Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: The back of a bloody envelope

282 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 Newer→ Last

  • Bart Janssen,

    cyanide (CN-) contains a carbon atom, it behaves as an inorganic ligand

    Carol I was just teasing. I know cyanide is considered inorganic. But I do remember it being "difficult" since there are times when it is organic, sort of.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Sweet as, Bart. The chance to discuss chemistry doesn't come along very often at PA, so I jumped at it!

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 825 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Looks like you two could have something interesting to add to the consultation on "natural" health products currently happening. Although perhaps natural, which includes vitamins and minerals, is even more prone to sloppy definition than "organic".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The Wohler synthesis involved an inorganic cyanide compound being converted into an organic compound, proving that organic compounds could be produced without a living thing being involved. (Other than Herr Wohler, obviously).

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

  • Bart Janssen,

    add to the consultation on "natural" health products

    Um that would be an horrendous threadjack and I kind of think the subject of the thread is too important. One way of summarizing my thoughts is to point out that the hideously painful death of mother and child during birth is "natural" as is Aflotoxin contaminated maize. Aspirin is also a natural compound as is coffee.

    Natural means nothing in the context of health IMO. Of course in terms of marketing that's a whole other story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    The phrase "just making it up" comes to mind.

    I think that's part of the reason young people like the one Hilary describes upthread exist; because he's so willing to basically say whatever sounds good, they just assume that it must be a) true and b) said with forethought.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Sweet as, Bart. The chance to discuss chemistry doesn't come along very often at PA, so I jumped at it!

    You're all just mocking me and my old-fashioned "topic" ideas, aren't you?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    and today John and Paula have announced a new open season on dole bludgers. I've only heard a few details but it sounds like another battle field for any with liberal tendencies.

    I tend to think this is a political gesture that doesn't change the (already harsh) reality very much. Bennett's claim that the measures will "break the cycle of welfare dependency" was difficult to credit.

    There's also actually a small improvement for DPB recipients, who will be able to earn a whole $100 (up from $80) before abatement kicks in.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I think that's part of the reason young people like the one Hilary describes upthread exist; because he's so willing to basically say whatever sounds good, they just assume that it must be a) true and b) said with forethought.

    The same could be said of 'older people' with entrenched ideas who will not bend to the weight of new evidence, however robust and overwhelming it might be. Rationality and open-mindedness should go hand in hand.

    But of course, not in this case.
    Stay off our land! Oh wait, your land? I mean, their land? Whose land is it?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Natural means nothing in the context of health IMO. Of course in terms of marketing that's a whole other story.

    I reckon this is on topic.
    Even if it isn't it's still good.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Carol I was just teasing. I know cyanide is considered inorganic.

    Oh, bloody hell, so the potassium ferrocyanide (anti caking agent 536) in the table salt, isn't as cosmic as I'd been led to believe.

    Question: if mixing sulfuric acid with potassium ferrocyanide can create dangerous gas. what happens when we eat lots of table salt on roasted peanuts, drink beer then burp; do we burp up hydrogen cyanide gas?

    Another question: why is Mt Aspiring national park being spared? I don't know the area, but I expect it has different fowner and flowner...

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Another question: why is Mt Aspiring national park being spared? I don't know the area, but I expect it has different fowner and flowner...

    Probably has no gold.Plus one has to be tuff to climb it :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The phrase "just making it up" comes to mind.

    Well, if Kevin doesn't know the difference between open pit and extractive mines perhaps he should STFU. Might think one lesson to be taken from the health care debate is that no matter how passionate you are about an issue reality is never an optional extra.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    do we burp up hydrogen cyanide gas?

    Nah,
    C02. but what would I know, ask an expert.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • jeremy gray,

    I imagine Mount Aspiring has been spared as it is part of the Te Wahipounamu UNESCO world heritage site. Other notable UNESCO sites include the pyramids, and the great wall of China. Mining there may just be a step too far, even for these Orcs.

    point chev • Since Apr 2008 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Talked to a member of the [UK Labour party] the other day. He's the product of a liberal school which encourages critical thinking and being comfortable with who you are..... I asked him whether he supported [military action in Iraq] and he earnestly told me that [Saddam had WMD's], [the UK] needed [to support the US no matter what] even if all the profits went offshore, and he was sure that once we knew 'all the facts' it would have widespread support. Not surprisingly he was a huge [Blair] fan and believed every word he said. I wonder, though, whether anything will ever shake his faith.

