March 22, 2019

NZ Gun Law Changes

The just announced changes to the New Zealand gun laws don't really do that much. It's all a bit of a damp squib. This is my assessment, despite many gun websites screaming their tits off. All that is being banned are MSSA rifles and parts to make them; MSSA are Military Style Semi-Automatics. It appears licensed gun owners will be able to get semi-auto rifles of greater than .22 if they have a magazine of 5 rounds or fewer.

The .22 semi-auto, the most plentiful semi-auto in NZ appears unchanged in status. Maybe more changes are on the way, because what has not been announced is exactly what the police are doing to revamp their gun license issuing system following the ability of the terrorist gunman in Christchurch to work around a very flawed license issuing system. Then to top it off, he was able to easily alter his MSSA from an A category rifle to an E category with the simple addition of a 30 round magazine.

Readers can check out the changes here: https://www.police.govt.nz/advice/firearms-and-safety/changes-firearms

March 20, 2019

NBA Predictions 2018/19

How are my predictions earlier in the season doing now? My predictions were:

https://kenhorlor.blogspot.com/2018/10/nba-201819.html

Now: the race to the play-offs is still very close in the Western Conference, my picks overall are turning out to be not too bad. The only one I got badly wrong is the New Orleans Pelicans, but then they lost one of their stars.

Current NBA Standings: http://www.espn.com/nba/standings

March 19, 2019

Changes to New Zealand Gun Laws

Following the terrible events of March 15, 2019; the New Zealand Prime Minister has announced changes to the NZ gun laws.

For those who don't already know, NZ sits at 20th in the World for guns per 100 people. The USA is at number 1, Australia 51st. But NZ does not have a lot of guns because of some second amendment right, they have them to control introduced pests that ravage NZ's native flora and fauna. Top of the list are possums and rabbits.

NZ needs its guns. But what they could look at doing is have gun dealers reporting any buyer seemingly amassing an arsenal. The Christchurch Mosque terrorist bought several guns quite legally but over a relatively short period of time, along with lots of ammunition. This should have triggered an alarm bell, but didn't.

March 17, 2019

Christchurch and South Island Terrorism

The terrorist who committed the atrocity on March 15, 2019 was an Australian. Looking into his background there is nothing to suggest he came to New Zealand to commit an act of terror. NZ must face the ugly truth; it is likely he was radicalised in Aotearoa.

Is this a gun control issue? It appears he may have broken the law in getting his gun license and one of the rifles he used looks to have been modified into an advanced E category semi-automatic, not the lowest classification A category the terrorist had a license for. Bad people can get guns any time, further gun controls just make it harder to shoot the pests which damage the environment. So more gun controls won't work.

What will work? NZ needs to address the climate of xenophobia and racism that permeates its society. In particular, the South Island where white supremacist groups have operated my whole adult life. They have extreme views and are readily violent. It is highly likely that the terrorist did not act alone. There was a great degree of planning in the attack and while he was the sole shooter, others out there aided and abetted him, find them and bring them to justice.

Then we need to be intolerant towards intolerance. Every day in NZ, the media give platforms to so-called 'hosts' on the TV and radio who foment unrest with their dog-whistling comments. These people are very sly, they're as slippery as eels, never going too far and changing direction or flipping quickly to the cause or talking point of the day, they're always chasing headlines and ratings. They don't care who gets hurt, today they've got blood on their hands. Call the media companies and let them know they have to rid NZ of their voices. Kiwis - you know who they are. 

March 16, 2019

Christchurch Mosque Shootings

By now the world will be aware that Christchurch has had a terrible terrorist attack. White supremacists have attacked and killed 49 people across two sites, the mosque on Deans Ave by Hagley Park and the mosque on Linwood Ave.

Many more are in Christchurch Hospital and are in a critical condition. Twelve operating theatres are in use trying to save people.

Arrests have been made but given the level of planning involved in the attacks, I suspect there are others behind this. We need to know who these co-conspirators and instigators are.

