Sunday, September 30, 2018

Open letter to Chloe Swarbrick_on Mental Illness

Andrew Atkin:














Dear Chloe Swarbrick,

In acknowledging your new portfolio on mental health issues, I wish to give you this open letter.

The focus on mental health today is all about providing patches. This is necessary but we must address causes if we do not wish to make mental health a forever-issue.

Psychiatrists have understood, and general research has long verified, that mental illness is principally the fallout of powerful internalised pain. In practical terms, mental sickness is overwhelmingly a manifestation of child abuse and this is where the conversation should begin if we can agree that the issue should be about more than protecting the tax-base.

To understand mental sickness (and the great majority of us do not) in its most simple form, just think of someone trying to get through life with three bulldog clips stuck to their fingers. The mentally ill are in pain and are struggling. Most importantly, they cannot respond to their children properly--sometimes hardly at all--and in the most severe cases they cannot even hold down a job. This is because of those 'bulldog clips', the effect of which they must forever struggle to manage. Internalised pain becomes an aggressive existential tax that makes all other (non act-out) activities very difficult.

What most people recognise as 'mental sickness' is not the internalised pain, which is its true basis. It is the broken-down defense system that makes the management of internalised pain fail, to a given degree. In turn driving toxic dependencies and heavy over-reactions. Open wounds, if you like.

Our mental health professionals deal with those open wounds by closing them up again, if they can. They do this with therapy and more commonly (and desperately) with drugs. But it's all patches. And those patches do not of course solve the deeper problem - they simply cover it.

The best that patches can do in such a traumatised world is leave us with a kind of zombie-nation, because when we cover our pain we cover everything.  A heightened state of repression will help people cope, but it will (and does) rob them of their full humanity. And alas that does not make for good parenting, so as to quickly stop the cycle of intergenerational pain.

So what is the solution? Keep going with the patches - we need them. But see them for what they are. Understand that child abuse and infantile damage is the real name of the real game. This should be our central target.

I would recommend education for the young on child rearing so they can understanding scientifically what really hurts children and what does not, to avoid the most gross of errors that we are all guilty of. We need to focus on infantile damage especially which is where the most serious internalised pain is rooted.

I believe we also need to make some tough decisions on fertility. Should we really be letting people who are patently emotionally disturbed have children, that they will almost certainly abuse and chronically neglect? Is this really the right thing to do, considering it is our whole society that has to deal with the fallout of this somewhat simple-thinking libertarianism? We need to ask tough questions here if we do not want the darkest extremes of the underclass to continue to grow.

To get an idea of the real New Zealand domestic world, which is where mass mental illness is generated, then I can suggest having some private conversations with experienced police officers. They will show you a world that we do not want to know, but need to know.

The very best and good luck,

Andrew Atkin

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Anxiety and Intelligence

Andrew Atkin:












I have written before that it seems strange that there should be any significant 
difference in Intelligence amongst humans with the same brain capacity. Owing to the fact that, evolutionarily speaking, the brain is an extremely expensive organ and it would seem a strange waste to not optimise the software running the hardware. Evolutionary pressure should have dictated that brains be virtually the same, in terms of intellectual capacity, amongst various human specimens.

However there is one variable, among others, that might suggest why we see significant differences in operational IQ between different people: Anxiety.

We know that when we are anxious that it's hard to think normally. In fact with enough anxiety we can hardly think at all. Why? Because most of our conscious attention is focused on external and immediate threat-detection, and in preparation for our anticipated response. So anxiety can and does dominate the metal budget in practice. I notice that I myself am always more intelligent--in an academic and reflective sense--when left alone in a peaceful environment. This is because my threat-detection system is nearly completely off, giving me my mind back in full. 

So what has this got to do with IQ? Some people, and probably all of us to a degree, are in a permanent state of alerted threat-detection. We can never fully relax and in turn focus like we should.  For some people the threat-detection function is locked-in epigenetically. The result is that threat-detection won't turn off, no matter where they are.

