Posts by tussock

  • Hard News: The CRL and the nature of change,

    Eh, it's all ideological. National wants rich people to be richer, and also get more from the government, partly by making poor people poorer and giving them less things from government. Because rich people are more deserving in their eyes.

    So they completely cut funding for solo parents education, and massively increase state funding for private schools, and allow crazy rich folk to start weird little "we love Brian" schools. Cut public health funding, increase private health funding. Cut rail funding to cut back public mass transport, increase road funding to run bigger private trucks.

    In this case, the big money folk have pointed out that they need the rail line too, to get more workers into the CBD in reasonable time and inflate the property and business values in there (and all rail-connected areas) a bit further, without having to drive up wages and other compensation.

    Because useful infrastructure is really good for everyone, which most of the time also means even better for the really rich folks. So is socialism in general and things like public health and education, but you have to understand that to the national party some people just aren't as deserving.

    So we don't really have service cuts to afford the tax cuts. It's nonsense, state budgets don't work like that at all. They just happen believe in both cutting services to the poor and giving more money to rich people.

    Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Spirit Level,

    I've met several libertarians over the net in the last couple years.

    They were young, as most are, and mostly you just have to point out how they're wrong and they can actually see it, apologise, and get on with not being a libertarian.

    Like, it's obviously a ridiculous thing to believe in.

    I'm not quite sure how people get through into being an older Libertarian without that experience, but I think it's got something to do with having enough money that they only ever have to listen to people who already agree with them, by virtue of withholding it from those who don't.

    Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Art with a job to do, in reply to Steve Todd,

    but that would break the golden rule of preferential voting – later preferences can never harm earlier preferences.

    There is no golden rule, you're making that up. There's a set of axioms that seem desirable for any particular vote counting method to have, and none of them can cover all such desires at the same time.

    With possible exceptions for tricks like Smith/IRV, though I understand that's one of those NP-hard problems as to whether it does or not.

    You’re right, there is no perfect voting system, but there are none better than PV/STV.

    Ha. Sorry, but STV obviously fails to find compromise candidates in polarised single-winner contests, and will happily pick one winner when most voters preferred some other candidate in a one-on-one race.

    If there's a golden rule, picking the candidate who would win any possible run-off pairing is obviously it. Why should adding some 3rd candidate they would also beat suddenly make them lose?


    But if you want to talk about a waste of money, it was a preferential vote! Why didn't it just have the current flag as an option? Gah!

    And yeh, we've got like ten flags and they're only changing one of them because ... elephants or whatever, why do anything right.

    Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Art with a job to do,

    Obviously we should run a count that finds the Condorcet winner if there is one, but STV will find the Condorcet winner in almost all real single-winner elections anyway.

    The flag probably isn't an exception to that, there's no divisive argument with a compromise to be found. A lot of people voted for the colours it seemed (which makes sense when two of the options only differed by colour), but the red peak still isn't likely the equivalent of a compromise candidate because people who liked black or liked red still voted mostly for the rugby one first.

    Like, you put the Rugby emblem on the NZ flag, you're there. Most people want to vote for the winner and so there it is, y'all knew it was going to win too. Curia told Johnkey and he told the rest of us, not exactly a secret.

    PS: Our current flag on the internet is a blue smudge with a red box in the corner, and the winning alternative is a blue smudge with a faint white smear on it. I don't think anyone realises how small flags are now. Those little red stars aren't even multi-pixel, let alone the fern fronds.

    Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Hosking’s right about jobs,

    Why does anyone think automation takes away jobs?

    Like, before the industrial revolution, everyone worked on farms, and then we freed those people up and instead of mass unemployment we got massive wealth and prosperity growth.

    Freeing up miners and loom workers and scribes and coopers and wainwrights didn't mean we had less jobs, it actually meant we got more real jobs that paid real money. As we've gone on and freed up typesetters and farriers and the people who used to replace all the bits in cars that used to break before we figured that shit out, there's not less jobs, there's more jobs.

    I know it seems weird, but back when nothing was automated almost no one had a paying job, and now almost everything is automated we have a greater workforce participation rate than any other time in history.

    Automating a bit more stuff isn't going to make that go backwards. You don't even need to figure out what they're all going to do, you just cut interest rates a bit and unemployment falls, like it always does. Thus Labour runs 2% unemployment to encourage wage growth and National runs 6% unemployment to encourage capital growth only now we all have iPhones and the people that used to print your photos for you do something else that creates even more jobs.

    Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: A hazy, intriguing crystal ball, in reply to chris,

    An age old problem with tried and tested responses.

