Technology

Andrew Sullivan decides to quit blogging

One of my big influencers in blogging has decided to quit after 15 years.

One of the things I’ve always tried to do at the Dish is to be up-front with readers. This sometimes means grotesque over-sharing; sometimes it means I write imprudent arguments I have to withdraw; sometimes it just means a monthly update on our revenues and subscriptions; and sometimes I stumble onto something actually interesting. But when you write every day for readers for years and years, as I’ve done, there’s not much left to hide. And that’s why, before our annual auto-renewals, I want to let you know I’ve decided to stop blogging in the near future.

Why? Two reasons. The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen.

The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.

I want to spend some real time with my parents, while I still have them, with my husband, who is too often a ‘blog-widow’, my sister and brother, my niece and nephews, and rekindle the friendships that I have simply had to let wither because I’m always tied to the blog. And I want to stay healthy. I’ve had increasing health challenges these past few years. They’re not HIV-related; my doctor tells me they’re simply a result of fifteen years of daily, hourly, always-on-deadline stress. These past few weeks were particularly rough – and finally forced me to get real.

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I agree with Keith Locke, take the tasers off the cops…

It is a new year and so I suppose we didn’t have to wait long for Keith Locke to have a bleat about Police and their use of Tasers.

Police have revealed they fired a Taser stun-gun at an offender five times – the latest incident that has Taser critics calling for a review of its use.

The case is contained in statistics released by police about Taser use in the first half of last year.

A police spokesman said the incident involved a violent offender resisting arrest and fighting with an officer in the Counties-Manukau district with the Taser being pressed directly against the body of the suspect in “contact stun” mode.

“While the Taser was discharged [in contact stun mode] five times, three made contact with the person,” the spokesman said.

“Of the three which made contact, the first two were not effective in bringing the person under control, while the third was effective in stopping the violent behaviour.”

Police said two of the discharges missed the offender as he grappled with the officer on the ground.

The suspect was not injured, but a critic says increased use, and two recent Taser-related deaths overseas, suggest the device will kill someone here.

This week 38-year-old Kevin Norris died after being Tasered by police in the New South Wales town of Mittagong.

According to reports, Norris was conscious when taken into custody but died at the police station. His death is now the subject of an investigation.

Former Green MP Keith Locke, who has been a critic of the Taser since it was introduced in 2007, said the death should send a message.    Read more »

And they say my comments section is dreadful

The mainstream media and the disaffected left like to claim that the comments section here at WOBH is dreadful.

Fairfax owns used to own a fair chunk of Trade Me, even after they sold some down, until 2012 when they dumped the remaining shares.

Here is just one example of comments that stand at Trade Me.

deaththreat to PM Read more »

More on the lack of peak oil

Yesterday we explored the lack of peak oil.

I also found an interesting recent article on the topic at Real Clear Politics.

In a chilling 2010 column, Paul Krugman declared: “peak oil has arrived.”

So it’s really not surprising that the national average for a gallon of gas has fallen to $2.77 this week – in 10 states it was under $2.60 – and analysts predict we’re going to dip below the two-dollar mark soon. U.S. oil is down to $75 a barrel, a drop of more than $30 from the 52-week high.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Energy Research estimates that we have enough natural gas in the U.S. to meet electricity needs for around 575 years at current fuel demand and to fuel homes heated by natural gas for 857 years or so – because we have more gas than Russia, Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia combined.

With prices returning to ordinary levels and a few centuries’ worth of fossil fuels on tap, this is a good time to remind ourselves that nearly every warning the left has peddled about an impending energy crisis over the past 30 to 40 years has turned out to be wrong. And none of them are more wrong than the Malthusian idea that says we’re running out of oil.

Each time there’s a temporary spike in gas prices, science-centric liberals allow themselves a purely ideological indulgence, claiming – as Krugman, Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren and countless others have – that we’re rapidly approaching a point when producers will hit the maximum rate of extraction of petroleum. Peak oil. With emerging demand, fossil fuels will become prohibitive. And unless we have our in solar panels in order, Armageddon is near.   Read more »

Russell Brand is a complete douche

Russell Brand is a sanctimonious liberal elite douchebag.

And he is trouble.

Russell Brand could be banned from Twitter, after he tweeted the contact details of a journalist to his 8.7 million followers.

The comedian tweeted a photograph of the business card of a senior Daily Mail reporter that  included his work phone number, mobile number, and work email address.

In the since-deleted tweet, Brand, 39, alleged the newspaper and its owner, Lord Rothermere, were avoiding tax.

“Lord Rothermere and @DailyMailUK avoid tax. One of their senior reporters wants to talk about it,” Brand tweeted, with a photograph of reporter Neil Sears’ business card attached.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Geoff Robinson Colin Furze has built what he himself admits is probably the most dangerous bicycle in the world, powered by a homemade jet engine, which can achieve speeds of 50mph. Furze, who already holds several Guinness World Record titles for his inventions, including the world's fastest mobility scooter, modified his friend's mother's old Rayleigh pushbike, and spent four months working on the bicycle, before testing it out in a local airfield.