Mothers who are anxious while carrying are more likely to produce offspring that are Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). To be simple, an ADHD individual has been taught within the womb to expect to be born into a dangerous world, and they have been taught this by the mother's emotional state. A baby literally reads the world it will be born into through the mothers feeling-state, and in turn genetically adjusts itself to the anticipated conditions. The womb is a profound primer for the future life.

Will this affect the child's ability to engage in immersive concentration, and in turn compromise their development and operational IQ? Of course it must. But with epigenetics, again, the difference is locked in. So you can't facilitate concentration by simply changing the environment.

Insofar as this is the case, we can see that what sometimes looks like genetic differences in intelligence may actually be environmental; meaning, the environment of the womb. Our assumptions on inherited intelligence being genetic, are based on identical twin studies of infants that have been separated at birth - not separated before birth. In turn, an anxiety-state passed on down through the generations may be falsely representing the real intellectual potential of any given select group of people.

Insofar as anxiety, and its response, compromises operational intelligence we can see that it would make sense to support mothers while they are pregnant. This is to be sure they do not expose themselves and in turn their babies to any more anxiety than need be. That would be easier said than done if the mother is inherently anxious due to her personal history, but we can do our best to make things better for the child nonetheless.

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Note: I would like to add a practical note for employers: Making your staff anxious is no way to get the best out of them. You're more likely to turn high-IQ into high staff turnover, and you can only get away with that (without cost) on a mindless production-line. And this problem, where it exists, is easy to solve. Just talk to your staff about how they feel around you, their supervisors, and their co-workers. As I've argued in this article, how they feel is in fact a very important question. You want to know if you're making your staff "dumb". And speaking from personal observations, this problem happens all the time. It's amazing how many employers create the very problems they try to solve by breathing down their staffs necks, subtlety degrading them, and making them feel anxious.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Economics, Money and Life

Andrew Atkin:



You would think that money was like any other unit of value. That is, it should respond to the supply to demand function. Meaning, the more money you have the less it should be worth to you, per unit. So the difference in personal value between earning $90,000 pa and $60,000 pa should be small compared to the difference between earning $60,000 and $30,000.

In terms of material living standards that is true. Money is indeed worth less the more you have. In turn the more money you have, the more the other aspects of your life should be worth to you in relative terms. In theory, with greater wealth your focus on more spare time and better human company etc, should grow as a natural priority. Yet curiously, countless people do not think or respond like that. Often the more money they get, the more they want, and the more they give themselves to the pursuit of it.

The question is why? Psychological needs amplify a purely rational relationship to earning money. Such as the need to have what others have to avoid feeling as though you're missing out; or the need to use money to display status. But again these variables have nothing to do with the raw material value of money - they just amplify our drive to obtain it. 

Curiously, when you look at the fact that the per-unit value of money should shrink in the wealthy world, as it is ever-more abundant, social control might then become difficult. How do you pay people off to do what you want them to do, when they hardly even care for the extra money you're offering? Maybe this is why our society puts so much pressure on the young to 'be all they can be', which boils down to threatening to make them feel inadequate if they don't climb to their personal peak in the commercial world...

Are we instinctively fighting against people making otherwise materialistically rational decisions that we don't want them to make, because it's in our interest to amplify the tax-take? You can wonder. Societies always pressure people to live up to characteristics that they need and/or want. It's written in the abstract value systems.

There's another powerful variable western society has introduced, that works to make people want to work harder than it's worth. And that is anti-discrimination laws...

As money in the wealthy world becomes more of societal game, as opposed to a raw material needs game, then the most potent thing you can do to make people "wage slaves" is negatively regulate their social environment in response to their wealth. In western society today, if you don't make enough money you might be forced to live amongst the underclass, because you are not then allowed to build a new residential development that outright blocks undesirable people. In our world, you need to live in a somewhat rich neighborhood to avoid the underclass.

In short, we have made money a prerequisite for being part of a given social class. I do not believe this is an intrinsically natural phenomena. It comes from the need to specifically use money to discriminate.

However, I believe this could soon come to an interesting end (see video below). With the development of low-cost large-scale private communities, based anywhere in the world, where most people can work online, and most critically where people can form exclusive communities by choosing each other via online interviews (think, Tinder for groups) and not on the basis of money, then the heart of the modern status game could turn on its head.

