Saturday, 9 December 2006

More Saturday morning rambling

More 'offcuts' this morning, leftovers from the desk of this blog writer.
  • NZ's review of the Immigration Act [pdf] has been completed, and as Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn observes wryly,
    Pretty much everything you need to know about it can be surmised from New Zealand First's reaction of calling it "a step in the right direction". While there is some good news, the control-freaks at Immigration got almost everything on their wishlist. And this will make our immigration system more vicious, more unfair, and more arbitrary, with less oversight, less accountability, and substantially greater potential for injustice.
    Disgusting. To see just how far this is away from from what was possible, consider my own comments on the review here, and Harry Binswanger's superb argument for open immigration here: "You want a solution to the 'problem' of illegal immigration? Then here it is."
  • Here's a topical quiz: Which firearms fits you best? [Hat tip, Rule of Reason]. When I tried it earlier it was so popular that the answer page was hanging -- I still haven't found my own favourite. Maybe later.
  • This looks to be a great resource, a collection of essays on reason and science which I'll be downloading later today and reading with interest:
    Science vs Superstition [pdf] – the case for a new scientific enlightenment challenges the common belief that scientific progress in today’s world inevitably entails an element of danger or moral uncertainty. While many people seem to lack the vision of a genuinely better future, the authors of this collection of essays believe that it is time to make the case for a more positive attitude towards the future – a future that is made better through science. In eight chapters, edited by Jim Panton and Oliver Marc Hartwich, Science vs Superstition shows how our perception of science has changed in recent decades and examines several case studies of the battle of scientific progress against unsubstantiated fears.
  • If you think you can keep your lunch down, Zillion have a charity auction in which you can bid to have lunch with John Key. Bidding is currently at $805. Morning tea with Helen is currently at $1410. You'd need a stronger stomach than I could muster for either of them.
  • Some of you will have enjoyed (I trust) the recent series on the decline and deserved fall of conservatism I ran here recently at Not PC, based on a superb examination by Professor Bradley Thompson. Delightfully, the religious conservatives at the Brothers Judd have taken exception to Prof Thompson's arguments. Nicholas Provenzo has the story in Foxhole Theist Syndrome; he concludes that Judd's nonsense shows once again how any 'alliance' with religious conservatism is doomed to failure.
  • Following the recent spate of murders by polonium of KGB operatives, modern-day Russian dissidents, and just plain old critics of the Kremlin -- and of the man within -- Ted Keer runs down the list of all the recent murders, attacks, outrages and threats to the west of President Putin and wonders aloud why "Russia should [not] be immediately excluded from the G8, the WTO, its foreign assets seized, its diplomats expelled, its UN seat be stripped, Ukraine should be admitted immediately into NATO. Putin should be given what he deserves. With the socialists in power in Washington, he'll probably be given tea and sympathy."
  • The Samizdata bloggers really don't like David Cameron. Anyone who doesn't like John Key will understand - it is after all the slimy Cameron upon whom John Boy is modelling himself, and we don't even get the organ grinder, just the monkey: a copy of Cameron who is just a clone of Blair. Not exactly a bargain?
  • The Skyscraper Page has a fabulous scrolling pictorial of skyscrapers old and modern and under construction. You really can spend hours scrolling through these marvellous images. [Hat tip, The Libertarian Front]
  • Russell Roberts updates his brilliant short article on Comparative Advantage with a second salvo on The Power of Trade: How Trade Transforms our Standard of Living. Good reading. (And while you're at the Econ Library, check out Armen Alchian's article on Property Rights. I plan on coming back to it later myself-- there are some interesting insights therein.)
That's it for the moment. I'm off to the inaugural symposium of Auckland and Otago University's Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Ultra Cold Physics (I'll be taking a warm jacket), then on to the opening of the Museum dome (of which I'm hoping for great things), then over to an open day for a new Parnell Montessori school. Phew.

I'll check back later if I can to tell you just how exciting it's all been.

  • The website for the Dodd-Walls Centre seems to be undergoing problems at present, probably due to overloading. Why not bookmark it now if you're interested, and check back in later?
  • Without trying in any way to sound like John Campbell, what a marvellous day that was celebrating some wonderful Kiwi achievements. The Dodd-Walls Centre, for which the physics symposium is intending to raise interest, is named after two of New Zealand's leading physicists, the late Jack Dodd and Dan Walls, perhaps New Zealand's leading physicists after Rutherford, and it is intended to keep NZ physics among the word leaders in Photonic and Ultra Cold Physics. (This post on The Coldest Place in the Universe, my evening with Nobel Prize winner Carl Wieman and three-hundred others, will help explain what Ultra Cold physics is all about, and why all the excitement. )
    Research Centre head Crispin Gardiner's biography concludes with how physicist "Jeff Kimble summed up how Dan [Wall] had put New Zealand not only on the map [in quantum physics] but in the centre of it: "Whenever I go to a conference on Quantum Optics nowadays, wherever it is in the world, there is inevitable a voice with a heavy Kiwi accent from the back of the auditorium asking a very penetrating question."
  • The Museum Dome (left) is, in a word, spectacular. The dome itself hovers over one of New Zealand's great public spaces (I don't mean the atrium, which is a mess, but the top floor Events Centre itself).
    Standing within emulates the feeling of standing atop one of Auckland's volcanic cones; the dome hovering overhead is perfectly scaled to hold the room full of celebrating seated diners (one of its spendidly intended functions); and shaped to thrust the view out to the landscape beyond -- and it must have one of the most thrilling views of Auckland's high-rises in all Auckland! As a convention centre it is already booked out until 2008 - such a shame, however, if it isn't made more widely available to the public. You owe it to yourself to visit if you can get the chance.
  • Parnell Montessori Primary is bright and fresh and a delight to visit, and situated right next door to Parnell's Montessori College -- and ready to open in the new year. I wish them well -- indeed, I did so yesterday. :-)
RELATED: Science, Education, Nonsense, Religion, Immigration, Auckland, Architecture, Education, Politics-UK, Religion, Politics, Property Rights, Economics, Self-Defence


  1. PC said...
    [The website for the Dodd-Walls Centre seems to be undergoing problems at present, probably due to overloading. ]

    The website is now working.

  2. PC said ...
    [The Dodd-Walls Centre, for which the physics symposium is intending to raise interest, is named after two of New Zealand's leading physicists, the late Jack Dodd and Dan Walls, perhaps New Zealand's leading physicists after Rutherford, and it is intended to keep NZ physics among the word leaders in Photonic and Ultra Cold Physics.]

    It was disappointing and a bit sad for the organisers of this event that not a single government representative turned up. Talking to Dr.Scott Parkins at the coffee break about the absence of government ministers or one of their representatives, he said that they (organisers) did sent out invitations to the science & technology minister and a few other government representatives who would be interested directly or indirectly in their center, but no single person turned up.

    The sad part was that 3 or more government ministers and the National leader (John Key) attended Psychic Al Gore's (who predicted that the future of the planet is doomed) lecture which was held at the Engineering school a few weeks ago. Now, Helen Clark's administration put more value & emphasis on the advice of psychic's rather than interested in the real science, which is what our economy needs. That is the country needs more emphasis on our science researches and commercialization rather than endorsing pychic's messages.

    Scott Parkin said that it is important for the government to get behind their (Dodd-Walls researchers) ideas , see the vision, and ready to back it up.

    This is why it is disappointing & sad.


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