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Musings from the shed.

Rob Elshire

Let's talk about whether Democrats and Republicans are the same.... - YouTube

In which Beau talks about how changing society begins with changing thought.

Rob Elshire

The right-to-repair movement has even bigger plans for 2021 - Protocol

Now for something positive. The right-to-repair movement is gaining ground in various ways - including winning recent ballot measures which deal to Tesla. Go mates, go!

Rob Elshire

1/3 of New Zealand homes have winter temperatures under 64F/18C | MetaFilter

Come back to this. Add links to previous related articles. Change to wayback machine in a week.

Previously, previously

Rob Elshire

How the oil industry made us doubt climate change

Via Slashdot.

The decades long attack on science and intellectualism has far reaching consequences. We are seeing it in the COVID-19 deniers. The 5G conspiracists. The Anti-Vaxxers. Very, very sad and very, very dangerous.


Rob Elshire

Systemic change to address workplace bullying

Unfortunately, this is just not at all surprising. I have heard about it from friends and colleagues the whole time I've been here. I also experienced bullying first hand during my employment at a CRI and post employment from people at that CRI. People have valid reasons to worried about their careers if they speak up. Bullies are shielded. Even when they are the CEO.

The article links to a paper from MBIE. In that paper, people are asked to make submissions by March 2021 to MBIE. Given what I have found with MBIE, this is not really encouraging. Maybe someone should see what their plan / process is, if any.


Rob Elshire

VAUGHN DAVIS: Bearing Barnett’s burden: why businesses have plenty to be proud about | BusinessDesk

We are small business owners too. The pandemic caused a massive slowdown in work this year. The people who are whining about the effects on business (as if it were monolithic), are dismissive of those businesses who are nimble and pivot, and those who plan for contingencies with sufficient rainy day funds.

Clearly, there will be businesses that fail. Some of them rely on paying and treating their workers poorly (i.e. exploitation). I have no sympathy for those businesses or their owners. Others will  succumb to changes in the market, which will inevitably happen. Others still, will adjust and come out okay. New business will also emerge.

This article speaks about those who are making it work. Great to see this for a change.

Rob Elshire

Guidelines for human gene nomenclature | Nature Genetics

The above article came through via this news story: Scientists rename human genes to stop Microsoft Excel from misreading them as dates.  The main issue here is that scientists are using the wrong tool. Just because Microsoft Excel works with data in tables does not mean it should be used for all data that comes in tables. It is bad enough that making manipulations via point-and-click software is inherently not reproducible, but on top of that Excel changes the data automatically to suit itself.

The solution to this problem is to change the way genes are named so that researchers can carry on using the wrong tool doing science that is not reproducible. The secondary issue is that the `Guidelines for human gene nomenclature' (the standard for naming human genes) is available only to those who can afford it -- either by being part of a large institution with a subsciption or renting / buying the article if you are not.

More via MetaFilter.

Rob Elshire

In the Wake of George Floyd’s Murder, the Image of Colin Kaepernick Kneeling Goes Viral Again | Vogue

Heartbreaking this SNAFU. The Vogue article below shows that America should be ashamed of itself.


Lebron James Instagram

Lebron James via Instagram

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

-- President John F. Kennedy


Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey from an NBC interview.

"What we've seen over the last two days ... is the result of so much built-up anger and sadness," he told reporters. "Anger and sadness that has been ingrained in our black community, not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years.”


Minneapolis riots after George Floyd's murder.

Minneapolis riots after George Floyd's murder by police officer.


Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.

-- President Donald J. Trump via twitter


Trump offers gasoline as a solution. We know what to expect from his supporters. The ruling class benefits from pitting groups of people against one another. Social justice movements work for everyone. Black Lives Matter is a social justice movement. So is the Palestinian led BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) movement.

To the Christians who talk about what 'those people' should and should not do, maybe you could consider this:

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

King James Bible Mathew 25:40


Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

King James Bible Galations 6:2

This person, with a clear understanding of what systemic oppression does , who for decades has put these words into action was my best hope for change in the United States.


Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders arrested while protesting housing discrimination.

Would that life in the US in 2020 reflected the words of the Rolling Stones.

You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need

Unfortunately, it is NWA's music that is appropriate, still.

Rob Elshire

Unsent Letter to the Editor -- Indianapolis Star

3 min read

It is a rainy autumnal Sunday in Palmerston North.With the granny smith apples ripe and ready, it is a good day for pie making. We are under level 3 lock down for at least another week and a half, so we are not going anywhere today. Our government has been using science and the advice of trained professionals as they determine their response to the pandemic. Their actions, with the cooperation of a team of 5 million, are working. We have flattened the curve and may be on track to eliminate the virus in Aotearoa.

Yes, there are acute and will be long standing economic effects. For example, international tourism has ceased. When the borders will open again is unknown. At the same time, we all have access to health care (always). The central government provided 12 weeks of wage subsidies right as the lock down was announced. These were not loans. Additional economic support has been promised. As has a plan to change our economy to rely less on just a few industries.

This is not to say that the situation has been easy. It has not. Many are having a very difficult time of it. There is much uncertainty about the future. What will the new normal look like? Even so, a huge majority of the population supports the government and their decisions.

Meanwhile, things look very different in Indiana where I was born. See this article from 1 May 2020.

'A little bit of science' and 'a little bit of art': Holcomb gives plan to reopen Indiana

This archive link for when the above is no longer accessible.

This quote from the article says it all:

Duncan Lemp, 28, of Grant County, said he favored opening the economy completely now.

"Hoosiers are smart. Don’t treat us like we’re stupid," he said. "We already know social distancing. Trust the public. Give the people the choice to work. If they get sick, it’s on them."

Mr. Lemp seems to be the product of trickle down ignorance. The number of new cases each day continues to increase. There is no indication that the state has this under control or that they are doing enough testing to have accurate counts. It is likely to be much worse than they think it is.

Governor Holcomb might be better off using a lot of science. Instead, he is allowing religious services with no restrictions on gathering sizes starting May 8.  This is sooner than hair salons, and most restaurants (all of which have limitations on capacity).  Priorities are clear.

A lot of uncecessary deaths are on the horizon. Please tell me how the economy will be better for it and why in the world the economy is more important than peoples' physical and mental well being.

My pie is done and it is glorious. On to some chewy oatmeal bickies. Then a nice roast chicken with mexican rice. We are safe, healthy, and in a place lead by smart, humane, and competent people. BTW our prime minister is an agnostic 39 year old unwed mother full of compassion and strength. Priorities matter.

Rob Elshire