Posts by JWT1

  • Hard News: Another year on earth,

    Thank you Russell. I have been a regular reader of Hard News and Public Address for 23 years (since 1995) when I spent a year in Houston and HN was my touchstone back to New Zealand. Have missed several of the contributors as their contributions became sporadic or disappeared completely, but have been grateful for your dedication and persistence. You meant mentioned Hillary Stace and I would like to also give a shout for Emma Hart (Up Front) who always informs and usually entertains me.

    Manawatu • Since Aug 2010 • 12 posts Report

  • Speaker: Are we seeing the end of MSM,…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Public Address is good value for the money. Nice to know how much you pull in.

    Manawatu • Since Aug 2010 • 12 posts Report

  • Hard News: Media Take: the poor health…,

    Very good episode on Media Take. One technical issue. There seems to be a small lack of synchrony between the video and audio that I found quite distracting.

    Manawatu • Since Aug 2010 • 12 posts Report

  • Polity: Hidden Costs,

    My experience in the sciences is that most academics, both in NZ and overseas, need PhD students as pairs of hands to carry out much of the the research to advance their own careers. All right if they a) are reasonably stringent in their assessment of the students they accept into their lab and b) are prepared to bite the bullet and tell those that are not making it that they should quit before wasting to much time.

    Many Universities have a hurdle that the students have to clear at the end of their first year of PhD studies which helps as long as those involved involved make sure that the hurdle is of sufficient height. Some academics however will persist with a less able student but treat them as a technician and essentially tell them what to do on a daily or weekly basis. This is not what a PhD is about.

    After 3 or 4 years or longer there is a lot of pressure, both subtle and otherwise, to ‘get these students through’., This is exacerbated by the present policy of paying a substantial part of the grant to the academic dept for a PhD student only on successful completion of the degree.

    I have seen many students who are not in the top rank end up in the overseas ‘permanent post doctoral position’, unable to get a suitable permanent position back in NZ or overseas. I have also seen several very good students opt for an MSc. degree instead of a PhD and take jobs in NZ industry and do very well. This course of action means that they ‘have a life’ much sooner than if they do a PhD and usually get well paid and satisfying jobs in New Zealand.

    Manawatu • Since Aug 2010 • 12 posts Report

  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the…,

    "not as Prime Minister"

    Manawatu • Since Aug 2010 • 12 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Rumen bacteria produce methane as an end product because of the highly reducing (anaerobic) environment in the rumen. Methane production is the penalty paid in return for the ability of ruminants to obtain some of the energy available from cellulose, which humans cannot digest. Feeding less cellulose to ruminants will probably not solve the problem as the rumen has evolved to provide the anaerobic conditions and non cellulose carbohydrates will also be utilised anaerobically in the rumen and result in methane formation. Several species of insects (termites) also can digest cellulose anaerobically with the concomitant production of methane. I have not seen any estimates of how much this contributes to global methane production.

    Manawatu • Since Aug 2010 • 12 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Web,

    How about a shout out for Lou Montulli, one of the developers of Lynx, a text only web browser released in 1992 and still in use. I used it for years after Netscape became available if I was on a slow connection. Lynx was developed by students at the University of Kansas. Lou later joined Netscape and was instrumental in setting up the Famous Fishcam, which it still available ( ) . My defining moment with the WWW was when the scientific Journal of Biological Chemistry went on line with full text and graphics in 1995. Thank you Bob Simoni ( and Stanford University HighWire Press ( ).

    Manawatu • Since Aug 2010 • 12 posts Report

  • Hard News: Friday Music: The First Time,

    Howard Morrison quartet Memorial Park, Palmerston North about 1963. Jefferson Airplane in San Francisco 1967. Been in love with Grace Slick ever since! Crap concert in Opera House Palmerston North in 1976; Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge. Music OK but zilch audience interaction. Dire Straits at the Gaumont Theatre, Southampton in December 1980.

    Manawatu • Since Aug 2010 • 12 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Public Address 2012 Word…,

    Fiscal Cliff

    Manawatu • Since Aug 2010 • 12 posts Report

  • Hard News: Party on, dudes, in reply to Dave Howell,

    Agree with Dave. Found Hard News when I spent a year in Houston in 1995 and it was a valued link with NZ. Have been an avid follower ever since but largely a lurker. Please keep up the good work.

    Manawatu • Since Aug 2010 • 12 posts Report

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