Posts by Stephen R

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    So I'm watching what the progress is in terms of bringing back Glass-Steagall, and/or amending Dodd-Franks.

    Trump just said that he wants to repeal Dodd-Franks because lots of his friends can't get loans from the banks.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-dodd-frank-friends-cant-get-loans

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: More medical cannabis…,

    It seems to me that if you declare what you're importing, you can hardly be a smuggler, neh?

    I once went through Australian customs with a hand-made knife a flat-mate had made for a friend in Australia (damascus steel blade and all) and got dragged to the customs desk where several officers argued about it and decided that since I had declared it, I couldn't have been smuggling it. I would have thought the same policy applied.

    Even if they decided Stein couldn't bring the marajuana into New Zealand, I don't understand why they deported him instead of just confiscating it. He declared it FFS. If you declare fruit or what have you, they confiscate it, bin it, and send you on your way - customs only gets really grumpy if you don't declare things.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Up with the Pacer: embracing…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But check out this bike spotted in Wellington by Finlay Macdonald. I’ve never seen anything like it. And that “3000 watt race mode” looks … interesting.

    I think that's the window of Bicycle Junction, on the corner of Adelaide Road and Riddiford street. That bike goes fast in race mode - at least 60kph if I recall correctly.

    That shop also does a nice line in folding Brompton bikes, which I have no real use-case for, but trip my geeky tech buttons something wicked.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Taking the stage in Mount Albert,

    Meeting Michael Cullen in person, back when he was Finance minister, gave me a much more favourable impression of him than I'd previously got through the media.

    (and conversely, meeting John Key before he was PM made me not trust him as far as I could kick him)

    I had a very nice chat with Annette King next to her caravan for half an hour or so, back when she was minister of Police. She would move her caravan around her electorate and drop in for chats every so often. I really appreciated it.

    ...and after that chat, I decided I wasn't going to vote Labour any more.

    so I guess actually meeting the candidates can work both ways.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Luke Williamson,

    Russia has experienced multiple invasions, including by US military during the Russian civil war 1918.

    True. But they've also done their share of invading. Poland was invaded in 1939 by Germany and Russia, and over the course of WW2 lost something like 20% of their population. The Russians weren't kinder to the locals than the Germans.

    Ukraine in WW2 was split between Germany and Russia. A Ukrainian ex-co-worker of mine said that of course a lot of the current opposition to Russia was from organisations that used to be pro-Nazi, because when they started, the two choices were Hitler or Stalin.

    A bunch of my friends in Finland told me that "Last time we had to surrender to Russia because we ran out of bullets, next time we won't run out" - others are telling me they're woken up in the suburbs of Helsinki by the fighter jets doing high-speed take-offs to intercept the Russian aircraft who are "accidentally" entering Finnish airspace. Many of the things that Russia used as pretexts in Ukraine also apply to Finland (Finland used to be ruled by Russia, and has people on the eastern borders who speak Russian)

    Russia is scaring a lot of people in Europe at the moment. They're not the poor picked-on victim.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    China and the US face off, the yuan becomes non-convertible, exports to China dry up, mortgage funding follows, Auckland house prices drop by 80%, all the banks crash under the weight of bad debts, people can no longer get paid or buy food.

    That's pretty bad...

    Add in Trump assuring Putin that the US won't fulfill it's NATO obligations to defend some of the countries next to Russia (say Poland or Finland), or picking a fight with China over the Spratleys or Taiwan, and you could throw a shooting war in to the mix as well.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Emma Hart,

    People I figured had some capacity for thought seem sort of excited about it, if anything.

    So one of the predictive questions on OKCupid is “In a certain light, wouldn’t nuclear war be exciting?” For men, a yes on that has an 83% correlation with wanting sex on the first date. The other questions that correlate like that for men are “Assuming you were in the position to do so, would you launch nuclear weapons under any circumstances?” and “Could you imagine yourself killing someone?”

    I suspect there's age influences there. As I get older, I can still imagine myself killing someone, and most of what I imagine is pretty terrible and not at all attractive. I find subjects and movies that I used to really enjoy a lot less attractive, as I imagine the effects on the unseen people. Second order empathy - it can be learned!

    (I found "the War Prayer" quite thought provoking, and it has stayed with me a long time.)

    Applied to politics, the people who think that "interesting times" are interesting, probably aren't thinking of the people for whom even minor extra difficulties could be enough to sink them.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Shenzen's hire-bike explosion,

    Guardian reckons that Shenzen's still got some work to do on public attitudes to bike hire...

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/17/chinese-discard-hundreds-of-cycles-for-hire-in-giant-pile

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Walk This Way, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    I'm going to the Wellington march, and am churning out a few Pussyhats as well. Here's the pattern for craftily-minded readers.

    My partner finished her one this evening. It's very pink.

    Looks like we're going as well,

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Now that the pendulum has swung to the other extreme, younger generations will have to reinvent community as a survival strategy.

    One of the side effects of our technology is that my community is not the people I live next to any more. I know more about and have more in common with some people in Finland than I do the people three doors down my street. And my "local" community of interest is people spread around Wellington and the rest of New Zealand more than my suburb.

    I'm not sure that's a good thing, I'm not sure it's a bad thing, but it is a bit different.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 239 posts Report Reply

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