The result could be that your social world is more determined by who you are, as opposed to how much money you earn. This could lead to an implosion in the need to make more money than you would otherwise want, leading to a better rationalisation of life choices, and ultimately of course a higher real standard of living.  

Indeed, it's interesting that in richer societies we see a greater gender-separation in work-life choices, as compared to poorer societies. Women in rich societies tend to choose lower-paying 'feminine' careers ahead of higher-paying male-dominated careers, because they would rather do the work that they enjoy doing when they no longer have to worry about basic survival. Again, I believe we could see a radical amplification of that basic trend--for both men and women--as people's lives become less dominated by material needs and, so importantly, as more opportunity to directly regulate their social environments without wealth becomes hopefully manifest, so they are in turn free to live a more materialistically rational life.
















Sunday, August 26, 2018

Free Speech: To be or not to be?

Andrew Atkin:





















There are three types of speech, of concern.

1. Objective speech.
2. Malicious speech.
3. Illegal speech (slander, defamation, and inciting violence, etc)

Most agree that people expressing an objectively held view should have the right to do so, without government interference. And for good reason. When honest and objective speech goes - everything eventually goes. Suppressing speech is how tyrannies evolve.

However, we can all agree that slander and deliberately inciting violence cannot be legal. 

Where the real debate is today, is with malicious speech. That is when people don't just express an objective viewpoint, but speak to the end of being nasty and hurtful and for the sake of being hurtful. Malicious speech works against objective speech, as it acts as a form of bullying. Already today, people are afraid of expressing an honest opinion out of fear of being slandered and labelled a racist and a bigot, etc.

So here is the question. How do you manage or control for malicious speech? 

Well the last thing you should do is have the government control for it. Because when the government can shut people down in the name of hate speech, they win the legal power to shut down any speech they might choose to interpret as 'hate'. Again, that is how you create a slow-moving tyranny. No freedom of speech means freedom of propaganda, in practice. 

The way to deal with malicious speech is to let it be dealt with in the traditional way - privately. Let private venues control, block and deplatform malicious speakers. As we do, and should continue to do. And name and shame those who are cruel and defamatory.

In saying this, there is a special concern. Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are so very dominant as mass-public platforms, that even as private entities they can (and do) suppress political speech, and to the point where they can have a major impact on the formation of public opinion. And they can do this with immoral discretion, through private control. In this case, we need regulations to defend against privately-driven (and/or government subsidised) propaganda. 

To note, propaganda is not just a game of telling lies, and it usually isn't. It's mostly a game of ensuring that certain truths are not spoken so that false assumptions are formed. The people of North Korea, for example, really do believe in their emperor because they simply don't know what they're not allowed to know. 

Hence we need to pay special attention to current and future powerful private platforms, to ensure that freedom of speech is functional in our modern world. At the least, if we cannot stop dominant platforms from suppressing contributors who have an influence they don't like, they should be forced to advertise when and where they have blocked people, and why, while also providing a direct link on their forum so that the suppressed individual/s can have their right-of-reply. If we must have suppression in a private location, then the act of suppression itself should always be visible.

Indeed, it is when the right-of-reply is suppressed that we can know we have entered a dangerous territory.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Why successful Charter Schools fail

By Andrew Atkin:


Remember the old school Certificate system, where we failed half the country and only because the other half did better. This is because we (or the guys behind the scenes at least) understood the real purpose of highschool: To filter for different types of students.

The idea was to send the less academic types on their way to get on with their lives, so they could move to the trades, or other, and get ahead. Saving the tax-payer a lot of money, and of course the students themselves a lot of time and money.

On a developmental level highschool is a waste of time. Most of the learning content is worthless and only superficially learnt (remembered - not digested) which is probably the real reason why healthy young minds hate it. It's rubbish learning so of course it hurts, and it's most likely meant to hurt because boredom-tolerance is in fact an important part of being academic. We need to know if you can and will take the pain.

Now if 'signalling' is the true essential purpose of education (yes it is) then we have to ask ourselves: Where do "successful" charter schools stand in that purpose? Are they working as an accurate human filter, or are they merely passing people through who should not be passed, and in turn setting them up for failure for when they come to apply for a job that is not suited to them?

