Posts by tussock

  • Speaker: The Agony of Vanuatu and the…,

    It's not that hard to erase human beings from the planet. Wet bulb temperature of 41C does the job neatly, as with most other similar life forms.

    'course, we'd have to release most of that off-shore methane in the Siberian Arctic to get there. The Russian scientists studying all have rather grim looks about them, pointing out that it's not impossible, you know. Almost so, unless we get really persistent about burning the big coal beds, like they're doing in Oz, push the average up past +6C, that pushes Arctic warming up around +30C in the summer, and that could just be the beginning of the end.

    Though there's some ocean scientists reckon the acidification process, if you kill enough of the microflora species quickly enough, it's happened before you see, the deep oceans all rapidly become anoxic as none of the land runoff enters the normal ocean carbon cycle, O2 production crashes, and the seas start feeding the old pre-oxygen life forms, which produce H2S as a waste product, and last time that happened very nearly everything on earth died.

    But even at +4C, with the oceans web of life just barely intact, the East Antarctic ice sheet on the way out, ocean eating their way kilometres inland, most of the world's forests in terminal decline, a lot of the earth's population will have to move to survive the heatwaves. Can anyone really imagine that? Three, four billion people on the move, hopeful about Russian and Canadian immigration policies on a world of ten billion angry people and ever so many diseases just waiting for a hungry mob with poor sanitation.

    Nuclear-armed states disintegrating in the heat. That's not the easiest future to be dealing with the category 6 cyclones rolling in every few months on every coast.

    I don't think people realise just how different the climate can get. Hadley cells reaching 45N and 45S, meeting massive warm polar cells directly. How we're pushing toward changes bigger than any seen over tens of millions of years and crunching them into the next century or two. So determined not to upset our GDP forecasts by trying to plan for a future of solar thermal.

    But it'll probably be alright, eh. There's still nearly a 50% chance we'll stay within +2C, if we stop digging, which we won't. A coin flip on it being only small parts of the world we have to abandon, rather than large ones. Just shift a few cities inland a bit, after the fuel runs out, hardly even a bother. Why do anything, really? Won't someone think of the oil barons? Can't we just pretend science doesn't work? I mean, I'll be dead anyway, right, fuck the next generation, let them adapt.

    That's our actual government policy here in deal old NZ. Fuck the future, let them deal with it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: 1080, "eco-terrorism" and agendas,

    Debt clocks are silly. Sovereignty and stuff, so long as the cost of rolling it over is less than the cost of ignoring it, we'll keep rolling it over without ever paying any of it back. Unless inflation gets up, as we can control inflation by having the state pay down debt.

    It's pretty convenient to have a great deal of debt at that point. Labour nearly ran out, the next step is buying up great loads of other country's debt, like poor Japan's had to do for decades, and China. Got to get rid of the surplus somehow, before it destroys your economy.

    Though we could just run higher inflation than our trading partners. That's also rather destructive to various things, and at the end of it you don't even have a bunch of other country's bonds. Not that they're worth anything, but neither is a devalued currency.

    The real question about National's borrowing, is what it does to the exchange rates. Which depends on how much of those accompanying tax cuts shift overseas, and how much that in turn slows the economy vis-a-vis the type of spending cycles that would arise from different tax and benefit structures. Which is probably at the point where a professional would note "it's a bit more complicated than that" and suggest I spend a few years studying macro to pick up the basics. 8]

    Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The greening of the Red Zone,

    @Ashley, cool beans. Wrote this earlier when server was funny.

    So I presume they can't turn it into parks, or even pasture, because it's full of broken glass and splinters of this and that. It'd make a nice green belt, like Dunedin's, if it had rather more native trees and rather less power lines.

    A good heavy plough would solve the issue of surface debris by burying it all in place, and make it easier to plant out. Whatever parks you want to leave as open space for later can be kept cost-free by leasing them cheap for grazing livestock, someone's even built a whole bunch of rather nice fences already.

    Or is the Honourable Mr. Brownlee still in charge? Because then obviously what will happen is nothing. It's not like he can knock that over.

    Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Access: Right to die?,

    Hillary, there's only one side here that wants to force people to undergo what they personally perceive as pointless suffering. No one is arguing for it to be compulsory, or even opt-out, or easy or quick. If someone wants the experience of gradual dehydration as their dying body begins to rot and call it it a good, bully for them.

    The original post raises an important point. Disabled people should not be murdered by their families, nor by the medical community. That would need to be firmly in place in any new law. Abuses should retain severe sanction.

    But once multiple medical opinion is that a person is clearly dying, why not give them a big-ass dose of morphine if they ask for it? If that's what the dying person unambiguously wants, even if there's a few months or years of gradually increasing pain to enjoy, or whatever.

    I haven't seen any reason to deny that. Not here, not anywhere.

    Edit: Martin, I understand the past abuses, thank you for raising them. There's things were done with abortion and birth control last century that are also abhorrent, but we do allow women to choose birth control and even consciously terminate a pregnancy now, to kill their unborn children if you will. The abuses of the past do not have to arise in the present.

    Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Access: Right to die?,

    It would be easy enough to write the law such that it could never apply to whatever class of disabled people anyone thought was vulnerable. The point seems to be that wanting to die is a recognised mental disorder, but accepting that you are going to die is healthy and normal.

    So if we're going to die soon anyway, but only after great suffering, why does the law force us to suffer? What possible purpose is there? To save doctors from discomfort? Family? Why this one law that forces people to suffer for the benefit of others, when that would always be a serious crime at any other time and place?

