Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Most burgers don’t rot, not just McDonalds

February 14th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

In case you saw the story breathlessly reported by the media about how a teacher had kept a McDonald’s burger for six years and it hadn’t rotted, so this is proof they are covered in chemicals or preservatives.

Well a scientist has found out that actually pretty much any burger won’t rot, so this is all just a big anti-McDonalds scare campaign.

The findings:

Turns out that not only did the regular McDonald’s burgers not rot, but the home-ground burgers did not rot either. Samples one through five had shrunk a bit (especially the beef patties), but they showed no signs of decomposition. What does this mean?

It means that there’s nothing that strange about a McDonald’s burger not rotting.Any burger of the same shape will act the same way. The real question is, why?

Well, here’s another piece of evidence: Burger number 6, made with no salt, did not rot either, indicating that the salt level has nothing to do with it. 

The key issue is the size of the burger. A bigger burger will grow mold as it will hold moisture for longer.

A further test was done:

So we’ve pretty much cleared up all of the confusion, but a keen scientist will notice that one question remains to be answered. We’ve proven that neither a McDonald’s burger nor a regular home-made burger will rot given certain specific conditions, but are there conditions we can create that will cause it to rot, and more importantly, will the McDonald’s burger rot as fast as the homemade burger?

The final two burgers I tested were a McDonald’s burger and a regular homemade burger of the same dimensions placed in plastic zipper-lock bags side by side. Hopefully the bag would trap in enough moisture. The question: Would they rot?

Indeed they do. Within a week, both burgers were nearly covered in little white spots of mold, eventually turning into the green and black spotted beast you see above.

So the global media story on this is basically bullshit.

General Debate 14 February 2016

February 14th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 13 February 2016

February 13th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

I hope we do this here

February 13th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald Sun reports:

WESTERN suburbs welfare cheats have been busted for rorting more than $4.5 million from Centrelink.

The Federal Government confirmed that investigators from the Department of Human Services had uncovered widespread fraud in the suburb of Werribee.

Of 3072 cases audited from last October to last month, 1888 were found to involve overpayments or fraud.

Seven people have since been charged; five were later arrested for failing to face court.

Werribee is the second local government area to be investigated after Rockdale, Sydney.

The Federal Government confirmed that DHS investigators were monitoring social media sites to catch people incriminating themselves over false spousal or financial arrangements with Centrelink

What a good idea. I hope WINZ do this in NZ. It seems they do to at least some degree which is good.

General Debate 12 February 2016

February 12th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Police treating accusation as proof

February 11th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Mark Pearson was walking through the busiest train station in the UK during peak hour when his life changed forever.

In his left hand he was carrying a newspaper. His right hand was holding the strap on his backpack. As he brushed past a woman walking in the opposite direction, their shoulders colliding briefly, the 51-year-old thought nothing more of it.

The woman, an actress on her way to a rehearsal, later told police Mr Pearson sexually assaulted her. She offered details of how he “penetrated her” on the concourse of Waterloo Station despite the fact she was wearing “training pants” under a dress and despite footage showing he never broke stride.

Mr Pearson said the case against him was “preposterous”, but still his name was dragged through the mud. For a year he defended himself in court and out of court. When he explained to people that it never happened like his accused said it did, he knew people were thinking: “Of course you would say that”.

A jury spent just 90 minutes deliberating before finding Mr Pearson not guilty last week.

It came as a relief to the married picture-framer but the damage had already been done.

“Anybody who has seen the CCTV images knows that I couldn’t possibly have done it,” Mr Pearson said.

The Police need to fully investigate all allegations.

But when the evidence doesn’t back up the allegation, it is quite wrong to prosecute. Sadly in many countries the policy seems to be that no matter how weak the case, we’ll prosecute and leave it to a jury.

No tag for this post.

General Debate 11 February 2016

February 11th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 10 February 2016

February 10th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Jacinda on Australia Day

February 9th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Jacinda Ardern writes in the SST on the call for NZ to have a national holiday that is an actual celebration like Australia Day:

Australia Day? Are you kidding? That is the last place we should be looking for a model of race relations, let alone a national day of celebration – unless you’re into drunken, casual racism. 

Jacinda seems to be judging Australia Day off the basis of what a small minority do. I doubt most Australians see it as a day of drunken casual racism.

General Debate 9 February 2016

February 9th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 8 February 2016

February 8th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 7 February 2016

February 7th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 6 February 2016

February 6th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 5 February 2016

February 5th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 4 February 2016

February 4th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 3 February 2016

February 3rd, 2016 at 1:52 pm by Kokila Patel

Apologies for lateness

The limit for free speech

February 3rd, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand’s “good character” requirements could stop the head of a pro-rape group entering the country.

