Sunday, March 28, 2010

Today's Photo -- "Hills above the sea"

A fascinating effect which only lasted for a minute or two, at least after I saw and photographed it...

Cost effectiveness and the Benefit

The recent story about a woman who returned to the DPB becuase the job, instead of improving her situation, cost her income suggests to me that the 'minimum wage' needs to be more than the benefit.

One can use this as an argument to reduce the DPB but that is inhumane abuse.

The solution as I see it is to ensure that abatements do not cut in so quickly or severely. So that it is definitely worth the persons getting off the benefit.

The problem with this is the petty mindedness of those who think somebody is on a good lurk ... They well may be from some peoples viewpoint but when one is concerned at the amount of government money going on benefits one should estimate which will cost less, a whole benefit or just part of one subsidising a persons efforts.

Sadly this has been the situation for decades through both left and right-wing governments. From the small mindedness I read in papers and now blogs I doubt if progress will be made ... but one can dream and hope for a good solution.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Whose Country is it?

The far-right extremists have gone into conniptions.

The bullying, threats, and acts of violence following the passage of health care reform have been shocking, but they’re only the most recent manifestations of an increasing sense of desperation.
read on ...

Personally I think it is all rather sad.

Friday, March 26, 2010

More of it .....

I thought health care was going to be "Waterloo". Now it's "Armageddon". Can these guys just make up their minds?

If you can't cry it is best to laugh

Some of the humour .....With a lack of knowledge of American history I miss some of it ... enjoy ....

You might be a Republican if:

you're afraid to buy a cup of coffee without a side arm.

you think there were dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden.

you believe we shouldn't have universal health care because God doesn't want us to.

you think the guy who flew into the IRS building "had a point".

you don't know, or don't want children to know, that Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

you didn't know why people were laughing at the designation "tea bagging".

you like Michele Bachmann for her fine mind.

you think Sarah Palin is just gosh darn cute enough to be president.

A reply to the assinine right on Lindsay Mitchells blog

In case it gets moderated out unlike the silly folk who usually inhabit that 'rabbit' blog .....

America screwed the British Empire and bleed her dry in the first years of WWII. Now they are screwing themselves with their extravagent living relying on Asian money to feed their absurd lifestyle.

The foolish scaremongering of the American right and their toadies in NZ is a national disgrace and helps to promote the views of Dirk. Over the years I have spent months in the United States and with a few exceptions found them to be pretty much as I find people in NZ. Except due to the size of the country they are very insular compared to people in small countries like NZ.

The ironical thing is that with the new bill America has not followed the UK, NZ and various other countries into a government run healthcare system ... mores the pity ... but has adopted the Swiss concept which probably is the best the world can expect given the absurd and old worldly concepts of freedom they espouse.

The fearful stories one hears about State Healthcare are mostly hogwash and fabrication by foolish irresponsible people such as KG who scaremonger deliberately ignoring the truth of the subject with ridiculous untruths mixed with enough truth to fool the less knowledgable.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The scream of the American Right

The wailing and knashing of teeth as the American right attack the new Healthcare legislation of Obama ....This reminds me of the screaming child just out of the womb. Obama seems to have delivered America into the circle of civilised nations who look after their sick.

Though sadly instead of creating a genuine healthcare system he has forced the American people into the hands of the con merchants, the insurance companies. This is maybe the only way the Americas would accept their human responsibilities to their fellow man, and hopefully will work for them. I think it is similar to the Swiss approach to the subject. Though according to DPF {Kiwiblog] it is in direct contrast to some provinces of Canada where private health insurance is illegal.

It would be wonderful if that was the case in New Zealand and those contributions went into the general pool instead of paying for priority treatment with care being provided as required and as facilties were available by both private and public hospitals. So public and doctors had the opportunity, the freedom, to work be helped in the system of choice. Then we would see if the bureaucratic system of the public hospitals was really neccessary.

I am firmly of the opinion that the only satisfactory system is for healthcare to be funded by government, or SOE, supported by contributions on a 'whole of life' basis, though scaled to income, rather than the confidence trick operated by companies of low premiums when you are likely to be well and high when you are likely to be sick.

Frankly while I accept and support some of the right's commonsense views I think that the extremists are utterly sick in their mindset as they attack Obama on the basis of freedom. Being required to contribute to one's own healthcare instead of squandering it on high living and becoming a burden on one's fellow man seems to be the only sensible solution as the world gets crowded beyond the immagination of the original freedom fighters/thinkers of past centuries.