I would say it is the latter. Again our best research in education suggests that education is mostly about signalling for ability that was already there, as opposed to developing ability.

I will make it simple: Other things being equal, the student with an IQ of 120 but with no degree is a much better deal for an employer than a student with an IQ of 100 and a degree. In fact an IQ of only 100 will render you incapable of functioning in many professions, no matter what paper qualifications you might have accumulated. You will never hear this from the education industry of course, because their bottomline is to maximise demand and expand their services. But it's true.

So this is how charter schools can fail. When you pass students through who should really be failing then your education system is failing. Finding innovative ways to make lower IQ students look like higher IQ students is not success. It's just delaying failure, setting people up for heartbreak, and increasing costs.

If we really want to revolutionise highschools, then we should make them more practical. Open them up to trades-training and the like, so young people can have something real going forward into the workplace. Not just the temporary illusion of success.

-Imagine being able to walk into a $30 per-hour practical job straight out of highschool, because you're already relevantly skilled. A better idea? I think so.

Extended article:

http://andrewatkin.blogspot.com/2016/11/shooting-at-wrong-target-education-and_36.html

Monday, August 13, 2018

On Dogma, Philosophy and Free Speech








By Andrew Atkin: From the philosophical outlook, there's actually no such thing as a good or bad view, as such. Only a good or bad argument. The 'good' view is the view (conclusion) supported by the best argument. That is, if you value reality over fantasy at least. When Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux came to New Zealand they were not here to parade a view like a raving protest group. They were here to provide an argument. They were here to try and change some people's minds on what the best view really is, through their arguments. That is what challenging speech is all about. It's about challenging our ideas and assumptions. And when we try to suppress speech that communicates a given argument, what we are ultimately doing is putting dogma over reason. And that fact stands no matter how cosmetically appealing (or revolting) a given viewpoint might be. An excellent example of dogma over philosophy is with the respected historian, David Irving. Over many years David Irving studied all the original documents supporting the Holocaust event and found himself, right or wrong, coming to the conclusion that the Holocaust was wildly exaggerated. He then presented his arguments to challenge us on what the accurate view really was. The result? He went to jail for the hate crime of coming to a conclusion that he was not allowed to come to. Wow. Even in today's world the philosophical position can get you in serious trouble. And now I come to Phil Goff, Jacinda Arden, and all the other people who did not want to see Southern and Molyneux give their talks in New Zealand. Goff and Ardern claimed that New Zealanders hated Molyneux and Southern's views and, supposedly, did not want to hear their arguments. What Goff and Ardern claimed, in effect, was that New Zealanders were more interested in dogma than philosophy. (For the record, they were wrong. Thousands did want to hear them). What can I say? That's one hell of an insult to New Zealanders, I think. They might as well have just called us all bigots and sheep. That is, people who are totally incapable of changing their mind.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Why Phil Goff is a Hero



By Andrew Atkin:

Phil Goff is an intelligent and experienced man. He doesn't do something without having a commonsense idea of what the effects of his actions will be. So let's ask the question...If Mr Goff had simply let Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern give their talks in Auckland, in council-owned venues, or at least stayed out of the controversy altogether, what then would the effect have been?

For the most part, Molyneux and Southern would have preached to their choir, made a little cash, and then moved on to Australia to repeat the profitable but politically-impotent exercise. They would have achieved nothing much at all, and New Zealand would have been none the wiser for having had them here.

But Goff did not do that. He publicly grandstanded in opposition to the speakers, and declared that Molyneux and Southern would never set foot on any council-owned venue. A blatant position of ideological interference, and technically speaking an abuse of power. 

The result? The public went mental - of course. Freedom of speech is holy ground, so stopping people from even expressing their "naughty" views is generally seen as both appalling and dangerous. People do understand that when it's the governments place to tell them what views are and are not deplorable, and then suppressible, then you're asking for trouble. Because when freedom of speech goes eventually everything goes. 

But Goff is no fool. He achieved what he wanted. He wanted the issue of free speech to be thrown out to the public arena, and to that end he has been tremendously successful

Freedom of speech is being aggressively attacked throughout the western world via so-called hate speech laws, promoted by the extremist political left. But now New Zealand, critically, is having this all-important conversation. 

