Posts by Bart Janssen

  • Hard News: Media Take: Te Mātāwai and…,

    I'm crap at languages, mostly because I can never gather the will to spend the necessary time, and partly some natural ineptitude, my high school French teacher will attest to that.

    So it was with some disappointment that I heard a Discovery podcast recently about bilingualism and it's positive impacts on resistance to dementia in later life as well as the benefits that are becoming clear in learning.

    I doubt I'll ever commit to spending the time needed to become fluent in any 2nd language unless I'm forced to by immersion - which turns out to be the best way to learn 2nd languages - they are now teaching kids 2nd languages by teaching other subjects (eg art) in the 2nd language rather than teaching the language the way I failed to learn French.

    But I am trying to pick up some of the pronunciation and some more words of New Zealand's first language. At some point I'd like to at least be able to say sorry and thank you and where's the loo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Hate and guns, in reply to Gabor Toth,

    as they will generally ignore any argument when basic terms are used incorrectly

    In the same way people will argue global warming is not real because on page 374 there was a typo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Hate and guns, in reply to izogi,

    How does that work? Given the constitutional stuff, to what extent can a town or municipality in the USA get away with regulating guns?

    Same way any town regulates things like parking and traffic rules. 2nd amendment has failed to stop University campuses becoming gun-free as well. Supreme court has long established that 2nd amendment is nowhere near as strong as gun-nuts think it is. Essentially you are allowed to own a gun but towns/businesses/universities are also allowed to restrict guns within their domains as well.

    As weird as it sounds each town has “rights” to control activities like possession of weapons in public spaces that are equal to the “rights” of the individual to own a gun.

    Of course those “rights” can and do get tested in courts regularly which makes the lawyers rich. And of course the elected officials can change the rules as well.

    NB I am not a US constitutional lawyer but that my understanding

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Hate and guns, in reply to Angela Hart,

    the US is the largest free range asylum in the world

    It's also worth remembering that the US is really really diverse. Sure the gun nuts make good TV - but there are thousands of towns with strong gun control regulations - they don't make the news because they are boring and moderate.

    There is a large number of people in the US for whom sensible gun licensing is just reasonable and they don't feel threatened by it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Hate and guns, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    downplaying the NRA’s influence is empty hypothesising

    Sadly you are almost certainly right. But still, leadership is essential. Obama repeating the same “isn’t this terrible” speech hasn’t been that.

    I think you're wrong on that.

    There is a section of the US population that will never be convinced that any kind of gun control is good but Obama has pretty carefully been avoiding engaging with them.

    Instead every speech has been targeted at the middle. Not ever suggesting preventing people owning guns but always defining guns in the same terms as driving a car. Effectively laying the groundwork for a set of laws that makes it safer to own a gun. He's done that knowing full well that he cannot make any of those laws in his term. And also knowing full well that because the US middle is weird by any normal standard that the process will be slow.

    But just like improving the safety of cars and just like regulating smoking he is setting the stage for a discussion of sensible controls.

    And part of that is highlighting each and every time guns are used inappropriately.

    Obama won't get credit for the eventual change in gun licensing and regulation but he is setting the stage for it to happen.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Hate and guns, in reply to Alfie,

    US gun laws will probably come under scrutiny again, but sure as hell, the issue will be dropped soon after. Because… National Rifle Assn.

    While the NRA is disgusting the problem is not the NRA. The problem is that US politicians are corrupt and take money from the NRA to enact (or block) laws to the direct harm of the people they purport to represent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Hate and guns, in reply to Alfie,

    If such a list even exists in the US.

    No such list exists.

    It is entirely possible to be on an FBI "no-fly" list because of perceived terrorist threat in the US and still be able to buy assault weapons.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Hate and guns,

    Check out ‏@igorvolsky on twitter – as he’s done previously his feed is again a reminder of just how corrupt some US politicians are and how morally bankrupt those politicians offering “thoughts&prayers” really are.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: I Fell Down, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    learning to not get discouraged and try and debug and fix things when they don’t work is an important life skill

    I'm an occasional woodworker and one of the most powerful lessons was learning how to fix mistakes in wood. It turns out that woodworking books are full of neat tips for fixing things you get wrong. Something that teaches you a) everyone screws up and b) you can almost always fix wood and nobody will ever know you made a mistake - unless it's on u-tube :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: I Fell Down, in reply to David Haywood,

    indispensable for cutting

    Can I suggest GIANT LASERS!

    and for those who like giant lasers http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1613/?lang

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

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