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You can’t get me I’m part of the Union, ‘til the day I die

‘Hypothetically’ have we ever wondered why local body council employees and government bureaucrats are paid exceptionally well just as most Auckland City Council employees are?

Possible contributors are the public sector and service unions: that is, unions who represent public sector and essential services employees.  It’s pretty straightforward. First, they ‘capture’ employee’s union dues as an unofficial condition of employment; this means that if they don’t pay, then they are ‘not hired’.

photo: whaleoil.co.nz

Next, they use that money to support and help elect union-friendly politicians. Some examples of this kind of support are our present Coalition of Losers government, an Auckland mayor or two, and some councillors.

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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.

The ‘harlot’s’ daughter

Representative photo*

Spanish Bride’s post on abortion a couple of days ago inspired me to share the story of a special woman I once knew.

My Aunty met a young, black, American sailor posted in New Zealand after World War 2.  He was a handsome and sharp looking man, who could tickle piano keys as expertly as he tickled an 18-year-old’s heart. He was a jazz musician in a time that dancing and dances were the height of entertainment, and provided an entire shop full of husband potential.

It was a time when men wore suits and hats (though never indoors) and a time when American Sailors were the only source of nylon stockings. Enticed by those stockings, those ivory keys, the new and exciting dance craze and the unwritten taboo of black men, my Aunty soon surrendered to his charm.

In 1947 New Zealand she found her herself pregnant and unwed to her charming black sailor. Any woman who lived through these times will confirm it doesn’t get much worse than that.

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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Jacinda sent to me…

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Jacinda sent to me:

Twelve schools a’closing

PHOTO-Supplied to Whaleoil
Dominic Elliot holding a sign: “Jacinda where is your support now?”

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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.

Which countries pay the most and least for Amazon Prime Video?

In 2016, Amazon announced its launch of Prime Video in over 200 countries and with video streaming services becoming increasingly popular, we decided to check out whether Amazon Prime Video customers are getting a good deal for their money.

To determine this, we looked at several things:

  • First, we ascertained the number of TV shows and movies available in 28 countries (according to current Just Watch figures). After adding the two figures together, we divided this number into the total cost of Amazon Prime Video per month in each country.
  • Second, we analyzed the overall cost per month in each country to see how these figures compared (using the exchange rate at the time of publication).

So what did we find?

Perhaps most significantly, we found the number of titles per country varies dramatically – much more so than the overall costs of Prime Video. The lowest number of titles available (713) is in Singapore, while the highest number of titles available (18,246) is in the US. That’s 25 times more titles! And while viewers in Singapore do pay 66 percent less than US customers, Singapore is still the least cost-effective place to watch Prime Video.

Furthermore, both Australian and Canadian customers pay nearly 34 percent more per title than US customers.

But it’s not customers in the United States who are getting the most bang for their buck – it’s customers in the UK and Ireland.

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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.

These words were not a problem until we made them a problem

If you’re a freshman this year amidst the hustle and bustle of starting college, moving in and figuring out your new routine and lifestyle, orientation leaders at Colorado State University introduced you to an important aspect of CSU’s culture: inclusive language.

Inclusive language includes every identity, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. During orientation, we were introduced to gender pronouns such as “they, them, theirs.” This is something to be excited about, and most of us actively respect people’s gender pronouns, but as the semester continues, it has become obvious that inclusive language extends way beyond gender pronouns.

It is great for students to try to use inclusive language, but it has become an expectation of students. This expectation might not be entirely fair. We have been asked to get rid of the language we have been using for as long as we have known the English language.

We were told that the popular term “you guys” was not inclusive of all genders, and we should instead replace it with “y’all.” We were told to use the term “first-year” instead of “freshman,” because “freshman” is not inclusive of all genders.

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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.

A call for kindness

Photoshopped image credit: Luke

Whaleoil writers and readers are quick to condemn Mr Lees-Galloway for his decision on the Karel Sroubek issue. They are also quick to condemn the prime minister for her unwavering support for her minister.

What Whaleoil overlook, deliberately perhaps, is the factor which put our Labour government into office. I am referring, of course, to kindness. It is easy to be kind to what one might call law-abiding citizens, less so when the object of your kindness falls a little short of perfection. But who among us does not do that, I ask? Mr Sroubek has his failings, certainly, but Mr Lees-Galloway obviously saw beyond them and perceived a person in need. He stretched out the hand of kindness. Yet he stands condemned for it.

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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.

‘I am the Jewish nurse yes, that Jewish nurse’

I am The Jewish Nurse.