It's a conversation that will ultimately make it a lot harder for any future government to drive laws through that could slow-burn New Zealand into some kind of smiling totalitarian state. A creeping threat that is ultimately real.

Phil Goff has also brought mass-attention to Southern and Molyneux's personal messages. Once only known to a tiny minority of New Zealander's, Southern and Molyneux are now seemingly becoming household names. And when we have people (er, who usually don't know much better) describing Southern and Molyneux as having horns on their heads, it of course only makes them even more fascinating...

I mean really, if you don't want to promote someone in the age of the Internet then you don't do it by making them dramatic. Remember Molyneux and Southern are only a point-and-click away, no matter what Mr Goff appears to want to achieve.

When put on the spot in a radio interview, Goff also brought attention to one of the most controversial things Molyneux has talked about: The IQ gap between Blacks and Whites. Goff, like all politically educated people, knows full well that Blacks have IQ's lower than Whites on average. And if you're talking about sub-Saharan Blacks, they are lower by about 30 points on the scale. That's not a mere 'view' or racist interpretation - it's a (difficult) empirical fact. And it's a fact that has been understood for over 100 years. [Note. The debate is in whether or not an IQ test measures overall intelligence, or merely your ability to hold down an abstract paper-work job].

So what was Goff doing, really? He was allowing something to be said that he himself is not allowed to say. He was telling us--or should I say letting us discover--that if New Zealand brings in masses of African migrants then we might be asking for trouble. This is the ultimate (and predictable) effect of his actions.



He was also indirectly signalling the threat of Islamic extremism, as both Southern and Molyneux talk frequently about the radicalisation threat. Another important (albeit sensitive) conversation for New Zealand, as evidenced by the major problems Europe has now developed.

What Phil Goff saw in Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux was people who could say what needs to be said, but what no New Zealand politician today will dare say for themselves out of a fear of a backlash from the bullies and slanderers

So Phil Goff is a hero. He gave Molyneux and Southern the New Zealand stage, on a mass scale, so finally New Zealand could be exposed to some difficult conversations that we do in fact need to have.

God bless you and thanks, Mr Phil Goff! You are indeed a clever and wise man.

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Update: 14th August, 2018:

The main "suppressed" speech.



Monday, May 7, 2018

How western sensibility is killing us

By Andrew Atkin:

Imagine if we had a traditional society, where people took having kids seriously. So seriously that it was taboo not to have them and not to have them young. With the effect being that nearly every woman has given birth to 3 or more children before she was 25 years of age.

Now imagine also that the planning was minimal. So kids first - poverty eradication second. Better to be fertile and poor than infertile and rich.

What would happen if we were still running a society like that?

Well, there would be enormous pressure on the government to engineer a society that facilitates fertility, to keep the financial pain of bringing children into this world at a minimum. And this is where the heart of my point is.

We've lost that political pressure. Because nowadays if it's hard to have children, then we just don't have them (excluding the truly reckless, of course.)

Now that would be alright enough, except for the fact that the political-pressure to hold to family-friendly policies has largely collapsed. The result, is that public policy has been overwhelmingly engineered to take care of the interests of older people, rather than young families, and in turn amplifying our collapsing fertility rates.

Today, we've got all these young people making perfectly sensible decisions about not having children until they can most comfortably afford it. Resulting in both heavily delayed and greatly reduced fertility. And fertility usually below even social replacement levels.

We've become so sensible with our decision making as individuals, that our governments no longer have to be. And it's literally killing us.

These are some of the key policy movements that probably would not have survived if we went back to being foolish, and had well-sized families at the younger and healthier times of our lives:

1. The property market would not have been allowed to artificially inflate.

-This has been a nightmare for the young, though profitable for the older generations.

2. Educational demands would not have been allowed to inflate.

-You wouldn't need a degree for a job requiring just good communication skill and diligence, and most people would hardly need high school in fact. Young people (and society in general) would win back at least 5 years of their lives.

