Posts by BenWilson

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  • Hard News: An unacceptable failure of care, in reply to Sacha,

    Specifically, they say they found no evidence of any impact. But that is quite literally all they say about it, before concluding that there was thus no impact. It's hard to think what evidence there really could be, since anyone asked would simply deny it, unless it was some really blatant thing like a direct order to lay off the colleague's son.

    But does the pressure to treat a colleague's family differently even have to be articulated? It's considered so likely to be prejudicial that I wouldn't be allowed to sit on a jury if the defendant or victim were a colleague's child. For really, really obvious reasons. It seems like a systemic failure that the case wasn't immediately passed to police officers with no connection at all to the father.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8883 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Agony of Vanuatu and the…, in reply to linger,

    since its setup specifically excludes any possibility of actual knowledge concerning the outcomes

    No, it’s the same. If there is a heaven or hell then you will know about it after you die. All that’s excluded is foreknowledge, and we have the same situation here. But we do have science to at least give us predictions, whereas Pascal’s Wager is about something non-scientific.

    ETA: Well OK, not all climate catastrophe has infinite negative values either (presumably that would be complete species extinction), so it's not quite the same cost structure. But catastrophe scenarios are nearly univerally things that we'd regret in hindsight so the decision making side of the wager is the same.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8883 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Agony of Vanuatu and the…, in reply to TracyMac,

    If it is man-made, and we don’t tackle the root cause, it will progress to a catastrophic result

    I'll give you that it could progress to that. It's not certain that it would be catastrophic. If the process is very slow and doesn't involve any particularly disastrous incidents, then the consequences could be low. But they could be high too, and it's quite a risk to take.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8883 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Agony of Vanuatu and the…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But the value of the farm is based on the amount of milk produced not the profit, so they make more milk and lose more money in order to be able to sell their farm for a higher profit.

    That would make sense for the few months the farm was on the market, but not any time that you weren't seriously thinking of selling your farm. It would also make sense if you wanted to borrow a whole lot more money. I think the latter is probably what's going on here.

    ETA:

    None of this makes sense to me but I am not an accountant.

    Ditto to both of those.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8883 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Agony of Vanuatu and the…, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I’m not suggesting it’s OK

    Of course you weren't, and I'm not suggesting you were :-) I thought I was elaborating on your point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8883 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Agony of Vanuatu and the…, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    We can adapt to anything.

    Yes, I don't think many scientists would suggest that we actually wouldn't survive a climate change disaster - it's not an extinction level event for our species. But that doesn't make it OK. The people of Vanuatu will pull through, but this is still a tragic turn of events.

    I do tend to agree with what Ian said earlier, though, that the horrific outcome for Vanuatu involves far more specific failures than our general human affect on the planet's climate. The quite extreme poverty of Vanuatu, leading to inadequate preparation and availability of disaster relief are very, very fixable things. But that was one hell of a storm. I'd be amazed if my house could withstand winds of that strength. What I do believe is that post-disaster the relief would come very quickly. A lot of people died from the earthquakes in Christchurch, but not so many from dehydration and starvation and disease in the days thereafter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8883 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Agony of Vanuatu and the…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I’ve read a number of pieces that suggest that most dairy farms do not produce milk at a profit, the business only makes a profit because of the capital gains on the farmland.

    That could only be because of debt servicing, though. Clearly a freehold farm producing twice the milk of another freehold farm the same size is going to be making more money. It can't be because the intensive farming is in some way less economically viable, otherwise they wouldn't do it. It's just that leveraging to the hilt is back in fashion. Effectively, the banks own the farms and are doing extremely well out of them.

    ETA: What I'm saying is that if an intensive dairy farmer suddenly won the jackpot and became freehold, I doubt that they'd choose to be less intensive in their farm for economic reasons.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8883 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Agony of Vanuatu and the…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    That's GE crops you're talking about? NZ's got a long way to go before it would accept that. We'd sooner aerially dust the whole place with poison to protect the cattle from TB.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8883 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Villainy and engagement, in reply to steve black,

    Really really really no small safety net?

    It's close enough to live that they couldn't edit that sequence out. Nor do I think they really would anyway - it didn't violate broadcasting standards. It was just nasty. The judge appraisal of the performances is also part of the show - it would barely have made sense, since the next judge replied to the criticism. TBH, I think it's actually turned out well that the nation saw the display, because it was the national outrage that led to the canning of the judges.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8883 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Villainy and engagement,

    The only reality I've committed to watching over the years are the Contender types ones. They take people who are already good fighters, but missed their chance for whatever reason (usually they're too old), and they have a monster training camp with some sort of prize (typically a contract) at the end. But I've gradually lost interest, they're all the same. They do have the added dramatic impact that whoever is knocked out of the tournament has often been literally knocked out on the way, and they're understandably majorly bummed. It's an insight into the extremely precarious life of professional fighters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8883 posts Report Reply

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