Posts by Stephen R

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    If they can make the whole get-in-get-out process not involve any sort of manual payment, I suspect it would be a piece of cake for an Uber driver-less car to rock up to a participating petrol station, be filled up, and drive away, and all the payments happen in the back-office and get amortised across all the people who rode in it that day...

    Seems pretty easy, really.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Stop acting like the law is…,

    When there are laws that most people are breaking, but the police let slide unless they're upset with you for some other reason, then that gives the police an enormous amount of potential for influencing behaviour that isn't illegal.

    If you know the police disapprove of something legal, and if they look hard they'll be able to arrest you for something which, while illegal, is done by most people, then you'll tend to not do the thing that the police disapprove of, despite it being legal.

    Which is why, while in some ways I approve of police discretion, I look sideways at laws which are not uniformly enforced, especially with ones that have harsh punishments (and currently the consequences for international travel and some jobs for having a drug conviction are quite harsh).

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 211 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Dear Dudebros,

    There was a line going round university when I was there "maybe all mean aren't rapists, but all men profit from rape".

    My now-wife suggested when we got together that I read a book called "Reflecting men at twice their natural size" by Sally Cline and Dale Spender, where they started by pointing out the things that many women do that salve men's egos and emotionally manage them, with examples like how a woman who claims 50% of the conversational space will be seen as grabbing more than her share by both the man in the conversation and the woman. That men interrupt women in conversation at a rate much higher than women interrupt men, and that seems fair to all the people involved.

    Why do (many) women act this way?

    Conditioning. Being told that's what they should do, by other women, men, society; and the conscious or unconscious fear of rape, abuse and sexual harassment.

    It doesn't require that most men be shitgibbons, just that there are enough shitgibbons for women to (subconsciously?) change their behaviour around men to be more accommodating.

    One reviewer said the authors verged on misandry; but I found it quite compelling, and even now, 25 years later, I find their arguments (what I remember of them) in the back of my mind when I find myself bridling at being interrupted by a woman, or tempted to interrupt them in turn. I am still a work in progress, but my wife thinks I'm still worth keeping around... (at least, that's what she tells me).

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: RNC 2016: A literal shitshow, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    <twitch />

    Fewer Capitalists

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 211 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to BenWilson,

    Can anyone tell me what the interviewer Suzie's last name is? Big, big ups to her.

    Susie Ferguson

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: Three decades on…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Gay men and lesbians who campaigned for the bill were subject to beatings.

    In Christchurch in 1985/86, it wasn't just the people actively campaigning. My girlfriend's flatmate got beaten up, for being one of a couple of blokes walking through Hagley park on their way home to Addington from a night out drinking. A car-load of hoons jumped out and beat the crap out of them for being gay, despite neither of them actually being gay... Put them both in hospital, one with quite serious head injuries.

    I'd like to say there were a lot of dickheads back then, but I'm not entirely sure it's changed.

    Oddly enough, my girlfriend of the time was fairly seriously anti-law-reform, for the convoluted reason that if she was raped, she expected to be anally raped as well, and then she wouldn't have to prove lack of consent in order to get a conviction.

    I'm not sure if that was the real reason, or just one she thought she could give in public. Or whether that's just more evidence that the law had a rep of giving rape victims the raw end of the stick back then too.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: An interview with Ben Goldacre, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It's also the reason I defend so strongly those people who are willing to sit in a committee and try and make those very calls. Yes they will get it wrong sometimes but shit that job is a tough one and anyone willing to take it on deserves respect for their effort.

    My (second hand) understanding is that Pharmac has a way of classifying medicines on a scale that roughly comes out as $/quality life year, and they try to rank all the stuff they could fund in order, and then they work down the list until they run out of money.

    If pharma companies want to improve their chances of having their drug funded, they can come to the party on price (moving their $/QLY up) or release drug studies that show that it's more effective than they thought.

    From what I hear, one of the things that's getting up some noses at Pharmac are the companies who don't release all their study results, just the ones that make them look good...

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 211 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver,

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A cog in the Mediaworks machine,

    I'd have more schadenfreude if I thought Weldon wasn't walking away with well lined pockets...

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 211 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The place where things happen…,

    Some of the criticism of "Harm minimisation" aligning it with prohibition seems to me to ignore one of the biggest harms around drugs - the risk of getting busted, and having to deal with the criminal side of society to access it.

    The downsides of the "War on Drugs" are significant, quite apart from the actual affect of drugs.

    There was a National Radio interview by Wallace Chapman with an ex-doctor in the UK on a Sunday morning about a year ago (sorry for lack of details) where the doctor had taken over a general practice and discovered that there were about 40 heroin addicts on his books that would come in once a week for a prescribed heroin injection. He was initially horrified, but then met the people. They all were holding down jobs, they were healthy, they didn't have many of negative outcomes associated with Heroin use, they weren't involved in petty crime to pay for their habit etc. He continued the practice and added more addicts to his inherited program. In the following two years, nobody on his books died of an OD.

    Then he got invited to a conference in the US to talk about what was working and why, and he came to the attention of the FBI or DEA or similar. That TLA put pressure on the UK government (can't have drug stories that don't involve prohibition, eh?) who basically booted him out of his practice and stopped the prescription heroin provision.

    Within another two years, a bunch of his ex-patients had died, most had lost their jobs, or descended into the stereotypical heroin addict behaviours including crime to pay for their habits, and the doctor was somewhat depressed about the whole exercise.

    Another interview on the same day talked about how 95%+ of the violence around drugs is associated with the illegal nature of the trade and how the dealers can't go to the cops when they get ripped off or threatened, so they need to react with violence themselves (and how more and more extreme violence is a competitive advantage).

    This suggests to me that harm minimisation is definitely not aligned with prohibition.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 211 posts Report Reply

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