Posts by Simon Adamson

  • Hard News: Going solar?,

    When our 40 year old hot water cylinder died 2 years ago I figured there must be better options than replacing it with basically the same technology that was used in the 1970's - an electric cylinder is essentially just an enormous kettle after all. Checked out solar first assuming this was the best option - Energywise and Consumer websites being my trusted sources. When the Energywise promotional casestudy had a family describing how if they were really careful about what time the washing machine went on and they were really careful with showers then they'd usually manage without running out I was pretty unimpressed. The heat pump option looked a lot better, with equivalent price savings and greater reliability . Head pumps have been such a revolution for space heating, it makes sense that they have something to offer for water also - you're still using grid electricity, but much less of it, and in NZ most of that is generated via renewable sources.

    Total cost was around $8k - $5K for the heat pump and $3k for a replacement giant kettle - frustrating that there doesn't seem to be an option to have a simple water storage cylinder. I put it on mortgage - $3K was the minimum I was going to have to pay for a replacement anyway and the option I took of spending the additional $5k will be paid off in about 8 years by the $70 a month in power saving that we've redirected to the mortgage.

    Good luck with your decision Russell, our choices on home energy use is one of the areas we can all make a real impact on carbon emissions etc.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report

  • Hard News: Not so insane,

    Steven it was the change in drink driving legislation that allowed for random breath testing plus the aggressive enforcement of those rules that led to changes in social attitudes. When people saw they were likely to get caught drink driving and the consequences were very inconvenient _then_ the norm shifted. Education is the industry's preferred option because it costs them nothing and doesn't work.

    Totally agree to banning advertising for alcohol - this would be a sensible way to have some parity between the traditional legal drugs and the new ones. We're all ok with not advertiing tobacco. Would it our lives really be impoverished doing without all that booze advertising? Quite the opposite I'd suggest.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report

  • Hard News: Modelling Behaviour, in reply to Ross Bell,

    Hi Ross. I thought you made the most sensible comments of the evening. However I've got to be honest and say that I felt pretty uncomfortable seeing colleagues (you and Jeremy McMinn) being somewhat captured by the oppositional style of the debate - under normal circumstances I can't imagine you allowing to stand unchallenged the misinformation that "synthetic cannabis" is a cannabinoid, as stated by your team-mate Grant Hall, for example. It's a really important point that these chemicals are completely different and therefore we know very little about their effects. Something I know you know.

    The debate also frustrated me with it's confusion of decriminalisation and legalisation. It was supposedly about the former but most of the discussion seemed to be focussed on the latter with no attempt to make the distinction. These are very different issues. Do I want our law to stop criiminalising cannabis use (decriminalisation) - I certainly do. Do I want a cannabis industry in the style of our alcohol industry (legalisation) - I most certainly do not.

    In the end though I think the programme did air some worthwhile issues and shed a bit of light on things, but there's definitely room for more reasoned (and yes, probably less watched) handling of this issue.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report

  • Hard News: Dressing for the Road, in reply to James Green,

    James, my panniers are Deuter and have a nifty catch which means you can hold your bike upsidedown and shake it (yes I've tried) and yet it lifts off with one hand in a single motion. I bought mine for about $140 about 8 years ago from the awesome Cycle Trading Co in Chch and so far the laptop hasn't come to any harm

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report

  • Hard News: Dressing for the Road, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    I'm pretty much exactly the same as Stephen: mudguards, work clothes (shirt and lightweight trousers), ground effects jacket, with overshoes and over trousers in my pannier. I also have merino and silk beanies which take up no space and are good for fine tuning adequate warmth on colder days. Work is 6km away and I go fast enough that my heart rate is a bit elevated but not enough to get sweaty - not in the mornings anyway. Essential detail in avoiding sweating: I never wear a bag on my back. The panniers have been a really good purchase. Second essential detail: take off a layer _before_ getting too hot. It also helps that I live in Chch, so flat, low rainfall and low humidity

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report

  • Muse: OPEN HOUSE: Margaret Mahy, The…,

    I have been surprised at just how much Margaret Mahy’s death has affected me today. I grew up with The Lion in the Meadow and no doubt have many other Mahy characters and phrases imprinted on my DNA. The Summery Saturday Morning has been a real favourite to read to our children.

    Despite being a very rationale non-superstitious type I couldn’t help refecting on the appropriateness of the other headline with which her passing shared the front page of this morning’s Press: Library closure ‘king hit’ for regular users. The wonderful family friendly library just over the hill from Margaret’s longterm home has closed it’s doors in mourning…

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report