Sunday, February 20, 2011

Alcohol Price Restrictions - The New Prohibition

By restricting the minimum price of alcohol, you actually restrict the less well-off from the small amount of leisure (and pleasure) they have in their lives.

If we're going to 'help' people, we have to do it in a manner different from restriction - we actually have to make their lives better.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Plunket Discriminates

Plunket only seems to help mums, what about dads? Why does Plunket make the assumption that mums are always the primary carers?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Convergence & OUR SYSTEM

'Convergence' could happen (is happening) in the social sciences too (perhaps even with the physical and life sciences). It should be a subject in its own right. This is like what OUR SYSTEM and The Our System Institute is about.


“Convergence” Signals a New Frontier - and Departure from Tradition - in Biomedicine

"The MIT white paper says the emerging field of convergence—which brings together the life sciences, the physical sciences, and engineering—should create a “third revolution” in biomedical research."

"As the MIT report notes, convergence establishes a two-way street in which “fundamentally different conceptual approaches from physical science and engineering are imported into biological research, while life science’s understanding of complex evolutionary systems is reciprocally influencing physical science and engineering.”"

"Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of Science, told the 4 January forum that the new model “raises an array of very serious issues for the infrastructure of science and engineering because it, in fact, challenges the traditional disciplinary structures that we all are so comfortable with.” Convergence could signal “the demise of disciplinary science,” Leshner said."


What Is My Expertise?

Research and analysis for change using a whole system perspective.


No-One Is Best At Everything

No-one is the best at everything, every player has weaknesses, even the greatest. We are amalgamations.


Listener - A Bit Rich

“The question is, do you have to give someone an annual cash bonus that is 100% of their salary in order for them to do their job, when they are already earning so much? And do you then have to give over and above that with long-term incentives?”

"Well, yes, you just might, argues Business Roundtable chairman Roger Kerr. He says New Zealand is not in the same league as countries like the US or UK for super-salaries, but it competes with them to attract good people. “This is a story of scarcity value, and exceptionally talented people are sought out in the sporting world, movie world, legal world and management world. And I think it’s easiest to see the value of those mostly in the corporate world in comparison with explaining why movie stars get $20 million for a movie.”

"Kerr likens it to sprinters at the Olympics. “There are a heap of people who can run the 100m between 10 and 11 seconds, but the number who can run it under 10 seconds is quite small, and I think the tail of distribution of executive talent runs a bit the same kind of way.”

"The bottom line is that a good chief executive has to be accomplished at a number of tasks, he says, and can make an enormous difference to a company’s performance."

"…the actual cost of the CEO is minuscule in the overall costs."

"…when you get to a certain size, you are talking about people who could command jobs anywhere in the world."

"His skills are absolutely transferable anywhere in the world, and if you want to have a Chris Liddell come and do that function in your company, then you are going to have to compete to get his attention."

"Auckland-based remuneration consultant Jarrod Moyle says client companies typically ask what they should pay an individual based on the market rate for the role."

“For a CEO role, there are some established facts around what determines the pay – there’s a very clear correlation between the size of the organisation and the CEO’s remuneration. Other factors are the reporting structure – whether it’s to a board of directors, an offshore managing director or the industry. And there might be factors around the organisation’s life cycle – are they in a high-growth stage or are they a mature organisation? Those can affect the size and structure of a package.”

"If the market is slow to react, might growing public debate shame companies and chief executives into moving away from inflated salaries?"

"Hutton thinks not. “They don’t feel any sanction from the social norm because they’re not in that society. The society they care about is their peer group, who are telling each other how well they’ve earned all this …"


Basic Income: Real Freedom

"…I am convinced that any cogent case for basic income as a first-best must adopt some notion of "real freedom" (not only the right but also the means to do what one may wish)…"
Philippe Van Parijs, 2000, Basic Income: A Simple and Powerful Idea for the 21st Century., Redesigning Distribution, p13.


Basic Income: Who Knows What Is The Right Job For You?