Schools were in lock-down all afternoon and they may have been targeting schools as well. I notice that in the TV footage of the arrests, one suspect was arrested outside Papanui High School, while another was driven off the road and arrested near Addington Primary School. This appears to be a remarkable coincidence, both suspects near or right outside schools and the police were telling all schools to go into lock-down.

Also, on Thursday James Shaw the Green Party co-leader was punched in Wellington and hospitalised. The assailant was reported to say something about the UN before punching Shaw. One of the suspects in Christchurch, Brenton Tarrant had UN Convention on Migration scrawled across the magazine of his rifle in photos posted online. This also seems to be a remarkable coincidence.

It could be New Zealand has a far-right terrorist cell operating in the country right now. The police have cordoned off Somerville Street in Dunedin (4.5 hours south of Christchurch by car) and nearby residents were being evacuated. Does this property have explosives? Or is this where the terrorists were making the bombs found in Christchurch on Friday? Police have confirmed this property is connected to the Friday events.

A bomb threat was reported at the Britomart in Auckland on Friday, the police neutralised the two suitcases.

Is anyone seeing a pattern here? If anyone sees anything suspicious or knows anything, please report it to the police pronto.

March 15, 2019

IAAF Diamond League Changes

The Diamond League are scrapping long distance athletic track events:

https://www.sport24.co.za/OtherSport/Athletics/kenya-slams-iaaf-scrapping-of-5-000m-in-diamond-league-20190314

Kenya and other east African countries are rightfully outraged. They've dominated these events for most of the last 50 years.

Lesson: Europe make it up as they're going along and if they find they cannot win, they ban it. Everyone should take note, especially New Zealand's All Blacks who are dominant in Rugby Union and almost never lose. Get that good and the Europeans ban you. Oh yes, the World League at the stroke of a pen wrote out smaller Pacific Island nations, they're seen as feeders only. It's the old colonial mindset. And if you need a further athletics example, Athletics started talking about scrapping the shot put from the Olympics at the same time non-Europeans started becoming dominant.

Brexit Deal

Is the British Prime Minister, Theresa May trying to derail the Brexit process by making everything so complicated that leaving the EU becomes impossible? That's what it's looking like. Just get on with it. But if Britain does not leave, it is quite possible the electoral fall-out will be a thing to behold. Watching with interest.

March 12, 2019

Leaving Neverland

I just wasted four hours of my life watching the documentary 'Leaving Neverland.' What a load of complete rubbish. It is obvious these men are lying.

But what did Michael Jackson do wrong? That's a different question and the point of this blog post. What comes across is the so-called victims feel a strong sense of abandonment and betrayal. Michael Jackson, manipulator and user.

What? But I said earlier he wasn't an abuser. He clearly wasn't, but he was an excellent user.

He was a master at producing pop music and videos. As a former teacher I can attest to his Thriller video being an instant calmer of any class, and my children tell me it is still used for that effect today. Remarkable magic indeed.

How could Jackson achieve this effect? He had missed his own childhood, how did he know what children wanted? To do that, I argue he took children close to his bosom, and studied them closely. For each close friend thus acquired, he took about a year with them and then he moved on to someone else. Think about the effect this had on the child that had been dumped. They all got dumped one by one, and then left behind. Few were able to launch their own careers, but I'm sure Jackson promised all of them the world. This is very cynical, Jackson was not a good man.

Jackson could have ensured the children he took under his wing were managed. Maybe he did, but I'm not aware of it if that is the case. He was a user, sucking the life out of these children; about what was funny, cool, interesting and scary. Not a good man, but not a criminal.

March 08, 2019

More Climate Strike

Is the proposed NZ climate strike a Green party thing? Are they setting out to politicise the young, hoping to get the vote of those turning 18 in 2020? That must be it, they're desperate to try and get over the 5% threshold under NZ's mixed-member proportional electoral system.

