Posts by tussock

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate,

    Didn't you all know? If it was important, people would be doing something. As people clearly aren't doing anything, it can't be important. Logic demands it.

    So if we keep not doing anything, that keeps us safe. A good sign that things aren't really all that much of a problem after all, despite all those chicken little types and their fancy science.

    Like getting inoculated, just asking for trouble. Retreating before the coming tide, as if! No tide if no one retreated, is there.

    Since Nov 2006 • 337 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Polls: news you can own,

    Though after the last election, polling of non-voters suggested more National voters stayed home because National "was going to win" than did those who might have voted for opposed blocks.

    So declaring a victor before polling really does make everyone less likely to vote. And more so for National matches their polling results quite well.

    Or maybe Labour just GOTV better every time. Greens similarly poll well with younger intending voters, only to have young people ever less likely to actually vote on the day. Maybe the Greens need to join the Labour program and help young people get to the polling station, at least in the seats with the widest total margin between intent and result for them.

    Winston polls better with old folk, and they still do vote very strongly, so their comparative proportion rises on the day (not to mention the climbing proportion of old folk in society over time, and how they don't have to skip work to vote). Supporters dying out indeed. If anything it's the religious brigade who are slowly disappearing.

    Since Nov 2006 • 337 posts Report Reply

  • Busytown: School bully,

    The real trick here is there's an enormous amount of money to be had. With a partnership school all your incomes are higher and all your outgoings are lower and it's government guaranteed forever, or at least until people stop voting for the bastards.

    I mean, it's not as rich a pickings as the private prisons, because you can't just arbitrarily double your private school population like you can with prisons, unless you shut a randomised bunch of public schools each year or something.

    And there's the trick. Pull all the top teachers and students out of the poorest schools, hand them more money for leaving, then close the school that got "worse" in their absence so you can do it all over again. The awesome thing with the constant testing is there's always somewhere going to be headed downhill over any particular school year.

    And all you have to do to start a "partnership" school of your own is donate some dosh to the National party. Easy as tau.

    Since Nov 2006 • 337 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Aiming for the feet,

    As I understand it, google nz is owned by and pays a fee to google Ireland for the use of the google brand and software and so on. That fee is always roughly big enough to eat up each year's operating profits. google Ireland pays some pathetic tax on it as a profit, and then sends it back to google USA as "tax already paid".

    Obviously that's not a real licensing fee, it's an obvious tax dodge. The problem for the IRD is google's too big and are making too much money off the dodge all around the world for a court case to ever naturally resolve and become a precedent. It would never get out of court.

    Ideally the government would just keep a list of tax havens and insist any fees paid to companies, trusts, and other legal persons therein are paid from after-tax profits and earnings or not at all. Obviously google would shift ownership to some country which was not on that list and continue it's creative accounting, but at least someone would be getting a decent amount of tax out of them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 337 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Housing: the Feudal Model,

    I haven't been to Auckland since I was a kid, but all I see on the news and such (google knows all, but won't tell me) is traditional section divisions and huge apartment blocks. Are there still no skinny 3-story townhouse rows for packing in people? That's the problem here, right.

    Because I've played Sim City, and that medium density housing is the shiznit. Lets your public transport become efficient and well used, makes optimal use of distributed fire and police stations, health clinics, saves schooling costs, all sorts. Lets you pack your amenities around them and provide cheap happiness boosts to good numbers of people.

    Low density certainly lets you crank up the rates, but they all end up going on massive motorway projects to shift everyone around, huge school catchments, extra water costs, and so on. All those cars, nightmares.

    High density's alright once your office blocks can support a decent subway system, but that in turn needs fed by your medium density base.

    Yes, I'm sort of kidding. You shouldn't have to have played the various Sim City games as much as I have over the years to know all that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 337 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Narcissists and bullies,


    I don't think I ever really got how decent a place PAS is before this. I wish I had something to add, but y'all are doing superbly. So is the internet in general, it should be said.

    Perhaps a review. Triggers, sorry.

    * The police lie. All the time. It's their default response to being questioned (and presenting evidence, making enquires, etc).
    * The police want convictions so bad (it's how they're reviewed and promoted, after all) that they will not even take reports of crimes where a conviction might be difficult to achieve. They will lie about this too.
    * The police consider rape is difficult to convict. Which it clearly is, due to the issues around what counts as a valid defence.

