Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Medal for gun dealer, not court

Auckland gun dealer Greg Carvell should be applauded, not charged, for defending himself and his co-workers from the idiot who brought a machete to a gun-shop. Libertarianz Firearms deregulation spokesman Peter Linton agrees:
"Auckland Gun Dealer Greg Carvell should be applauded for his actions in defending himself from a machete wielding aggressor in his shop last July," says Peter Linton, Libertarianz Firearms Spokesman. "It's disgusting that the police are charging Carvell with 'possessing a firearm without lawful, proper or sufficient purposes'."

"It is perfectly reasonable for Carvell, or any other responsible New Zealander, to possess a firearm for self-defence. The right to defend oneself and one's loved ones must not be attacked, Linton explains. "This is a ridiculous charge against a law-abiding New Zealand citizen who should be given a medal. Why are the Police putting criminals before their victims?
Good question. Perhaps, as a colleague says, they're trying to turn gun shops into safe work environments for criminals? If more of us were armed and willing to defend ourselves then perhaps more criminals would end up in hospital instead of their victims -- victims such as the poor Dutch couple savaged over the weekend by animals in human clothing.

Unfortunately, however, the New Zealand police believe they have more right to defend themselves and their property than the average NZ citizen...

I urge readers to e-mail Police Minister Annette King - annette.king@parliament.govt.nz - and express your outrage at this decision.

UPDATE: Good comment on this from the Crusader Rabbit: Non-negotiable right.

LINK: Gun dealer should be applauded, not charged - Peter Linton, Libertarianz

RELATED: Politics-NZ, Self-Defence

The fatalism of entropy. The dynamism of spontaneous order.

THE SECOND COMING
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world...
- W.B. Yeats

People often talk as if the Law of Entropy somehow restricts human activity, or is a restraint on human free will. The idea, for example, that "even if human ingenuity is infinite, entropy may eventually put an absolute limit on the amount of wealth that can be created." Things fall apart, you see, the centre cannot hold, and there's not a blind thing we can do about it.

This is both an error of scale -- with entropy happening on a universal rather than a human scale -- and a mis-application. It ignores the very nature of human activity and human free will, and ignores too the very simple observation that confirms there is order all around us. As the author of the book Sync : The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order says:
Scientists have often been baffled by the existence of spontaneous order in the universe. The laws of thermodynamics seem to dictate the opposite, that nature should inexorably degenerate toward a state of greater disorder, greater entropy. Yet all around us we see magnificent structures—galaxies, cells, ecosystems, human beings—that have all somehow managed to assemble themselves.
The phenomenon of spontaneous order is often cited as one of the two or three most non-intuitive notion of economics -- see if you can guess the others -- but the free application of human ingenuity in a division of labour system is one such example of spontaneous order in action. Tim Harford describes it succinctly in The Undercover Economist as an order that "emerges out of the behavior of individuals even though it is not anyone's intention to promote the overall order."

Why am I telling you this? Because the chaps over at Cafe Hayek have spotted a beautiful example of spontaneous order in full and graphic action: a visual representation of air traffic in the United States over the course of the day. Watch as mainland USA and Hawaii are slowly 'painted in' by the 'spontaneous' travels of individual flights. Click here to go see the Quick Time movie. As they say at Cafe Hayek, what looks random slowly emerges as a most developed kind of 'un-planned' order -- unplanned that is by any central planning. "The flights around the country aren't random. They spring out of population density and the routes people want to travel. These are the source of the order and its visual representation."

Spontaneous order. It's a wonderful thing, and perhaps the best answer to both mis-applying 'entropists' and would-be central planners.

LINKS: The recent revival of spontaneous order - Economics Library
Flight Patterns - Aaron Koblin at UCLA
The nature of the order - Cafe Hayek
Sync : The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order - Stephen Strogatz, Amazon. Com
The Undercover Economist - Tim Harford, Amazon.Com

RELATED: Economics, Ethics, Philosophy, Science

Tips for women

Harry Enfield reminds us that women should know their limits. And here's how to put on a bra.

[Both at You Tube. Hat tip for both, Diana Hsieh]

RELATED: Humour, Sexism

Gravity research offers science fiction results

One of the 'last unknowns' for science is an understanding of gravity sufficient to put that understanding to technological use. A new development in research into something called gravitomagnetism "might point towards a new quantum theory of gravity," says the New Scientist magazine, and possibly open the door to some very exciting innovation.

Research by Austrian scientists has suggested the phenomenon of gravitomagnetism may have more importance than was previously predicted, and it not only calls into question what was previously thought about gravity. Just as a moving electrical charge creates a magnetic field, so a moving mass generates a gravitomagnetic field. According to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, the effect is virtually negligible. However, Martin Tajmar, ARC Seibersdorf Research GmbH, Austria; Clovis de Matos, ESA-HQ, Paris; and colleagues have measured the effect in a laboratory, and found a higher figure than previously expected. Notes New Scientist:
It might even herald a futuristic technology that could be used to pull, push or levitate any object, regardless of its composition, electrical charge or shape.
Other scientists will soon be checking the research by trying to replicate it themselves.
The results could be out in a year or so. If they are positive, it puts the technology of science fiction on the horizon. Levitating cars, zero-g playgrounds, tractor beams to pull objects towards you, glassless windows that use repulsive fields to prevent things passing through. Let your imagination run riot: a gravitomagnetic device that works by changing the acceleration and orientation of a superconductor would be the basis for a general-purpose force field.

The suggestion that gravitomagnetism might one day form the basis of some new technology evokes a quick reaction from Everitt: "Absolutely, unquestionably no!" Then, after a pause, he adds, "But I suppose Simon Newcomb was just as certain in 1900 when he said that humans would never build a heavier-than-air flying machine."
You can read about the research in the latest issue of New Scientist (subscription needed) or you can take a peek here at this cached forum page (scroll down to see the text).