Photo: Geoff Robinson
Colin Furze has built what he himself admits is probably the most dangerous bicycle in the world, powered by a homemade jet engine, which can achieve speeds of 50mph. Furze, who already holds several Guinness World Record titles for his inventions, including the world’s fastest mobility scooter, modified his friend’s mother’s old Rayleigh pushbike, and spent four months working on the bicycle, before testing it out in a local airfield.

Norah the Jet Bike: Horribly Unsafe, Terribly Fun

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Even Google Engineers now say Renewable Energy ‘Simply won’t work’

windturbine

Google is one of the biggest investors in renewable technology. They have poured billions into research and now their top engineers say that renewable energy is hopelessly flawed.

Eric Worrell at WUWT explains:

A research effort by Google corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After 4 years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy “simply won’t work”.

According to an interview with the engineers, published in IEEE;

“At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope …
Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”
http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/what-it-would-really-take-to-reverse-climate-change Read more »

Do you have ‘Text Neck’?

distracted_walker.jpg.size.xxlarge.promo

Have you heard of ‘text’ neck’?

I hadn’t until yesterday but apparently this is rife now and causing alarming injuries.

I wonder how long before ACC starts to record injuries as being caused by texting.

Resea​rchers at the National Library of Medicine have just found out that there is an epidemic sweeping America called—and this is possibly the best name for a medical condition since “micropenis”—”text neck”.

Text neck. Text. Neck. It’s when you look down at your phone too much—when walking down the street, perhaps, or when you’re sitting in front of me at the cinema, or at the bar instead of talking—and the weight of your big dumb head plus the Earth’s gravity puts unbearable strain on your neck and spine. The condition can cause muscle strain, pinched nerves, herniated discs, and, over time, even remove your neck’s natural curve. And all because you had to keep an eye on your group text message while someone went through a bad breakup. All because you were taking a screenshot of a fun interaction you had on Tinder.

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Some advice for the opposition from Rodney Hide

Rodney Hide tells the opposition to find a better cause.

The Opposition is making heavy weather of trying to make Prime Minister John Key responsible for what Cameron Slater writes on his blog and in his personal communications.

I say in a kind and caring way that they should give it up. Because – and I say this even more caringly and kindly – Slater, aka the Whale, is not always responsible for what he writes.

By his own admission, Slater has had his battles with depression. By his own admission he is an embellisher.

Anyone who follows his blog knows him as a force of nature once he starts tapping his keyboard and pushing the upload button.

His blog is one man’s opinion, raw and unedited.

It is politics red and bloody and some of what you read you wonder if you really needed to know.

But back I go like a junkie. I enjoy the Whaleoil blog just like I enjoy the Left’s The Standard and The Daily Blog.

I’m not sure The Standard or the mouth breather at The Daily blog will appreciate that Rodney Hide enjoys their hate fuelled rants.

The blogs, as mad and as bad they are, add richness and diversity to political debate.

It’s true much of it is gossip. The blogs have lifted the lid on what was once confined to Bellamy’s. They have opened it up.

Political gossip always has an angle, juiciness trumps veracity and its effect can prove lethal.

But don’t blame blogs. Gossip has been used as a political weapon for as long as there’s been politics.    Read more »

Karl du Fresne on the news and why he is wrong

Karl du Fresne is a good writer, I enjoy his work.

Yesterday he wrote about the news and in particular the thoughts of Mike O’Donnell and news.

O’Donnell suggests that by the time of the next general election, social media may have rendered the evening television news bulletin extinct. His theory seems to be that consumers of news (a ghastly phrase) will no longer be prepared to wait until 6pm for their fix, but will update themselves constantly throughout the day by accessing news on their smartphones and tablets.

People have the capability to do that now. But do the vast number who still get their news from newspapers, TV and radio really have such a voracious appetite for information that in future they will demand it in (to use another ghastly phrase) “real time”?

I somehow doubt it, and I wonder whether people like O’Donnell have been misled by their own enthusiasm for the digital revolution and their missionary desire to promote its supposed benefits.

du Fresne is both right and dead wrong.

Same with O’Donnell.

People do want news real time, and they don’t care if the quality is poor, they are happy for it to evolve in the course of the life of the story. Mostly though the medium for consuming news will not be via social media…that will simply be the conduit through which you are informed that news exists.

Social media is vastly over-rated and in New Zealand the so-called Twittersphere is in reality a very small world….populated by vocal lefties and tragics who feel the need to comment one everything but ad zero value to the discourse. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should.

On top of that the Twitter warriors who try to mount campaigns and bully, threaten and intimidate overstate their actual reach.

During the whole Dirty Politics saga which was designed to cause maximum pressure on me and my associates, but also designed to subvert an election, I was called by people asking me if I had seen this or that mentioned on Twitter. I almost never had seen. I don’t live with my head inside my phone. Frankly Twitter is a waste of time. Again, the general election result proved that.

If you had listened to the agitators and plotter and the guilty on Twitter then my demise was hoped for, in reality as well as metaphorically, but it failed to materialise. Twitter and social media was supposed to deliver the left an election victory. It failed.

Why?

It failed because there is an incredibly small number of people using Twitter, and they only ever talk to each other. They essentially form a group that produces confirmation bias. But when you are wrong and you only talk to people who meet with your ideas of proper political beliefs then all you do is chat agreeing with each other.   Read more »