Hume Tower because of the philosopher’s alleged racism


    Hume's racism was news to me, as was his involvement in the slave trade. Certainly disappointing, as he is one of history's most important philosophers; whose work is foundational to scientific empiricism. I had thought that he was anti-slavery, but apparently that was just for other people in other times; reducing people to objects to be bought and sold as property, was apparently just fine for his mates. This is from last year by; the David Hume Fellow at the University of Edinburgh in 2016!

    A petition by a student of the University of Edinburgh has called for the re-naming of its David Hume Tower, drawing attention to the philosopher’s 1753 essay, Of National Characters, in which he voiced his suspicion that “negroes” are “naturally inferior to the whites”…

    his views served to reinforce the institution of racialised slavery in the later 18th century. More importantly, the fact that he was involved in the slave trade is now a matter of record, thanks to a discovery in Princeton University Library. It was there that I recently found an unknown letter of March 1766 by Hume, in which he encouraged his patron Lord Hertford to purchase a slave plantation in Grenada… he had facilitated the purchase of the plantation by writing to the French Governor of Martinique, the Marquis d’Ennery, in June 1766. Indeed, he lent £400 to one of the principal investors earlier in the same year…

    Anyone with Hume’s intelligence would recognise the enormity of slavery. But Hume sought to benefit from it. In Of National Characters, he justified it. When James Beattie of Aberdeen criticised Hume’s racist comments in 1770, Hume was unmoved. The last authorised edition of the essay, published in 1777, repeats the same sentiments, almost verbatim.


    Edit: This seems a better fit for OM than MS's post – which is more about Banks being fired than cancelling per se. I may despise his racist rant, but that is incommensurable to a reckoning for historical crimes against humanity.

    • AB 1.1

      Private virtue and making a contribution to the history of philosophy, science or art are different things I guess. That Ezra Pound became an anti-Semite fascist sympathiser won't stop me loving the poems of his 'Cathay' collection. Somewhere (I couldn't begin to understand or describe exactly where) we cross a boundary from one to the other.

    • RedLogix 1.2

      Personally I find this presentism feeble minded.

      Conquest and slavery where universal features of all human societies, and while considered undesirable if you were on the losing end – they were largely accepted as legitimate aspects of life for millenia.

      That Hume, or anyone else of his era for that matter, doesn't tick everyone of our present day list of essential virtues is hardly surprising.

      • Forget now 1.2.1

        You cannot call disgust at Hume's support of the slave-trade anachronistic, when many of his own contemporaries disagreed with him. Specifically; "James Beattie of Aberdeen criticised Hume’s racist comments in 1770" (extracted from longer quote @1 above). Furthermore; as didn't die until August 1976, he would have been quite well aware of the growing abolitionist movement:



        [cut and paste too long, and too many links tripped the spam trap – weka]

        • Forget now

          Just one paragraph then?

          Some of the first freedom suits, court cases in the British Isles to challenge the legality of slavery, took place in Scotland in 1755 and 1769. The cases were Montgomery v. Sheddan (1755) and Spens v. Dalrymple (1769). Each of the slaves had been baptized in Scotland and challenged the legality of slavery. They set the precedent of legal procedure in British courts that would later lead to successful outcomes for the plaintiffs. In these cases, deaths of the plaintiff and defendant, respectively, brought an end before court decisions.

        • RedLogix

          Yes I get that – but the abolition of slavery was not a single event and at some arbitrary point in time. It was a process that took all of a century or more to achieve even some of it’s goals.

          Keep in mind that if we had a complete historic record of the views of virtually anyone living in that era, us moderns would find grounds to cancel them one way or another.

          • Forget now

            If we agree to ignore the issue of alleged presentism for the sake of argument (without implying that either of us is conceding the point), the tower itself was not built until 1963. By that time, there was a growing slave-descended population in Britain from her former colonies. Also, the philosopher’s 1753 essay; Of National Characters, was then known. Though Waldman had not yet uncovered the documents evidencing Hume's involvement in the slave-trade.

            This is not some ancient temple being renamed, it is a fairly ugly tower block. Why should the students of today; who started the petition to rename the building, have to endure the shadow of past exploitation? Should students have no say on the campus environment within which they study?

            If they were suggesting burning all the Hume books in the Edinburgh University library, I would not at all approve. But there is a difference between refusing to celebrate an oppressor, and erasing them from history.


            • RedLogix

              There are no perfect people; but we do celebrate those who like Hume, managed to rise above their imperfections and failings to achieve at least one thing remarkable and significant. This we can memoralise – because if we look for dross we quickly find it's ubiquitous, banal and teaches us nothing.

              It's said that it's never a good idea to meet with your heroes. Like all of us, they too have feet of clay.

              • Forget now

                I used to celebrate David Hume, then I learned new information: Now I don't.

                But I do still think much of his writing has merit, and would read again. Though certainly with a bigger grain of salt than previously.

                • RedLogix

                  Was Hume a 'good person'?

                • McFlock

                  exactly. People are more complicated than a single pass/fail tally at the end.

                  Celebrating someone celebrates their shortcomings as well as their positive aspects: you can't put up a statue dedicated only to the good bits of what someone did. It's a statue of the entire person, "warts and all"…

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                As a devotee of Lynch, I believe that achievement is its own reward.

                Regarding memorials/statues/monuments/place names/buildings/plaques etc. etc. that honor achievers, IMHO we should 'celebrate' them "warts and all" (thanks McFlock). Education is the key – get it out in the open!

                Call for plaques on Scotland's statues with links to slavery

                REVEALED: The Liverpool streets considered for slavery memorial plaques

                Legacy of Slavery Inquiry update: proposed relocation of Rustat’s memorial
                As a first step, the College Council will commission a plaque which critically acknowledges Rustat’s – and hence the College’s – links to the slave trade. It will be placed at the main College entrance.

                Bordeaux: Street sign change to acknowledge slave trade past

                What to do with markers of our colonial past?
                (Introduction; Our Imperial past is all around us; Comparing New Zealand's debate with the United States)
                "Visit our skills section of the Classroom to find some ideas as to how we can interrogate the memorials and monuments from our past to support a social inquiry approach to learning and support teachers and students to engage with issues and ideas critically."

                Should We Preserve, Remove, Recontextualize, or Reclaim Contested Objects?

                Virginia Memorial Highlights Historic Ties Between University, Slavery [29 Jan 2021]
                "The history has always been hidden in plain sight,” says Kirt von Daacke, a UVA professor and cochair of the committee that researched and planned the memorial. Now it's on full display.

                • RedLogix

                  How far does this principle apply? Do we cancel Aristotle? Does it only apply to dead white men? Do we cancel the Romans for having the most enduring (and often brutal) empire of history? Do we dig up every historic deed and scrutinise it for some reason to erase it?

                  All these are absurdities of course, because history can never be changed. We're allowed to re-examine what we think it means, but imposing our values on the lives of our ancestors always struck me as arrogant and dishonest.

                  Arrogant because the reality is that if we were to be living in that same period, within the same culture, we too would almost certainly have believed and acted exactly as they did. We all like to think we would have been the moral heroes in history, but the brutal reality is that the odds are very much against that.

                  And dishonest because the real motive I think has nothing to do with improving the lives of living people, but to feed into a narrative that selectively discredits anything to do with Western civilisation.

                  • McFlock

                    If Western Civilisation is being more frequently targeted with a more nuanced view of historical figures, maybe Western Civilisation shouldn't have spent several hundred years teaching its kids and people in its occupied territories that history revolves almost exclusively around shallow outlines of figures from Western Civilisation.

                    • RedLogix

                      At some point we should come to terms with the reality that Western civ has dominated much of the past 400 years or so for a number of good reasons. But that era largely ended with the end of WW2.

                      And while it was the last of a series of empires stretching back 10 millenia, it was also a substantial factor in creating the initial technical, economic and social platforms on which humanity is now building a wholly new global civilisation.

                      A platform the whole of humanity will necessarily extend and enhance as this century progresses. In time I suspect future generations will regard Western civ, flawed as it was by it's own location in the age of empires, as a remarkable catalyst toward achieving the unity of humankind.

                      Or in short, like the figures of history some are so keen to cancel, we're better off embracing the whole of our history as it truly is – warts and all.

                    • McFlock

                      Count the number of generals pre-1600CE "or so" you know of off the top of your head.