The US-based head of a “neomasculinist” group – who has expressed support for Roast Busters in the past and advocates for legalising rape on private property – is setting up meetings for like-minded men across the globe on Saturday, including in New Zealand.

Advocating rape is when I think it crosses the threshold.

Technically he is advocating the legalisation of rape, rather than raping when it is illegal. But that is a very fine line.

I’m generally for allowing very offensive views to be aired in NZ – such as David Irving’s holocaust denial.

But just as you can’t yell “Fire” in a crowded theatre, advocating for rape crosses that threshold.

General Debate 2 February 2016

February 2nd, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 1 February 2016

February 1st, 2016 at 9:39 am by David Farrar

Labour goes even further left

February 1st, 2016 at 7:04 am by David Farrar

Labour’s announcement of three years “free” tertiary education is a remarkable lunge to the left. They’ve adopted what was a fringe Alliance Party policy.

Its what you get from a party whose leader, finance spokesperson and education spokesperson are all former student presidents. They’re spent so many years chanting “free” education on protest marches, they’re never outgrown it.

This is a very very bad policy. Not a moderately bad policy, but a really really bad policy. This is for numerous reasons.


Labour say once fully implemented it will cost $1.2 billion a year. It will in fact cost far more than this. Labour never ever properly take into account growth in demand if you make something “free”. If you make houses free, everyone will buy a house. Make alcohol free almost everyone will buy alcohol. Make tertiary education “free”, and of course you will get a huge explosion in people enrolling. They may not complete a course, but they will enrol.


Labour’s policy will be great for tertiary providers. All they have to do is get you to sign a piece of paper and the Government will give them $15,000 or so. Even under the current funding system we’ve seen a reasonable number of rorts where providers hire people to go around hamburger bars and sign people up for a low quality (but zero fee) course, so they get the funding for it.

Providers respond to incentives.  They will spend a huge amount of money on signing people up, and people will sign up with little regard for quality or usefulness – as they are not paying anything themselves. When someone offers you something for free you care far less about the quality than if you have to partially pay for it yourself.

Helps the most wealthy

People who get a degree will on average over their life-time earn at least $500,000 more income. This policy will see people who don’t go to university paying higher taxes to fund those who do go to university. Truck drivers will pay more in tax so that lawyers get $15,000 free money from the Government.

It is not unreasonable that in exchange for extra income of $500,000+, students contribute towards the cost of tertiary courses they undertake.

Not targeted

If there is an issue with wanting more people to do tertiary student, who are put off by having to get a loan, then you could target assistance based on income. This doesn’t. This is just a huge bribe.

Opportunity Cost

Almost every study in education shows that the most critical period is early childhood. If you went to 100 experts in education and said we have $1.5 billion a year to spend – where should we spend it to make the most difference to educational outcomes, no one would say spend it all on tertiary – let alone on a policy that will lower quality of education, not improve it.

So in summary it will:

  • Cost massively more than $1.2 billion a year
  • Incentivise lower quality courses
  • Help the most wealthy
  • Is not targeted to those most needing assistance
  • Has a huge opportunity cost

General Debate 31 January 2016

January 31st, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 30 January 2015

January 30th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 29 January 2015

January 29th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Why conspiracy theories don’t hold up

January 28th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Major conspiracy theories such as a faked Moon landing cannot be true or they would have been exposed within a few years a scientist has concluded.

Dr David Grimes, an Oxford University physicist, worked out a mathematical formula to calculate the chances of a plot being leaked by a whistle-blower or accidentally uncovered.

He was able to show that the more people involved in a conspiracy, the shorter its lifespan is likely to be.

For a plot to last five years, the maximum number of plotters turned out to be 2,521. To keep a scheme undetected for more than a decade, fewer than 1,000 people could be involved, while a century-long deception had to include fewer than 125 collaborators.

Since Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon in 1969, conspiracy theorists have proposed that the landing was faked. They point to photographs showing the American flag blowing in the breeze, despite there being no atmosphere and the fact the astronauts’ shadows do not match the lunar module light source.

But applying Dr Grimes’ formula to the Moon landings, which would have involved an estimated 411,000 people who worked at Nasa, any hoax would have been found out in three years and eight months.

My personal rule of thumb is that any conspiracy theory that involves more than 100 people is barking mad, and more that a dozen people is improbable.

General Debate 28 January 2015

January 28th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel