Posts by Jason Kemp

  • Speaker: A Singer Must Die - Leonard…,

    I have a couple of Leonards poem collections and they always struck me as completely remarkable. There is a real art to knowing what to leave out. That stands for any kind of art and for poetry especially.

    That recent New Yorker story was great.LEONARD COHEN MAKES IT DARKER in case you missed it from Oct 17th.

    The man was a master. There are many examples but for anyone who loved his music - do have a look back at the various poetry collections.

    Here is a very brief but powerful early poem from the earliest period (late 50's) called


    I heard of a man
    who says words so beautifully
    that if he only speaks their name
    women give themselves to him

    If I am dumb beside your body
    while silence blossoms like tumours on our lips
    it is because I hear a man climb stairs
    and clear his throat outside our door.

    From 'Let Us Compare Mythologies.'

    When I read that the first time I didn't know what a mic drop was. But there it was on nearly every page. RIP. Was he talking about himself in some way? probably not in 1956 but certainly later on that could be a description.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 302 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to linger,

    And also back before Science Media Centre Science Media Centre which is a responsible way to lift the game

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 302 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem,

    Using quantitative measures as a proxy for qualitative ones is problematic and we can’t get away from this. As we are discovering in so many areas at the moment where machine learning and stats are producing results we find unpleasant or surprising.

    Bravo Stephen. Also worth noting that the Google algorithms can and do change from time to time. And the Pariser effect. Just because we see something on Google don't assume that everyone else sees the same view of google. Google is not immutable there are a truckload of filters being deployed between us and the news.

    I also wonder at the ultimate result of ignoring content we don't agree with. There has to be a way of hearing the dissenting views and not just filtering them out entirely. Of course that is what editors / curators do.

    There was a post over on the Conversation I’m right, you’re wrong, and here’s a link to prove it: how social media shapes public debate

    I prefer twitter to FB as it is much more transparent to see where news content comes from and in that sense I am my own curator. I seek out and follow people who are in key roles around subject matter that I'm interested in.

    The fake news thing is real. Social media generally allows for amplification of everything. But not all social media is the same.

    I know some schools teach media studies and I hope that is what I think it is. Hopefully we have enough people taking an interest in media generally to be able to filter some of the propaganda out because that is what fake news is - mostly propaganda.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 302 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Be careful what you wish for, in reply to Greg Akehurst,

    Hi Greg,

    10m fewer voters?

    On the bar chart version I found the difference between this election and 2012 looks to be around 6m less votes – so a huge decline. This time ( 59,915,938 votes) don't know actual number of 2012 but looks close to 66m.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 302 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Be careful what you wish for,


    This graph tells part of the story - by @yanagiz but I spotted it in the tweet linked below. Literally 3m+ Dem voters didn't actually vote depending on which election you look at.

    a Clinton collapse

    Looks like people have so little faith in the system that they just didn't get out there. Perhaps lulled into a false sense of security by the thought that Clinton was picked to win by a margin.

    I had breakfast today with a voter from North Carolina who voted for Trump. He claimed not to like Trump in any way but his key reason was the feeling of the middle class being ignored by Washington. The usual things - jobs being shipped overseas, people exploiting welfare. Obamacare for him increased his healthcare costs and level at which he and his family could benefit.

    Even after a couple of hours I still couldn't get to the bottom of it but he doesn't see this election as the usual contest between Republican & Dems but something else. More a giant protest vote against Washington.

    He sees his countries politics as corrupt and was willing to take a chance on wildcard to see if that change will happen. However he readily admits government is in the pocket of lobby groups. Kind of holding his nose and voting for the lesser of two evils in his view.

    This backgrounder from an unlikely source has relevance globally. Its the inequality factor in my view that links the Brexit and this result.

    How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind

    He makes several points "Everyone Lashes Out When They Don't Have A Voice" and the city / country divide - comparisons are a bit laboured but it was a a countervailing view that we din't hear much about at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 302 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Waterview: The giant up the road, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    And there’s going to be a lot of pressure on the St Luke’s Road interchange by Western Springs.

    Which they’ve managed to bollox up when it comes to the St Luke’s Road offramp

    I'm bemused by the flow-on effects at that St Lukes interchange. For some reason the old small bridge by MOTAT has been replaced by one which is only slightly better and after almost 2 years is still not fully open.

    It has a cycle lane on 1 side and a blocked lane on the other side? I wonder if the disruption to lanes around that bridge and all the extra concrete new traffic islands to block the new lanes is any better than what was there. Plus the actual disruption for 18mths? It seems that the disruption around the project is far worse than the problem it was attempting to solve. Does anyone know why there is a still one lane on that bridge blocked. It is right where a cycle lane should be.