                      How many were from "Western Civilisation"?

                      Does that reflect the global disposition of great generals?

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Who has suggested that we "cancel Aristotle" (whatever that means), or the Romans, or the Egyptians for that matter?

                    If you really believe that the real motive behind a "warts and all" recontextualisation (my preference) of abhorent historical practices is to selectively discredit "anything to do with Western civilisation", then we'll have to agree to disagree.

                    • RedLogix

                      Why then is this current fad for cancelling historic figures so very selective about where it lands?

                    • McFlock

                      Dude plants a field of corn. Actively weeds other crops. Wonders why the rain on the field only touches corn.

                  • Gabby

                    Hey all we need to do is stick up an accompanying statue of a figure in chains, pointing accusingly at the person in question. It should be at least the same size.

    • Rosemary McDonald 2.1

      Someone with a Harold subscription …. for my sins, fill your boots.

      While Craig was largely self-represented he did seek legal assistance in the preparation of his claim and during trial. He sought more than $150,000 for this and was also awarded disbursements of $95,000 by Justice Edwards.

      The most damaging falsehood published by Slater, Craig argued at November's hearing, was the allegation he was abusing his position as leader of the party to carry out a "witch-hunt" and commit electoral fraud.

      "One cannot run for office if there has been a finding of electoral fraud," he said.

      Justice Edwards said the defamatory statements relating to personal sexual morality fall into a different category, her decision released to the Herald reads.

      "The damage caused by these statements must take into account that Mr Craig was found to have sexually harassed Ms MacGregor and that other statements directed at this aspect of Mr Craig's character were found to be true. That does not mean Mr Craig did not suffer further reputational damage which must be compensated.

      "But it does mean, as Mr Craig properly acknowledges, that the true statements moderate the impact of the defamatory statements relating to personal sexual morality."

      That appears to be the gist.

    • weka 2.2

      funny they paywalled that.

      How does it work when someone is already bankrupted? If Slater makes or saves money in the future, does he have to pay Craig?

    • Anne 2.3

      I'm happy with the outcome of that case.

      Can't abide Colin Craig's politics and he made a real dick of himself lying in the grass trying to look all sensual in his political hey-day. His harassment of the young woman who worked as his secretary (or whatever) was indefensible but the malicious defamatory nature of the Slater creep, whose list of criminal and dishonest offending makes Craig's copybook seem quite clean in comparison, should be once again exposed for all eyes to see.

      You reap what you sow and Slater's sure reaping it now.

  2. Pat 3

    What would the response be if the Gov announced on Monday that they were going to re-establish the MoW and 'borrow' the funds to implement a housing and infrastructure programme that will provide training and employment for anyone who wanted it?

    • Sacha 3.1

      That the first part is a great idea, while the second will no longer fly. Make-work is not our future.

      • Forget now 3.1.1

        How about this hypothetical MoW instituting a; work-share scheme, where they act as an intermediary to businesses who need a certain number of hours of work done each week? 4day weeks (particularly when no more than two days worked in a row) result in more productive workers. Certainly a lot better than the; precarious on-call "independent contractor" shiftwork, that leaves people in a constant state of; anxiety, sleep-deprivation, and unable to plan (or schedule) for the future.

        If this MoW were to act to ease some of the "compliance costs" of employing more workers, rather than sweating those workers they do employ, some businesses might even get onboard with the idea. And once it was demonstrated that; less miserable workers are more productive workers, other businesses should jump on the train too.

        Unless the managerial class are only giving lip service to the primacy of the bottom-line in Capitalism? Because it seems that some businesses (not even mentioning alleged names here, due to concerns for legal consequences for TS), would rather operate with the main goal of the grinding down their workers, so as to puff up the sense of self-satisfaction of their "betters". For that, they need the spectre of joining the hungry horde of unemployed with which to threaten those in low-quality jobs (/contracts). Especially now that the supply of compliant overseas workers willing to surrender their passports to their employers (/residence-sponsers) has been curtailed with the pandemic.

      • weka 3.1.2

        why would it be make work? If we need more trained tradies, the govt can make that happen and establish jobs to build the houses. It's not like they're making up jobs.

        • Sacha

          provide training and employment for anyone who wanted it

          Training and employment, sure. Just not the last part.

          • Gabby

            What, it's ok if they only employ ppl who don't want a job?

            • Sacha

              It is OK if they train and hire enough people to do the work properly. That is all.

          • weka

            fair point. I took that to mean that those that want work in the building industry would be able to get a job (because there would be heaps), but training people not suited is not a good idea and I wouldn't trust WINZ in that regard.

            • Forget now

              Yes, Weka. Pat's hypothetical MoW should not involve any current WINZ (especially managerial) staff.

              They would bring along the punitive mindset that has caused so much misery for some many impoverished people over the years. To the extent that some of our more vulnerable Aotearoans would rather; beg in the streets, and sleep rough, rather than deal with their pusillanimous spite.

              • Sacha

                I would rather see a Ministry of Works that is not trying to also be an employment or training agency as a major function. Stuff needs to be built. Well.

      • Gabby 3.1.3

        How is it 'make work' if it's providing housing we need?

      • Ed1 3.1.4

        I also agree with the first concept, but I suspect there are different concepts as to what a new MoW should be doing. I believe a priority is for engineers, designers, architects, and of course lawyers ad accountants to work with contractors to deliver solutions across the "Works" needs of central, regional and local government. The Kaikoura road development worked better than examples like the Kapiti Expressway and Transmission Gully because it was an emergency – government employees worked with private companies to just get on with it as one team; we have left so much to the private sector that many projects become a legal battle over interpretation s, between a government with a chequebook and a single purpose company which folds when it has made its money. The new MoW should supervise / monitor / approve work stages, but I would not expect it to employ apprentices; it may own some equipment from time to time; but it should also encourage competitive industries by using both large and small firms as appropriate.

      • Nic the NZer 3.1.5

        There should be a government sponsored job guarantee program. This is because only a government has the financial capacity to guarantee enough work is available, while the private sector will only create as much work as is profitable.

        The alternative is a near permanent shortfall in total jobs, leaving the worst off without the benefits of employment and dependent on benefits, through no fault of their own.

        This has been well established since, and was the main improvement of Keynes General Theory over established theory of its day.

        • Sacha

          I welcome a better approach to jobs like that. Just not at the expense of having a powerful development agency.

      • KJT 3.1.6

        It is not "make work" when it is necessary.

    • Brigid 3.2

      By 'borrow' if you mean reserve bank credit I would applaud such an announcement.

      But such a notion is beyond Robinson's grasp. Intellectually and philosophically.

    • Tricledrown 3.3

      Print money would be cheaper if the supply of materials and labour can be managed without inflation.

    • Stuart Munro 3.4

      A sigh of relief from most people – vitriol from bill-padding private sector non-providers and the tory press.

    • Pat 3.5

      K…interesting and not the responses expected.

      I would expect that some form of MoW would be required to implement a 'green new deal' so obviously it could have a range of roles , not necessarily manual labour as appears to have been construed and on job training is very effective, indeed critical, even after tertiary education, so there should be no fears there.

      Historically the MoW designed , oversaw and often constructed our major projects in transport (including rail), power generation, irrigation etc sometimes in partnership with the private sector…..all things that need addressing for CC mitigation.

      There appears to be no consideration/concern on the impact on the private sector, or the financial implications….but for some reason WINZ features?

      Curiouser and curiouser.

  3. Treetop 4

    Do you think NZ should be at level 2?

    • Forget now 4.1

      No, not yet Treetop. But I am social distancing and mask wearing as if we were, when in public. PAL2, and maybe even higher in te Ika Nui may well be on the way; especially if that Auckland pair were indeed working in that BBQ King asian restaurant in Albany after leaving the Pullman. People really must remember to keep track of their movements; a little time now, may mean a lot of time later.

      I don't care if you use a 5cent paper notebook, or the newest phone: Just remember to record your movements at the time! You will have forgotten details by the end of the day (unless you're eidetic I guess, in which case you already have an internal record).

      • Treetop 4.2.1

        Link explains the levels clearly.

        The most affected at level 2 is the hospitality and entertainment industry, weddings and funerals as no more than 100 people at a venue with the exception of split groups of 100 at some locations churches, library's.

        When it comes to limited community transmission could be occurring (see 4.3) this is evident when a cluster has formed.

