The Jackal: February 2011

28 Feb 2011

OK you Lazy Slob, on ya Bike

Audio Version.

Biking delivers an increase in cardiovascular fitness, overall strength, better balance, flexibility, endurance and stamina. You could even start to look healthy and be the person you always wanted to be instead of the obese drain on the economy and environment that you currently are. Have you looked in the mirror lately?

Biking burns around 500 calories an hour, obesity epidemic solved. You get a natural high with a burst of endorphins... It’s better than junk food, but not better than sex. Do you suffer from depression, stress or an attention deficit disorder? Well you read this far so the last one can't be that bad. It’s been proven that riding a bike can help you. It’s also a good way to help with all those social ills in New Zealand. Ride a bike you gangster, or you’ll end up in jail or worse. Bike riding is good for our communities.

Regardless of whether you’re riding purely for pleasure or for a specific purpose, a bike ride is a proven stress release. You’ll arrive at your destination feeling relaxed, energized and happier about the world and yourself and you wont need to find a park for your gas-guzzler. Riding a bike is good for the economy because we don’t need to import so much expensive fuel, cars and parts. It’s often faster than driving around town anyway and you can stop and talk to your friends, neighbours or other commuters instead of being an isolated nobody in a tin can.

Did you know that houses located next to bike trails are worth more? Cities such as Zurich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Tokyo and Paris spend less on road infrastructure and have the highest public transport usage around. They ride bikes so don’t need as many motorways or crappy cars stinking up the place. They have roughly half the transportation deaths as cities that use lots of cars like in America, Australia and New Zealand. How much would that save us? You could also save money because it costs less to bike to work. If more people biked, we would emit less CO2... You know, the stuff that threatens our existence on this planet.

Bikes are cheap and you don’t need to fork over thousands of dollars each year for petrol. Maintenance is also a fraction of the cost. I know you might think that riding a bike is scary because you’re a pussy, but get a backbone and pedal yourself and the Earth to recovery.

Plus, being out on your bike is fun. Riding a bicycle under trees along a quiet path edged with native vegetation is awesome! You don't need a license; just what god gave you and a $20 helmet. You are law abiding aren't you? Well I've laid down the law; when the weather is OK and you don't have too far to go, use a bike. What the hell are you waiting for… the world to end or something, 100% instead of only 99% of the scientists to saying we have to cut greenhouse gas emissions right now or your mama to hold your hand?

Get up off your arse, out of your vehicle and on ya bike.

Could Sonar cause Whales to Beach?

Audio Version.

It has been postulated that one of the biggest causes of whales beaching, is due to disorientation caused by man made sonar. In fact the sea is full of noise pollution as well as all manner of other pollution, that human's dump there. There's lots of scientific papers published on this topic and many point to sonar interference as the main cause of whales beaching.

With another mass stranding of 107 pilot whales on Monday 21st February on New Zealand’s South Island, with all perishing, there needs to be a focus on preventing as well as getting those beached whales back to sea. Mass strandings generally occur on gentle shelving beaches, and do not often occur on rocky shores or mud flats or in areas where sand is not accumulating unless the stranding occurs in backwater areas inside an inlet. It is known however that a whales sonar works well off sand. So what are the other possibilities: Perhaps it's just an evolutionary thing, they will eventually grow legs and breath air, but I digress... We are killing one of the most beautiful creatures in the ocean. Do I need to hit you in the face with a wet fish to make you understand?

Environmental campaign groups led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRCD) say whale strandings and deaths are associated with sonar blasts, which are also thought to damage the brains and ears of marine mammals.

Let's put it this way, if somebody came into your house with a jack hammer, would you want to stick around? There's no doubt that whales endure a deafening torment in areas of oil and gas exploration. Noise is even more detrimental to marine mammals than to terrestrial creatures, as hearing is their primary sense and because sound travels so well in water, the noise could be many kilometres away and still have a detrimental effect on the sea creature.
Presently mid-frequency active sonar (MFA) is in widespread use and low frequency active sonar (LFA) is being implemented for use by the US and its allies. LFA sonar can generate one of the loudest sounds humans can make. On hearing sonar, whales may dive or rise deeply and rapidly. This can cause a form of decompression sickness, also known as the bends. Navigation can also be disturbed by other noise pollution such as ‘seismic exploration’ or ‘seismic testing’, which is used by the oil and gas industry to detect the presence of fossil fuels underwater.

