Posts by BenWilson

  • Hard News: A complicated pathway to wellness, in reply to Neil,

    situations are dealt with by the criminal legal system rather than health.

    I can agree that some pathway should continue to exist for those clearly having potentially harmful psychosis* to be helped rapidly by mental health professionals rather than only the police.

    *Or any other potentially dangerous mental health condition. Severe depression for example.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10575 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A complicated pathway to wellness, in reply to Neil,

    People at present can be placed under the act for a drug induced psychosis

    I don't think that excludes legal drugs, does it? If you're psychotic because of your Prozac you can still be coercively admitted, because it's about the psychosis and the danger it presents to the individual and the community, not the cause of the psychosis.

    but any alternative needs to reflect the risks.

    It would certainly be better if it did, but I don't see failing to improve in all ways on the current process as a blocker for some improvements to it. Otherwise incremental improvement would be impossible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10575 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: It's Beginning to Look a Lot…,

    I was shushed down when trying to talk about the epistemology of Santa, but my eldest pretty much assured Mum he'd worked it out and wasn't fussed. But the younger one can still be scarred for life too soon, so ... right OK, Santa's not Mum, and he's a he. Like I care.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10575 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: It's Beginning to Look a Lot…,

    My attempts to streamline Christmas down, because it can be stressful as fuck even for the lazy dudes not pulling their weight, did not get far. It's a group event, so not only my call, really. My agnosticism is mostly irrelevant as an excuse and I do my best even though it's way, way, way less meaningful to me than it is to my Catholic wife. But to her it's not really about worshipping zombie Jesus anyway, it's just a really, really important social event that dominates the calendar for most people in predominantly Christian countries.

    Suggesting that perhaps the countless details that must be just-so could be just-different or just-omitted meets pretty strong resistance. It's "for the children", so obviously I can't not think of the children, even though I don't personally think the children care for that much about it beyond the treats and presents. So I've gradually got with the program of not being a dick about Christmas and put myself to the tasks around it that I think make for a nice occasion, if only to also be putting in and making an effort to celebrate one of the few times such large groups of my family periodically gather together.

    Those tasks don't have to be the things Emma is talking about, as long as the suffering is somewhat equitable. I tend to prefer hunting rather than gathering on the presents, so the major children's gifts get a lot of thought and planning, and the other 50 odd "magically" materialize. Responsibility for some clearly defined task on the day like running the BBQ or cleaning up is preferable over general management of the entire occasion. As always, I have to be the sober driver.

    Also, despite agnosticism, I can't see any reason not to get with such parts of the spirit of Christmas as I generally agree with. Being happy, friendly, charitable, sociable, peaceful. I do my best to be like that as much as possible anyway, but why not make a special effort when everyone else is too?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10575 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Getting serious about the…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The thing is, selecting cannabis solely on its THC potency is actually kinda dumb.

    Also, how much evidence is there that the potency is a particularly important health issue, rather than, say, the volume consumed, and how often that is done? Since it's not toxic like alcohol, there isn't a physical danger of overdosing, but like alcohol, the amount you have affects how wasted you get, whether you had it as spirits or as a shandy. It's not really that difficult to just smoke ten times as much, as even a few puffs is enough to get a lot of people really high. But if it isn't, so you have 20 puffs. So what? It's probably a little bit healthier to puff it less from a purely toxic burning plant inhalation POV. From a vaporization POV it's not that relevant, particularly as in ones with good temperature control.

    In other words, I'm not convinced high potency is anything more than a strange side effect of prohibition - if there are legal consequences based on what weight of cannabis you carry, of course you want it purer if you want a lot of it.

    The demand for overproof alcohol is pretty small. People want to buy something they can practically use, and that means something they don't have to be quite so cautious with. So I would be surprised if lower potency cannabis didn't have a strong renaissance after an end to strong prohibition, as it's easier to measure dose in less concentrated substances, and other concerns than the pure potency are likely to become market differentiators, like the taste of it, the slightly different balances of the psychoactives, the smell and look, the credentials of the grower, and probably most importantly the packaging and advertising.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10575 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: When drug law gets so…, in reply to Sacha,

    Ever any recorded fatalities?

    I think if you count car crashes against alcohol mortality statistics, you have to do the same for cannabis. It's almost certainly been a contributing factor in some deadly accidents. I think it's supposed to be particularly bad for aircraft pilots for some reason. But yes, I don't think direct death from the toxic effects of it has been reliably observed even one time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10575 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: When drug law gets so…,

    At some point, we’re going to have to stop fiddling with existing laws and start the whole thing again from scratch. And given that, we might as well start now.

    But incrementalism :-).

    Seriously, yes, this. But, NZ First.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10575 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Midterms, in reply to Roger M,

    Yes, it does. Periodically it completely overthrows its leadership without violence, by ballot that is open to most of the population. That is the bare minimum requirement to be considered a democracy. But yes, it could be improved enormously. And I don't think it will in any foreseeable future.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10575 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Midterms, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    There were structural reasons why the Senate was unlikely to flip, the main one being that half of it was not up for election. But I'm not following what your reservation is. The election followed the poll predictions - it was not a rogue result. The people who make the laws and control the purse strings in the USA are now a Democrat majority. It's a huge part of the governance, and does not flip lightly. To move by around 8% in 2 years is a sign the voters want this check on the President, who has only just been elected. His honeymoon is most certainly over.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10575 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Midterms, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    No discernable trend apart from the swing to Democrats in the house.

    It's really quite a large swing, though, however much the annoying coverage on American TV tries to talk it down. Just because it did actually follow what the polls predicted doesn't mean it's not highly significant. The House being in Democrat hands is a major power shift in the USA, and it will begin manifesting immediately.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10575 posts Report Reply

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