Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Consumer

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Before animation, people who would have been animators just drew.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • horse,

    IMO Vodafone deserve the scorn they're getting for their mobile data plans (it's not just the iPhone plans)

    Palmerston North • Since Feb 2007 • 32 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    RE: pine trees

    correct me if I'm wrong, but if you cut down the pine trees before they rot, all that atmospheric carbon is turned into timber. Which doesn't get released back into the atmosphere, unless you've got a leaky home and your house rots.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    Oh man, the Flaming Lips WOULD practice in a room made out of Lego (TM) with smoke machines and a porthole.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I have no interest in purchasing the iPhone (16GB of storage? Feh! Plus my annoyance with iTunes is well-documented), but I just clicked over to Vodafone to look at these controversial pricing plans. My initial reaction is: are they fucking kidding? DUDE.

    Still, maybe if someone lets me play with one I'll be converted...

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    My understanding is that offsets are only created for new forestry, e.g. planting trees on a former dairy farm?

    It's that change that takes up the carbon (over a period). The time between takeup and release of carbon is very complicated. Yes, use for housing timbers sequestrates the carbon post-harvest, but only until the house is torn down and the timber dumped or burnt. (Plus the issue of whether the timbers are recycled or used as firewood).

    But I'm not 100% on this, though I know somebody who does know.

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

  • barnaclebarnes,

    Initial iPhone review wouldn't be complete without at least some small props to Karl from Cactus Lab or in his other guise as xk72 has released Mobile Flickr.

    Great app for browsing/uploading photos to Flickr from your iPhone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 90 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    I had an iPod many moons ago. It broke down 3 times in less than a year so I got my money back and got a 30gig Creative Zen, then I bought an 80gig Zune.

    Both of these devices have been amazing so I've sworn I'd never go back to Apple anything (Macs have been tarred with the same brush).

    But dammit, those iPhones are perty...

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Another "x"-o-metre from Nat, where value of "x" is determined by the filthiest word in his mind at the time. Memorable and useful, I find.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    Nat Torkington really doesn't understand about trees and CO2. I could write volumes in reply, but the key points are:

    1) All trees rot. Old growth forests have cycles of death and renewal. Making a sequestration distinction because trees in one type of forest might be harvested and those in another might not be is irrational.

    2) All forestry sequestration solutions are stopgap measures. Placing a forest on pasture increases the CO2 storage in the landscape proportional to the average extra biomass present over time. This means that new forests are CO2 sinks, while all old forests, whether old growth or periodically harvested plantations, are just reservoirs.

    3) Wood products are only sinks to the extent that wood product biomass is increasing. If we use wood to replace a house then the net CO2 store barely changes because wood from the old house is returned to the atmosphere. Most people, and some political parties, clearly have difficulty getting their heads around this.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Nat,

    Trading is also easy. It's like fish. Fish quota is really a license to catch a percentage of the fish in the water---if the Minister finds more fish or less fish in the ocean, your quota goes up or down. If you take a break from fishing, you can lease your fish quota to other fishermen.

    Trading as practiced in Europe & soon to be adopted here does have a major flaw. Using the fish analogy if a fisherman takes his boats and flags them as Chinese or Angolan or whatever he is exempt from the quota system and can fish as much as he wants. This leads to an increase in the amount of "fishing", to the detriment of fish populations.

    Companies can emit a certain amount of CO2, and as the government's obligations under treaties force the country to let out less total CO2 emission, each company gets its quota dialled back.

    But some companies will be "supergreen" and emit less than their quota permits them to by using production facilities off-shore. They get to sell their surplus NZ polluting capacity to other companies in NZ, or overseas ETS markets whilst increasing the pollution at a greater profit thanks to the ETS.

    The ETS of Europe have increased the carbon footprints and profits of European capitalists who relocate production to the developing world. The ETS have increased global pollution. The ETS are flawed because they have a loophole the size of 3 continents.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    If I understand Angus correctly, he's talking about relocating production to countries that reject the Kyoto protocol.

    The European Union is talking about placing a carbon tarriff on goods from such countries.

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

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    The market can't solve everything or in my opinion anything. Trading of fishing quotas hasn't worked - massive cuts in fishing have just been announced. Why was this done = fishermen are lying thieves & bicatch was 60% higher when observers when on board as opposed to not.

    The only QMS that has anychance is when it is not individual but community based. Also will any trade system also follow the fishing ind. lead and ban any producers under $10K per ann?

    Wind and solar can feed the grid & don't need to be stored in batteries.

    We need to move away from weather board homes and use whole logs as Mark mentioned above.

    Timber only takes carbon out of the atmosphere while growing, mature trees start to put it back into the atmosphere.

    I'm into sci-Fi too, but burying carbon is up there with the script from Broken-Arrow about a coppermine holding in radiation - fantasy crossover stuff.

    The key to this is reduction of waste, so doesn't fit into the shit metaphor.

