Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Together Alone

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  • Alfie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    …I wonder if Trump ever takes a bath?

    Do financial losses from multiple casino failures count?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I see another grumpy skeptic weighing in on Stuff today - I had to write and get them to reconsider his given name:

    this 'piece' of posturing - https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/120993729/coronavirus-springtime-in-paris-is-eerily-empty-due-to-the-covid19-lockdown - is attributed to a Dr Theodore Dalrymple - no such legitimate doctor exists.
    Theodore Dalrymple is the pseudonym of an Anthony Malcolm Daniels, who did qualify as a legitimate doctor in 1974 - but this credential honorific does not extend to the fictitious Dr Theodore Dalrymple.
    Using such a 'title' as Dr gives his jaundiced views some unwarranted 'cachet' and 'respectability' - let him use his real name if he wants to espouse his 'credentialled' viewpoint. His books and most of his articles merely say Theodore Dalrymple and I strongly suggest you remove the Dr in the interests of truth and transparency.

    Ian Dalziel
    The Pedant Patrol

    Let's see what happens...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    I've noticed the rise in Economic Eugenics. Hooten & Morgan seem to be the chief cheerleaders in a truly grotesque dance of death.
    Sacrificing our loved ones. I suspect in Morgan's case feverish anticipation of inherentance windfall that intergenerational transfer of wealth. I have no proof of this, it seems consistent with his current position.
    Stay safe out there 👍

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2020 • 24 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Let’s see what happens…


    Now if we can just get a business editor into the Jane Bowron aisle:
    There's nothing super about these markets that are taking our money overseas
    She seems to think all our supermarkets are Australian-owned, when NZ-owned Foodstuffs has about 53% of the duopoly.

    It's easy to see how 'false facts' can easily bed in to the public psyche...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Neil, in reply to Shep Cheyenne,

    There’s certainly some not particularly good arguments at present for an early end to lockdown but some of the arguments are worth considering, they are appear to be in good faith.

    I support the lockdown and would support its extension if that is the best option.

    I do though recall that Michael Baker was being dismissed as a mere agitator in the two weeks prior to the lockdown for advocating going sooner to lockdown rather than later.

    Perhaps his medical background influenced that view - in comparison to other prominent scientists with a media presence who were arguing a slower paced response.

    First hand experience of hospitals and real life infection control might be a factor in some differences of opinion.

    Since Nov 2016 • 382 posts Report

  • linger, in reply to linger,


    Japan Covid-19 roundup for April 8th-14th
    excerpted from the Japan Times, supplemented with figures from Nippon.com

    April 8th
    State of emergency comes into effect, after being foreshadowed on April 6th and officially announced on April 7th.
    Tokyo logs 144 new cases.
    (The relatively low daily increases on April 6th (88) & 7th (80) may be explained as reflecting lower access to testing. This raises the worrying prospect that official case counts for areas covered by the state of emergency may, perversely, become (even) less reliable, because reducing movement may also reduce timely access to testing. If new cases stay isolated at home, good; but if as a result they are untested and uncounted, criteria for ending the state of emergency become much less certain. Also worrying is that, of the cases from April 7th, the source of infection remains unknown for 57/80.)

    April 9th
    Tokyo logs 181 new cases.
    Prefectural governor for Aichi asks for it to be added into the state of emergency.

    April 10th
    Tokyo logs 189 new cases, reaching 1705 in total. Tokyo bars and nightclubs are ordered to close, opening hours are reduced for restaurants. Cases have now been reported in all prefectures except Iwate.

    April 11th
    Tokyo logs 197 new cases, reaching 1902 in total.

    April 12th
    Tokyo logs 166 new cases: source is probably linked to medical facilities in 87 cases, but remains unclear for 64. Tokyo total reaches 2068, Japan total reaches 7000.
    Hokkaido issues a state-of-emergency declaration.
    Central government asks businesses to reduce commuting by 70% (but no accountability measures are applied).

    April 13th
    Chiba, Osaka, and Fukuoka prefectures, more directly, ask businesses to shut down.
    Government announces plan to distribute two cloth masks to each household starting next week.
    Tokyo logs 91 new cases (but this partly reflects lower testing access over the weekend, and these cases include some identifying a hospital-based cluster that could end up being much larger).

