Posts by Thomas Goodfellow

  • Hard News: How journalism looks now,

    Even with the best of intentions, it's the natural tendency of power to run things to suit itself. And it should be a natural function of journalism to resist that and expose it.

    Absolutely - since much of what's presented as news journalism is pseudo-objective to the point of being supine that it's a joy to see a solid point of view put solidly. What David Allen Green noted about human rights applies quite well to proper journalism:

    it is important to note that the whole purpose of human rights law is, from time to time, to frustrate governments and others with power.

    Human rights law which allows politicians to do what they would have done anyway is not meaningfully human rights law at all.

    Of course, government do not like human rights law – they also dislike legal aid and judicial review – as it empowers the individual to stand up to the State.

    So the protests of senior politicians (of all parties) about human rights law should never be taken at face value.

    [quoting from about-the-human-rights-act-and-echr - which starts with the Home Secretary of 2011 telling a direct lie about human rights legislation. Her name is of course Theresa May]

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report

  • Access: A letter from Aunt Daisy about…,

    "could result in a disastrous loss of all the institutional knowledge of the Sound collections in Christchurch and in Auckland" - no 'could' about it. The very staff that embody institutional knowledge are those long-termers with deeper local roots. I expect many such will scorn a move to Wellington not because of earthquakes or even over-priced housing but simply because they've long since chosen to create their lives elsewhere.

    Anecdata: I worked for a firm in London which had offices by Marylebone and Waterloo, i.e. a bit north and just south of the river. Marylebone office closed in favour of expanded Waterloo site, whereupon a number of key "institutional knowledge" staff departed, choosing "Door C" when faced with the prospect of either an even-crappier commute or the disruption of moving house.

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report

  • Up Front: Our House, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I'm trying to remember when a government last took justice and incarceration seriously enough to face down the inevitable calls for it to be both harsh and cheap ("spending all that money to mollycoddle thugs while hard-working taxpayers etc etc etc"), or took the time to argue through the long-term implications of failed rehabilitation and the ensuing re-offending levels.

    Some years back there was a New Yorker (?) article on managing chronic homelessness where some US cities had opted to fund (lightly supervised) housing, with the natural objection from other poor citizens struggling to pay rent that this effectively rewarded fecklessness. Impressively the city was sticking with the programme, arguing both cost/benefit (fewer emergency medical treatments, less crime) and being fairly frank about the moral implications (roughly "yep, it really doesn't feel fair but the alternatives are even worse and you really wouldn't want to be one of them yourself anyway"). Unfortunately this was notable precisely because of its rarity.

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report

  • Hard News: About the King's Arms (updated),

    Splendid backgrounding link on Maureen: can only hope KA not only abides but passes into the hands of another such proper publican. Regarding the "we were here first so buy some earplugs (or come around and join in)" argument, I still faintly mourn the silencing of the Art Gallery clock at night - one of the evocative joys of student bar hopping was hearing it strike midnight - driven by the needs of the newly populated adjoining apartments. The balance between denizens and arrivées is always delicate, with short-term developer interests generally aligned with the latter.

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report

  • Hard News: Crowdfunding Time,

    Clearly a predictable cash flow lacks the wrong-sort-of-excitement of arbitrary amounts on random dates but since PayPal is just too much a PITA (country is pinned to email address) a dollop it must be. At least this way I have the value of PA brought to mind periodically through a fund-raiser rather than being just another background fee to be shoved under the carpet.

    As to content, the Friday Sounds and links to Audio Culture stories are a great way to wreck my productivity at the end of the week. Overall PA and the Hard News mails before it have been the "expat lifeline" - I tend to gloss over the murkier bits of politicking in favour of the more culture/lifestyle content: BDO, festivals, Silo Park, etc - stupidly I tend to presume that Auckland has remained trapped in amber for the past years to be picked up again whenever I please so it's a fine jolt to read of all the good things happening and think "gotta get me some of that - someday..." So I'm a solid fan of the Capture photoblog - beats the crap out of peeping through StreetView.

    Final request - more cultural archaeology please, along the lines of "Great NZ Argument" (can't say specifically what, since the whole joy is finding lines of thought that one didn't even think to suspect to look for...)

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report

  • Capture: Tomatina In Henderson,

    Thanks for posting this - been hoping that "Uncle Chris" would surface again so a real treat to see (a) yes he has, (b) doing music too, (c) still aging moderately disgracefully, no sign yet of a blue rinse or sensible shoes. And especially not fitting too closely to the eulogistic label "iconic". In the absence of a full recovery it's still a tonic to see that he's still out there, creating on his own terms.

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report

  • OnPoint: Legal Context, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Ignoramus response: actively using a duress password seems like contempt at best or plausibly destruction of evidence (since that surely includes materials due for searching, not merely materials already known to contain relevant evidence). But of course the penalty may still be less than that which may be due for the offense being investigated.

    But how about a deadman's switch, i.e. a self-powered drive that makes itself physically corrupt if not properly unlocked within some interval? It might be harder to show that stalling on the unlock ("I need to talk to my company lawyer first") was deliberate vandalism than using a corrupting password since it can be seen that the drive says "DEAD" before starting password entry, as opposed to password entry appearing to succeed and then yielding a reset drive. Of course such a needy device would be an utter pain to live with, since the deadman interval needs to be short enough to prevent it being recognised and countermeasures applied (remove power, freeze, ablate chip housings, have Superman fly backwards around world until the drive is unlocked again...)

    But it will take scrupulous discipline to ensure that the only solid evidence is on that drive - many a hacker has been bagged for tradecraft slips. However unless a conviction for evidence destruction is served in addition to sentence the underlying offence attracts then it could be a sensible gamble (practically, not morally - given this I hope such sentences are consecutive?)

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report

  • Notes & Queries: Waikato Railstop Dawn, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    We stopped by that house once on a family trip and our way down the SH1 shoulder and stepped gingerly onto verge of the swamp, staring a long while past the paint peeling off sagging timbers in the seemingly boundless gloom of drowning willows and ominous crocodilian logs. In my memory there is no traffic (obviously false - 35 years ago it was still a busy highway) and only needs the plaintive clang-clang-clang of an uncontrolled level crossing bell to complete the atmosphere. I hope we celebrated by stopping in Pokeno for a triple scoop icecream by the WWI memorial.

    Of course the locals probably cheered the departure of ten million mossies and the gain of some hectares of arable land and the quicker shopping trips to the big smokes (anywhere but Mercer counts for this). But that's progress - wonderful when it happens for me but lousy when it happens to things I cherish.

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report

  • Notes & Queries: In The Face of Global…, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, if you stop eating Lego bricks then the terrorists win!

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report

  • Legal Beagle: The hopeful disallowance…,

    Capital stuff! it's always a delight to see an argument presented concisely and clearly yet with plenty of reference to the law. The layman's routine experience of boilerplate contracts (seemingly sold by weight, like dung), coupled with the drizzle of sensational cases like that Moz linked all corrodes faith that law can be a tool for justice, or even bring clarity to a complex dispute. And of course quality legal blogs have been instrumental in bringing this perspective to T. C. Mits...

    The merest of proof-reading nits: "by forbidding not merely those involved in its processed", last word should obviously be "processes" (typos sale passed spiel chuck)

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report

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