    "When I was a kid" we had reuseable milk bottles, softdrink bottles, & beer bottles. Takeaway pakaging was last weeks sport section - ink should be food grade & we can go back to that.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    We need to move away from weather board homes and use whole logs as Mark mentioned above.

    that's not quite what i meant... modern timber framing is less wasteful than the ol' log cabin

    The market can't solve everything or in my opinion anything.

    that's a bit pessimistic. witness what high fuel prices will do to the sales of scooters and bus & train tickets

    but i do agree with you about reduction of waste. that cranky dog & lemon guy had it right

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I have no interest in purchasing the iPhone (16GB of storage? Feh! Plus my annoyance with iTunes is well-documented), but I just clicked over to Vodafone to look at these controversial pricing plans. My initial reaction is: are they fucking kidding? DUDE.

    No more than that Apple Australia guy who basically said that of course Apples weren't overpriced in Australasia, because people still bought them. As long as they have some kind of profitable market and a monopoly, they'll charge the earth.

    The Vodafone guy on Campbell Live a few nights ago was quite funny, though - he only had five prepared lines, which summed up as "but it's really not that expensive, honest", and didn't deviate from them no matter how incensed Campbell got at his refusal to admit that Vodafone was preparing to screw customers for all they could using their iPhone monopoly. And when I say "funny", I mostly mean "irritating".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    correct me if I'm wrong, but if you cut down the pine trees before they rot, all that atmospheric carbon is turned into timber. Which doesn't get released back into the atmosphere, unless you've got a leaky home and your house rots.

    Sure. But because no-one has a damn clue what happens to the wood, for accounting purposes, its treated as if it was all released the moment you cut it down.

    This obviously overestimates emissions in the short term, but if it leads to people reducing them, then that's a Good Thing. And its seriously difficult to see any better way of doing it without introducing massive loopholes which will allow polluters to completely rort the system.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I guess what Apple/VF are doing is no different to what Cartier, Hermes and Ferrari do with their products. A Cartier watch probably costs low four figures to put together, and they sell it for $20k.

    These things are Veblen goods demand increases as a function of price.

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

  • Angus Robertson,

    If I understand Angus correctly, he's talking about relocating production to countries that reject the Kyoto protocol.

    No these countries fully accept the Kyoto protocol, but fall outside of Annex I or II and have no restrictions on emission. Basically the worlds poorer countries.

    The European Union is talking about placing a carbon tarriff on goods from such countries.

    Which is a pretty good idea that might actually help, rather than hinder the planet. Of course it has not been signalled here, because tariffs will increase the price of cheese & cars.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Kit McLean,

    After the initial iPhone jaw drop I've come round to thinking the plan prices aren't to bad. It's the amount of data which is abysmal. As a bit of a geek (now called "early adaptors" apparently) the data aspect is the key to the phone. Without push email, google map/GPS, and safari the things just a pretty phone/touch. If they gave 1gb with the $80 plan instead of 250mb I would be typing this (well, not this exactly) from my new iPhone now...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Saturday 2pm @ the Dux de lux the singlespeed revolution will start. (No lycra allowed ;)

    If you're interested come on down on your single speed machine.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Jarno van der Linden,

    My view of the ETS is that it is an attempt to incorporate the cost to society of pollution into the product. Something which the market system has so far mostly failed to do.

    A product that uses more of a limited resource (oil, minerals, bandwidth, skilled labour) should have a greater cost associated with it than an equivalent product that uses less. Market forces are then theorised to find the most acceptable balance between consumption and resource use.

    Pollution uses up the limited resource of a nice environment, but has traditionally not been subject to market forces in terms of monetary cost. In fact, a heavily polluting production method can be cheaper than a more environmentally friendly one, giving the manufacturer an incentive to pollute without the counterforce of people buying fewer product.

    Yes, consumers can factor in pollution in their buying decisions alongside the price tag, but the dollar cost is by far the dominant decider for most. And the average shopper is so far removed from the production process that it is basically impossible to know which of those brands of baked beans uses up the planet less, except through price.

    Nelson • Since Oct 2007 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    Actually, I believe the total cost of ownership of an Apple computer is less than the equivalent performing Windows based machine. If I weren't at work i'd do some research to back that up.

    Im thinking once I get my iPhone that i'll just get a cheap you choose then mobile data combo - I think it pans out to being the best value over 2 years even with the extra cost up front.

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I guess what Apple/VF are doing is no different to what Cartier, Hermes and Ferrari do with their products. A Cartier watch probably costs low four figures to put together, and they sell it for $20k.

    But the iPhone 3G costs less than USD200 to make. It has a shit camera. It's not a particularly great example of anything, except marketing.

    At least with Cartier and Ferrari you're getting a product that has only a small handful of alternatives. The iPhone is unique only in that it's made by Apple. Cellphones, even smart phones, are a commodity.

    Maybe I'm genetically defective, but I just don't get the fawning adulation over the iJobs. Apple products are just examples of whichever product category they happen to be in. They don't even put decent displays on the 20" iMacs, FFS!

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    the data aspect is the key to the phone. Without push email, google map/GPS, and safari the things just a pretty phone/touch.

    This.
    And so few people seem to get it - I've heard a few people now say "well of course it's expensive: it's got full web browsing, Google Maps with GPS, downloadable applications etc etc" and then follow that up with "and you don't really need much data to just send emails etc"
    Ummmmmmmm...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

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