Despite this, the US congress passed a bill in 2004 that allowed the Navy to use sonar wherever and whenever they like. However US judge Florence-Marie Cooper in 2008 overturned the exemption. The injunction stipulates that all sonar be switched off if marine mammals are spotted within 2,012m. Bush then signed a waiver saying that the ruling would "undermine the Navy's ability to conduct realistic training exercises". That's pretty much where we are at now.

The correlation between stranding and Navy use of sonar has been well documented, despite the Navy often claiming it was not in the vicinity at the time of the strandings. Now some might say that analysis of long-term trends in strandings indicated an effect of sunspot cycle length and that whales have been stranding since the beginning of time. But there is no doubt that there are more strandings these days. It's known that incidences of strandings are higher in warmer periods, making a slight case for climate change effects, but the majority of evidence points towards sonar as the main culprit.

Many postmortem examinations reveal dehydration, starvation, and a multitude of bacterial, viral and parasitic infections in and around the head sinuses. This would indicate to me a dual effect of starvation due to not being able to locate prey because of sonar disturbance and infectious conditions due to a degradation of the whales habitat. It's no wonder the whales are killing themselves.

It's great that there has been some victory to save our endangered whales, but if things are allowed to continue the way they are going, the outlook for marine mammals is not good.

What’s in your Survival Kit?

Audio Version.

So you might be thinking that it’s never going to happen to you and you wont ever need to leave your home for an extended period of time and survive on your own. It’s better to get prepared right now so you and your family can survive a disaster. Here’s my list to help three adults survive for up to a month without any assistance:  
1. Windup Radio
2. Small First Aid Kit
3. Army Compass
4. Food Ration Bars
5. Emergency Ponchos 
6. Notebook and Pencil
7. Lighter
8. Pocket Knife
9. Super-Tool
10. Dust Masks
11. Gloves
12. X1 Small cooker + pot
13. X3 days Food
14. Small torch
15. Rescue Flares
16. Rescue Blankets
17. Scissors

Sealed container

1. Rubbish Bags
2. Sleeping bags
3. Inflatable mattress
4. Gaffa tape
5. Six man tent
6. Whistle
7. Raincoats
8. Playing Cards
9. Matches & lighter
10. Pots and utensils
11. Large hunting knife
12. Large first aid kit
13. Medical supplies
14. Water Purification Tablets
15. Tea and coffee + cups
16. X21 days Food
17. Lots of Chocolate
18. Salt & cutlery
19. Change of clothes
20. String and rope
21. Large plastic Sheet
22. Fishing line & hooks
23. Radio + spare batteries
24. Small spade + Toilet paper
25. Needle and thread
26. Pencil, Paper & Sharpener
27. Long-life Candles
28. Large Flashlight
29. Spare batteries
30. X2 Lighters
31. Matches
32. Fire Starters
33. Newspaper
34. Multipurpose Snips
35. Small Mirror
36. Water filter
37. Drink bottles
38. Spare cell-phone
39. Laminated Checklist
40. Emergency Numbers
41. Soap.

All sealed in plastic bags.

Plus a large LPG cooker and X2 large water containers.

I still don’t feel prepared through.

27 Feb 2011

Exonerated Scientists say Climate Change is Real

Well it's been found that climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn't manipulate data at all. It's all a big beat up. A Republican-led federal probe said no data had been manipulated, after leaked e-mails in 2009 sparked the climategate controversy. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

After the inspector general of the Commerce Department reviewed thousands of leaked messages, including the 289 that were exchanged with NOAA scientists, he found no evidence that NOAA inappropriately manipulated data. Conclusively! But they also cleared the little arsehole who cried wolf; Lucbhenco for testifying before Congress that the e-mails did not weaken the science of climate change. There's a cold place in hell for all you deniers.

Climate change skeptics suggested the stolen e-mails they were privy to, was proof of a conspiracy to corroborate a near-unanimous consensus among scientists that the earth is in part warming because of human activities. You know, that big 4X4 you drive. With a new player on the block as well (black carbon) in terms of a man made pollution causing the climate change effect, that scientists hadn't fully considered to be a major contributor before, the climate change deniers are getting desperate. However the world is becoming aware of the disinformation machine and want a change to clean tech alternatives. This threatens the establishments whole dysfunctional and corrupt system that is built on dirty and unsustainable fuel.

While right-wing idiots have effectively curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its ability to limit pollution levels, the Commerce Department's investigation may boost the good guys efforts to persuade the public that carbon emissions are having a dangerous impact on the planet. If you hadn't notice the warning signs yet and all the weird storms going on lately, you probably deserve to die. Wake up and connect the god damn dots!

