Top 10 Beatles songs

August 25, 2009

Rolling Stone asked readers to vote for their favourtie Beatles song to celebrate the group’s 33rd appearance on the magazine cover.

The top 10 were:

1.  ‘A Day in the Life’      2.  ‘In My Life’

 3.  ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’    4.  ‘Hey Jude’

 5.  ‘Helter Skelter’     6.  ‘Here Come the Sun’

 7.  ‘I Saw Her Standing There’    8.  ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’

 9.  ‘Across the Universe’       10. ‘I Am the Walrus’

My top 10 would be:

1. All My Loving     2. Hey Jude Let It Be

3 Yesterday.  Hey Jude   4 – 10 Ummm? Yesterday

5-10 Ummm?


Going, going . . .

August 25, 2009

Running out of fuel is rarely convenient for the people in the vehicle and any others they hold up. This gives me some sympathy for the plan to fine people who get caught short on motorways.

However, while in the past I might have thought running out of petrol was carelessness I’m now wondering if at least some of the time the fuel gauge might be partially responsible.

Petrol gauges in most cars I’ve driven regularly have had a half circle with a hand which moved from full to empty pretty evenly.

My current vehicle, a Toyota Corolla, has ten blocks stacked on top of each other.

choc

The first block lasts 150 – 180 kilometres, the next couple take me around 90 kilometres each, and so it continues with the lower ones taking lesser distances to drop.

The second last one lasts around 40 kilometres and the last one lets me travel about half that distance before the warning beep tells me the car’s out of fuel.

It’s not, but even if I didn’t live 20 kilometres from the nearest petrol station I wouldn’t be keen to find out when empty really means empty.

I’ve worked out that when the gauge shows the car has half a tank of fuel it really has only about a third, but unless I notice when it drops to half I can’t be sure if it has that much or less.

The mechanic who services the car said that was the way the gauges work  and the one in his car, of the same make but different model, also dropped faster as the tank emptied.

It might be the way they do work but it’s not the way they should work.

There’s a visual design fault to start with. Gauges like clock faces have a block of red near empty which reinforces the message you are running short of fuel. Two solid blocks don’t portray the same level of urgency.

Then there’s the lack of connection between what it shows and how much fuel there really is. It’s not so much a gauge as an indicator, and an unreliable one at that. Unless I’m very careful about keeping an eye on it I’m in danger of finding the distance I need to travel isn’t quite up to the fuel available for travelling it.


Tuesday’s Answers

August 25, 2009

Monday’s questions were:

1. Who adopted Anne Shirley?

2. Who said, “People who life in New Zealand by choice as distinct from an accident of birth, and who are committed to this land and its people and steeped in their knowledge of both, are no less ‘indigenous’ than Maori.”?

3. Where is Colonia del Sacramento, (if there’s more than one, I’m looking for the World Heritage site).

4. What is a haugh?

5. How many teeth does a hogget have?

Paul Tremewan retains the winner’s crown, although loses a half point for getting the surname in 1 wrong (she married Gilbert). He gets a bonus for an alternative answer to 4.

Kismet gets a bonus for being first to answer anything.

Ray gets a bonus for his answer to 4 and for the full answer for 5.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


Blogger on blogs on radio

August 25, 2009

Denis Welch devoted his weekly media spot on Nine to Noon to blogs and the Tumeke! blogospehre rankings.

He discussed how blogs break stories and influence the media.

His conclusion was that there haven’t yet been many stories breaking out from the blogosphere to the mainstream media but politicians have been breaking-in to the blogosphere.

The discussion is online here.

He didn’t mention his own blog Opposable Thumb.


Editorials on referendum

August 25, 2009

The Southland Times says Let’s reassure parents:

It’s one thing to accept that police have been very careful about the way the law is being interpreted, right now. But there’s no getting around it that a great many parents remain worried about a wider anti-smacking agenda and that the sands may shift underneath parents in future, and a much harder line be taken by the law as it now stands.

Underscoring that view is the widespread public recognition of the distaste from many in the so-called PC corridors of power, notably the law’s original drafter Sue Bradford, for any sort of smacking. It’s a distaste this newspaper shares . . .

The explicit intention of the law’s final form was that nobody could commit the sort of assault against a child that would previously have landed them in court and rightly so in the eyes of mainstream New Zealanders but then raise the arcane previous defence that they were within the rights of parental correction. That defence was removed under the Bradford legislation, and so it should have been.

But, okay. Maybe the existing law does need to be refined to give greater assurance that normal parental guardianship and discipline will still be the preserve of the parents.

It’s got the bit about reasonable force wrong – that’s still allowed for prevention.

The Press says the vote was a fiasco:

The question posed was flawed, the participation of voters low, the campaign unengaging, the cost of the exercise prohibitive and the results inconsequential. In short, the referendum was a fiasco.