LINK: Gravity's secret - New Scientist (subscription needed)
Gravity's secret - Science a Go Go Forum (scroll down to see the text)
Towards a new test of general relativity - PhysOrg.Com
Gravitomagnetism - Wikipedia
Gravitomagnetic induction of gravitational fields - Gravity Control Idealism blog

RELATED: Science

Removing legal impediments: A model that should be followed more often

Put someone under pressure or offer them temptation and you do see what they truly value. The stadium saga has indicated what some politicians truly value -- despite their usual flim flam -- and there's something to be learned here from how they intend to proceed with what they nobly call "our national stadium."

The Clark Government wants New Zealand to be "sustainable," they say, "inclusive," they say, and to take climate change seriously, they say. Yet it turns out that when push comes to shove they're just as derisive of those politically-correct concepts as the rest of us.
  • When the Resource Management Act slows down or holds up the construction of hydro schemes, housing projects, shopping malls, town centres and power generators, the Clark Government airily waves its hands and talks about the need for sustainable management. Hold up a project of their own, however, and the Clark Government announces that they intend to pass legislation to avoid following the Act they say they consider so important.
  • "Consultation" is a buzzword of modern New Zealand government, and a requirement of the Local Government Act, as Dean Knight explains: "Mallard is dreaming if he thinks that the Auckland City Council and Auckland Regional Council can make a decision about the stadium in 2 weeks. There’s a little legal obligation called participatory democracy that will stand in their way..." Turns out the Clark Government's true opinion of consultation and participatory democracy as your's or mine's when it comes to getting their own projects through the hoops.
  • Climate change is so important, Helen Clark said the other week, that we have to get Al Gore out to scare us back into the Stone Age. Temperatures are going to rise, she said -- reflecting her hero Al Gore -- weather events are going to harass us, she suggested, and sea levels are going to flood us: up to 6m of sea level rise, we were told. But the Clark Government no more believes that then you or I do, or they wouldn't even consider putting a billion-dollar stadium down there in their supposed climate-change flood-plain.
It's clear enough that when push comes to shove they really believe very little of what they say, do they.

How wonderful it would be if politicians were more honest, and they just said what they really believe instead of giving lip service to nonsense in the pursuit of power as they normally do. It would be pleasant to think that the usual impediments to development could be removed for all of us just as easily as the Government removes them for themselves -- and when it's clear that they no more believe the nostrums about legislation like the RMA than we do, why can't they just be honest and get rid of the impediments altogether.

Could it be, perhaps because they like the power that legislation like the RMA gives them?

LINKS: Stadium Aotearoa - LAWS 179: Elephants & the Law (Dean Knight)

RELATED: Politics-NZ, Stadium, RMA

Bluffer's guide to the world's great stadiums

If you want to be an instant expert on sports stadiums, you could do worse than bookmark this site, World Stadiums, which has almost every major world stadium catalogued, displayed and its main features explained. Have a look and see what imagination can do when it's properly unleashed.

To start you off, you might want to check out Stadium Design Principles, and then perhaps head over and check out their selection of the most architecturally distinctive stadiums of all sizes, from the 25,000-seater Dr. Magalhães Pessoa stadium in Portugal to the 150,000-seater R. May Day Stadium in Pyongyang.

And you can check out a whole bunch of stadiums of 60,000 size to get you up to speed with what sort of scale to expect for the proposed Auckland stadium, and just what can be done with them. Comparing them to NZ's existing stadiums might be a useful exercise.

Included too for example are both the Estádio Municipal de Braga in Portugal (left, above) that the Domain Stadium Promotion Group have suggested as a model for a Carlaw Park stadium with a minimum footprint, and the 63-000 seater Saitama Stadium in Japan (right) also cited as a possible model for a Carlaw Park stadium sited within the trees of the domain edge.

You might like to complete your visit by looking at the stadiums of the future, the stadiums of the world currently either on the board or under construction, and consider just how the waterfront bedpan proposed for Auckland might fit within this rather attractive group.

LINK: World Stadiums website
Carlaw Park option must be put on table - Domain Stadium Promotion Group, Scoop

TAGS: Stadium,
Architecture,
Sport

1964 Tokyo Olympic Stadium - Kenzo Tange


Another stadium, another feat of imagination, this time Kenzo Tange's innovative spiral shell design for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

TAGS: Stadium, Architecture, Sport

Monday, 13 November 2006

Iconic buildings, I

Said Mallard on Friday when decreeing the waterfront as "this Government's preferred solution" for a Rugby World Cup stadium, "We believe the construction of an iconic facility such as this will help drive Auckland's aspirations for the development of the waterfront and CBD."

It's worth noting that you can't legislate for an "iconic" building. Unlike validating legislation say, which can be drawn up and rammed through while compliant allies examine their baubles, an iconic building does not pop out of the legislative hat to order. An iconic building -- one with with this sporting function, in this location, in the time frameset by this particular bunch political appointees -- has few if any precedents, and the scheme proposed by Warren and Mahoney for what is an iconic position in Auckland's harbour is very, very far from iconic. Indeed, for abject banality it rivals even the similarly trumpeted white elephant that is Auckland's council-designed-and-built Ayatollah Centre for Auckland's Ayatollah Square, where it sits there still as a monument to design-by-politics. [See a video presentation here in which the government stadium itself is mercifully lit up so as to blind the viewer to the exact details of the proposal.]

So how would one go about achieving an iconic building in such an iconic location?

Perhaps the best and most fruitful example lies in how Sydney acquired its own iconic building for its own harbour in a location that has many similarities to that currently under debate. Rather than simply try and buy an iconic building to order, the New South Wales government instead commissioned an international competition to find something strong enough to suit their stunning downtown harbour site.

What they came up with a year later were a hundred or so designs of what was described as stunning mediocrity, and one that stood out immediately as a work of genius: the celebrated Opera House by Danish architect Jorn Utzon (that's one of his competition sketches that won it for him pictured at left, of the stairway"between the two halls"). The result shows what is possible with imagination on a site not a million miles in form from that so horribly traduced by architects Warren and Mahoney Limited. (Yes, there were problems in construction, most of them also politically-driven.)