        I would like to see a level 2 for a period of 2 weeks when ever there are 3 or more separate community cases. Waiting for active clusters in more than one region is being to slow. Covid thrives in group settings and has a way of ramping up cases. Going from level 1 to level 3 appears to be the norm in NZ.

        • Incognito

          Please don’t confuse community case with community transmission. Unless there is a very recent update (AKA ‘breaking news’) that I have not seen or missed, there is no evidence of community transmission despite the dramatic increase in number of tests. There is also no sign of clusters. I don’t even think you can argue that the current community cases are “separate”. Level 1 is the appropriate level for now, IMO.

          • Treetop

            I am aware of the difference between what a community case is and what community transmission is. I have not said that there is current community transmission. A current level 2 is when there is community transmission.

            • weka

              so if we don't currently have community transmission why would we need to be in L2?

              • Treetop

                The criteria for being at level 2 has not been reached.

                I would like level 2 to be changed so that when there are 3 or more separate community cases that NZ goes to level 2 for 2 weeks.

                • McFlock

                  So why do you want nationwide level 2 for community cases rather than for community transmission?

                  It's been almost two weeks since the community cases were out of MIQ, with no community transmission I've heard about.

                  Govt made the right call again.

                  • Treetop

                    I have made it clear that there would need to be 3 separate community cases before a level 2. Every time there is a community case there is a chance of community transmission occurring. So far 2 separate community cases have occurred and the origin is known. I have set the bench mark at 3 separate community cases as I feel that staying at level 1 is not enough.

                    • McFlock

                      Why is three your limit rather than one or a dozen?

                      The current thresholds are clear: no likely community transmission to any significant degree, imported/iso cases only;

                      clusters and community transmission;

                      multiple clusters and multiple community transmission;

                      widespread in the community.

                      Three cases that weren't detected in quarantine seems arbitrary.

                    • Treetop []

                      I knew you were going to ask me why 3 was my limit.

                      Contact tracing and testing needs to occur without any delay. The resources for this need to be available where ever the community case has occurred. Going to level 2 would reduce gatherings to 100 so as not to exhaust contact tracing and testing resources.

                    • McFlock

                      But without a knowledge of average contact numbers and tracing and testing capacity, 3 is still an arbitrary number.

                      If the government can handle tracing dozens of people and testing thousands, no need to go to level two.

                      If the government can't trace and test all the infected contacts from one person, we end up with community transmission and going up a few levels anyway.

    • weka 4.3

      Here are the criteria for L2 (from Incog's link)

      • Limited community transmission could be occurring.
      • Active clusters in more than 1 region.

      Neither of those things are happening. Certainly no reason for the whole country to be in L2, but I'm don't think that even in Ak/Northland it's necessary. Last time I looked the govt is saying there is no community transmission.

    • Stuart Munro 4.4

      Auckland maybe – these rest of us are more responsible. 😉

      • Treetop 4.4.1

        I have noticed the change in people's behaviour when there is a community case. Testing and scanning which is the right thing to do. I do not want people to be complacent regardless of where they live. Staying at level 1 could add to the complacency.

  4. weka 6

    For those trying to make sense of the sex/gender wars, one of the features is the weaponisation of semantics.

    Gender Critical Feminists use the term 'sex' to mean biological sex at the level of human reproduction, hence bio sex is immutably binary (for humans to reproduce you need a person who produces sperm and a person who produces and egg, and there are only those two options, there is no third or fourth).

    The smash the binary activists use the term 'sex' to mean something or things less well defined (and almost always ignore the sperm/egg definition). Often sex and gender are conflated and there is a large degree of fudginess.

    Hence someone arguing that the biological categories of male and female didn't exist before some humans came up with the concepts. This doesn't work at the biological level obviously, but I'm not sure it works at the social level either. It's the denial of science that is going to bite up big time though.

    • Forget now 6.1

      Okay then…

      If we are talking; biology, then we are wading into the ongoing nature/ nurture scientific debate. For this, we need to be aware of the terms; genotype & phenotype, and how the are linked. Genotype denotes the genetic configuration of an organism, whilst: Phenotype indicates how that genotype is expressed within a given environment. Hopefully everyone already understands what I mean by; base-pair, DNA, RNA, gene, chromosome, nucleus, cell, coding, allele & trait? I will try use only Wikipedia links (because I could easily get too technical for some if I started linking to primary sources), however; my pre-teen kids could understand this explanation, if you need a brief reminder (and the hyperlink skip times in the description are useful for navigation):

      Also, none of this will make much sense if you deny the; rigorously demonstrated scientific fact (to avoid confusion about the jargon "theory") of environmentally mediated genetic evolution. Basically; genes on chromosomes code alleles. So we have got as far as; Mendalian genetics, Punnett squares & SB chromosomes, already; yay!

      However, that is a gross oversimplification for human gene expression, it works okay for some flower's colours though. Most genes interact with other genes in the process of gene expression. Furthermore, these interacting genes also interact with their environment. Moreover, intercodons; supposedly "inactive" DNA between genes on a chrmosome, mess everything up (to an almost Lamarckian extent).

      Fundamental to the way in which organisms cope with environmental variation, phenotypic plasticity encompasses all types of environmentally induced changes (e.g. morphological, physiological, behavioural, phenological) that may or may not be permanent throughout an individual's lifespan. The term was originally used to describe developmental effects on morphological characters, but is now more broadly used to describe all phenotypic responses to environmental change, such as acclimation (acclimatization), as well as learning.[2] The special case when differences in environment induce discrete phenotypes is termed polyphenism.


      So now, that we've had that brief (& very incomplete) biological primer, I can actually address Weka's comment: We can take; Man and Woman, to be socially defined phenotypic terms for human genders, because their development (through Old English to Archaic Deutsch, maybe even as far back as ancient Babylon – though that's a stretch) predated the discovery of evolution, let alone chromosomes (we didn't even know there were 46 of them in humans until 1956!). Whereas; Male and Female, are used as jargon to denote sex (noun, not verb); Genotypes XY or XX, on the 23rd chromosomal pair respectively.

      In humans, the presence of the Y chromosome is typically responsible for triggering male development; in the absence of the Y chromosome, the fetus will undergo female development. More specifically, it is the SRY gene located on the Y chromosome that is of importance to male differentiation… In most species in XY sex determination, an organism must have at least one X chromosome in order to survive.


      So when someone is being called a; TIF (Trans-Identifying Female), rather than a; trans-Man, that is not actually incorrect, scientifically; though it is culturally offensive (not getting into why that is so now – this comment is long enough as it is!). The currently preferred term; AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth), is likewise not scientifically incorrect – and has the added bonus of not getting you punched in the face if you say it (testosterone can be a powerful mood destabilizer to those still getting used to it; during their first, or second, puberty).

      Thus we (finally!) get to the point of addressing; eNBee (NonBinary), criticism of the assumption of a gender binary in humans. Sometimes, a person's phenotype has developed such that they do not much identify with either gender. And it gets tiring to be constantly questioned about knowing our own minds; on the basis of biology, by people who may not know the difference between; a genotype and a phenotype. If it helps to think of us as trans-Intergender, then I wouldn't be upset, though others might be if you said that out loud.

      Sex assignment at birth usually aligns with a child's anatomical sex and phenotype. The number of births where the baby is intersex has been reported to be as low as 0.018% or as high as roughly 1.7%, depending on which conditions are counted as intersex.


      • weka 6.1.1

        when you cut and paste from wikipedia the links stay active and above a certain amount in a comment on TS you will get caught in the spam filter. Can't remember what the number is but your comment above had too many links in it.

        You can try splitting your comments into two.

        • Forget now

          I probably should have split it into two or more parts, yes; Weka. But I assumed that I'd be banned for that reply, so figured that I'd just post it all at once (& make a reply to RL on our then current discussion before the hammer came down), then go do some gardening. Starting to cool down a bit now, so I am back inside getting dinner in the oven for when the kids come home from their granny's. Pleasantly surprised to see that I can still comment here.

          Think I misunderstood your previous mod instruction upthread. I thought you were saying that I should keep the length of each individual quote shorter, not that I should have turned the hyperlinks into plain text. Will try remember in future.

          • weka

            You need to remove links if you don't want your comments to end up in the spam filter. Overly long cut and pastes will sometimes get deleted by moderators, so best to avoid that too. There's a bit in the Policy about that. So that’s two separate but overlapping things.

