Word of the day

August 5, 2011

Concilliabule – a secret meeting between people who are hatching a plot.

Troll spotters’ guide

August 5, 2011

James Delinpole at The Telegraph has a very useful guide for spotting trolls:

There’s an argument which goes that we bloggers need our pet trolls almost as much as they need us. I’m not sure I value them that highly myself but I do find them a fascinating case study. What intrigues me is their psychopathology. I mean, it takes a certain sort of mentality actively to seek out columnists with whom you disagree and lurk below their blog being spiteful and angry and disruptive. Maybe I’d respect them more if they weren’t cowering behind the mask of anonymity, or if ever for once in their sad, deficient lives they actually strove to engage with the arguments made. But they never do, for such is the nature of trolling. . .

Whether or not we need them he identifies seven types:

1. Just Don’t Get It Troll. Just Don’t Get It Troll is the feeblest form of troll life.  . .

2. Failoblog Troll. Failoblog troll’s dream is to have a blog as successful as the one he trolls. . .

3. Stalker troll. It takes a fairly sick mentality to want to be a troll. . .

4. Pedant Troll. In his imagination, pedant troll is the very exemplar of reason, balance and moderation. . .

5. Spambot troll. Spambot troll is on a mission – quite possibly a paid-for mission to judge by the frequency with which he posts. . .

6. Cuckoo troll. Like most trolls, cuckoo trolls are tortured by a terrible nagging fear that no one will ever take what they have to say very seriously . . .

7. “I didn’t read what you said but here’s what I think” troll. He doesn’t read your piece. . .

Interestingly all seven are male.

Hat tip: Ross.


August 5, 2011

Police were criticised for charging the man whose tragic error led to his son drowning after the vehicle the father had been driving rolled into Lake Dunstan.

We might ask why they can’t have discretion in cases like this, but I do understand the danger of giving police the power which belongs to a judge and/or jury.

Judge Blackie who discharged Ashish Macwan  without conviction made that point:

 At his sentencing today Judge Blackie said he agreed with  Macwan’s lawyer that his “carelessness was minimal”.   

The police did not oppose the discharge without conviction and Judge Blackie said it was right for the police to bring the matter to court.   

“It is not for the police to decide the outcome, but the court.”  

That is a just outcome for a tragic case.

No punishment could be greater than the knowledge that Macwan’s carelessness, however minimal, led to the death of his son.

But that decision should be the judge’s not the police’s.

Friday’s answers

August 5, 2011

Thursday’s questions were:

1.  Who said: “I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”?

2. Graphite and diamonds are both composed of what?

3. It’s bijoux in French, gioielliin Italian and  joyas in Spanish, what is it in English?

4. Name one of the two gems varieties of the mineral corundum.?

5. What percentage of silver is in sterling silver?

Points for answers:

Rob got 1 1/2 right, a grin for #1 and a enarly for #5;

Andrei got four, a bonus for extra informationa nd a sorry you couldn’t draw a picutre.

Zen got four right, a very good answer for #5 and a bonus for being cryptic.

GD got four, a bonus for extra informationa nd a no need to apologise.

Cadwallader earns the electronic bag of biscuits (same as the PM had in yesterday’s picnic) with a clean sweep.

Adam got two.

David got one and a sorry, I admire you for persevering with arts questions and thought a science theme  might suit you better.



Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Forsyth Barr Stadium opens

August 5, 2011

The controversy over Dunedin’s new Forsyth Barr Stadium continued this week with the news that Dunedin City Holdings Limited (DCHL) won’t be able to pay an $8m dividend to the city council. Part of that would have hleped fund the stadium.

That announcement was followed by news that negotiations between the stadium and  promoters of Rod Stewart and  Meat Loaf had broken down. It is, however, a moot point whether big name acts like that should need the venue for free.

But the stadium was officially opened this morning by Prime Minister John Key  so like it or not, it’s up and running.

And I do like it  – the only stadium in the country with a roof, and able to grow grass under that roof.

The opening game will be played this afternoon between university colleges Knox and Selwyn and on Sunday North Otago plays West Coast.


Meanwhile in the real world

August 5, 2011

It is possible that Opposition leader Phil Goff did more than one thing yesterday but all we – at least the media and other political tragics – know is that he engaged in a public argument with the head of the SIS.

Meanwhile in the real world Prime Minister John Key had got up at about 5am to do some work before catching a flight to Timaru where he was met by Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and whisked off to Geraldine for a meeting with pupils and the public at the high school.

When Goff was in the Waitaki electorate a few weeks ago, he had a crayfish lunch at Fleur’s. Jacqui and her team decided that enabling as many people as possible to meet John was more important than his dining pleasure. I provided a picnic for the entourage which they ate in their cars between Geraldine and Waimate High School where another meeting with pupils and public had been scheduled.

This visit was supposed to take only half an hour, but getting the PM away from the pupils who lined up to shake his hand, get photos and autographs almost doubled that. This had been taken into account in planning so more than enough time had been allowed to drive between stops at the legal speed limit without causing too much delay to the itinerary.

Senior pupils from Oamaru’s three secondary schools were waiting for him at Waitaki Girls’ where he delivered his third speech of the day and answered questions.

Outside he stopped to greet pupils, pose for photos and took a mintue to launch Jacqui’s campaign.

A good-sized crowd was waiting for John at his next stop in Waikouaiti where he made his fourth speech of the day.

He went straight from there to a cocktail party jointly hosted by National’s Dunedin North MP Michael Woodhouse and Dunedin South candidate Jo Hayes.

Five speeches, meeting hundreds of people and driving more than 300 kilometres in a car which had to double as a lunch room and mobile-office made it a very big day. But I bet the PM enjoyed his day in the real world far more than the Opposition Leader enjoyed his in the media.

One man’s word or the other’s

August 5, 2011

It’s one man’s word against another’s.

Phil Goff complained he wasn’t briefed on the Israeli tourists who were investigated after the Christchurch earthquake.

SIS director Dr Warren Tucker disputed that and responded to an OIO request from Cameron Slater with a record of the briefing.

Goff responded with a media release saying he hadn’t seen the briefing papers and said:

“I will not stand by and have my credibility questioned over this issue. In future, I will only meet with Warren Tucker or representatives of the SIS if there is someone independent in the room to keep a true and accurate record of what is discussed. . . “

It is most unusual for the head of any department, let alone the SIS, to release documents like this.

It is also most unusual for any politician, let alone the Leader of the Opposition, to debate with a head of department through the media in this manner. Goff is clearly saying that he doesn’t trust Tucker which means should Goff become Prime Minister, Tucker would have to resign.

Unless there was another witness to the meeting we have to accept one man’s word or the other’s. They can’t both be right.



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