Posts by Robert Wilson
Hard News: Keeping our heads on "bath salts",
FWIW This story on NPR implies the term "bath salts" is even less well defined than you pointed out, and makes enacting and enforcing any controls seem virtually impossible (at least according to US drug legislation).
Field Theory: One in a billion,
As much as I enjoy a good old statistical analysis, there's another, possibly more accurate, way to approach this question. Go back and study everything that's known about the lives of all 1100 capped ABs and make an educated guess whether they're gay or not. Might be hard to do, especially for the early years, but there might be enough publicly available information to then be able to extrapolate what the statistics really are. Then we could try to answer some of the questions about how the statistics really compare to the general population - maybe publish a paper with PASers as author :-) A pretty shitty paper unfounded by hard science, but I've seen worse.
Hard News: Getting out of the archives,
There's a Treasury Working Paper on a similar theme from Philip McCann here:
A little easier to follow than the slides.
Field Theory: It's called Super for a reason,
I'm was a Union fan before I left NZ (still would be if I could get / afford games on TV in the US) and had the same attitude about American Football that a lot of people have expressed here: it's too slow and not as athletic because the player aren't on the field for the whole game / wear pads etc.
I think part of that attitude comes from the natural inclination to believe that our national game is "better" than theirs; the other part comes from a simply lack of familiarity. The games are different; I no longer try to argue that one is better than the other.
Believe it or not, once you've watched it for a while the pace of the game doesn't seem slow anymore, and it's a lot more strategery than Rugby (not to belittle Rugby strategy)... it's like a game of chess (with a 40 second clock.)
And I don't think that you can seriously argue that the players aren't in as good a shape as Rugby players. It may seem that way if you haven't watched much, and maybe the type of athleticism is different (see previous comments,) but these guys are full-time, professional football players who take the game very seriously. If they aren't in the best shape possible and playing as hard as possible they aren't on the team.
I'll be very interested to read your blog posts. Personally, I moved to LA to go to grad school and my attitude towards moving home gradually shifted from "as soon as I'm done with school" to "after I work here for a couple of years" to "no comment".
I'll admit it's partly the money, which is much better here for someone in engineering. But it's also the opportunity: California is a (if not the) center of R&D in all things technology, and in NZ I just wouldn't be able to work at the same level. And of course now that I've been away 9 years I have a partner (of 4 years) who's family are in Texas... so California just becomes that much more sticky.
The idea of emigrating to the US from NZ still feels wrong to me, but in practice I'm not homesick that often. Strangely it's always when I'm in the supermarket. I'll occasionally go looking for everyday NZ foods and not be able to find them and not be able to find anyone who knows what I'm talking about... then I'll feel like a stranger in a strange land. (Go to an American supermarket and try to buy sponge cake or custard powder or baked beans in tomato sauce...)
I've never paid a whole lot of attention to PA System - in general I've always preferred to read the well constructed thoughts of people who have actual writing talent to the often-polarised collection of random utterances of any public discussion.
I consider you to write the former, in case that wasn't clear.
But I'm genuinely surprised to read that the "overall middle ground of this site" is counter to your point-of-view, to the point where it's no longer tolerable; that's not how I had imagined the average PA reader, or average reader of your posts in particular.
But, perhaps I'm also too far removed.
To echo what others have already said, I've always enjoyed your posts - every time the email comes your name is one of the ones I look for to see if I'll read that day.
Cracker: In Which Damian Finishes What…,
Not to be that guy, but... Las Vegas, not Los Vegas.
Wish I actually had something meaningful to say... I'm completely on board with your review of Dreamgirls, I was surprised when they started breaking out into random songs as well.
My ambigous comment was in reference to Russell's point:
You may note a reasonable correlation between countries with "smacking" bans and countries at the other end of the scale from us. It's probably not the day to be firing out a press release demanding the right to smack.
Without actually expressing an opinion, the "valid argument" police would like to point out that correlation doesn't imply causality.
This was a very interesting post - I thought you made some insightful points.
Can I follow up on your response to Mr Feltoe's question?
What is that you, personally, want in the political relationship between Maori and the Crown? Or perhaps, to your point, a better question would be: What do you want in the political relationship between you and the crown? Can you explain what tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake would mean to you in a practical sense?