Freedom to polute the world, to go where one wills was a fine sentiment in previous centuries but is completely impracticable with the current world population with emerging nations struggling to match the wasteful extravagences of the 'West' where a small proportion of the world consumes/wastes most of the world resources.

As a child one learns the norms of fitting into one's family, the sensible restrictions our parents put on us for their welfare and that of their neighbours in the home building and elsewhere ... a concept sadly missing in many cases illustrated by the noisy children in supermarkets and aeroplanes ... and in my case yesterday in a Post Shop as I waited to pay my creditcard account

So must adults learn to show consideration for thir fellow man, however revolting they may be, to moderate their behaviour to make room for the current population on earth. There is no meaningful getting off available. One of the important aspects is controlling the results of our desire to propagate so that hopefully before amagedon arrives we reduce world population to something it can support without self-destruction.

So the 'right' are obviously the barbarians of the 21st century and must be restrained from gaining control of our societies here on earth. It is a matter of self preservation and common sense.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tricking a P&S into getting a shot of the moon

The thought crossed my mind that apart from the average P&S doesn't have a long enough zoom/reach to get a good shot of the moon just how could it be done.

The main problem is that the moon is a small but bright object, see an earlier thread on moon shots,surrounded by a large expanse of black. The camera metering system is designed to work out an average of the light captured by the whole frame ... so the little bright object gets over exposed ... and HOW!

There is a useful trick that one can use for various reasons with most if not all digital cameras, and some automatic film cameras I guess. This is the 'half-trigger' technique where you show the camera something and press half trigger. The camera sets exposure and focus and if you continue to hold the half trigger you can point the camera elsewhere and then fully press the trigger for the shot. Focus and exposure will be as 'pre-set' and not for the recorded subject. I frequently use this technique to avoid going into manual mode when 'exposing to the right' to avoid burnt out skies.

So for the moon ... if one held a cigarette lighter or lit match close in front of the lens the exposure might correct for the bright object which is the moon but focus would be all to hell. So in addition to the light source you need a close-up lens to make the camera think the light is at infinity. [ a x10 plastic magnifying glass such as I have could do this job ] Holding HT you put the light and CU lens away and point at the moon and get a nicely exposed and sharp shot.

Today's Photo -- "My first IR"

My first IR taken with my Canon P&S, the s20, a simple but great little camera. Suprisingly sharp considering that the exposure was one second and hand held. I remembering reading Larry Bolch, the Canadian photographer, writing that he could handhold long exposures like 1/5th steadier than faster 1/30th ones. Must be you take more care when you think it is not going to work.

Film Review "The Road" "Girl with Dragon Tat"

I am a bit deaf and deficient in higher frequency hearing, one of the rewards of getting old. So often it seems people are mumbling in their beards even when they don't have any growth, like femals speakers. So my preference is to go to films with sub-titles and I recently got a clue that when you hire a DVD you can select sub-titles, even english ones. So when I confirm this as a fact I may well buy a DVD player. I have a DVD player in my computer but it doesn't read all DVDs so the only time I tried I was dissappointed. Anyway to the films ....

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is a Swedish film with sub-titles by a NZ outfit AAV or something. A bit disturbing that they let the sub-titles run over cuts quite often. But the story was a modern Mrs Peel if you remember her from long long ago.
It is strange that I thought I had missed it a good month or more ago and it is still running admittedly it was a 5.20pm screening. The small cinema was over half full, a rare event these days and largely seemed to be middle aged women ... interesting demographics .. is that the right word?

Well worth seeing with a 'modern woman' dressed in black leather and rings in her nose, more than my grand-daughter has. But the Character was 24 and GD is only 17 so give her time. Both are slim and elegant in an offbeat way. Dragon girl is a computer wizz able to hack and works for a security firm. She has a Guru for computers who reminded me of my Guru who guided me until he left the country.
Won't tell you any more about the film except it has some grusome sequences well handled along with sex scenes which didn't disturb this easilly embarrased old man.
So great twists and I am reminded of Jack Reacher in the Lee Child's books ... talking about an old gun-slinger in the West "He never shot anybody who didn't deserve to die". There is a sequel to Dragon Girl which I'm looking forward to.

