Posts by Thomas Lumley

  • Hard News: The company of strangers,

    Yes, on re-reading, my comment also came out more conspiracy-theorist than was my intention. I do think the setting has meant people needed to be more anxious than the actual risk warrants, and this will carry over, but it should dissipate as things improve .

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The company of strangers,

    I'm sure a lot of people will feel the same way -- partly because it's natural, but also partly because of the epidemic suppression efforts and accompanying advertising.

    We collectively need to take more care about disease transmission than the current prevalence would warrant for any individual, because each transmission event increases everyone's risk. So, it's optimum from a public health point of view for everyone to overestimate the risk of catching the virus. Well, at least from a physical, rather than mental, public health point of view. And that's still going to be true in the near future.

    But in the longer term, there are disadvantages. Reasonable people will be more than rationally concerned about travel. More importantly, though, the view of rule-breaking as risking contamination fits in with an attitude of fear and disgust towards rule-breakers, which I'm seeing on Twitter among people who didn't seem to have those sorts of attitudes before.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Has Iran found an effective…,

    I'd actually be less surprised if it was the sofosbuvir having an effect. Like remdesivir, it's a nucleotide analog (a fake RNA base), which you could easily imagine confusing RNA polymerases from a different virus. Daclatasvir, on the other hand, targets a specific site on Hep C's polymerase and since resistance develops easily, it must be fairly fussy about the details of that site.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown…,

    I think I've run into this with the Government Statistician getting legal advice from Crown Law and not being in a position to release it. I didn't understand the underlying principles then, though.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: On citizen’s arrests; or…,

    A related question I've been wondering about: is a "citizen's arrest" of a tourist driver a three-strikes offence?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Memories of the news,

    The Dismissal.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cycle infrastructure: the…,

    One of the big problems Auckland has compared to Melbourne (where I grew up) is that the old roads are much narrower. Melbourne has unnecessarily wide streets and so had no difficulty putting bike paths in all over the place, even in the non-grid areas around the CBD. It's harder here. Great South Rd could accommodate bike lanes, even if they're not currently planned, but Manukau Rd and Mt Eden Rd would have a lot more difficulty.

    At least it's daylight saving time now, so Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill Domain are open later than 6pm, allowing me to avoid the Royal Oak roundabout and a lot of Manukau Rd in the evenings.

    But while commuting to the city campus of UoA isn't too much of a pain, I have to go to the Tāmaki campus twice this week. It's about the same distance from Onehunga, but Google tells me the best transit options go via Newmarket or the CBD, and it's a pretty unfriendly cycle route.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Government lost the election,

    One of the important benefits of proportional representation is precisely that splitting or combining of parties doesn't make much difference, so the whole concept of 'largest party' is about purely arbitrary boundaries.

    Largest coalition matters, and obviously there's more negotiation overhead in putting together a coalition with more parties, but largest party just isn't a thing.

    And, operationally, what would a "largest party" convention even mean? National should negotiate with Labour before they negotiate with NZ First, and with the Greens before ACT?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Drugs and human rights,

    By personal and professional inclination I would have loved to believe in the Social Investment Unit, but not when it's run by a government that would make this sort of policy.

    There's no way their expert advice can say meth contamination is a leading public-health problem. Or that drug dogs are a more effective use of public funds than Biosecurity Beagles.

    I could see targeted use of searches in some special cases: there's some evidence from the US (PDF) that intrusive and unpleasant random alcohol testing of repeat drunk drivers is helpful. But if they had evidence that ad hoc removal of rights from gang members helped, they wouldn't have waited for the election.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: A beat is more…,

    Often I sit down to listen to music and then get distracted from really paying proper attention. But, judging from when I've been trying to learn songs, even the background music is getting in. Oh, and judging from the earworms. Right now, it's bits of Hamilton.

    For at-home listening I do find that every time I upgrade my speaker system it turns out to be worth it -- but I haven't gone very far yet. Most of what I listen to doesn't need much bass, which seems to be where quality speakers make the most difference.

    For travelling, I like my Shure noise-isolating earbuds a lot more than I expected to -- and it helps that plane flights give me time to listen without much distraction.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 47 posts Report Reply

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