Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Hobbes Watch

Without going into too much detail, this one would be about people that quote 17th Century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes out of context, and say stupid things about workplace accidents making life 'nasty, brutish and short'. Simon Power, for instance. It doesn't make you look clever.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Benefits of Paying Interest

Interest is a charge an individual pays for the use of borrowed funds. When a person enter repayment they not only have to pay the principal (sum initially borrowed) but also an extra fee of interest on that borrowed money. 

Particularly, the interest rate (l/m) is a percent of principal (P) paid a certain amount of times (m) per period (generally quoted per annum).

Benefits of Paying Interest
Making payments on your interest notice can reduce the amount of interest that will capitalize when your account enters repayment. Because less or no interest will be computed to your original loan amount, your monthly payment will be a smaller amount.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Just Lose

Just Lose It is the first single from Eminem's fifth studio album Encore and was later included on his 2005 compilation album, Curtain Call: The Hits. The song caused controversy as its lyrics and music video parodies Michael Jackson, who was being accused of child molestation at the time.

 The song also pokes fun at Beavis/Cornholio, MC Hammer, Madonna and others. It also heavily spoofs Pee-wee Herman, going as far as imitating his signature shout during the chorus and Eminem dressing like him in the video. The song reached number one in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, and number six in the United States. Despite charting high, the song did not perform as well as his two previous lead singles, "The Real Slim Shady" and "Without Me".

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Interest is a fee paid by a borrower of assets to the owner as a form of compensation for the use of the assets. It is most commonly the price paid for the use of borrowed money, or money earned by deposited funds.

When money is borrowed, interest is typically paid to the lender as a percentage of the principal, the amount owed to the lender. The percentage of the principal that is paid as a fee over a certain period of time (typically one month or year) is called the interest rate. A bank deposit will earn interest because the bank is paying for the use of the deposited funds. Assets that are sometimes lent with interest include money, shares, consumer goods through hire purchase, major assets such as aircraft, and even entire factories in finance lease arrangements. The interest is calculated upon the value of the assets in the same manner as upon money.

Interest is compensation to the lender, for a) risk of principal loss, called credit risk; and b) forgoing other investments that could have been made with the loaned asset. These forgone investments are known as the opportunity cost. Instead of the lender using the assets directly, they are advanced to the borrower. The borrower then enjoys the benefit of using the assets ahead of the effort required to pay for them, while the lender enjoys the benefit of the fee paid by the borrower for the privilege. In economics, interest is considered the price of credit.

Interest is often compounded, which means that interest is earned on prior interest in addition to the principal. The total amount of debt grows exponentially, and its mathematical study led to the discovery of the number e.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Interest Graph

The Interest Graph refers to the specific and varied interests that form one’s personal identity, and the attempt to connect people based on those interests. On an individual scale, this means the different things one person is interested in—be it jogging, celebrity gossip, or animal rights—that make up their likes and dislikes, and what has more meaning to them over someone else. On a broader scale, it’s the way those interests form unspoken relationships with others who share them, and expand to create a network of like-minded people.

Contrary to the Social Graph, which subsists of the network of people you know personally, the Interest Graph consists of the network of people who share interest with you, but who you don’t necessarily know personally. While the Social Graph, which was popularized by Facebook, has been touted by Mark Zuckerberg as making it so that “groups and applications can achieve enormous growth”, others are starting to question its limitations in connecting people in a meaningful way.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Editing the Listener

I wrote in a previous post of the now defunct New Zealand Listener. Astute readers will know that I am either profoundly ignorant, woefully out of touch with the New Zealand media landscape, or prone to the occasional bout of irony, especially when it regards said media landscape.

In that comment, I was alluding to the decline of New Zealand's favourite, once centre-left journal, presided over by one Pamela Stirling. As a teenager, I was an avid reader of that magazine, and in many ways it played a formative role as I began to develop an intellectual and critical perspective on New Zealand and world politics and cultures, insofar as I can be said to have one. It has a long history of political engagement from a leftist perspective, and covered a wide range of issues that were important locally and globally with integrity. Some people found it boring and predictable, but their opinions on the Listener are just about as relevant as my opinions on the NBR.

In 2004, Finlay MacDonald stood down as editor to do god-knows-what, and was replaced by Pamela Stirling. Under Stirling, the Listener has become a lifestyle magazine, regularly covering such hot issues as New Zealand house prices ("when will the bubble burst??"), aging remedies for baby-boomers, which schools are the best value for money, and more crap about the health of baby-boomers. Pretty much all media in New Zealand is dreadful, and (with honourable exceptions such as Di Wichtel) Stirling did a fine job in making it a little worse.