I would suggest a swift and well-briefed competition here to try and achieve the same end. It may be objected we don't have one more year to waste, but with CAD and information technology what it is today, surely a much shorter period could be achieved for what -- if it goes ahead -- is a site far too important for a modern-day cousin of the Ayatollah Centre. Or for a bedpan.

Another look at Carlaw's "problems''...

Trevor Mallard, that lame duck from Wainui to whom expertise has always been a stranger, is now offering expert advice to Auckland architects and designers to whom expertise and local knowledge is considered fundamental to their work.

Never one to see ignorance as a barrier to pushing other people around, Trevor tells us we have two weeks to respond to his decree of last Friday, and tells Carlaw Park promoters to stop flogging a dead horse.

But the problem here is that the promoters of the Carlaw Park option, many of whom have joined together as the Domain Stadium Promotion Group, have both expertise and local knowledge, and unlike Mallard they see what a Carlaw Park option can do for the city and park surrounds and realise that it's good -- or can be good. The 'expert advice' of Mallard, ignorant of everything but the magnitude of his own ego, is as shallow as he himself.

The problems with Carlaw Park, he says, are:
  • a private developer already has a contract for the area;
  • three hectares of the domain would need to be used and several hundred trees felled;
  • roading runs too close to the proposed area for the park, leaving inadequate space for people filling a 60,000 seat stadium to spill out on to afterwards.

Let's deal with each in turn.

  • A private retirement-home development is a barrier for using Carlaw park, he says, but disprupting New Zealand's biggest port, a five-billion dollar a year operation, is (he maintains) no barrier to building a bedpan on the port. To state the point is to see its stupidity. It is not beyond the wit of man to either relocate or renogotiate the retirement-home scheme -- it will however be enormously difficult to either relocate or reconfigure new Zealand's export-import gateway. You would think even a braindead bureaucrat could see that -- a sharp enough negotiator could see it and solve it in an afternoon.
  • Yes, three hectares of a little-used and rather seedy domain edge will probably be used for a Carlaw Park stadium -- though careful design can certainly minimise this -- and done properly, it will regenerate this domain edge and its linkages to the city, Newmarket and Parnell. It can be transormed from backwater to a vital part of the inner city. Now, Mallard claims this to be a problem (a view not shared by nine out of
    the twenty Auckland councillors, including chairs of three key Auckland City Council committees – responsible for Environment, Urban Design, Transport and Recreation , all of whom might be expected to know the area a little better than either Mallard or his Wellington-based advisors), but even so it is hard to take as any kind of serious criticism when he apparently does not see any problem at all in inserting an enormous bedpan out at sea, right at the very centre of central Auckland's interface with its harbour.
  • The roading he talks about has an immediate link to a motorway system heading to almost every point of the compass, surely an asset rather than a problem. Furthermore, there is no problem whatsoever with 60,000 people spilling out of a Carlaw Park stadium onto this roadway since there is absolutely no need for them to do so. If egress is properly designed, perhaps along the lines I suggested the other day, then upper-level concourses to north, east and west can allow people to spill out in almost every direction, with links to the east to new rail stations and Parnell, to the north to a new Stanley Circus precinct, and to the westacross an over-road western concourse to Albert Park and (via travelator in existing tunnels) to the city beyond. Together this will easily absorb and painlessly disperse the spillover, without most not even touching the ground at Stanley Street level at all. However, how 60,000 people including vehicles will spill out easily from Mallard's bedpan onto Quay St is another story altogether, one which fine talk of a "boulevard" that can be "shut down" just doesn't even begin to solve ...
It seems to me that these 'problems' raised by the lame duck are neither problems nor thought through -- they are (as so much of Mallard's commentary frequently proves to be) convenient excuses by which to shut down debate. I would suggest either the Sports Minister or his advisers have another look at the Carlaw Park option so cursorily discarded and at the problems of the bedpan so easily overlooked. A good look.

RELATED: Stadiums, Politics-NZ, Sports, Auckland

One billion dollars. Sixty-thousand seats. Bargain?

One billion dollars. Where businesses might take one billion dollars and transform that into one-and-a-half, two or three billion dollars, governments are past masters at taking one billion dollars and turning it into something much less.

The current plan is to take one billion dollars of your money -- and let's not fool ourselves that any fast-tracked stadium anywhere near the Auckland waterfront would cost anything less, or that any bed, airport or tourist tax wouldn't end up costing something of each of us (not least in what these get-off-the-plane taxes might cost the tourist industry in lost tourists) -- one billion dollars of your hard-earned money -- around one-thousand dollars per taxpayer -- and transform it into Stadium White Elephant.

One billion dollars. One-thousand dollars per taxpayer. Sixty-thousand seats. One World Cup tournament. Is that a bargain or what?

Stack that against Christchurch's Jade Stadium which says it can achieve sixty-thousand seats at a reported cost of just eighty-million dollars, and the decision to go for grandomania in Auckland rather than simple good sense in Christchurch looks like what it is. Stupid. At that price the rugby union, the TV companies and local businesses who stand to gain from the Rugby World Cup -- in other words, those who see themselves as picking up some of the projected five-hundred million dollars of economic benefits from the Cup -- could finance it themselves, without putting their hand in our pockets at all. Sounds good, huh?

Is provincialism that important to you? Is hosting the Rugby World Cup in Auckland really worth one billion dollars to you?

RELATED: Stadium, Politics-NZ, Auckland, Sports

Vote Bedpan...


... if this is the hole (and the location) down which you wish to pour one-billion dollars. [Hat tip Whale Oil]

RELATED: Stadium, Auckland, Politics-NZ, Sports

Munich Olympic Stadium - Frei Otto

From the Stadiums-That-Aren't-Big-Boxes file comes this beauty, the 1972 Munich Olympic Stadium designed by Frei Otto, which had a huge impact when first seen.

