Posts by Moz

  • Hard News: Blockchain, what is it?,

    Have any of the crypto-currency/blockchain people solved the fundamental problem of power consumption? My understanding is that to a large extent the "51% hack" is measured in megawatts, and just operating a blockchain requires a considerable amount of both hardware and power. Or alternatively, guarding against a hostile takeover requires that the defenders spend more megawatts than the attackers can afford to.

    If you think that climate change is a problem, or that the planet is finite, this is something of a problem. But if not, it's merely a business opportunity.

    FWIW I think the Etherium rewriting of history proves that the people doing it are not serious and don't intend to carry out their claims. The very first time they made a mistake they changed their story from "irrevocable programmatic contract" to "the rules are what we say they are on the day". In other words, if you as a small player find a way to win, they will change the rules to screw you. Small players need to use those systems with that in mind.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 965 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Barclay and arrogance, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    ‘Radical’ and ‘hard-left’ are not so much ways of describing the policies; they are meant, I think, to exclude them from the conversation.

    You can perhaps see this most clearly with The Greens. They're described as "far left" ridiculously often even though their policies vary from (European) centre-right to vaguely left-ish if you ignore the world before 1970 or 1980. I tend to think it's because they don't consider the left-right axis useful, they operate on a green-brown one. Or a human-survival/human-extinction one, if you want to be blunt about it. Think about *that* viewpoint when politicians stand up and say they oppose The Greens. And you thought the Voluntary Human Extinction movement was dead...

    Yet on key issues like rates of tax, student fees, and public ownership of assets, the policies would have been considered mainstream

    The flippant part of me wants to say:

    yeah, you're right, they're hard left. When they get elected, they're going to bring in genuine hard left policies. Starting with Trumpian unilateral withdrawal from treaties and following up with nationalisation, inevitably ending up with death camps. Or is that the facists, I forget. Death camps... death camps... no, that's a British innovation now mostly used by the right

    Or possibly not?

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 965 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Touching Waterview, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I'm not sure of the politics, but in most of Oz google etc seem to have reasonably good access to PT information. They don't get trackwork in Sydney sometimes is the only thing I've really noticed (but I am an occasional user).

    Also, Wellington has overloaded buses at peak times in the inner area

    Sydney has that with trains. Albeit only on stations within easy cycling distance of the CBD and in areas where the council has built good bike infrastructure (I know not everyone can ride a bike to work). Oh, except where the state government has overridden council and removed said cycle infrastructure.

    In response to rail overcrowding the right-wing state government is privatising some of the lines and the new operator has promised to run new trains more often. New, smaller trains... half the passenger capacity per train but 50% more often means 2/3rds the number of passengers per hour. For some reason we are not excited by this, plus we get "buses replace trains next 12 months" at some point, turning a 30 minute trip into town into 60-90 minutes depending on traffic.

    The Sydney tunnel story you might like is that a PPP built new road tunnels under Sydney then went bankrupt, so the state government bought the tunnels cheap. That's how a PPP should work :)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 965 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Barclay and arrogance, in reply to maxy,

    how can you hold these people to account if something like this happens?

    It's very difficult and that's the point. With professional socialites like MPs it's superficially easier because they're either practicing being effortlessly interested and nice, or they already do so out of habit. One effect of that is of course that you feel obliged to reciprocate, by for example not making them look like an arsehole in public.

    With other political creatures it can be easier - at one stage I used to see David Farrar socially, but it was difficult to maintain the pretence of civility in the presence of his forthright political assumptions. Viz, less that he was a craven National lackey, more that he overtly assumed that everyone in the group was an amoral sociopath primarily interested in power and money (and that not being such was a character defect). It made discussing even the weather difficult. Watching his behaviour now it appears that he may have got slightly better at concealing that beneath a veneer of civility, but on the other hand maybe not...

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 965 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Barclay and arrogance,

    Attachment

    It's worth looking at the various investigatory bodies around the world. One handy term is Independent Commission Against Corruption. NSW has one and it periodically makes findings that end up with politicians and their associates facing criminal charges. For that reason Australia doesn't have a federal one because the corruption is official and approved of (at least within parliament, which is what counts... although ... (damn, how do I get the image below the text?)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 965 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Touching Waterview, in reply to BenWilson,

    It's strange that it doesn't really afflict public transport.

