Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

To everyone in New Zealand. And early happy new year to everyone else! :p

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


New Zealand Wins!
NZL 2300 - ROW 2228

This beats the All Whites! It's a very rare event these days that New Zealand scores more kiwis than the rest of the world. Note where the big slide starts: November 2008 ;)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some Brilliant Humour from Kiwiblog

This is great! bus sadly, far-fetched.

I’m looking forward to the following deal “informally mediated” by Joris:

  • 1. [Hone Harawira and the Maori Party] would write a personal letter of apology to [Pakeha New Zealanders]
  • 2. [Hone Harawira] would offer to meet with the [Leaders of the Pakeha community]
  • 3. The Race Relations Commissioner would be invited to address a seminar for [Hone Harawira and the Maori Party (and any other MP)] on race relations
  • 4. [The NZ Parliament and the Maori Party] would in general uphold the complaints it had received rather than contest them before [the NZ public]
  • 5. [The Maori Party and Hone Harawira] would continue to look at ways to promote positive race relations in New Zealand
  • 6. [The Maori Party] would adopt a new policy for its [MPs] who were in a position to lead and shape opinion, that judgments based solely on race, colour or creed were offensive and would not be tolerated.

  • I especially love the last one. It would effectively leave the Maori Party without any policies left.

$50 Million Photo Op?

At $50,000,000.00, is this the most expensive photo op in New Zealand's history?

tens of thousands of tourists he expects to visit long-term as a result of the initiative.

I'll believe that when i see it.

"That was really a big part of the idea behind the cycleway, to open up the countryside and bits of NZ that are harder to access and people hardly ever go to."

So it's going in places no one ever goes anyway. Great idea - no one will ever find out what a waste of money it is, because, although it will be empty, no one will see it.

Green Party MP Kevin Hague, who rode 30km from Cambridge for the sod turning, said[...] "If visiting overseas cyclists feel unsafe riding on our roads their enthusiasm for our cycle trail back home will be muted at best."

Except for people that already cycle on the road currently. For which the cycleway adds nothing a road wouldn't.

Mr Hague said cycle trail projects were highly successful overseas, with 386 million journeys recorded last year on the UK National Cycle Network.

Let's have a look at the UK network. From Wikipedia:

Many routes hope to minimise contact with motor traffic

So it isn't in places no one used to go. It is providing a facility for people who already were using the routes.

70% of them are on roads

Yes, you read that right. John Key's cycleway is being justified by how many people use Roads. I don't know about the NZ Herald's so-called journalists, but to me this says a cycleway is unnecessary, brings no benefits, and is totally the wrong way to go if you want to attract tourists and make life easier for cyclists.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

H1N1, Ukraine, Havoc and Elections

I'd like to point out this post at H1N1 is now well into its second wave in North America and Western Europe, and is hitting Belarus and Ukraine particularly hard. Parts of Ukraine are under quarantine, and there is a ban on public events in the entire western part of the country.

"The presidential election in Ukraine might be delayed by the epidemic of H1N1 influenza, a government official said Friday.

Igor Popov, the deputy head of the presidential secretariat, said candidates from opposition parties would not have a level playing field trying to campaign if the flu outbreak is not brought under control, Itar-Tass reported.

“The flu epidemic drastically changed the course of the presidential election campaign, and the equal possibilities of presidential candidates and voting rights of citizens were called into question,” Popov said. “The ban on public events affected opposition candidates, while candidates in office could still visit sites under quarantine and meet with their voters and the media. That is discrimination.”

The first-round election is now scheduled for Jan. 17, 2010, but Popov said it could be delayed until May 30."

Trancy is a very good resource for anyone worried about or interested in the pandemic, what effect it is having, or where it's headed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Time of Day

I have a slight problem with the conventional way of describing the time of day. With am and pm and the idea that there's only 24 hours in a day and that every day exists. This way is based around when you sleep, when you get up, and when you're awake. Only it's not when i'm awake. Ifyou ask someone what day it is between midnight and 2am, how often do people get it right? is 4am early or late?

I come to this point today because, being a uni student, and having everything due over 4 days, my sleeping patterns no longer resemble the convention. On wednesday night i stayed up late working on a project. Late enough for it to become worthwhile to stay up a bit later and hand it in, rather than getting 2 hours' sleep and risk sleeping past the deadline. Bythe time i got to bed it was midday thursday. Up untill then, i was still saying "today" and meaning wednesday.

The next morning, i got up at 8pm thursday and started working on the next assignment, that i'm still working on now. It's due at 5pm on friday (today) and i'm guessing i'll be there till the bitter end. The question is, what day is it? thursday or friday? and if it's friday, where did thursday go?

one day later

It's now saturday, i ended up staying awake late enough to go out last night, so i was up untill just after midnight. I conclude that there are certainly more than 24 hours in a day, time is only limited by being 24 hours times the number of days, including those which you don't experience. Also, experiencing any particular time of day is mutually exclusive with its congruences of 24 on certain other days.

