Posts by TracyMac

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  • Hard News: Good news for self-powered travellers, in reply to JackElder,

    Sorry about a little bit of the language, guys. I was having a shitty day, and the helmet discussion IS a red herring.

    I was relaying some of the general gist of what people say to me about "cycling extremists"- definitely not attempting to characterise anyone here as one of those rude cyclists that gets everyone's backs up. There is a difference between those and all the other considerate and safe cyclists who happen to get around fast and also wear practical lycra.

    As for the fact that rude guys who blast around thru red lights (I jump lights myself sometimes - slowly and carefully) and at close proximity to pedestrians wear helmets, of course they do. But they are firmly associated in an lot of the public's mind with the "we don't need no rules or helmets" brigade.

    Again, apologies for not making that all much clearer. Definitely not going out on the attack.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Decidedly Undecided, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    Love that take - so to speak - on how "the economy" is often such a bullshit term.

    (On another note, can bloggers please consider how medium-grey text looks on off-white backgrounds, particularly with a fine sans-serif typeface? Very difficult to read, esp on small screens. Dark grey is more aesthetically pleasing than stark black, but it still needs to be dark enough to read.

    PAS gets the balance pretty right for texty-text. The lighter grey for other text elements is just on the right side of readability for me.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Good news for self-powered travellers,

    As an occasional cyclist, I can't help but say that my impression of the whole cycle helmet debate is that it's pretty much a red herring. Totally agree with what Kevin is saying.

    Fulminating against helmets makes you sound like one of those lycra-encased twunts who blow red lights and scare the shit out of people on shared walkways by blasting by blasting past at 40 km/h (yes, I know it's only a few like this - I'm glossing on comments made by friends & family members).

    The concern is about perceived safety, indeed. I've always worn a helmet, and used to happily commute into the city and quite often trundle round the Bays the weekend. I wouldn't do either in Auck now, especially negotiating K Rd or Symonds St at rush hour. Or Ponsonby Rd, even.

    Buying a helmet is a small part of the cost of buying a bike. It is not a deterrent, nor, really, the "messy hair" factor. The general impression I get is that helmets seen as not enough to achieve any meaningful safety in busy unseparated traffic. But arguing that an adolescent trundling to school on quiet suburban streets shouldn't have to wear one makes you sound like an idiot.

    So yes, emphasise the road safety problem and make reasonable suggestions. Frothing on about helmets undermines that argument by making you sound like an extremist tool. I don't disagree that there will be less of a need for helmets when the cycle infrastructure is made safer, but one step at a time.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 633 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Dropping the A-Bomb,

    Not to mention removing the barriers towards getting any kind of procedure to get rid of your fertility. Women - again, women are the ones who have their sexuality controlled - cannot get hysterectomies or tubal ligations carried out if they choose to.

    I have never ever wanted a child. The concept of what sex or (dis)abilities the fetus might have would be completely irrelevant to me if I were to fall pregnant again. I am just thankful I was in the UK when I had to have a termination, because there is a lot less song and dance about it than there is in NZ (although still you need to tell a doctor your mental health would be at severe risk if the pregnancy were to continue - but it's on site at the clinic). Like anyone else I've heard of, I wouldn't undo my decision.

    But none of these objections to abortion on whatever grounds explain why exactly it is so difficult for women to get rid of their fertility. I imagine that I would still have problems getting a tubal ligation now, since I have never given birth. Maybe at age 46, I might be "allowed" to have such a procedure. A younger friend of mine - 28 - has been told in no uncertain terms it's impossible for her to get her tubes tied.

    The common thread in this is just as simple as denying women agency of their own bodies in some mythological drive to ensure there are plenty of babies (and frankly, there often seems to be more than a slight whiff of racism/xenophobia about "concerns" about dropping birth rates).

    I also agree that the reasons women choose or don't choose to have children can be incredibly fucked up - both ways. I know it's not PC to say so, but there are people out there (of any class, ethnicity and nationality) who should not have had kids. So if people can have kids without any "approval" whatsoever, then I can't see how anyone should be denied the ability to choose otherwise (yes, I know that terminating pregnancy and destroying fertility requires medical intervention that is paid for by the state to some degree - so is pregnancy, even more overtly in countries with "baby bonuses").

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: He Panui: Media Take,

    Yep, I'm a fan of the school of "let them hang them with their own rope". Interviewers don't have to indulge in Paxton-style rants to achieve very revealing insights. There is a difference between "let them talk" and the "soft soap" treatment.

    Not to say a good berating isn't satisfying sometimes, but I don't think it's necessarily any better journalism.

    As for pronouncing the programme name, I'm assuming it'll be bicultural as well, especially since "media" is an English-only word. Media Take.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 633 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Suicide Reporting; or, The…, in reply to tussock,

    It's not always a mental health issue, unless you classify all domestic violence or murders as arising from mental health issues. There might be an argument for that, but since our courts lock people up in prisons for murder more often then they commit them to mental health institutions, that's not how the law typically views it.

    And this is why these situations should not have the suicide element preempting the proper reporting of the murder element.

    Also, you're in danger of saying the reverse is true - that all suicides are due to mental health issues. Obviously the vast majority are, but some are quite rational choices in the face of terminal or other serious and debilitating illness.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 633 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Suicide Reporting; or, The…, in reply to william blake,

    Exactly my thinking. Frankly, I think this case is a pretty bad example for leading a discussion of reporting suicide, since the matter was actually a murder followed by the guy removing himself from any legal recriminations (or not, see further below).

    When it's a murder/suicide, I do think it is in the public interest to know whether it was the fallout of some "family matter" (domestic violence, custody battle, other), addiction issue, and/or mental health issue. Classifying it solely as a suicide obfuscates the murder of presumably-innocent victims.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Big Chill,

    Wow, so All the President's Men and many many other similar works, aren't "journalism"?

    Well, that's news.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 633 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: A scientist researches restaurants,

    As for interesting food in the capital, I thoroughly recommend Pickle. Modern cuisine, great flavours, not ridiculously priced for what it is. Although it's not a cheap place, by any means.

    As it says on the tin, pickled food is a big part of the experience. The cold crisp veggies served with salt and "ash" were amazing. The take on gourmet KFC was hilarious. Everything was delicious, and I loved the decor.

    Getting back to Carl Jr, I'm afraid that's one place I won't step foot in due to the US owner's vociferous homophobia. I'm sure plenty of CEOs donate funds to causes I disagree with, but that instance is just beyond pale for me.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 633 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: A scientist researches restaurants, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Hah, there was (is?) a restaurant in the US where the food is scraped, smeared, painted, scattered and assembled directly onto the table itself.

    While I am happy for expensive food to have an artistic impact, I really care more about its taste and the fact it can start entering my mouth shortly after arriving at the table. Preferably sans any performance art from the wait staff.

    So yeah, definitely not in the market for that kind of wankfest.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 633 posts Report Reply

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