Posts by Moz

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Two phrases I find myself saying more and more often are {1} and {2} and {3} and {4: mathematically challenged}

    QED?

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 766 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: DNC 2016: Beyond weird, most…,

    And the media narrative will focus on finding and amplifying the "Trump over Hillary" BernieBros, because anything that can help tilt the field towards Trump is good. Sorry, I mean "conflict and excitement means clicks".

    On the other side, I don't think this will actually be the incident that makes politicians start caring about reinforcing electronic privacy rather than stripping it away, but I hope it will help.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 766 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…, in reply to linger,

    I may be slightly biased, as I’ve personally walked away from a few cycle vs. car [and subsequent tarmac vs. head] crashes, partly thanks to wearing a helmet.

    Helmets are another population issue, not a personal one. It is almost certainly true that if you are someone who will ride regardless, the helmet makes you safer. Cycle planners have the "four types of cyclists" and it's the 50% in the middle who are "interested but concerned" that matter for the helmet debate. If half the crashes involving the the 10% who already ride can be mitigated by helmets that's kinda nice... but if it comes at the cost of another 10% of the total not riding at all, that's a net loss. Unfortunately the evidence is that mandatory helmet laws have exactly that effect. The overall result is that more people die or suffer injury/disability by being fat and unfit than are saved by not getting head injuries. But that benefit happens at a population level, while some of the benefits of a helmet happen at a personal level (the others happen at the idiotic "fewer cyclists in my way, more money for roads" level that only people who perhaps would have benefited from wearing a helmet can understand).

    Amusingly, more brain injuries could be prevented by "shower helmets" or pedestrian helmets in general, than by bicycle helmets. Buy a non-slip shower mat, it'll do you more good than a bike helmet.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 766 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…,

    My version of fun normally involves building stuff, ideally building stuff to solve a practical problem. Put me in the workshop, ask me to make something, I'm happy. Sustainability in the workshop generally means having someone who's covering the costs and more importantly, taking away whatever I make. Otherwise it just piles up until I can't get into the workshop any more.

    Speaking of fun, can we talk about cars?

    One relevant example is the 10-odd years I spent "saving up to buy a car" before deciding that I didn't really need a car, which was good since I couldn't imagine ever having so much money that I could justify wasting some on a car. Cars cost a fortune to run, regardless of how much they cost to buy (did you know you can often get more than one utterly awesome bicycle for the price a of a car?) Then you have to park them, and clean them, and worry about which bits are about to break, and how you're going to get from A to B in them, and where to buy fuel for them and geez, just get on your bike and point it in the general direction you want to go, already. For me travelling means: get my stuff, get on my bike, go. Not wait for people, wait for the scheduled service, wait for peak hour to end... just "I'm ready, go". That's not "make sustainability fun" that's "OMG, how do you stand all the crap that goes with anti-sustainability (FFS I would be there by now if you'd let me ride my bike) and please for the love of god stop faffing about and get in the car".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 766 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…, in reply to steven crawford,

    abstinence has got to be fun to be sustainable

    This is something I struggle to understand. To me, living in a warm, comfortable house is a good thing, and it's something I'd be willing to pay for. The idea that I can have a warm, comfy house that's cheaper is mind-blowing. I am, above all else, a tight-arse (also literally, as I also cycle everywhere). But instead I see people everywhere paying a premium to make their houses less comfortable and more expensive to operate. It's weird.

    Much the same applies to a whole range of stuff. Our neighbours mostly mow their lawns. With two stroke mowers. We use a silly little electric mower that you just put the battery in and it goes, because most of our formerly-lawn is growing veges. Or fruit trees. Instead of spending time trying to start the mower, I spend it harvesting the survivors of whatever random stuff I planted. I'm a darwinian gardener... I plant whatever seeds are cheap, and a lot of it dies. What grows, I eat most of and let the rest go to seed. I like wandering round the garden eating stuff. I mean "gathering stuff to take inside and make dinner with". Ooops.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 766 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…, in reply to David Haywood,

    Ultimately a system of international GHG traceability on goods and services would solve numerous problems. This would work in a similar manner to the

    ... contamination tracking that dairy already use. We already have a system that allows annoyed customers or their next of kin to find out exactly where that block of cheese came from, down to the farm(s) involved, so those responsible can pull the rest of that run of cheese before too many people are affected. Or so goes the theory.

    The problem is "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" at a whole range of levels. As you point out, the incentives to cheat exist at every level and the benefits accrue to society at large. Alternatively, a lot of people are standing round saying "I would rather die"... than be the first to make a sacrifice for the greater good. Unfortunately we lack the services of a Cohen the Barbarian (via Pratchett) to help those people realise that particular ambition.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 766 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Best Possible Taste, in reply to Emma Hart,

    There are studies which indicate that both men and women perceive the same woman with larger breasts to be both friendlier, and stupider.

    I recall reading one of the studies on academic slavery in the US where women teachers got the most astonishing remarks in their student evaluations, with one of the patterns being that more attractive = dumber... but also more likeable. I wonder if breast size is a useful proxy/indication?

    The MythBUSTers episode on tipping springs to mind, they padded Kari up to various degrees and watched what tips she got serving coffee. In shocking news, more padding meant bigger tips than anything else she could do. From men and women.

    It would be really entertaining to find someone in the micro-education sector (where course are day-to-week long) and see if the same effect applies.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 766 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Best Possible Taste, in reply to Sister Mary Gearchange,

    HR is a wasteland

    HR is there not to keep the peasants from revolting, but to keep revolts from damaging anything important (the company and board first, senior executives second). Once you understand that many "problems" with HR can be seen as necessary to its functioning. You may also find the list of naughty words above useful.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 766 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…,

    You know, let's just focus on measuring the scale of the problem for now, shall we.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 766 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: A Tale of Two Iceblocks: Part…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But this time we let some accountants into the room and they came up with all these exciting formulas and theories about how they could use economics to solve the problem.

    I'm going to talk about Australia because it's easier for me. NZ *had* an almost entirely renewable electricity system, but some people decided that burning fossil fuels was important.

    We also get absurdities like Australia producing huge amounts of coal, but since it's largely exported as coal it doesn't count as greenhouse gas emissions. But when Australia stupidly burns the stuff to make iron, steel or aluminium, that counts as emissions. When the end product is sold, that doesn't count as emissions at all, per David's original point. It's all bullshit (economics) IMO.

    One of the many worst parts of it is that Australia has plans made and costed by at least three different groups including one commissioned by Treasury to shift to a 100% renewable electricity system. Technically it's all straightforward, the net benefit depends on assumptions about prices (to get it to cost money you can't just ignore the cost of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change adaptation, you have to assume that solar will revert to 1970's pricing or we'll be able to buy second-hand coal plants from China for next to nothing or some other hand-wavy nonsense)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 766 posts Report Reply

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