I'm not going to mention the abominable Joanne Black or that twat Bill Ralston, because it's too depressing and nobody reads what they write anyway. I just want to point out one of the stupid things I saw when I picked up the issue I found sitting on the coffee table the day I returned to Auckland after a year and a bit overseas. Jane Clifton's weekly 'Politics' column began with the claim that "almost overnight, we're having to realise that, beyond a certain point, governments can't do much for us. They are all powerless and clueless in the face of both the global credit crisis and the possibility of a pandemic, of which swine flu is just the latest menance" -- just as our forebears had to experience the bubonic plague as a fact of life, so we too have to endure these things, because governments just can't do that much about it.

This is, on the face of it, a ridiculous claim. We will start by noting that western societies don't often face the bubonic plague these days, and have eradicated many once endemic and extremely destructive diseases. Their success in doing this was not accidental, was not luck, and certainly wasn't decided by the market, but was in fact due to government programmes, be they in immunisation or in quarantine to prevent the spread of diseases. This recent Swine Flu to which Clifton alludes, if it was to be a pandemic, has thus far at least been contained by a concerted global effort of government organisations. Schools have been closed throughout the United States, whole cities in Mexico have shut down, and nice people at the Auckland airport asked me if I was feeling well as I walked towards customs. It's not a coincidence, and although the capacity to carry diseases over great distances at great speed has increased dramatically over the past 40 years of commercial air travel, the coercive power of the state, its techniques around quarantine, and its ability to administer vaccines are also extremely effective.

Likewise, the recession. It is true that the New Zealand government could have done little to prevent the recession, and it's also true that New Zealand's economy is so intertwined with the fortunes of global markets that there's little National can do (which is fortunate, because it seems there's so little that they want to do), but similar events in the past suggest that it is, in fact, possible for governments to do things to recover. Indeed, not undoing one of the things that that government did would have been a good thing to have done, or not done, to prevent the current mess, if you follow me.

Now, despite her relationship with a senior National MP, I don't mean to insinuate that Clifton's column is part of some right-wing conspiracy to manipulate the chattering classes into supporting the Government's laissez-faire approach to economic practice at a time when it seems like an especially bad idea (I was going to find a link to a comment that suggests that there are people that would easily believe this, but one of the reasons I can't be bothered with actually doing these blogs is that I'm too lazy to do that sort of thing). Rather, I think that she's guilty of sloppy reasoning, shallow thinking, and a lack of historical perspective that I would call extraordinary if it weren't so frequently encountered in the New Zealand media. After all, why think about things and provide informed analysis when you can pound out a few witless one-liners and appear to provide a holistic, though meaningless, view of the world. This is New Zealand after all, it's such a small population, we're punching above our weight on one global stage or another, and you're just a tall-poppy cutter-downer. Or something. Here, listen to my electronic dub CD.

So, Editing the Listener was to be a kind of homage to the excellent Editing the Herald, whose news-rage benefits us all. Unlike Editing the Herald, Editing the Listener would have been dedicated to a longer form of criticism, in respect of the different style of journalism one encounters in that august journal, and also my long-windedness.. However, given Editing the Herald's late legal difficulties, the existence of other, slightly more competent bloggers who are willing to do the job for me, and the fact that I don't usually live in New Zealand and the Listener doesn't like to put articles online for ages, the whole enterprise seems a little pointless.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Things That Bore Me

I like to consider myself an engaged citizen of one nation and an interested (albeit cynical) resident of another, an individual who takes global issues seriously and who, although not wedded to a programmatic ideology, at least has firm, definitely leftist, vaguely postmodern philosophical principles from which more nuanced views on specific issues can be developed. Lord knows, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, reading crap on the internet.

Nevertheless, there are some things that I just can't bring myself to care about. I haven't thought about it enough to decide whether there's a common thread to it all, but, in no particular order, Susan Boyle, the fabled New Zealand cycleway, the Jonas Brothers, and the Mt. Albert by-election are all issues that bloggers seem to get very worked up about whilst I look on, bewildered. I'm not even going to start on the longest-running, dullest of them all (although my answer is Mac, for what it's worth). There are many more of these issues that seem to have so much at stake in online discourse, and yet at best provoke in me a fury at the tedious predictability of it all (Susan Boyle), but usually just leave me a little bored, and a little confused. Things That Bore Me would have been decidated to documenting my boredom with these issues, but the entire project is self-evidently a bad idea, and I just lost interest.