Posts by Rich of Observationz

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  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    I’m not advocating the shooting down of civilian aircraft BTW, or even suggesting the military force might be appropriate with Fiji (economic sanctions, including a ban on aircraft and ships that have visited Fiji ports and the criminalisation of coup/military participation might have been).

    But many conflicts since the US Civil War have showed that a country with brave and resourceful troops (the Confederacy, Japan, Germany*2) will lose to an opponent able and willing to bring superior economic resources to bear.

    (Not Vietnam and Afghanistan, obviously. But those were wars for national survival on one hand and marginal strategic advantage on the other).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4550 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to Paul Rowe,

    Maybe if we tried to nut it out with their infantry.

    Stick an Anzac frigate (or even the Leanders we had then) 2km off the end of the Suva airport runway and declare a no-fly zone. That'd stuff them up and they'd have no effective response.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4550 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    I guess they hope they don't meet Danny Glover:

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4550 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    The positive aspect of that article is the whole apostasy thing.

    If I understand correctly, if somebody calls you an apostate then either they're right in which case they have to kill you, or they're wrong, in which case they are considered apostate and you have to kill them.

    Given blokes, this probably happens at least four times a year, per capita. So the population will halve every three months, implying that 8 million people will take about 23/4 = six years before dying back to one individual, who would clearly be very holy indeed.

    At which point we could send Willie Apiata to shoot him in the head.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4550 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    The government’s (and indeed the US/UKs) deployment of troops to Iraq lacks any plausible strategy as to how they might improve the situation.

    There are a few solutions that might work:
    - the 19th century approach would be to slaughter all the inhabitants down to the last goat and plant settlers on the land, ideally convicts not wanted anywhere else (see Tasmania)

    - the 20th century approach would be to set up an efficient police state, ban all forms of religious or political activity outside a state mosque of suitably moderate theology, and selectively shoot or jail any dissidents (see East Germany)

    A better, 21st century approach would be to isolate the area and in particular reduce our use of Saudi oil, destroying the political importance of the region as well as the primary source of funding for the extremists

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4550 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    It would be a huge dilemma for the Greens, if they had policy wins they were delivering, and they had to choose to give them all up and probably put National back in power.

    Equally for Labour. Would it be more important to them to go into an unpopular and un-winnable war than to stay in government.

    There is no reason in the modern world why parliament should not approve any decision to send troops overseas, and indeed we should have legislation that requires that.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4550 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Women, science and superheroes,

    Science communication? That sounds like a great degree if you think that sciency stuff sounds really cool, but you and maths pretty much parted company at NCEA Level 1. Or if you're a university manager wanting to get more bums on seats in the science faculty.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4550 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Women, science and superheroes, in reply to Alyona Medelyan,

    How does the term STEAM not cover any field of study you could possibly follow, from circus arts to welding to nuclear physics?

    The programming trade has been good to me, on the whole. The caveats would be that it was both more rewarding and more lucrative before it became fashionable, and that once one develops experience and skills in a field like IT, then it's financially impossible to escape. (A friend who's a dentist has reported a similar thing with her profession).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4550 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Women, science and superheroes,

    I think Ben means that there is a surplus of qualified people (at various levels) to available jobs in the pure sciences. In e.g. computer science, the opposite is true and in general, those with skills will be able to find (well) paid work.

    (Although there is the issue that with skills being highly specialized, one might find it difficult to find a job that matches ones skillset. This is exacerbated by NZ businesses inability to train and develop staff, combined with an attitude that people are hired to do a very specific role and disposed of when that role no longer exists).

    Also, I understand that a lack of work in the public sector is due to government policy, but why do commercial businesses seem to have little need for scientists?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4550 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: When the fast track seems a…, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I’m convinced the idea that we have a traffic problem requiring huge amounts of concrete stems from a traffic planner way back when drawing a line on his map marked “SH1” from Cape Reinga down to the southernmost landmark he could find, which was the newly built Wellington airport.

    Ignore the fact that it ends in a car park barrier capable of handling but a few cars a minute – the line has been drawn, that is State Highway One, and it needs to be of an appropriate scale for our country to hold its own in world concrete pouring circles.

    The answer, of course, isn’t to build a more elaborate motorway – it’s to erase the line on the map and make SH1 end at the Terrace Tunnel.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4550 posts Report Reply

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