Posts by Hansel Dunlop

  • Cracker: Fillerup,

    Please buy an close faced helmet. Speaking as someone who used to wear an open faced one and ended up hitting the central window column of a sedan, through no fault of my own, at 70km/h with my face... trust me it's not worth it.

    Biting through both your lips is not fun and you look like an idiot for MONTHS.

    You will end up in someone's blind spot, it's just a matter of time.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

  • Hard News: Geekstravaganza,

    It precisely in trivial language that sexism manifests, and it is precisely its trivality and commonplaceness and consequent direct route to our unconscious that make it important to combat it.

    Hey, I can't argue with Freud! I mean his theories of how the mind works haven't been rigorously discredited or anything.

    I don't take this issue as a whole trivially at all. In fact I find it fascinating which is I guess why the women's studies papers I did at uni were probably the only ones that still stick with me vividly. I just find this instance trivial and I don't recall this kind of discussion popping up whenTze Ming Mok would generalise about all Asian dads being daggy. And why should it? Because it's a benign turn of phrase meant to make you smile but in no way would actually affect the way we relate to people.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

  • Hard News: Geekstravaganza,

    Ok, so "your mum" was being used a shorthand for a light internet user, but you know what's sort of strange about it? Well, mums normally comes with a dad. What about his internet?

    Well, using my parents as an example, mum is the light internet user. And dad... well... he knows how to use his cell phone. So I probably would say "not an internet plan for my mum" and not mean anything, even slightly, sexist by it.

    I think it's fairly silly to try and make Russell prostrate himself before this issue. Slipping a little bit of commonly used idiom into a paragraph is a far cry from saying that women can't use technology.

    Surely everyone should be allowed to speak or write using whatever forms of language that they want to. Anyone else is free to judge them on that content and perhaps ignore them if they choose. I know that misogynistic or misandric communication from people routinely lowers my opinion of the value of their message.

    I can see that is what Joanna was trying to achieve, warn Russell that the value of his message or general credibility, was being undermined by something he said. However the example that she decided to jump on just makes the person pointing it out look overly sensitive. You can't expect to control speech down to that level.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

  • OnPoint: Things I know,

    Yes Ubuntu has options. If you don't like the way the text is aliased you can pop in another font renderer. Pretty much everything is configurable under Linux. And if it isn't then you have the source code to play with. I think the main appeal of Ubuntu though is it just uses some sensible defaults to start with and lets you go from there.

    As Keith will tell you the most amazing thing about a Debian based operating system is the package management. I'm convinced that one morning I will wake up and my computer will have achieved sentience overnight.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

  • OnPoint: Things I know,

    I was recently reading the Wikipedia entry on Avant-Garde, as you do, when I came across this paragraph. It succinctly informed me why I, in particular, have never gotten any enjoyment out of an Apple product. I do accept that this conception of Apple products as being kitsch is unique to a subset of people who find the operation of the machines themselves deeply fascinating. Let me be clear that I don't place myself in the avant-garde of computer science, obviously, but I do place those people that are developing the open source movement there.

    The concept of avant-garde refers exclusively to marginalised artists, writers, composers and thinkers whose work is not only opposed to mainstream commercial values, but often has an abrasive social or political edge. Many writers, critics and theorists made assertions about vanguard culture during the formative years of modernism, although the initial definitive statement on the avant-garde was the essay Avant-Garde and Kitsch [6] As the essay's title suggests, Clement Greenberg conclusively showed not only that vanguard culture has historically been opposed to 'high' or 'mainstream culture', but that it also has rejected the artificially synthesized mass culture that has been produced by industrialization – the pervasive commercial culture of popular music, Soap Opera dramas, pulp fiction, magazine-illustration, and B movies. Each of these media is a direct product of Capitalism – they are all now respected Industries – and as such they are driven by the same profit-fixated motives of other sectors of manufacturing, not the ideals of true art. For Greenberg, these forms were therefore kitsch: they were phony, faked or mechanical culture, which often pretended to be more than they were by using formal devices stolen from advanced or vanguard culture. For instance, during the 1930s the advertising industry was quick to take visual mannerisms from surrealism, but this does not mean that 1930s advertising photographs are truly surreal. It was a matter of style without substance. In this sense Greenberg was at pains to distance true avant-garde creativity from the market-driven fashion change and superficial stylistic innovation that are sometimes used to claim privileged status for these manufactured forms of the new consumer culture.

    Not really an attack on why someone else might enjoy using a mac. Simply an explanation of why I find Linux such a pleasure to use and them dis-pleasurable. Every time I use a Mac I feel like the raw computer has been taken away from me and been replaced by something slick - obviously useful - but ultimately sterile.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

  • Hard News: Policy, finally,

    Has anyone else watched the latest, in America, episode of Weeds? That's the ultimate use of a prius in pop culture at the moment.

