Posts by Rich of Observationz

  • Hard News: Standing together,

    The solution to what happened here is to change our libel/defamation laws, not to say that there's something wrong with lawyers using the available tools to represent their clients

    Word.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Standing together,

    [delete that, I see you said what I said, really]

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The perilous birth of the…, in reply to debunk,

    1946? Was it a case study on Hitler?

    Kids, don't inject meth - it may lead you to attempt genocide, start a global war and kill 60 million people

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: To be expected,

    The AU coalition is a long term de facto merger between the National, Country and Liberal parties (rural and urban Tories). Because they have preferential voting, multiple aligned parties can run in electorates without letting Labour in by vote splitting. This allows National/Country to persist where its NZ equivalents (Reform, I guess) have disappeared.

    (See also CitRats / City Vision).

    There is no such electoral logic under MMP. The voters can choose who they vote for, and that vote decides how the government gets created. If people vote for Peters, he may get to form part of a government. If you don't like this, campaign against his policies.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The perilous birth of the…, in reply to debunk,

    No-one is going to "research" these legal highs if they can't even do proper assessments of main stream drugs!

    It's not an easy thing to do, right?

    An antibiotic, you can measure primary outcomes in terms of the progression of the infection. With something like a hypertension drug, you measure blood pressure, which is a surrogate outcome. (I owe Ben Goldacre for this insight)

    Any kind of psychoactive substance, you can pretty much only talk to the subject and see how it makes them feel - it's highly subjective. So if one gets told that something causes kidney failure, brain damage and excessive flatulence, there's a good chance of presenting with appropriate symptoms even if it does none of those things.

    The experiment I would really like to see done would be to introduce an inert placebo into the market and see how many users present at casualty or report unwanted effects.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to Che Tibby,

    i'm against burning it, or using it to fertilise.

    An interesting fact, which you may already know,, is that the fertiliser we use is made from hydrogen extracted from natural gas:
    CH4 + H2O ⇌ CO + 3 H2 => CO + H2O ⇌ CO2 + H2
    N2 + 3H2 => 2NH3

    Hydrogen can also be produced from water using electrolysis with renewable electricity.

    There have been many schemes proposed to use H2 as a transport fuel, but very little in the much simpler task of producing ammonia for fertiliser electrolytically.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Poll Day 2: Queasy,

    I would like the percentages for a control question:
    In the light of the Broomwoggle allegations, should Peter Smith remain a minister?

    I'm betting a large portion of those polled would have a view on this.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Polls: news you can own,

    because landlines or whatever

    Even when everyone had a landline, there was a bias in who picked up the phone, could be bothered to talk to you, etc.

    I believe that pollsters in these cases make an empirical adjustment based on demographics (so they ask people a/s/l and use that) and on how much they missed on previous elections.

    But that works for a known unknown - if you're undersampling 18-25s by 50%, for instance. But what if there's a whole group of voters who you hardly sample at all?

    This gets magnified with small samples and minor parties:
    - if the Wierdo Freak Party gets 1% of the vote, you'd expect they'll have 4 voters in a sample of 400.
    - but say they get all their votes from 18-20s living away from home for the first time, and 95% of these people have no landline.
    - that means you'd expect zero voters in the sample to support the WFP, and that's the case for any population share of vote up to 5%.
    - so after the first election the WFP contests and gets say, 2%, the pollster just adds a 2% fudge onto their 0%.
    - but next time, the unpolled voters switch allegiance to the Freaky Wierdo Party, and they get 5%, despite polling zero every time.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Internet Party, whatever happens,

    They have 1000 members now.

    I think people are missing the point on the Internet Party's commonality with Mana. Both Dotcom and Harawira have been flung in jail by the government. They aren't on the side of "authority". That's enough for a lot of people to side with them, oddly enough.

    Detailed policies don't need to be part of this at all. It's more about having a few MPs in government who will always say no to draconian copyright infringement, spying on NZers and letting the US decide our laws under the guise of dubious free trade agreements.

    It's fully possible that if Mana & Dotcom team up, they'll get to 2.5% (3 MPs) with many of those votes being *new*. If that happens and the Labour-aligned parties get within reach of forming a government, they'll have to concede whether they want to or not.

    And that's why the powers that be are pulling out all the stops on Dotcom - they want National to win, are happy with a Clark-like Labour government of the authoritarian centre, but don't want anyone like Dotcom or Harawira influencing government.

    (I doubt I'd actually vote for them, will probably vote Green, but it's not about me, it's about finding 40,000 voters who are probably quite disengaged from politics. Remember RAM [way more out there than Mana or Dotcom] got 87000 votes in an ARC election once. There's a big grumpy vote).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Muse: Guilt By Association Copy,

    Attachment

    Through a friend of a friend who knows people, I've managed to get a copy of the books inside cover with Hitler's signature:

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

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