Friday, 7 December 2012

Friday Morning Ramble: ‘Gangnam Style’ edition

So you’re a YouTube sensation. The world’s biggest. But how much money do you make from that?  Turns out new media can be more lucrative than old.
Cashing in Gangnam Style on YouTube fame – NZ HERALD

If your kid doesn’t do religious studies, they get put next to the rubbish bin.  Not in Mississippi, but in New Zealand.
Bible-class stance dismays father – NZ HERALD

“Tomorrow marijuana legalization begins to take effect in Washington state. Adults 21 or older will be allowed to possess up to an ounce for personal use and consume it privately… In Colorado, meanwhile, legalization of possession (also up to an ounce) and home cultivation (up to six plants) will take effect sometime during the next month… And last night the Boulder City Council rejected [a ban on pot stores] (for now, at least). Councilwoman Lisa Morzel explained that ‘invoking a ban would be so nondemocratic and would provoke the wrath of the public to such an extent that it would not be a good idea politically’."
Tomorrow Is Pot Legalization Day in Washington – Jacob Sullum, HIT & RUN

Meanwhile, back in New Zealand…
The Daktory is now closed – THE DAKTORY

…and eleven years after switching off Switched on Gardener—eleven years!—the police struggled to get a jury to convict.
Switched on Gardener: to what purpose? – Russell Brown, HARD NEWS
4:20 News - Law & Gardens Edition – GONZO FREAKPOWER BRAINS TRUST

Treaty settlement after Treaty settlement after Treaty settlement. And here they all are…
Treaty SettlementsKIWIBLOG

Bloody awful architecture, but innovative site planning. This will certainly transform the middle of Newmarket.
Broadway Junction – EYE ON AUCKLAND

Yes, the Green Party is the party with an Energy spokesman who doesn’t like energy.
Thanks for nothing Green Party – KEEPING STOCK

A free trade agreement is being negotiated, and Jane Kelsey is protesting. Again. “What I have heard is…….Jane Kelsey. Jane Kelsey. Jane Kelsey. Jane Kelsey. Self-professed trade expert. Alleged (at least practicing) academic… She was popping in to the function at the Maritime Museum to swig a glass of wine before heading back outside to join the protesters for a spell. ‘We hate this process…..just a splash more please…must rush…placards to pose with.’
The Trans Pacific Partnership is about real people creating real jobs and trying to compete in a cutthroat international environment. Jane Kelsey wouldn’t care. She doesn’t need to make anything but noise. The rest of us will just make do, tune out the patronising ideological lectures about how we should be living our lives and running our economy, and hope that TPP becomes yet another milestone in our international trade journey.”
‘Zip It Sweetie’ – Macdonald dishes it to Kelsey – Penny McDonald, NZINZ.COM

He’s right you know. Our National Anthem is a dirge.
Bob Jones on the National Anthem – KIWIBLOG

And you wonder why I mainly only blog during working hours?
Kiwis spend full working day on social media – NZ HERALD

Where are the best places in the world to born in 2013? Well, The Economist reckons New Zealand’s in the top ten.
The lottery of life – ECONOMIST


“Filmmaker Michael Moore received $841,145 in tax incentives from the State of Michigan to make Capitalism: A Love Story, a documentary against corporate welfare, the New York Times reports.”
Michael Moore is a hypocritical bludging ratbag – WHALE OIL

“One thought that occurred to me when thinking about reaction to the Leveson Report - which calls for statutory regulation of the UK press - is that those journalists frightened of such regulation, and concerned - rightly - about the dangerous consequences have had a very sharp lesson in the problems of regulation.”
A teachable moment for the UK media? – Jonathan Pearce, SAMIZDATA

No, New Yorker, capitalism did not cause the Irish Potato Famine.
Starving for Historical Accuracy – Don Boudreaux, CAFE HAYEK

Which nuclear bomb effort? Oh, that  nuclear bomb effort.
Alarming evidence points at Iran nuclear bomb effort – NEW SCIENTIST

Where did Syria’s chemical weapons come from? From the WMDs Iraq “never had.” (Which WMDs? Oh, those WMDs.)
Syria's Chemical Weapons Came From Saddam's Iraq – INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY

Muslim’s best friends are not Jews….

