Staying grounded during a time of upheaval

we have a rather idealistic government in New Zealand in much the same way that Canada and the USA have at the moment.They have this vision of reforming society and what it values, and changing those values to something else.

That ‘something else’ constantly changes according to polls and public opinion. In other words, mob rule.

Anything traditional these days is either attacked, or ignored as they promote an ‘alternative’, in a classic case of mis-direction.

Traditional groups are all under attack. Christian groups, Catholics, Girl Guides, Boy scouts, marriage, even the concept of women, is maligned or attacked in the media.

It is in times like this that you remember who you are, where you came from, and stick to your beliefs, and just ignore all that noise and peer pressure.

The link below is from someone who is very religious, but that in itself is beside the point.

All that matters is that you have a belief in something, which Mitch plainly does.

Photo by Dan Grinwis Thought for the Week I was an atheist, and insufferably superior about it. I considered myself more rational, more progressive than my naïve religious friends. But there was one thing I couldn’t explain: The Wallaces. They were the unofficial den parents of our high school theatre group, and their home, in […]

Sinking Sand

Personally, I believe I’ll watch the rugby this saturday night, surrounded by family and good food, and the All Blacks will win convincingly….,

It’s just the sort of thing a good solid Kiwi bloke used to do.

My wife would appreciate this picture..

Needless to say, I’ll keep riding motorcycles, skateboards, and jumping out of perfectly good aeroplanes, etc, because thats who I am.

Self serving robots?

There is a cafe in a large town nearby that I visit once in a blue moon. I know it well because I used to work nearby.

Today, they had very enthusiastic people admiring this robot that was been demonstrated for a very smug manager who was grinning from ear to ear.

By chance he served me at the counter. I made the comment that I wouldn’t be smiling about something that is about to take your job.

This went straight over his head until I commented that I wont go to a cafe staffed by robots, at which point his face dropped like a lead balloon and it then became apparent he was actually the manager. (oops!, put my foot in it again).

It seems he has staffing issues, so the robot is in ‘reserve’

But here’s the thing. I know the history of the place and I know that he cant keep staff because he’s too difficult to deal with.

While I was there, a waitress got all stressed out simply because some customers sat down at a table to wait for their takeaway order. It just illustrated to me the stress that the staff were under.

So here’s the thing
If you like been served by real people, be nice to them. Treat them as you would like to be treated. Sometimes they aren’t having a good day.

The alternative is a cold robot that talks in a soothing voice. It might be a quaint experience at first but then, maybe that might change..

The yearly climate of fear

2000 -Y2K is going to destroy everything!

2001 -Antrax is going to kill us all!

2002 -West Nile virus is going to kill us all!

2003 -Sars is going to kill us all!

2005 -Bird Flu is going to kill us all!

2005 -Ecoli is going to kill us all!

2008 -Financial collapse is going to kill us all!

2009 -Swine Flu is going to kill us all !

2012 -The Mayan calendar predicts the world is going to end !

2013 -North Korea is going to cause World War 3 !

2014 -Ebola Virus is going to kill us all!

2015 -ISIS is going to kill us all!

2016 -Zika Virus is going to kill us all!

2020 -Corona virus is going to kill us all!

The truth is that Fear is going to kill you….

Turn off the TV and wash your hands.

The history behind the strategy of lockdowns

Shared from

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the twin towers in the USA in 2001, various experts tried to imagine what form future terrorist attacks might take, and one of the obvious ones was bio-warfare; the introduction of a lethal disease like Ebola. Even then they were a little behind, in that Tom Clancy had already played out that scenario in his 1996 book Executive Orders:

One of the outcomes of this thinking was– the lockdown of the entire society.

Drs. Hatchett and Mecher had proposed that Americans in some places might have to turn back to an approach, self-isolation, first widely employed in the Middle Ages.

How that idea — born out of a request by President George W. Bush to ensure the nation was better prepared for the next contagious disease outbreak — became the heart of the national playbook for responding to a pandemic is one of the untold stories of the coronavirus crisis.

Dr Mecher was an intensive care doctor with no previous expertise in pandemics and DR Hatchett an oncologist (cancer specialist). You’ll love the help they got – from a 14 year old girl:

Laura, with some guidance from her dad, devised a computer simulation that showed how people – family members, co-workers, students in schools, people in social situations – interact. What she discovered was that school kids come in contact with about 140 people a day, more than any other group. Based on that finding, her program showed that in a hypothetical town of 10,000 people, 5,000 would be infected during a pandemic if no measures were taken, but only 500 would be infected if the schools were closed.

She got her name on the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) 2006 paper, Targeted Social Distancing Designs for Pandemic Influenza, which is very cool, but the primary authors were not experts in immunology or epidemiology. 

This was quickly followed by a 2007 CDC paper, Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation in the United States.

