Those hard to find WIMPs

Written By: - Date published: 4:00 pm, December 21st, 2009 - 25 comments
Categories: science - Tags:

There have been some new results from the search for WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) at the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) in Minnesota. This showed up in The Economist science section last week with an excellent summary of what they were looking for and why in the post “An early Christmas present?.

Around a quarter of the universe is thought to be made up of dark matter, which, as the name suggests, neither gives off nor reflects light. (The balance, once the small amount of visible matter is subtracted, is made of even more mysterious stuff known as ‘dark energy’.) However, dark matter does make itself known through its gravity. This, indeed, is why astronomers believe it must be there. Some galaxies rotate so fast that they should be throwing off their outermost stars. Only the gravitational pull of these galaxies’ unseen halos of dark matter holds those stars in. Observations of the bending of light around clusters of galaxies, as well as the way that galactic structures formed in the early universe, also suggest that there is much more to reality than meets the eye.

Well the CDMS got one. But as non-scientists often complain, science often isn’t clearcut.

Science is a gradual affair, often of finding out what is impossible and eliminating it. Whatever remains may be true. There is probably no area quite as arcane at doing this as in astrophysics. To find these beasts which barely interact with other matter, they have what is effectively an elimination experiment running. What it is eliminating are possible theories. To do this as the CDMS says in their summary (PDF – which is readable by humans)

The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) experiment, located a half-mile underground at the Soudan mine in northern Minnesota, uses 30 detectors made of germanium and silicon in an attempt to detect such WIMP scatters. The detectors are cooled to temperatures very near absolute zero. Particle interactions in the crystalline detectors deposit energy in the form of heat, and in the form of charges that move in an applied electric field. Special sensors detect these signals, which are then amplified and recorded in computers for later study. A comparison of the size and relative timing of these two signals, heat and charge, allows the experimenters to tell whether the particle that interacted in the crystal was a WIMP– or one of the numerous known particles that come either from radioactive decays or from space in the form of cosmic rays. These background particles must be almost entirely filtered out if we are to see a WIMP signal. Layers of shielding materials, as well as the half-mile of rock above the experiment, are used to provide such background suppression.

The CDMS experiment has been searching for dark matter at Soudan since 2003. Previous data have not yielded evidence for WIMPs, but have provided assurance that the backgrounds have been suppressed to the level where as few as one WIMP interaction per year could have been detected.

But the result is another elimination of the impossible, with a hint that they may have actually seen something in the 2007-2008 data sets.

In this new data set we indeed see two events with characteristics consistent with those expected from WIMPs. However, there is also a chance that both events could be due to background particles. Scientists have a strict set of criteria for determining whether a new discovery has been made. The ratio of signal to background events must be large enough that there is no reasonable doubt. Typically there must be fewer than one chance in a thousand of the signal being due to background. In this case, a signal of about five events would have met those criteria. We estimate that there is about a one in four chance to have seen two backgrounds events, so we can make no claim to have discovered WIMPs. Instead we say that the rate of WIMP interactions with nuclei must be less than a particular value that depends on the mass of the WIMP. The numerical values obtained for these interaction rates from this data set are more stringent than those obtained from previous data for most WIMP masses predicted by theories. Such upper limits are still quite valuable in eliminating a number of theories that might explain dark matter.

Now this is a heck of a result, because WIMPs have been postulated as a being around for many decades without being observed, thought maybe not to be observable, and possibly not even been more than a theory. If the theories are correct, then they probably are going through you all of the time. They should be able to increase the probabilities of observation or non-observation in 2010 because

This is precisely what CDMS experimenters (and many other collaborations worldwide) are now in the process of doing. By summer of 2010, we hope to have about three times more germanium nuclei sitting near absolute zero at Soudan, patiently waiting for WIMPs to come along and provide the perfect billiard ball shots that will offer compelling evidence for the direct detection of dark matter in the laboratory.

However, I’m sure that this would never satisfy some of the science skeptics here as being science. After all it is all based on probabilities and elimination of possibilities, the statistical elimination of outliers and background noise, and the correction of raw data to account for instrumentation variance. I’ll bet that they even write peeved e-mails about each other and the data they’re working in.

Which is exactly what is happening in the field of climate change as well as through most science. No big results, just steadily removing the impossible and leaving the possible visible. It is a pity that small minds don’t understand how science works.

25 comments on “Those hard to find WIMPs”

  1. Rich 1

    The existence of dark matter wouldn’t contradict any dearly held wingnut worldviews or damage the finances of any multinational corporations.

    Anthropomorthic climate change, on the other hand, means that governments need to take expensive action to prevent flooding and starvation. Since government action (unless it involves killing brown people) is anathema to neo-liberals, the science *must* be wrong by definition.

  2. ieuan 2

    So science is a process of ‘probabilities and elimination of possibilities, the statistical elimination of outliers and background noise, and the correction of raw data to account for instrumentation variance’

    Rather than say a whole new theory replacing the existing generally accepted theory because it is a much better fit for the observed data, say something like ‘plate tectonics’ in the 1950’s.