    Nothing ever shakes the faith of that sort of person. You just have to work around them somehow.

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

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Talked to a member of the [UK Labour party] the other day. He's the product of a liberal school which encourages critical thinking and being comfortable with who you are..... I asked him whether he supported [military action in Iraq] and he earnestly told me that [Saddam had WMD's], [the UK] needed [to support the US no matter what] even if all the profits went offshore, and he was sure that once we knew 'all the facts' it would have widespread support. Not surprisingly he was a huge [Blair] fan and believed every word he said. I wonder, though, whether anything will ever shake his faith.

    Nothing ever shakes the faith of that sort of person. You just have to work around them somehow.

    Just wait til life throws them something that shakes that 'unshakeable' belief; someone close coming out GLBT, they have an accident and are made to jump hoops in ACC, they have to go on the dole, they go bankrupt etc.

    That, more than anything, will shake things up and loosen his Pavlovian attachment to Key.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    There's still plenty of eager Blairites out there, determined to back you into a corner at parties and earnestly explain to you why invading Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. And to casually dismiss any other concerns you might have about the way Blair ran the UK for 10-odd years.

    When people get a belief like that, it's closer to religion than anything else.

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

  • James,

    Does it sound to anyone else as though Brownlee's been reading John Maynard Keynes?

    If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is.

    Only he's missed the punch-line:

    It would, indeed, be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing.

    New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    Steve Barnes
    "I reckon this is on topic.
    Even if it isn't it's still good."

    Yeah, it is good.
    Here is the website
    http://www.storyofstuff.com/
    which has some other good clips on it

    EDIT: I have used these clips with Year 9 and 10 students - they have prompted fantastic class discussions

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    TThe Minerals Industry Association chief executive was on the radio tonight saying that the Government would get more than just the usual 5% royalty on mining revenues. He said they would get an additional 30% in company tax. He would have left many listeners with the impression that the government will get a 35% return on revenues.

    But...

    35% sounds good until you realise that of course the 30% in tax is not based on revenues, but on the company's profits. And that the companies concerned won't pay taxes for years, because they'll be able to offset the profits made against the considerable losses they will incur early on. And then there are the various deductions allowed for company expenditure under the Income Tax Act. And if the company is a foreign one the tax paid might be much less than 30% etc etc...

    The claims being made by mining lobby groups about the benefits to New Zealand don't stack up. And they wonder why people don't trusts their claims about how environmentally friendly modern mining techniques are.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    etc etc...

    Any foreign mining operation here will never make significant profits, because - surprise, surprise - it's not in their interest, tax-wise, to do so.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    About fitfteen years ago in Italy I worked for a firm of geologists and architects contracted by quarry and mine companies to sell to the local communities the minimisation of the impact of their activities. I would create these presentations where we simulated the eventual look of the side of a mountain or the mouth of a valley, and for a while it looked to me like it was based on fairly solid science. Later it became clearer that nobody in those communities looked at the first slides with the hard data, and that the real selling point were the "after" photos inserted at the end. That was my job - and I was some guy with access to a rudimentary version of Photoshop. I still shudder from time to time at that particular thought.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I've just finished mercilessly mocking some of my friends. Slightly flakey middle class tree hugger vegetarians of the new-age self help type, they voted National because they didn't like the nanny state - because if you just try hard enough you can achieve anything you want!!

    They are now busily being alternatively horrified, betrayed and outraged at the idea of mining of the conservation estate and are signing up for the fight.

    I've been loving rubbing it in.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Question: if mixing sulfuric acid with potassium ferrocyanide can create dangerous gas. what happens when we eat lots of table salt on roasted peanuts, drink beer then burp; do we burp up hydrogen cyanide gas?

    Not in NZ, Steven: our table salt contains only anticaking agent 551, otherwise known as silica, which is dead boring in terms of its interactions with your digestive system.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 825 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.