            People don't generally get banned for content here, unless it is grossly in breach of the Policy. People get banned for behaviour or for putting the site at risk legally. I'm not seeing you doing either of those things. It does get tedious for moderators to constantly have to point this out though.

      • weka 6.1.2

        So you basically just ignored my point, and presented one of the TA arguments. Which is fine, and I guess it reinforces what I was saying.

        GCFs use the word 'sex' to refer to how mammals, including humans, reproduce. One person type has sperm, the other person type has eggs, one of each are needed to reproduce the species. There is not alternative to that for Homo sapiens.

        How humans talk about gender, or sex in social terms, is a different matter, but the point I was making is that the semantics cause a lot of confusion and people talking past each other. The issue over what 'sex' means, and how biological or social sex should be defined is largely undermined by the inability and/or unwillingness of both sides of the war to talk with each other to gain understanding (this imo is the massive problem with the 'no debate' position).

        I totally get why trans and NB people want to have a go at defining sex, but I also totally get why women do too and why they're so pissed off about what is going down.

        • McFlock

          Except "GCFs" apply that measure to people without sperm or eggs or any other reproductive capability, and to people who have combinations of other reproductive features.

          Which in a population of five million tends to start excluding (sorry, being critical of) hundreds or thousands of people or even more.

          • Nic the NZer

            Yes, thats because peoples chromosomes didn't actually change when they lost reproductive capacity.

            • McFlock

              Oh so it's not "egg and sperm", it's "chromosomes" that are always male or female and there are never any abnormalities.

              • Nic the NZer

                No, apparently 0.02% of people don't fit neatly in one of these categories in chromosome terms either. Why should that matter?

                • McFlock

                  Why should 1000 NZers matter?

                  • Nic the NZer

                    Ahem, maybe try not engaging in dishonest smears. You were explaining why so called GCFs view is invalid (despite being consistent with biological science). I on the other hand did not make any value judgements with that statement.

                    • McFlock

                      We're talking about people, not abstractions.

                      The binary model of sex, even for mammals, is ok for primary school. Slamming everyone into that model (be it based on sperm or organs or genetics) will exclude and marginalise dozens, hundreds, or thousands of NZers. That's in addition to the thousands who "GCFs" intend to exclude and marginalise.
                      That’s why “0.02%” matters.

                    • Nic the NZer []

                      Your criticism is still of so called GCFs use of an abstraction and presumably the fact that a small subset of people don't fit neatly into one of the two categories. But as discussed the two categories used by society are somewhat simplistic and there are some people with abnormalities.

                      Now, just because there is a categorisation this does not marginalise anybody because they don't fit neatly into it. It is in fact the manner in which someone is treated based on their category (or lack there of) which is the cause of any marginalisation.

                      So its really about time for you to explain why so called GCFs claims that the category female is biological are wrong. This would be much more welcome than further dishonest claims about value judgements I never made.

                    • weka

                      "We're talking about people, not abstractions."

                      Actually in the tweet I started the thread with and the one you originally replied to, I was talking about two things: biology, and the semantics used to discuss that in two sides of the sex/gender wars.

                      "That's in addition to the thousands who "GCFs" intend to exclude and marginalise."

                      Would you mind pointing to some examples of GCFs intending to exclude and marginalise intersex people?

                    • McFlock

                      any example when someone says sex is binary.

                    • weka

                      ok, so you believe that I am intentionally wanting to exclude intersex people from society because I pointed out that there is a reality backed up by science that humans reproduce via two sex classes? Despite me not having said that nor believing that that intersex people should be excluded.

                      So any discussion of binary sex is intersexphobic? Or just when GCFs do it?

                    • weka

                      Nic, I agree. Especially as I started the thread by pointing out that the differences in understanding of the word is part of why there is a war and lack of understanding.

                    • McFlock

                      Restricting a conversation to two precisely-defined categories marginalises everyone who does not neatly fit into either of those defined categories. They never come up in consideration.

                    • Nic the NZer []

                      No, so called GCFs are not actually restricting speech by using a preferred categorisation in their own speech.

                    • McFlock

                      apologies, misread.

                      Marginalising intersex people is an unintended byproduct of intentionally marginalising trans people by insisting sex is binary.

                      But yeah, when we fall into patterns of assuming that everyone is a male or a female, it's just as marginalising as assuming everyone is het, whether we intend to or not.

                      So no, when you or I assume sex is binary, we're not intentionally marginalising intersex people. We're doing it unintentionally.

                    • weka

                      thanks McFlock. So, sorry to keep banging on about it, but semantics.

                      If the definition of sex that GCFs want to use, in order to talk about the oppression of the sex class of females, is the one I gave originally (egg/sperm etc), then are you saying this is intentionally transphobic and unintentionally intersexphobic?

                      If you are saying that GCFs/women shouldn't talk about their own sex class using a definition based in physical reality backed up by science that describes their experience in the world, would you mind explaining why trans activists get to choose a definition that suits them but GCFs don't?

                      Also, how is denying binary sex not sexist, where binary sex is the basis upon which women are oppressed?

                    • McFlock

                      But the trans debate doesn't just involve GCFs talking about themselves and their own identity alone. A common topic of discussion is the people they wish to exclude from that description be it in sports or public amenities or whatever.

                      As for "scientific", either according to definition of sex or indeed any advantage non-binary people might have in competitions, actual biologists and sports physiologists seem to find things less clear cut, in my nonlinking experience.

                    • weka

                      One position of GCFs is that there is a conflict of rights, and that we need an open and transparent discussion about those, so we can figure out what is fair and what society should do. That discussion is actively suppressed in a number of important ways – by trans activists, by social media platforms, by trans allied organisations, by MRAs and other bad faith actors online, by cancel culture, by political parties. It's extraordinary and I've never seen anything else like it in politics.

                      Sports is a good topic to go into, because then we can stop talking about trans people, and talk about trans women, trans men, women and men, and it becomes much easier to talk about biology and why it matters. GCFs don't exclude trans people from sports, they say that women's sports should be for females (so trans ppl can still take part in sports, but TW shouldn't have automatic access to women's sports).

                      Yes, there are some tricky cases where it's unclear about someone's biological sex, but that's different from males wanting to take part in women's sports on the basis of gender identity, which is by far the biggest number of people. GCFs are saying it should be biologically based (and have pretty good rationales for that), TAs say it should be based on GI, and then often start conflating that with bio sex, but the evidence is very strong (and growing) that most TW have similar biological advantages as other males in relation to competing against women.

                      Again, the issues of fairness there are affected by biology, and by social concerns. To say that women should give up sex-segregated sports in order for other people to be included needs an explanation for why women should give that up.

                      Am curious how you see people who ID as NB participating in sport. At high school, once scholarships kick in, and at the elite level. NB people who aren't physically transitioning.

                • Forget now

                  Nic, that was 0.018-1.7% of the population in the quote from wikipedia. What reason do you have for assuming the lowest percentage to be real?

                  If we split the difference to 0.86% of 5 million, that would be 41,950 NZers you are disregarding.

                  • weka

                    Where did Nic disregard those people?

                  • Nic the NZer

                    Sure, thats just my very simplistic notion that actual intersex is rare. But as I discussed I have not made any value judgements.

                    Since McFlock appears to be claiming its the wrong categorisation I don't think the number of people is relevant here.

          • weka

            not sure what you are getting at there "McFlock". GCFs generally understand what intersex is, and where you start talking about inclusion you're now talking about social aspects of sex/gender, not biological ones.

            The woman in the OT isn't talking about intersex people, she is saying that there is no such thing as male/female at all, that it was invented by humans as a concept. I pointed out that the two sides of the war use language in distinctly different ways and that this is important in understanding what is going on. I don't know if she is meaning the social aspects alone or if she literally means there is no such thing as bio binary sex, but this isn't an uncommon assertion. Hence my pointing to the issue of semantics.

            Are you suggesting that because of the existence of intersex people and the need to normalise their existence in society (which I agree with obviously), that there is no such thing as biological sex as defined above? It's not that all humans have to produce either sperm or eggs, it's that the species cannot reproduce without the combination of the two, one coming from one sex category and the other coming from the other. If you believe that intersex people indicate that this is false, can you please explain how.

            The common response from GC people at this point is that humans are biologically bipedal even if some humans are born without two legs.

            • McFlock

              Classifying humans as bipedal doesn't mean one refuses to make spaces accessible to people without legs.