    April 14th
    Tokyo logs 161 new cases.
    It is getting wearying to have the news report each day’s new case figure as either “a new record high” or “a decrease” rather than acknowledging the simple fact that the numbers for Tokyo (and more generally for Japan) are too uncertain to use as any trend indicator.

    The NZ figures, while more reliable, also have an inherent uncertainty. Maybe Level 3 restrictions would be enough to maintain the case load, but Tokyo’s experience suggests that, without continued widespread testing, there could be further flareups requiring further lockdowns. It would be safer, and ultimately less disruptive, to extend the current lockdown until there are NO new cases for a week, which would permit a path back through Level 2 to whatever the new normal is.
    Stay safe, everyone.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • BenWilson, in reply to Neil,

    There’s certainly some not particularly good arguments at present for an early end to lockdown but some of the arguments are worth considering, they are appear to be in good faith.

    Yes, whatever the facts of the virus itself are, and time will certainly tell on that, it seems likely to me that opinions are divided over the basic values that lead to decisions as enormous as the total lockdown of society. To write them all off as eugenic is not good faith.

    But I don't think this is the thread for such a discussion, TBH. I'm not even sure this is the site.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Neil, in reply to BenWilson,

    But I don’t think this is the thread for such a discussion, TBH. I’m not even sure this is the site.

    Yes, I don’t have any other social media venues to express thoughts, but fair point.

    Since Nov 2016 • 382 posts Report

  • linger, in reply to linger,

    NO new cases for a week

    To clarify: among people not already in quarantine. Level 2 presumes there is no community transmission, so if new cases are limited to those not in community contact (e.g. recent returnees) then that isn’t a barrier to moving out of lockdown, through Level 3, back to Level 2.

    Though maybe not back to Level 1. There have been reports from South Korea of some "recovered" cases re-testing as positive. It doesn't seem to happen often, and it is not yet clear if they become contagious again. NZ has so far managed to keep the total case count low enough that it may not be an iaaue, but we don't know yet.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • John Farrell, in reply to linger,

    The problem with so much that we think we know about covid 19, is that it comes from unverified uncontrolled studies reported in the media. We won't know about the behaviour of the virus until scientists have completed controlled studies.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report

  • linger, in reply to John Farrell,


    I keep coming back to NZ / Tokyo because it does illustrate a comparison between two different policy responses with different aims: respectively,
    (i) rapidly enforced lockdown, with the ambitious goal of eradicating Covid-19 from New Zealand; and
    (ii) a gradual increase in restrictions on movement, stopping short of full lockdown, with the less ambitious goal of maintaining the caseload to keep healthcare services from collapsing in Tokyo.
    The reported total infections, and rates of infection, were similar up until the end of March.
    Admittedly, it’s not a fully controlled comparison in terms of amount of risk to the population, and in terms of the level of statistical reliability available.
    In NZ, contact tracing is still mostly working, and most of the existing cases can be connected back to an overseas source, and so the current level of testing is good enough for tracking the spread.
    Japan was in a similar position in early March, but that opportunity has since been lost: currently, contract tracing is either not performed, or fails to identify the source, in most new cases, and it can be inferred that the disease is already well-established in the local community.

    Media coverage of statistics can be woeful at the best of times, but the 24-hour news cycle (and worse, rolling news) seems utterly incompatible with the requirement, now, to evaluate statistics critically, and to take a longer-term interpretation of possible trends, and of research outcomes.

    Faced with daily new-case counts, the mainstream media focusses on the day-to-day differences (=the lines connecting each successive data point in the previous graph), when they should be correcting for inherent variability and looking at longer-term trends.
    As a small corrective, look at what happens to the same graph if individual daily figures are treated only as individual data points, and the trend line is produced by joining up regression forecasts for each day based on all data for the surrounding week. We can more clearly see the direction of movement over time, but we also get a better idea of the amount of uncertainty in each day’s count (=much higher in the Tokyo data).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • linger,