"…some of these jobs can by lousy, degrading dead-end jobs, which should not be promoted. Others are pleasant, enriching stepping-stone jobs, which are worth taking even at low pay because of their intrinsic value or the training they provide. Who can tell the difference? Not legislators or bureaucrats, but the individual workers who can be relied upon to know far more than what is known "at the top" about the countless facets of the job they do or consider taking. They have the knowledge that would enable them to be discriminating, but not always the power to do so… A work-unconditional basic income endows the weakest with bargaining power in a way a work-conditional guaranteed income does not."
Philippe Van Parijs, 2003, Basic Income: A Simple and Powerful Idea for the 21st Century., Redesigning Distribution., p12.

"In the absence of a means test, the tax and benefit structure can be expected to be such that beneficiaries can significantly increase their disposable incomes by working, even at a low rate and on a part-time basis, and without being trapped in such jobs once their skills improve or once they can improve their working time. Moving into the work sphere will therefore be facilitated and encouraged, …"
Philippe Van Parijs, 2000, Basic Income: A Simple and Powerful Idea for the 21st Century., Redesigning Distribution.


Basic Income: And You'll Be Better Off Working For More Too

"…if one makes the mild assumption that the explicit tax rate applying to the lowest income brackets must remain noticeably lower than 100%, then the following statement holds. Since you can keep the full amount of your basic income, whether working or not, whether rich or poor, you are bound to be better off when working than out of work."
Philippe Van Parijs, 2000, Basic Income: A Simple and Powerful Idea for the 21st Century., Redesigning Distribution., p12.

The main work disincentive from a benefit is losing it when you start work. You don't lose the base income.


Be Light, Easy And Happy

Isn't this better?


Glee At Seeing Someone

Everybody likes to be met with glee, although it does sometimes seem a little phony. Perhaps that doesn't matter.


Could You ... For Me, Please?

Ask directly, straight.


POWER - The Power Of...

- Sex (attraction, desire, …)
- Violence (physique, might, rage, …)
- Knowledge (knowing how, …)
- Position (in the hierarchy, designated authority, …)
- Cunning (intelligence, smarts, …)
- Wealth (money, riches, ownership, …)


A Hidden Inequality

Wealth and high incomes are largely a hidden inequality, especially in New Zealand. What we don't see we don't notice. And with a large middle class it's not easy to tell who the extremely wealthy are. If you don't live in the same place you don't notice, and most wealthy don't build their mansions in poor areas. Humans are, and look, alike, wealthy or not – an inherent equality which indicates why wealth inequality is so stupid.



"Feminists always claim that they are about equality for men and women. So they could be using their voice to ask why men account for 90% of the homeless and what can be done to help them. Or highlighting how men commit suicide four times as often as women and what support measures need putting in place for vulnerable, abused men. But, no. Instead they focus on nonsense like this. Aimed at chastising men for being men."
- Comment by Jim on an article about John Key calling Liz Hurley "Hot" (and being called "sexist" for doing this).

I rather like this commment. It reminds of all the problems we haven't dealt with. Funnily, it is probably at least because we live in a still somewhat 'masculine' society that homelessness and suicide are still so prevalent in men. Although that's reading 'masculine' as hierarchical, domineering and uncaring, which it doesn't have to be. And it would change from this if we were to deal directly with these social issues by creating a more equal society. 'Masculine' and 'feminine' are in reality not helpful terms.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tennis Commentators Talk Rubbish

All they mostly talk about is experience, maturity, emotions and all that rubbish. Tennis is not about this crap, it's about making the shots.

It doesn't matter how old you are or how you are feeling emotionally throughout the game. What matters is how well you play, and if you play well you'll feel good; if you play shit, you'll feel bad.


Never Doubt, Never Despair

If you don't want to be doubting or despairing then tell yourself this.

Never be down. Never doubt, never despair.


Why Do I Feel It Too?

Why does the Friday of a long weekend feel so lazy to me? Why can I feel that so strongly?

Why is it that when people are on a public holiday (or similar such day) I feel an irresistible relaxing of my mental and physical strength, even though I am by myself in my own home?

What kind of empathy is this?

Plus I don't even need to know beforehand that it is such a day, I will feel this way regardless of the knowledge of it, if such a day it is. On these days I cannot work well or hard, but why?

How does this work?


Clear & Frank Communication

I need to improve my communication on what I do.

"I write on changing our system to one focussed on fulfilment: fulfilment realised without harm to, or from, others and their fulfilment."