    There are a good many layers of problems there. Not readily solved either. Obviously one would start by incentivising report takers to take reports. Then incentivise those who bring cases to bring cases. I get the courts would be busy, but it seems they'd be busy with rapists, so fund them some more hours, appoint some more judges, and get on with it.

    But then ...

    "These young guys should just grow up," Key said this afternoon.


    See, there's problems with incentives in the police force, problems with the trial structure too, but holy shit the problems with rape culture seem to overwhelm them by a very large amount. Grow up? So, stop wearing your pants so low, get a tie and jacket, hold your head up in public, and oh, stop raping people. So childish. Really?

    Fixing that could sort some of the ridiculous things juries accept as a defence for rape, in line with lowering the number of rapists so as to not fill up the courts and prisons too fast as the police think it a good idea to do something in response.

    Since Nov 2006 • 337 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Movie Disaster,

    So, just from an outside perspective, y'all are talking about subsidising exports, right? I mean, we're exporting the production of local labour here, so that's how I'd categorise it. Selling the production of films to foreigners.

    Because subsidising exports is a universal disaster. Horrible stuff. All your local capital and skill gain goes into gobbling up the subsidies, rather than seeking out natural market profits. Market distortions and so on, the underlying cause of boom and bust cycles.

    Wool mountain, Butter mountain, (psst, milk powder mountain, giant truck mountain), film production capacity mountain. Whoops, did it again.

    Now, yes, these subsidised exports produce a lot of high-paid local specialists, some of y'all are here. But there's no natural market for your investment in time and money, never was, certainly not locally, and that's the whole problem. More subsidies just distort the market further and drive more capital into this false investment opportunity.

    Since Nov 2006 • 337 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Sick with Anger, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    I was at Otago ~18 years back, but I don't recall any physiology papers, nor straying into their lectures. More Math, Physics, Cosc, a touch of History and Philosophy. Plus, lectures ultimately failed to be anything like as interesting as I had been promised, so I wasn't at all that many of them. 8]

    @Devaluing. Right. When one points out that Olympic sprinters have some advantageous genetic predispositions in regards their physiological responses to sprint training, it doesn't devalue their actual sprinting, which is amazing.

    Similarly, Aspies do tend to get really good at their special interests and it doesn't devalue how good they are at them. It's more, you know, pointing out the things they'll benefit from some extra help with, typically.

    And like you said, Russel, for me too, having a list of the ways in which everyone else (give or take) is actually different, and that it's a thing with a name, that's very nice to have. Even though there's a thing around the net where that's not accepted at all, which is another story.

    Since Nov 2006 • 337 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Sick with Anger, in reply to Simon Lyall,

    Re: Salon article.

    Must say, that is the most ridiculous piece of shit essay on anything I have read in a long time. It’s, well sums itself up quite nicely.

    When we mistake a brainy, introverted boy for an autism spectrum disordered one, we devalue his mental gifts.

    Or … when we notice that autistic people include fucking Einstein and Newton, maybe we notice that exceptional mental gifts are exactly what you bloody well hope for on the spectrum and maybe don’t get otherwise. Even though almost all of us aren’t quite so lucky.

    Hell, the other force of his argument is that people with social difficulties who get extra help with that can improve a little, in an argument where he in effect suggests we not give so many people help like that.

    It’s like finding that people were sick and you gave them medicine and then later they weren’t sick any more so obviously that medicine was all wasted. I am struck by the massive stupidity of it.

    Which I guess makes me too fucking smart to be on the spectrum too. ?!

    Since Nov 2006 • 337 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The act of not eating doesn't…, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Ramadan is where you eat a huge breakfast and huge dinner so you can skip lunch, because everyone's skipping lunch (or a few people anyway, there's a lot of exemptions). The community spirit there is where you gather to celebrate eating big, together. It's like thanksgiving every night for a month.

    Lent is where you go vegan for a month (again, with a lot of exemptions), and again, everyone is doing it. It was during the part of the year where meat and so on was hard to get anyway (or at least economically hard to justify).

    The new 40-hour famine is where a bunch of impressionable tweens are told they're very good for being hungry while everyone around them is eating and being hassled about their weight.

    Since Nov 2006 • 337 posts Report Reply

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