Repeat after me: immigrants are a blessing, not a curse.
Four Easy Ways For Republicans To Attract Immigrant Voters – Jim Powell, FORBES

A bit late now, George.
Praising Immigrants, Bush Leads Conservative Appeal for G.O.P. to Soften Tone – NEW YORK TIMESimage

Speaking of blessings, George Reisman has a new book you can buy inexpensively on Kindle… Reviewer Thomas Woods says, "I love reading George Reisman. I find myself cheering as he methodically dismantles his anti-capitalist opponents with cool and devastating logic. This book is no exception. Reisman exposes the economic errors of the enemies of the free market in his inimitable way, and wipes the self-righteous grins off the faces of those who would destroy the greatest engine of earthly progress and civilization the world has ever seen."
With essays on Occupy Wall Street, the Global Financial Crisis, Racism and much more, it is the perfect introduction to a brilliant thinker.
The Benevolent Nature of Capitalism and Other Essays – George Reisman, AMAZON KINDLE STORE

See how benevolent capitalism is…
"The idea that you could openly sell things that help women achieve orgasm is pretty new." – HIT & RUN

“The main reason for the 20 per cent [of the world's population] consuming 80 per cent of resources is that they produce 80 per cent of resources.  The 80 per cent consume only 20 per cent because they only produce 20 per cent of resources.” – Johan Norberg
Quotation of the Day… – CAFE HAYEK

“Back in 1998, to call Kyoto a failure led to being called a skeptic
(denier hadn't yet been invented!). Today criticizing Kyoto is the norm.”

- RogerPielkeJr

Climategate's Michael Mann debates Climate Depot's Morano on Live BBC Radio: Mann: 'Morano's a hired assassin' -- Morano: 'Mann plays the part of martyr very well.'
Transcript – CLIMATE DEPOT

Discover the science behind fracking and why water contamination from fracking cannot happen….

“We all have been following the dance in Washington about the budget problem that makes headlines every day about how Congress and the Obama Administration are heading for a fiscal cliff. Savvy political observers say that Obama has the upper hand in this fight to lay more taxes upon the rich. The more frantic say that if we fall off of that cliff we’ll be in a new recession. Blah, blah, blah.
    “That is all BS and we all know that. Or we should. I’m at the point where I think the fiscal cliff might be fine… The real problem is spending.”
Let’s Fall Off The Cliff – Jeff Harding, DAILY CAPITALIST

“Greece is in a pickle. Borrow-to-spend is as dead as last year's fish. Tax-to-spend cannot replace it. So now what?
This piece shows their employment picture. They went from 4.6M people employed in 2008 to 3.7 today. One in five people who were working four years ago is not working now… (By the way, Zero Hedge's suggesting that if Greece could devalue their currency, and thus destroy what capital may remain in the hands of savers, employers, and banks, this would help improve their employment picture. For a site that tries to go against conventional wisdom, this is straight out of the Keynes/Friedman playbook—and dead wrong.)” – Keith Weiner
Greek unemployment hits escape velocity – ZERO HEDGE

No, people, Britain is not undergoing “austerity.” Tory Chancellor George Osborne increases the debt every year. “About £600bn – around £10,000 for every man, woman and child in the country – will be added to the national debt in Osborne’s fiscal splurge. If this is austerity, it is almost impossible to imagine what largesse would look like.”
Our Ballooning National Debt – STEVE BAKER MP

“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a
nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”
- John Adams


clip_image001Brazilian modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer, the designer of Brasilia, has died. Many lovers of architecture might say that’s a good thing.
Oscar Niemeyer, architect of the 'Brasilia' project and UN Headquarters, has died at 104 – AGI.IT