Help & Relationship

Help, support, collaboration, mutual interest, partnership, love, …

What is the best relationship?



What does it mean to you?

Using resources in an efficient, replaceable way that will not deplete them or harm the environment?


Using resources in a wasteful way that will deplete them and harm the environment?


Bettermeans: Open, Democratic Project Management

"Everyone is a member, and every member gets an equal binding vote. When people first join they are contributors…"


A Basis For Financing

A shared base income can provide a basis for greater financing.


A Fair Share

Not looking for charity, just a fair share.

An unconditional income guarantees a share.


Justice For People – Social Justice

The rules should lie in justice for people, so they can live fulfilling lives without harm, not in the protection of profits for business.


Making Things Look More Robust

Everything looks more 'official' and 'robust' when you add footnotes, references, a model, an algorithm, numbers (especially financial) and charts, even if all these are really just meaningless fluff that add nothing to the logic of an argument.


DVD Drive Fixed To Region 1

My computer's DVD drive has now permanently fixed itself to Region 1 after I played a Region 1 DVD that I bought in the US. Of course I'm currently living in New Zealand, so this is very annoying.

But this is just another small example of the blight on people's lives due to the narrow interests of corporate copyright holders, in this case making their products specific to particular regions so they can extort extra profits.

This has got to stop.


The Implausibility Of Regular Alcohol Consumption

It irritates me this finding that alcoholic consumption of 1-3 drinks per day aids longevity greater than not drinking at all.

How can anyone only drink 1-3 drinks on a constant basis? This idea seems ridiculous, like having 1.5 children.

Anyone drinking alcohol for some effect doesn't stop at 1-3 drinks. They drink until they get the effect, and the effect requirement for onset increases as tolerance increases, so people end up drinking 4-5 drinks a night, not just 1-3. And they end up changing the form of alcoholic beverage (wine to beer, grape to grape) so they can continue this addiction.


Sex vs Thought

People probably drink alcohol to lessen thinking and reasoning, and elevate emotions and sexuality, which can be conducive to a certain form of sociability. Unfortunately these effects can become permanent.

Isn't it funny, that we as humans, the most cognitive of living beings, might damage ourselves so that we can be more primitive, more emotional, more sexual…?

And the very damaging of ourselves, makes choosing not to cause ourselves more damage, an ever more difficult decision to make.


Universal Insurance

The problem with most insurance is the conditions on when it is paid out, and indeed, that it is conditional at all when it comes to a base income.


Mix Past Design In Future Technology

Past designs should always be mixed into future technology – it provides continuity and history.

Then again, completely new devices require a completely new design.


Mandated Budgets

That government people might choose to attend the same course when it is offered at a high price rather than free says more about the mandated budget for training each year than valuing something higher because it has a price on it. If the training budget isn't spent the money is 'lost'.

[This is written in reference to an example in Behavioural Economics by the New Economics Foundation (p11) which is meant to show that if something has a price on it, it is valued higher (and not just monetarily higher). Actually, just trying to distinguish value from monetary value is hard enough in today's world.]

Is the answer not to create budgets? Rather to operate on an if-it's-needed-we-will-get-it operative? Or perhaps a make-savings-get-a-greater-dividend operative?


A Trick Question

Added together a bat and a ball cost a $1.10 in total. BY ITSELF, the bat costs $1.00 MORE than the ball. So how much does the ball cost BY ITSELF?

5c, because $1.05 is $1.00 more than the ball, and 5c and a $1.05 equals $1.10.

This question doesn't weigh so much on our intuition as on our tendency to read this as a simple subtraction problem and so come up with 10c rather than 5c for the cost of the ball.


The Pressure Of Public Scrutiny

The pressure of public scrutiny energises a particular exactness to our assertions.


The Humour In Malice

The humour in malice and intolerance (in bitchiness)… This is really no good thing.


Bad Blood

There's a certain type of person (the negative type) who always seems to take offense, and by doing so verbally, arouses bad blood. This person castigates those who, with goodwill, try to do them good only to have their good intentions interpreted ill, causing bad blood.

What is the good of this ill? There is none. It is sad. I don't think even the negator benefits from their negativity.