Following on from this logic, i experienced wednesday's am, pm and "qm" (hereby defined as being the first 12 hours after pm ends). experiencing wednesday's qm is mutually exclusive with thursday's am. I then experienced friday's "pre-m" (hereby defined as the last 12 hours before am starts), am, pm, and a few minutes of qm. friday's pre-m is mutually exclusive with thursday's pm. I did not experience thursday at all. Nor did i experience the first few minutes of saturday's am.

So how long is a day? well if you're up before pre-m you would just call it the previous day, so the day starts at 12pre-m, or rather at whatever time after that you get up, but before 11.59pm otherwise you would call it the following day. From here the day continues through qm, rm, sm ad infinitum until you sleep (beziehungsweise stop sleeping, if you want to call wednesday night a part of wednesday). Any individual day can be any length of time. On average, it will be 24 hours if you experience every day exactly once. It will be more if you skip days, it will be less if you have days twice, e.g. on monday you have a siesta, after which the day becomes monday(II). The longest day i have ever experienced was from 6am (when i woke up), through 2.30 sm (when i finally went to bed - 2.30 am the morning after next) to some time in the "tm" (when i stopped sleeping and woke up the "next" day), so was either 44 hours (if you don't include time spent sleeping) or about 60 hours (if you do).

According to this way of describing the time of day, you only have to cross the calender when you wake up and you will never be confused about what day it is. This seems much more logical. My problems are solved.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Swine Flu

The mainstream media stopped reporting it a while ago, even the tireless e-reporters, voluntary wikipedia editors, barely update any more. you could be forgiven for thinking that the pandemic is over.

Swine Flu:
map of swine flu spread
Orange = Lab confirmed cases, Black = deaths, Grey = no confirmed cases.

This map, and most of the info on swine flu i have been following are from wikipedia and its cited sources.

To compare this with bird flu and SARS:

Bird Flu:
map of bird flu spread
light red = outbreak in birds, dark red = outbreak including people.

SARS Bird Flu Swine Flu
7 months later
People infected:5,328436181,509(+~3,000/day)1,629,955
People killed:7752621,272 (+~50/day)17,173
Countries infected:1615165(+~1/day)212
Countries with deaths:71240(+~1/day)120
Countries with no infection:20720858(-~1/day)35

While everyone ignores swine flu because it isn't new any more, some things are still developing. A new country is being infected every day, and someone dies in a new country almost as often.

In the United Kingdom:

The NHS is not ready for a second wave of swine flu cases expected this autumn, a House of Lords committee said. It warned hospitals do not have enough intensive care beds to cope and predicted the new A(H1N1) flu helpline could be overwhelmed with calls.

In the United States:

The U.S. military wants to establish regional teams of military personnel
to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall,
according to Defense Department officials.

And since no source i have found lists the countries that are still swine flu free, here is my best attempt: (including inhabited territories and antarctica only)

Asia: 9 (now 2)

(originally included Pakistan - infected 3 Aug, Timor Leste - infected 12 Aug, Kyrgystan - infected 24 Aug, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Armenia, North Korea)

Europe: 5 (now 4)

San Marino
Vatican City
(also Helgoland, Svaalbard)
(also Faroe Islands until infected)
(originally included Moldova - infected 30 July, Liechtenstein - infected 6 Aug, Belarus - infected 8 Aug)

North America: 4 (now 1)

(St. Pierre et Miquelon was added)
(also Montserrat until infected)
(originally included Greenland , Anguilla and Saint Barthemly- later infected)

South America: 1 (now 0)

(French Guyana was infected on 31 July)

Australia/Oceania: 8 (now 6)

Pitcairn Island
Norfolk Island
Christmas Island
Cocos Islands
(originally included Kiribati - infected 6 Aug, Wallis and Futuna - infected, Tuvalu - infected 12 Aug)

Africa: 31 (now 21)
CAR, Guinea, Burkina-Faso, Guinea-Bisseau, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Niger, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Benin, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia
(also Comoros, BIOT, FSAT, St. Helena, Asencion, Tristan da Cunha, Spanish North Africa)
(also Ghana, Rwanda, Burundi until infected)
(originally included Mozambique - infected 31 July, Zimbabwe - corrected, Angola - infected 4 August, Madagascar - infected 14 Aug, Cameroon - infected 14 Aug, Democratic Republic of the Congo - infected 15 Aug, Mayotte - infected, Djibouti - infected 15 Aug, Lesotho - infected 1 Sept, Malawi - infected 10 Sept, Nigeria, Congo, San Tome and Principe, Somalia, Senegal, Mali, Chad)

And Antarctica: 1

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This is pretty cool

On June 16 2009, the International Space Station (ISS) happened to be falling over the Kuril Islands northeast of Japan. (I would have said "flying", but falling is a more accurate description of an object in orbit. Not to be confused with "falling out of the sky") The crew of the ISS have a camera with them. As they were falling over the Kuril Islands, they would have been very glad they have this camera. Here's why:

Before you say it, no, they weren't just lucky the clouds parted at the right moment to give them a view of the volcano, the clouds were parted by the shockwave of the eruption. Scientists might even be able to learn new things about powerfull volcanic eruptions from this photo. As far as i know it's the first ever photo of an erupting volcano taken from space.

