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21/05/05

Permalink 20:13:01, by matt Email , 96 words   English (NZ)
Categories: blog

Yay for nana naps!

Ah, yeah, I love those naps when you've had no sleep, and you're really tired, and you wake up and have a big ol' stretch and think "I could SO go back to sleep right now."
Damn being on-call, and double-damn it when the person who's on-call is your flatmate, and stuff starts breaking REAL bad at 0700. Damn it with cherries on top when his cellphone can be heard through the bedroom wall, and it's beeping away for four straight hours!

PS: I've run out of curses for the fact that I'm on call next week.

Permalink 09:38:45, by matt Email , 247 words   English (NZ)
Categories: Politics, Social commentary, Internet

School 'net filtering software casting too wide?

Link: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3287481a11,00.html

I guess it depends who you talk to. Groups like Destiny and United Future probably think it doesn't go far enough - and National and Act would probably like to see the filtering of left-wing sites as a matter of course - but if you're not a strictly conservative Christian school, this kind of censorship is well out of order.
The Happy Clapping Homos site is very obviously not pornographic, or even dubious. It doesn't even have any naughty words; at least not that I found. If it's being blocked, it's very clearly a deliberate action by someone offended by the site's well-written parody of conservative Christianity. They have a write-up of a Destiny Church service, for example, as well as information about this very situation, their being censored at the hands of fundy Christians.

Whilst I understand the need for filtering software in schools, I also disapprove of it. I'm a very firm believer in free speech, and filtering software casts a wide net that can be very difficult to avoid. I'm impressed that a student even bothered to complain, and hope that this bullshit is stopped in its tracks.
Filtering software should be neutral, and software by a company that's obviously strictly conservative definitely shouldn't be placed in schools. If businesses want to use it, in line with their stated employment and operational objectives, that's entirely up to them. Schools are supposed to be incubators for independent thought, not bastions of one side's political and moral message.

20/05/05

Permalink 22:55:31, by matt Email , 110 words   English (NZ)
Categories: Social commentary, International events

British bobbies blatant bigots?

Link: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1619247,00.html

Just how likely is it that this is an isolated incident, at the hands of a rogue plod?
That level of racist abuse doesn't just happen, it's ingrained and cultivated. In much the same way that the entire Counties Manukau district is under investigation for its culture, how can the Metropolitan Police not have issues with institutionalised racism if these are the antics perpetrated by their officers?
I'm all for treating organisations as distinct entities from the individuals who form them, but it's very difficult to see how such behaviour could possibly be considered, in the company of two other officers, no less, if The Met are so squeaky clean.

Permalink 20:03:16, by matt Email , 278 words   English (NZ)
Categories: Politics, Social commentary

America? Double standards? Surely not!

Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4564715.stm

I realise that the US are fully anti-Communism, as is regularly demonstrated by them not buying Chinese goods and by Shrub not visiting China, but this is taking it too far.
Carriles is a terrorist, plain and simple. He's also a fugitive of the Venezuelan state. That's two strikes, and Venezuela want to try him for both of them. Castro's even happy for that to be so. So why are the US prevaricating? More "do as I say, not as I do"? The Venezuelan administration isn't too popular with the Yanks at the moment, courtesy of the socialist President - the US even supported, at least in word, a coup that briefly toppled him in 2002 - but the real thorn has to be Cuba. Venezuela and Cuba are close, and that has to really grate with a nation that has embargoed Cuba for decades.
But how can the US play politics over the very straight-foward case of bringing a terrorist to justice? Were the positions reversed, the US would be raising, and rightly so, royal hell over this pussyfooting around. It's a farce, and demonstrates the true level of commitment in the US to the "war on terror" - it's negotiable, probably under the "You're either with us or against us" doctrine of this post-11 September era. Hypocrisy on the part of the US is nothing new, but this is taking it to quite another level, since they don't usually meddle in the judicial processes of foreign nations when the person on trial is neither an American nor the citizen of an American ally.

Keep it up, George, the Venezuelans might just tell you to go and buy your oil elsewhere.

19/05/05

Permalink 20:45:40, by matt Email , 421 words   English (NZ)
Categories: Transportation

A new airport for Wellington

Link: http://jtc.blogs.com/just_left/2005/05/wellington_bloo.html

Jordan makes some very good points about how farcical it is for the national capital to have an airport that closes for days, in the middle of summer!, due to fog. There's also Wellington's seriously deficient design. The runway is too short for modern wide-body aircraft (anything bigger than a 737 is pushing it), and it carries the worst international safety rating: Cobham Drive, with its shallow-buried gas mains and trolley bus lines at the north end; the wide, vertical-sided trench at the other. These are strong reasons to build a replacement airport.

However, there are some equally compelling reasons not to build one. First is the sheer capital cost. A modern airport costs hundreds-of-millions of dollars, and costs several million more each year to maintain it - runway maintenance, keeping a crash rescue service that meets ICAO requirements, the staff to run the place, utilities, etc.
Then there's the problem of where to put it. Suggestions of Paraparaumu Airport have some merit, but could Pram actually cope with such a facility? Can it handle the traffic associated with a major airport? Will there be issues with gaining resource consent for the extension? Auckland Airport is being challenged over runway extensions, by people whose houses didn't even exist when the airport opened or when the first runway extension plans were being drawn up, and it's been taking in wide-body aircraft for three decades. What chance would expansion of a minor local airport have? Big airports require a lot of space, phenomenal amounts. I've driven around the perimeter of AIAL's airside, and it's enormous. At 40-50km/h it takes over 10 minutes to do a loop around about 80% of it. That's a huge facility, and doesn't take into account the car parks or various cargo-handling areas. Is there anywhere even remotely near Wellington that can offer that much space? Because, let's face it, there's no point in building another regional airport, it would have to be built big right from the get-go.

It's an interesting notion, but the only remotely feasible option would be to convert Ohakea, which already has a runway of sufficient length - it's a backup airport for Auckland and Christchurch - and the space for expansion. Minor problem: Ohakea is the base for the remnants of the RNZAF, and that organisation is going to be growing again, not shrinking further.

So, really, I can't see it happening. Better to put money into improving the transport links between Palmerston North and Wellington, because Palmy will be the back-stop for a long time to come.

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Shocking as it may be, I think, and sometimes those thoughts are almost worthy of public contemplation. So, here are those some thoughts, with no guarantees as to their validity, worth, or utility to the cosmos. All thoughts are my own, representing only my thoughts, opinions and positions, unless explicitly otherwise stated. This blog is not an official or unofficial outlet for any company or government body, or for person other than myself.

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