The UK licence fee (or at least the need to justify it) also led to possibly the best promo of all time:
You had a 300k house and sold it for a profit and after tax you can only buy a 285k house. But you only paid 200k, so you're still winning, aren't you?
Andrew - I'm not Lucy, but I believe that her point is that due to inflation in the market, the $285K house today is the equivalent in terms of quality to, say, a $180K house back when you bought your original house. So becuase of tax you've effectively lost 10% of housing quality (assuming a perfect market etc. etc.). This is important for the family home, because we actually 'use' that home to live in, rather than just treating it as a tradeable investment like shares.
OTOH, if you trade horses as an investment, you're purchasing them and then selling them without trying to buy an equivalent quality horse. The notional drop in quality in terms of the sort of horse you can buy doesn't matter in and of itself, because you aren't actually using the horse for anything - it's just a unit of value, so all that matters is the straight $$ involved.
Apologies if I've misinterpreted your argument Lucy!
Not quite Matthew - Otago is the only NZ university that predates the University of New Zealand, with the others (except AUT of course) being established as colleges of the UoNZ. The relevant wikipedia article covers the basics.
I thought one of the most interesting things about Tim Hazledine's argument was that he seems to have nicked it directly from Stuart Middleton at the Manukau Institute of Technology.
Oops, thanks for picking that up Lilith__ - I missed that he wasn't the actual originator of the term, but I do think it's fair to say that he's a key populariser of it (BTW, at a quick glance my copy of The God Delusion only has one reference to the term - p380 of 2006 Black Swan UK edition - which doesn't display any ambivalence but effectively argues that brights shouldn't be afraid of being labelled arrogant. Are you thinking of Hitchens rejecting the term as mentioned on that wiki page?).
I can understand the desire for a 'positive' term for an actively non-religious position, but bright is one of the worst terms that Geisert and Futrell could have chosen, and the analogy with reclaiming the term 'Gay' is pretty massively wrong-headed.
As to Dawkins' use of the term 'delusional', that is most definitely not a neutral, value-free word. It's a term associated with being sick, disconnected from reality, and in need of a cure - and carries with it the massive stigma that surrounds mental illness in our society. "Why Religious People Are Wrong" would have been a less sleazily antagonistic title.
I have to agree with Craig here - Dawkins has always struck me as a condescending and unpleasant arsehole. You don't call people who disagree with you delusional if you're interested in genuine dialogue, and you don't come up with a ridiculously pretentious term like 'brights' for people who agree with you if you aren't an arrogant tosspot.
I think Jedi was counted as a non-response
I'm not sure, but it was probably formally counted as 'Response Outside Scope', which is what I think most responses deemed to be humourous/ satirical are classified as.
I would really, really like to see the religious affiliation question moved to the 15+ side of the census
Me too - I think it's an example of the difference between data that's technically correct and data that's meaningful. Even if it's collected for the entire population I think it should only be regularly reported for 15+.
'No religious observance' has been the largest 'faith' category in our census for over a decade
Craig - just noting that while the percentage of people with no religion is definitely growing quickly and is very large by international standards, the above statement isn't really true (although I've heard it repeated quite often). In 2006, 56% of census respondents gave some form of Christian denomination as their religion, while 35% identified as having no religion. You can split up the different Christian faiths, but then you run into a bit of a categorisation issue, as there are far more distinct varieties of religion collected in the Census than varieties of non-affiliation.
Note that the religion question in the Census is a bit tricky, as people are specifically given the ability to opt out (with non-response being consequently very high for Census at about 12% I think), and I've heard several analysts claim that the opt-outs are more likely to be religious than not. The non-religious numbers also include very high proportions under 10, and I think you can make a reasonable argument to exclude this part of the population if you're looking for an 'accurate' picture of religious affiliation. IIRC, it also shows one of the biggest differentials due to ethnicity of any Census question,
No stake in the game here religion-wise, except for the High Church of Data. :-)
* bench science is subsidised about a grand more than law. An arts student gets about four grand less than a law student, i.e. around 13 grand less than a engineering student.
The actual per-EFTS government funding rates are here: http://www.tec.govt.nz/Funding/Fund-finder/Student-Achievement-Component/Rates/Universities/ (that links to the university rates - there are links there for other provider types are there as well). At degree-level (category 2), Science EFTS are worth $10,338 each, while Law and Arts EFTS are both worth $6,014. Engineering EFTS are $11,060.
It's worth noting that these rates are not meant to reflect earning potential but purely the cost of delivery to the institution, nor do they necessarily bear any relationship to the actual student fees that TEOs charge.
Universities have a horrible habit of creating experts and then turning them into managers
To be fair, that's partly because management as a skill in its own right is pretty undervalued - if not viewed with downright hostility (see comments around the horrors of 'managerialism') - by many academic staff. Research expertise (i.e. publications, grants & prizes) is the basis of status in The Academy, so for managers to get the necessary respect they need from people in their Department, they pretty much have to be high-quality experts first. Can you seriously imagine, for example, a Chemistry department accepting as head someone who had 20 years management experience but only an honours degree in the field?