Another good graphic


The picture tells a story (click for link)

Is it true? Dunno. I guess so. Like this morning’s example, the graphic tells a story all by itself.

    What a good graphic!

    Sometimes a picture's worth a thousand words. Great to see a bit of perspective instead of 'The End is Nigh!' - style reporting. (image: NZ Herald)

    I like this graphic from the NZ Herald just now — it puts today’s small Official Cash Rate interest rate rise in perspective nicely. Well done.

    Here’s the story (if you care) at the NZ Herald.
    My only point was: This is a good use of graphics to communicate.

    That graph does remind me of the old sharemarket quote we used in one of Olly Newland’s books (The Day the Bubble Bursts 2nd ed., p32):

    The bull climbs up the stairs
    but the bear jumps out the window.

      Clarke and Dawe ask the million dollar questions

      Hilarious and TRUE … John Clarke and Bryan Dawe calculate the cost of the European debt crisis. (In the same ilk as John Bird and John Fortune and apropos our discussion re Europe here following Tony Alexander’s enews.)

      Clarke and Dawe on European economies ... (click to watch at ABC)


      Thanks to A for the tip.

        On the courthouse steps

        image: Emmerson via 'Red Alert' (click for link)

        My own meagre experience is that a court date focusses the mind of the ‘offending’ party.
        ‘Out-of-court settlement reached on the courthouse steps’ has acquired cliché status.

        So it seems to have been with Cabinet Minister Nick Smith who (finally, after five years) issued an apology to a company suing him for defamation over ‘incorrect’ comments he made about their timber product while still a footloose and fancy free Opposition spokesman.

        Apology from Nick Smith read to the court:

        “I apologise for having made public statements that did not fully represent the position in relation to TimberSaver. In particular, I now accept I overstated the risks associated with the use of TimberSaver; that the problems were with the marketing of timber, and ensuring the conditions of use were complied with, that were not primarily the responsibility of Osmose and that, as a result, some of the statements I made were incorrect and unfair to Osmose,” Nick Smith said (quoted in MP ‘delighted’ case settled out of court — NZ Herald).

        In other words: “I shot my mouth off and didn’t have the facts.” Oops.
        Too bad taxpayers had to contribute $209,000 to his ‘defence’. (Bloody ridiculous!)

        Lesson learned, do you think? I’m not sure.
        We discussed Nick’s slow learner status earlier. I think he’s what you could call ‘a resistant case’… as indicated by this follow-up self-serving gobbledygook statement issued afterwards:

        “Although I’ve been very grateful to have received $209,000 of public money from Parliamentary Service, given that the work involved my work as the then opposition spokesperson on building and construction. “The cost to me personally is in excess of what it has cost the public purse. Sometimes that’s the price for standing up for what you believe in,” he said.

        “…standing up for what you believe in” — riiiight, Nick.

        Oh, and the terms of the settlement are confidential. Surprise me. Why should they be?

        Nick Smith is not a hero, in my eyes, however he sees himself. But he is a whistle-blower, so kudos.

        The case highlights one of the interesting things about defamation — financial damages.
        Why the Osmose case was a defamation action worth pursuing is that it wasn’t just an issue of untrue statements leading to ‘hurt feelings’:

        “Osmose … alleged that statements made in July 2005 about the company’s surface-treated timber product, T1.2, destroyed the product’s reputation and the company lost more than $14 million in projected profit.

        So (a) untrue (‘incorrect’ as Nick Smith now admits) and (b) damaging — future profits destroyed by publication of the untrue statements.

        If the statements had been TRUE and the profits destroyed — too bad. It was the fact that they were untrue and, I suspect the pugnacious Nick Smith (still clinging to the ‘standing up for what I believe in’ — even if it’s untrue!) apparently until today refused to put it right and issue a correction. (Easy to be gung-ho, Nick, with taxpayer funding — albeit just a subsidy.)

        I discussed some related issues with respect to an in-some-ways similar case at PropertyTalk in a post entitled ‘Better to die on your feet that live on your knees‘ which was prompted by threats against a whistle-blower. Continue reading →

          Looking good … design is almost everything

          Apple iPhone 4 — looks like they've done it again ... (click to read about the design - WATCH THE VIDEO)

          Oh boy. They’ve made obsolete their own product … which was, if you ask me, the ‘secret’ of their success with the iPod: never resting on their own laurels, always pressing forward.

            What a book!

            Well. I’ve just spent much of the holiday weekend devouring this book: Race of a Lifetime: How Obama Won the White House (Mark Halperin and John Heilemann)

            The review extracts on the jacket promised me ‘Absolutely gripping’ and ‘Fantastically detailed …incendiary’ and ‘Sleazy, personal, intrusive, shocking — and compulsive.”

            All true.

            If you’re interested in US politics, and you haven’t yet, READ IT. Brilliant.

            Here’s a review from the Observer which focuses on one aspect of the account, the political ‘love story’ between Obama and Hillary Clinton.

              Worth reading …

              We construct the history of our wisdom
              only by burying our foolishness in the endnotes.

