Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

General Debate 19 April 2015

April 19th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 18 April 2015

April 18th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 17 April 2015

April 17th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 16 April 2015

April 16th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Paying staff unfairly

April 15th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

“At Google, we … have situations where two people doing the same work can have a hundred times difference in their impact, and in their rewards.

For example, there have been situations where one person received a stock award of US$10,000, and another working in the same area received US$1,000,000. This isn’t the norm, but the range of rewards at almost any level can easily vary by 300 per cent to 500 per cent, and even then there is plenty of room for outliers.

In fact, we have many cases where people at more “junior” levels make far more than average performers at more “senior” levels. It’s a natural result of having greater impact, and a compensation system that recognises that impact.”

This is how it should be. Pay based on performance and value – not on duties and titles and role in the hierarchy.

Bock admits that a policy to “pay unfairly” is provocative, and that it might be better characterised as “pay unequally.” In his view, it is actually more fair to pay a top performer significantly more than an employee with the same job title that produces less value.

Of course it goes against all the left calling for more income equality.

Ten per cent of productivity comes from the top percentile, and 26 per cent of output derives from the top 5 per cent of workers,” O’Boyle and Aguinis write.

A good test for big companies:

Bock says managers at any company should ask, “How many people would you trade for your very best performer? If the number is more than five, you’re probably underpaying your best person. And if it’s more than ten, you’re almost certainly underpaying.”


Would Miliband be a ‘catastrophe’?

April 15th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Daily Mail editorial:

Launching his party’s business manifesto last week, Ed Miliband extolled the virtues of British companies in fulsome terms, ‘from the multinational to the family firm’.

He promised a future Labour government would help them in ‘creating wealth, making profits, and providing jobs’, and asked the business community to join him in a partnership ‘to build a better future together’.

Yesterday the business community gave its answer. In a survey of FTSE 100 company chairmen, 70 per cent said a Miliband government would be a ‘catastrophe’ for the economy and 90 per cent believe he’d make a worse prime minister than David Cameron.

It is no surprise that the Daily Mail is against Miliband, and no surprise that most FTSE Chairs prefer Cameron to Miliband. What I find interesting is that 70% were willing to agree with the term “catastrophe” for a Miliband Government.

Miliband is no third wayer. His policies are closer to Michael Foot’s. But he may still get to be PM, with the support of the SNP.


General Debate 15 April 2015

April 15th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Learning the hard way

April 14th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Canadian mother-of-seven has been forced to rethink her anti-vaccination stance – after all her children fell sick with whooping cough.

North America has seen a growing number of families opt out of immunisation programmes, frequently because they are concerned about side-effects, despite warnings that deadly childhood diseases such as measles are on the rise.

Tara Hills and her husband decided to stop vaccinating their children six years ago after losing faith in the health care system, according to a blog post in which she described the family’s experience. …

Mrs Hills admitted she had recently begun to rethink her stance, as the number of measles outbreaks began to grow.

Now with her six sons and a daughter, aged from 10 years to 10 months in quarantine at their home in Ottawa, she said she was doing her best to get them all up to date with their vaccinations. She added that any parents with doubts should be able to find good, reliable data about the benefits.

“I am not looking forward to any gloating or shame as this ‘defection’ from the antivaxx camp goes public, but this isn’t a popularity contest. Right now my family is living the consequences of misinformation and fear,” she said.

Indeed. A hard lesson to learn.

Meanwhile in Australia:

Parents who are “conscientious objectors” to childhood vaccination will have their childcare and family tax payments stopped from 1 January next year as the federal government attempts to crack down on the anti-vaccination movement.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Sunday a loophole would be closed to stop payments to parents worth up to $15,000 per child.

“Parents who vaccinate their children should have confidence that they can take their children to childcare without the fear that their children will be at risk of contracting a serious or potentially life-threatening illness because of the conscientious objections of others,” Mr Abbott said.

