Why do we need trains when driverless technology is upon us?

Trains are locked onto rails…they can’t divert around network outages and are horribly inefficient especially for passenger transit. Basically they don’t work unless massively subsidised.

If we look at the billions poured into Kiwirail since Labour bought it back at an inflated price you can see just how bad and inefficient it is.

I’ve often said rip up the rails and create heavy transport lanes on the land instead, sending buses and trucks down the nice even gradients.

I’ve also said driverless technology will solve transport issues. The video above shows how it can work for bus transport and the Daily Mail also has an article about the advent of driverless trucks for heavy transport.

Self-driving cars have long been confined to the storylines of futuristic films and the engineer’s drawing board but now they finally being tested in real traffic on a German autobahn.

German carmaker Daimler has been trialling a self-driving truck under real traffic conditions on a German motorway for the first time.

The standard Mercedes-Benz Actros truck was fitted with the ‘highway pilot’ system, allowing it to work without a human driver, and travelled from Stuttgart to the town of Denkendorf.   Read more »

Is Minecraft sexist?

My Open Letter To Notch: Why Minecraft Is Sexist And Needs To Be Banned Screenshot

My Open Letter To Notch: Why Minecraft Is Sexist And Needs To Be Banned

I came across this rabid feminist blogger on Facebook. I say rabid because she is suing some poor guy for daring to save her from drowning. Even weirder is her belief that vegemite is racist ( I am not kidding ) She describes herself as a fab social justice activist working for and she says that Feminism F:ing rules!

What really caught my eye though was her attack on the game Minecraft. I am familiar with this game and what she said did not seem right so I contacted a 17 year old who plays Minecraft and asked her to respond to Cassidy Boon’s tirade. I will refer to her as Gamer X.

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NASA to reveal Mars breakthrough. Can you guess it? [POLL]

NASA is going to do a big reveal about Mars:

Is it aliens? Flowing water? Or perhaps the long-awaited discovery of Martian crabs?

NASA has sent space fans into a frenzy on Sunday by announcing it will hold a special news conference on Monday to reveal “a major science finding” from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars.

The space agency says it has solved a major “Mars mystery” and will reveal all during the news briefing from headquarters in Washington.   Read more »


Hillary Clinton’s email server has still more top secret emails on it


The email scandal engulfing Hillary Clinton took another turn for the worse yesterday with even more top secret emails being revealed.

Hillary Clinton continues to be plagued by the email scandal that won’t die. Today the FBI reportedly managed to recover a new set of work-related emails from her private email account – these dealing with Libya and Benghazi, reports Mediaite.

After Hillary’s repeated insistence that she has handed over every such email from her private account, subsequent State Department digital scans have detected a 925-page email chain from her private server that was not originally turned over. They appear to be exchanges with former general David Petraeus during Clinton’s first few days as Secretary of State. Reports indicate that the messages pertain largely to personnel matters, with no classified material having yet been identified. Read more »


Would you trust the UN to control the Internet?


Everything the UN does turns to custard, except profligate waste and spending money, they are world champions at that.

Now there is a proposal for the UN to take over control of the internet.

It may not have intended to, precisely, but the United Nations just took sides in the Internet’s most brutal culture war.

On Thursday, the organization’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development released a damning “world-wide wake-up call” on what it calls “cyber VAWG,” or violence against women and girls. The report concludes that online harassment is “a problem of pandemic proportion” — which, nbd, we’ve all heard before.

But the United Nations then goes on to propose radical, proactive policy changes for both governments and social networks, effectively projecting a whole new vision for how the Internet could work.

Under U.S. law — the law that, not coincidentally, governs most of the world’s largest online platforms — intermediaries such as Twitter and Facebook generally can’t be held responsible for what people do on them. But the United Nations proposes both that social networks proactively police every profile and post, and that government agencies only “license” those who agree to do so.

“The respect for and security of girls and women must at all times be front and center,” the report reads, not only for those “producing and providing the content,” but also everyone with any role in shaping the “technical backbone and enabling environment of our digital society.”

How that would actually work, we don’t know; the report is light on concrete, actionable policy. But it repeatedly suggests both that social networks need to opt-in to stronger anti-harassment regimes and that governments need to enforce them proactively.

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Climate Change scientists no longer wanted by AgResearch

The Crown research institute has confirmed it will cut the jobs of of 33 scientists and 50 technicians during the next year, as part of a restructuring to cope with a $5 million cut in funding.

Their research in greenhouse gases, animal and forage sciences and on-farm tech support is being scaled back, while 27 new roles are being introduced in food security, Maori agri-business, high value foods and innovative food products.

AgResearch chair Sam Robinson said the changes were in response to a changing demand.

“These areas are reducing because the sector doesn’t see the need for them, as agriculture and the need for science that supports agriculture changes … through time,” he said. “There are areas we are increasing our effort in science in response to the sector’s needs.”

