Friday, 1 October 2010


Today everything  is more expensive.  Thank John Key.
In October 2008 John Key said “National’s not going to be raising GST.” Today they did. All through the election campaign they promised “significant personal tax cuts,” and in October 2008 they confirmed “the pledge to deliver about $50 a week to workers on the average wage remained on track.” Today instead of the promised fireworks, you got a damp squib, a tax hike and an increase in across-the-board welfare payments.  Cool, huh. Oh, and
an extra seven cents a litre on petrol and diesel.
So much for responsible government.

Here’s some of what else is happening around the world.

  • On the one hand they want to talk to Peter Jackson. But when Peter Jackson wants to talk to them they say no.  The actors unions reasons are unreason.
    MEAA refuses to allow Jackson to attend meeting  - KIWIBLOG
  • Did I say actors unions? I should say, unions for self-interested actors.
    Actors back union out of self-interestTVHE
  • Clayton Cosgrove is beginning to argue that the amount the Earthquake Commission covers needs to be rethought. Given that the government’s rules on the Earthquake Commission require it to hold the bulk of its assets in NZ govt stock--hostage to every earthquake—and its time period for payouts is months rather than days—delaying whatever rebuilding home-owners would like to do—it’s probably a good thing the amount insured has been inflated to virtually nothing. But a serious rethink would surely question the need for this bureaucracy at all?
    Labour urges EQC rethink – RADIO NZ
  • The UK’s leading scientific body has decided to rewrite its own definitive guide on climate change, now admitting that it is “not known” how much warmer the planet will become… “The Royal Society’s new guide… concedes that there are now major ‘uncertainties’ regarding the once sacred ‘scientific consensus’ behind man-made global warming theory, admitting that not only is it impossible to know for sure how the Earth’s climate will change in the future but it cannot possibly know what the effects may be. The 19-page guide states clearly, ’It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future..
    The decision to revise and tone down its alarmist position on climate change demonstrates a clear u-turn on its previous 2007 climate pamphlet, one which is said to have caused an internal rebellion by the 43 fellows of the Society, triggering a review and subsequent revision. The 2007 publication, which parroted the IPCC’s popular, but misleading impression that the ‘science is settled’ – making way for the new guide which accepts that important questions remain open and uncertainties unresolved. “The Royal Society now also agrees(with us) that the warming trend of the 1980s and 90s has come to a halt in the last 10 years,” said Dr Benny Peiser, the Director of Britain’s Global Warming Policy Foundation.
    Another Domino Falls: UK’s Leading Scientific Body Retreats on Climate Change – MARKET ORACLE
    UK Becomes a Denier Nation – FINANCIAL POST (CANADA)
  • With virtually every country’s government pressing the inflation button, it really is now a race to the bottom. The currency wars are on.
    Deep Economic And Debt Frictions Triggering Competing Currency Wars – MARKET ORACLE
  • “It's an all-out attack on the greenback and everyone else is winning!”
    Squishy Ball Test for Banks – DAILY RECKONING
  • And what’s the flipside of rapidly depreciating their currencies?
    Central Bank Drives Up Commodities – MISES ECONOMICS BLOG
  • When he was in office, Australian PM John Howard demonised refugees for votes. Now he’s in retirement, he’s talking a different and better tune.
    Howard junks multiculturalism. But belatedly – ANDREW BOLT 
  • Hated3 Stephen Fry has a new award he’s very proud of.  He is hated by the Daily Mail.
    Hated By The Daily Mail – STEPHEN FRY
  • The Broadcasting Standards Authority have done us the service once again of telling us which swear words are more useful than others.  Delicate flowers should avoid the link. [Hat tip Eric Crampton]
    The acceptability of words on TV and radio – BSA
  • Google Instant has an issue with some of them.  Well, most of them. Like the link above, “this link is NOT suitable for children, ministers, senators, or the mass media.”
    Google Blacklist - Words That Google Instant Doesn't Like -
  • Meanwhile, despite their nice language “for the fourth straight year, the majority of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” What do you think a survey of NZers might show?
    Distrust In US Media Hits Record High – ZERO HEDGE
  • Coming to New Zealand (well, maybe, eventually) crowdsourcing the price of marijuana from the most accurate source possible: the consumer.
    Price of Weed
  • Told by Michelle Obama to eat their vegetables, Americans order fries instead.
    Eat Your Vegetables — If You Want To  - CATO
  • Here’s a guide for every journalist on hw to write a science story.  Hilarious.
    This is a news website article about a scientific paper - GUARDIAN
  • Dr Shaun Holt is a skeptic medical researcher whose hobby is applying the blowtorch of reason to the soft parts of medical charlatanry. Here he is getting flak for calling homeopathy “witchcraft.” And here’s the first part of his recent talk on complementary therapies for people with cancer.
  • Here’s an enjoyable article on a father and son reading Atlas Shrugged this summer. And as Amit Ghate says, “the comments are so much more interesting and literate than anything over at CNN.”
    A Shrugged Summer – Bruce Bialosky, TOWN HALL
  • Hey, great news!  If you missed last weekend’s AFL Grand Final, there’s a replay on this weekend.  True! This weekend St Kilda and Collingwood go head to head again to see if one of them can come out the winner after two hours of footy.  And once again non-Saints fans are saying “G’arn the Saints” in the hope they can squash the Pies, and avoid the unthinkable.
    FINALS PREVIEW: The winds of change – Leigh Matthews

That’s all for now.
Have a great weekend!


  1. Nice talk by Dr Holt. More of him on breakfast TV please and less of this sort of nutbar:

  2. I recently read The Fountainhead and I am now a third of the way through Atlas Shrugged.

    Ayn Rand's writing is absolulutely gripping and several times during Fountainhead I actually punched the air and cheered! Reading Roark's major speech towards the end brought it all into focus and had me literally reduced to tears as the emotion poured out of me. Great stuff.

    Others have likened Atlas Shrugged to life in the USA under the Obama administration, but I don't know the USA (have no wish to frankly) and for me the parallels are more aligned to the stultifying gangrene of green thinking (and also welfarism of course) which has infected New Zealand.

    The only only parts that I find hard to identify with in Ayn Rand's writing are her portrayals of the sexual chemistry between her heroes. I'm not sure that its altogether healthy to continually translate sex into hate-filled contempt and pure domination all the time. We all like a good bit of passion - but a continuous diet of "get out of my life you disgusting bitch, I wanna fuck you, bite you to pieces and leave you degraded, hurt and bleeding on the floor' seems to be going a bit far.

    A lot of the basic philosophical assumtions of Rand's writing seem to ring so true with me that I suspect my mother had read these books (she was a wide reader but is long dead now) and passed some of the principles onto me (as parents do, consciously or otherwise).

    My wife is reading them too and we really enjoy discussing the themes and finding out how much we agree on (although sometimes I get a bit nervous that she'll get all carried away and leave me degraded and broken on the floor in the middle of the night hahahaha!!!).

  3. Richard McGrath4 Oct 2010, 15:38:00

    Nice talk Shaun, loved the bit at the end about people exploding inside MRI machines! That logic is the absolute killer blow to therapies where people have to wear or lie on magnets.

    You very usefully mention how cancer patients (or parents of children with cancer) can become very desperate and often end up as victims of unscrupulous scammers. Your books are extremely useful in pointing out to these unfortunate people what treatments are likely to work and which ones are a waste of time and money.

    I think it's important that people learn what the scientific method is about (heaven knows, they won't learn about it in our dumbed down schools!). It was great that you made special mention of double- blind randomised controlled trials in your talk.

    You're a champion of science and reason, Shaun - well done.


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