Climate Strike

The event is planned for March 15, 2019. Supposedly this event is being organised by school children without the endorsement of schools. In New Zealand at least; who is really behind the planning for this event? What are their politics exactly and what are their credentials for safely managing a nationwide campaign?

I've noticed a decided lack of information about this. I don't believe for one minute that children are capable of organising a nationwide political campaign. The children are being used as pawns. Disgraceful.

Are valuable learnings possible? As things stand there is no valuable lesson as schools are not on board with it. Without classroom time examining all the angles of the debate, the whole exercise amounts to brainwashing.

The media has been complicit in this brainwashing. We need to know who the adults are behind this event and who is to be held accountable if anything goes wrong. Media, start being the professionals you claim to be.

March 07, 2019

Surviving the Carbon Age

Enough with the negativity, this blog post addresses how to deal with the rising levels of carbon dioxide. Here it's all about the future and solutions, the way forward.

We find ourselves in a downward spiral. At the same time as carbon dioxide emissions are rising, forest coverage is decreasing. Forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. The deforestation is having an effect on the climate, not just in reducing the number of trees available to eat carbon dioxide but also in relation to cloud formation and precipitation. It's not enough that one country acts as clouds don't observe national boundaries. Forests do a lot of good, they hold and condition the soil, suck in carbon dioxide, and help form clouds. We need forests.

But this alone isn't enough, we also need to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the worst of which is carbon dioxide. That means being more efficient. I suggest we avoid adopting already proven failures like electric vehicles (EV's). Why? The simple reason is they don't work, they're not good cars and rely on technology running parallel to the liquid fuels industry. EV's rely on infrastructure never intended to power an automotive fleet.

My solution is three-fold:

Work on achieving greater efficiency using current technology.

What I'm talking about is reducing fuel consumption by making the engines of industry and consumerism work better. Keep developing the internal combustion engine to the point where you can run your car for a year on a single tank of gas. Why not?

This seems an obvious approach and one you never hear. It's an approach that doesn't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Put the forests back.

Instead of talking about carbon all the time (which appears to be a code word for the evils of industrialisation) and carbon trading schemes (which no-one understands), structure the world economy to reward forest creation. The more trees, the more carbon dioxide is processed by those trees. This would help a lot. I know what you are going to say, carbon trading effectively does what I'm saying, but the problem with that approach is it misses the point by making trees data units rather than living things. Everyone likes their trees, they don't care about carbon units.

Japan is a major industrialised power and they have 60% forest coverage so I'm going to use that as the benchmark. I've done some sums and it appears worldwide forest coverage of around 42% keeps things as they are now. There would be no gain as human activity from industrialisation would still keep adding greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (although at a reduced rate if my other two suggestions are followed). Greater forest cover is required to sequester the carbon dioxide that is emitted unsustainably, bearing in mind that these trees also need to be replaced as they rot and burn.

Here are the top 10 countries ranked by total size of forest coverage (with their percentage of forest coverage alongside):

Russia (49%)
Canada (49%)
Brazil (56%)
USA (34%)
China (22%)
Australia (16%)
DR Congo (50%)
Argentina (34%)
Indonesia (46%)
India (24%)

These 10 provide the big carbon sinks. We could expand this to the top 50 if you like (this is purely to illustrate). They all have work to do, some more than others. Across the board, there needs to be a 60% increase in forest size. Do this and together with greater industrial efficiency, you're almost there.

Globally, set up a system of trade tariffs that acknowledges the rate of forest creation in each individual country. Failure to meet targets would mean raising tariffs and less income for those not playing ball. This would be a new form of GATT (General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade). Forget Kyoto Protocol and its arbitrary 1990 benchmark, what my benchmark does is acknowledge that humans are the cause of the problem and the solution is collective in nature, but those areas settled earlier and deforested worst must do more to correct the harm. The tariff regime would take account of total economic output and local climate and soil types, so areas that find it harder to grow trees aren't handicapped. China would be a country required to do a lot, as would India and the USA.