              Defining sex in regards to theoretical reproductive capacity is a contrived (old people? Infertile people? vasectomies?) and convoluted way of telling people which bathrooms they should be excluded from.

              • weka

                that's quite a few, very large leaps you are making there McFlock.

                Understanding binary sex =/= refusing to make spaces for people on the basis of gender.

                How humans reproduce isn't theoretical, it's physical reality. Nor does understanding human reproduction mean anything about whether individuals can reproduce, nor assign morality/values to those people that can and can't. That would be the patriarchy and neoliberalism that does that.

                The point that I can't tell if you don't get or are ignoring is that feminists want to be able to talk about the basis of the oppression of women and that's not possible if they aren't allowed to talk about biological sex. People are free to disagree with them, but the push to say that there is no such thing as biological sex is hugely problematic for feminists, and I would have thought humans generally given the rise of anti-science culture.

                If you want to argue that there is no such thing as biologically female and male, that's fine (I disagree obv), but what you appear to be doing today is saying that definitions of binary sex are prejudicial so let's pretend they're not real.

                • McFlock

                  Biological sex is real. Binary sex is not – it's a child's oversimplification.

                  And that is important, because much of the discussion involving biological definitions of sex ends up being which individuals have to use what toilet based on a binary set of labels on the door.

                  • weka

                    sure, but that's a social issue and we haven't yet dealt with the baseline issue of semantics that prevents understanding of why we end up talking about toilets.

                    For instance, I'm not seeing anything in what you've said that suggests you understand the GCF view that starts with biological sex as binary, and why it matters to understand that and for feminists to be able to talk about it.

                    The argument over toilets is a really good example of why the semantic issues matters, not least because so many people use that to dismiss women's concerns and politics. Buggered if I know why you would be arguing for men's access to women's toilets though. Maybe you think you're arguing for transsexual women's access, but that's not what's happening out there in the world.

                    (you also appear to be saying binary sex is real and not real /shrug).

                    • McFlock

                      yeah, and maybe you think this oft-repeated discussion is an essential semantic debate that will solve something, rather than just another instance of marginalising the thousands of NZers who don't neatly fit into one box or t'other. But in the real world…

                    • weka

                      I made it clear that I was talking about sex not gender (incl gender identity). There's nothing inherently exclusionary about talking about binary sex within feminist politics. You've asserted there is but haven't demonstrated out. You've made some leaps from my original points to somehow this being about keeping trans people (read TW) out of women's bathrooms, but as already pointed out they're mightly leaps that have no evidence in this discussion.

                      I mean I can make mighty leaps too, based on having heard this arguments so many times. Women should cede their politics, and given up their sex based rights, because other people are being marginalised by the same shitty system that oppresses women. You're basically arguing for men to have access to women's spaces (physical, cultural, political) and to uphold the systems that oppress women (and trans ppl for that matter). That's sexist af.

                      Nek minnit, the conversation breaks down. There was a reason I said at the start that the semantics are critical in understanding the war.

                    • McFlock

                      You're basically arguing for men to have access to women's spaces (physical, cultural, political) and to uphold the systems that oppress women (and trans ppl for that matter).

                      men or males?

                    • Incognito []


                    • arkie

                      There’s nothing inherently exclusionary about talking about binary sex within feminist politics.

                      This is strictly true but if the ‘talking about binary sex within feminist politics’ is that a person must meet the bio-binary definition of female to be part of the class Women, then that politics definitionally excludes trans and intersex women, and NB people.

                    • weka

                      "men or males?"

                      Yep, exactly. Like I said at the start, the semantics matter a great deal.

                      In this case, I meant males. I find it easier to talk about men, women, trans women, trans men, it's pretty clear then what is biology and what is gender ID.

                      Self ID means that any male can have access to women's space – toilets and changing rooms, refuges and rape crisis, women's prisons, sports teams, scholarships and political positions etc. This is the push from transactivists (in the UK from what I can tell they want the sex exemptions that enable women's spaces removed from law entirely), and it's a big part of why many left wing feminists who were previously largely unconcerned about TW using women's toilets suddenly mobilised and got politically active.

                      In case it's not clear, my point in the previous comment was about men not trans women (although I think there are issues with and for TW too).

                    • weka

                      This is strictly true but if the ‘talking about binary sex within feminist politics’ is that a person must meet the bio-binary definition of female to be part of the class Women, then that politics definitionally excludes trans and intersex women, and NB people.

                      Yes. Women need to retain the rights in law based on being female (let me know if you need an explanation why). This is exclusionary of males too, and exclusion isn't inherently wrong. For instance, as Pākehā I support Māori to have their own spaces separate from non-Māori. Likewise I also support trans people to have their own spaces.

                      What I took McFlock to be saying was that exclusion of trans people from being able to take part fully in society is wrong, and I agree with that. But that's a different thing.

                      Would you mind explaining why NB males should have access to women's spaces, for example a women's track team, or a position in a political party that is specified for women because of societal sexism?

                    • arkie

                      Would you mind explaining why NB males should have access to women's spaces, for example a women's track team, or a position in a political party that is specified for women because of societal sexism?

                      I didn't advocate for that so I have no explanation for most of that but I did say non-binary people, because a NB peson who was assigned female at birth would prefer non-gendered terms.

                    • weka

                      that's cool arkie, I've yet to see a good explanation about the NB side of it. Or any explanation really, other than that women shouldn't have their own spaces and should share with everyone else. My reading of that is that the place we are heading towards is removal of sex class protections entirely, and that should be a concern for the left as a whole not just feminists.

                    • McFlock

                      So it's not actually the semantics that are the problem, it's who gets to be an arbiter of someone's sex – themselves or someone else.

                      Both of which have issues, especially when biases are thrown in – upthread you asked about my attitudes to elite sport.
                      Professional sports advantage people with differences that give them an advantage in that sport – height, reach, muscle development, etc.

                      So here's one of the many articles that questions why Caster Semenya had to medically lower the testosterone levels that apparently gave her an advantage, when Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt have other biological advantages over their competition and that is regarded as fine.

                      Where traits determined to be of another sex give an advantage in a discipline, then that will eventually affect every top-level athlete in that discipline, as sports scouts optimise their scouting to get people with those advantages. So maybe athletics will have to get more nuanced than binary, too.

                      edit: my brain hurts, so I might leave the thread until tomorrow.

                    • weka

                      Semantics aren't the problem, they're an issue in talking about sex/gender that isn't often identified early on and leads to much confusion and people talking past each other (and in other contexts, the semantics are weaponised).

                      Yes, who gets to define sex is central to the whole thing. Feminists are saying, hey you cannot talk about definitions of sex that affect women without talking to us. We've had this discussion before. Women weren't consulted because Stats NZ (and the GP) think that GCF views on this don't matter or are a problem, so they actively seek to avoid or suppress them. The semantics issue is inherent in what Stats NZ is doing too.

                      Semenya isn't trans. My point about sports above was about trans women wanting to compete in women's sports, and the fairness issues this raises. Yes, all sorts of biology factors into sports, and the research is showing clearly that in many sports, the advantage that males have over females survives transition. It certainly exists before transition. And testosterone measuring is insufficient.

                      At the class level, in most sports, males out compete females because of biology. This is why we have sex segregated sports. Looking at individual advantages, and finessing how elite sports manages that, won't stop women from losing out as their sports are opened up to males.

                      Would love to hear how NB people fit into this too. If trans people should be included in the category of their choice on the basis of self-ID, why not NB people? Make an argument for abolishing sex segregated sports then I guess.

                    • weka

                      this popped up on twitter today because the Scottish government, very strongly advocating for trans rights at the expense of women's rights, has admitted that sex is binary.

                      2. It is not the role of the Scottish Government to have a view on this matter. However, there is general scientific consensus that, although exhibited at lower levels than some other species, human beings are considered to be sexually dimorphic.


                    • McFlock

                      The treatment of Semenya is what happens when a dimorphic continuum is mashed into a binary categorisation. Some pretty shitty treatment of people who might not be close to one of the poles, when only transwomen are supposed to be treated shittily.

                      The earth has two geographic poles. But almost nobody is at the "north pole" or the "south pole".

                    • weka

                      are you saying that you believe sex is a spectrum that sits between two poles?

