Friday, 20 January 2012

Friday Morning Mini-Ramble

How enjoyable was it yesterday to see so many bloggers and website owners going on strike yesterday over the misguided Stop Online Piracy Act. For one day, the internet shrugged at the projected imposition of security through censorship. And maybe the reptiles in Congress listened. Maybe.
In other news, I’m still waiting for my call-up to be one of the bloggers interviewed on Radio NZ’s Kiwi Summer series. No, not really. I reckon Martin Bradbury has more chance of a call-up, wouldn’t you think?
Anyway, on with the show here. A small one, this morning, of a few things that caught my eye.

  • So what is it central banks are going to inflict on us worldwide? Inflation, or deflation?
    Out of Mises’s frying pan –  Sean Corrigan, C O B D E N   C E N T R E
    How Deflationary Forces Will Be Turned into Inflation – Thorsten Polleit,  M I S E S    I N S T I T U T E
  • Speaking of central bank inflation … “It's important to watch what European Central Bank president Mario Draghi is doing rather than what he is saying, and right now he is madly printing euros out the backdoor.”
    The Dancing Draghi – E C O N O M I C   P O L I C Y   J O U R N A L
  • Bernard Hickey hasn’t got a clue about economics.  We can all agree on that. But, speaking for all of us who’ve stopped watching terrestrial TV, he can still recognise bad TV when he sees it.
    Bernard Hickey was forced to watch some TV ads during the holiday rain and was stunned with what he saw 
    – I N T E R E S T . C O . N Z
  • Food Minister Kate Wilkinson justifies her new Food Bill banning some fresh foods and giving police power to raid private kitchens without a warrant on the basis of, basically, some very dodgy figures.
    Food Bill -  O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R
  • Reader Paul Van Dinther has made the world press with a Google Earth simulation of the path of the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that went aground last week off the coast of Tuscany. Onya Paul!
    Track the Costa Concordia's course via a digital simulation -  L . A .  T I M E S
  • Anybody else wondering how Gareth “Captain” Morgan managed to be paid $50 to $100 million for a company handling only $650 million in Kiwisaver accounts, the fees on which are a risibly low multiple of the taxpayer-funded purchase price—as Mark Hubbard says, “as I'm going to own this business, can I please have a look at the valuation used to make the offer.” Particularly so since  a large lump of the capital being handled is his own (which he’s now threatened to withdraw whenever he has a tantrum) and his company has achieved success only in turning himself into a megaphone and other people’s capital into manure? A And will he be voluntarily paying capital gains tax on his taxpayer-provided windfall, as he demands others be forced to do? People would like to know.
    Gareth Morgan Investments Sale To KiwiBank - Some Questions – N O   M I N I S T E R
    Gareth Morgan: What the hell has happened to him? – Mark Hubbard, S O L O
    Gareth Morgan sells to Kiwibank – W H A L E  O I L
  • Egalitarian impulses will sink a struggling economy.
    Death by Wealth Tax – Richard Epstein,   D E F I N I N G   I D E A S
  • If you want affordable housing in Auckland, then it’s time to throw out the council’s Auckland housing plan. Mind you, if you don’t want affordable housing, just continue supporting the status quo.
    Throw out Auckland housing plan says Productivity Commission – D U G   A   H O L E
    The Productivity Commission Report on Affordable Housing  - O W E N    M c S H A N E
  • From the “we wish it were only in America” file: The New York Times reports that energy producers are being fined by the U.S. government for not selling a biofuel that doesn't even exist.
    Make-a-Wish Politics – G U S    V A N   H O R N
  • Sadly, one law that wasn’t written into statute.
    “Dressing psychiatrists like wizards on the witness stand” -  O V E R L A W Y E R E D
  • Universities are making it tougher for students to get into university. “Good!” says one mother whose youngster has missed entry.
    Universities raise the bar -  L I N D S A Y  M I T C H E L L
  • In case you missed it last year, U.S. economists (including, be aware, some who are just alleged economists) explain the last year in terms of their favourite charts
    Economic experts explain 2011 in charts – W A S H I N G T O N  P O S T
  • Ever thought about the morality of making a profit. In a free society, "creating value" and "making a profit" are just two sides of the same coin!
    Why Is Creating Value Good, But Profits Bad? – Paul Hsieh, P A J A M A S   M E D I A
  • This is the Montessori eucation website you’ve been waiting for.
    Aid to Life – A S S O C I A T I O N   M O N T E S S O R I    I N T E R N A T I O N A L E
  • And the article about Montessori you’ve always wanted.
    The Montessori Method: Educating Children for a Lifetime of Learning and Happiness 
    -  O B J E C T I V E   S T A N D A R D
  • Want to learn about Ayn Rand and Objectivism? Here’s the teaching website you’ve been waiting for.
    Ayn Rand Campus – A Y N  R A N D  I N S T I T U T E
  • Speaking of which, here’s a new project that tries to match students who want to read Rand with donors willing to buy the books.
  • And since Objectivism is a philosophy for living, it should come as little surprise that some of the best ways to do business are in line Objectivism's ethics and epistemology.
    SMART Goals and Philosophy – John Drake,   T R Y   R E A S O N
  • “Normal science progresses through the collection of observations (or measurements), the conjecture of hypotheses, the making of predictions, and then through the usage of new observations, the modification of the hypotheses accordingly (either ruling them out, or improving them).
    In the global warming ‘science,’ this is not the case.”
    On IPCCs exaggerated climate sensitivity and the emperor’s new clothes – S C I E N C E   B I T S
  • How did great artists become great?  By intense engagement with the great works of the great minds.
    How great artists become great – S T E P H E N    H I C K S
  • I love it when people I like recommend my favourite books…
    Trustee from the Toolroom’ Review -  Rachel Miner,  T H E   P L A Y F U L   S P I R I T
  • Don’t give up the Oxford Comma yet! "The Oxford Comma is not only stylistically necessary, it is logically necessary and its absence can lead to absurdities."
    The Logical Necessity of the Oxford Comma – Jason Stotts,  E R O S O P H I A
  • Today is the last Big Day Out. Speaking for myself, who’s never been a fan of stadium gigs, I still endured it three times. It was a mess. You couldn’t get around. You couldn’t get a beer. If you wanted to be treated like cattle, you’d come to the right place. And if you wanted the sound of your favourite music to be delivered in a manner that no music deserved, you couldn’t ask for more.  (Mind you, it did bring out the Stooges.)  Nevertheless, as an antidote to all the undeserved  the BDO nostalgia, here's Gary Steel on why he too just can't care about its death.
    BDO DOA?  Gary Steel,  W I T C H D O C T O R
  • And don’t say you’ve never wondered…
    What's the best animal to slice open and crawl inside to stay warm? – T H E   S T R A I G H T  D O P E
  • Finally, here’s a small piece of advice for New Zealand readers: Do yourself a favour. Buy a @DresdenDolls ticket.
    If you like punk cabaret; if you enjoy the music of Kurt Weill; if you like smart, sharp women; if you like music with melody and guts performed with humour, attitude and pizzazz; if you like any part of these, then do yourself a favour and get along to Dresden Dolls on Wednesday 25th at Christchurch’s Aurora Centre for Performing Arts, Friday 27th January at The Powerstation, Auckland, and Saturday 28th January in Wellington at The Opera House. And look out for ninja gigs.
    Upcoming Shows – A M A N D A  P A L M E R . N E T

