Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Breaking the Silence

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  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Sacha,

    It has long suited governments to pretend homogeneity

    Yeah, yeah. I know I'm enabling. But such people are so sincere, so absolutely convinced they're doing the right thing.

    Forgive them...

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    A council of elders model would seem to be very strange.

    I'd be in favour of a model somewhat like the NZBORA. For each piece of legislation a scientific council has to provide a report indicating what the evidence is in this area. Doesn't have to be followed, but it ensures that scientific debate is part of the process.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    selectively chosen "evidence based" reports

    That is the major weakness of evidence-based policy - somebody still selects which evidence is included. Our current government has successfully 'educated' public servants not to select any that might be unwelcome at the cabinet table.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    weakness of evidence-based policy – somebody still selects which evidence

    when is evidence not really evidence at all? When it's carefully selected and the weight of opinion of the professional or scientific bodies concerned is ignored.

    This makes "evidence-based policy" a joke that none of us can afford to laugh at. Evidence based medicine in the U.S. can suffer from the same problem of people seeing only the evidence they want to see. I hope we're immune from that.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Sacha,

    Further to this revealing post on another humble blog:
    (read it!)

    And this particular information made available:

    And perhaps also this:

    And you can see how HUGE the problem is to challenge the responsible government department, the Ministry and even our so-called watchdog (with no teeth) in charge, on the validity and credibility of supposed “findings”.

    AND here is some interesting stuff to read from the New Zealand Medical Association website, which totally proves right, what the above author has been arguing from the start. They are using dodgy statistics, misinterpreted and even non existing data, to justify “reforms” that puts people at risk:

    "Is the statement that if a person is off work for 70 days the chance of ever getting back to work is 35% justified?"

    "The incorrect statements about the chance of ever getting back to work are being presented to general practitioners (GPs) continuing medical education conferences in the context certifying people as unfit for work, together with statements like the ‘benefit’ is “an addictive debilitating drug with significant adverse effects to both the patient and their family (whānau)”. They are being presented to GPs in the context of assisting patients to safely stay at work or return to work early. These appear to be encouraging GPs to assess injured and unwell patients as having capacity for work and not issuing medical certificates for work incapacity. This could result in the cessation of welfare benefits or injury compensation. When these patients lack the capacity to work, they could experience increased financial hardship. For example, people might move from injury compensation to an unemployment benefit, and those without benefit entitlements to no income.”

    I may stress, this was published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on 20 Nov. 2015, Vol. 128 Nr. 1425

    See how Dr Bratt uses these false figures in presentations (slide 23 in this one):

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Katita,

    Just on the point of helping scientists communicate their messages. AMP is running something called AMP IGNITE for the 3rd time (this year in Wellington).
    The premise is for PhD students to 'pitch' their research/idea to a panel of judges and in front of a business audience in 150 seconds using any means they can think up (storytelling, performance art, dance, comedy, music, magic etc.) The students can win $5,000. But more importantly they link up with a group of mentors and get formal media training. The competition has a heavy STEM focus.
    I attended the last two events. The standard of the students is nothing short of phenomenal.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Katita,

    Oh yeah, AMP, all geared and fine-tuned to meet the demands of the highly competitive market, and with that commercial interests, thank you.

    If that is the future, I dread the future, it will lead to only commercially supported and funded stuff being researched and taken up.

    “Phenomenal” students may seem, but this reminds me of TV talent shows, favouring only certain qualities, and denying and dismissing other talents.

    I prefer the hobby scientist working away in his or her garage to those choosing to, or having to compete for carrots like prices and awards, all promoted by corporate interests.

    But with an increasingly disowned part of the population, who will be able to afford a garage or use a garage in the future, apart from those “privileged” that the market already favours?

    I quote the following from that website found via your link:

    From the world of business, entertainment, and science and technology, our eclectic team of mentors will be there to inspire and guide you as you transform from student to star. They’ll make sure that your theory is not lost on your audience as you dazzle the judges with your routine."

    As it is with Silicon Valley these days, there is much innovation happening, sponsored and funded here and there, but the ones working there do often work for free, with no job or other security, all desperate to "prove" themselves, while tech giants take up the innovations, may pay the odd one something for it, but themselves make the millions and billions from it.

    Precariat for scientists is the future for many, I fear.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Marc C,

    I bet Rutherford wouldn't have got very far with such a process.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    For anyone that's in Oz in September, Ben Goldacre is on tour:

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    Besides of all this science stuff, bear in mind also we live in a time capsule, isolation, there is nasty shit going on elsewhere, just a taste, I haste, not a taste, a real taste:

    There is heaps more and the war goes on, we are fooling ourselves to think this is isolated and done with, we are guilty of indifference.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I bet Rutherford wouldn't have got very far with such a process.

    Lord Rutherford's words remain relevant: "Gentlemen, we do not have money. We will have to think."

    Sadly, it seems intellect is only valued in NZ if it brings short-term wealth, if it's even valued at all. Lots of history's greatest scientific innovations took years to perfect, including Rutherford's atom splitting. Also truer than ever is David Harris of Pegasus Mail fame - we've already become the "McDonalds nation" he warned about.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report Reply

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