3. Pensions would be strictly means-tested.

-The idea of paying pensions to old people who don't really need them, would no longer be tolerated. Not with too many families with young children struggling.

Conclusion:

The final result of all this reduced fertility, and bloated privilege to the elderly, is that the third world is set to replace us. Because when it comes to having kids, as individuals we're just too damn sensible. In turn we've made it too easy for our governments to ignore pro-fertility policy, and in fact facilitate anti-fertility policy.

It's time for a re-think.







Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Ultimate Spy Device

Andrew Atkin: 



Smartphones are the ultimate spy device. Even when you think they're off, they could nonetheless be recording everything you're saying, with time and location included, and converting it into a file to be uploaded later just as soon as you connect to the Internet. 

That file can then be processed on an outside server where your speech is converted to text, and your words are scanned for anything considered 'concerning'. It's easy and the technology supporting this exists today. It could happen in the background operations of your phone, so you won't even know it's happening.

Anything that you do online in general can be recorded and decoded, and with no matter what kind of an app you think you're using. All code can be decoded.

If you're worried about any kind of big brother snooping into your life, then worry no more. There's every chance this sort of thing is happening already, or will happen, so you might as well presume that it is.

But it's not all bad news. If it's not abused, spying can provide a excellent public service. In theory at least, it's never been harder for a terrorist group to successfully organise a violent attack. Only the silent lone-wolf terrorist should be a threat in our modern age, and even then only if he doesn't talk to himself.

Yet there is still a bad side, and a potentially devastating bad side. 

What happens when a less-than-benevolent government gets into power, takes the opposition parties out back for execution, and then shuts down future elections?

How do you organise opposition to a government gone so badly wrong, when the government can and will sniff-out organised dissent the moment it happens; along with who and where exactly the dissenters are?  Well you can't. 

Hence government becomes inherently dangerous as a social system, as it probably can't be redeemed for when and if the worst ever happens. You would probably have to wait for it to redeem itself in maybe the far distant future.

So should we throw away our smartphones? Unrealistic, of course. The best we can do is focus on laying down some strong defenses today.

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Some suggestions to keeping the government straight:

1. Decentralise government into small local units, so no all-powerful centralised government can develop in the first place. (Radical decentralisation has advantages on many levels. This is just one
).

2. Develop a constitution for all law enforcers on all levels to follow, that strictly controls for the potential abuse of power from central governments.

-A finalised constitution should only be modified through public referendum, which should be respected as the highest authority of the land. Law enforcers should be instructed that a government that tries to illegitimately over-rule the constitution is their enemy and should be treated as such.

3. Make all policy and operational systems of the secret service as transparent as possible.

4. Eliminate all hate speech laws that threaten to criminalise free speech.

-The problem with 'hate speech' is it's inherently subjective. The bottom line: With hate speech laws you are creating the legal infrastructure to shut down free speech. This is extremely dangerous in any circumstance. If people can be spied on and ultimately criminalised for their political speech alone, then needless to say you've got yourself a creeping tyranny.

5. Make tight reforms and protections, as required, while your nation still can. Fixing problems before they happen is obviously the way to go.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Open letter to Julie-Anne Genter

Andrew Atkin: 



This letter was sent to the the recipient, 09-01-2012.

I have decided to present the idea as an open letter.

Forward: The truth is, we cannot intelligently invest in transport infrastructure until we can economically rationalise it. And this is largely impossible without congestion-charging.

Removing congestion from Auckland is also impossible without congestion-charging. Note, people only flood into trains and buses when they either can't drive, can't afford the parking, or because the roads are so severely congested that trains become a much faster option for their particular destination. 

We can do much better than a somewhat blind multi-billion dollar rail investment, which could too easily prove to be a white elephant just few years down the track.

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Green Party MP
Julie-Anne Genter

Hi again,

I had a look through the idea of removing minimum parking requirements, and I agree with it. In my view the only reason why we had them in the first place is probably because we just never (previously) had the tools to meter all (or nearly all) parks, meaning we haven't yet been able operate a rational market model (?).

However, it's clear to me that we now have the tools to toll any park or road economically, using the system I suggest.