The stadium was a revelation: light, airy, free and with all the delicate strength of the highly tuned athletes the stadium was built to celebrate.

TAGS: Stadium, Architecture

Friday, 10 November 2006

Beer O’Clock – Emerson’s APA

More talk about weather and beer from Neil at Real Beer, the leading online source for beer information in New Zealand. Some cities have climate. Wellington has weather, but they do have Emerson's American Pale Ale ...

I love spring time in Wellington. The gentle zephyr blowing by at 93km/h, 9 whole degrees at lunchtime and the gentle hum of hail bouncing off the roof…

This kind of wrecked my plan to talk about good barbeque beers.

So I decided instead to talk about a beer which comes out every spring – Emerson’s American Pale Ale.

Brewer Richard Emerson was inspired to make this beer by a 2002 trip to Oregon in the United States where he tasted first hand their insanely hopped American Pale Ales. These were beers you could smell from literally across the room. He liked them.

APA is (logically enough) the US interpretation of the English beer style called India Pale Ale. It a robust beer made with pale ale malt and is heavily hopped – usually with American hop varieties. These are often strong and have a pronounced grapefruit character.

Emerson’s APA was first made for the festive brew contest at Brew NZ in 2004. It won both the judging and the people’s choice in its category and has appeared every October since.

The beer provided one of my favourite quotes from Richard: “It’s extremely expensive to make. But why not put lots of hops in? We’re brewers, not accountants.”

Hear, hear. APA contains a number of American hops including Cascade and Amarillo.

It pours an inviting cloudy copper/orange. The nose is big with plenty of spicy and fruity aromas - particularly grapefruit and pine - dancing above the glass.

It’s full-bodied and biscuity with lashings of citrus and grapefruit followed by a dry, resinous finish which is nicely in balance.

It’s not as wild and raw as it used to be. Some people find it a lot more approachable. I guess I kind of miss the crazy beer I first met in 2004.

That said, it’s one of the ten best New Zealand beers on offer this year (again) and is an absolute stunner!

LINKS: Emerson's Brewery

RELATED: Beer & Elsewhere

New Mark Inglis TV

A new development promises to throw more light on what happened on Everest that day, and just how close to his limits Mark Inglis really was when he climbed that mountain ...

From Stuff today: TV shows Inglis' bloody trail in Everest's snows
New Zealand mountaineer Mark Inglis is the focus of a Discovery Channel documentary set to start screening in the United States.
The documentary, by filmmaker Dick Colthurst, tells the story of Inglis' becoming the first double amputee to summit Everest, on carbon-fibre legs with spiked feet. The TV series, Everest: Beyond the Limit, shows Inglis inching upward on his spindly black prosthetics, blood from his raw-rubbed stumps staining the snow. "It's hard to know whether to feel inspired by his guts or infuriated at his foolhardiness," said a report on the documentary in the Chicago Tribune.
It's his life. As I said before: Mark Inglis. Hero.

TAGS: Heroes, New_Zealand

Auckland's RWC Stadium: Another pitch for Carlaw Park


We will today be told by our betters where they intend to spend our money on a stadium for Rugby World Cup 2011. The signals given by the politicians -- 'signals' being all we peasants deserve at this stage -- suggest that the bedpan on the waterfront is the preferred option. What a nonsense.

Said Geoff Vazey of Ports of Auckland about a waterfront stadium:
  • it simply cannot be constructed in time. He says the risks of pushing it through would be overwhelming.
  • He says before any land could be set aside for a stadium, the port would need an alternative site to conduct its business and it would be 2009 before building could even start.

And Sky Tower architect Gordon Moller said "it would wreck the waterfront." He's right. And Institute of Architects president Ian Athfield says it is is "important it fitted into its environment." That can't be done if it's put between city and harbour.

I still maintain that if you're going to spend this much of our money -- about a thousand dollars per taxpayer -- then we're entitled to have a say in what's going on. I don't think that's unreasonable. And I still maintain that of the options we know about, the Carlaw Park option is by far the best. (Pictured above is just one quickly-sketched example of what might be done there, and how it might appear from Grafton Gulley. )

Richard Simpson provided an excellent argument of the benefits of a Carlaw Park stadium, which I excerpted here a few weeks back. [See his powerpoint presentation here -- go on, take a good look], and it really is worth considering seriously (the site is pictured below, looking from Parnell towards the city).

Done right, a new stadium should enhance the city on a much wider scale than just its immediate location, and a good Carlaw Park stadium offers the following benefits and opportunities which are good for both the stadium, for its surrounds, and for the long-term benefit of the city (you can see at the top of the page and just below an example of how it might be done):

  • there is immediate access to motorways north, south and west, with ample provision for parking under the stadium
  • immediate access also to rail lines north and south, with stations developed as part of the stadium, and an easy walk to a Kingdon St station for trains heading west -- all up easily twice the capacity of Britomart can be added with ease
  • the stadium can be accessed on up to three sides through large concourses, as shown in the plan above
  • few noise or residential problems
  • superb views from the stadium itself out to the city, to Rangitoto and the inner harbour -- a great advertisement to broadcast to the world
  • opportunity to link domain, Stanley St Tennis, new Stanley Circus precinct, and new Vector Arena into one sports and entertainment precinct -- an exciting new part of the city
  • the Carlaw Park site is already in a natural bowl, so there is no blocking of existing views, and it offers the opportunity to produce something spectacular rather than something that needs to be hidden
  • there is an opportunity to enhance and develop all areas around the stadium to the long-term benefit of the city: the university edge; the 'armpit' of Grafton Gully, which with the development of a new 'Stanley Circus Precinct' makes this a destination rather than an eyesore; the 'backside' of Parnell, which by linking up with the domain makes this area the 'front lawn' of Parnell
  • opening up Parnell to the domain by bridging the rail line, and developing domain-edge cafes
  • opens up the university to the domain, and to domain-edge cafes, and brings the lower domain back to the city by making it more easily accessible
  • linking Parnell and the city through the stadium by bridging the rail line, offering a new footbridge and stadium access
  • introduction of a travellator in existing tunnels under Albert Park and Constitution Hill from the end of the footbridge to Victoria St, in the heart of the city, works for both easy game-day stadium access and, with the addition of ample under-stadium parking, allows for easy everyday 'park-and-slide' access to and from the city right at the foot of a convenient motorway connection
  • a city stadium, rather than a suburban one, offers all the pre- and after-match pleasures pleasures we already associate with the already successful Cake Tin in Wellington -- pleasures which would be made even more local by development of a new Stanley Street Circus Precinct, and enhancement of the links to Parnell and city as described.
As I've suggested before, despite the history of Eden Park it's time to recognise that as a severely constricted suburban stadium it no longer fits the needs of a world-class city. Other cities have realised when it's time to let historic stadiums go in order to create something truly worthwhile in a better location. Time to bite the bullet and use its assets as financial fertiliser for something truly world class that enhances the city for the long term. Carlaw Park is the place for that, not the waterfront -- a waterfront stadium is a short-term solution with too many attendant and expensive difficulties.