    See that is the thing about science, it is all open to question, discussion, refinement and possibly even being totally thrown away and replaced by something else.

    Nothing in science is ‘fixed’ or ‘settled’ other than the ‘laws’ of science.

    • lprent 2.1

      The ‘laws’ are up for discussion as well. It all depends on your time frames. Fortunately a lot of those discussions relate to milliseconds during the big bang (itself a theory).

      What a science consensus describes as probable, would to most people be a cast-iron certainty. Certainly that is the way engineers tend to take it.

      • ieuan 2.1.1

        ‘What a science consensus describes as probable, would to most people be a cast-iron certainty. ‘

        Like there being 9 planets in the solar system?

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          Depends what you define as a planet. It has always been pretty clear that pluto was a pretty weird ‘planet’. Since they’ve been discovering other bodies in the oort that look a lot like pluto and its moon that clearly aren’t, it is only a matter of time before they classify it as an oversized comet. They’re half-way there now.

        • wtl 2.1.1.2

          Pluto itself hasn’t disappeared, only what whether we call it a planet or not. Terminology, like language, is always going to change over time.

        • NickS 2.1.1.3

          @ ieuan
          Go read the article on Pluto on wikipedia, because I’ve already done my cluebat duty on this topic.

          And the reasons for re-classifying the term “planet” are really, really, really simple. Well, mostly, from memory some of the orbital dynamics stuff is a bit less easy to understand, but not that difficult.

      • burt 2.1.2

        What a science consensus describes as probable, would to most people be a cast-iron certainty. AND when there is no actual consensus and there is claimed to be one – most people call that a fraud.

        • ak 2.1.2.1

          ah there’s burt – you found one Lyn 😎

        • Bill 2.1.2.2

          Burt.

          Hold a glass above some concrete with the intention of dropping it. A predictable result would be that the glass will shatter. But it’s a prediction and as such contains an element of doubt.

          But what you seem to want is to be told that the glass will break. That it will break into ‘x’ number of pieces and that they will come to rest ‘here’, ‘here’, ‘here’, and ‘here’.

          Nobody can hold your hand and give you that certainty Burt. If you desperately need that degree of certainty, you can always adopt or construct a cosy delusion…..a religion, to wrap yourself up in at night.

          • burt 2.1.2.2.1

            If you desperately need that degree of certainty, you can always adopt or construct a cosy delusion ..a religion, to wrap yourself up in at night.

            Yes yes yes, a degree of certainty, someone to tell me how much sea levels will rise and how much temperatures will rise down to the a 1/10 of a degree depending on what emission targets we aim for.

            You hit the nail on the head – things are changing and we don’t know what the key factors are or if it is just normal – the lovers of cuddly blankets want reduction targets translated to temperature changes….

        • quenchino 2.1.2.3

          burt… have you any idea how extensive and exhaustive the IPCC publication process is? Here is a simple overview.

          If there was ever any human endeavour in all history, that so closely meets the formal definition of ‘consensus’… it is the IPCC climate change reports.

        • NickS 2.1.2.4

          @burt
          /facepalm

          Please destroy your computer, you are too stupid to use the internet.

          Because less than 20 minutes of mucking around in wikipedia and on climate blogs would show the claim of “no consensus on climate change” to be a big pile of sh*t, and that the claims of no consensus typically rely on non-specialists, and a rather small number of climatologists. It’s as stupid as saying there’s no consensus on evolution when those declaring it to be false are either non-biologists etc, or form a very small percentage of those with relevant degrees, to such an extent actually, they’re outnumbered by Steves that are both biologists etc and accept evolution.

          Of course, this also relies on you being smart enough to understand the definition of the word “consensus”, which typically not 100%, but a clear majority of individuals, or in this case, climatologists and those actively publishing in climatology and related fields.

          And for those with working brains, here’s a survey from ’04;
          BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER:
          The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
          Naomi Oreskes

          Also: 97% of active climatologists agree that human activity is causing global warming

          • burt 2.1.2.4.1

            Here’s a survey from ’04

            Oh yes, one whole year before the most recent IPCC models. Wow, time stood still since ’05 – must have been the decline.

            • NickS 2.1.2.4.1.1

              lawl.

              So in other words, you’re moronic enough not to understand time series sampling sizes for examing trends that you’ve taken a sub-decade slice of temperatures, ignoring fairly obvious f*cking issues:
              http://hot-topic.co.nz/keep-out-of-the-kitchen/
              (I have others, but it’s 11:30…)

              And the you’ve ignored the blog post on the survey pub’d in EOS, this year.

              Yay for human stupidity!

    • NickS 2.2

      @ieuan
      /facepalm

      Except of course their referring to particle physics, which oft involves trawling through detector data looking for repeated peaks and then looking for the possible causes, aiming to control for outliers that are due to noise, mis-functions or instrument variation in measurement, and then how those peaks relate to current models of subatomic particles etc. So the description you’re rubbishing slightly, is in the context of particle physics, not rubbish, but the current accepted way of making sense of detector data.

