What do you do when the evidence proves you wrong?

February 12, 2009

Mike Moore writes that the ability to change one’s mind is a virtue.

The great economist, Lord Keynes, was once challenged at a media event – they had the “gotcha” press even back then.

How, he was asked, could he justify his statement when just a few years ago he had said the opposite ? “When the evidence proves I’m wrong, I change my mind.

What do you do ?” he replied sweetly.

The rest of the colum would be instructional reading for the Greens because of its economic message and because they’re the only party in parliament that won’t accept the evidence about how bad the Electoral Finance Act was and will be voting against its repeal.

Until their blind support for the EFA I had thought the Greens were principled. Their attachment to that dog’s breakfast changed my mind and their refusal to support its repeal confirms I was right to do so.

Inquiring Mind  points out the Green’s disdain for democracy, Monkeywithtypewriter reminds us of exactly who was to blame for the Act and lists its faults; and Keeping Stock  celebrates the Act’s demise.


This fizz will be a fizzer

February 12, 2009

I thought PM of NZ was taking the proverbial,  but no bull – the Indians really are trying to develop a drink  made from cows’ urine.

The bovine brew is in the final stages of development by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India’s biggest and oldest Hindu nationalist group, according to the man who makes it.

Om Prakash, the head of the department, said the drink – called “gau jal”, or “cow water” – in Sanskrit was undergoing laboratory tests and would be launched “very soon, maybe by the end of this year”.

“Don’t worry, it won’t smell like urine and will be tasty too,” he told The Times from his headquarters in Hardwar, one of four holy cities on the River Ganges. “Its USP will be that it’s going to be very healthy. It won’t be like carbonated drinks and would be devoid of any toxins.”

I’ll take his word for that and I’m not going to think about how they’ll collect it.


Good vibrations

February 12, 2009

If it had been invented when I was learning  (with neither sufficient talent nor enthusiasm) to play the piano,  perhaps the vibrating glove  could have made a musician of me.

Georgia Tech researchers are trying to reinvent how students learn to play the piano by developing a glove that vibrates to cue a budding musician which finger needs to be played at a given moment. The goal is to fuse music with muscle memory to teach pianists their craft.

And perhaps it will provide an increase in the popularity of music lessons for people who are trying to perfect their piano playing.


Sure as eggs it’s good news for chook farmers – Updated

February 12, 2009

 Brtitish researchers have good news  for poultry farmers:

A paper to be published soon in the British Nutrition Foundation’s Nutrition Bulletin has found that cholesterol in eggs has only a small and clinically insignificant effect on blood cholesterol. While people with high blood cholesterol are at increased risk of heart disease, only a third of the cholesterol in the body is attributed to diet.

 

Other factors linked to high cholesterol levels are smoking, being overweight and lack of exercise, and the main culprit from food is saturated fat, not cholesterol found in eggs.

. . .  The study concludes that health chiefs and GPs should demolish the myths about eggs and heart disease and communicate a message that there is no need to limit the number eaten as long as they are part of a healthy low saturated fat diet.

A pity that rules out mixing them with cream and cheese in a quiche to help the dairy industry too.

UPDATE: Macdoctor has an eggcellent post  on this, I especially like his rules of data interpretation.


It’s not their money

February 12, 2009

 Does Meridian Energy realise what it’s saying?

Increasing power prices now would shield customers from large increases if and when planned schemes came about: “Small increases provide a smoother path for consumers.”

 Is it the job of a power company to “provide a smoother path for consumers”?  That sounds like they think  they’re better able to manage our money than we are.

My concern is increased because of the proviso “if and when planned schemes come about”

What happens if planned schemes don’t come about, will we get our money back, with interest?

And how much more power generation do we need? The reduction in production at the Tiwai aluminium smelter means there is considerably less demand for power than there has been for some time.

The Remuneration Authority has a similar line  with regard to local body pay rates:

Authority chairman Richard Oughton, in the circular, said some local bodies were considering not increasing pay.

He said the increase from July 1 was conservative, somewhat less than it should be based on market conditions.

“A zero increase could create a situation where a larger, and perhaps less publicly acceptable, adjustment may be needed from July 1, 2010.

Further postponing an adjustment at that time would only serve to exacerbate the problem,” he said.

 He too is saying that a lower increase now will mean a bigger increase later.

I think ratepayers would prefer to keep a little more of their own money now and worry about how acceptable future pay increases are when the time comes. 

The government is sending very strong messages about the need for restraint so it’s possible that the pubic and private sector salaries on which councillors’ remuneration is based may show little or no increase in the short to medium term.

That would mean the big increase that Oughton is concerned about may not eventuate anyway.

If it does, at least we’ll have had a wee bit more of our own money under our own control in the meantime.


24mls and still raining

February 12, 2009

The rain gauge had 24mls in it a couple of hours ago. That’s an inch in old money which is very welcome and it’s still raining.

The met service rural weather map shows rain forecast all over the country and, as is often the way some areas may get too much.

Yesterday morning RivettingKate Taylor  reported 40mm in the past couple of days in Central Hawkes Bay but friends in North Canterbury where it’s desperately dry hadn’t had enough to lay the dust an hour ago.


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