Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Where nature may win

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  • Islander,

    Thanks for the EPMU donation details, Giovanni - that one sounds a goodie-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report

  • Steve Parks, in reply to James George,

    In addition there is every likelihood that any inquiry which goes further in it’s findings than the pols who appointed it wanted, will be told it is involving itself in business “outside it’s purview"

    If so, that would be a good reason to have inquiries other than the one appointed by the pols.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report

  • Lucy Stewart,

    ETA; Which then raises the issue of how fast was it collecting methane to create this kind of pressure? I doubt that it would have been temporarily stored within the mine - that would be crazy

    If there was only one line draining methane to the outside, but collecting it from various places in the mine, that could add up to quite a lot of pressure even if no individual spot was outgassing that much. Because 0.8 cubic metres/second of methane is a lot, looking at ChrisW's figure of 10-13 cubic metres/tonne of coal. A quick look at the literature also suggests that, to put that figure into perspective, other New Zealand coal seams have more like 2-4 cubic metres/tonne.

    (On a note of professional curiosity, I see that biogenic methane is a significant fraction in other NZ mines - I wonder if that was the case here?)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    This morning's Herald has this about the possible too-fast methane build-up.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Did anyone else read Sean Plunket's "poem" in this morning's ComPost? I was appalled on so many levels. It was so bad I was thrown into fits of hysterical laughter. I don't feel that's an appropriate response, but what am I supposed to do when presented with lines like "Could robots work where men are mortal to pierce the dangers of that portal"?
    Am I alone in this horror?
    /me wanders back upthread to find some recovery in Larkin.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report

  • 3410,

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to Sacha,

    Check out Centralia on Google Maps and StreetView - it's a ghost town with streets that suddenly end because the earth has eaten it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report

  • Stephen Judd,

    Lucy: perhaps it’s too soon to post it here, but you might enjoy William McGonagall’s The Tay Bridge Disaster, which is surely the worst poem ever written in English about serious loss of life. I’d be surprised if the lyric genius of Plunket could measure up.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report

  • Yamis, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Imagine my shock when I first started living in Korea and found that it is routine for TV camera's to be invited into funeral parlours to film family and friends in hysterics following the loss of loved ones. This of course only happens for the deaths of famous people or nationally significant deaths such as the 4 killed in the recent N Korean attack. But I found it appalling that people actually want to watch that. Family and friends collapsing to the floor and in tears and a TV camera right next to it all broadcasting for national TV. But I guess that's a big cultural difference that I'll never relate to.

    I can't watch people in grief. I think it's an intensely private thing and I can't for the life of me think why people need to witness it who aren't directly connected.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report

  • giovanni tiso,

    In some cultures, including mine, grief has a very definite theatrical component. So for instance in southern funerals still to this day you'll fine the odd prefica, an old woman not related to the deceased but good at the requisite outward display of mourning. That however as you note in Korea comes at funeral time - there is no place for the spectacle when a loved one learns the news.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report

  • chris,

    found that it is routine for TV camera’s to be invited into funeral parlours

    Yamis, do you think this development could be largely due to the fact that the Korean economy is dominated by the three major companies Hyundai, LG and Samsung, the latter two being major international producers of electronic display devices?

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report

  • Petra, in reply to 3410,

    Wow. Interesting...

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report

  • BenWilson, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    That makes a lot of sense to me. Funerals are meant to be public catharsis. I suspect that the tears of prefica wouldn't even necessarily be a put-on. Tears are infectious, probably for biological reasons that span eons. If they're closer to the surface for some people that's a gift at times.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to BenWilson,

    There's also displaced grief where when someone you hardly knows dies, and you weep, not so much for them, but for everyone you have ever lost, really. Grief becomes a universal thing. Once you have grieved deeply, you are more able to externalise it at appropriate moments ie funerals

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Oh c'mon Stephen, That poem is brilliant! I can't stop laughing. ;)

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

  • Yamis, in reply to chris,

    Not really Chris. It's just how they go about it in Korea. I should clarify what they film, it's when the family and friends arrive to bow before the coffin and make offerings etc. They are more often than not hysterical wrecks, or at least those are the people that the TV networks are more likely to choose for their audience to view.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report

  • giovanni tiso,

    PM to propose a Royal Commission.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    "That Guy" from the herald...

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

  • Dismal Soyanz,

    I'm a couple of days late, but the editorial on Scoop focused on the media and particularly the questions raised by the Australian media, mentioning the 9/11 comparison.

    The editorial was generous to the Australian reporters (including skipping over the "country cop" comment) and saying that the 9/11 comparison was legitimate. While it may be legitimate when taken out of context, the writer of the editorial seems to have stopped watching the conference before Knowles responded by saying that this had been spoken about the day before by the head of the mine rescue team when he had said that a fire underground has no relevance (sic) to a burning building. Yet the editorial says it was a well thought out question.

    I have no opinion on the other matters raised in the editorial about disclosure and certainly there are many questions that need to be answered.

