Posts by Tom Semmens

Last ←Newer Page 1 2 3 4 5 Older→ First

  • Hard News: Media Take: The Easter Show,

    One other thing – such was the power of the Christian revolution that common sense tells us there must have been something that set it apart from being just another Jewish sect at a time of great religious tumult in Palestine. To my satisfaction at least, the most obvious explanation is the first Christians had a leader in every way even more exceptional in his power to influence men than, say, Alexander the Great was in his own time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1877 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The Easter Show,

    Well, I’d be interested in which sources they’d cite.

    The first ancient account we have of the life of Alexander the Great is Arrian, who wrote his Anabasis of Alexander in the first half of the second century – that is, some 450-500 years after Alexander’s life. All contemporary accounts are lost. There is plenty of sculpture and coins to affirm his existence, but nothing contemporary to tell us anything of the man. By contrast, we have (if the Bible is taken as a source document) accounts written within 100 years of Christ’s, ummmm, passing on – and the earliest contemporary depiction of Christ (from Dura-Europos) if from about 233-5AD, i.e within two centuries of Christ’s life.

    The point is much of what we “know” about the ancient world is what is inferred, reasoned, guessed and described from a remarkably slim set of primary source documents, supported by archaeology.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1877 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The Easter Show, in reply to Alan Perrott,

    it’s an interesting thing the atheistic attraction to theology.

    So is the attraction of butterfly collecting, the key difference being that butterfly collectors of a particular persuasion have yet to massacre entire populations over matters pertaining to the subtlety of interpreting various Lepidoptera genera. And that is the key problem with theology - it is great intellectual fun and games until someone takes it seriously.

    Imagining the classical mind is so hard precisely because it was a pre-Christian one. That is why I am reasonably sure that Jesus Christ existed, and either he or his immediate apostles made a revolutionary intellectual breakthrough akin to the invention of farming, with or without the support of accompanying miracles according to taste. Certainly, something motivated his followers to prolytise a new message, a new way of seeing yourself that was so powerful that they were prepared to defy and eventually conquer the Roman Empire.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1877 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Branding a Post-Predator…, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    How about we also plant a bit of cotton (I'm sure someplace in NZ has the climate for it) and set up an antebellum style system of agriculture using teenagers in place of Black people.

    Because my idea is JUST LIKE slavery.

    You idiot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1877 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Branding a Post-Predator…,

    Let's park the moggy business for a little while. Because if we are planning to fight a war on pests, then we'll need to mobilise an army to do it - which we can't afford. Unless we introduce conscription - why not have every 18 year old spend 12 months in a conservation army. Imagine 70,000 plus young people trapping, poisoning, shooting, cleaning, replanting, weeding, spying on dirty dairying, standing sentry on individual Kakapo...

    AND in their spare time they could learn civics, visit old people, discover how to get on with a cross section of their fellow citizens, eat properly, get fit, and even get taught a bit of discipline.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1877 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How about that cricket, eh?,

    Although the media hype has and will try and obscure the reality, we were hopelessly outclassed in our first match outside NZ. The tournament was structured in such a way as to favour the co-hosts and then to practically guarantee an Australian victory in the final, should they make it that far. Our best chance of winning the tournament was to face India in the final.

    New Zealand got to play at home on wickets that suited our batsmen and masked our weaknesses. The final itself was played in Australia, on their sort of wicket, with their crowds (and umpires) and Australia has won four of the last five (and five out of seven) tournaments. Last night was our first game away from NZ and all our old batting woes re-appeared immediately when faced by a quality attack on a fast wicket.

    It was a great tournament and Mike Hesson extracted every last drop of performance out of his team but Australia are in a different class. Personally, I really enjoyed the CWC up to the semi-final, but I found the hysteria in the media this past week a huge turn off and I watched a movie last night instead.