If you want to see the effects of this eruption first hand, click here to find out how.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Students don't watch TV

Melissa Lee just made another fuck up.

I'm at the Auckland Uni debate with the 4 main Mt Albert by-election candidates.

When asked whether she stood by her comments that a motorway would divert south auckland criminals away from auckland, she said:

"Well you guys are all students, so you probably don't watch TV..."

What an outcry... the whole audience started yelling at her.

One call i heard was "that's the second group you've offended now"

She really doesn't have a clue, does she?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Banks and the OCR

"the OCR, not counting last week's 50 basis-point cut, has fallen 5.25 percentage points. Variable residential mortgage rates by comparison fell from 10.9 per cent to 6.41 per cent over the same period."

This presumably shows that

"major banks have been dragging their feet in passing on OCR cuts to business borrowers."

The RBNZ lends at 0.5% above the OCR and borrows at 0.5% below it.

This means that when the OCR is above the free market intrest rate, like it was when it was at 8.25%, it artificially inflates it to its borrowing rate, so 7.75%. When the OCR is below the free market rate it artificially deflates the free market rate to 0.5% above the OCR, so 3.50% before last week.

so the artificial intrest rate had gone from 7.75% to 3.50%, a decrease of 4.25%. Over the same period residential mortgage rates fell from 10.9% to 6.41%, a decrease of 4.49%.

Since 4.49% is greater than 4.25% I conclude that major banks have not been"dragging their feet in passing on OCR cuts to business borrowers."

P.s. i have seen no data on actual wholesale credit rates, which would be interesting.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

UN Peacekeepers from Fiji

Damn Helen Clark works fast. Her first day working at the UN and she's already kicked the Fijians out. Maybe they'll be replaced by "private security companies", judging by who her heir apparent is. And you know, that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Phil (In) Goff Says:

He said having 30 community boards with no power was totally irrelevant, "you need six or maybe a dozen quite strong local councils under the region wide Auckland council".

Oh, you mean like, exactly what we have now only without the community boards? Then why did we bother having a royal commission in the first place? Nanny Helen should have just abolished the communities and been done with it.

What a good way to "keep the local in local government".

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Well, that sure caught on.

OK, so i knew i wouldn't do much blogging this month. But i didn't think it would only be one post, and that one being mainly about not blogging!

Especially given what's happened in the meantime.

5 days after my "Hello World" post, which is now 2 weeks ago, i finally moved out of home. A big enough deal to blog about, you would assume. Well yes, i always meant to blog about the multitude of reasons behind that, but fell into my usual cycle of procrastination.

I have so much more i want to blog about on this topic (probably in april, possibly may), but for now I'll just add my main observation:

It's not such a big deal.

All the hype, all the scaremongering, the disbelief from people. All this led me to expect more of a challenge, led me to expect more of a transition, something that i would think about.

So many times when i was talking about thinking of moving out, people (of my parents' age) told how it was so hard, such a challenge, that i wouldn't last the first week, I'd be coming home to do loads of washing. It was a waste of money, it was pointless, i already had everything etc. etc.

It does influence your thinking, and your decisions reflect it. For years, it put me off.

Eventually, i insisted that despite what everyone else was telling me, my own logic told me it was the right thing to do. I was moving out.

Suddenly, they all change their tune. 

They start talking about the lighter side of it. How much fun it could be, how much it opened up your options, how it it wasn't really so bad after all. how none of the problems were a big deal anyway.

Not only is that a much better description of how I'm finding it, i barely even feel like anything has changed. The main difference is that now, i know exactly what i have and where it is, and i now have complete control over what i do and when i do it. Everything in town is so much easier to get to now as well.

My only regret is waiting so long.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hello World

I now have a blog. Wow.

That was unexpected.

I have to say, I'm pleased with the name i managed to think up on the spot. I was kind of expecting to end up with some meaningless combination of words, but it turns out i have something meaningful to me. Not What, But Who. It's about how the difference between what is and what otherwise would have been, comes about because of decisions individual people make.


I even got a rather logical URL :D

I don't expect to be adding much to this blog any time soon, but at least i no longer have the excuse that i don't have a blog.

Hello World!