Posts by James Francis

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  • Hard News: Quantum Faster,

    I'm going to expose my ignorance and possibly my ludditism (luddism?) but I have to ask this. How exactly will high-speed internet improve the economy? Because, if I remember rightly, that seemed to be the promise. We needed to have high-speed broadband to be competitive in the international marketplace.

    I'm not suggesting that we don't have it or need it but I do wonder how it will benefit us economically.

    I can understand that installing it will create (or at least, maintain) jobs.

    But what else does it do?

    As a product manufacturer or primary producer - which is what a large part of our economy is - will it make a material difference? You can send communications and documents pretty efficiently as it is; will a fraction of a second's extra speed make us more competitive?

    This is what baffles me. If you're uploading or downloading bucketloads of information such as movies - Peter Jackson comes to mind - I can see the advantage. And if you're doing that for your own entertainment, high-speed's going to be fantastic.

    Am I missing something here? What is the advantage to the economy?

    I look to be enlightened.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Safari 4 beta: seriously quick,

    Mark, I have a friend at Massey in Wellington who does cyanotypes. I'll ask her.

    Cyanotype prints are quite exquisite.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: E=mc^2... Your Views,

    Mangled (Somerset, England)

    Ee, that lad Bert, he were a character. We remember him well, we do. He lived just down t’road and there weren’t a day go by when you didn’t see him trudgin’ off to work carrying one of them hypotheses. Aargh, ‘e were different, we knew that, but still there were no side to ‘im. ‘E were as capable of downin’ a pint of scrumpy with the lads as the next man.

    Acksh’lly, it was down the Ferr’t ‘n Fox that ‘e ‘ad ‘is greatest triumph.

    You see, there were a couple o’ things that young Bert were most fussy about.

    ‘E ‘ad this notion that the only way to drink cider were out ‘o one of them fancy German beer glasses, the ones with the ‘andle, you know the ones that oi mean? And ‘e were most insistent, ‘e were. “Ere, landlord,” ‘e’d say. “Gi’us one of them fancy German glasses wi’ the ‘andle. Just the one, mind.” The lads used to tease him something rotten about that, they did. That’s ‘ow ‘e got ‘is nickname. ‘One German beer glass’, they called ‘im.

    The other little peculiarity ‘e ‘ad were ‘is obsession wi’ what ‘e called time and space. You see, when you’re buyin’ a round for 35 thirsty fellers, it takes a little time to get them from the bar to the table but young Bert, ‘e didn’t ‘old with all that traipsin’ back an forth. The way ‘e figured it, the more glasses ‘e could fit on the space of them barman’s tray, the more time ‘e’d save. And ‘e’d puzzle away at this and we’d be yellin’, “ ‘Ere, Bert, us be dyin’ o’ thirst over ‘ere while you be workin’ that out!”

    But ‘e wouldn’t give up, no not our Bert.

    And then, one day, ‘e came in. ‘E ‘ad this look about ‘im. It’s the sort ‘o look you see when your wurzel’s got top prize. And ‘e reached into this box – it were like plucking things out ‘o a black ‘ole – and brought out this glass. And ‘e followed it wi’ another glass and another and another and ‘e stacked them as neat as can be on the tray and there weren’t an ounce ‘o space wasted on that tray. My word, you should ‘ave seen the looks. We was dumbfounded we was. We didn’t know glasses could be like this.

    And Bert, ‘e turns to his young lady, Emma, oo ‘e were walkin’ out, and ‘e say to ‘er, this little smile peekin’ out under ‘is moustache,
    “Ee, Em. See? Squared.”

    The world was ne’er the same arter that and don’t you forget it.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Random Play: He's just an excitable boy…,

    On another note, did anyone ever figure out what "come home to the feeling" actually meant?

    It's the standard vapid feel good but mean nothing fare which passes for branding.

    But now that you raise the question and now that I look at it closely, I figure we really really really don't want to go there.

    No, close that box fast.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Absence of Malice,

    Northland College, Kaikohe, 1970 to 1974. Bunking.

    It was the fullas in the big city schools who did the wagging, eh?

    I was a desultory bunker - mostly in the 7th Form when it wasn't very difficult. Hopping in a schoolmate's car and heading out to the Ohaewai pub.

    A friend and I were caught once by one of the senior teachers. Peter Coupe, a big bearded bear of a man who wore a white lab coat. He growled at us, "How many times do I have to tell you? If you're going to wander around, always carry a piece of paper." And with that, he wandered off.

    Peter Coupe was one of those signal teachers who are never forgotten by the students he taught.

    His lessons were a feast of knowledge - most of it off curriculum. But we lapped it up. Some of the things he taught me I was reintroduced to in my third year at University.

    A good and great man.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Island Life: And some with a fountain pen,

    George is a good name. But it does do a disservice to Georges, two of whom I know and neither of whom seem to be remotely approaching a disaster or crisis.

    What about 'W'. We could even pronounce it Dubya. It could stand for Woe. Or Worrisome. Or Wringer. Or, to quote 11 year old daughter, Whatever.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Island Life: Key and the 'nesians,

    James: originally I was more referring to a metaphorical winter of the political soul

    It's okay, I knew that, Paul. I was just trying one of those segue things. (Waits for applause. Not a sausage.)

    I spotted the word 'denier' and immediately (sadly) thought of stockings. I've just looked it up. A denier is a unit of weight for silk equal to 1.18 grammes. So that makes a climate change denier's argument lightweight?

    Sorry, I'm bored.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Island Life: Key and the 'nesians,

    remember I predicted 3 years of winter ..... (mind you it's a lovely sunny day to day, I can see right out to the horizon .... but it feels like winter)

    Paul, you will be reassured to know that in the dark days of winter there is no point in insulating your house to keep warm. There's an opinion piece in today's Dom Post (I can't find it online, alas) that asserts that health records fail to show any substantive health benefits from insulating houses. He also calls global warming a "contentious theory" which gives you a bit of a clue.

    Who the heck planted this story given that the guy is from an American-based think-tank I can only guess. But we're obviously being warmed up (no pun intended) for Nick Smith or whoever to can the free insulation scheme.

    God, but I love the objectivity of our newspapers.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Punk'd?,

    It particularly concerns me when there is so little attention being paid to the policies of National's first-cab-off-the-rank for coalition talks, Act.

    Sample of one. I tend to do the "head in the sand" thing with Act's policies because I just cannot conceive of them ever being implemented. The memories of Roger Douglas et al are too fresh; there'd be rioting in the streets (metaphorically if not actually) if we went down this path again.

    But...

    It's a good point, Julie.

    Rodney's going to be bargaining no less than the Maori Party. He'll have a bottom line and we only have John Key's word that he wouldn't have Roger in his Cabinet. In not interrogating Act's policies we seem to be happy to accept Mr Key's word.

    Which raises a certain dissonance.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Punk'd?,

    Or some one who has gone toe for toe with the real bad guys

    Okay, I'll fall for it. Who are the real bad guys?

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

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