    Still, we've got a test series in England in May and we can get back to proper five day cricket.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1877 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Hook, Line and Sinker –…,

    The entire QMS scheme, adopted at the height of Rogernomics, appeared on the surface to be around allocating a tradable property right that would allow for closer management. However the QMS with it’s masses of paperwork, user-pay cost recovery mentality and creation of a massive economic barrier to new owner operator entry (the cost of buying quota, the very high cost of doing business in NZ’s marine sector) has seen what I believe was a planned outcome – the concentration of more and more quota into the hands of large fishing corporations, who can “more efficiently” catch the stock. In particular, the creation of a property right was quite deliberately used to give something for Maori to buy with their treaty settlement money. While the QMS has been quite successful for the extended EEZ, it’s been a disaster for the average Joe Kiwi small business fisherman in the inshore fishery. Once bustling little fishing ports have fallen silent, and the cost of decent, fresh seafood (set by large fishing companies and driven by export prices and big profit margins) means it is now out of the reach of huge numbers of New Zealanders – to me, it is an obscenity that most people in a nation of just 4.5 million surrounded by the worlds third largest EEZ can’t afford to eat fresh fish regularly unless they are rich enough to own a boat or just plain rich enough.

    To my mind, a radical approach is called for within the 12 mile limit. I would abolish the QMS for the inshore (12 nautical mile) commercial finfish fisheries and replace it with licenced fishing zones with strict criteria, for example a tonnage/length/horsepower formula, technology constraints, a requirement for the owner to be aboard when at sea, and a total for allowable days at sea. The biggest advantage of such of system is the elimination of the paperwork overhead of the QMS by-catch, the return of the small owner-operator, and with it the chance to again buy some fish over the wharf without the middleman getting his cut first. It would be less efficient, but it would be way less destructive and it would fufil the important cultural aim of bringing seafood back within range of the ordinary Kiwi family.

    The biggest problem with the general recreational fishery is the refusal of it’s representatives to take responsibility for the massive fishing pressure of the recreational fleet. Tell a recreational fisherman that they responsible for up to half of all the fish caught in the northern region and you’ll be met with outright denial. In Auckland and north the amount of boats around over the summer break reaches pandemic proportions – I’ve seen five boats around the meanest of pimples, and five boats x4 rods is 20 hooks in the water. Some recreational fishing boats I’ve seen have better electronic suites than an anti-submarine frigate. Recreational fishing needs some serious technological handbrakes – I’d ban the recreational use of advanced fish finders straight away if I had my way. The guts of it is we can’t continue to approach managing the recreational fishing fleet of a small area with over 1.5 million people equipped with all-weather boats and advanced fishing equipment in it the same way we did when only half that number lived here and they no had GPS, fish finders or radar and only went out when it was flat calm.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1877 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How about that cricket, eh?,

    This has been quite a different sort of tournament from a rugby world cup.

    The All Blacks go into world cups with the burden of the expectation of the nation they will be victorious, baring their being undone by unspeakable acts of perfidy by dark combinations or being guilty of a gross dereliction of duty.

    The Black Caps on the other hand are in a tournament where any one of four teams could win it and on their day any one of six or seven teams are capable of an upset. In a sense, this is much more like a soccer world cup where there are several genuine contenders and each step along the path is all the sweeter until the final sugar rush of the final.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1877 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Villainy and engagement,

    There’s still a massive gulf between broadcast and online audiences.

    I would bet a Jamie Curry youtube video is viewed by a bigger audience than the X Factor, and she has never received one red cent of taxpayer's money.

    Maybe she should? She is funny, engaging, and very, very New Zealand.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1877 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Villainy and engagement, in reply to dcrobertson01,

    Clarkson might have the "she has got a moustache" brigade rallying to his cause, but in the UK itself as far as I can tell everyone who counts from right to left in the political spectrum basically think he's cooked his own goose. It is impossible to defend someone (or criticise his employer for suspending him) who engaged in an unreasonable, drunken workplace physical and verbal assault, especially when that person was on his last warning.

    My pop-psychology theory is Clarkson is burnt out and bored of the show and is (sub-consciously?) pushing the boundaries to see how much it takes to get himself sacked.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1877 posts Report Reply

Last ←Newer Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 188 Older→ First