                      By all means talk about the fairness with Semenya. I haven't looked at her situation closely so would be interested to hear ideas on how it can be resolved. But intersex and trans people aren't the same, so I'm just not sure what that has to do with opening up women's sports to males. If you want to make a case for desegregating sport by sex, please do. Otherwise as far as I can see the argument is that some males should be allowed to compete against any and all females, irrespective of fairness to women. Understandably, a lot of women aren't too happy about that.

                      As for the north and south pole, Flo Jo is the fastest ever recorded female runner of 100m. She runs it in 10.49s.

                      "In 2017, 744 senior males ran 2825 100m races faster than 10.49s"


                      Biological sex is binary, it confers advantages differently in both sexes, and at the level of class that matters. I don't believe that the social issues of fairness for trans people (trans women in this case) can be resolved by ignoring the issues for women that exist because of physicality (material reality in the GCF lingo).

                    • McFlock

                      I'm saying that that's what your twitter link says dimorphic means, and thats what the Scottish parliament called it.

                      What intersex, trans, or women with significantly higher than average testosterone levels have in common is that they don't fit neatly into a binary sex categorisation. That applies whether the rule is self-ID or an external arbiter applying some contrived binary construction.

                    • weka

                      I don't think that's what Elliot is saying, but let's leave it for another time when we have better reply function and it's easier to track the thread.

                      Yes, binary sex is a bitch under patriarchal systems. How we solve that without throwing women, trans people, GNC people, intersex people under the bus is what interests me.

            • mpledger

              I don't think she is saying there is no such thing as male/female but that humans have imposed a male/female definition on something that is more nuanced biologically and socially than that. Isn't your point, that different groups are talking past each other because of how they have different definitions of who is male, female or something else, the point that she is making, that the point of defining sex was so that we could have intelligent conversations based on assumptions of shared common definitions.

              • weka

                Maybe she is talking social classifications but it looks to me like she is talking about biology as well. And there are definitely people who argue that biological sex is a social construct not an observed reality. Possibly she is conflating the two things, that happens a lot too. I looked up the tweet in its original context, and this is what she said,

                So let's assume she accepts that there is such a thing as biological sex that is binary (as in the GCF definition), but that she is talking about how humans assigned meaning to those two categories, and she believes that this is in a binary male/female form is damaging to humans and trans people in particular.

                What I'd like to see is this idea debated widely. Because at this time it's being used to change laws that affect another class of people (women), and not only without asking them but actively suppressing the debate. That's a massive problem. Maybe Lola is right, maybe the GCFs are right, maybe there is something else we don't get yet. But it's important that we talk it through.

        • Forget now

          Biologists use the term either as a verb; sexual reproduction, or a noun; sexual dimorphism (actually, that's an adjective – but "sex" can stand in for both words as a noun). Calling eNBees; Trans-Hermaphrodites, certainly wouldn't be popular in the community; let alone be a Trans Activist talking point! I was trying to be as dispassionate as possible and let the biology speak for itself rather than bang the drum. It was actually nice to use my postgraduate education for once, it certainly doesn't get much of a workout most days!

          But why only mammals? Birds do it; Bees do it; Even educated fleas do it…

          However, what was your point if you weren't saying that; eNBees are wrong in criticizing the biological underpinnings of gender binary assumption? That still seems to be what you are saying, but I am a bit tired from all the typing and screen time. This reducing people to their reproductive capacity does seem a peculiar point for a feminist to be trying to defend. Where does that leave prepubescent girls, and post-menopausal women?

          Let's make this simple. Irrespective of whether they be; Trans-Men, Trans-Women, or T-Hs, do you believe that trans people are people? And thus, presumably, able to know their own minds, without the truth being woman-splained to their poor inadequate selves: Asking for a friend – who couldn't take the constant harassment (to be fair; mostly from male family members), and so can't be here to ask for themself. What with being too dead from the suicidal depession that NZers seem only too keen to deepen. And another friend who went the same way… And another….

          • weka

            Mammals because that's what humans are. We're not insects or birds.

            I'm not reducing people to reproductive capacity, so I think you've again misunderstood my point. There's nothing wrong with talking about our sexed bodies, it doesn't mean that is all we are. I'm of the class of humans that produces eggs, and that's been true from before I was born and until I die including as a girl and as a menopausal woman.

            As for womansplaining, I wasn't talking about trans people, I was pointing to the issues in the gender/sex wars and the problems with the semantics around the definitions of sex. Trans people can bring to the table all the things they believe, and so can feminists and other women (both groups aren't hive minds and cover a range of beliefs). If you afford trans people the right to self-definition and self determination, I cannot see how you could then exclude women from having the same right. From that point there is the issue of how we talk about these things collectively and what is going to be useful for society.

            • Forget now

              Biologically speaking, you could say that we (and all other terrestrial vertebrates), are a kind of land-dwelling lobe-finned fish. In the same way that birds are a kind of dinosaur. Inasmuch as cladistics are a useful lens for examining evolution; where the descendant of an organism is recognized as being of a type with that organism. Say; a daughter is related to their mother, except times many generations. However, as this is not conventional usage of the designations, biologists generally agree to treat (lobe-finned – think coelacanth) fish and humans as entirely different things despite how they would be viewed if we weren't so anthropocentric.

              Biology is not simple, so I become intensely suspicious of anyone who claims something is simply "biological". Given how long and hard I have had to struggle to achieve even the slight familiarity with the discipline that I have achieved.

              Are these; "gender/sex wars", or are the disagreements between groups with different priorities? Wars just sounds so; needlessly dramatic, and like there is no room for compromise or de-escalation. I do like that you note that; "both groups aren't hive minds and cover a range of beliefs", though that is excluding cis-men; who are as damaged by the patriarchy as (almost) anyone.

              It may be having spent too much time on this thread today, but I found this Wynn video that I stayed up late to finish watching is germane to the topic at hand:

              • weka

                Yes, feminism excludes men. There's nothing wrong with that. Likewise the trans umbrella. If you want a political movement or belief set that includes everyone try humanism, or the political left.

                Are these; "gender/sex wars", or are the disagreements between groups with different priorities? Wars just sounds so; needlessly dramatic, and like there is no room for compromise or de-escalation.

                I call it war because it is as you describe. Needlessly dramatic and little room for compromise or de-escalation. Imo that will remain so as along as one side takes the position of no debate and actively suppresses discussion.

                And yes, groups with different priorities. GCFs name the conflict of rights, TAs deny there is any conflict of rights, and round and round it goes.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                You see, Forget now, whatever salient or rational opinions the performer in your wee clip is intending to impart to us mere mortals is totally and utterly and irretrievably undermined at about 58 seconds when she states that JK Rowling 'can't stand transgenders'.

                To my knowledge…and please provide proof if I'm mistaken…but Rowling never said or wrote such a thing.

                This conversation would proceed much more smoothly without the lies and hyperbole.


                • weka

                  JKR in her own words is revelatory, and plenty of analysis online about how and why she is being misrepresented (including by Contrapoints).


                  • weka

                    eg the idea that JKR 'can't stand transgenders', in the context of violence and safety she wrote,

                    I believe the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others, but are vulnerable for all the reasons I’ve outlined. Trans people need and deserve protection. Like women, they’re most likely to be killed by sexual partners. Trans women who work in the sex industry, particularly trans women of colour, are at particular risk. Like every other domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor I know, I feel nothing but empathy and solidarity with trans women who’ve been abused by men.

                    So I want trans women to be safe.

                    • Forget now

                      Not conceding anything here, but probably best to leave yesterday's OM to yesterday. At least we didn't clutter up other threads with this bickering, and hopefully got it out of systems for a couple of days.

                      I have one more day of summer holidays to spend with my children. The sun is shining and I don't want to waste more time online today. Maybe I'll check in later on – this evening, but my brain will likely be mush by then.

                      Go well y'all.

                    • weka

                      all good, doesn't look like bickering to me, looks like normal TS debate. Have fun out there in the sun 🙂

          • Gabby

            What's this 'reduce' business? Who's 'reducing'?

          • Gabby

            Frankly, who really knows their own mind?

          • In Vino

            Forget now

            I am not educated in biology, but I am a teacher of language, and I know the difference between a verb and a noun, and gerund(ive)s which enable the combination of their functions.

            I thought instantly when I read your first paragraph 'sex as a verb': ah yes, "he sexes the frogs" means he examines them to specify which sex they are. (I nearly wrote 'gender' instead of 'sex'. How insensitive of me! Gender is a big linguistic term too, whereas 'sex' is not.)