Time & Inclination

These two factors probably matter more than any other to what and how 'successful' our contribution is to any endeavour. I guess inclination is the more fundamental (in one sense), as if we're not inclined we will not commit the time.



I have finally joined BitTorrent. My tipping point? Having to pay NZ$2.39 for a single song on iTunes (You're The Man That I Want, Grease). Just ridiculous. First it was $1.50 a song, and now this.

It's just pure greed.

The more the net is regulated for business profit, the more prices will rise and options will narrow.


'Accept Nothing On Authority' – Royal Society Motto

This is a good motto, if only authority and its views weren't so monotonous at most academic institutions.



Maybe I'm wrong to make it fulfilment. Maybe understanding was right. Maybe that's not just my realised higher purpose, but the higher purpose of people in common… Maybe by broadening it to fulfilment I've left out the higher importance of understanding which is the consequence of fulfilment… Maybe fulfilment doesn't give enough direction…

Perhaps I should be more specific and make it understanding… Perhaps the difficulty with understanding is now a product of poor educational methods and not a broad enough concept of what understanding is? If a broad concept of understanding is made then perhaps it is not elitist or exclusionary…

But then I think there is still a much greater danger of misunderstanding, and a potential that all I would be doing is putting my work, my more specific purpose, above the general and common purpose of fulfilment without harm in which everyone can find a path. And this error is surely the error of most thinkers in the past.

Understanding is the primary outcome, among other outcomes, because we are primarily a thinking animal, above all other traits, and above all other animals. But that doesn't mean it is the primary means to fulfilment for every human being.


State Spending & Income Distribution

The current system of redistribution is controlled by government through state spending. This is poor. It should be distributed to all people to decide how they want to contribute and how central spending should be made.

In this current system of controls we need an income, and this means pleading to those who employ people doing work similar to our own, even if this means no longer being able to do the work we want to do (at least as often as we want.)

In a new system, there must still be some kind of guidance, some greater communication, and some kind of democratic institutions that can monitor and administer matters so that we all may operate without harm.


Permission To Attain An Income

We shouldn't have to request permission (or allowance) to do the work we want to do, but this is what our current system makes happen as, if one's wealth is not sufficient to give oneself an income, one must request one off someone else (and that may require one not doing what one wants to do, but what someone else wants one to do).


Everybody Likes A Show-Off

That seems to be the current situation – if you have a talent, demonstrate it clearly.

I make no judgement.


To Be The Best

You've got to strive to be the best at what you do. Our system should facilitate this flexibly.


Natural Rhythms

I am an incredibly seasonally, annually, monthly, weekly, daily affected person.

Natural rhythms affects me incredibly strongly. I can't work against them. I've got to work carefully with them.

There's definately something to these, but darned if I know what it is.

Give time for things to be done easily and naturally.


Can I Usefully Use The Tools Of Economists?

I need to tackle the arguments of economists using their own tools against them.

But I also need to show that the meanings of growth, productivity, work and value are changing and that there is more to our system than money, i.e. we need to change the priority of our system (fulfilment via contribution before money) and the pre-eminent measure (fulfilment, not money). With this aim, can I still use the tools of economists?

I guess the reason (for using these tools) to is to show how this is all relevant to what is the current concept of the economy. And I guess part of the reason I haven't is the fundamental difference between measuring dollars and measuring fulfilment – one is so much more important than the other. The other being what should be only a tool to help facilitate fulfilment.

There is a powerful superiority of economics over sociology, which is perverse given that sociology has the wider perspective and the higher purpose. Economics is the interpretation of society into monetary measures which matter to business and (perhaps because of this) are assumed to be far more practical, but sociology is the understanding of society (and our system) according to people (in which the measures are not necessarily dollars), and so, given that people should be first in our system, it should have the greater weight, but economics still trumps it, for now.


Fossil Fuels (Oil)

What's the issue with running out of fossil fuels?

It's not like it's going to be tomorrow and it's all gone.

The amount of fossil fuel is going to be monitored and prices and alternatives will arise. Eventually supplies will decline, but so will demand (as prices rise).