Actual epidemiologists (specialists in diseases)  were appalled. None more so than Donald Henderson, a US epidemiologist who had capped his career by training for two years at the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the Communicable Disease Center, before moving to Geneva to head the WHO’s smallpox division. In short, he was one of the world’s leading experts in this area. Together with co-authors  Thomas V.Inglesby, epidemiologist Jennifer B. Nuzzo, and physician Tara O’Toole he produced a paper: Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control of Pandemic Influenza. You can read the full version at the link, but here’s the key summary:

Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted. Strong political and public health leadership to provide reassurance and to ensure that needed medical care services are provided are critical elements. If either is seen to be less than optimal, a manageable epidemic could move toward catastrophe.

Lockdown was not even a real-world epidemiological idea in the first place and showed no actual knowledge of viruses and disease mitigation.

It was originally the combination of Bush-era security experts and a high-school computer-based model that had nothing at all to do with real life, real science, or real medicine. So how is that people like Henderson and other highly trained and experienced experts on epidemics did not prevail in the argument.

The [Bush] administration ultimately sided with the proponents of social distancing and shutdowns — though their victory was little noticed outside of public health circles. Their policy would become the basis for government planning and would be used extensively in simulations used to prepare for pandemics, and in a limited way in 2009 during an outbreak of the influenza called H1N1. Then the coronavirus came, and the plan was put to work across the country for the first time.

Some years later, a reporter would track down one of the authors of the 2007 paper, Rajeev Venkayya, who made the incredible response that, “lockdowns and shelter-in-place were not part of the recommendations.”

Even in 2020, there was fightback from expert epidemiologists, starting with John Ioannidis at Stanford Medical School, who published an article, “A Fiasco in the Making? As the Coronavirus Pandemic Takes Hold, We Are Making Decisions Without Reliable Data.”, in which he argued that while a short-term lockdown might make sense, extended lockdowns could prove worse than the disease, and scientists needed to do more intensive testing to determine the risk.

Another Stanford expert, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, joined with Ioannidis on research and papers and in March this year said that:

“I stand behind my comment that the lockdowns are the single worst public health mistake in the last 100 years. We will be counting the catastrophic health and psychological harms, imposed on nearly every poor person on the face of the earth, for a generation… At the same time, they have not served to control the epidemic in the places where they have been most vigorously imposed. In the US, they have – at best – protected the “non-essential” class from COVID, while exposing the essential working class to the disease. The lockdowns are trickle down epidemiology.”

But incredibly these experts were no longer just overruled. They were viciously attacked, as were many others, as this article notes:

[The Ioannidis 2020] article offered common-sense advice from one of the world’s most frequently cited authorities on the credibility of medical research, but it provoked a furious backlash on Twitter from scientists and journalists.

“Scientists whom I respect started acting like warriors who had to subvert the enemy,” he says. “Every paper I’ve written has errors—I’m a scientist, not the pope—but the main conclusions of this one were correct and have withstood the criticism.”

Stefan Baral, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins with 350 publications to his name, submitted a critique of lockdowns to more than ten journals and finally gave up—“the first time in my career that I could not get a piece placed anywhere,”

Martin Kulldorff, an epidemiologist at Harvard, had a similar experience with his article, early in the pandemic, arguing that resources should be focused on protecting the elderly…. It was a tragically accurate prophecy from one of the leading experts on infectious disease, but Kulldorff couldn’t find a scientific journal or media outlet to accept the article, so he ended up posting it on his own LinkedIn page. “There’s always a certain amount of herd thinking in science,” Kulldorff says, “but I’ve never seen it reach this level. Most of the epidemiologists and other scientists I’ve spoken to in private are against lockdowns, but they’re afraid to speak up.”

Perhaps all these people are fringe nutters? Kulldorff would eventually join with Bhattacharya and Sunetra Gupta of Oxford to produce the Great Barrington Declaration. In it they urged officials to shield the elderly by doing more tests of the staff at nursing homes and hospitals, while reopening business and schools for younger people, which would ultimately protect the vulnerable as herd immunity grew among the low-risk population.

They managed to attract attention but not the kind they hoped for. Though tens of thousands of other scientists and doctors went on to sign the declaration, the press caricatured it as a deadly “let it rip” strategy and an “ethical nightmare” from “Covid deniers” and “agents of misinformation.” Google initially shadow-banned it so that the first page of search results for “Great Barrington Declaration” showed only criticism of it (like an article calling it “the work of a climate denial network”) but not the declaration itself. Facebook shut down the scientists’ page for a week for violating unspecified “community standards.”

The traditional strategy for dealing with pandemics was to isolate the infected and protect the most vulnerable, just as Atlas and the Great Barrington scientists recommended. The CDC’s pre-pandemic planning scenarios didn’t recommend extended school closures or any shutdown of businesses even during a plague as deadly as the 1918 Spanish flu.