            I then checked my Collins dictionary, and it gave the very meaning of 'sex' I had understood as a verb, but no other. I cannot make grammatical sense of what you write after that point. As far as I remember I did not 'sex' (verb) my partner to produce our daughter; I had 'sex' (noun) with her.

            'Sexual reproduction'? If biologists are using the verb 'sex' with that meaning, can you please give me an example? I want to know how words are being used in new and interesting ways.

            If it was just a punctuation typo, sorry for being a boring pedant.

            • Incognito

              Isn’t language telling? One can ‘sex up’ one’s sex life and have more lively sex. Or so I’ve heard …

              • In Vino

                Indeed, but I thought that slangy phrases like 'sex up' would have little standing in serious biology.

                Mind you, I think I have made my most serious biological efforts when sexed up, when I look back…

                • Incognito

                  Saying the right words, at the right time, with the right timbre is a sure way to sex up things. The words may not mean anything but they sure can make an impact. The most important erogenous zone is between the ears; the word is mightier than the sword.

            • Forget now

              Example sentence: Homo Sapiens sometimes breed by having sex, and sometimes have sex while taking prophylactic measures to prevent offspring resulting from this sex. "Sexual reproduction" is a adverb plus a verb? No, that would be; reproduce, "intercourse would be a noun. It's more that "sex" can act as verb by shortening; "to sexually reproduce", to a single syllable. Though you may be right that that's a gerund, I'm not so good with grammar jargon. Anyway, the meaning is distinct from; "sex" as the primary and secondary characteristics that comprise a species' sexual dimorphism.

              Plus, I did say I was tired earlier, even tireder now.

      • Rosemary McDonald 6.1.3

        …testosterone can be a powerful mood destabilizer …

        Chemistry, eh?


        In all probability we are, as a species, doomed. For the best, maybe.

        • Forget now

          Thanks for the link, RMcD. I can't say it was exactly fun reading, but neither was it entirely news to me. I am typing on my phone with the kids catching up on their cartoons (after a week at family's bach where the only screen time was an uncle watching yachts races). So I can't quote any of it though.

          I did find the barely repressed glee at; Newbold having the opportunity to study DES toxicity in research that could never have otherwise got ethical clearance to conduct, a bit embarrassing as a scientist. I did recognize it as being similar to the studies into the thalidomide catastrophe however; which, while a disaster for those affected, is fascinating from a biological perspective.

          Yeh, there's a reason why scientists have independent ethical approval boards. It's a bit easy to get caught up in the pursuit of knowledge and not notice yourself becoming monstrous. Psychology experiments like; Milgram's compliance studies, come to mind.

          Anyway, I probably won't posting much today with taking kids for a swim onceit warms up a bit more. But couldn't find your comment last night, and did want to acknowledge your contribution.

    • Gabby 6.2

      If there is no human there to witness it, are two copulating dinosaurs male and female?

      • weka 6.2.1

        dunno Gabby, they could be gay dinos. You might be confusing sexual orientation there with the species ability to reproduce.

        • Gabby

          If there is no human there to witness it, are two reproducing dinosaurs male and female?

          • Rosemary McDonald

            Fuck, Gabby. Have you not heard of parthenogenesis?

          • weka

            yes Gabby, they are. Just in the same way that our ancestors breathed in air composed of oxygen, nitrogen, and a few other gases for a very long time before science humans invented the ability to identify those gases.

          • Incognito

            You might have to wait a while or use ultrasound to know if they were indeed reproducing as such and not merely playing a sex scene in Jurassic Park.

  5. joe90 7

    Settle in, folks. It's going to take a while.



  6. joe90 8

    Our new besties.

    Details of the investigations are contained in a massive police database obtained by The Intercept: the product of a reporting tool developed by private defense company Landasoft and used by the Chinese government to facilitate police surveillance of citizens in Xinjiang.

    The database, centered on Ürümqi, includes policing reports that confirm and provide additional detail about many elements of the persecution and large-scale internment of Muslims in the area. It sheds further light on a campaign of repression that has reportedly seen cameras installed in the homes of private citizens, the creation of mass detention camps, children forcibly separated from their families and placed in preschools with electric fences, the systematic destruction of Uyghur cemeteries, and a systematic campaign to suppress Uyghur births through forced abortion, sterilization, and birth control


    The Ürümqi Police Database Reveals:

    • How Chinese authorities collect millions of text messages, phone contacts, and call records, as well as e-commerce and banking records, from Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
    • Invasive surveillance techniques watch for signs of religious enthusiasm, which are generally equated with extremism.
    • Evidence that biometric data collected under the “Physicals for All” health program feeds into the police surveillance system.
    • Police use community informants to collect massive amounts of information on Uyghurs in Ürümqi.
    • Applying for asylum abroad can result in being classified as a terrorist, as part of an initiative to prevent the “backflow” of foreign ideas.