Fossil fuels are not like trees, we don't need them to provide oxygen. In fact, they seem to have no other use, and are not directly replaceable, except on massive timescales, before which we will be able to manufacture and utilise alternatives (and we already are).

The media should stop feeding the panic.


The Obviousness Of Sustainability

Everything has to be sustainable or it doesn't keep going, eventually it runs out of gas. But that's the definition of sustainable – isn't this already obvious?

We modify, we change and adjust to the conditions of the situation. That's what we've always done. That's what we do to be sustainable. If we don't do it, it's just dumb.

Let's take sustainability as a given requirement and move on to consider other things too, like operating without harm. Without harm incorporates sustainability, as when operating unsustainably causes harm, we change how we operate.


The Artificial Separation Between Business & People

There is something disquieting about the separation between businesses and individuals. But I suppose it's a necessity for the keeping of accurate accounts, particularly when these are shared.

With organisation must come transparency.


The Thinking Specialisation

Thinking is an element of every occupation, more or less. But thinkers specialise in it, just like only sportspeople specialise in sports, although we all do some form of sport to some degree.

Having said all this, knowledge is a factor of thinking that is derived from every occupation. Every occupation can benefit from a bit of thinking about how to improve what is does through method (technique) and mechanisation (technology).


Thinking Is Not The Greatest Occupation

The mistake that many thinkers make is to think that thinking is the highest form of occupation, and the most pleasurable and rewarding. This is true for thinkers, for them thinking is the best occupation, but it is not so for people who have greater talents in other areas.


Our Own Interpretation Of Events

We all put our own interpretation on events. Obviously this is psychology, we have to see ourselves in a positive light, if we don't, it can prove fatal.


Accept The Reality Of What Is Required To Make Change

Accept the reality of what is required to make change, even if that change is to what is required to make change.

On a fundamental level commitment and perseverance are requirements.

There is a reality more fundamental than the artificial constructs of a poor system. That reality requires commitment and perseverance whether or not the system works with that commitment or against it.


Internet In-Cerebral

Insert the internet in you head. Imagine internal direct access to the web. Then you would know everything yet known and could communicate with anyone also online in your head.


Discovery, Theory, Invention, Discovery, Theory, Invention…

Discovery is looking and finding.

Theory is thinking and proposing.

Invention is building technology.

Discoveries fuel new theories which fuel new inventions which fuel new discoveries which fuel new theories…

"An ingenious new tool triggers a cascade of new insights."
"In the past 10 years, new ways of gathering, analyzing, storing, and disseminating information have transformed science. Researchers generate more observations, more models, and more automated experimentation than ever before, creating a data-saturated world. The Internet has changed how science is communicated and given non-scientists new opportunities to take part in research. Whole new fields, such as network science, are arising, and science itself is becoming more of a network—more collaborative, more multidisciplinary—as researchers recognize that it takes many minds and varied expertise to tackle complex questions about life, land, and the universe."
SCIENCE, Stepping Away From The Trees For A Look At The Forest (17 Dec 2010)


Pursuing Corporate & High Income Tax Avoiders (UK)

There's probably something to this. Definitely in the UK.

Of course, in the US, many seem to think people on high incomes shouldn't pay tax at all, as they employ so many people (if they do) for which we must all be so very grateful.


Don't Feed The Trolls

If they can get a rise and rankle you, they've succeeded.


The Daily Mail Style

I like the writing style. Is there a measure by which the Guardian style, say, is any better (or worse) than The Daily Mail's?


Default To Sharing

This is what the web should be. Individuals are empowered when that is the default, because it empowers individual communication amongst the largest community.

Default to privacy advantages the silos, the controllers and the commanded collectives. Secrecy seeds power to controllers.

It is true that openness makes us vulnerable to those who punish it, those who demand secrecy. But when enough people are open and sharing, then openness and sharing is rewarded by being a part of that community, by participating in that sharing.

It is those who wish to falsely limit the supply of ideas in order to maintain their control over it for their own purposes of advantage, those people who are already, in the traditional world, in positions of power, that benefit from secrecy and seeding the fear of openness and sharing. We should resist this fear if we want freedom.

The privacy laws of the EU are mistaken. The web is right to default to sharing when it can. It's the way that information is used that should be protected – i.e. not harmfully – not that information be unavailable.