Posts by BenWilson

  • Legal Beagle: A war crimes inquiry; or…, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I guess a better question would be: Have any of the countries where you're suggesting non MP police investigate war crimes actually successfully done so? Has what you're saying ever actually happened, with any success?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10304 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: A war crimes inquiry; or…,

    Has this been done elsewhere in the world?

    ETA: I mean the local bobbies investigating war crimes committed abroad by their armed forces. It sounds hopelessly impractical.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10304 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    If "ridesharing" in cars is anything to go on, helmet laws would be no impediment. They would simply put into the terms and conditions of the service that it was the responsibility of the cyclist to obey the laws, and the company could neither be sued by the riders, nor pursued by the government, because it would not even be operating in NZ. In order to be consistent with their inaction in ridesharing enforcement, the government would have to let the company off scot free, and just issue fines to the riders when they catch them. This would then be called the will of the market, and heralded as a brilliant success, even more so if it bankrupts itself by running at a loss right up until it collapses. At all times it would be held up as incredibly innovative because the rotten corrupt empire of helmet wearing cyclists and their ridiculous regulations needs smashing, and because it paves the way for self-riding bikes, and ultimately to flying bikes. In practice, the actual spinoff would be bicycle based pizza delivery at well below minimum wages as a job for people who would otherwise not be allowed to work. ACC would pick up the tab for all the people injured delivering pizzas, and the net health effect would be a lot more lazy people getting their pizzas delivered, and all the awesome health benefits associated with that. All Hail the Gig Economy!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10304 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The long road to Hit and Run, in reply to Tinakori,

    I think that our warriors – men and women – need to have more of a warrior culture than not, just as I would prefer our doctors to have a doctor culture and electricians to have an electrician culture, ballet dancers to have……etc

    That's a pretty silly observation. Truistic at best, and excusing every kind of bias by every kind of group at worst. Do doctors really need to have a culture of feeling like they are living gods? Do electricians really need to have culture of whistling at women? Is it really OK for ballet dancers to think the crippling of young girls feet is unreproachable? Do warriors really need to have a culture dedicated to glorification of killing? By your reasoning rape culture is something we'd expect of our rapists. The question isn't whether the groups should have a culture that is unique to them, but whether their culture has any place in our society, whether we should be aiming to change those cultures, to make them conform our wider cultural values.

    Warrior culture doesn't just mean "whatever culture our warriors have". It means a culture of exalting warriors as the highest and most worthy people. NZ is not a warrior culture, and the culture of our warriors should not be like the culture of, say, the ancient Spartans, or the Romans, or the Huns, or the Vikings, or the Samurai. Yes, they will have to kill on orders, that is what being a soldier is. But there are times when it's right and times when it is wrong, and our warriors should be trained to know the difference, to treat the difference as important.

    Furthermore, the higher up the chain of command they are, the more culpable they should be for such moral choices. There is almost no other reason for the chain of command, and furthermore, it is why the chain of command ends with the democratic leadership of the country, rather than stopping short. They are not blameless in their toleration of the culture under their command.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10304 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to linger,

    At some point (but we can reasonably disagree about exactly where), the individual right to take risks has to be balanced against government responsibility for public safety and maintaining some level of healthcare.

    Yup, although I'm yet to see the model that actually attempts to quantify the individual right to take risks, so I'm not sure how the reasonable disagreement can find a resolution. Perhaps something to work out in reverse by leaving it as a free variable and working out an approximate value by comparing regulation in many risky activities. Not a simple exercise, of course. I expect we'd find a total lack of consistency about this, so the "reasonable disagreement" would turn out to be very much arbitrary. We probably believe extremely strongly in our right to risky sexual activity, and risky sporting activity (and just make an arbitrary exception for the sport of cycling). You pretty much could not have the sport of boxing at all if you held it to the brain damage standards of pushbike usage. There's clearly no limit whatsoever on how much cigarette smoking you're allowed to do, or booze you're allowed to drink.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10304 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Moz,

    I mean, yes, it would save lives, more lives than almost any other requirement, but it’s ridiculously intrusive to legislate that requirement.

    This is not really a question of facts, but one of values, and you can't really convince people on those if they've made up their minds. Quite the opposite, in fact. You'll convince them that wearing helmets in cars would be a good idea, which should come next.