If that is given as today's answer, which we all now expect to the case, then the wrong questions are being asked. And whichever location is chosen, there is still time, albeit briefly, for a competition to choose a design. This is too important, and too bloody expensive, to rely simply on the closed group of designers presently being talked about behind closed doors.

UPDATE 1: Cullen's comments yesterday about the stadium decision provide some of the only details to date that anyone outside the elect has to go on. Says the Herald, "He dismissed the Carlaw Park option as affecting the Domain..." I think it's clear enough from what I've shown above that any affect on the Domain can only be positive. Maybe that's why it's being dismissed?

UPDATE 2: David Farrar highlights the problems with the decision-making-by-Nomenklatura currently being imposed on us. As he says, given the secrecy and he attendant concerns, "the potential for disaster seems high."
I think about this stadium proposal, developed in secret by politicans, and look at what is missing:

* There is no agreement with the sporting codes on whether they would use the stadium
* There is no agreement with the local authorities
* There is no agreement with the owners of the land
* The exact location seems to change by the day
* There is no owner (such as the Trust in Wgtn) and manager for the stadium!!
* There is no agreement on who will pay
* There are no sponsors
* There are no planning consents

As far as I can tell, and I await the official announcement, every single pillar necessary for a sound decision is absent.
He's right you know. Read on.

UPDATE 3: When Keith Locke and Peter Dunne both talk sense you know something's up.
United Future Peter Dunne said today he was "seriously alarmed at what is looming as a complete shambles over the location and funding of the new national stadium."
No one knew who the experts were the Government kept referring to and many people who should have been consulted had not.
And Keith had this to say about the notion of the waterfront bedpan:
We do have concerns... that it might end up like a blot on the seascape and undermine the good work that's been done along the Auckland waterfront to make it more people-friendly...
And, gosh-darn it, both Dunne and Locke are right -- and given that under normal circumstances both would be needed to vote for the Clark Government's solution, it would suggest McCully has already sold out on behalf of his party.

UPDATE 4: Just so you know, Parnell and Newmarket businesses are right behind Carlaw Park:
Parnell Mainstreet Inc, Newmarket Business Association, Parnell Community Committee and Friends of the Domain believe rebuilding Carlaw Park is a better option. "We've got an existing derelict downtown venue, a landowner that hasn't ruled such a proposition out, and the ability to claim a fraction of the Domain for public use.

"So as far as we're concerned it's a no-brainer," groups spokesman Cameron Brewer said. "It's in a natural amphitheatre, a motorway runs to it and the main trunk line runs past it. "It has all the CBD advantages the Bledisloe option has. In fact it's better because it's even more strategically located and is not to be a 35-metre high giant box on the water's edge."

UPDATE 5: And cost?
Newmarket Business Association spokesman Cameron Brewer said the Government should reconsider redeveloping Auckland's Carlaw Park, which was located at the bottom of the city's domain. A proposal three years ago put a $100 million pricetag on building a 25,000 seat stadium there. A 60,000 seat stadium would cost more, but significantly less than the $700,000 touted for the waterfront.

UPDATE 6: (2:25pm) It's the Bedpan: And now they "want your say." They say. From the Herald report:
  • The Government said today it strongly prefers a new $500 million-plus stadium on the Auckland waterfront for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
    But Sports Minister Trevor Mallard has also called on Aucklanders to give it a clear indication whether the city wants a new stadium or whether Eden Park should be upgraded.
  • The preferred waterfront site is over Marsden Wharf between Captain Cook and Bledisloe wharves
  • The Government has been advised by a technical panel led by Ken Harris the chief executive of Wellington's port [my emphasis]
  • [They want] building work on the stadium underway by December 2007 and are prepared to rewrite various laws to clear the way for the development.
  • ...architects Warren and Mahoney ... envisage a translucent 37 metre-tall structure, similar to the Allianz Stadium bult in Munich, Germany, for this year's soccer World Cup (ie., the bedpan).
  • ...the Eden Park Trust Board has an assessment from its own quantity surveyors that says a new waterfront stadium could cost more than $1 billion...
  • Mr Mallard wants Aucklanders and local bodies to have their say on which [of either Eden park or bedpan] they prefer within two weeks...
UPDATE 7: (3:25pm) Government's full announcement including 'Fact Sheet' is here at Scoop: Waterfront Stadium is Government Preference.

LINKS: Hang on, what about Carlaw Park? - Richard Simpson, Public Address
Carlaw Park: Rugby World Cup Stadium [Powerpoint presentation] - Richard Simpson, Public Address
A site for a Rugby World Cup stadium - Not PC (Oct, 2006)
Mallard ready to go with stadium - NZ Herald

RELATED: Stadium, Politics-NZ, Auckland, Sports

Mini-tutorial: Colour - Michael Newberry


Here's another mini-tutorial from artist Michael Newberry, this time on the Integration of Colour, using as his 'model' his own painting Counterpose, from 1990 (above). He begins:
In the tutorial, Integration of Light, I mentioned that the theme of Counterpose is about a harmony of contrast. I showed how I painted extreme contrasts in light and dark. In this tutorial I am showing how, keeping to the theme of contrast, I painted extremes of color contrasts...
Read on at this link. And enjoy the redhead.

