United States

Finally a minister who gets that driverless cars and not trains is our future

Simon Bridges appears to get it.

That our future lies in enabling technologies not restrictive technologies.

Trains are constrained by tracks and are not at all versatile, whereas driverless vehicles are enabling in many, many ways.

The prospect of cars travelling New Zealand highways with no one behind the wheel is moving closer says new Transport Minister Simon Bridges. Officials are reviewing legislation allowing for the testing of umanned autonomous vehicles on public roads.

Mr Bridges has pledged to work with environmental interests while also pursuing the Government’s road building programme.

Mr Bridges said he was committed to “a balanced approach” and ongoing investment roads were important even from a green perspective, “over time as we move to electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles”.

Mr Bridges said the Government was not doing a great deal to accommodate autonomous vehicle technology, “but I don’t think there’s any doubt that if you look at what’s going on internationally, maybe not in the next couple of years, but over time we will see driverless vehicles and that will have implications, like for example less congestion because vehicles can travel closer together”.

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The Evolution of Marriage

mrge01

When Gay marriage was being debated marriage itself came under the spotlight. All of a sudden we were asking ourselves..

What is marriage?

Is marriage about children?

Is marriage a religious institution or a secular one?

I wondered about the origins of marriage, the purpose of marriage and how it has evolved from the past to what we recognise as marriage now.

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Sheik Mohammed comments on ISIS

 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the current ruler of Dubai and he has penned an opinion piece on ISIS.

That alone makes me want to read it. A Middle East leader of a vibrant modern nation commenting on ISIS…its worth a read in full.

The global financial crisis taught the world how profoundly interdependent our economies have become. In today’s crisis of extremism, we must recognize that we are just as interdependent for our security, as is clear in the current struggle to defeat ISIS.

If we are to prevent ISIS from teaching us this lesson the hard way, we must acknowledge that we cannot extinguish the fires of fanaticism by force alone. The world must unite behind a holistic drive to discredit the ideology that gives extremists their power, and to restore hope and dignity to those whom they would recruit.

ISIS certainly can – and will – be defeated militarily by the international coalition that is now assembling and which the UAE is actively supporting. But military containment is only a partial solution. Lasting peace requires three other ingredients: winning the battle of ideas; upgrading weak governance; and supporting grassroots human development.

Such a solution must begin with concerted international political will. Not a single politician in North America, Europe, Africa, or Asia can afford to ignore events in the Middle East. A globalized threat requires a globalized response. Everyone will feel the heat, because such flames know no borders; indeed, ISIS has recruited members of at least 80 nationalities.

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29 year old with brain cancer and will die on Nov 1

This story of a 29 year old woman with incurable brain cancer who doesn’t want to die in a debilitating awful manner.

She is incredibly brave, but choosing to die her way and not in a way limited by awful laws that prevent assisted suicide.

Having seen someone I love die slowly and horribly because of cancer I wish, really wish our country would change the law regarding euthanasia.

It disgusted me when Maryan Street pulled her bill from parliament after it was draw so as help the Labour party. Showed how much she actually cared.

I don’t know anyone who has watched someone die slowly and painfully who is opposed to euthanasia.

Brittany Maynard will die on November 1 – in her bedroom, with her favourite song playing and her mother and husband at her side.

The 29-year-old California woman began experiencing terrible headaches soon after her wedding.

She was diagnosed in January with a glioblastoma brain tumour and was later told by doctors she had six months to live.  Read more »

Andrew Sullivan on Islam, jihadists and western apologists

Andrew Sullivan comes up with a brilliant explanation of Islam, jihadists and western apologists like Ben Affleck.

he made these comments in response to the video of the Bill Maher/Ben Affleck debate.

I think it’s pretty indisputable that any religion that can manifest itself in the form of something like ISIS in any period in history is in a very bad way. I know they’re outliers – even with respect to al Qaeda. But, leaving these mass murderers and sadists to one side, any religion that still cannot allow its own texts to be subject to scholarly and historical inquiry, any religion that denies in so many parts of the world any true opportunities for women, and any religion whose followers believe apostasy should be punished with death is in a terrible, terrible way. There is so much more to Islam than this – but this tendency is so widespread, and its fundamentalism so hard to budge, and the destruction wrought by its violent extremists so appalling that I find Affleck’s and Aslan’s defenses to be missing the forest for the trees.  Read more »

Bird mincing wind turbines are now killing umpteen bats

I hate wind farms, they are unsightly, make a huge noise, kill migrating birds and use huge quantities of rare earth metals making them not green at all…on top of that they are dreadfully inefficient and only work with huge government subsidies.