So disinformation tactics are getting pretty dirty. Thankfully the investigation exonerated the scientists of any misconduct. The Pennsylvania State University, the InterAcademy Council, National Research Council and the British House of Commons also cleared the scientist of any wrong doing.

Unfortunately climategate has weakened the likelihood of comprehensive energy and climate change regulations to control Americas pollution in the near future, allowing the so called land of the free to drag its heels even more. At the moment there is a decision on how much the toothless EPA will be able to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and a good old stoush between the Obama administration and the GOP-led House. It's a war out there. Change must be made people, don't let it be too late.

Is Ken Ring a Crackpot?

Audio Version.

You might have heard that Ken Ring had a pretty good idea about just when the recent Christchurch Earthquake event would happen.

You're first asumption might be to dismiss Ken as a hippy on crack. But there could be some truth to his theories...

The basics: The moon and sun influences the weather through tidal movement, which in turn creates much of the weather on the earth. Tides create structural force on the earths crust. Gravitational pull on the magma within the Earth could also cause stress on tectonic plates. 

The Earth experiences two high tides per day because of the difference in the Moon’s gravitational field at the Earth’s surface and at its center. You could say that there is a high tide on the side nearest the Moon because the Moon pulls the water away from the Earth, and a high tide on the opposite side because the Moon pulls the Earth away from the water on the far side. The tidal effects are greatly exaggerated in the sketches.

Ken Ring says: 20 March is coming

It has meant that since September, every perigee has brought successive earthquakes that were the biggest since the last biggest, starting with new moons and swapping to full moons. With 6 successive monthly biggest events, equally spaced at 4-week intervals, all coming right on kingtide times, all hitting the Christchurch region, the pattern is obvious. And the next is the 20 March closest-perigee for the year, + full moon. The next (and last) powerful perigeal full moon is 18 April.

There's some of the largest solar events at the moment.

A solar flare is a large explosion in the Sun’s atmosphere that can release as much as 6 × 1025 joules of energy (about a sixth of the total energy output of the Sun each second). The term is also used to refer to similar phenomena in other stars, where the term stellar flare applies.

You can read all about earthquakes and sunspots here.

Some scientists have become aware of a correlation between sunspots and Earthquakes and want to use the sunspot data to help predict earth-quakes. The theory is that an intensification of the magnetic field can cause changes in the geo-sphere.
It appears that there is a strong influence on weather and pressure on the earths crust depending on how strong the sunspots are and where the lunar bodies are placed. I have no problem with such theories being the basis for predicting earthquakes. The failure of the geoscientific community to clearly predict such events is apparent. Ken Ring and others have calculated earthquakes to a far greater degree, so there must be some relevance in the techniques they're using.

This is a very old theory and there probably is computer based predictive modeling to a high degree already. Getting people to listen is another question though. If such events are predictable, we have the opportunity to develop theories and measurements through technology so that the predictability becomes even more precise and lives will be saved.
I for one will be keeping a closer eye on Ken Rings theories from now on.

Fran O'Sullivan - Asshole of the Week Award

The first to pull out their knife with this article is Fran O'Sullivan:

"Key should do the same. This is the opportune time for him to review the extent of his Government's tax-cuts, which are being funded through borrowing and not healthy surpluses, and the extent of the interest-free student loans and Working for Families tax credits bequeathed by the previous Government."

So lets make the least able to soak up additional expense to pay for the rebuild, bear the brunt of the expense? This lady is really getting on my tits. Who gave her a license to champion such fascist rubbish!
"This tragic event should also be the spur for Auckland's leadership to get on to its own feet and stop being a drain on the nation's finances. And for businesses to show the way by committing to reinvest in the city."

Ah! Quoting directly from the book of dogma there is see. Nothing like a good dose of regionalism to go with all the other isms this Tory troll is known for. At least they're all reading from the same script huh!

Way to go Fran, a good dose of divisiveness is exactly what the country needs right now. That there ladies and gentlemen is why Fran O'Sullivan wins the asshole of the week award.

Stop Bashing Beneficiaries

Audio Version.

There's been a few calls recently for the PM to stop 'bashing' the poor. Cherie Taylor wrote this article saying:

"He needs to create schemes in outlying districts, creating jobs, so we can spend our way out of the recession, rather than giving tax cuts to the rich and attacking the poor."

There's nothing like a good beneficiary bash to get the banjo's a picking though. You can just about bet on there being a few examples leaked to the media by WINZ each month, so that the bigots can really get their hate on. Being that poor people are just so evil and all. It's sort of like throwing a lamb to the slaughter, to keep em mean and get them hungry for more.