Although Australia’s overall childhood vaccination rates remain high – about 97 per cent – the numbers of people who are registered conscientious objectors has risen in the past 10 years.

There are now 39,000 children aged under seven who are not vaccinated because their parents are registered, according to the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register. 

This is an increase of more than 24,000 children over the past 10 years.

“The Government is extremely concerned at the risk this poses to other young children and the broader community,” Mr Abbott said.

“The choice made by families not to immunise their children is not supported by public policy or medical research nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of child care payments.”

Should NZ do the same here? You can choose not to vaccinate, but the taxpayer can choose not to give you money through Working for Families?

Opposition leader Bill Shorten backed the change.

“Labor supports promoting the safety of our children,” Mr Shorten said on Sunday.

“We believe fundamentally in the science of vaccination.”

Bipartisan support in Australia

However, not going to happen in NZ according to the PM.

I don’t support compulsion, but I do support people being responsible for consequences from their decisions. In an ideal world if someone chooses not to vaccinate their kids, and they infect other kids, then the parents should be liable for the health costs they have imposed on others.


General Debate 14 April 2015

April 14th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Sci Babe vs Food Babe

April 14th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

An interesting and strong denunciation of a high profile US food blogger, by a science blogger. Some extracts:

Hari’s campaign last year against the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte drove me to launch my site (don’t fuck with a Bostonian’s Pumpkin-Spice Anything). She alleged that the PSL has a “toxic” dose of sugar and two (TWO!!) doses of caramel color level IV in carcinogen class 2b.

The word “toxic” has a meaning, and that is “having the effect of a poison.” Anything can be poisonous depending on the dose. Enough water can even be poisonous in the right quantity (and can cause a condition called hyponatremia).

We hear the same from anti fluoride people – they will always refer to something they don’t like as a toxin, relying on people to react to think that automatically means it is bad for you at any dose.

And what about that “carcinogenic” caramel color? Well, it turns out that it’s not the only thing in your PSL that’s in carcinogen class 2b.

There’s also coffee.

Another example:

Hari uses this tricky technique again and again. If I told you that a chemical that’s used as a disinfectant, used in industrial laboratory for hydrolysis reactions, and can create a nasty chemical burn is also a common ingredient in salad dressing, would you panic? Be suspicious that the industries were poisoning your children? Think it might cause cancer? Sign a petition to have it removed?

What if I told you I was talking about vinegar, otherwise known as acetic acid?

You can make almost anything sound bad.

This is Hari’s business. She takes innocuous ingredients and makes you afraid of them by pulling them out of context (Michelle Francl, in a review of Hari’s book for Slate, expertly demonstrates the shallowness of this gimmick). This is how Hari demonized the harmless yet hard-to-pronounce azodicarbonamide, or as she deemed it, the “yoga mat chemical,” which is yes, found in yoga mats and also in bread, specifically Subway sandwich bread, a discovery Hari bombastically trumpeted on her website. However, as the science-minded among us understand, a substance can be used for more than one thing perfectly safely, and it doesn’t mean that your bread is made of a yoga mat if it happens to contain azodicarbonamide, which is FDA-approved as a dough-softening agent. It simply means your bread is composed of chemicals, much like everything else you eat.

Hari’s rule? “If a third grader can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.”

My rule? Don’t base your diet on the pronunciation skills of an eight-year-old.

Much better advice.

If you want proof that Hari doesn’t research anything before she puts it online, look no further than this article on airplanes, which she deleted from her site. She claimed that pilots control the air in an airplane, so you should sit near the front to breathe better air. She wrote that passengers are sometimes sprayed with pesticides before flights, and that airplane air is pumped full of nitrogen.

Please recall high school science, in which you hopefully learned that the atmosphere is 78% nitrogen.

There’s more in this vein. It is a good reminder to be wary of the anti-science fanatics.