To cap all that off, they are also now killing bats.

Endangered bats are being killed by wind turbine blades because the air currents are similar to those near tall trees, a study shows.

It’s feared the legally protected mammals are dying while hunting insects that are attracted by the heat generated by the spinning blades.

Thousands of bats have been killed by wind turbines causing a population decline that could cost the farming industry billions each year.

The nocturnal creatures are welcomed by farmers across the world as they eat large numbers of insects that usually damage crops.   Read more »

Face of the day

What to do about the teacher unions?

The teacher unions are kicking up a fuss, just days after the election, claiming John key doesn’t have a mandate.

What can be done about these dinosaurs?

Well we could follow what is happening in California. Where the teacher unions are being forced with the removal of their right to deduct union dues from the payroll.

The worst union in America is contemplating its worst nightmare—a time when state law no longer compels California’s teachers to pay it for the privilege of working at a public school. According to a 23-page PowerPoint presentation unearthed by union watchdog Mike Antonucci, California Teachers Association officials are taking seriously the idea that a raft of pending litigation could put an end to mandatory union dues in the Golden State, and they’re exhorting local union leaders to rise to the challenge. The presentation’s title is fitting: “Not if, but when: Living in a world without Fair Share.”

“Fair share” in this context refers to the union’s current legal right to collect dues from every public school teacher in the state, whether they join the union or don’t. But a world without compulsory dues isn’t hard to imagine—it’s already the reality in 24 right-to-work states, including Florida, Indiana, and Michigan, home to the still-powerful Michigan Education Association. The CTA presentation offers a candid assessment of emerging legal “attacks” in the wake of Harris v. Quinn, in which the Supreme Court this year ruled that the First Amendment forbids the state of Illinois to force part-time home health-care workers to pay collective-bargaining fees. The high court is likely to take up Friedrichs v. CTA, a much wider-ranging lawsuit now pending before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals alleging that compulsory dues to public-employee unions are flatly unconstitutional.

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Photo Of The Day

The Ford Motor plant at Highland Park, the factory that built the American Dream. People dubbed the factory "The Crystal Palace" because of its vast amount of glass and bright interiors. The factory's enormous size made people think that Ford had gone mad.

The Ford Motor plant at Highland Park, the factory that built the American Dream. People dubbed the factory “The Crystal Palace” because of its vast amount of glass and bright interiors. The factory’s enormous size made people think that Ford had gone mad.

The Most Expensive Photo Ever

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Crime drops in Chicago…you’ll never guess why

Crime has dropped dramatically in Chicago.

What has caused this?

Is it better welfare payments to the poor? Nope.

What about increased resources to Police? Nope.

What then?

Gun rights activists have often held up Chicago as an example of the failures of gun control. The city has historically had some of the strictest laws against gun ownership while also suffering under some of the worst crime rates in the US. In 2012, Chicago surpassed New York as America’s murder capital. However, after the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit struck down Illinois’ ban on concealed carry in December of 2012, a concealed carry program was implemented in the state this year, finally and for the first time allowing law-abiding Chicago residents to arm themselves in public against the city’s seemingly-perpetual crime wave.

According to The Washington Times, now that citizens in Chicago can legally defend themselves, the city’s historically disastrous crime rates have begun to plummet precipitously. Police department crime statistics note that, in the first quarter of 2014, the homicide rate in Chicago has dropped to a 56-year low. In 2014 so far, burglaries are down by 20%, auto theft rates have dropped by 26%, and robberies leading to arrests are down by 20%.

The Chicago Police Department wasted no time in declaring victory and claiming credit for the drop in crime, but Illinois State Rifle Association executive director Richard Pearson told The Washington Times, “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.” He feels that the drop in crime can at least in part be attributed to the implementation of concealed carry in Illinois. Said Pearson, “It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect.”

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