But I digress, the real issue here should be about the millions of dollars stolen internally by WINZ and ACC employees, not the few thousand a couple of beneficiaries steal. But no, the New Zealand media focuses on the few cases where beneficiaries defraud the system and totally ignore the bigger story. It's like they're completely unaware of the fact that their arse is on fire, talking about a few fraudulent beneficiaries while millions get stolen by white collar criminals. Nothing like a good propaganda machine to really get the fascism flowing huh!

It's not just the fervent disinformation to feed the sheeple and bigoted neanderthals, the governments lies extend to spin doctoring to try and further their privatization scam; quoting incorrect figures to trick the public into believing that we have to sell our assets because we're way in debt. Shonkey recently quoted New Zealand's total debt position, including private sector debt (not just the governments debt) to justify selling the things my grandparents built and paid for to foreign ownership. Such a bold faced lie delivered in all the cunning beguile of a master manipulator, I mean give credit where credit is due; Shonkey is good at one thing at least. It's a pity that doesn't help us much.

Shonkey should know that the bulk of foreign debt is owed by the banks, most of which New Zealanders do not own. The Government's net foreign debt is relatively small. So chalk that one up to yet another in a long list of lies. Did you know that it's an old mob trick, to get you into debt so that they can extort as much money from you as they possibly can. Often the gangster will just make up the debt, and if you don't pay, well you know the story.

Is anybody keeping tabs on the broken campaign promises and blatant lying by the gangster elite so far, or are we just so enamored with the abuse that it has rendered our brains completely dysfunctional? A bit like battered wife syndrome, you don't think there is anywhere else to go.

Metiria Turei from the Green Party of Aotearoa says:

"Everyone else is having to tighten their belts and John Key is cutting staff, and creating unemployment in order to apparently tighten the belt of government".

Annette King commenting about the WWG report says:

Advocating for incentives and programmes to get people into work. Many of these existed under Labour but National abolished or slashed them – such as the Training Incentive Allowance for solo mums on the DPB, scholarships, dedicated Winz case managers who built up knowledge of individual clients and were better able to assist them, ECE funding, strategic skills and training programme funding.

So even with the huge disaster that is currently unfolding, there are people who recognize the looming disaster on the horizon that is Nationals welfare policies.

Have I mentioned that John Key works for Merrill Lynch yet? Earning the nickname "the smiling assassin". And did you know that the Merrill Lynch Mob advertised itself as the #1 trader of derivatives in the early 2000's, the very cause of the current financial recession. Well blow me down, how about that then. Even as the head honcho, it would seem to me that Shonkey's credibility is questionable... I would question it if I could actually find it, but there seems to be a complete void where our Prime minister credibility should be.

Now the right-wing evangelists are calling for a halt to debating these issues because of the Earthquake, like a natural disaster should let the National gangsters off the hook and we can all just lap up the propaganda of our gangster boss taking photo opportunities in front of the misery that is the Christchurch earthquake. Just like any good soulless politician, Shonkey delivers his scripted broadcasts in all their V like insincerity. Have we seen any emotion at all yet?

I'm wondering if Shonkey thinks all the victims in the recent earthquake, who are now out of jobs and have to go on a benefit "choose" to do so? You know, blame the victims and all that. It will be interesting to see if the gangsters use this crisis as an excuse to slash and burn the welfare state. I can hear them sharpening their knives already.

26 Feb 2011

Christchurch Earthquake Maps.

Time lapse from Sept 4 2010 to Oct 4 2010

From Oct 4 2010 to Dec 11 2010

From Dec 11 2010 to Feb 26 2011

Christchurch: Rebuild or relocate?

Audio Version.

What do you do when there are huge sinkholes swallowing up cars and trucks, silt washing all over the place, buildings falling on top of you and the ground beneath you continues to shake? Shifting Christchurch is a consideration many people will not like to make, but in the aftermath of Christchurch’s largest aftershock earthquake event ever, some hard decisions need to be made.

A cost effectiveness of repair versus relocation needs to be made. I would surmise that the expense would be similar in both cases. This would make relocating Christchurch because of potential further earthquakes in an area prone to liquefaction a good idea.

One must factor in how many homes are damaged (200 in the initial 2010 Earthquake) and whether relocating the ones that aren’t damaged can be achieved. The army and private contractors would seem the logical choices for such a huge undertaking. In my opinion, damaged buildings should be dismantled and the materials used for further construction or simply demolished. Damaged heritage sites could be secured and then cordoned off as tourist attractions. Suburban areas could be reforested to help stabilize the ground.

