Posts by BenWilson

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

    Topic for another post, but in short, it's going well enough. If you want to follow it a bit closer, email me. Link is the envelope icon at the top of every post.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9792 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Geoffrey Palmer has…, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I guess a referendum is the safety valve there, then. And that would definitely need a good strong process of ensuring strong public debate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9792 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: I am a Really Useful Engine, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Are you me?

    Word, sister. This is a fantastic post. I have so much to say on it, but unfortunately it will have to wait a week, while I work my way through the literal mountain of unpaid work I'm doing. I've got an assessment a day, data to mine, letters to proof, people to wrangle, mentors to consult, constitutions to write, kids to care for, lifts to give, food to cook, sites to moderate, deals to cut, payments to process, books to keep, taxes to pay, and entire house to move. By next Friday. I can only make this post because I've got in the habit of writing almost as fast as I can talk. Because I have to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9792 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Geoffrey Palmer has…,

    Sir Geoffrey isn’t expecting change soon. He suggests the adoption of a Constitution might not happen for 20 years, which, if we are to have one, seems like a reasonable time scale

    Yes. It's an important enough thing that 20 years might well be how long it takes to forge a consensus on it, and it would not be a wasted 20 years. It's important to get it right.

    Personally I'm rather undecided on the necessity. The concept of "super rights" seems to me to have considerable moral dangers, particularly since rights themselves can often be a shaky moral framework. Ultimately the problems occur when they compete with each other. I do accept that they're the most practical invention so far, at least as far as laws go, but I'm not sure that taking them to the level of enshrinement is that wise. We can put things in place that might be unshakeable for centuries. That's exerting a tremendous arrogance about our ability to predict the future.

    In short, there are advantages and disadvantages to national constitutions, and these may each rise and fall depending on circumstances. I find the idea of needing supermajorities to change things particularly problematic, because that literally entrenches that a constitutional feature could remain very unpopular in near perpetuity, so long as it advantages 25% of the people. There are other ways to make changes slower and more considered than requiring supermajorities. For example, you can just...make them slower. Make changes to the constitution take a bloody long time and a whole lot of debate before they are put to the vote. But my feeling has always been that after all of that, it should be based on majoritarianism, not entrenched privilege.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9792 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to Carol Stewart,

    There’s no doubt that the various flammable, corrosive, explosive etc chemicals used in the manufacture pose immediate hazards

    Yes, I'm pretty much saying that those are real and known hazards. The possibility of getting some meth on you, when it doesn't actually kill people who directly ingest it straight into their lungs in high concentrated doses, seems to be a lot less than known chances of various toxic manufacturing chemicals killing you directly. Not that the meth is a healthy thing, of course.

    most of these folks don’t exactly have chemistry degrees

    What? Breaking Bad wasn't true?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9792 posts Report Reply

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

    Also, if you notice the gas is getting low, it's not something that takes planning and foresight to fix up. It takes 5 minutes at a servo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9792 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Not exactly.

    Well, no, I was only talking about the cases of “contamination by users”. But yes, with those qualifications, that was my TLDR. In the other kind of contamination, the meth residue itself would hardly seem to be the issue. It’s the fact that highly concentrated and toxic chemicals of all kinds have been used in there in large quantities. It would be equally bad if the house had been used to make a perfectly legal substance with no side effects, but with the same kinds of chemicals in the production.

    BTW, meth is very seldom smoked. It’s usually vaporized, if it’s not ingested by eating/drinking.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9792 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Three Dreams,

    When I played waterpolo a lot, I had a frequent dream of being able to "eggbeater" (tread water without using hands) so efficiently that I could almost walk on the water. It wasn't really that much of a progression to treading air with powerful strokes.

    In my early 20s I experimented with lucid dreaming where you try to set up the dream in advance. I never had much success.

    I also tried this. I put my lasting insomnia down to it. The habit of checking whether you are asleep might be great for causing waking dreams, but it's even better for causing you to have trouble letting go of your conscious, which is what sleeping is mostly about. The few times I did have lucid dreams, I didn't think they were worth the trouble. And I've heard that it's quite possible to have particularly unpleasant experiences of bodily paralysis when doing this, the "night watchman syndrome". I've had something like it once, and it was really not nice. Sleeping causes some kind of muscle control suppression, and being "awake" when that happens can be quite frightening.