What about small countries that emit a lot of carbon dioxide? I checked this and one example is South Korea. However while being a big emitter, their forest coverage is at 63%, so they would meet the benchmark. Once at 60% of forest coverage worldwide, trade tariffs would be set to zero for all nations. Global free trade so long as forest coverage remains at 60%.

Keep developing new technology.

In addition to the above, work on developing new techniques such as enhanced weathering for agriculture. This is where mineral rocks are spread on agricultural land, the effect of which is to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

And finally, work on mitigating the effects of climate change, learn how to change and adjust. Not all climate change is a negative. Readers will note I haven't included any changes in individual human behaviour. That's because, after hundreds of thousands of years of evolution humans are unlikely to change their habits. All that can be done is to keep improving, keep advancing, and plant trees.

There we have it. Keep it sensible, keep it simple.

March 06, 2019

EV Nonsense Just Won't Go Away

Yes, a popular theme of mine, explaining just how impractical and nonsensical purely electric vehicles are. My advice - don't buy one. In 10 years time they're going to be valueless in New Zealand and I'll tell you why:

Installed Generation Capacity

NZ does not have the installed generation capacity to power a sizeable fleet of EV's. If NZ ever did get a sizeable EV fleet, then electricity prices would skyrocket. The situation would be so bad, the entire country would need to go back to living like they were in the nineteenth century, with candles for lighting and cooking over a wood burning stove.

Electricity Industry Not Built for EV's

When NZ's economic planners were structuring NZ's electricity supply, they did not provide for an EV fleet. When the automobile was invented battery powered cars were tried and they failed as all EV's do.

Car manufacturers looked at various gases and steam, but the petrol and diesel powered internal combustion engine won hands down. That's why almost all cars are powered by fossil fuels through an internal combustion engine. They work well and provide the greatest utility.

What was left for electricity was in powering houses, offices and fixed industry. Most of this power goes into heating homes across the country. Winter is a time of high demand.

So what did the planners do? They looked at NZ's large water resources and figured that if they built large hydro lakes then they'd fill during the summer when the snow melted, making that potential energy in the lake available to be transferred into electrical energy through the winter. There have been a few hiccups with this, notably during winters delivering little snow, meaning the coming summer didn't get the melt and the following winter ran low on available electrical supply. If the lakes are empty, you have no power.

Most of NZ's electricity comes from these hydro lakes. But what can make things worse? Any demand that draws on the lakes during the summer. This is the problem with EV's as NZ car use is highest during the summer months. If NZ was to rely on EV's, it would be equivalent to every home in NZ turning on a heater day after day, 360 days of the year. This would mean no electricity at all as the hydro lakes would be empty.

EV users would then need to turn to their own devices, most likely petrol or diesel generators due to their reliability. This defeats the whole purpose of EV's.

Decentralised vs Centralised Generation

When addressing the problem of demand no matter the time of year, the call is then made to install the generators, get it done. This sounds like a willingness to get somewhere but it too falls short. That's because most quick-fix solutions involve decentralised models, and they don't work. What's decentralised? That's where the home has its own solar panels, maybe a battery, and possibly wind turbine or micro hydro. Sounds good, but it isn't so good.

Is a decentralised model practical? How can an 85 year old get onto the roof to clean those solar panels? When you move house what will the system be like where you move to, and will it have been maintained? What about apartment blocks? A decentralised model adds complexity where none is desirable. The consumer wants to flick a switch and voila, the lights go on.

The decentralised model is expensive, is subject to uncertain output, and trusts millions of households to play their part - it's a recipe for disaster.

Centralised generation is the sensible approach and the only way forward, but once again the problem is the expense. NZ does not have the money to install enough generation to power an EV fleet. It doesn't matter what the means of generation are, the money simply isn't there. NZ would be bankrupted trying to install the required capacity (the calculations are provided in my book Snob's Guide to New Zealand).