We must also consider infrastructure relocation because of climate change causing rising sea levels, which will be required sometime in the future. Such an undertaking will need to be made for many coastal townships around New Zealand and the sooner we prepare, the better. The scientist’s predictions are getting a lot worse re global warming with many saying that climate change is now unstoppable.

If the ice covering Greenland melted, this would add 7 meters to the oceans. Also to consider is that as the overall temperature of the water increases it naturally expands.

Although unlikely to completely melt, Antarctica has around 90 percent of the world's ice (and 70 percent of its fresh water). If all of the Antarctic ice melted, sea levels around the world would rise about 61 meters (200 feet). Even a small increase in temperature is causing the worlds ice to melt. I’m not fear mongering you know.

The Christchurch Cathedral is 20.33 feet or 6.2 metres above sea level.

There’s been a good idea to have an international competition to design the new Christchurch. Clear guidelines for any construction process should keep in mind that the Christchurch earthquake is not an isolated event. My initial thoughts would be to retain the heritage value of Christchurch within the design while incorporating state of the art energy efficiency that can withstand large earthquakes. The look of a new Christchurch could be very different indeed.

Will keep you posted.

25 Feb 2011

Update: Christchurch Earthquake

Official missing people hotline: 0800 RED CROSS, 0800 733 276.
Overseas: +64 7 850 2199

Could all foreigners call home please. 

The government earthquake help-line now caters for 41 different languages. The number is 0800 779 997

Police have now put the death tole at 113. An announcement is scheduled for later today. There is an expectation that the number will rise with another 228 still missing. To date, there have been 70 live rescues.

People posing as rescue personnel, rubberneckers and people sneaking into cordoned areas are a problem. Please respect the cleanup operation and keep the roads clear.

There is a warning of a credit card scam. Please refer to the donations page and verify all account details before making a donation:

An improvement in the weather is helping operations. Light rain is forecast for Wed 2 March with heavier rain on Thursday.

Power has been restored to many areas.

Sewage infrastructure is very damaged

There is a major mobilization of the police who are focusing on getting families of victims back together.

More than 350 international rescue personnel are on the ground with an expectation for this to rise to 700 shortly.

The army is cooking up a storm.

Desalination plants are operational.

Presently there is no shortage of food, water or fuel.

The Census scheduled for March 8 has been cancelled.

The response from NZ business is phenomenal.

Wharves in Lyttleton have been damaged, there are two cargo ships with supplies inbound.

Cell phone coverage has been restored in all but 17 Vodafone sites with free payphones throughout the area. It will take months before the telecommunications system is fully repaired, Telecom has  implemented a free redirection service.

The Lyttelton tunnel remains closed to private vehicles.

The Green Party propose a special earthquake levy to help rebuild Christchurch.

Thousands of students manually shift sediment from driveways and roads.

I’m proud to be a Kiwi.

All about Fracking in NZ

I hate to burst your bubble, but there’s a major disaster looming on the horizon for New Zealand. It’s called hydraulic fracturing or fracking for short. Haven’t heard of it before you say. Well neither had I, so I decided to find out a little bit more about this somewhat secret drilling technique. Here’s what I have learnt:

Through the Crown Minerals Act 1991, the New Zealand Government controls all oil, gas, gold and uranium deposits. This has allowed them to recently open up the country through a block quota system for onshore and offshore drilling.

Gas extraction in Taranaki is extensive with over forty, (and counting) non-notified resource consents given by the Taranaki council for 2010 alone. That means they don’t tell anybody. Exploration has also been undertaken in the Hawkes Bay, Waikato, King Country, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Wairarapa and other parts of both the North and South Islands.

Fracking is a process of accessing natural gas and oil by drilling into the Earth’s crust and then forcing large amounts of water, sand and a vast array of chemicals at high pressure down into the shale below.

A blast fractures the shale bed around the well. This allows natural gas and oil deposits to flow freely back up to the surface, but can also allow the chemical slurry to penetrate into the water table below.