    It has always seemed to me that any change to the St Lukes motorway bridge was almost pointless because of the railway bridge bottleneck by Asquith Ave.

    I'm sure that traffic engineering must be tricky as as soon as a new stretch of road opens regular users will change their traffic patterns but what has happened with the St Lukes Rd interchange just seems inexplicable.

    It looks like they built a much wider bridge just so they can block off access by building new giant concrete traffic islands. Maybe that was revenge for not being allowed to cut down all the Pohutukawa trees? on the other side?

    Those traffic islands might be useful for pedestrians waiting to cross over to Western Springs Stadium but for cyclists and drivers it is all a bit of a puzzle.

    Does anyone know what is going on with the St Lukes interchange bridge - why isn't it finished or even fully open?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 302 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: After the…,

    I do wonder why Phoenix Foundation keep being nominated but don’t actually win at Silver Scrolls. It was clearly a great evening but in retrospect the winner did seem to be a surprise.

    This > What the hell just happened at the Silver Scroll awards?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 302 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: After the…,

    The Silver Scrolls last night were amazing. That RNZ can manage to broadcast on TV via Freeview Channel 50, via YT & Campus Radio and whatever else they did is showing us all how to reinvent TV.

    John Campbell was in his element and the whole tone of the show was respectful and affirming all the way. The tribute to Moana and here speech was heartfelt. The songs performed by special ensembles on the night were all great.

    Steve Abel – NZ’s answer to Nick Cave was indeed a marvel. But then all of those song performances were just great. It has been a long time since I have seen a large music event that had so many happy shiny people.

    One of my friends watched along from Scotland and I know others viewed from all around the world. It is incredible when the main TV channels are such a complete waste of time that RNZ is now the actual real live “radio with pictures”.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 302 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Excited for Auckland!,

    Once again this IRL format is the winner on the day. Picking the less obvious "suspects" for the debate was an inspired choice.

    Based on what I have seen in the video Chloe needs to be part of the new council. Her idea that the Mayor needs to be a visionary makes a great deal of sense.

    At least one of the other candidates seems to think they are running for the CEO role and it looks to me like that is an insincere attempt at profile raising for national politics.

    I enjoyed Ralston's input too. I hope you get loads of viewers because this is what media is made for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 302 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: There in half the time:…, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    There was a story in the Guardian earlier this week Can e-bikes revolutionise long-distance commuting? which concluded yes but the overwhelming impression I got was that this created a whole new bunch of problems for so called "speed elecs".

    The story features a guy who cycles 80 miles a day to and from work and

    All in all it takes him about three and a half hours to commute.

    I'd suggest that if anyone thinks commuting 3.5hrs a day is a good way to organise one's working life then we have a problem right there. However that would be off-topic - just flagging the possibility that maybe people don't need to go to a workplace anyway?

    Perhaps this is an extreme example but...

    It was a speed pedelec – an electric bike that can go as fast as 28mph (45km/h) – that brought about the change. “I love cycling,” Dekker says. “I always wanted to cycle to work, and I tried to do so on my racing bike, but the distance was simply too long. And then I tried out one of these fast electric bikes. Five minutes later I knew my problem was solved.”

    The government of the Netherlands is about to reclassify such high-speed e-bikes as mopeds, meaning their owners will be banned from cycle paths, the bikes must be fitted with registration plates, and riders must wear helmets, obtain a driver’s licence and take out insurance. A similar situation already exists in Britain and many other European Union countries, with e-bikes limited to 15.5mph.

    I bolded that sentence which spells out the unintended consequences of "speed elecs." It probably doesn't apply here but I cycled for years around Auckland on roads with almost no cycle lanes and have been knocked off my bike 3 times.

    What if the irony of these ebikes is that we head back into the wild west where personal safety is again at risk? Hopefully that won't be the case.

    I can see that almost all of the NZ bikes in the Mercury range have 300watt batteries. I don't know if the NZ ebikes are considered speed elec's but perhaps someone has thought about the public policy implications of promoting more highly powered bikes than in other countries. Perhaps there is a chance to be smart about transport policy and consider what happens if a critical mass of commuters swap over to ebikes of the 300w variety.

    Most of the bikes featured look quite ugly to me with the exception of a couple of the BH models.

    I know someone in U.S who has one of the Sondors bikes (Martin Brown mentioned earlier) and the base price there is US $500 although I understand most people pay an extra $250 or so for an upgraded battery and other options. Even allowing for exchange rates that is only $NZ1050. Sure freight (US$250+) and any tax will add to the price but we are used to technology of say batteries going down in price and being reflected in the new price.

    As a "next generation" style bike it would be great if Mercury or some other bike shop investigated the Sondors range.

    OTOH it is great that Mercury are actually thinking about new products and services that are electricity related and hats off to them for the subsidy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 302 posts Report Reply

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