Yes, that Jewish Nurse. The same one that people are talking about in the Pittsburgh shooting that left 11 dead. The trauma nurse in the ER that cared for Robert Bowers who yelled, “Death to all Jews,” as he was wheeled into the hospital. The Jewish nurse who ran into a room to save his life.

To be honest, I’m nervous about sharing this. I just know I feel alone right now, and the irony of the world talking about me doesn’t seem fair without the chance to speak for myself.

When I was a kid, being labeled “The Jewish (anything)”, undoubtedly had derogatory connotations attached to it. That’s why it feels so awkward to me that people suddenly look at it as an endearing term. As an adult, deflecting my religion by saying “I’m not that religious,” makes it easier for people to accept I’m Jewish – especially when I tell them my father is a rabbi. “I’m not that religious,” is like saying, “Don’t worry, I’m not that Jewish, therefore, I’m not so different than you,” and like clockwork, people don’t look at me as awkwardly as they did a few seconds beforehand.

I experienced anti-Semitism a lot as a kid. It’s hard for me to say if it was always a product of genuine hatred, or if kids with their own problems found a reason to single me out from others. Sure, there were a few Jewish kids at my school, but no one else had a father who was a Rabbi. I found drawings on desks of my family being marched into gas chambers, swastikas were drawn on my locker, and notes shoved inside of it saying, “Die Jew. Love, Hitler.” It was a different time back then, where bullying was not monitored like it is now. I was weak, too. Rather than tell anyone, I hid behind fear. Telling on the people who did this would only lead to consequences far worse.

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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.

The poorest are the ones hurt by Hitman Hipkins

Hitman: Education Minister Chris Hipkins has eliminated all NZ Partnership schools
Photoshopped image Credit: Luke

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has closed down every Partnership school in New Zealand despite their record of success. There is no place for the Charter school model in the Labour-led coalition government. Forced to become schools of special character, most of these former Partnership schools are still operating. Why did they change and what is now going to happen to them?


The New Zealand education system is in major trouble.

The gaps between New Zealand’s Asian population (67 per cent of school leavers with UE), European (44 per cent), Pasifika (22 per cent) and Māori (19 per cent) are a national disgrace and we have given up on believing it can be different.

We are sliding rapidly in international measures and our schools are among the worst in the OECD for closing the gaps. Socio-economic advantage has a stronger impact on achievement in New Zealand than in many OECD countries.

Our best university is no longer in the top 100 in the world. Teacher training is a mess — the entry bar is far too low for primary training and the opportunity cost of another year without pay means the best university graduates won’t even give teaching a second thought.

The latest pay rounds have turned into massive whine-fests and many teachers are simply putting off anyone looking for a positive profession to be involved in.

We have not recognised how the world has changed. If the education system was once a performance car, it was built in the 1950s.

Successive governments have crashed it and bashed it and worn down the engine; the Ministry of Education sits firmly on the bonnet and the unions have run off with the keys.

Those establishments continue to preserve their power and the children miss out, especially the vulnerable ones.

Legislation has now crushed the charter school model. In one sense it will mean very little. Those highly irrational sorts in education who were entirely triggered by innovation will be able to go back to their knitting. The established charter schools will continue to run under a different model because the good people who set them up will stay around – at least for a little while.

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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.

Is New Zealand warming neutral?

For those of you with an interest in climate change, this makes for an interesting thought exercise…

New Zealand’s physical GHG budget would show we are very unlikely to be contributing to any warming of the atmosphere. We currently exclude pre-1990 trees, but this rule may be changed at the upcoming COP24. If so, then we may be able to legitimately claim, using agreed IPCC standards, that New Zealand is warming neutral. Even assuming all the science is correct, we could still win the debate (in theory).

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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.

The emergence of driverless cars pose moral dilemmas for science

Brian Rogers

Sunlive

Newsie


The Heathrow shuttles will become the first driverless vehicles to be tested on London’s roads

Should a robot car automatically choose to run over an old fogey and spare the young? Take out a jaywalker and avoid the law-abiding pedestrian? Hit the fat kid with the ice cream to dodge the fitness fanatic jogger? 

These are the sort of scenarios that clever people around the globe are trying to figure, with help from the public. Except maybe that ice cream example, I just made that up.

Researchers all over the world have asked millions of people tough moral questions. What should a driverless car be programmed to do, faced with an unavoidable accident?

The study gathered 40 million decisions in ten languages from 233 countries, and there’s some interesting common ground emerging. Some ‘shared moral preferences’, as the scientists call it.

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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.