You can read an extensive list of studies on the failure of lockdowns around the world as of April 21, 2021, here. The Spiked site has a list of nations, lockdowns and their failures. New Zealand is not there yet, but as recent decisions have shown, what happened here in 2020 with the L4 lockdown reducing cases to zero, can only be described as a fluke, and it has failed at its second attempt, just like everywhere else.

As the pandemic fades and the years pass, the arguments over lockdowns will be lengthy and intense, as they should be. But this method should never be used again.

Another Climate Alarm Loses Its Mojo

Shared from

(Steven Hayward) We all know the Great Barrier Reef is in danger of disappearing because of c—— c—–. The climatistas tell us so, at every opportunity: Well guess what Mom? Check in with The Australian (behind a paywall so here is the relevant text—made available by the indispensable Global Warming Policy Foundation): The annual data…

Another Climate Alarm Loses Its Mojo

Update, The Antarctic isn’t getting any smaller, quite the opposite..

The Climate change saga

The link below has a good explanation as to the folly of stressing out about climate change.

Here in NZ, a lot of virtue signalling has been done in the name of climate change. this is underlined by the fact that they are only responsible for 0.1% of worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases.

It’s notable that ‘climate change’ used to be call ‘global warming’. The reason for the name change is that scientists are undecided amongst themselves about whether it will actually cause temperature’s to rise or fall. This in itself shows just how imprecise the science is and begs the question.. Is there actually a problem here at all?

New Zealand’s present government has banned opening of new oil and gas fields, which will lead to energy supply problems in the near future. The present gas supply is due to run out in less than ten years time. It’s not possible to import gas in bulk to get around this problem, as there are no port facilities to handle bulk carriers of gas, and it will take more than ten years to build one in any case. NZ is importing coal, (despite abundant resources of it) to keep one of the major power stations running (Huntly power station -1360 megawatt) which used to run on natural gas, but can’t due to dwindling supplies.

Apparently it’s wrong to mine coal in NZ, but it’s all right if someone else does it in their own backyard.

Electric cars vs petrol

Electric cars have been the ‘in’ thing for some time here in New Zealand. They are mostly favoured by people who either want to make a statement or altruistic people who want to make a difference.

I found that if you talk to an electric car owner, they tend to be biased towards their own car, and it’s therefore hard to get an objective analysis of the pro’s and cons of an electric car vs a petrol one.

I therefore did my own analysis based on what I use a car for. It’s based on buying a new car & keeping it for 5 years or 100,000kms. I’ve used a Nissan Leaf and a Toyota Yaris for this comparision.

A new Nissan Leaf cost @ $62,000 and has a range of 270Km. An old one with 100,000kms on the clock is worth @ $10,000. Its range will be down to about 125Km. (note 1)

A new Toyota Yaris will cost @ $30,300. an old one with 100,000km’s on it is worth @ $5000.

Electricity costs @ $0.30 per KW. The Nissan Leaf has a range of 270k with a 40KW battery, so it gets @7KM per KW

Petrol costs @ $2.90 a Liter. I use a Toyota Vitz which does about 18.5Km/ltr, and I assume a new Toyota Yaris would be similar in it’s fuel consumption

An electric car has fewer moving parts and the maintenance schedule is mostly about maintaining the brakes, suspension and the wheels, therefore I assume that the yearly maintenance would cost about half that of a petrol car.                            

A petrol car needs a service once a year, which on average cost me about $400. it is dearer than an electric car because a petrol engine has a lot moving parts in it that can wear out.

If I plug all those numbers into an Excel spreadsheet, I end up with a table as below..

In conclusion, It’s cheaper and more convenient to use a petrol car ($44,476 vs $58,397).

There are free recharge stations setup around New Zealand to accommodate Electric cars, as well as other subsidies to make them more viable. They still have their limitations though, namely a lack of range, a slow recharge time, and forget about towing a boat or caravan.  These disadvantages are remarkably similar to CNG (compressed natural gas) which was common in the 1970’s due to the oil crisis. CNG had all but disappeared by the year 2000, and electric cars could do the same if they can’t solve the issues.

Note 1:

Early Nissan Leaf’s had a 24KW battery and a range of 170’ks, old examples of these with 100,000ks on them have a range of about 75k’s. Later versions have a 40KW battery and a range of 270k’s, the power consumption per Km is similar, therefore, I’ve calculated that a later version will have a range of @ 125km when its done 100,000km’s (75*40/24=125)

The Green Fantasy Is a Nightmare

-hat tip

California is cruising toward a 100% “green” energy future, or so the state’s leaders tell us. But how, exactly, will that objective be brought about? In March of this year, the responsible state agencies issued a plan to achieve 100% carbon dioxide-free electricity by 2045. That is an achievable goal if you use nuclear power. […]

The Green Fantasy Is a Nightmare