Now you might think that I’m an environmental wacko for worrying about this, but here are some facts to consider:

1. When gas is close to aquifers, fracking contaminates ground water.
2. Scientist, have speculated that the process destabilizes the earth.
3. Fracking often makes water from nearby wells undrinkable.
4. Approx one in five wells leaks gas at potentially dangerous levels.
5. Uncontained fracking waste contaminates the land and water.
6. Natural gas extraction even threatens the ozone and the air.
7. Noise pollution is a serious problem for people who live nearby.
8. Drilling pads damage our clean green image and the countryside.
9. Fracking uses up huge amounts of water, which cannot be used again.
10. The wastewater seeps into the earth and evaporates into the air.
11. Re-injecting into disused wells can contaminate aquifers.
12. There's no proper regulations governing fracking in NZ.
13. We cannot live without clean drinking water.

When the flowback initially returns to the surface, it cannot be immediately contained. This is sometimes referred to as blowout. After any given frack job, the surface spills or “flowback” of around 50% percent of the fluid used is often not contained.

With up to 20 million litres of water used on any given frack, the contamination is a huge environmental disaster. This fluid waste contains chemicals and “NORM” (naturally occurring radioactive material), salts and heavy minerals. .

Tap water in parts of the USA can be lit on fire, due to methane gas contamination in bore water caused by fracking.  Some people have been evacuated from their homes forever due to the risk of explosion from accumulated methane gas.

Contaminated frackwater is disposed of by injection into disused wells, spraying on ‘landfarms’ and roads, diluting and pumping into rivers/streams and illegal dumping.  During the fracking and disposal processes both accidental and deliberate frackwater spills occur. 

The plastic lining of wastewater pits often fails and contaminated frackwater leaches out, polluting land and groundwater aquifers.  Wastewater pits are bulldozed over with topsoil, leaving contamination in the ground.

Fracking has spread like wildfire across the USA in the past ten years, contaminating water and causing vast air/land pollution. Many people and animals have become unwell. Australia is also under attack, with the Great Artisian Basin being threatened. There is little information about fracking in New Zealand but it is becoming widespread onshore in Taranaki.

With up to 596 different chemicals used in the fracking process (approx.40 per frack job), the highly toxic waste, including hydrochloric acid, benzene, tuolene, hexavalent chromium, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX). Here's a short list by the EPA:

Wastwater also contains many heavy metals and radioactive material (radium 226 [a derivative of uranium], strontium and barium) from drilling through radon-bearing granite and other layers deep underground and from drilling “muds”.  The levels of radiation in frackwater are thousands of times above the safe level limit for drinking water.

What we need to do:

Write letters to newspapers
Write to the Government and Councils
Talk to friends and family about the dangers of fracking
Call for a total ban on fracking in New Zealand Aotearoa. 
Join other concerned people through networking groups online.

We have a chance to stop the horse before it bolts, but time is running out.

An open letter to the Labour Party

Audio Version.

We used to have an OK relationship didn’t we? Sure we had our problems, but you never used to blatantly lie to me. Did you? Now look at me, sensibilities all beaten up and blue! You would hardly recognise me. You did promise to stay in touch, but it seems I hardly ever hear from you on the radio or see you on the TV anymore. After you were disloyal, the silence has left me lonely and sad and I just don’t know what to think anymore.

You know, everybody needs a bosom for a pillow and Helen used to hold us so close to hers, it was almost unbearable! But now we have an old wet blanket to try and keep us warm, which isn’t working. Speaking of work, where is it? It’s not just the donkey’s fault there’s not enough carrots to follow. I’m wondering how big your stick is Labour and how often you would use it? Best not to think about such things I guess.
So there was painter-gate, so you stuffed up with the foreshore and seabed, so there was lots of GE going on, so New Zealand slipped further into poverty, so you built heaps more jails, so you allowed radioactive product to secretly be shipped, so you fracked the place up, so what! These things, pale in comparison to what’s happening now. The place looks like a shambles. I just don’t know if we can take much more Scotty! Now where has your captain gone? The ships sinking and we need all hands on deck.

Sure we had our problems, but we could just forgive and forget. Well maybe not the forget part, but I forgive you! Let bygones be bygones and all that. Let’s get back together huh, like Reds under the bed. At least just give me a call sometime, so we can talk about the good old days… Not the all or nothing days. I’d like to know what you’re up to and how you’d do things differently next time around. That’s if we do end up getting back together.

You don’t mind an open relationship do you? I’m seeing someone else at the moment. Our mutual friends don’t like to talk about it much, in case they get stuck in the middle. Eventually we all have to live together under the same roof, but at the moment, the divide between us seems to be enormous; I just don’t know how to get across. I’m willing to start swimming if you are? We can meet somewhere in the middle, hopefully on a green Island far away from the dangerous blue sea.

Yours sincerely,

The Jackal.

