Posts by Brent Jackson

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  • Hard News: A GCSB Roundup, in reply to Sacha,

    ... and each week someone gets kicked out, but you can never find out why.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: Getting There is Half the Fun,

    Thank you so much for sharing your escapades in such a humourous manner. Makes me feel somewhat guilty of the long haul flights we have done with our children, without mishap. Although boy did lapse into unconsciousness as we queued for passport control in Libya after 48 hours of travel from NZ. Then things got a bit weird as there was an irregularity with one of our passports. After I had lugged comatose boy through immigration, our 7 yr old girl was stopped because she didn't have a visa. We had been informed that she didn't need one, but unbeknownst to us this is because Libyans can travel on their mother's passport until they are 8. My wife stood firm, and after a very tense 30 minutes, they were finally allowed to join us in Libya.

    One thing we did realise after our first long haul segment, is the children's meals are totally inappropriate for our kids : Chicken nuggets (deemed inedible by the kids), "fries" (barely edible), chocolate bars, biscuits, sweetened dairy food and sugary drinks - no fruit or vegetables at all. We got in touch with the travel agent and got their meals changed to 1 adult meal, and 1 fruit platter, which they shared on all our other legs. I'm sure it helped. Because special meals arrive before the main meals they got to demolish that first, which is good because children are not reknowned for their understanding of the logistics of delivering meals to a planeload of passengers when they are seated such that they receive their meal later than almost everyone else.

    LAX being bad is definitely not a recent thing. It is the worst airport I have ever been to - a 2 hour transit in 1997, that was inexplicably lengthened to 4 hours, in a grimy room with no windows, and insufficient seating, ventilation, and lavatories, and a complete lack of food and drink. Staff unfriendly and unhelpful, who enjoy shouting at you. Eventually an AirNZ flight attendent brought a trolley load of sandwiches and water pottles off the plane. I though the poor guy was going to be killed in the crush.

    Hope your travails can become mere travels.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Kitchen Hacks, in reply to BenWilson,

    Must get a better BBQ, but the old dunger I inherited when my grandmother had her stroke has never missed a beat in 10 years. No hood, though

    My hack for that one is an old zip electric frypan lid. If something on the BBQ needs steaming or all round heat, then just cover it with the lid.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: MPs' Pay, in reply to BenWilson,

    The median income should include people who earn nothing, so that they are further incentivized to reduce unemployment, as well, or perhaps to raise benefits.

    This won't work. The median income (by definition) is the middle value. Any movement in the bottom values (eg minimum wage earners and unemployed) will make no difference unless they go past the middle value. For example, if all the unemployed got jobs that earned less than the median income, there would be no change in the median income.

    You could use average income (ie mean), but then they'd be rewarded for making rich people richer, which pretty much happens automatically anyway.

    Perhaps a combination would work best, such as the average of incomes excluding the upper quartile (ie the average of the incomes of the bottom 3/4 of the population).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The United States of Surveillance?,

    I encountered targeted advertising for the first time a couple of months ago. I checked out some online airfares for flying to Sydney to see an international concert act. The following week I got targeted online ads from Webjet on two different websites for airfare specials for flying to Sydney for the exact day that I had planned to go. I found it quite unnerving, even though it was pretty obvious what had happened.

    I'm not sure I'll be using the Webjet site in the future, even though I admire the smarts they've put into this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The United States of Surveillance?, in reply to BenWilson,

    Heh, Big Data to find criminals and terrorists. It’s hilarious how silly the idea is. How much money could be expended on computers, taken away from actual coppers and intelligence agents, how much it will actually reduce their chances of finding what they’re looking for.

    The amount of money spent on anti-terrorism in the USA since 9/11 must be ginormous. Imagine how many lives could have been saved if it was spent on something mundane like preventing car accidents or smoking.

    I heard that the increase in deaths from car accidents in the year after 9/11 when Americans became plane averse, so did more long distance driving, was actually a greater loss of lise than the 9/11 event itself. Perverse, eh ?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Quickfisk: Youth Unemployment,

    Nice fisk.

    I find graphs like that (not your one) particularly annoying, in that they appear to be deliberately misleading. The graph on the left, a reduction is bad (though it takes a while to work that out becuase the graphs have similar shapes), and the graph on the right is portrayed as though a reduction is good. But when you delve into it, it's actually neutral - a reducing ratio may be (relatively) good for young adults, but it is bad for older adults. For society as a whole it could well be better to have an increasing ratio, as young adults are less likely to have dependents.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: D-Day for Dunne (updated),

    According to the draft Hansard, the Speaker didn't refer to "legal advice" :

    Mr SPEAKER: This is a matter that is serious, but it is also a matter for which there is no precedent. I have decided, after taking advice and giving serious thought to this matter, to allow the member and his party some time to put the matter right. I accept that the points that have been made by Mr Mallard, by the Rt Hon Winston Peters, and by the Hon David Parker are made genuinely, but they are, in fact, challenging a ruling that I have made, and that in itself will lead to disorder. I have made my decision—[Interruption] Order! No. I have made my decision. My decision stands. But—

    It was Winston Peters who first adds the word legal :

    Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. New Zealand First wishes you to know that if your ruling is that we cannot see the legal opinion on which you make your judgment, then we are going to boycott this Parliament for the time being.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Notes & Queries: Paul,

    Thank you for this enlightening piece of writing. I am in awe of your patience and beneficence. Thank you for sharing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A plea for sanity on the…,

    Wrote up my submission, and went to submit it, but all I got was a message saying that submissions closed on 31-May-13. I know it's my own fault for leaving it to the last minute, but I'm still a little annoyed,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

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