Posts by Rich of Observationz

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  • Hard News: Hate and guns, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    The EU has three times the population density of the USA (and has many densely populated urban areas).

    Closer to home, many New Zealanders* (including myself) live a very long way from the places we were born, and few of us are psychopathic killers.

    *(25%)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5210 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    I'd hope (but wouldn't expect, given the territory) that the organisations producing these apps don't underestimate the technical work involved in getting such a thing to scale and operate properly.

    Not to mention the problems in achieving a critical mass of drivers and riders. Were it me, I'd start in a relatively small regional centre (Queenstown?) where Uber isn't active yet.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5210 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    Does NZTA do field enforcement directly? I thought it was all done by the police?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5210 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    I'd reckon they're liable for GST now - as they're making a supply in NZ, they should be charging GST and reclaiming any GST charged in turn by their driver contractors (or employing the drivers in which case no GST is due but employment law applies).

    What IRD should be doing (which is what they'd do if it was a small NZ business trying this on) is to issue a substantial estimated assessment of GST due as a negotiating point. If Uber refuse to engage then, they get a court order. If the funds aren't forthcoming, they go to the banks and garnish credit card payments with a destination of Uber BV.

    (The banks might whine about this, but in general, if someone owes the IRD (or even an ordinary creditor) a debt, then it's possible to get a court order to divert funds from their creditors before payment - and in the case of NZ credit card holders, the funds pass through an NZ bank before they reach Uber).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5210 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: An interview with Ben Goldacre, in reply to Grant Taylor,

    There is every difference between having the ability to do original research (which obviously requires a deep understanding of the field in question) and the ability to validate material against a framework of knowledge without falling back on 'I trust X, X is right'.

    Typically what you find (beyond the out and out woo) is that the original research made fairly modest claims, but along the chain of PR departments, science popularisers, media reporters and commentators with an axe to grind, those conclusions have been distorted beyond all recognition.

    (E.g. the Daily Heil's continuing programme to classify all matter into things that cure / cause cancer).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5210 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: An interview with Ben Goldacre, in reply to Grant Taylor,

    Or, you can try learning about stuff from basic principles. Want to know about (e.g.) whether fluoridation is a good idea?

    Learn some basic chemistry, like why different compounds of the same elements can have very different properties. Learn some biology around how substances get metabolised and used by the body. Understand some maths so you can deal with quantitative stuff like concentrations and doses. Then get on to more advanced things like the mechanisms of action, epidemiological data and the differences between outcomes and proxies (Ben Goldacre’s books will help you here). Once you’ve done that, you can read papers, look up citations and understand whether the presented findings are likely to be of significance.

    No need to take things on trust if you can develop the right filters.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5210 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: An interview with Ben Goldacre, in reply to B Jones,

    there isn't an alternative electrical industry

    Not many homeopathic software debuggers either.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5210 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Labour and the Greens in a tree..., in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    [a Green withdrawal] would have gained Chchch Central for [Labour] last election

    But that would have made no difference whatever to the number of Labour or Green MPs, which is entirely determined by the party vote.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5210 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Labour and the Greens in a tree..., in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    One does wonder if there will be Epsom & Ohariu-like candidate ‘withdrawal’ and instructions to voters re MP and Party vote in some areas?

    That only works with micro-parties having a single electorate MP (e.g Epsom and Ohariu) where National get extra MPs because Dunne & Seymour don't come off their party vote based totals.

    If the Greens/Labour chose to run a single candidate and won a National-held electorate, they'd just get an electorate MP rather than a list one.

    The only place a single-candidate strategy might work is in Ohariu itself (a no candidate / vote for the National candidate option might be effective in Epsom).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5210 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Geoffrey Palmer has…,

    Another option, and one which might be favoured by those wishing to codify the essence, rather than the letter, of the current status quo is something like the Swedish monarchical model.

    The Swedish constitution nominates a monarchical succession but grants that monarch more or less no powers.

    An NZ constitution modelled on this would replace all the various powers exercised by the G-G on governmental advice with powers directly exercised by the government/parliament, so bills would become law on third reading, governments would be formed by vote of parliament, etc.

    I suspect this would be highly unpopular amongst the many who hold a poetic view of reality.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5210 posts Report Reply

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