Posts by tussock

  • Up Front: Reviewing the Election,

    So if non-voting comes down to not voting when you're young, why did young people vote in the 80's, 70's, 60's, and 50's?

    I couldn't get to a booth in '93, so first voted in '96. Youf then didn't vote because Labour was the crazy right wing party being voted for by the people who liked unions, while National was the crazy right wing party being voted for by people who didn't like unions, so it was pretty crazy. Everyone voted for the Alliance, and kept voting for them until Jim trotted them off to war.

    The 80's was modernism and an end to the command economy, or not.
    The 70's was, oil crisis, future energy, that retirement stuff. Boomers.
    The 60's was, uh, people born during WWII, might have valued democracy.
    The 50's was the just-missed-the-war crowd. Wool boom. Baby boom.

    Are they bigger than what we have now? Bigger direction changes, bigger inspirations? We're kinda getting our butts kicked economically by China with it's slavery and authoritarian 50-year-plan, while we languish in cutting public services to promote neo-liberalism with it's "invisible hand" metaphors for God solving all our future problems for us, like the looming oil crash and water supply issues and climate fuckery and so on that no one even talks about.

    In the 30's, the 50's, the 70's and 80's, people did vote to radically reshape NZ society. In '99 Clark got in on being a less-cruel version of National, and in '08 Key got in on being just like Auntie Helen only with a smaller government. What are people even voting for there?

    <spoiler>To some extent you're voting to remove all the cabinet ministers every 9 years because it's gotten pretty obvious this lot are also corrupt and self-serving.</spoiler>

    Because what we could be voting for is, say, switching to renewable energy and going all-electric (or hydrogen, or ethanol) on our transport networks, full employment for twenty years building the associated infrastructure. Instead of casually off-shoring our capacity to grow.

    Since Nov 2006 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Mind Your Language,

    Translation's getting better faster now because they've crowdsourced it and you get to enter improvements into the translation engine as you translate things. At least for babelfish, or whatever google calls it now they've lost their soul.


    I have seen the odd use for censorship that basically worked, you just have to accept that everything under the censor bar is equal, so you have to stop adding terms very quickly. The C-word, N-word, and F-word (no, not the four letter one, but the one you don't use) can just enjoy their timeout together. It's not that they're bad words, it's that certain people so often do terrible things with them of late. Of course, I find that I use them more often when the censor bar will save me.

    Like, cunts are lovely, Niggas With Attitude was a revolutionary group, and old books sometimes use faggot correctly. Words are not bad, but people totally are. Same as you might ban swastikas just because of all the Nazis who like waving them. </Godwin>

    Since Nov 2006 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Power of N – Nutrient Caps…,

    It might be worth pointing out that a hell of a lot of modern farmers aren't in it for profits. Debt loads and whatever else don't matter because they bought at 30k/hectare (or 20k, or 10k, or 5k, or 2k if you go back just a few years) and will sell up when it reaches 50k for untaxed capital gains in the tens of millions. Just keep inflating those land prices by fair means or foul and get out before the whole pyramid collapses.

    Damn right there's a lot of them against making it sustainable at the cost of lowering land values. They're not planning on being a farmer in another ten years, what do they care for sustaining it all?

    Since Nov 2006 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: What next for Winston?,

    I don't give a crap about Winston, eh. National just lost a seat and have to play nice with some centrist parties now (authoritarian and reactionary ones, yes, but much less so than National themselves). Which means they can only be as crazy as they were in 2011-2014 rather than the last six months.

    That's an important difference. Peter Dunne is a deeply flawed person, aren't we all, but it's better if National have to get him on board because he sends more of their crazy to select committee and lets actual experts at it before it becomes law. That matters.

    And if Labour had to help Winston get a seat for that to happen, then good on them, it's a good sign for their future ability to get on an form a government, which will probably be a minority one and need votes from people like Winston now and then (dude desperately needs a successor).

    Nothing's going to give us a Green/Mana government any time in my life, but one has to accept that there's a range of things between the best case and the worst case, and better is better, even if just a little. A Labour minority will do just fine, really, considering how people actually vote.

    Since Nov 2006 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: What next for Winston?,

    Can I just say, I'm super happy about all this. Doesn't seem to be another place to drop comment here, so this will do.

    0: Minority government, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOT.

    1: The centre-left seems to have sorted out getting people seats, re Te Tai Tokerau and Northland reciprocation.

    2: Holy shit, National lost Northland. 52% fell to 40%, a 12 point shift in six months is really very big. That would be a massive landslide to the left in a real election.

    2a: Or could it be said that a good many National voters don't actually want a majority National government, and were more than slightly concerned about having got one?

    3: The porkbarrel bullshit actually cost them votes. Bravo the good people of Northland, bravo. Three cheers for that.

    4: That awful fucking dread of these idiots having completely free reign is lessened by the fact they at least have to con Peter Dunne again, and he does seem to make them slightly more prudent about being in government. Small mercies.

    5: Dunedin Hospital is going to have it's food trucked in every day from Auckland. I feel like I should attach a map of NZ for whoever made that decision, because those two places are at opposite ends of it and the place is really quite long in that direction. Also, roads not open all the way rather a lot, Cook Strait in the middle. That's not about Northland, but it is impossibly insane and I haven't seen it here, far too stupid a story for April fools.

    Like, there's a law somewhere made that happen, compulsory contracting out and so on, turns out all the transition costs will be covered by the Hospital, so it costs them more money, naturally. I'm not sure the new balance of power in the Beehive will help, but as I say, small mercies to maybe save us from worse madness.

    Since Nov 2006 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • 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 • 504 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 • 504 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 • 504 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 • 504 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 • 504 posts Report Reply

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