    I can't quite put my finger on it but there is something disturbing about the piece.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report

  • Dismal Soyanz,

    Another explosion today.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report

  • James George,

    Well lets hope Key does more than propose a royal commission that he comes out of that Cabinet meeting tomorrow, clutching a warrant for the Gov Gen to sign that sets up a royal commission(dunno what the correct term or even provcedure is, is it commission a royal commission?). Or does a royal commission require an act of parliament? Some of the ones in Australia were set up by a special act of parliament. Those that I can think of were set up by state government, the royal commsion into the melbourne painters and doctors was federal come to think of it that was how they managed to shift from melbourne to perth, from wharfies picking up things 'that fell off the back of a truck' to the cream of the ASX avoiding tax with bottom of the harbour schemes, but I can't remember if that was set up with an act of parliament or not.

    There is much to be said for writing an Act of Parliament for something as critical as this, because it makes third hand interference that much more difficult. Particularly if an inquiry is treading on toes, being set up by special act reduces the chances of the inquiry suddenly having its budget 'amended' or its terms of reference 're-interpreted'.

    If Key does convene a Royal Commission (yeah I'm sure convene isn't the verb I'm after either) it will be quite sea change, since only a few days ago he was saying a royal commission was un-neccessary and that a 'commssion of inquiry' would suffice, because there wasn't much difference between the two.

    Much of that will depend on the terms of reference of course although Royal Commisions do have more power to demand testimony and they also usually have supreme authority when there is a potential conflict between them and another inquiry.

    I really hope I have been wrong and a fully staffed and resourced Royal Commission into the Pike River mine and the methane explosions is called, but there's many a slip twixt cup and lip.

    There are some big picture issues which would fall outside the bounds of a smaller focussed inquiry, but which needed examining because they do have an impact on the Pike River accident. From time to time ACC has muttered about NZ's rate of injury and death from industrial accidents being 'too high' compared to other nations. This sort of data is hard to uncover - all studies appear to be in journals behind paywalls, but if that is the case, that many more people per capita, are killed and injured while at work than in say, Australia, we need to look at why that is and whether any of those issues affected what happened at Pike River.

    Since Sep 2007 • 96 posts Report

  • Steve Parks, in reply to Dismal Soyanz,

    I agree, Dismal. That editorial was a bit bizarre, frankly. As you note, it glosses over parts of the questioning that would have made the NZ media’s response more understandable, and crucially it completely ignores the fact that the question about the 9/11 comparison was answered, which pretty much undermines much of the point of Scoop’s rant.

    [Scoop said:] “Instead of light we have had far too much heat. Perhaps most disgraceful of all has been the spectacle of reporters arriving from Australia – asking legitimate questions – and getting stonewalled by responsible officials, and then criticized by NZ media for daring to ask the questions.

    And the answer should not have been to villify the question and questioner but rather to answer it.

    Pretty much completely wrong. Thanks for contributing to the heat, Scoop.
    As for the question itself being “legitimate [and] thought out by the experienced reporter who asked it.”, I don’t know how long he spent thinking about it, but the question seems ill-conceived to me. There are just so many obvious differences in the two situations.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Some of the cultures in the Chinese diaspora around East Asia also have a"public" component, particularly around the ceremonies/rituals. There may be an element of theatre in there though disentangling it from actual religious practice is beyond my limited anthropological skills. However, the actual moment of being informed of a death is not part of that and can't say I can recall ever having seen anything in Asia along the lines of what happened in Greymouth.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report

  • Scott A,

    I finally popped over to Brian Edwards Media and read his rather passive-aggressive call for rescue heroics. I'm not sure why it surprised me, but it did leave a rather foul taste in my mouth when I realised, reading the comment thread, that Edwards was using the "I'm just saying what others are thinking" defence to his irresponsible call to action.

    And I was even more saddened that when the second (then a third, now a fourth) explosion revealed exactly why a posse of West Coasters charging to the rescue was a fundamentally bad idea that Edwards' response was to silence his critics and close off the comment thread.

    I do appreciate that in Edward's explanation of why he closed the thread, he ended with this:

    What can be said is that whether the decisions made by the police, the search and rescue teams and the management of the mine were right or wrong, they were the decisions that, on the available information and advice, they genuinely believed to be right. You cannot ask more than that.

    But, still, it's still not going as far to say that they were making the right call. Edwards was one of those who used 'public opinion' to attempt to pressure those in charge of the rescue to take rash action, and now chooses to silence the debate when his position was proved to be very very wrong.

    It seems, following the comment thread, that Edwards position shifted to concern that the police were not doing enough to tell people exactly why no rescue was being attempted. However I, mostly from Morning Report and this thread, came to understand why that was the case. So the message was getting out there; but not in more mainstream media. The questions were being asked, but the answers not being reported. Why not?

    Perhaps, as Edwards himself did, it's an outcome of reporting on 'feelings' and 'public mood' as the primary story, rather than the relaying of information and interpretation of that information.

    Mediawatch got off to a good start with unpicking this media side of this story this morning, and I'm going to be interested to see what more can be revealed over the coming weeks and months about the media side of this tragedy.

    The wilds of Kingston, We… • Since May 2009 • 133 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic,

    Looks like Pike River is turning into a funeral pyre for the 29...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

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