    Of course, it's a dangerous idea. So are a lot of things in medicine, whether or not you actually need surgery and how much benefit it will be anyway, doctors are often at odds over such matters. Euthanasia would be particularly difficult, but letting people who are not doctors do it seems like a worse idea.

    If no doctor will actually push the morphine, so much for that law. But pain reduction is ethically valid, and if there's precious little left but pain, it seems like some of them would find the will if the law allowed, even if only for the last few hours after the family was ready. Arguably that's what they already do, from what I've seen of it.

    I wouldn't expect any doctor now to support euthanasia though, as I wouldn't expect any police officer to support extrajudicial executions. It would be bad for your career to say you approve of what is legally murder.

    Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Rugby has a problem, in reply to dcrobertson01,

    If the allblacks had lost the world cup, no one would have said at least it was an exciting game. They'd have wanted his head on a plate.

    That was nearly the last game of rugby I watched, come to think of it. I did check what they did to fix the issues (of being a bad experience to watch) that it raised, but none of them seemed to fundamentally help.

    I recall a particularly good try by the Italians at the last world cup, and a local commentator noted the All Blacks really should have shut the move down before it got started. Says it all, the bit that was really nice to watch shouldn't even happen if they're all playing the game right.

    Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Rugby has a problem,

    There's the odd clip of old amateur-rules rugby on youtube, it's a great game. The primary differences, as my old man would say, is you had to play the game on your feet, and you had to release the ball when tackled, which meant it was very easy to turn the ball over by tackling around the bootlaces, all making the game revolve around placement kicks from open play to more open play, with a lot of sprinting downfield after a kick to keep everyone onside.

    Second phase plays happened only where you could afford to turn the ball over and expect to get it back, deep in their 22.

    The game now is set up to support teams holding possession, so they do, for a dozen rucks or more, which eventually turns into scrums, which turn into lineouts, which turn into another dozen rucks. It's like league, only there's too many people on the field, no quick sideline restarts, and they haven't limited to six phases, yet, so it's worse in every possible way.

    The latest "fix" for that I saw was giving players more space to run past set pieces, like this is league in the 80's or something, without solving the problems that league did back in the 20's to at least get the play moving along and give each team a go with the ball.

    Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    Can I just point out, if someone wants to compare people to Nazis, that the actual Nazis were an elected government that popularly sent their armies across national borders to control and eliminate foreigners with what they termed "sub-human" cultural standards and laws, who were no danger at all to actual Germans but did make a nice story to explain the expansionist war for the control of critical industrial resources?

    That there really were a lot of little countries just signed on a few troops to the Nazi movement so as to be on the right team, because you've got to trade with someone after all.

    Obviously the United States of America isn't anything like Nazi Germany, with it's Department for the Security of the Fatherland spying on all their own citizens, a local racially-defined underclass locked away in vast ghettos or penned up in huge numbers in isolated prisons for the most ludicrous of victimless crimes, casually murdered in the street by so-called law enforcement officers.

    The US supreme court itself declared racism doesn't even exist there, so we're all good. State-compelled breeding for the chosen ones. It's not us that's the Nazis, it's those fucking Arabs, if they'd just settle down and smile more we might even stop bombing them some day, with our gigantic technological marvels of overwhelming military power (which will obviously win us the war, don't you know).

    Just shows you how right we are, really. How they keep on fighting us. Primitives. Look at them liking things that we don't like, doing things that we stopped doing as much as thirty years ago.

    Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Losing cultural treasures under…, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    But aren't all rights* artificial goods we've created for public policy reasons?

    No. Rights are things we, the people, kept cutting heads off the heads of state until the next ones took the hint and gave them to us. There's quite a long history of power shifting between the heads of state and the populace of that state, and every time the state is powerful all the rights all go away, and every time the populace is powerful they kill the heads of state and take them back.

    The power of the state and it's control over the internet companies has just removed our rights to privacy in our communications, for instance. That whole Prisoner of War thing no longer happens. While the populace with cameras everywhere is effectively giving us more power against state repression.

    Some modern states are quite clever about seeing problems coming and pre-empting them with policy changes, but it's the threat they face which makes them act.

    And while copyright as such is artificial, the right to be paid for your labour isn't!

    That's another thing you might recall the odd war being fought over not so long ago. The early days of labour unions in the US and UK involved facing down cannons and cavalry charges, but despite losing a lot of battles they did eventually win their peace and get slavery banned along with a few other gains, even though it took a very great deal of killing for some heads of state to take the hint.


    Which doesn't say much about copyright in sleepy old Nzld. I just pretend it doesn't exist, which works quite well other than having to avoid products with stuck locks on them. Or from what I read, perhaps extra well by avoiding those things.

    The way the modern world should function is traffic-based micro-payments like radio and other public musak uses, because everything is very much like radio now and costs next to nothing to make copies of. But we don't because the people who used to print vinyl music and hardbound paper texts have been gifted all of our history. "For the artists."

    Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Sex with the office lights on:…, in reply to Lilith __,

    Imagine if the pub-crowd had merely had a giggle and a good story to tell their families when they got home.

    Pics or it didn't happen. Carefully 'shopped for the kids (and youtube), of course, as a teaching lesson about privacy expectations in the modern world. Blur their identity and place of work and they've got their privacy back, surely.

    There should be an app for that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

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