24 Feb 2011

Googles Christchurch Earthquake Map


The Christchurch Quake Map allows you to play time-lapse visualisations of the 4,870 quakes and aftershocks that have struck in the Christchurch area since September 2010. It is also possible to view visualisations of the last seven days of quakes or the 47 that have hit today. The Google Maps plot earthquake data from GeoNet.

Donate through Trademe

Audio Version.

You can donate an item or some work to raise money for the Christchurch Earthquake relief fund through Trademe:

As part of the relief effort, our team have been working hard to build a new Trade Me Earthquake Support Section dedicated to helping people out in the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake. This new section sets out several ways you can help those in need, and ways you can get help if you need it.

Since the earthquake, there have been heaps of members posting offers of housing and transport and all sorts of other things for earthquake victims. The new section lets people list and search labour, accommodation and transport. It also provides a place to list any lost and found pets. These categories are all free.

As well as links to some online resources around the earthquake, we have also included information for members if they want to volunteer to help out with the relief effort, or make a donation.

It’s a bit rough and ready, but we wanted to get it live as soon as possible to start helping people. We’ll be refining it and adding more stuff over the coming days and weeks. We hope you find it useful.

Emergency response information

Audio Version.

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurred 10km southeast of Christchurch at 12:51, February 22, 2011. Centred in Lyttleton with a focal depth of 5km causing wide spread devastation and loss of life.

Missing persons: For queries about missing persons please call 0800 733 276 (0800 RED CROSS).

Christchurch Earthquake Information: Local Emergency Phone Number: 111 or 0800 779 997

Southland’s 111 emergency system was damaged in the Earthquake and due to overloading if you cannot get through and have ANY sort of emergency please call 03 211 3044 instead.

If you can’t locate somebody, enter his or her details here:

Google also has a person finder:

Billets for people in Christchurch:

Billets for Christchurch people stuck in Wellington:

People can make a donation to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal either at an ANZ Branch (account number 01-1839-0188939-00) or at the National bank (account number 06-0869-0548507-00).

Donations can be made to the Red Cross online:

or via the GrabOne website:, as the Red Cross site has been crashing.

Aucklanders who are able to offer accommodation to displaced Cantabrians should register by calling 0800 AUCKLAND.

Donations can be made to the Westpac Canterbury Care Fund, which is in partnership with the Salvation Army, either at branches nationwide or to the account number 03-0207-0617331-00.

People can donate to the Salvation Army Earthquake appeal online here: or by calling 0800 53 00 00.

Donations can be made to the Rotary New Zealand World Community Service here:

Donations can be made to the Christchurch Earthquake Support Fund in ASB branches or online (account number 12-3205-0146808-00). Across the Tasman, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, is also accepting donations for the New Zealand Red Cross.

NZ Blood Services say have sufficient blood stocks but if you are not already a donor and would like to sign up to be contacted when they do need blood donations, call 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325) or email here: to register.

The Christchurch SPCA has opened a Pet Emergency Earthquake Fund. You can donate money here: or to the Westpac account 030802 0586429 00.

Vodafone users can donate to the Red Alert Canterbury Earthquake Appeal by texting “Quake” to 333 to make a $3 donation to the Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal.

An open letter to the Green Party.

Audio Version.

Firstly let me thank you on behalf of all unemployed people for being the only party that stands up for the little guy. I am very appreciative of the fact that the Green Party thoroughly understands the issues and is prepared to do something about the apparent war on our welfare state.

The relevance of giving the impoverished a voice they would not normally have because of socio economic circumstances and making that voice heard, is very important for our countries future.

The Green party of New Zealand has true Kiwi spirit, which gives me hope that we can endure any natural disasters we’re facing. However the environment is under constant challenge by dirty industries and their political associates. This unhealthy relationship has existed for a long time and requires challenging on many fronts for success in safeguarding New Zealand from internal and foreign interests, that place money before anything else.
The rigorous debate I have witnessed over the last few months concerning the dairy industry, kraft mills, transport, fuel, economics, privatisation, unemployment and food etc on Frogblog is a healthy reminder that there are solutions and many enlightened individuals willing to devote a lot of time to find them.

Through the use of technology and information, any government can gauge what the people really want. I am pleased for this technological development within the political realm, which the Greens have embraced and think that it will lead to more accountability within the political environment.

It is apparent to me that the Green party is willing to undertake policies that are difficult because they raise issues concerning the survival of the human species. As a human that wants to survive, I thank you with all sincerity on behalf of all humans for being the voice of reason and insight into the many challenges we will face together in the future.