Losses

EV zealots forget that moving to electricity harms the liquid fuels industry. I think this is the killer blow to any EV's being allowed on the road. Who has paid for the roads? The car user paying through fuel tax, that's who. That revenue begins to dry up but may be replaced by similar charges for EV's, but the service stations and fuel distributors will suffer losses and need to downsize. This also adds to the miles car users will need to travel to refuel. The government will be deprived of fuel tax revenues, along with less income tax revenue after worker layoffs and business failures, and the whole economy suffers because transport becomes less efficient.

Bear in mind EV's would not be able to replace all cars. Police cars and other emergency responders would need to be powered by the internal combustion engine (imagine the bad guys getting away because the cop car battery was low, or the ambulance failing to arrive) and they'd be faced with the same nuisance of not being able to find fuel readily.

Conclusion

There is nothing good to be said about EV's. If you want a formula that bankrupts New Zealand, then EV's are the perfect storm.

In a later blog post I'll address how NZ should approach things. And last year I posted the following about why exactly EV's are useless cars: https://kenhorlor.blogspot.com/2018/07/why-electric-cars-are-no-good.html

March 04, 2019

Sustainable New Zealand

The new centrist Green party in New Zealand is sending out membership forms this week. I suggest, if you're concerned about environmental issues, consider joining the party. The Greens currently in parliament in NZ are a firmly leftist party, and by refusing to deal with centre/right parties have effectively painted themselves into a corner. This new party promises to not do that, which is a good start.

To register interest contact them here: Sustainable New Zealand

March 01, 2019

World Rugby League

The proposed new annual championship in rugby union appears to shaft the small Pacific nations and eastern Europe. It is no surprise it includes Japan and the USA, they're put in for the money, even though their playing strength is not good enough.

The main problem with the format of 12 nations in two groups of six, is that there is no pathway for other countries to emerge. In other words there is no promotion/relegation. Not even relegation play-offs. To illustrate look at the current world rankings:

1.   New Zealand
2.   Ireland
3.   Wales
4.   England
5.   South Africa
6.   Australia
7.   Scotland
8.   France
9.   Fiji
10. Argentina
11. Japan
12. Georgia

But the new championship would play the existing Six Nations against the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship with Japan and USA added to the latter. That means Italy as part of the Six Nations get in permanently from their position of 15, over the top of Georgia (#12).

Meanwhile Fiji (#9) are topped by Japan (#11) and USA (#13). Basically, it's absurd and if implemented, rugby administrators will be made to look like laughing stocks.

Here's an answer: why not have a 10 team league made up of a 5 team northern hemisphere and 5 team southern hemisphere conferences, like this:

Northern

Ireland
Wales
England
Scotland
France

Southern

New Zealand
Australia
South Africa
Fiji
Argentina

Within each conference they play each other once (4 games each), then the top two in each conference play semi-finals against the top two from the other conference, followed by the final. For the finalists that's 6 games. If things go the way of rankings it should end like this:-

Ireland v Australia
Wales v New Zealand

Final: Ireland v New Zealand

What about the bottom 6 teams?  They cross over and play for relegation. If the competition went according to rankings it would mean the bottom team from one conference playing the 3rd place from the other conference, and so on, so (an example):

England v Argentina
Scotland v Fiji
France v South Africa

The two worst teams from each hemisphere (this is not entirely fair but keeps the league balanced) in terms of tries scored and points differential then play a relegation game against the top team from the lower tier in their hemisphere. According to rankings like this:

France play a relegation game against Japan or Georgia
Argentina play a relegation game against Tonga, Samoa or Uruguay.

The team playing off for relegation would have played 6 games, the others 5 in total since the competition season started.

Naturally the lower tier could also have its own format for deciding who challenges.

February 28, 2019

Trump - Kim Jong Un Summit

Looking at Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un together, I have to say Trump looks overly cheerful, almost desperate even, while Kim looks bored and disinterested, as if he's thinking does he need to stick around any longer, 'let's get out of here and back to my nukes.'

Is Kim playing Trump for a fool?