Many logging trucks – few sawmills
Like many others, we had to drive extra miles, all the way to Waihi, just to get to Hamilton for a Hospital visit. I was amazed how many logging trucks there were on the road, fully laden going South, back loading their trailers coming north. Why do we not have a sawmill somewhere in the middle of Coromandel converting these trees into useable, and very valuable lumber? In doing so, this would probably reduce the number of these trucks on our road by a factor of maybe four.
This would provide well-paying employment. Not only would it reduce the wear and tear on our roads, but it would also reduce the enormous amount of diesel being consumed.
Sawmills today can utilize their own waste material from chips or sawdust by burning and generating heat for their kiln drying, and co-generate electricity to run the sawmill itself, and the surplus electricity could be fed into the power grid. They can do this by either using their own sawdust, or chipping and making compressed pellets also for burning.
We have plenty of forestry in Coromandel. How can we get this timber being better used, higher value output, less trucks on the road, more employment, and maybe a more reliable source of electricity from what is currently just waste?
AI assumptions - misinformation with a kernel of truth
I read Julia Biermann’s letter in last week’s Informer with considerable disquiet. As is often the case when misinformation is being promulgated, there is a kernel of truth that hides the lies.
Like many people, I have grave reservations about the use of AI. A widely respected commentator on things technological, Shelly Palmer (you can Google him) wrote in one of his columns about a month ago: “If you're not terrified about the potential downsides of AI, you don't understand the technology well enough. That said, if you're not thrilled out of your mind about the potential upsides, you don't understand it at all.”
Unfortunately, like nuclear power and nuclear weapons, I fear that the genie is already out of the bottle, and I doubt that the human race is ever going to be able to put either nuclear weapons or AI back into the bottle.
However, graphene is not a metal. It is a semimetal that consists of a single layer of carbon atoms linked together by sigma and pi bonds (both covalent bonds). It has been “in the food chain” ever since the graphite lead pencil was introduced. Anyone who has used or sharpened a pencil has ingested fine particles of graphite, which contains small amounts of graphene. More information can be found in this Wikipedia article: - Graphene - Wikipedia. While graphene has shown some interesting electrical properties that will almost certainly have wide-ranging applications, it is highly unlikely to be able to be used to control anyone.
The comments about programmable hydrogels is another example of misinformation with a kernel of truth. A very informative review article by Yong Wang published in 2018 can be found at Programmable Hydrogels - PMC (nih.gov), published in the Journal Biomaterials and made available for free on the NIH National Library of Medicine website. These are small particles. However, they must be specifically targeted to a given organ or tumour. It is hoped that they will be able, for instance, to carry anticancer drugs to a tumour site and then release the chemotherapy only within the tumour once activated. So far, the only clinical application has been to allow a corneal graft to be performed using the patient’s own oral mucosal cells, rather than a cadaver cornea. They are a long way from widespread clinical application.
Neither graphenes nor hydrogels can be activated in the way suggested by Ms Biermann. The comments about “modern vaccines” are also interesting. It is an historical fact that the impressive improvements in life expectancy that were achieved in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were due to two things:-improvements in sanitation, which significantly reduced the mortality od diseases like cholera, and the development of vaccines, which have drastically reduced infant mortality, especially, by effectively protecting against common lethal infant illnesses like measles, whooping cough (pertussis) and diphtheria, as well as smallpox, and tetanus. If anyone wants a salutary illustration of this, I suggest a walk through the old part (the early 1900s) of a cemetery in a large city. They will find headstones for infants in up to 10% of the graves. Such headstones are very rare in the modern part of the graveyards. An extremely good article about vaccines from the Encyclopaedia Britannica can be found atVaccine | Definition, Types, History, & Facts | Britannica. This was updated on 29th June and has been fact-checked by the editors. Importantly, it documents several instances where misinformation about vaccines has resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives, mainly of children.
Several years ago (February 2019), I wrote an Opinion Piece that was published in The Informer. I finished the article with the statement, “Open debate is one of the central pillars of our democracy. However, it is important that that debate be based on facts, not on distortions or obfuscation”.
I fully support the right to express an opinion, but what is presented as fact really must be backed up by reliable sources. I would commend to the Editors of The Informer that they apply that requirement, not only to Letters to the Editor, but also to their editorial content.
Kevin Pringle, M.B.,Ch.B., F.R.A.C.S., ONZM,
Emeritus Professor of Paediatric Surgery,
University of Otago,
It’s important to show the EMF readings that anyone living near a 5G tower has to live with. The levels are at an unacceptable level for a good night’s sleep. What about the tinnitus we are all experiencing and vertigo- people are suffering so why are more being erected?
Who is going around and taking the EMF readings? This is not acceptable - making residents criminals for protecting their environment and the birds, bees and butterflies. Disappointed.
“Through the looking glass”
Thank you for publishing Mr Everth's letter (4th July). However, if this is the quality of discussion in schools and Universities these days I am not surprised at the lowering standards, rampant absenteeism and declining University enrolments. The childish abuse of both Amundsen and the Editors completely overshadows any valid points he may be making and avoids completely the central point: 'A Need for Equality ' in the looming election. We are clearly “Through the Looking Glass" when a call for equality becomes racist (" when I use a word " Humpty Dumpty said " it means just what I choose it to mean -neither more nor less ").
The writer has obviously not noticed the ' Stop 3 Waters' signs festooned around the country and the furore over preferential medical surgery: these are only the tips of a massive He Pua Pua iceberg about which many people have no idea. The 'Public Interest Journalism Fund’, of which The Informer has no part, sees to that. That equality under the law will be an issue in the coming election, along with the cost-of-living crisis, health care, education, crime etc. is surly not in doubt?
Mr Everth would be doing us all a favour if he can explain why, it is that NZ needs to build inequality into much of its legislation when all other developed countries are doing their best to eliminate it. The problem is compounded when Acts of Parliament are so loosely worded that the interpretation is left to the courts, in effect leaving it to them to make the law, not the voters. The only people who gain from this are the many bureaucrats who inadequately write it, the self-serving consultants who try to interpret it and the expensive lawyers who pontificate over it. All these ‘experts’ being paid for handsomely by the ever-diminishing number of tax payers.
When presenting his explanation the writer might also avoid ‘ad hominem’ abuse, the call to cancel other's opinions and editorial freedom, the vague threats from advertisers and the “law " and to concentrate on the central point noting that ' assertions without evidence can be dismissed without evidence '. He might also gain by studying ‘Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement ' which gives sound tips on how to argue a case without bad mouthing everyone else in the process. It would seem that Mr. Everth has spent far too long in Plato's Cave spell- bound by the shadows when a walk outside in the fresh air might do him a world of good!
* “He puapua” means “a break”, which usually refers to a break in the waves. A modern application refers to the breaking of the usual political and societal norms and approaches.
Issue 1061 of The Informer had letters that I noticed had little understanding of democracy’s need for free speech (which we are lucky to have locally with involved editors).
The letters, being rude about the previous editorial, missed the context of the points made; which is the ‘meat’ which needs to be addressed, not character; i.e. equality, a second language, co-governance, and indirectly, state-sponsored apartheid. To foster free democratic speech is to foster tolerance of other people’s opinions, indeed, to encourage citizens to accept that each one has the right to state his or her views in our democracy, repugnant or not.
No wonder, laws on free, hate or abusive speech are so difficult to write and enact.
Peter. H Wood