Saturday, December 29, 2007

predictions for 2008

The Dominion Post gallery team have also made some predictions for 2008
the ones I would change are

1. Not particularly litigious election year - a bit of a fizzle like the anti smacking bill. It will be talked about a lot more of course - just not so much in the way of action. Someone will get charged for doing something that the public doesn't like and thus actually reinvigorate support for the law.
4. Labour will announce tax cuts bigger than most expect also heavily weighted towards helping those on lower incomes
11. Winston Peters, will fail to win back his old Tauranga seat and doesn't make 5%.
12. Peters will be out of parliament - so won't be able to be foreign minister.
18. Labour will do a "hollow man" trust based campaign. They will get them back into contention during the campaign period.
19. The Green Party and the Maori Party will get increasingly cozy as they see the benefits of pooling their votes for more negotiating muscle. BUT I don’t think this will be nearly as public as the Dom post seems to think.
20. I predict National will not get 50% (so result will be up in the air after election night)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

election predictions

posted by me on kiwiblog

I am inclined to think the Republicans are likely to adjust their opinion more towards a more solid republican ( come election time - for example huckabee or Romney. Having said that Guliani might have enough momentum to just scrape through since he has a good odds advantage
I expect Guliani to not perform particularly well in the later debates.

overall I think a Romney or Huckabee (probably the former) will just squeeze out Guliani.

I think Hillary will win easily on the other side.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Quick fire

Quick fire comments on NRT posts
(1) Vetoing for torture

NRT notes bush is threatening to veto a ban on water boarding.
Fair enough - Bush is just running out the end of his lame duck term.

(2) One state at a time...

NRT notes that New Jersey has scrapped the death penalty.
It is probably best not to have the death penalty. I’m much more in favour of electro-shock therapy. No it is not torture - it is rehabilitation.

(3) Climate change: time to stop indulging the US

the US really are setting themselves up to look like arseholes in the eyes of history. Having said that the media seems to constantly miss the point that one needs to have binding targets on China otherwise you are just wasting your time and making a huge subsidy for China.

Having said that I expect the media are being fairly honest in that the US negotiation position is less "china must join" and more "we would like to waste your time"

(4) New Fisk - Syria denies killing General in car-bomb attack

interesting that Fisk looses all his indignation when he talks about non Americans.

(5) Americans love torture
NRT notes the below survey
Are there circumstances in which water boarding of prisoners is acceptable?
Yes: 55% 52,690
No: 44% 42,219
It's not just the Bush Administration - it's the American people. So much for the US's claim to be part of the civilized world.

Now hte question doesn't ask "should it be legal" it asks 'are there circumstances in which it is acceptable' so this includes 24 type scenarios where waterboarding a guy will save the planet. To me it looks like either 44% are very comitted deontologists or didnt really think about hte question.

For the record I would probably answer the 'should it be legal" with a "no" and the "could it be acceptable" with a "yes". Interesting that I/S would consider that so distressing as if the truth is a mark of a lack of civilization.

(6) The hardest word
"the new Australian government opening talks with Aboriginal leaders on the wording of an apology for Australia’s crimes against its indigenous people."

Sounds like a waste of time to me - but if I was an Australian and if it will make the aboriginal people feel better I would not really care.

(7) A New Zealand innocence project
this group gets people who were previously convinced out of jail based on DNA evidence. Interesting that NRT would support it when I pick him for being the same sort of person who would oppose collecting DNA from people in order to ensure they did not get convicted in the first place.
I suppose his idea is to get more people out of prison which sounds rather like some sort of tribalism motivated policy .

(8) The nightmare is real

"Suppose an innocent person ends up in Gitmo?"

yes indeed innocent people do get caught in the net. if we were to say 'no innocent people should ever get sent to prison' the only solution would be no prisons.

(9) Climate change: avoiding deforestation

"Last month, the government of the South American nation of Guyana made a dramatic offer: they would place their entire rainforest under international control as a carbon reservoir, in exchange for development assistance."

Now that’s how we should be solving the worlds problems - buy the rights to protect the rainforests and buy the rights to the oil and coal in the ground and keep it there. We should however also force a good deal upon those that would try to extort the global community.

(10) Another nail in Rickards' coffin

poor Rickards - so much unpaid leave and now he has to put up with not getting revenge.. poor poor man

Monarchists vs republicans

No Rightturn and david farrar apparently had a bad case of "being a dick" this week

In truth, monarchists are little different from those weird groups of people who form themselves into make-believe nations

A quick glance at your average monarchist site (and believe me, they’re all pretty average) and you quickly come realise they’re the kind of people who love to indulge in the full theatre of The Monarchy and all its ermine-decked foppery.

1) 'monarchists' in the loose sense outnumber republicans (again in the loose sense), otherwise we would be a republic already so if somewhat more than 50% of the population are a "weird little group" then what the hell are the rather less than 50%?

2) yes they tend to be older and thus have less dynamic websites. They probably have prettier gardens than the republicans - "woohoo".

3) Way to play the ball(s) and not the men.
But since they started it... I have always had the impression that anyone who would be a republican would have a bit of a problem. I can see the potential for a debate over how the system should work but to spend your whole life commited to fixing a structure that isn't broken sounds like they had a bad experiene with a monarchist when a child and this is some weird sort of revenge. Maybe they got spanked.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


"Thank you for your interest in the test at
Your general IQ score is: 143"

Hmm must have got somthing wrong ... I knew I rushed it - still, not bad.

New business idea

My new 'brilliant' business idea. (or should I call it a future prediction?)

I think there should be a loyalty card - a bit like fly buys - but with a difference.

The terms and conditions say you can deny it to anyone.

In the long run the card needs to be a smart card of some sort because I plan to put a bit of fairly dynamic information on it in the long run - although you can start out simple.

When people apply you do
1) A police check
2) A credit check
3) Possibly only offer it based on criteria like having a lot of positive feedback on trade me.
4) Possibly general internet check
5) a confirmation of birth certificate/passport search of the deaths registry etc
6) anything else

they sign somthing to give you the appropriate rights.

In the long run this will require some deals with the appropriate agencies to get access to the databases on a fixed sum as opposed to transaction by transaction basis to keep costs down.

The point is to get a set of people that you can promote to companies as "highly honest and reliable". A lot of companies spend a lot of money trying to sort out "high risk" and low risk customers and distrust of your own customers creates some significant costs.

For and extreme example, if a car company for example could 100% trust it's customers they could leave their store open to those customers all night with no staff there. They could allow test drives without the sales people in the car and the could offer no questions asked returns etc. those same offers will start to make the card very attractive to customers.

Now the whole point is having a group that you can guarantee are reliable. SO for example if a person goes to court you suspend the card if anyone challenges their reliability (particularly a business that is providing a discount) then you suspend their account prior to investigation, if the police record or credit record changes it gets suspended.

The card could also have a grading system so that you could leave the card active but still downgrade their rating on such things that one doesn't want to cause a 'stink' about and also to indicate how deeply you were allowed to check into their history, to encourage full disclosure from those that have nothing to hide.

The data could also have some context specific aspects to it - i.e. separate out credit and criminal honesty etc in case the sponsors care. But the cards of course don’t record any details of the event because that would make them a liability - just generic grading.

Takes a bit of salesmanship and marketing to get it going though - unless you can get a loyalty card business onboard and it is kinda niche so they probably wouldn't want to just change over a card system.