    In a democracy, any policy response limiting freedom of movement needs to come with very clear entry and exit criteria. Both NZ and Japan have initially fixed on an arbitrary time limit (four weeks; a month), without trying to set in advance any clear evidence-based criterion for an earlier or later exit. Given that neither policy has yet achieved its stated aim, the lack of such an agreed exit criterion seems an oversight that should be remedied ASAP.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Not sure where I should post this but I am seeking help with a research project. I was approached last week to assist the participation of NZ children in international research on 9 to 13 year olds and their experiences of the current crisis. It is being led by Maya Goetz at IZI, an academic research institution associated with Bavarian Television in Munich, and has 40+ countries involved.
    The online questionnaire is at https://www.soscisurvey.de/izi-corona/ and involves initial parent consent (online), and runs to April 24.
    It would be great to have NZ children participate, to place their experiences beside those of their peers from other countries. They may well enjoy the 20-3o minutes it takes to fill it out. If you have children in this age group (9-13) you are welcome to participate, or pass the message on to friends.
    I have been getting good support from the Office of the Commissioner for Children, and several local schools.
    If you have any questions, feel free to email at geoff.lealand@waikato.ac.nz

    Maya Goetz visited NZ a couple of years ago, and ran workshops for children’s TV producers.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report

  • Simon Armstrong, in reply to linger,

    Reviewing recent Law Socity info about State of National Emergency we are under here there is nothing stopping Civil Defence Minsiter (sp) Peeni Henare extending this holiday from democracy for as long as he likes.

    [edit] untimely Sleeping Dogs reference removed

    New Zealand • Since Jan 2015 • 81 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Simon Armstrong,

    (C.K.) Steady as she goes department...

    ...timely Sleeping Dogs reference

    For the younger readers...
    a reference to explain the reference removed
    a reference of frames, the stirrings of a nascent industry...

    <side trip>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    But it won't be needed to be extended.
    The government has an 88% approval rating on their handling of the Crisis and in September an election to ride the wave of support.
    Although they have the power they will also have the wisdom that they will achieve more with out using it.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2020 • 24 posts Report

  • linger, in reply to Shep Cheyenne,

    But it won’t be needed to be extended.

    Tell that to the virus. It's not running for office. If the aim remains eradication, then some extension could be necessary — but not an indefinite extension. Hence the need for the government to announce, in advance, how they will decide what counts as enough of a "success" to exit lockdown (or in Japan's case, the state of emergency).
    Even if they're focused on implications for the election (which I would argue shouldn't be their highest priority), that's the only way their support could stay high if they do have to announce extensions.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • Shep Cheyenne, in reply to linger,

    Fair enough the virus will dictate the response, but I don't see any need to creep into a dystopian authoritarian government any time soon.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2020 • 24 posts Report

  • Alfie, in reply to Shep Cheyenne,

    ...dystopian authoritarian government

    You haven't been listening to Hosking and his death cult, have you? Cos authoritarian control tends to be more of a right wing thing, in my experience. And being the country which shines for its kindness and compassion during a pandemic is far from dystopian.

    I guess we all see things with different eyes.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report

  • linger, in reply to Shep Cheyenne,

    dystopian authoritarian government

    Actually, I thought I was arguing for government by informed consent.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    I was interested to see the Hokianga checkpoints.
    My concern isn't so much the legality so much as the cowboy nature of the stops.
    To keep the checkpoint crew safe, you should reduce the speed of the traffic, and some safety distance from the cars coming up behind should be a meter.
    I haven't seen a Traffic Management plan for checkpoints and the Police standards use patrol cars with flashing lights and are short in duration.
    Plenty of Maori are STMSs, these checkpoints look as safe as Mike King getting the chainsaw stuck in the tree on One Tree Hill.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2020 • 24 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Shep Cheyenne,

    Mike Smith.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Simon Armstrong, in reply to Shep Cheyenne,

    New Zealand • Since Jan 2015 • 81 posts Report

  • Alfie,


    I've been wondering at what our world may look like in 12 months whilst doodling on a world map. As you do. Conclusion? Godzone looks like the best place to be for a good while to come.

    Here's a link to a higher res version -- 8,192 x 4,096 px and around 16Mb, so for enthusiasts only. And those who choose to read the smaller type. Enjoy!


    As an aside, I've been a read-only Twitter lurker for a while then finally gave up and started this account in January 2020. The date somehow seemed significant at the time but in retrospect it's ancient history now. So any follows, likes and general good karma would be appreciated by this newbie.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report

  • Shep Cheyenne, in reply to Simon Armstrong,

    True that and what we did to Samoa 22% death rate due to indifference towards the captured colony amounts to a war crime.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2020 • 24 posts Report

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