Steve, in such an exhibition, how many true dalmatians would you spot?
I thought the whole point was they came pre-spotted?
Go on Holiday for a couple of weeks and miss so much. Sorry this is long and late to the discussion.
Couple of thoughts on global warming and it's consequences for NZ.
Skipping any questions about its reality because enough evidence now exists that it is probable if not certain. And as has been pointed out the cost of doing nothing is much worse than the cost of doing something unnecessary.
The issue for me is why the hell not do smart things to reduce CO2 emissions. There are a bunch of things we could choose to do that would be good for NZ regardless of whether the globe is warming mostly involving becoming completely energy independent or at least selling renewable energy to pay for the oil we do use.
It is entirely true that changing NZ’s emission will do stuff all to change the planet. However it is also true that by doing smart stuff we can improve NZ’s economy at the same time as reducing emissions.
But the flip side is we shouldn’t do stupid shit. Current rules are dumb, chop a tree down and plant a new one = no carbon cost. Chop a tree down and plant one a kilometre away and you pay carbon cost. This isn’t smart and doesn’t help one of our best industries, forestry. Forestry isn’t perfect but using Pinus radiata to make paper is a shit load better than using a rainforest tree to make paper.
More stupid shit. Burn coal in NZ pay carbon cost, ship same coal to China so they can burn it pay no cost. This stuff is political stupidity.
Equally if we screw over our farmers we can actually destroy NZ’s economy and yes NZ’s economy is still mostly dependent on farmers – which isn’t the worst that could happen but it isn’t necessary either. It really doesn’t make sense to count a cow that eats grass and burps as a net carbon emission – the CO2 was fixed from the atmosphere by the grass and although methane is a worse greenhouse gas than CO2 it is still a relatively neutral cycle. Sure engineer the rumen bacteria so they don’t produce methane but don’t ban the cows or tax the farmers. Yes genetic engineering of rumen bacteria is possible and potentially could both reduce emissions and improve yield – but it will take time and a lot of science to make it work and field trials. We can also engineer the grass itself to make it easier to digest. How committed to the planet are you? Are you willing to use GE to save the planet?
We can make huge changes to our fossil fuel usage.
NZ is energy rich.
Renewable energy rich.
We can generate energy using hydro, wind and novel technologies better than most countries. We could, if we wished to, essentially stop using fossil fuels completely and run everything on electricity generated from renewable sources and still have energy left over to sell. But to do that would require a serious retooling of our manufacturing economy and also a will to have wind farms and hydro lakes, and not just in some else’s back yard but actually in our own back yards. Do you really care about your pretty hillsides more than you care about the planet?
We could develop technology and use technology to make small/medium scale energy production feasible and economic. And we could change our electricity supply and distribution to make local energy production easier. We could electrify public transport and our whole fleet of cars if we chose to and still have energy to spare.
The really stupid thing is all the above can be done at a profit. Not for those currently selling non-renewable energy of course. But still at a profit for NZ.
As for China – well I’m not as pessimistic as some about China. They have demonstrated a remarkable will to use innovation and science to advance their lives. It seems very likely that they will skip past fossil fuel dependence much quicker than the Western world did. In short they are much keener to build and use the best technology to generate power than to use NZ coal long term. But yes for now they are bad and I suspect that will continue for a decade or so. But I kind of think China will end up leading the world in “green” energy production simply because it’s good economics for them to do so. If we are smart we could develop some of that technology for them instead of using China as an excuse to do nothing.
BART is great
Why thank you Dinah :).
It did however cause me some confusion when I first went to SF.
We visited SF several times when we were living in Davis and found it quite hard to find. It such a big city that you can drive/bus/BART/walk around for ages and still miss seeing the good stuff. We did enjoy crab cakes on Fisherman's wharf - however cliché'd. Great Yum Cha at a place called Yank Sing. The Legion of Honor is so cool with it's bronzes. Eventually we figured where to go in SF. But the best part about SF is it's so close to Sanoma and Russian River with their yummy wines.
throttling of creativity by the deadweight make-believe managerialism
I love this line. If I can be forgiven for ranting a little...
I work in one of New Zealand's research institutes and have done for nearly 20 years. When I started the place was full of scientists and technicians working hard to discover something new and/or pass knowledge on to people who might benefit from it, like orchardists. There was a bureaucracy of course but it was made up of civil servants, many of them ex-science staff and almost all of them felt part of the process of science. There was some dead weight but surprisingly little. There was bad management, but it was honest incompetence, which is somehow more forgivable.