    Induced demand works just fine for public transport, but the mechanism is the same as for powered mobility aids - people use it when it's more convenient, so anything that makes it more convenient will induce demand. Sadly much "public transport improvement" doesn't address convenience, being focused on making it cheaper or easier for the operators, or providing limited services to new areas.

    What works, and is known to work work is "very 10 minutes, as much of the day as possible". If people can just wander down to the stop when they want to, knowing that a bus/train/rickshaw will be along soon and will take them where they want to go, that's convenience.

    I'm curious to know how the mobile app revolution is affecting that convenience factor, because I can see how it would. Plug your destination into google maps and it says "if you leave in the next 8 minutes you can walk to {station} and the train will take you there at {time}". Convenience not through more trains or buses, but through knowing what is going on. My train-dependent housemates all live and die by the Sydney transport app, because that has live running times and knows about trackwork etc. Our kitchen is 12 minutes walk or 9 minutes panic away from the train station :)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 965 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Grenfell: a signal moment, in reply to Rebecca Gray,

    architects hate building regulators so we have to keep tricking them into letting us get away with doing things differently".

    I think it's important to remember that architecture is the art of drawing pretty pictures of buildings that might come to be, civil engineering is the practice of designing those buildings so they are safe (etc). Project Management is the torture of trying to get tradespeople to assemble what is on the plans despite the "active involvement" of the architect and owner. Then to take it apart and put something different in when the architect and owner agree to pay for that to be done.

    There is a degree of cross-over, but having lived with an architect for 10 years now and listened to a lot of architects complain about a lot of things, 99% of their whining is about the appearance of the building and 1% about the structure. Commonly they hate restrictions that come from heritage listing, anything about colour, form or siting, and especially "fitting in with the existing houses". Give an architect complete freedom and they'll make Dr Seuss look conservative.

    The practical restrictions they gripe about tend to be things like fire zones (in Australia), flood and earthquake requirements (what do you mean I can't build in the red zone?), much more than random engineering restrictions like fire-proofing.

    (why yes, I *am* irritated by 10 years of this whining.Thank you for asking. I have made the exact point above on a number of occasions).

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 965 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Grenfell: a signal moment,

    I keep thinking that our rulers have forgotten the old adage: democracy is a better way to change governments than the guillotine.

    As Corbyn shows, given an alternative the people will vote for it. In Aotearoa we see the opposite.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 965 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Interesting Britain!,

    https://newmatilda.com/2017/06/11/labour-real-winners-uk-election/ NM has gone to the dogs a bit lately, posting controversy for controversy's sake, but that's worthwhile IMO.

    The Last Leg election special was kinda worth while. Not so much funny-haha as funy-omg, but interesting anyway. Watching the boys try not to be too hard on the female, muslim, Conservative MP was funny. Her response to the suggestion she might like to be PM was genuine and also a sad reflection the state of politics "hell no", but put very politely. With possibly a genuine undertone of "don't even joke about that, it could happen".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 965 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Interesting Britain!, in reply to BenWilson,

    Winning the election and becoming the actual government for the next 5 years would have been a far, far superior outcome.

    See, I don't think that's one of the possibilities. I look at the Scottish Conservatives (who are already talking about a separate identity) , and I look at the PLP, and I look at the LibDems... and I think to myself "what a wonderful world".

    I think a useful Labour win would have required a safe, outright Labour majority *and* would need to involve a bunch of brand new, recently elected for the first time, cabinet ministers because if Corbyn was reduced to re-installing the tired hacks who've opposed him, the same ones who refused to accept shadow positions, he'd be in the same shit as May is but without the media support. It's just a whole bunch of "maybe this" and "hopefully that" and "if they're really lucky", I just can't see it happening.

    While it's nice to imagine that the MPs who supported Blair and still publicly pine for his return would swing behind the Corbyn political program wholeheartedly, I struggle. To also imagine that those tired hacks would be struck by inspiration and enjoy a simultaneous burst of competence unto brilliance that lasted for four years, boggles my mind. It's easier to imagine Alamein Kopu succeeding Paula Bennett and turning the social welfare system around. But yeah, maybe it could happen.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 965 posts Report Reply

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