Posts by steve black

  • Hard News: NZ On Air and the bill that…,

    I've just landed in Queensland for a month and am getting back up to speed with media and politics here. Thank you for letting me know what mischief is going on at home. As soon as I turned on the tellie I was amused to see that the ABC is running a series of ads (well, promotions sensu stricto) on the value of public broadcasting including Sam Neill who waxes lyrical about the ABC.

    And a tiny typo: your show met its end, not met its and.

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs,

    Thank you Emma. That Chris Cleave address was great.

    and White Man Behind a Desk is back...and on target. Go Robbie.

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    Nice interview Ben.

    The whole use of ratings would seem to be an over reliance on flawed measurements and bogus analysis being used to replace sensible human management strategies. A black box algorithm is no substitute for thoughtful insight. If Uber doesn't get that then they may well launch into driverless cars too early and suffer the legal and technical consequences.

    Good luck with the Disputes Tribunal.

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Excited for Auckland!,

    Ralston wouldn’t be terrible if he was elected and had to own decisions rather than idly mock them.

    Perhaps, but the first thing which sprang to mind following your comment was Tony Abbott.

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Sacha,

    If a substance is harmful, why not ban it rather than taxing it? Sugary drinks have zero nutritional benefit and many proven harms.

    The main argument for not banning something outright is that when you ban it you give up pretty much any chance to monitor and regulate strength and purity, labeling, availability (when and where it is sold), and so on. It all becomes unregulated black market. Want to see what happens when the idealized free market takes over? Just look at banned products like cannabis, meth-amphetamine, heroin, etc. There needs to be a well chosen balance between different approaches. Which is why real dialogue between the two factions described in this article should be better than talking past one another. In theory…

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The Panama Papers, in reply to Sacha,

    That could have been entertaining, yes.

    And topical. Lest you think the whole Don Brash Iwi vs Kiwi is just history and things have moved on...

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/301222/iwi-vs-kiwi-campaign-slogan-returns

    Brash is still ACTing up again in cahoots with New Zealand Centre for Political Research [SIC] run by former ACT MP Muriel Newman. Same old same old.

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The real problem with the ‘Kiwimeter’,

    As far as I’m concerned Kiwimeter is not proper research. It is “entertainment” intended to increase audience participation for commercial gain, and should be evaluated as such. The approach might be defended in terms of “freedom of speech” but I think xkcd has the right answer to that claim:

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/free_speech.png

    I would embed the image itself here but I don’t see how.

    Since I occasionally get involved in these methodological and social research issues, I’ve actually put up my cv so you can see that when I say "not proper research" I have a bit of experience to back up my opinion:

    http://black.net.nz/misc/blackcv-online.pdf

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Crowdsourcing Project Cortex,

    If I take a strict reading of what we are supposed to be told in the terms and conditions:

    You’ll be told that your communications will be screened or may be screened for cyber defence purposes.

    and compare that to the phrasing we've seen so far

    may be subject to monitoring.

    then the sites found so far are failing to say what use the monitoring is for. What happened to the "for cyber defence purposes" guys?

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Cameron Slater: computer hacker?,

    I’m wondering how the new CyberBullying law

    Herald Article announces passage of new law

    might enter into this scenario. As The Herald says (not that they are the ultimate interpreters of what a law means):

    New cyberbullying law will create a criminal offence of intentionally causing harm by posting a digital communication, punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of $50,000.

    So would what Cameron did be seen as “intentionally causing harm by posting a digital communication” if he did it again this week? What is the test of “harm”, and did he do “harm” to the Labour Party? Can you harm an individual? A company? A political party?

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: A week on from the housing controversy,

    Eric Crampton is a "working statistician" and he says

    Whether or not you believe the numbers that Labour highlighted last week -- and I do not put much stock in them -- there is growing international evidence of substantial foreign capital that would be more than happy to find a home in Auckland housing.

    in his Herald opinion piece. I agree with the part I've quoted, and would count that as another working statistician vote for "could do better" on the statistics.

    Crampton goes on to weigh in on the side of "reduce the regulations on foreign investment and on building whatever you like in Auckland at whatever density you like", as the way to solve "the problem". I don't agree with him on those matters, but you go and read it yourselves. I reckon he's cleverer than I am at mathematics and economics. The difference between us is our belief systems.

    On the matter of Tony Alexander, thanks for the newsletter link Katharine. I've had a read and I don't know whether he is really saying what he recommends, or whether he's couching it in terms of "if people ask me what are the arguments might be for x I would give the following list". Maybe that's hedging your bets, not having the BNZ appear to take a clear and strong position on a complex and political topic in the heat of the moment, or my faulty reading.

    Please note I'm not asking for somebody to go and pick out lots of quotes which to appear to have Tony Alexander making a clear and strong position. I'm more talking about the balance between taking a position sometimes and appearing to just give information (the aforementioned "if people ask me what are the arguments might be for x I would give the following list").

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

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