    It works in the same way as when you point out the ridiculousness of the illegality of cannabis when alcohol and tobacco are much more harmful. To some it's a no-brainer that cannabis should be legalized. But to others such inconsistencies just lead them to thinking more controls on alcohol and tobacco are a better idea. They don't find the individual liberty argument compelling whatsoever, and the presence of any harm whatsoever from cannabis (which there certainly is) is never offset in their minds by any of the harms of criminalization, and they don't even see the restriction of the liberty as a harm in itself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10304 posts Report Reply

  • Capture: Where have you been all Summer?,

    It's been such an awesome summer I feel remiss for not taking more pictures. Was just enjoying it with my eyes. Two stints in Rotorua on Lake Rotoiti, my bro's new house - gave me a whole new perspective on the joys of fresh water sport. Nice that you basically never have to wash the boat or yourself after being in the water. His house literally backs onto a natural wonder, a valley of glow-worms, which we visited with hushed voices, marveling at walking through a galaxy of lights in the dense bush, disturbed only by morepork cries, before going back to the house to sit around an outdoor fire toasting marshmallows, BBQing, chilling, dancing, as locals popped in to see what was up and meet the new neighbors.

    A stint on Waiheke, in all its new-found hypercommercial glory. From that I felt alienated, but once out on the water, or walking the beaches, it was the familiar bedrock of natural volcanic glory that I spent my childhood holidays in, and the polehouse bach right on the water inviting every single inhabitant in the valley to drop in at one time or another on the obligatory daily dip.

    Visits to the beach nearly every day during "Boy's Holiday", the period after school finished, but before Christmas and the new job in the New Year, during which the days were just me and my boys. I widened their eyes to what is in Auckland, less than an hours drive at all times. Days spent at Pt Chev, Takapuna, Mission Bay beaches. Visits to different pools and other attractions. Trips in the new year to Piha and Karekare, which left deep impressions.

    I had an adult boys trip to Rakino during which everyone ate and drank too much to appreciate what is a bit of a hidden jewel of the Hauraki. I'll definitely be back.

    The school year started with the camp on Whangaparoa, fantastic way to meet the teachers, parents, and his new mates. The first night's talent show began with the obligatory skits and childish jokes, then a shy Pacific Island boy began a quiet solo, which took me a while to pick until he burst out with the chorus "I will always love you", which he did with such gusto and pitch perfection that the cheering risked drowning him out. A child with Asperger's (I think) gave a bizarre comedy routine referencing internet memes that clearly went over almost all the kid's head, although they laughed at all the right times, and encouraged him constantly. It was well past bed time by the time we'd all belted out the old school favourites like "One Day a Taniwha", and "Tutira Mai".

    I had two terrible night's sleep on a slowly deflating air bed, which I then had to pack up and take to Kiwifoo. Fortunately the lovely Deborah Russell (who I met for the first time after many many years of to-and-fro on PAS) stole a mattress from her room for the second night and let me have it. I'm definitely going to find a better mattress solution, because the eldest has now decided that he wants to do more camping, since then.

    The lazy days have been filled with walks around the district, picnics in the parks, board games (the youngest turns out to have a scary talent for Catan). Varsity started again, and most days have been bike-ridable, and my employer is happy with part-time for now, and the commute is against the traffic.

    Even work days are glorious. It could be the first flush of enjoyment at doing exactly what I'm trained for the first time in a few years after extensive retraining, or the sharp contrast from dealing with the faceless, soul-less Uber and the country's bizarre love affair with its abusive ways, or it could actually be the awesomeness of working with Nat Torkington and the Innovators gang, but either way, Birkenhead and its environs are part of my Summer of '17 memories.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10304 posts Report Reply

  • Capture: Where have you been all Summer?,

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    The first school camp I've ever been on where we actually camped. Shakespear Park. On left of shot, beyond the pavilion, is where the Burma Trail was laid out, going up the hill into the bushes. I thought I'd do a pre-inspection, since my boy is disabled and could not manage the previous year's one. I gave it the all clear, and then felt a bit responsible for the fact that one child broke his ankle and another was apparently concussed (but subsequently turned out just to be dehydrated and exhausted from lack of sleep). I had not factored in just how much gusto the other parents would have in the whole hiding in the bushes and scaring the shit out of the kids, nor just how hard it is to get excited children to follow instructions like "No, don't go that way, there's a big hole....", or "drink from your waterbottles whenever you feel thirsty".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10304 posts Report Reply

  • Capture: Where have you been all Summer?,

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    Two shots of the kids for the price of one. Captain Budgie Smuggler in the background gives front and rear. Takapuna Beach.

    ETA: Not sure why these are showing rotated in the previews. When I open them it seems to come right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10304 posts Report Reply

  • Capture: Where have you been all Summer?,

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    Rakino: Hole in the rock, seen from kayak.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10304 posts Report Reply

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