              From a very good essay sparked by the Gaza aid boat raids…

              Chosen, but Not Special

              By MICHAEL CHABON
              NY Times | June 4, 2010

              “GAZA Flotilla Drives Israel Into a Sea of Stupidity” declared the Israeli daily Haaretz on Monday, as though announcing the discovery of some hitherto unknown body of water. Citizens of other nations have long since resigned themselves, of course, to sailing those crowded waters, but for Israelis — and, indeed, for Jews everywhere — this felt like headline news.

              Read it at the NY Times

              Of all the anthropomorphic hat-wearing cartoon bears who consistently overestimate their own intelligence, Yogi Bear is probably the one that deserves his own film the most. (image: - click for link)

              We ALL see ourselves as clever, insightful, good drivers, more virtuous, smarter-than-the-average-bear … or in words of The News from Lake Woebegone: “… where all the children are above average.”

              Chabon makes the point well that this overestimation is, at best, rooted in selective attention and memory. It reminds me of the in-group/out-group discussion we had last year about the sources of conflict …

                Keeping things in perspective

                A nice bit of (historical) perspective, and reminder just how truly corrupt the Nixon administration was …

                Nixon — political combat to the point of crime ('If the President does it, it's not a crime.' Oh yeah?) image:

                No, this isn’t “Watergate” (and never will be)

                Republicans have fantasized about a Democratic “Watergate” for decades. Can they still remember the real thing?
                by Joe Conason |

                As Conason points out, shallow comparisons are often trotted out by people who offer weak argument in the absence of facts. They try to group things together that don’t belong together, to equate people or organisations that are different. They sometimes use a misleading shorthand which, effectively, aims to deceive.

                His final line is a hoot too:

                So perhaps the time has come to amend or extend Godwin’s Law:
                The first to cry ” Watergate” loses the argument.


                  No hard feelings – present some facts


                  I know the spruikers I take aim at here now and then feel hard done by. So do some of their fans.

                  I’m sorry for their hurt feelings. I really am. But the way I see it, they make their own bed and lie in it (— or lie from it, one could say). Actions have consequences.

                  Some of those mentioned have made their feelings known privately and publicly, and their outrage about the outrage (to quote Lewis Black) and intimidatory behaviour and threats have seen some censorship and retraction lately. (Not here.)

                  Bullyboys will give it a try whenever they sense weakness — remember the Marshmallow Theory?

                  Sometimes, as we have discussed before, the targets of criticism will, instead of considering whether there’s any legitimacy to the points being made, or raising a fair and reasoned argument, simply try to thump or abuse their critics. Sometimes they, or their anonymous glovepuppets or secret alter-egos will merely make false allegations in an attempt to smear the critic. That happens a lot.

                  To demonstrate what I mean, here’s a recent example from the comment thread at (It followed Managing editor Bernard Hickey quoting from this post on which responded to comments prompted by Gareth Kiernan’s article.)

                  by Anonymous – 30 May 10, 3:27am
                  it’s interesting to see Peter Aranyi commenting on this blog (and in numerous of his own posts) about Dean being a “spruker” when his Empower Education business does exactly the same thing? now am i [sic] the only one to think that hypercritical? [sic] The only difference between Dean and Peter is that Dean can actually get people to his event and Peter couldn’t event [sic] get his own mum to come list [sic] to his event..

                  Charming, don’t you think? These poorly drafted and factually incorrect comments — anonymous, naturally, and posted at 3.27 am! — popped up as a Google alert a day or so later… so I replied thus — in my own name:

                  by Peter Aranyi – 02 Jun 10, 10:17pm

                  What a novelty: an anonymous commenter accusing me of being a bad ‘hypercritical’ person.

                  Anonymous 3.27am, your tired old ‘Peter’s just the same as those he criticises’ schtick doesn’t cut it, I’m sorry to tell you. Empower Education doesn’t sell property — unlike your hero, property spruiker (note spelling) Dean Letfus.

                  I’d be curious to see any evidence or justification for your comment that EE does ‘exactly the same thing’. Your claim is nonsense.

                  Here are just three easy to find examples of offers Dean Letfus made to his ‘students’ (source: his website):

                  Dean Letfus selling sections in Fiji:

                  Coral Lagoon ~ Last Chance!!

                  Hi there.
                  I promised you one final chance to get in on this Fiji development. Well here is the info.
                  Continue reading →

                    What ‘letting it slide’ can cost you

                    From a review of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ appearance at a recent tech Q&A:

                    Jobs acknowledged that the next-generation iPhone photographed by Gizmodo was circulating as a part of the normal testing of wireless products. “To make a wireless product work well you need to test it. You have to carry them outside. One of our employees was carrying one. There’s a debate about whether he left it in a bar, or it was stolen out of his bag,” he said. “This is a story that’s amazing — it’s got theft, it’s got buying stolen property, it’s got extortion, I’m sure there’s some sex in there… the whole thing is very colorful. Somebody should make a movie out of this.”

