When facial recognition became a real-time fun toy

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Daily Roundup

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It’s even the right colour!

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Latest news headlines from Reuters

NBR’s take on Whaleoil’s change in direction

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According to Mr Slater, his decision to take a break has been prompted by two things: “a couple of other projects that need some attention” and his “need [for] a rest after an intense couple of years.”

Of the latter, he says, “Having blogged constantly for 11 years this will actually be my first real break.

“So my first priority will be to get in some good hunting in what remains of the game bird season, and knock over a few deer, pigs and goats as well.”

As for what those projects entail, he declines to comment.

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What did Little expect when he accused a forensic accountant of lying?

Andrew Little should apologise to tax expert John Shewan for treating him with utter contempt and total disrespect.

Mr Little has been caught out big time — and it serves him right.

Mr Little got things wrong about Mr Shewan and has to put them right.

So Mr Little issued a retraction — at 5:17pm on Saturday, June 20 — two hours and 18 minutes before kick-off of the Wellington Test.

This is so cynical it is sad. Everybody knows that is the absolutely dead time in a media cycle when it would get the least attention. It is cunning and awful and rude and Mr Little’s actions show why people distrust politicians.

Now things have bounced back on Mr Little and his own credibility is being called into question — and it serves him right.

A lot of this is arcane and complex but it is important because Mr Little is auditioning to be Prime Minister. His actions and his words are important.

Mr Little yesterday repeatedly said that Mr Shewan did not ask him for an apology about incorrect statements made about him.

So then Mr Shewan pulled out a letter to Mr Little that said: “I now request the statement I sent to you yesterday be issued with the following additions: ‘I apologise to Mr Shewan for any embarrassment I have caused him through my statements’.”

Sadly for Mr Little, it doesn’t get much clearer than that. Contrary to his public claims, Mr Shewan asked for an apology.

It seems Little lies a little too easily and, more surprisingly, he does so when the potential damage far outweighs the benefits.

It is clear that Andrew Little is easily manipulated into taking a position that he will then blindly defend.   Not a “take a backward step” kind of man. That’s a useful trait for a union boss. It is quite a liability for a politician. Read more »

A lesson for Auckland on rail, from California

Politicians, mostly of the left, love train sets. They must have been deprived as children with their parents refusing them Thomas the Tank Engine toys.

In California the state has been funding a massive boondoggle, a high-speed train between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

California’s high-speed rail project increasingly looks like an expensive social science experiment to test just how long interest groups can keep money flowing to a doomed endeavor before elected officials finally decide to cancel it. What combination of sweet-sounding scenarios, streamlined mockups, ever-changing and mind-numbing technical detail, and audacious spin will keep the dream alive?

Sold to the public in 2008 as a visionary plan to whisk riders along at 220 miles an hour, making the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a little over two and a half hours, the project promised to attract most of the necessary billions from private investors, to operate without ongoing subsidies and to charge fares low enough to make it competitive with cheap flights. With those assurances, 53.7 percent of voters said yes to a $9.95 billion bond referendum to get the project started. But the assurances were at best wishful thinking, at worst an elaborate con.

Like all train proposals it is a massive con.   Read more »

GPS bracelets, idiots and a small change in the law

A ball and chain on a white background. Very high resolution 3D render.

Another escape from Corrections electronic monitoring has prompted the third police appeal for sightings of fugitives in 24 hours.

Invercargill man Quintin Hamilton is wanted by police for breaching home detention conditions, after allegedly cutting off his electronic monitoring bracelet at 12.30pm on Tuesday.

Police say Hamilton is dangerous, faces multiple charges and should not be approached.

He is the latest in a string of offenders accused of removing their bracelets. Read more »

What the hell is going on in Marlborough?

Brian “Where’s my Theatre?” Rudman would do well to look at the massive cost overrun of the “world-class theatre” in Marlborough. The luvvies got their cherished theatre but, being luvvies, couldn’t fund it so had to stitch up the council to get it to go ahead.

A review of the new theatre’s finances has revealed the theatre trust cannot pay off its loans, as it turns to council once more to keep the project afloat.

The Marlborough District Council is faced with paying off more than $5 million after it guaranteed the loans from the ASB Bank and the Rata Foundation.

The council will decide on Thursday whether it starts loan repayments now or waits three years, incurring interest.

The council carried out an operating cost review after it guaranteed a second ASB Bank loan in March.

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Mental Health Break