Over 20 years we have become a business. We have management structures that change every few years and bright CEOs with real business experience. We have processes and milestones and reports and commercial managers and... well you can see where this is going.
It isn't that we can't still do good research, we can and do. It's just that so many of the people here now have no interest or involvement in doing research or getting that research to those who would benefit from it. Instead they manage. And to be fair some of them are very good at managing. But you get a very real sense that they don't care what they manage, they will be happy to move on in 3 years. Their goal is a KPI, not getting a new technology to the growers.
To me that's the sad part of the change. In the good old days (as if things were always sunny back then) I like to think pretty much everyone who worked here felt they were personally part of a research institute and if they didn't do the research themselves then what they did do helped others do the research. And now ... not so much.
The people who did the research used to be the whole point of the institute, their creativity was the institute. And now they are simply productive units to be replaced with cheaper productive units if possible ... sigh. The point of the institute seems to rest behind a suit and is no longer really fathomable to a mere scientist, only a manager has the skill to understand it.
What does this have to do with economics? I think it reflects so much of what modern economics is about. There is the idea that one does not need to be connected to actually doing something. There is no need to justify ones salary and the benefit your job genuinely imparts to society. The mere act of moving money is an end itself.
It is of course more complicated than that, or so I'm told.
If I could do more I would.
So why do you say this doesn't work? Canada and the US seem to have implemented (albeit at the flour level) a successful food supplement program that people seem to think has worked.
I'm not sure I understand why supplementing a common food product with a vitamin that has been shown to be harmless, but for a group of people is beneficial, is a bad thing at all.
Could we do better - um maybe sure. Supplementing RTDs and cola might work but I'm not sure the vitamin is stable in such solutions.
I still think arguing against this because it possibly isn't the complete solution is a weird argument.
Even if they have other sources, it sounds to me as though it's still likely that the women for whom it's intended will get insufficient by this means.
So your logic is because we can't put as much in as we should we should put none in?
Because we can't eliminate spina bifida babies and prevent abortions of spina bifida babies - let's instead have more.
Stupid analogy time - because some people don't wear seat belts we should repeal the seat belt law??
Thank you for putting the science links in but I fear stupidity has already won this fight.
Yes you can get B9 from veges but it is somewhat dependent on the soils the plants are grown in. Unfortunately NZ soils aren't great for promoting B9 accumulation.
It's worth noting Canada and the US fortify flour - which means all flour products get B9 supplementation. A lot of the flour in NZ is made elsewhere which makes B9 supplementation at this point more difficult.
Note this is a public health issue and an economic issue. Children with neural defects cost a fortune to help live reasonable lives. It is cheaper by far to prevent them developing the disease than to treat it.
Oh and for the silly woman on breakfast TV complaining about eating "chemicals" - you are made of chemicals and everything you eat is chemical you ignorant .... angry moi?
Final cynical point - I wonder how many lunches My Key has had with the manufacturers of B9 pills that are at the moment sold to all pregnant and planning women. A public health initiative like this would cut into their profits something awful.
When someone you like* does something terrible, that creates a contradiction: how can I like this terrible person?
You're right Stephen. But I think there is another part to this as well. At least for me there is. If someone I know and like does something terrible - how can I be sure I can't also do something terrible?
In other words "what stops me being a wife or child beater?". For me simply asking that question of myself provides some of the answer.
I'm still a little angry about the degree of enabling that went on around him
An awful lot of folks seemed to want to excuse his behaviour. Like you I was angry and disgusted by much of what was said.
Because they weren't even helping their friend when they did that.
Exactly! You don't help someone who has a problem with violence by excusing it. He needed the help of his friends to face his own failure and learn to never do it again. Instead they were excusing and cheering him.
"Empathise • verb understand and share the feelings of another"
Joe you can understand and share a feeling without acting on it the way someone else does. I can get some sense of the emotions that go with stress and anger, which are probably the emotions Veitch was feeling. That doesn't mean I go on to do violence to another person. I'm not trying to derail nor do I really want to argue this much. I think we are both disgusted by what Veitch did.
She has, of course, had help in finding these words.
I suppose you are right, but as cynical as I am I think I prefer to believe that she has had to try and explain it to herself so many times that when she answered the interviewer the words were familiar and perhaps better thought out than for a question she hadn't asked herself a million times.
Having never hit my wife or children I am not able to empathise in any way.
That's not what empathy is about. Last time I hit anyone I was 16, but it doesn't mean I can't sense somehow what kind of screwed up life he was leading. There is no question that what he did was wrong. But empathy and understanding can help prevent others doing what he did. Understand his failure and you have a better chance of preventing anyone else hitting their loved ones.