But Federated Farmers president William Rolleston said the agriculture industry was in need of climate research, and that should not be sacrificed.

“We want to see a science sector that’s increasing its output not decreasing it, not necessarily picking particular subjects in a vacuum of information. It’s about the overall picture,” he said. “We know the government wants to diversify the economy, and we actually support that, but we don’t want that to be done at the expense of agriculture.”

Amusingly, the jobs that are being canned are the ones that look into animals farting, and what pasture is better for the environment.  It is a remarkable turn-around by a Government that still hasn’t, officially at least, given up on trying to battle climate change. Read more »

Braunias is onto it

The prosecution in the Kim Dotcom extradition case released evidence that the Dotcom conspirators were under surveillance for a significant amount of time.

Anything you Skype may be taken down and used against you in a court of law.

Big Brother and Five Eyes were the unseen forces at work in a hot courtroom in downtown Federal St yesterday when the Crown presented its opening address in the extradition hearing of Kim Dotcom and his band of Euro-geeks.

The United States wants to haul Dotcom and his former executives in the so-called “Mega Conspiracy” – Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato – to East Virginia to stand trial on money-laundering and copyright violation charges.

First, they need to establish there’s a prima facie case.

And so to an upstairs courtroom in the Chorus building, packed with ladies and gentlemen from the media, lawyers in bad suits, and members of the public, including the homeless man who keeps falling asleep.

Christine Gordon, QC, led for the Crown. She had no lack of material. FBI agents accessed millions of emails between the four accused; Gordon shared some of the juicier exchanges.

She prefaced the juicy fruits of the surveillance effort by saying the case could be reduced to a single sentence.

It was a very long sentence and it had far too many commas in it. The homeless man fell asleep long before she droned to the end of the sentence; his hands with their scraped knuckles hung between his knees, and he bowed his head.

An edited version of Gordon’s verbose sentence: “This was a conspiracy to make vast sums of money knowing it was unlawfully acquired.”

Quite helpful to have it distilled down that way.  Especially as the defence keeps wanting to paint a picture that they were running a file hosting service, like a “post office”.  Right.   Read more »

Twitter is “the echo chamber for the politically pissed off, and the psychologically needy”


Chris Lynch has written what is perhaps the best analysis of Twitter and its hardcore users.

Does Twitter generate meaningful dialogue on significant national issues or create a nasty echo chamber of hate?

Frustrated citizen commentators are flocking to the public platform, but whether Twitter adds value to national conversation is another story.

Twitter is becoming the comfort food for the socially awkward, the echo chamber for the politically pissed off, and the psychologically needy. The intense human emotion of reassurance has driven serial tweeters to seek familiarity off like-minded souls.

Facebook’s more inclusive. Its platform extends to real life friends and family members, making it a more sincere experience. However, Twitter is a vehicle for the overly-aggrieved and easily offended to share their grievances with other aggrieved. Ongoing research suggests the hard left are psychologically benefiting while politically losing the most.

I enjoy the accusation of being a ‘typical talkback host with right-wing views’ particularly from those who claim to have never listened to the show. I’m usually accused of being a Labour lover and right winger within the same hour, which means I’m doing my job. The political climate in Christchurch is too highly charged to align one’s self to a party.

National won the Christchurch vote by a landslide, much to the surprise of many on the far left. They were simply too caught up in their own self-importance, indulging in personal achievements of re-tweets generated from their ‘critical analysis’ which is never accompanied by solutions.

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Automation introduced for safety will eventually be used to get rid of jobs



New Zealand’s first remote-control forest-harvesting machine is being put to work in Nelson.

It’s hoped the technology will reduce the safety hazards associated with the forestry industry.

Tony Irvine is still getting to grips with his new machine. He’s normally in the cab of a 40-tonne self-leveller cutting down trees on the steep slope, but this week he’s started trialling a remote-control operation.

“It’s a lot better in this machine,” says Mr Irvine. “You feel a lot safer.” Read more »


Twitter clogged up with lefties swearing, study finds

We all know that Twitter is infested with lefty arseholes who just love the bully pulpit that Twitter has become.

Left-wingers are prone to swearing on Twitter while conservatives are more likely to talk about God, a study suggests.

In analysing nearly a million tweets from more than 10,000 users, researchers not only found left-leaning liberals to be potty-mouthed, but also found they used more individual words like ‘me’ while conservatives opted more for the group-oriented ‘us.’

While the data was based on followers of Republican or Democratic party accounts, it reinforced previous studies suggesting left-wingers (think Labour and Green Party supporters) have a greater sense of their own uniqueness, while right-wingers (that’s National and ACT Party voters) are more likely to emphasise group identity and consensus.

‘Sh–‘ and the f-bomb were among the top ten words used by lefties (after common words were removed).

Researchers believed swearing was associated with lefties using more emotionally expressive language than their political opponents.   Read more »