LINK: Mini-tutorial. Integration, part 2: Colour - Michael Newberry

RELATED:
Art

Thursday, 9 November 2006

'Don't Vote' was the winner on the night

CBS Broadcasting: Voter Turnout Higher Than Expected
(CBS 42) A preliminary analysis of voter turnout across the U.S. was higher than expected.

More than 40-percent of voters came to the polls, according to the Center for the Study of the American Electorate.
Which means, I guess, that just like the British elections last year the winner on the night was the 'Don't Vote, Don't Encourage Them' party, with fully-sixty percent of prospective electors supporting them. Won't stop them all claiming a "mandate" to speak on everyone else's behalf, though will it?

RELATED: Politics-US

Doom, gloom and fume

A while back I was challenged to post anything showing that there were man-hating environmentalists about in the mainstream of environmental thought. So I did. [See this post: 'QUOTE: "The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable, but a good thing..."']

Today I figured readers might like to see some, just some, of the fatuous environmental predictions made by worry-worts and misanthropic headline-hunting doomsayers.

  • Britain's industrial growth will come to a halt because its coal reserves are running out “… it is useless to think of substituting any other kind of fuel for coal... some day our coal seams [may] be found emptied to the bottom, and swept clean like a coal-cellar. Our fires and furnaces ... suddenly extinguished, and cold and darkness ... left to reign over a depopulated country."
    --Economist William Stanley Jevons, writing in 1865
  • Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions....By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.
    --Peter Gunter, a professor at
    North Texas State University. Spring 1970 issue of ‘The Living Wilderness.’
  • …some scientists estimate that the world's known supplies of oil, tin, copper, and aluminium will be used up within your lifetime.
    --1990s school textbook The United States and Its People, quoted by Ronald Bailey in testimony to US House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources,
    Feb 4, 2004
  • The period of global food security is over. As the demand for food continues to press against supply, inevitably real food prices will rise. The question no longer seems to be whether they will rise, but how much.
    --Worldwatch Institute founder Lester Brown, 1981
  • The world's farmers can no longer be counted on to feed the projected additions to the world's population.
    -- Worldwatch Institute founder Lester Brown, State of the World Report, 1994
  • The continued rapid cooling of the earth since WWII is in accord with the increase in global air pollution associated with industrialization, mechanization, urbanization and exploding population.
    —Reid Bryson, “Global Ecology;
    Readings towards a rational strategy for Man”, (1971)
  • The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer.
    —Paul Ehrlich, in The Population Bomb
    (Ballantine Books 1968)
  • I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.
    —Paul Ehrlich in (1969)
  • In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.
    —Paul Ehrlich, Earth Day (1970)
  • Before 1985, mankind will enter a genuine age of scarcity…in which the accessible supplies of many key minerals will be facing depletion.
    —Paul Ehrlich in (1976)
  • There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production—with serious political implications for just about every nation on earth. The drop in food production could begin quite soon… The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologist are hard-pressed to keep up with it… This [cooling] trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.
    --Science writer Peter Gwynne writing in ‘The Cooling World,’ ‘Newsweek’ magazine,
    April 28, 1975
  • This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000.
    —Lowell Ponte in his book The Cooling, 1976 (which was endorsed by US Senator Claiborne Pell and current Bush adviser on global warming Stephen Schneider)
  • If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. … This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.
    —Kenneth E.F. Watt on air pollution and global cooling, speaking on Earth Day 1970. Watt is
    Editor in Chief, Encyclopedia of Human Ecology Advisory Board Member, Center for the Study of CO2 and Climate Change
  • Indeed, when we wake up 20 years from now and find that the Atlantic Ocean is just outside Washington, D.C., because the polar icecaps are melting, we may look back at this pivotal election.
    --New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman, writing in NY Times,
    Dec 8, 2000.
  • Frostban -- a harmless bacteria genetically engineered to protect plants from freezing temperatures -- "could irreversibly affect worldwide climate and precipitation patterns over a long, long period of time.
    -- Founder and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, Jeremy Rifkin, 1986
  • The economic impact of BIV (Bovine Immunodeficiency Virus) on the beef and dairy industries is likely to be devastating in the years to come.
    --Jeremy Rifkin, Beyond Beef 1992
  • Biotech crops will "run amok"; they will create "super bugs"; they will lead to farmers using "greater quantities of herbicides."
    --Jeremy Rifkin, 1999
    Boston Globe
  • The use of biotechnology might "risk a fatal interruption of millions of years of evolutionary development? Might not the artificial creation of life spell the end of the natural world? ... cause irreversible damage to the biosphere, making genetic pollution an even greater threat to the planet than nuclear or petrochemical pollution?”
    -- Jeremy Rifkin, The Biotech Century 1999
  • Current estimates that a flu pandemic could infect 20% of the world's population and cause 7.5 million deaths are "among the more optimistic predictions of how the next pandemic might unfold.”
    --
    Osterhaus et al. Nature May 2005
  • The next flu pandemic could kill as many as 150 million people.
    --
    Dr. David Nabarro. WHO spokesman Sept 2005.
  • As many as 142 million people around the world could die if bird flu turns into a "worst case" influenza pandemic and global economic losses could run to $4.4 trillion - the equivalent of wiping out the entire Japanese economy for a year.
    --
    Report entitled Global Macroeconomic Consequences of Pandemic Influenza, from the Lowy Institute in Australia. Feb 2006.
UPDATE: If you've read this and asked yourself, "Where's the misanthropy?" as some commenters have, you might like to now read (or re-read) the post linked above, which is a differently focussed list of related quotes: <'QUOTE: "The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable, but a good thing..."'
RELATED: <Environment, Conservation, Ethics, Quotes

"Significant delays in getting building consents" sinks homebuilder

I'll post this without comment lest I give those who berate me for offensive language have even more evidence for their cause:

NZ HERALD: Builder's collapse devastates homebuyers
A company that builds houses from Waiuku to Whangarei has gone into liquidation, leaving customers wondering whether they will get back their deposits of $25,000 to $50,000.