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  • Minister to advocate for Small Island States
    Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Aupito William Sio has been appointed by the United Nations and Commonwealth as Aotearoa New Zealand’s advocacy champion for Small Island States.  “Aotearoa New Zealand as a Pacific country is particularly focused on the interests of Pacific Small Island Developing States in our region.  “This is a ...
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    14 hours ago
  • Increased support for households to pay local council rates
    An estimated 100,000 low income households will be eligible for increased support to pay their council rates, with changes to the rates rebate scheme taking effect from 1 July. Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced increases to both the maximum value of the rates rebate, and the income threshold ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • He Oranga Poutama expanded into four new regions
    A long-standing physical activity programme that focuses on outcomes for Maori has been expanded to four new regions with Government investment almost doubled to increase its reach. He Oranga Poutama is managed by a combination of hapū, iwi, hauora and regional providers.   An increase in funding from $1.8 million ...
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    16 hours ago
  • Wellington’s rapid transit option progresses to next stage
    The Government is progressing a preferred option for LGWM which will see Wellington’s transport links strengthened with light rail from Wellington Station to Island Bay, a new tunnel through Mt Victoria for public transport, and walking and cycling, and upgrades to improve traffic flow at the Basin Reserve. “Where previous ...
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    17 hours ago
  • Keynote remarks: Tech 4 Democracy Summit, Madrid
    To Provost Muniz, to the Organisers at the Instituto de Empresa  buenas tardes and as we would say in New Zealand, kia ora kotou katoa.  To colleagues from the State Department, from Academia, and Civil Society Groups, to all our distinguished guests - kia ora tatou katoa. It’s a pleasure ...
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    24 hours ago
  • On June 28, 2022, a meeting took place in Madrid between the President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, who was visiting Spain to participate in the Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as one ...
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    1 day ago
  • More young Kiwis able to travel and work in Spain
    A six-fold increase in the Aotearoa New Zealand-Spain working holiday scheme gives a huge boost to the number of young people who can live and work in each other’s countries, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Jacinda Ardern and Spanish President Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón made the Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Scheme announcement ...
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    1 day ago
  • Supporting local government candidates
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    1 day ago
  • Govt passes law to protect consumers in banking and insurance sector
    New financial conduct scheme will ensure customers are treated fairly Banks, insurers and non-bank deposit takers to be licensed by the FMA in relation to their general conduct Sales incentives based on volume or value targets like bonuses for selling a certain number of financial products banned The Government ...
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    1 day ago
  • New law paves way for greater supermarket competition
    Legislation that bans major supermarkets from blocking their competitors’ access to land to set up new stores paves the way for greater competition in the sector, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said. The new law is the first in a suite of measures the Government is ...
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    1 day ago
  • Vaccine mandate for border and corrections workers to end
    The Government has announced an end to the requirement for border workers and corrections staff to be fully vaccinated. This will come into place from 2 July 2022. 100 per cent of corrections staff in prisons, and as of 23 June 2022 97 per cent of active border workers were ...
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    1 day ago
  • New Zealand's Commonwealth relationships strengthened at CHOGM
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has concluded a visit to Rwanda reaffirming Aotearoa New Zealand’s engagement in the Commonwealth and meeting with key counterparts. “I would like to thank President Kagame and the people of Rwanda for their manaakitanga and expert hosting of this important meeting,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “CHOGM ...
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    1 day ago
  • Emergency monitoring centre opened to keep New Zealand safer
    Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty officially launched the new Monitoring, Alerting and Reporting (MAR) Centre at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) today. The Government has stood up the centre in response to recommendations from the 2018 Ministerial Review following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and 2017 Port Hills fire, ...
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    1 day ago
  • Waikato Expressway speed limit to change to 110km/h
    Transport Minister Michael Wood has welcomed the announcement that a 110km/hr speed limit has been set for the SH1 Waikato Expressway, between Hampton Downs and Tamahere. “The Waikato Expressway is a key transport route for the Waikato region, connecting Auckland to the agricultural and business centres of the central North ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government listening to sector on NCEA
    Following feedback from the sector, Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti, today confirmed that new literacy and numeracy | te reo matatini me te pāngarau standards will be aligned with wider NCEA changes. “The education sector has asked for more time to put the literacy and numeracy | te reo ...
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    2 days ago
  • Further Aotearoa New Zealand support for Ukraine
    $4.5 million to provide Ukraine with additional non-lethal equipment and supplies such as medical kit for the Ukrainian Army Deployments extended for New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) intelligence, logistics and liaison officers in the UK, Germany, and Belgium Secondment of a senior New Zealand military officer to support International ...
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    2 days ago
  • Electoral changes will bring greater transparency for voters
    Changes to electoral law announced by Justice Minister Kiri Allan today aim to support participation in parliamentary elections, and improve public trust and confidence in New Zealand’s electoral system. The changes are targeted at increasing transparency around political donations and loans and include requiring the disclosure of: donor identities for ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government invests to minimise gambling harm
    The Labour government has announced a significant investment to prevent and minimise harm caused by gambling. “Gambling harm is a serious public health issue and can have a devastating effect on the wellbeing of individuals, whānau and communities. One in five New Zealanders will experience gambling harm in their lives, ...
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    3 days ago
  • More free flu vaccines and a second COVID-19 booster to groups at risk of hospitalisation
    The Government has widened access to free flu vaccines with an extra 800,000 New Zealanders eligible from this Friday, July 1  Children aged 3-12 years and people with serious mental health or addiction needs now eligible for free flu dose. From tomorrow (Tuesday), second COVID-19 booster available six months ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government backs action to drive strong wool growth
    The Government is investing to create new product categories and new international markets for our strong wool and is calling on Kiwi businesses and consumers to get behind the environmentally friendly fibre, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said today. Wool Impact is a collaboration between the Government and sheep sector partners ...
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    3 days ago
  • Veterans Minister pays tribute to service and sacrifice at Korean War commemoration
    At today’s commemoration of the start of the Korean War, Veterans Minister Meka Whaitiri has paid tribute to the service and sacrifice of our New Zealand veterans, their families and both nations. “It’s an honour to be with our Korean War veterans at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park to commemorate ...
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    5 days ago
  • Matariki projects star in latest round of Tourism Infrastructure Fund
    Minister of Tourism Stuart Nash and Associate Minister of Tourism Peeni Henare announced the sixth round of recipients of the Government’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF), which supports local government to address tourism infrastructure needs. This TIF round will invest $15 million into projects around the country. For the first time, ...
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    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Matariki speech 2022
    Matariki tohu mate, rātou ki a rātou Matariki tohu ora, tātou ki a tātou Tīhei Matariki Matariki – remembering those who have passed Matariki – celebrating the present and future Salutations to Matariki   I want to begin by thanking everyone who is here today, and in particular the Matariki ...
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    6 days ago
  • First Matariki holiday marked across New Zealand and the world
    Oho mai ana te motu i te rangi nei ki te hararei tūmatanui motuhake tuatahi o Aotearoa, Te Rā Aro ki a Matariki, me te hono atu a te Pirīmia a Jacinda Ardern ki ngā mahi whakanui a te motu i tētahi huihuinga mō te Hautapu i te ata nei.    ...
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    6 days ago
  • Minister to attend second United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal
    Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker will represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the second United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, which runs from 27 June to 1 July. The Conference will take stock of progress and aims to galvanise further action towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, to "conserve and sustainably use ...
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    7 days ago
  • Government supports innovative dairy sheep sector to scale up
    The Government is boosting its partnership with New Zealand’s dairy sheep sector to help it lift its value and volume, and become an established primary industry, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “Globally, the premium alternative dairy category is growing by about 20 percent a year. With New Zealand food ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government supports Buller flood recovery and longer term resilience
    The Government is continuing to support the Buller district to recover from severe flooding over the past year, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today during a visit with the local leadership. An extra $10 million has been announced to fund an infrastructure recovery programme, bringing the total ...
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    7 days ago
  • Government outlines plans for future COVID-19 variants
    “The Government has undertaken preparatory work to combat new and more dangerous variants of COVID-19,” COVID-19 Response Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall set out today. “This is about being ready to adapt our response, especially knowing that new variants will likely continue to appear. “We have undertaken a piece of work ...
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    1 week ago
  • Next steps for NZ UK free trade agreement
    The Government’s strong trade agenda is underscored today with the introduction of the United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill to the House, Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. “I’m very pleased with the quick progress of the United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill being introduced ...
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    1 week ago
  • Five new members join education Youth Advisory Group
    A ministerial advisory group that provides young people with an opportunity to help shape the education system has five new members, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said today. “I am delighted to announce that Harshinni Nayyar, Te Atamihi Papa, Humaira Khan, Eniselini Ali and Malakai Tahaafe will join the seven ...
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    1 week ago
  • Address to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons First Meeting of States Party
    Austria Centre, Vienna   [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] E ngā mana, e ngā reo Tēnā koutou katoa Thank you, Mr President. I extend my warm congratulations to you on the assumption of the Presidency of this inaugural meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. You ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt makes sure support workers have right to take pay-equity claim
    The Government is taking action to make sure homecare and support workers have the right to take a pay-equity claim, while at the same time protecting their current working conditions and delivering a pay rise. “In 2016, homecare and support workers – who look after people in their own homes ...
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    1 week ago
  • Targeted second COVID-19 booster a step closer
    A law change passed today streamlines the process for allowing COVID-19 boosters to be given without requiring a prescription. Health Minister Andrew Little said the changes made to the Medicines Act were a more enduring way to manage the administration of vaccine boosters from now on. “The Ministry of Health’s ...
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    1 week ago
  • Commerce Commission empowered to crackdown on covenants
    New powers will be given to the Commerce Commission allowing it to require supermarkets to hand over information regarding contracts, arrangements and land covenants which make it difficult for competing retailers to set up shop. “The Government and New Zealanders have been very clear that the grocery sector is not ...
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    1 week ago
  • Plasterboard taskforce set up to ease shortages
    Ministerial taskforce of industry experts will give advice and troubleshoot plasterboard shortages Letter of expectation sent to Fletcher Building on trademark protections A renewed focus on competition in the construction sector The Minister for Building and Construction Megan Woods has set up a Ministerial taskforce with key construction, building ...
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    1 week ago
  • First Matariki public holiday celebrated with a unique broadcasting collaboration
    Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson and Minister for Māori Crown Relations Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis announced today the inaugural Matariki public holiday will be marked by a pre-dawn hautapu ceremony at Te Papa Tongarewa, and will be a part of a five-hour broadcast carried by all major broadcasters in ...
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    1 week ago
  • Health volunteers recognised at Parliament
    Volunteers from all over the country are being recognised in this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards, just announced at an event in Parliament’s Grand Hall. “These awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health and disability sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other ...
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    1 week ago
  • Trade Minister to travel to Europe, Canada and Australia to advance economic recovery
    New Zealand’s trade agenda continues to build positive momentum as Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor travels to Europe, Canada and Australia to advance New Zealand’s economic interests. “Our trade agenda has excellent momentum, and is a key part of the Government’s wider plan to help provide economic security for ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister to travel to Europe and Australia
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will leave this weekend to travel to Europe and Australia for a range of trade, tourism and foreign policy events. “This is the third leg of our reconnecting plan as we continue to promote Aotearoa New Zealand’s trade and tourism interests. We’re letting the world know ...
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    1 week ago
  • Remarks to ICAN Nuclear Ban Forum session “The Ban is the Plan and this is Why”
    [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Nga mihi ki a koutou. Let me start by acknowledging the nuclear survivors, the people who lost their lives to nuclear war or testing, and all the peoples driven off their lands by nuclear testing, whose lands and waters were poisoned, and who suffer the inter-generational health ...
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    1 week ago