  • And to finish on something completely different, here’s one of my favourite sopranos, Gundula Janowitz, singing sing the duet "Sull'aria"  from The Marriage of Figaro with Lucia Popp at the Paris Opera. Gorgeous! [Hat tip]

That’s all from me.
Have a great weekend.
Peter Cresswell


  1. Afraid I won't be giving Amanda Palmer any of my money. She's thrown her lot in completely with the Occupiers with a free ninja gig to the Wallstreet rabble, plus she's doing another free gig to 'cheer up' the Christchurch Occupiers in Hagley Park.

    Mind you, the latter will be interesting. According to yesterday's Press, there's only two 'true' Occupiers left in Hagley Park, with the rest a large criminal element and free-loaders who've moved in for the free food. Oh, no, wait a minute: they 'are' the true Occupiers. Anyway, the poor Occupier in question sounded terrified for her safety to be Occupying.

  2. Um, though I guess I should own up to listening to Choral Evensong on BBC 4 once a week ;)

  3. I'm going to Amanda Palmer. It's going to be awesome. The paid one with smelly hipsters rather than the free one with smelly occupiers.

    To point: the piece Wilkinson was citing was actually WAY better than most Cost of X studies I've seen. Her failure to exclude parts of that figure were dodgy, or just hasty, but I wouldn't call the source document dodgy.

  4. Gareth Morgan Investor20 Jan 2012, 17:23:00

    I invest with Gareth Morgan. I have to say that I'm happy with my returns over the last 2 years, not spectacular but conservative.

  5. Mark you missed out concert was great, the hipsters smelt better then the fans at previous concerts I've attended. The $55 tickets cost probably kept out those who can't afford soap.

    She seemed pretty open that the point of the free concert was to get more people to the payed concert and given the result of a quick show hands question it worked. Capitalisim in action if you ask me.


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