    Different thing, but two or three times I've woken up to go for a pee, come back to bed and thought "I liked that dream" and been able to go back into it. That was cool.

    Not so cool is thinking you've woken up to go for a pee, and finding out that you haven't actually woken up, or gotten up, at all. Fortunately that's only happened to me once, when I was about 8. But yes, finding your way back to a good dream is something I can definitely do. Mostly in the morning. It's part of why I value my morning sleep ins so much.

    These days I hardly ever recall dreams so it's hard to know whether they actually happen or I just don't remember them.

    I'd bet you are having them, and just not remembering. Experiments have been done on people about this, and dreaming is strongly associated with REM states, which are very much common. People who think they don't dream are woken during REM, and find that they were dreaming. And people who have been denied REM have suffered terrible side effects. It seems to be quite vital to us to sometimes dream.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9792 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    It would certainly seem more clear cut, because the crimes that the people are being caught for certainly are crimes, as laid out quite clearly in acts of parliament. Copyright violations are far more nebulous crimes, full of jurisdictional issues. But driving passengers for hire or reward without a P endorsement in this country is a crime without any reservations. NZTA can and have busted people for it.

    The issue of the meter is perhaps the one that is more KimDotcomish in its nebulousness. Is this method of charging a meter? I think this has always been the part the NZTA sees as the innovation that they don’t want to “stand in the way of”. But putting people on the road, en masse, without proper licenses, logbooks, medical checks, history checks, or insurance, is NOT innovation. It’s inciting or inducing crime for their direct profit. It has to stop.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9792 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver,

    Not sure if this got posted already. It's NZTA clarifying its position that Uber drivers without the compliance are breaking the law.

    Note that they undertake no remedy against Uber whatsoever, despite clearly acknowledging what the current situation is. Their only recourse is to go for the drivers.

    I think their hands are tied in some way that is not clear. The statement:

    “As a safety regulator we have no interest in standing in the way of innovation, but we have a responsibility to ensure that people carrying passengers for a living have been properly vetted and understand their responsibilities under the law.”

    kind of says it all. Somehow, because it's innovation, they don't want to actually go for the source of the trouble, which would be to take strong steps against Uber itself. So they will pick up the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, in the form of severe punishments for the tiny fraction of Uber drivers that they can catch. Their recent statement that they've issued dozens of notices says it all. The drivers know for a simple fact that the number of people being signed up in this way is enormous. Legal drivers could soon be in a minority. We are talking about hundreds of people per week being signed up. It's now been a month since this happened. We could be pushing a thousand illegal drivers in Auckland now. But we don't know because Uber is beholden to no one to say how many they are doing, and anything they do say can only be taken with a grain of salt, considering how often they simply lie to people making queries.

    It's literally on us, the public, and the drivers, to try to answer questions statistically that they could answer with a database query.

    I suggest to any corporate clients of Uber that you should have a very close look at your health and safety policies, and consider the reputational damage you could suffer when this blatant lawbreaking becomes clear.

    I don't really want to name the corporations here. You guys know who you are, and we're contacting you privately, to give you a chance to beat all the other ones to the punch.

    I would not want to be the last one putting my staff into Uber vehicles that are being driven by people that have literally not got passenger licenses, have not had their backgrounds thoroughly checked, have not had recent medical examinations, have not recently re-sat their drivers licenses, are not keeping log books of their hours spent in the car, and in their other jobs, are in cars without passenger vehicle safety checks, and are not required to have commercial insurance.

    I absolutely would not want to be the one putting my customers in them. I'd be calling Uber management directly with all of corporate bigwig clout I could muster and tearing them a new one, threatening to dump their platform publicly if immediate reversal of all of that doesn't happen.

    I would not want to be that company, after the other ones have all come out loudly decrying something that could land them in extremely hot water with their staff and customers, and taking steps to fix that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9792 posts Report Reply

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