Meridian Homes Ltd of Orewa had 30 contracts for homes, with half under construction, said joint liquidator Paul Sargison.

Managing director Dean Hopper blamed the collapse of the six-year-old company mainly on significant delays in getting building consents for homes.

By the time the council gave consent, he said, the cost of the building had exceeded the original contract price and profit was lost....
RELATED READING:
High and higher regulation. High and higher house prices. - Not PC (Oct, 2006)
"The building is the easy part" - three stories of red tape and resource consents - Not PC (Sept, 2006)
Frank Lloyd Wright on building codes and education - Not PC (June, 2006)
The house that Norm could no longer build - Not PC (June, 2006)
Building Act brings building delays - Not PC (Oct, 2006)
Architect v Bureaucrats - Not PC (Dec, 2005)
Council 'asks' nicely for more money. Yeah right. - Not PC (Nov, 2005)
Who'd be a builder? - Not PC (Nov, 2005)
Councils to builders "More red tape please." - Not PC (Nov, 2005)
The 'deregulated' building industry... - Not PC (Nov, 2005)

RELATED: Building, Politics-NZ

112 MPs vote for 120 MPs

What better day for turkeys to refuse to vote for Christmas than one in which the high-profile drinking-age bill was debated, and the higher-profile US elections were held. With those two headline-hogging happenings happening, who would have noticed that one of the most overwhelming votes for a political measure by electors was given the big two fingers by those they elect?

Yep, despite an overwhelming 81.5 percent of voters declaring in a nationwide referendum that they wanted fewer MPs rather than more, said MPs have said, "We know best," and thrown out Barbara Stewart's bill to cut the number of Beehive bludgers by twenty. "Mrs Stewart says it is ironic that MPs are quick to implement the will of the people on election day when it suits them but have cast aside a referendum which had the support of over 80 percent of voters." But "opponents of the bill said a drop in numbers would mean less diversity in terms of race, gender and sexual orientation." [Insert appropriate expressions of opprobrium here.]

My congratulations to the nine MPs honest enough to vote the way their employers had instructed them to.

LINKS: Bill to reduce number of MPs rejected - Stuff

RELATED: Politics-NZ

NCEA: SHID*

NZ HERALD: Texting abbreviations 'allowed for NCEA exams'
Students will be able to use text abbreviations in this year's exams, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has said. Bali Haque, NZQA deputy chief executive of qualifications, said credit would be given in this year's NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) exams if the answer showed the required understanding
To be frank, why don't we just abandon any pretence that the state's factory schools are there to teach, or that the NCEA system is intended to encourage excellence and to kickstart careers.

Far more honest, surely to simply accept that the factory schools are simply there to turn minds to mush, to promote "desired social ends," to create a broadly compliant underclass, and to keep the braindead off the streets.

Why carry on pretending?

LINK: Texting abbreviations 'allowed for NCEA exams' - NZ Herald
NCEA: Stick a fork in its ass, it's done - Not PC (July, 2006)
NCEA resignations: Et tu Billy - Not PC (May 2006)

TAGS: Education, Politics-NZ

* SHID = Slaps Head in Disgust

Frank Lloyd Wright - V.C. Gift Shop, interior

Photo courtesy Elliot Who?

A small brick-fronted Sullivanesque San Francisco store, designed in 1948, which I understand is now a 'folk art museum.'

The interior is considered a precursor of Wright's 1959 NY Guggenheim Museum.

RELATED: Architecture

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Sense from Parliament

Some sense from Parliament tonight:
Strong vote against raising drinking age
The bill to revert the liquor buying age to 20 has been soundly defeated by MPs in a conscience vote. After weeks of lobbying and debate, MPs voted 72 to 49 to kill the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill on its second reading.
Congratulations to all the campaigners advocating that adults are treated as adults.

UPDATE: The Herald has the list of 72 MPs who voted for personal responsibility last night, and also the 49 Nannies. (And I note that Richard Worth has been promoted by the Herald to be MP for Epsom.)

RELATED: Beer & Elsewhere, Libertarianism, Politics-NZ

Should adults be allowed to drink?

I could write another pithy post on how wrong it would be to ban eighteen- and nineteen- year-old drinkers from pubs, but since the good Dr Goode from the Libertarianz has already said every thing I'd want to say, I'll point you to what he's said.

"Should adults be allowed to drink," he asks. And that's the whole question really, isn't it -- and when put that way, the answer is fairly obvious. Of course adults should be, and if they don't think adults are up to it then let's see them either take all rights away from adults as well, or all adult rights away from all eighteen and nineteen year-olds. Let's see them also vote to raise the driving age, the voting age, the marrying age, the age of consent, and the age for joining the military-- in short, the age for taking responsibility for our own lives since the clear view expressed in a negative vote will be that no eighteen and nineteen year-old is mature enough to think for themselves.

But when would these politicians consider anyone is mature enough to get our from under Nanny's skirts? Perhaps they should just raise the drinking age to forty-one and have done with it altogether?

UPDATE: Keep It 18 have Twelve Good Points for keeping it 18.

LINKS: Should adults be allowed to drink - Dr Richard Goode, Libertarianz
Select Committee supports raising drinking age to 41 - Lyndon Hood, Scoop

RELATED: Beer & Elsewhere, Libertarianism, Politics-NZ, Libz

Why freedom? What freedom?

