Friday, 25 February 2011

A random Ramblette

There’s really only one piece of news that matters in New Zealand this week.  And it’s not the Census.  Other things have been happening too . . . but for most NZers the tragedy in Christchurch overwhelms everything.

  • Before and after photos of the former Garden City at the 3News site here.
  • Google has developed this people finder for the Christchurch earthquake.
  • The Christchurch Recovery Map has turned into a good resource.
    Christchurch Recovery Map
  • Donate:
    New Zealand Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Appeal - R E D   C R O S S
  • Great piece in the Herald by Hamish Campbell from GNS Science explaining the earthquake
    Hamish Campbell: Technically it's just an aftershock – N Z  H E R A L D
  • The earthquake damage to modern buildings in Christchurch caught many experts by surprise and suggests the city was more prone to destructive tremors than local planners realised…
    New Zealand earthquake: buildings failed when ground turned to liquid 
    – G U A R D I A N
  • Accusations mass media are overly intrusive are not surprising when wounded or grieving people tell cameramen to please not film them but they are ignored. [Hat tip Mediamum] With the latest Herald front page however, isn’t  it time to reconsider the media’s rapid & disgusting descent into grief porn?
    Dear @nzherald: – Craig Ranapia
  • “Don't bother donating voluntarily.” That’s the message being sent by the Government, because  John Key might be about to put his hand in your pocket for you.
    Earthquake levy possible - Key – N Z   H E R A L D
  • Many are already leaving a city without power, water, sewerage, shelter or jobs. Rebuild it, but will they come back? What will they come back for?
    As Christchurch earthquake death toll rises, will the city itself be a victim? 
    – G U A R D I A N
  • Apparently the earthquake was God’s wrath being visited upon the people of Christchurch for allowing lesbians and poofs to live while foetuses are dying. True story.
    Christchurch Tennis  - M A C D O C T O R
  • People are running short of petrol in and around Christchurch. There is a case for petrol price gouging, says mild-mannered economist Eric Crampton, who’s just evacuated Christchurch for Golden Bay.
        “Everybody is panic buying petrol. Double prices. Announce they drop in two days. Queues would disappear, folks who could wait would.
        “Why should petrol go only to folks with hours to waste? Gas stations could donate excess to recovery.
        “Am curious why two-day gas price doubling is evil for the poor,  while the ETS, which is permanent, isn't…”
    “Double petrol prices. Do it now,” says Crampton.
    (Any press that wants to call Eric for quotes on this, Twitter reply @EricCrampton for his cell number.)
    Double petrol prices. Do it now. - Eric Crampton
  • The Census of 2011, an expensive exercise in minding other people's business, has been cancelled. As it should be. As it should be permanently. BUT $42 million has already been spent.  That would have gone some way to rebuilding some of Christchurch.
  • Good to see some in Christchurch haven’t lost their sense of humour.
    Screw you Mother Nature! – Three Chairs, F L I C K R
  • Some good news out of Christchurch: The award-winning Three Boys Brewery starts its cleanup.
    Some photos of Three Boys cleanup  - S O B A
  • Lets not call the quake stimulus please:
    Reminder: Quakes aren't stimulus – T H E   V I S I B L E   H A N D
  • Some more good news? Seems some alleged economists are finally getting the idea that destroying shit is not good for the economy. Maybe they’re finally discovering the Broken Window Fallacy?
     Christchurch quake: One-two punch for the economy -  N Z  H E R A L D
  • Of course, there are some people who welcome death and destruction. The Malthusians will always be with us.
    The definitive guide to modern-day Malthusians – S P I K E D
  • Having just seen my mother discharged from a NZ public hospital after spending four weeks in pain there with an undiagnosed spinal fracture, while being told to “get moving,” this story really caught my eye.
    NHS shamed over callous treatment of elderly – T E L E G R A P H
  • The end of the IT department? Let’s hope so.
  • Some more good news—a sign of human achievement when it’s most needed: Space Shuttle Discovery is airborne on its final mission a few minutes ago.
    Some good news – PM of NZ
  • “Where the revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain will lead remains a wide open question. But this perceptive NYT story weighs the plausible — and grave — scenario in which the Islamist regime in Iran may come out a big winner.”
    Post-Mubarak, a (more) emboldened Iran? 
    – Elan Journo, V O I C E S   O F   R E A S O N
  • Track day-by-day events in the countries facing unrest in North Africa and the Middle East with this handy interactive graphic.
    Middle East Turmoi -  W A L L  S T R E E T  J O U R N A L
  • The Onion of course has its own take:
     Saudi Arabian King To Populace: 'Don't Even Think About It -  T H E   O N I O N
  • Michael Lynch, President of Strategic Energy & Economic Research, talks to Alex Epstein about about the widespread theory of Peak Oil. Do the arguments stack up? What is the future of oil production around the world? Why do people keep confidently predicting “peak oil,” even though such predictions have been failing for decades? And what role do politics and economics play in determining rises and falls in oil production? Good listening.
    Power Hour Episode 2: Peak Oil with Michael Lynch 
    – Alex Epstein,  V O I C E S   F O R   R E A S O N
  • Thanks to the U.S. Fed, world price inflation is already upon us.
    Inflation Is Here, and It Is Going to Get Worse – Frank Shostak
  • Music this week appropriate for the sombre week:

Have a good weekend.
And stay close to those you love.

PS: They’re feeling our pain over there. This from Connecticut’s ‘Hartford Courant’ daily newspaper [thanks Sus]:
Kiwi_cartoon (2)


  1. With regards to the census, not only has $42m been spent, but the remaining $48m (of the $90m budget) is being reported as commited. It seems they are still going to pay contractors.

    $48 million that could be used in much better ways.

    And presumably there will be another $90m+ bill next year as all the papers will need to be reprinted with a new year.

  2. Regarding peak oil:

    There, fixed.

  3. "Why do people keep confidently predicting “peak oil,” even though such predictions have been failing for decades?"

    Not to nitpick, but arguing that the failure of old peak oil predictions is an argument that the current predictions are wrong, is an inductive fallacy. The predictions are independent, in different time and circumstances ... they are likely wrong for other reasons, but the failure of old predictions doesn't automatically imply new ones are probably wrong. The amount of oil on earth is genuinely finite.

    In reality there is of course still decades worth of the stuff, and other energy technologies will likely eventually become cheaper than oil long before we run out. (But THAT is a rational argument why the predictions are wrong, it has nothing to do with old predictions being wrong.)

    We've had plenty of "end of world" predictions over the years and they've all failed, but you simply cannot rationally deduce from that that all end of world predictions are always wrong. Someday the world may really end, e.g. if a giant asteroid smacks into us.

  4. The 'before and after' link is broken ..

  5. Minor update, Peter. We'd planned on heading up to Golden Bay, but found a place west side of town where Sue could set up to work and from where we can make regular checks back to the house, traffic and petrol permitting. We'll hang here and reassess in a week or two.

    The west side of town is like another country. Stores open, power and water on. Petrol queues of course.

  6. Thanks for the links. It is hard to see things from here too. :-(

  7. The problem with distasters like this is that it brings out rampant socialism e.g sharing, cooperation, social and corporate welfare.

    I think that if people choose to live (gamble their life) in a city that is prone to earthquakes then there shouldn't be any handouts. If people make mistakes in their life, government or others shouldn't be coming to bail them out. Its all about taking personal responsibility.

    Otherwise when will we ever get rid of the socialist scourge?


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