    U-Turn equips his whole crew with them for a gang war "they're really quiet. Good for sneaking up on mother fuckers."

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

  • Hard News: Deriving satisfaction from…,

    Time Zones? Linux had it sorted a few months ago. I guess that's the great thing about a system that lets everyone fix a problem and share it back.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

  • Hard News: An unexpectedly long post…,

    Hey BenWilson

    Sorry to hear about your Eczema. Ultimately it sounds like you have been let down by treatment in general. How bloody frustrating that nobody here can do anything about it!

    As you say, the process of identifying the underlying cause is a personal and lengthy process. I have a couple of good friends with psoriasis who are doing the same thing. I must say that they are both pursuing their own research and haven't had a lot of assistance from doctors though. You have obviously found a very good specialists or just a very interested and good natured GP I guess.

    I think one of the things that made people of my mothers generation head towards alternative therapies in the first place was the lack of interest, at the time, of the medical profession in discovering underlying causes. I'm generalising here but it did seem like they were much more interested in treating the symptoms than taking the time to work out what was causing the problem.

    Anyway Cheers, and best of luck for your future health.

    In regards to distrusting the medical establishment: The point that I was personally trying to make was not that I don't believe in contemporary medical science (I think it's bloody rude to call it western when you consider the amount of development that has occurred globally - Go Chinese stem cell research!!) it is just that doctors are not omniscient. They don't always know what's wrong with you and they often seem to feel some kind of pressure to prescribe anyway. If you treat them with reverence and expect them to be right all the time you will be badly let down at some point. You have to do your own research.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

  • Hard News: An unexpectedly long post…,

    OK Emma, would it have been better if I said "An huge proportion of" rather than "the entire"? And since I'm not an expert on herbal medicine myself, telling the quacks from the creditable is a heck of a lot of work. A lot more work than just seeing their Diploma in Medicine from a known university on the wall of their surgery. -BenWilson

    Seeing as how you confess to having little knowledge of the subject a simple statement that frauds and quacks do exist in the field of natural health would be fine. If you are impressed by Diplomas then you can look for those from recognised schools of naturopathy. People like Natural Ange (who I grew up listening to on bFM) are members of industry bodies.

    I'm not trying to defend a particular school of thought on this issue but I do find it dangerous how much faith people put in the medical profession. And I don't like the fact that most (but not all) Doctors will not recommend a generic (i.e herbal product) for minor conditions where they are appropriate. Usually preferring to sell you something from one of their pharmaceutical providers. I just think a lot of them have lost sight of true patient care and instead seem to act as drug pushing automatons. But hey! Maybe that's what people want. Maybe they don't really feel like they've been treated by a doctor unless they give them something. I just wish they dished out more placebos and fewer drugs with dangerous ingredients.

    As a disclaimer: I've never visited a naturopath and I sure as hell don't believe in homeopathy. My mother is a homeopath and I've spent a lot of time in the company of people who consider themselves natural healers. And all of them have been lovely people who care about the people they treat and would never recommend, for example, people not take their protease inhibitors for HIV. These people work in those areas where the medical profession can't do anything or the side effects of the drugs they prescribe are more than the patient can put up with.

    From my experience of watching a homeopaths work over the years it is pretty obvious that the placebo at the end of the consultation is not why people come. I think the biggest benefit they seem to get out of it is telling someone all their problems (emotional and physical) and then having someone at the end of it tell them that they aren't weird, that they are a good person etc.

    I've had huge arguments with my own mother about this stuff but I don't anymore. She eventually said something that has shut me up for good. The conversation went like this:

    Me: But don't you think it's wrong to charge people if there is no actual hard proof that what you give them does anything. Where do you get off giving people placeboes!!
    Mum: Well, I believe it does do something. I could be wrong, I don't deny that. But what does it matter if it is just a placebo? What's wrong with helping people heal themselves?

    So yeah - I can't argue with that - nothing wrong with helping people heal themselves as far as I'm concerned. It's just a matter of helping people appropriately and also making sure that they get other treatment for things that are beyond that. i.e brain tumors and gaping chest wounds.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

  • Hard News: An unexpectedly long post…,

    I think the ideal scenario would be an independent New Zealand regulator being set up. Then this debate could be about the best way to regulate. It should be possible to set up a system which weeds out dangerous products without wiping out cottage New Zealand industry.

    To be fair the bill talks about a joint regulatory body and New Zealand has equal voting rights with Australia. So in that regards it's not a bad deal. This is unlike the joint food regulation body where we do not have equal rights. It does leave us somewhat scuppered if we, as a nation, completely disagree with something though.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

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