      Of course, it doesn’t take much thinking to notice you can have some philosophy of science fun here with Kuhnian descriptions of science, per paradigms, and theory-ladeness of observation, but at the same time, there’s also fundamental elements of science here. Such as testing models against reality, which in particle physics, involves looking for peaks (r.e. previous paragraph) in detector data which fit, and then nutting out where the peaks which aren’t explained by current models fits in. And more so, the fact this result, with further confirmation, possibly spells the beginning of the end for MOND as an alternative to dark matter as an explanation for the galaxy rotation problem and the probable hiding place of much the universe’s missing matter.

      Although, there’s obviously further work required to out rule the other dark-matter hypothesis, via further telescope observations and refinements of models, but non-the-less, this is an awesome bit of science, that reminds me why cosmology and physics are almost as beautiful as biology 😛

      And one last thing, yes, there is no certainty in science, but in order to question findings and claims, one must have evidence that is basically scientifically sound and actually points at real flaws within the target, along with being a rational argument, i.e. no formal/informal fallacies present. Which is something CCD’s and other denialists of science, fail time and time again to pull off.

  3. Alethios 3

    Dark matter is something i’ve been fascinated by since high school. Exciting news that perhaps someday soon, we’ll have a much better grasp upon the structure of the cosmos.

  4. Ben 4

    Actually, one thing that the lala-right may take issue with, is that a (more) solid understanding of dark matter, may lead to a better understanding of where we come from, and how it all happened, which they still claim to “know”, as in certainty.

    But for the rest of us, imagine a better understanding of the Big Bang, which the research is ultimately aimed at. By removing an impossiblity, I think it’s worth pointing out, that you get a more accurate theory, not a new one that totally replaces anything that came before.. It is the process of building on existing knowledge, to gain new knowledge, and not – as Burt probably imagines – the process of switching theory-systems like teenage girls switch fashions. The (scientific) theory of the atom, for instance, has been around since the 1800s, that’s not counting philosophical theory, going back th the classical greek era. Since that time we have discovered sub-atomic particles, like quarks and gluons, and we are still in the process of understanding fission, and quantum-level dynamics, and a host of other problems I’m not competent to talk about. But your periodic table is still the same, nothing is thrown away in this process. Knowledge doesn’t have life-cycles. Old knowledge does not die, in order for new knowledge to come into existance. The dynamic is fairly complex, problems solved lead to new models, experiment-results force refinement in a theory, but a short-hand version would be an image of constant expansion, with observation and experimentation going on around the borders, which is where known meats unknown.

    Burt : But if you don’t believe me, just drop your plates, and forget about all that Isaac Newton mumbo-jumbo. It’s 300 years old, it can’t possibly still be accurate.

    Well either way, I’m very interested.

  5. burt 5

    Ben

    Burt : But if you don’t believe me, just drop your plates, and forget about all that Isaac Newton mumbo-jumbo. It’s 300 years old, it can’t possibly still be accurate.

    He also supposed that all prisms would give a spectrum of exactly the same length .

    He subsequently published many papers in the Philosophical Transactions on various parts of the science of optics, and, although some of his views have been found to be erroneous, and are now almost universally rejected, his investigations led to discoveries which are of permanent value.

    History may be repeating ben, but as Issac would have said; a man must either resolve to put out nothing new, or to become a slave to defend it.

  6. Ben 7

    I thought we’d be disagreeing, glad to see it’s not the case. Unless that supposed to be a rebuttal of some sort? I mean his science was built on the knowledge of the time, yet he correctly observed that a prism could decompose white light into a spectrum of colours, that a lense or another prism could recompose into white light. This was the basis upon which his major discovery in optics (the wave-quality of light, much like sound) was made. He also grasped the second quality, the particle-quality of light (calling them “corpuscules”), which was an embryonic theory of his. Is it your point that today’s understanding (wave-particle duality, the proton, quantum-mechanics) is totally independent of Newton’s? I don’t even think that’s true – but someone more competent in the field would have to make that judgement. My point was the progressive, expanding nature of science as opposed to wholesale replacement nature that you seem to advocate.

    That is to say that today’s understanding is fundamentally an improvement of Newton’s. Young’s and Maxell’s observation of wave-theory would not have been possible without Newton. Planck’s constant was only possible because of Young/Fresnel and Maxwell, Einstein’s photoelectric explanation required Planck’s research.. I hope no part of this progression escapes you.

  7. burt 8

    Ben

    I hope no part of this progression escapes you.

    Not at all, the only thing that currently escapes me in this is why humans have failed to learn that the current understanding is not by default the correct understanding. AGW supporters quickly tell us that scientists were wrong about predicting an ice age in the 70’s then in the next breath tell us that todays scientists cannot be wrong because we have a better understanding today. If you genuinely think we now know enough about climate science to stop harshly testing and refining current assumptions then you probably studied earth science in the 70’s & 80’s as well.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 8.1

      Until we can come up with a better understanding, the current theories are the best by which to base your decisions on. To do otherwise would be to condemn yourself to mysticism and ideology.

      Many of Newton’s theories were proven to have imperfections by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity- but you will ahve difficulty arguing that Newton’s theories were not of benefit to mankind.

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    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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