The Food Babe has millions following her and believing her, Sadly few have seen this post she deleted:

Last by not least, Dr. Masaru Emoto, who is famous for taking pictures of various types of waters and the crystals that they formed in the book called “Hidden Messages in Water,” found water that was microwaved did not form beautiful crystals – but instead formed crystals similar to those formed when exposed to negative thoughts or beliefs. If this is happening to just water – I can only imagine what a microwave is doing to the nutrients, energy of our food and to our bodies when we consume microwaved food. For the experiment pictured above, microwaved water produced a similar physical structure to when the words “satan” and “hitler” were repeatedly exposed to the water.

Why do TV shows take her seriously and put her on?


General Debate 13 April 2015

April 13th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 12 April 2015

April 12th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 11 April 2015

April 11th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 10 April 2015

April 10th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 9 April 2015

April 9th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 8 April 2015

April 8th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 7 April 2015

April 7th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 6 April 2015

April 6th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 5 April 2015

April 5th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Happy Easter

April 5th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Today is Easter, sometimes called Resurrection Sunday, which celebrates the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In Western Christianity it falls between 22 March and 25 April inclusive, within a week of the full moon.

Have a relaxing Easter.


General Debate 4 April 2015

April 4th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Great promo from BMW

April 3rd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

A double-bluff on April Fool’s Day was no match for a woman who cashed in on a seemingly ridiculous luxury car trade-in promotion.

Tianna Marsh was the first person to try the unusual trade-in offer from the BMW Newmarket dealership today.

The carmaker said it was keeping alive a tradition of April 1 pranks with its front-page ad in the New Zealand Herald today.

The “April Fools’ Day special” promised a new BMW to the first person who took their car and the front-page coupon to the dealership.

Ms Marsh was first at the Newmarket car dealership this morning, arriving in her 15-year-old Nissan Avenir.

She was swiftly rewarded with a new BMW 1 Series worth almost $50,000 in exchange for the old station wagon.

Ms Marsh arrived at the car dealership about 5.30am, Team McMillan BMW sales manager Gavin Penfold said.

“It couldn’t have gone to a more deserving winner,” Mr Penfold said.

The firm had hired security guards, in case riots broke out or big queues caused trouble.

But it seemed most people who saw the ad couldn’t believe it, as Mr Penfold said other people seemed to turn up after Ms Marsh arrived.

“When I met her outside, I just acted dumb,” Mr Penfold said.

“She said ‘I’m here for the Herald competition.’ I said: ‘I know nothing about it'”, Mr Penfold recalled.

As the ad stated, Ms March asked for “Tom” and soon enough, she was a winner.


I wonder how many people saw the ad, thought it must be a joke, and are now kicking themselves?

Clever stunt by BMW. Heaps of publicity, and a clever reverse April Fool’s Joke.

Tags: ,

General Debate 3 April 2015

April 3rd, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Happy Good Friday

April 3rd, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Today is the 1,982nd anniversary of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Golgotha.

No matter what you believe, have a peaceful Good Friday and Easter Weekend.



Airline knew of pilot’s depression

April 2nd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Lufthansa has admitted for the first time it knew Andreas Lubitz, the German co-pilot who deliberately crashed a passenger jet in the Alps, suffered from serious depression. The airline had previously confirmed that Lubitz had taken an extended break from training, but refused to say why. …

Lufthansa, Germanwings’ parent company, last night admitted that Lubitz had told the airline’s flight training school that he suffered a serious episode of depression in 2009, citing emails between the pilot and the flight school.

German prosecutors said on Monday (local time) that Lubitz’s medical files show he underwent a prolonged course of therapy for “suicidal tendencies” before getting his pilot’s licence.

Lufthansa did not comment on his suicidal tendencies yesterday, but has previously said that German confidentiality rules meant that the company had no knowledge of Lubitz’s medical records.

Watch the law suits start to fly now – and with good reason.

It is becoming clear this was not an unpreventable tragedy.