How to talk to a progressive, a conservative and a libertarian.
Kling on civilized discourse – Russ Roberts, CAFE HAYEK

“A scientist studying dopamine has discovered that it appears to be more about motivation than specifically pleasure - which has some interesting implications for research on the use of drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine.” And on motivation.
UConn Researcher: Dopamine Not About Pleasure (Anymore) – U CONN TODAY

In all your important endeavours, don’t aim just for a “pass.” Don’t aim just “not to fail.” Aim for mastery.  (Lack of mastery is not failure; “your work is simply incomplete.”)

So what the heck is “business intelligence”? “'Why have a computer? Why use Excel? Why keep a list of customers and sales? It's simply numbers and names. It's the data that the computer allows you to get at and view, turn it into information and knowledge that allows you to make decisions.
    It's when your business is able to look at, manage, and handle this data that it turns into information. And information translates into actual knowledge that you can then base your business decisions on. Using your data can help you cut operating costs, improve customer service, overcome future problems…. Business Intelligence software is geared towards allowing you to get to the information (and make decisions) quickly and easily.”
What the heck is business intelligence? – Debbie Mayo-Smith, NZ HERALD

If the Mayans and Douglas Adams are right, the Vogon Constructor Fleet ends the world on 21 December 2012. I wonder how Ford Prefect would spend the last two weeks.

imageI think Nicholas Dykes likes Lindsay Perigo’s new book. “An excellent book: I’d give it a five star rating any day… The hallmark of his book (highly unusual in the over-serious world of Objectivism) is provocative fun. Very well-written, always entertaining, and often thought-provoking, Total Passion scans the modern world with the eye of a Voltaire; subjecting the pretentious in politics, religion, art and academia to some of the most scathing invective I’ve ever read... The book grabbed me from the start. In Chapter 1, under “NIOF Reconsidered” Lindsay suggests that libertarians should suspend their principle of the Non-Initiation of Force in order to rid the world of vegetarians, teetotallers, and especially academics, who “flatulate with footnotes, quiver with equivocation, warble with waffle, simper with sophistry, vibrate with verbosity, pulsate with pomposity” – I laughed and laughed. Shortly afterwards, in “Sunset …. or Dawn?”, a collection of fanmail from his readers and listeners, some of the sentiments were so moving I found tears coming to my eyes. An author who can make a new reader both laugh and cry in his first chapter is surely doing something right.”
'Total Passion for the Total Height,' reviewed by Nicholas Dykes – SOLO

“Oh look, another ridiculously fantastical utopian scheme from a "’libertarian anarchist’ in a prominent libertarian magazine.” – Diana Hsieh
Panarchy: An Idea Whose Time Has Come? – FREEMAN ONLINE

“A central topic of philosophy throughout the ages has been whether human beings can trust their minds, including their sensory awareness and thinking… But if you just think for a moment, this is nonsense.”
On Doubting One’s Mind – Tibor Machan, TIBOR’S SPACE

The worst sex you've seen (in print).
Sex doesn't get worse than this: Nancy Huston's  Infrared deserved to win the Bad Sex Award 2012 – INDEPENDENT (UK)

Pretend that you’re much cooler than you really are with Slang Flashcards—from the Onion Store.
New Slang Flashcards – THE ONION