"The Road" tells the story, I guess pretty harrowing, of a man and his young son following so unspecified apocolypse event which had destroyed American civilisation. Fortunately I missed most of the mumbling dialog but becuase I was trapped at the wrong end of my row of seats I sat through it ALL. I'm sure if I could have heard the dialog I would have left the cinema in desparation ... that sums it up pretty well :-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The horse/cow has bolted

Reading WEB Griffin's book black op I found the characters talk about 'the cow is out of the shed' rather than horses out of the stable.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Today's Photo -- "Glenwood Canyon"

Glenwood Canyon to the west of Denver. The Colorado River flows through the canyon on its way south. I also saw an AMTRAK train and had and would travel through the valley by AMTRAK on this and susequent visits to the States.
The blurred people you can see had the camera that I wasn't using for this photo so we had an interesting chat about the good points of the Panasonic FZ 10/20. This was before the FZ30 and then FZ50 came out I was using my Nikon 5700 for infra-red as the Panasonic has too strong an ir cutting filter to be satisfactory.

How lucky we are!

Reading this morning in the New York Times a story about a doctor having to give away a patient suffering from cancer becuase the Medicaid payments to doctors had been cut in the state of Ohio, and other places too I expect.

It seems that the reduced payments simply do not cover the administration costs of the practice. From my American doctor source I gather that if you have a good balance of insurance covered patients you can afford to deal with a few medicaid patients. But this Ohio doctor cannot have enough full fee paying patients to make ends meet in the practice, so he cannot afford to spend time on medicaid patients.

There is a major cost for any american doctor and that is malpractice insurance which quoted in the article at around $43T is much more than many have to live on, quite a lot I'd guess in Ohio with cutbacks over the years of industry. My informant told me he was paying around what a superanuient gets to live on here in New Zealand.

So we are very lucky that a person by the name of Woodhouse came up with our Accident Compensation scheme, messed around by subsequent politicians but at least still basically a worth while arrangement. Abused by some as they found loopholes but I guess that is to be expected with any scheme. It is a human characteristic to look out for oneself in the short term, be they capitalist or socialist, it just reveals itself in differing opportunities. The boss tries to screw the worker and he returns the compliment.

So for all the problems we have here I think we are lucky to have the system of medical care and accident coverage that we have.

Children in Public

I remember a popular panel speaker saying that "Children should be seen and not heard ... and preferably not seen either" A bit extreme the punch line but I think the first is a valid attitude.

These days, and for several generations, it has been 'normal' to tend to ignore people other than oneself and if ours disturb others the concept it that it is 'the others' problem. Consideration for others seems to have gone out the door and we have children flying in planes making a racket and somebody who makes a comment about them to a freind, but is overheard ... shades of stage whispers perhaps ... is crucified as being un reasonable.

Then it turns out that the husband/ father was sitting beside the commentor and apparently doing nothing to keep the children happy and quiet ... that's womens' business anyway.

Side issues like one part is Labour and the other ACT add nuencess to story.

But it all boils down to bad parenting and unbringing of children rampant these days when corporal punishment is an offence and children are simply permitted to run wild and un controlled and thereby not taught to have consideration for others when out of the home environment.

Friday, March 5, 2010

An inept solution

It is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted this suggestion that those involved in abusing and killing their unwanted offspring should be paid to undergo sterilisation. A parrallel suggestion is that those on the DPB should be required to practice contraception to avoid prolonging their time on the benefit by having more children. Since contraception is the killing of a life form there seems to be a moral conflict there.

For years now, in good times and bad, I have been puzzled and dis-approving of the dole-bludger bashers. Everybody looks out for themselves and we have a society which enables some to choose to stay at home and look after children by providing an income to sustain them in that endeavour ... some suggest it is too generous but I'm not sure it is in most cases. Those who complain about paying tax to support these people are so selfish and I wonder how they would get one if there were no benefits and we had a mass of people scrabbling to make a living and forcing down wages for those fortunate to have a job. The insecurity it would create for everybody.

Living in different universes

Paul Krugman the ecconomist in his weekly NYT Op-Ed column talks about how the left and the right are living in completely different universes, interlectually and morally, with their approach to everything Congress and the Senate are discussing.

It strikes me that something similar is occuring in various blogs I read based here in New Zealand.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Photo for today -- "Ford"

This is a small stream which flows into the Colorado River just east of Glenwood Canyon[?]. A bit 'cluttered' for a photo but it appealed to me at the time.