Yours sincerely, The Jackal.

23 Feb 2011

Somebody ate David Farrar's cookie.

If you've visited David Farrar’s Kiwiblog (KB) recently, their Local Shared Object (LSO) super cookie might still be in effect on your computer, tracking your every internet move. An LSO cookie is not a normal cookie, usually you cannot delete it through your browser. Many LSO will re-spawn a normal cookie. The KB LSO is not the DART google cookie.  

Audio version

An LSO's cookie threatens your privacy because they never expire and allow access to your computer. However, such cookies can contain data that you consider useful. For example stored Flash game settings or personal data for automatic log ins. If you decide to delete an LSO make sure not to lose important data by backing up your files.

An LSO is a small programmable token or app if you like, installed secretly onto your system, there will probably be lots of them, so going through and choosing the LSO cookies that are from sites you trust is recommended. LSO or tracking cookies can slow your computer performance/internet connection when they parse information to the programmer’s server.

LSO also use up your broadband, but unless there's lots of them, this effect will not usually be that noticeable. Most LSO allow editing on the fly so can do pretty much anything the programmer wants to do on your computer. LSO have the potential to store and track your activity online which is then accessible by whoever implemented the cookie or who they choose to on-sell that information to. Here's the fix:

Install BetterPrivacy or a similar application. please follow the instructions carefully.

Some flash LSO-cookie properties in short…
- they are never expiring – staying on your computer for an unlimited time.
- browsers are not aware of those cookies, LSO’s usually cannot be removed by browsers.
- via Flash they can access and store highly specific personal and technical information (system, user name, files,…).
- ability to send the stored information to the appropriate server, without user’s permission.
- flash applications do not need to be visible
- there is no easy way to tell which flash-cookie sites are tracking you.
- shared folders allow cross-browser tracking, LSO’s work in every flash-enabled application
- the company doesn’t provide a user-friendly way to manage LSO’s, in fact it’s incredible cumbersome.
- many domains and tracking companies make extensive use of flash-cookies.
These cookies are not harmless.
Unfortunately it's not possible for an add on to get the exact URL’s of the sites that stored those LSO’s. Here’s a simple test to see what LSO belongs to what website:

1. Install Better Privacy to find LSO cookies.
2. Backup LSO folder onto external media.
3. Prevent automatic deletion of trusted LSO using Better Privacy.
4. Delete unchecked LSO from system by restarting Firefox.
5. Revisit Kiwibog and then check LSO cookie list again. Gotcha!

This test will work for any site deploying LSO cookies. I also purged many of the standard cookies through the Firefox preferences and changed the settings in Better Privacy so that it informs me when a site installs an LSO cookie onto my computer, I can then decide if I want to prevent automatic deletion.

Local Shared Objects or .sol can potentially do anything on your computer. It’s mainly used as a tracking device to see where you go on the Internet. It is not a normal cookie and cannot be removed through the browser preferences.

WIRED: You Deleted Your Cookies? Think Again

All modern browsers now include fine-grained controls to let users decide what cookies to accept and which to get rid of, but LSO cookies are handled differently. These are fixed through a web page on Adobe’s site, where the controls are not easily understood (There is a panel for Global Privacy Settings and another for Website Privacy Settings — the difference is unclear). In fact, the controls are so odd, the page has to tell you that it is the control, not just a tutorial on how to use the control.

LSOs can be used by web sites to collect information on how people navigate those web sites even if people believe they have restricted data collection. More than half of the Internet’s top websites use LSOs to track users and store information about them. There is relatively little public awareness of LSOs, and they can usually not be deleted by the cookie privacy controls in a web browser. This may lead a web user to believe a computer is cleared of tracking objects, when it is not.

Several services even use LSOs as surreptitious data storage to reinstate traditional cookies that a user deleted, a policy called “re-spawning” in homage to video games where adversaries come back to life even after being “killed”. So, even if a user gets rid of a website’s tracking cookie, that cookie’s unique ID will be assigned back to a new cookie again using the Flash data as “backup.” In USA, at least five class-action lawsuits have accused media companies of surreptitiously using Flash cookies.

In certain countries it is illegal to track users without their knowledge and consent. For example, in the UK, customers must consent to use of cookies/LSOs as defined in the “Guidance on the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003”:

Cookies or similar devices must not be used unless the subscriber or user of the relevant terminal equipment:

* is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the storage of, or access to, that information; and

* is given the opportunity to refuse the storage of, or access to, that information.