The passing of pianist/composer/jazzman Dave Brubeck yesterday “reminds us how important it is to view a figure like him in relation to his time.
“Luckily we have BBC4’s 2009 documentary, 1959: The Year That Changed Jazz to do just that. Produced by documentarian Paul Bernays and UK jazz DJ Jez Nelson,1959 scrutinizes the impact of Brubeck’s classic Time Out album alongside three others from that year: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, Charles Mingus’s Ah Um and Ornette Coleman’s The Shape Of Jazz To Come.
“The main Brubeck segment starts 12 minutes in, and the doc explores both the racial politics inherent in the Brubeck phenomenon, and the influence of his band’s groundbreaking 1959 tour of the Soviet Bloc, Mideast and South Asia on Time Out. But the whole hour is worth watching, if only for the compelling close-readings of masterpieces like Davis’s iconic “So What,” Coleman’s intense “Lonely Woman,” Mingus’s firey “Fables of Faubus.” The doc’s juxtaposition of Brubeck’s ascendance to Mr. Cool-ness against Coleman’s Cold War-tinged urgency is also a nice touch.
“With an interview roster that includes Hal Wilner, Lou Reed, Stanley Crouch, Charlie Haden, Sue Mingus, Herbie Hancock and Nat Hentoff, 1959 offers up some crucial background as to what made Brubeck and his contemporaries what they were.”  -  Brubeck in Context: The BBC's '1959: The Year That Changed Jazz'

And finally, next time an expert tells you you’re not qualified to know…

[Hat tips Keith Weiner, Lindsay Mitchell, Whale Oil, Catallaxy Files, Tactical Ninja, Thrutch, Noodle Food, TimG_Oz Blog, Mother of Exiles, RobynGn405, Mark Hubbard, Ann McElhinney, Cathy )


  1. Any chance you could put your new stuff at the bottom of the rambles, so we don't have to read through everything again to work out what we've already seen? Thanks! :-)

  2. I like to think there's SOME sort of organisation going on here. Sadly, that would stuff it up.

    I could just post the first draft much later in the morning ... ?

  3. Maybe a * alongside the new stuff?

  4. "Repeat after me: immigrants are a blessing, not a curse."

    Many, if not most, are, but not all.

    I'm sure there would be millions in Europe and the U.K. who would say that the massive immigration of Muslims there is a *curse*, not a "blessing", and I agree with them.

  5. A quote from the NZ Herald article on Cashing in Gangnam Style on YouTube fame, which stated:

    Google detects videos that use copyrighted content. Artists can have the video removed or allow it to stay online and share ad revenue with YouTube. In the last week of September when "Gangnam Style" had around 300 million views, more than 33,000 videos were identified by the content identification system as using "Gangnam Style."

    I know exactly of how Google is doing that music and audio recognition on youtube. That system is called Waveprint. In fact I developed a similar system for an Auckland advertising company earlier on in the year based on Google's paper because they published it in one of the Signal Processing journal.

    Content Fingerprinting Using Wavelets

    The accuracy of the song recognition of the system that I developed didn't quite match the benchmark accuracy described in the Google paper however it was decided that the accuracy of the system which is currently 94% correct in recognizing a snippet of a song (10 secs to 1 minute long) is good enough. I tried contacting the authors of the Google paper to find out if I have not implemented their algorithm correctly but they never replied back. That was the reason that it was decided that 94% correct retrieval is good enough, since I have followed exactly the Google paper (their Google accuracy is 97%) and I couldn't do more than that since the authors were obviously unresponsive to my requests for algorithm clarification in their paper.

    Anyway, Google has to do this copyright violation autonomously since there are millions of video clips that are being uploaded to Youtube on a daily basis. Doing it manually or rely on users to report it, is simply impossible, because they probably need to employ 1000 people or more to do nothing else but just to watch each and every uploaded video to check if there is any violation.

  6. Well done posting Steve Baker's piece. I've met him, he is a good guy, great sense of humour and is refreshingly libertarian for a Tory MP

  7. God Defend New Zealand really is an awful dirge. It has the metre of Baa Baa Black Sheep except even more simple and a similarly nursery-rhyme-like melody. Excrutiating to have to hear it twice in both Maori and English these days.

    At least God Save the Queen has the "send her vic-tor-i-ous" bit which I can't help but join in with at Twickenham because it's so damned rousing.

    I do fear what the powers-that-be would install as a replacement for the NZ national anthem however; some horrible paean to socialism no doubt.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.