    Do you have any concept of how much building a sea wall around NZ would cost? We don't live next to the North Sea with it's unending gentle drizzle on shallow and sheltered coastal waters, but the vast Pacific Ocean with it's Cyclones, Tasman sea in the roaring 40's, and Southern Ocean with waves that build for thousands of kilometres.

    We're not the wealthiest country on earth in our time gaining new and highly productive land next to some of the largest and cheapest trading networks on earth that it also profits from, but instead trying to maintain often a dodgy profit of any sort on young and sandy soils on the far side of the planet from most of our customers.

    Those people spent centuries building a patchwork of walls with constant missteps and floods and tens of thousands of deaths and paid for it all with the new highly productive land they created and sold, as it acted as flood protection for their rapidly growing trade capitals. The land itself had only recently gone underwater due to the glacial rebound trend in that part of the world, most was old sunken river deltas.

    The estimated costs of long-life sea walls facing the pacific are tens of millions of dollars per kilometre, plus the ongoing costs of raising the rivers and pumping out floods, and you're talking NZ with 15,000 km of coastline, instead of Netherlands with 450 km of coastline, just to hang onto small amounts of often marginal land.

    The entire area of Denmark recovered by dykes today is about 40 km^2 per km of coastline, NZ only has 10 km^2 per km of coastline if you include all the mountains.

    Economically, it's a struggle in Dunedin now to figure out how protecting the older parts of South Dunedin can be paid for without mostly outside assistance. Protecting coast farmland is a joke, we already can't keep the suburbs dry.

    We really have very little and relatively unproductive land to protect, and a very large amount of rather angry sea to protect it from. Even Denmark has given a lot of what it took back to the sea over the years because it simply wasn't profitable to reinforce it in the face of continued subsidence.

    And that was all sinking at a small fraction of the speed that's expected in the next 2-3 centuries. This will largely be the problem of future generations, who will be dealing with it in a post-oil world with heavier flooding events and larger cyclones that persist further from the equator. Dikes simply aren't going to happen.

    Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Voting in the Flag Referendum, in reply to izogi,

    yet still claim to vote and support National. Why?

    People are tribal, and they vote for the people who remind them of themselves and seem to be living the life they want. The majority of people want Green/Mana policies, and they vote for the National Party to implement them because they want to be successful and get everything they ever wanted and be relaxed about all that other stuff like John Key did and is.

    Similarly, they did not want the life Bill English got for himself, nor Don Brash, though the latter was much closer on account of he was secretly a bit racist too.

    In the US, a majority of Republican voters want the all Democrat's main policies implemented, and none of the Republican ones, and they vote for the Republicans to do that because that's who they aspire to be like, including being all racist dog-whistler and scared of Jesus and their own sexuality and stuff.

    Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The beginning of the end of the…,

    There's stuff from political folk in the US that said the whole point of the drug laws in the 80's was a new way to criminalise and ostracise black people by the Republican party. It's not that the harshest laws hit the minorities hardest, it's that attacking minorities was the whole point of the thing.

    When they talked about "inner city drug problems" it was just dog-whistle politics. It got votes because it really only hurt black people and everyone knew that. Ferguson running the city budget on crazy fines for black people and the associated riots and brutal enforcement aren't new there.

    Or here, really. "Māori privilege", "Māori violence in the home", "Māori underachievement", and all that. How we help by having the state steal more land and sell it to keep taxes lower. Still.

    These days it's the "war on terror", which is obviously there to harass people of the currently demonised ethnicity who have something we want, which is exactly why people vote for it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: The Whaledump Saga: Scooby-Doo Edition,

    So, is the real story here that politicians have been blackmailing senior NZ journalists by having the spooks hack their private communications and search for nude photos.

    Because, well, isn't exactly that why we got that new law to make sure all our ISPs and Telcos had to install pre-hacked US hardware, under firm guidance of the local spooks, and not the good Chinese stuff instead? And now we want another law to ban encryption, because Paris.

    Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • Access: Social media, disability…,

    Yeh, the compulsive collecting and sharing isn't linked to the predatory or harmful actions that the laws there are designed to limit, but the law is an ass and applies equally to all of us.

    Dude needs a new hobby, anyway, being securely monitored for a year or so might help him find one. Or could do, if prisons where useful places that taught people good habits, instead of shitty places we get our kicks from putting the poor people who got caught.

    Remember kids, it's not sexual harassment if you're the Prime Minister, especially not those kids he was touching.

    Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

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