The question was flawed, though its intent was clear it has enabled the governmetn to address the result without changing the law. But the turnout wasn’t low and the cost was the fault of the previous Prime Minsiter who decreed the referendum couldn’t take place with last year’s election.

The Nelson Mail says politicians need to resist mob pressure:

Nelson MP Nick Smith was on the money in suggesting the anti-smacking referendum result reflected a strong reaction against the “nanny state”.

The overwhelming “no” vote nearly 90 per cent, with a turnout of more than half of this country’s registered voters is also a slap in the face for children’s rights and anti-violence advocates. It delivers an unfortunate message about New Zealand’s underlying conservatism and represents an important challenge to the country’s politicians as they consider how to respond to it.

The Dominon Post editorialises  In the Dominion Post Richard Long says: on making an ass of our laws:

Even a 100 per cent vote against the anti-smacking law would not have made it possible to revoke.

It  might be frightening the  daylights out of decent, law- abiding middle class parents, but  now it is on the statute books we  are stuck with it. To do otherwise  would be signalling open slather  on kids. It would be saying  whacking is fine.

David Cohen asks is an editorial smack part of good part of good media discipline?:

With the votes now counted and an emphatic result in, the biggest loser in the recently concluded child-discipline referendum appears to be the news media.
 
Almost 90 percent of people who participated in the citizens-initiated referendum asking New Zealanders whether smacking should be illegal voted No. An entirely unsurprising result, that. . .
 
 
A significant aspect in much of the media coverage in the lead-up to the referendum was the almost uniformly negative press accorded to potential No voters.
 
He says almsot everything in the NZ Herald was desisgned to put No voters in the worst possible light, but the Herald editorial is the only post-vote one which wants a change in the law.
 
It says parliament should act to define force:
 
The people have spoken and the Government is obliged to act. The vote against the criminalisation of parental “correction” is too decisive to be ignored. The referendum question may have been biased by its reference to “good” parental correction but it is doubtful that anyone who wanted to outlaw smacking was misled by it. . .
 
This whole debate has disguised a high level of consensus about the place of violence in child discipline. Before the referendum the Herald commissioned a DigiPoll survey of parents . . .  It found the number who smack their children at least once a week has dropped drastically in the past decade to just 8.5 per cent. The number who never smack – just 10 per cent in the previous decade – has risen to 36 per cent.

Yet 85.4 per cent of that same sample intended to vote against the criminalisation of smacking. Plainly today’s parents have found better ways to bring up children but overwhelmingly they do not want the law to forbid their resort to force if they need it.

The law does not forbid it, and never has.
 
It too is wrong on this last point. The ammendment to Section 59 permits reasonable force for prevention but makes it illegal to smack a child for the purposes of correction.
 
Another point several editorials made is that there are much more important things to worry about. They are right, but that won’t make this issue go away.
 
UPDATE:
The Marlborough Express says Costly referendum a waste of money:
 
The law was brought in as there was a clear problem defining what reasonable force was. In a climate of despair over repeated child abuse in this country the law made it clear that it was not okay to hit children.
 
But it didn’t. It still allows reasonable force for prevention.
 
The Dominion Post says Smacking vote carries clout:
 
The question is loaded and ambiguous. It presupposes that smacking is part of good parenting –  a debatable point – and ignores the fact that the existing law specifically permits the use of reasonable force, including smacking, in certain circumstances.

Those circumstances are fairly comprehensive. They include: to prevent harm to children or others, to stop offensive or disruptive behaviour and to stop criminal behaviour.

At least one paper understands the current law still allows the reasonable force which the Act’s proponents – and a lot of its opponents – wanted to get rid of.

 
 
 

Stadium gets tick, opponents get bill

August 25, 2009

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal against the Dunedin City Council’s funding of the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Stop the Stadium which brought the action will have to pay up to $17,000 for costs.

That’s how it should be.

Ratepayers will have spent a lot more on the council’s defence of the action and if the opponents didn’t pay court costs the taxpayer would have to.


Growing up as a parent

August 25, 2009

He’s the father of young children.

He said he had smacked them – lightly – in the past. At least some of the time, it was more a reflection of how he was feeling than on what the children had done.

He hadn’t smacked them recently and didn’t think he would again.

“That might have something to do with the anti-smacking legislation, because obviously I don’t want to break the law. But even more than that, I think it’s because I’ve grown up as a parent.”

Smacking was a lot more common when I was a child than it was when I had my children. That’s now more than 20 years ago and smacking is less common now than it was then.

There has been a cultural evolution and a bit of a nudge might have sped that up.

Last year’s law change wasn’t a nudge it was a shove with a steamroller. Parents, grandparents and a whole lot of people who don’t want to smack their children didn’t like being steamrolled. I’m not sure what level of comfort they’ll get from being told the people driving the steamroller are being directed to steer round them.

However, the wording of the referendum question is partly to blame for that. It didn’t ask for a law change.


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