                    Jobs said that although he was advised to lay off Gizmodo in the aftermath of the story’s publication, he decided to pursue the matter out of principle. “When this whole thing with Gizmodo happened, I got a lot of advice from people that said you’ve got to just let it slide. ‘You shouldn’t go after a journalist because they bought stolen property and tried to extort you.’

                    And I thought deeply about this, and I concluded the worst thing that could happen is if we change our core values and let it slide. I can’t do that. I’d rather quit.”
                    — Full review by Jason Snell at MacWorld

                    Not that I am comparing myself with Steve Jobs, but — I relate to that about core values.

                    Sometimes one feels compelled to make a stand, pursue a point, stick with exposing an important issue — despite a chorus of “Let it slide” from well-intentioned advisors (or gatekeepers, in the case of PropertyTalk). But, as Jobs points out, caving in is actually the worst thing you can do — it compromises your core values, damages your integrity.

                    Enough said.

                    * Video below the fold from AllThingsDigital Continue reading →

                      Get it off your chest, I say. It’s better.

                      Samuel Langhorne Clemens 'Mark Twain' (1835-1910)

                      From an interesting article about the soon-to-be-released first volume of Mark Twain’s full autobiography — which he instructed not to be published for 100 years after his death (which is now):

                      “There is a perception that Twain spent his final years basking in the adoration of fans. The autobiography will perhaps show that it wasn’t such a happy time. He spent six months of the last year of his life writing a manuscript full of vitriol, saying things that he’d never said about anyone in print before. It really is 400 pages of bile.” — historian Laura Trombley.

                      I reckon he’d have been better getting it off his chest earlier — telling the truth (as he saw it) as he went along.
                      What do you think?

                        Interesting discussion about crediting sources

                        How The Mainstream Media Stole Our News Story Without Credit

                        by DANNY SULLIVAN on JUNE 1, 2010

                        Thanks to Bernard Hickey who tweeted it this morning.

                          The Introduction ends…

                          Return to the Rental…

                          Well, it is done; safe or not.  If I can get this over and done with before June and I’ll be back in the Hamptons just as the summer begins – only a few important parties missed.  In June, the real party season begins, boating, drinking, mingling and women.  If I’m to be successful in my new life (living off exnzpat’s money) I’ll need to make the right acquaintances with the right connections – to do otherwise – well, that would be foolish.  I must take the opportunity while I have it.

                          There was a little more wrangling than I had expected but with the last signature from exnzpat’s physiatrist in hand I made an appointment with a judge and my little excursion with exnzpat was approved.

                          Leaving the judicial chambers behind me I walked across the park to the Council offices to secure a deputy to guard exnzpat while we did our business at the rental.  Entering the building I ran right smack-dab into Becky.  Her long brown hair was pulled back behind her head in an untidy pony tail.  She was wearing a garishly colored dress with fish on it.  She was, as I remembered, striking.

                          “Hi… where have you been?  I haven’t seen you for months.” While she said it sweetly enough a frown of concern creased her pretty forehead.  Not waiting for me to answer she burst out, “you look so thin – are you eating right?”

                          “Sure, I’ve been working out – on a regular basis.”  I boasted.  Continue reading →

                            Google ditches MS Windows after security breaches

                            Google to employees: ‘Mac or Linux, but no more Windows’

                            by Michael Rose |  TUAW on May 31st, 2010 [US time]

                            We first heard rumors of this policy change a couple of months ago, but now it’s made the papers: the Financial Times is reporting that Google is phasing out the use of Windows internally, as employees are migrated to either Linux or Mac OS X on machine turnovers or new hires. The policy change was precipitated in large part by the security breach attributed to Chinese hackers; Google’s IT leaders apparently feel that Microsoft’s OS represents too great a risk across the enterprise to leave it in place.

                            The story says that in January, subsequent to the security breaches, Windows installations on desktop computers were no longer allowed, although laptops were still eligible for Windows at the employee’s discretion. Many Google staffers, however, were already heading for the Mac as a security measure, and at this point things have been pretty well laid down in stone: “Getting a new Windows machine now requires CIO approval,” according to one anonymous Googler quoted by the FT.

                            Read on at TUAW

                            Financial TImes story

                            Watch out for an official denial/clarification any minute. (But I think it’s true, and based on experience. Bad experience.)

                              Stephen Fry on the joys of swearing

                              I agree with this:

                              “The kind of people who say swearing is the sign of a poor vocabulary,
                              usually have a pretty poor vocabulary themselves.” — Stephen Fry.

                              Click to watch video after the jump or 'more..'

                              That said, I’ve seen the real ‘shock’ effect an outburst of hot, emphatic ‘foul’ language can have on people, including kids — but it’s the intent and tone, I think, rather than the words themselves that can have that impact, in my view. Nasty, cutting remarks or bullying abuse are quite a separate thing to using ‘naughty words’.

                              My wife tells me there’s research that indicated swearing increases one’s tolerance for pain — women in childbirth etc. I don’t know about that, but it sounds right. Continue reading →