A chap called Terence has taken a tilt at libertarianism, the substantive part of which Idiot Savant has conveniently summarised. Here's what we libertarians apparently get wrong:
  • "...the deification of property rights and markets, rather than a recognition that they are simply a useful tool and therefore can be changed depending on the desired social end"
  • "... [our] monomaniacal fixation on the state as the sole limitation on liberty"
  • "... the hypocrisy of many libertarians who proclaim the sanctity of absolutist property rights while opposing even token restitution by the government towards the descendents of this country's original indigenous owners... What [we]’re really advocating is ‘start from now’ libertarianism which, funnily enough, almost-always finds its strongest advocates amongst those who are doing pretty well at present thank you very much."
I'll only reply briefly, since these represent two errors and one straw men that have been dealt with at length before.
  • Property rights are a subset of rights, but just as only ghosts are able to live without property (as Ayn Rand noted) so too it is property rights that make all other rights possible ("without property rights," said Rand, "no other rights are possible.") They represent an integration of real ethical-legal principles, not a nominalist fiction, and are not confined only to property in land but to all the property we have in the values we ourselves create.
    They are a recognition that unlike other animals our human means of survival is our minds; specifically our minds put to use to reshape the things in the world into a form in which they can further our life – in a form in which they we make them valuable to us. This is the fundamental difference between ourselves and other animals: unlike them we have to produce the things we need in order to survive and to flourish – we must produce our own values -- and we must use our minds to guide us in what we produce, and how we may produce it. We must identify our values, produce them ourselves and, in order to plan long-range (the distinctive human mode of existence), we must be able to have long-range protection for those values we've produced for our survival.
    That long-range protection of the values we ourselves have created is what property rights represent.
  • Markets are simply the sum of voluntary choices taken by individuals seeking to better themselves. Those individuals might be wrong in the choices they make -- such as commissioning Frank Gehry or buying Jackson Pollock paintings for example -- but they are their choices to make, not yours or mine, since it is the values they themselves have produced that they are seeking to trade. Markets reflect the truth that voluntary interaction reflects a harmony of interests that is both benevolent and beneficial, the 'miracle' of Adam Smith's invisible hand that is no less a miracle for being explicable.
  • Freedom is not the absence of want, but freedom from physical coercion. Rights themselves may not be removed except by physical force; whenever a man is made to act against his voluntary consent, his right has been violated.
    Misunderstand this point -- of what freedom actually constitutes -- and you find that the incorrect view of freedom (absence of want) wipes out the true one, in which all human interaction can be voluntary rather than coercive -- a point reflected in the basis for libertarianism being viewed by many libertarians as 'voluntarism.'
    The chief problem with positing freedom as something different to this, as for example some variant of 'freedom from want,' is that reality itself provides no guarantees on that score, and the state is in no position to fake reality any more than you or I or Jacques Derrida. What the state does have unique to itself however is a legal monopoly on the use of force. It has power. Freedom is better than power. If providing 'freedom from want' is considered to be the state's job, then coercing those who provide the means of life is what the state is required to do, and (as history shows) there goes that whole voluntary interaction deal...
  • Libertarianz supports the right of anyone at all, regardless of colour, to front up seeking a court's recognition of and protection for their rights in common law, meeting the legal standard of proof for such things. I refer you, for example, to the Libertarianz submission on the Foreshore and Seabed Act. What we do not support however is a racially-based welfare system or an indigenous state gravy train. Make of that what you will.
I'd like in conclusion to just point out to both Terence and Idiot Savant that I am not a Nozickian, and I know no libertarians outside academia who are. There is a reason that Nozick is popular in university politics departments, and it's not because he provides robust arguments for liberty. Quite the opposite. As I've said here before:
Nozick is considered by academics to be the leading advocate for libertarianism and freedom amongst modern political philosophers, but his weak arguments are too easily trumped by self-serving intellectuals who only feel obliged to answer Nozick, rather than more substantial political thinkers like Rand....

But perhaps it is the very weakness of his arguments that add to his attraction, he is the ideal libertarian straw man - easy to knock down, and to burn while he's down.

But Nozick does have value. He shows us that if your arguments lack foundations you will undo your conclusions, no matter how true they might be.
A more robust libertarianism can be seen in my own Cue Card Libertarianism, a work still in progress, and to which I've provided some relevant links above.

[I'll answer I/S's other straw men about 'freedom only for the strong' and private footpaths leaving us imprisoned in our homes if you really want me to, but why not try and answer them yourself.]

LINKS: Cue Card Libertarianism - index at Del.icio.us
The Roots of Property and Libertarianism, Or, Why libertarians don’t own their own bodies - Peter Cresswell

RELATED: Libertarianism, Philosophy

What's with the 'we,' Brian?

Two good posts from Rodney Hide in the last two days criticising Bryan Gould (far left), erstwhile leader of the British Labour Party and now the self-important vice-chancellor of the University of Political Correctness in the Waikato.

Gould expressed the view
that “We” should control our own economic destiny, not foreign executives in a globalised world, to which Rodney replied (in part):
Given the choice between having someone else control your destiny, or for you to control it yourself, the answer is simple. We want control for ourselves.

But that’s not the choice that Mr Gould is referring to. He fudges the real choice he’s presenting. It’s easy to see why.

The real choice is about people making choices themselves in a free market versus government making choices for us. For Mr Gould the “We” he refers to is government. But what puts us most in control of our own destiny? We as individuals deciding how to spend our own money or governments doing it for us? Whenever you hear socialists speak of “we” be afraid. Be Very Afraid.
Too true. A respondent however criticised this response in these terms:
The political debate is now shaped and constrained in the interests of a small, self-interested and ideologically unrepresentative group of immensely powerful investors who could never have secured support for their extreme positions if they had had to seek a democratic mandate.
"But just how powerful are these investors?" responds Rodney far more politely than I might have, offering four points in response. "First, they only have money to invest if savers provide them with their money, i.e. they have to satisfy their customers. They have no power to make people invest with them—it’s all voluntary. Second..."

Well, read on here for all four of his points. He deserves a visit for his display of good sense.

LINKS: Economic destiny - Rodney Hide
Economic destiny II - Rodney Hide
We? - Not PC

RELATED: Politics, Economics