Posts by st ephen

  • Hard News: Vision and dumbassery, in reply to nzlemming,

    That NewZealandInc felt the thoughts of Michael Basset were worth posting says it all really:

    You have to feel sorry for John Key that he’s been subjected to so many off-stage alarums and excursions during this, the dirtiest election campaign of my lifetime. It started with Hager’s Dirty Tricks book, dropped close to the campaign, leaving insufficient time to check the details. Hager calculated on our media being sufficiently full of gullible journalists who would fall for his careful selection of stolen emails. But the public became more and more angry and all but a few journalists backed off after a week.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Vision and dumbassery,

    I read a profile on John Campbell some time after the three-year TV3 investigation into the GCSB had aired. He ruefully admitted that they had grossly over-estimated how much the average punter cares about this stuff. The average punter genuinely believes that politics is dirty on all sides, Dotcom is a dick, spies will be spies, and if you're not a pedophile or Al Qaeda you have nothing to fear.
    Key supporters might concede that they would have something to fear if a far-left government was in power, which in their view just makes it all the more essential that the government does everything in its power (and a few things that are technically not in its power) to keep the left out.
    The only hope is to appeal to self-interest - mass surveillance might be a problem if government Ministers were so corrupt that they accessed information and passed it on to attack blogs and a compliant media in order to harass and smear ordinary citizens for political, business or personal reasons. But that would never happen in NZ, right?

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: 2014: The Meth Election, in reply to DeepRed,

    I thought the point was that Hager's book used all the "political" material obtained from Slater's computer, and he chose not to use personal stuff that wasn't strictly relevant. I don't understand why people think the Whaledump material passed on to journos is going to provide the basis for new stories. Doesn't it simply confirm that the email/chat discussions referred to in the book did take place?

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Telling Our Own Tales, in reply to Bruce Ward,

    You left out this crucial lead-in to that quote:

    Over a three month period they watched and categorised all publicly funded programmes, with the exception of news and current affairs, that were broadcast...

    So the Auckland vs Chch hours have nothing to do with news or documentaries on the earthquake or any other issue, and presumably everything to do with Go Girls, Nothing Trivial, Shortland St, The Block etc.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God,

    The kids at those "no science" schools are probably not missing out on much compared with their peers elsewhere; making hokey pokey once a year seems to count as teaching science.
    As it was described to me, there are three subjects taught in NZ primary schools: English (Reading/Writing), Maths, and "Topic", where Topic is Music, Physical Education, Art, Civics, History, Geography, Social Studies, Personal Hygiene, How to Approach Dogs Without Getting Bitten, Beach Safety, Road Safety, How to Escape From Perverts, Science, Bible Class, Self Esteem, Kiwiana (or Why NZ is so Great), Te Reo, Sign Language, Information Technology, Bullies and How to Stop Them, Healthy Eating, etc. Outside experts are used to teach a lot of that and it may be time to accept that we have to do the same for science. We have loads of under-employed science graduates who could deliver something worthwhile. Children are natural scientists - they ask lots of questions and love experimenting - so there's no need for the gimmicky explosion stuff inflicted on jaded teens.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Steven Joyce: Prick or Treat, in reply to NBH,

    It is worth noting that Peter Gluckman’s been the driving force behind the National Science Challenges and they’re one of his pet projects; I’m somewhat surprised that no one’s asked him for his views on all this yet.

    Don't be surprised if few scientists are willing to go public with their views on Gluckman's role in the process.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate,

    Seems to be quite a bit of bioplastics work going on at Scion. Based on waste plant material I think, so no need for new GM organisms or displacing food crops.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Taking a very big gamble,

    Nice to know the government prefers to have ambulances lined up at the bottom of cliffs rather than fences at the top.

    Someone was talking about this in another context last week - National is all about "freedom of choice" and "personal responsibility". Hence no fence at the top, and ambulances run on a commercial basis at the bottom. Remember that, and you'll have a better chance of understanding their weird policy choices.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Another Saturday Night, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Perhaps from the rugby league comments team when viewing the replay: "He has gone outside his man and done him for pace, then he's come off his right foot and beaten the cover" sort of thing..

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fact and fantasy, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Farmer Green regards the NZ Forest Dept decision to go with Pinus radiata rather than Cupresssus macrocarpa (or lusitanica) as one of our worst national decisions.

    More accurate to say that by planting species other than radiata pine, NZ lost out on billions of dollars worth of revenue. Radiata wasn't even in the top ten by 1913, with plantings of larch alone outnumbering it by 100 to 1. Long after commercial investors had switched to almost 100% radiata, the State persisted with other species (stopping only when Treasury imposed a ROI hurdle). A bit harsh to blame the dominance of radiata on the NZFS then.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

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