Posts by BenWilson

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  • Speaker: A hazy, intriguing crystal ball,

    He could just get old and tired and bored, like what happens to a lot of people.

    Many NZ First voters despise National, but they’re not too keen on Labour either.

    I'm not so sure about the second part of that. I'd say they've got a much bigger Labour defector component than National defector. You could maybe say that the traditional old ones were probably National defectors. But that was like 20 years ago. Nowadays they would most likely see National as the party that sold off power companies, legalized gay marriage and encouraged Asian immigrants to buy up all the land and take the jobs. They probably see Labour as the lesser of two evils, and many ex-Labourites also see NZF as the lesser of two evils, if National is the other one. Possibly for all the same reasons.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9465 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A hazy, intriguing crystal ball, in reply to Rob Salmond,

    Completely agree that prediction markets are imperfect

    But then again no prediction method of highly uncertain events is perfect. Even just within mainstream statistics there are a vast number of methods for making predictions, which can give very different results for identical data.

    Prediction markets have the beauty that they can leverage every technique. There is no method that can’t be partially informing a prediction market, nor any information that can’t be taken into account.

    Their weaknesses are that they can potentially be manipulated, and they can have herd effects. Sometimes, of course, the herd effect can actually get it right, the herd may be reacting to something real that other techniques can’t capture. But they can also be spooked by things that other techniques are equally oblivious to. Also manipulation can backfire on the manipulator – it’s quite a hard game to win consistently.

    They’re another data point, and should be treated as such.

    ETA: Which is why I think it's of interest to mention them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9465 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A hazy, intriguing crystal ball, in reply to Alex Coleman,

    My position remains that Labour should burn down Winston's fence

    I think he's the strongest competitor for their voting pool. I don't know if that means they should fight him harder or sweet talk him, but I think they should face up to the fact that they appeal to people with similar political opinions, the main differentiator between them being demographic - the NZF voter is likely to be older and male.

    There is a third possibility - Labour + NZF with Greens giving confidence and supply. This is one that has actually happened before, unlike any scenario with the Greens in actual government. In this scenario Winston has maximum power, and I think he would like it more than a National Party alignment, as his last hurrah in politics. He'd have achieved 3 main political aims.

    1. His own brand maximization
    2. Getting the dastardly Key out of office
    3. Keeping the dastardly Greens out of office.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9465 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Stories: Home, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Gotta stay in practice...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9465 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Stories: Home, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Must be a territorial thing.

    Probably, and not entirely senseless on that account, since they may compete for similar food sources. Or perhaps their young do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9465 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Something we ignore at our peril, in reply to Alfie,

    The proof is there that criminalisation does not work. Drug use is a health problem. Our lawmakers need to grasp that simple truth.

    Yup. I'd go further and say that it's both a health problem and a human right, like any number of ways to harm yourself that abound in society. But I'm not going to hold my breath that even quite switched on people will grasp this, so long have we been under prohibition, so normalized has it become. That debate is confined to what is the best way to prevent harm to health is precisely why prohibition is so compelling. It implicitly presumes that harm is the whole story, the start and end of the entire moral discussion. From there you only have to be a bit of an authoritarian with a lot of power, and prohibition is an obvious and natural step, both as something you genuinely think will work, and cynically know will gain you popular support.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9465 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: The Whaledump Saga: Scooby-Doo Edition,

    Bad couple of years for Slater...fucks The New Zealand Truth newspaper to death, is hacked by Rawshark, takes out Judith Collins, gets busted for contempt of court, is cold shouldered by Key, knocked out by Jessie Ryder, and punked by an internet con-man. How far down can this losing streak go?

    Did I miss much?

    Thanks for all this Keith. It is yet another confirmation about what a joke Slater and his world is. I don't think I'm going to pay it another thought.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9465 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Stories: Home, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    And the tui are bloody everywhere. It really is a most incredible change.

    Auckland is getting this too. Tuis cavort in the trees around my section, and I've seen them in trees in at UoA. No kereru hereabouts, but at Waiheke they're everywhere - they seem to particularly love doing strange falling-out-of-the-sky maneuvers - it's so non-functional that I think it must be some kind of courting display. A lot more kingfishers than I remember there too. What I do get hereabouts that is relatively new is duck infestations. Ducks live pretty much everywhere on the Rosebank Peninsular, possibly because it has swamps on both sides. Duck families nesting pretty much on berms. So cute to see them leading their little duckling teams around. Not so cute to note that their numbers roughly halve before maturity, and I never see dead ducklings around - presumably they are being hoovered up by cats.

    When it first started, I fed the ducks to encourage them. Big mistake. They already do a lot of annoying shit, but when you feed them, that pretty much means they hang around the house shitting in all the doorways, pathways, mats, decks, tables, shoes. Their bodies seem to be fine tuned to whatever it is that they find naturally, and feeding them just makes them shit a whole lot. A better way of encouraging them was to put open water somewhere well away from the house.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9465 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Stories: Home, in reply to ChipMatthews,

    Thanks for sharing that, Chip. You know, I've lived almost all of my life in Auckland, but had never heard there was a suburb called Windy Ridge before. But I've been there quite a few times, just didn't know the name. It's awesome to hear you're there with your mum nearby, and the old memories mingle sadness and fondness liberally together, reflecting life's ups and downs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9465 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Ten Thousand Maniacs, in reply to David Hood,

    They tell a pretty compelling story there. Even when we think our reactions have gone OTT, they're often not in the same ballpark as OTT of the past.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9465 posts Report Reply

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