I wanted to forward this to you because it has become obvious to me that this system, surely, is by far the best way to go about it. And also it would need to be a national initiative for if it were to ever go ahead.

As follows:

1. Mandate passive RF-chips on all cars in New Zealand, to be fixed onto license plates for when the cars get their WOF. This of course provides an electronic signature for all cars registration. 

Passive RF-chips are so cheap in themselves that they can be considered costless.

2. From here, you can install an RF-reader embedded-in or placed on top of the road. The RF-reader would basically be an extremely crude cellphone-type device that records the registration of all cars that pass over it. From here it can send a text via wireless internet to inform a master server of what/when/where a given car went through the gate. The reader can be solar-powered (only a tiny amount of power would be required to run it). It would likewise accumulate data and maybe send a text to a master server with its records, once a day. This is extremely simple and easy to install technology - no wiring required.

3. From here, your server will have all the information it needs to bill a driver for both toll roads and parking. Every driver will have an established account, and people can be sent a bill for their usage, usually as a PDF-file every month, and pay online too. 

The adminstration can be (and naturally would be) almost totally automated.

4. Private sector ownership of carparks and roads will have their revenue paid to them through the Ministry of Transport, from the MoT's master server. Naturally it needs to be based on one national system to be practical. 

-No one will want to muck about with multiple bills from multiple servers, and nor do they need to if you get the system right from the beginning and build a single core-system as the base. This is also why it would need to be an initiative developed by central government. It needs to be a national system so all cars can be charged. It's a bit of a chicken and egg thing - all the cars need to be chipped first.

Advantages:

I cannot concieve of a more efficient and practical system for providing user-charges on roads. And to stress there is no fundamental reason for it to be unduly expensive - the supporting technology is inherently cheap.
 
I do not believe the proposed system exists as of yet (from what I know at least?), but the government could certainly commission its development. There is no question it would work. It's based on nothing more than a crude information exchange using well established technologies. It's all solid-state electronics and therefore inherently reliable and low maintenance.

As I see it, it gives us the foundation to economically rationalise road usage which in turn allows us to do away with minimum parking requirements. Parking can become just another component of the market economical model.

Safety:

Another thing you can do with this system is install the equivalent of speed camera's, for cheap. It's just a matter of embedding two readers, say 50 meters apart, on any given stretch of road so it can likewise measure vehicle speed as it enters and exists the gates, plus details. 

I wonder how this would affect the road toll, having a "speed trap" on maybe every dangerous corner?

Road management:

The RF-readers can inform us of traffic conditions in real time, and very accurately. This can obviously help with traffic management. 

Also, we can have congestion-charging with this system and on a detailed level, using maybe many toll gates because they're so cheap to install, anywhere. People can use the internet to get a detailed perspective on travel/parking costs at any given time of the day, as rates are always displayed online.

Reducing congestion is by far the most significant way we can reduce carbon emissions from road transport. Stop-and-go operation is the great "evil" of transport inefficiency in an urban environment.

Security:

Having a detailed time/location record of people's cars, that can be accessed when required, can no doubt help to fight crime.

Ends:

I hope you found this idea of interest. 

Thanks for your attention,

Andrew Atkin

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Extended video: 


Monday, April 16, 2018

Getting the New Zealand road toll down to ZERO


By Andrew Atkin.

Yes, it can be done. But there is only one (realistic) way to do it.














Well amazingly, the Green party has come up with a policy proposal that I might agree with. As I understand, they are thinking about reducing the New Zealand highway speed limit to 70 km/h.

However, there is no way the 70 km/h proposal can be implemented until cars are driverless, for political reasons alone. The public would surely, otherwise, never accept it.

First, let's look at the safety advantage of travelling at 70 instead of 100 km/h. The braking distance at 70 is half that of 100, and if a 'freak' collision does occur it will happen with only a small fraction of the impact-force that it would be at higher speeds. With anti-collision technology provided by now-developed driverless systems, the chances of an injury causing death on New Zealand's roads would be virtually zero. Even significant injuries would be all but unheard of.

So getting the road toll down to virtually zero per-year, is not unreasonable. We can do it. But again the problem is getting drivers to accept travelling 30% slower which would increase their travel times by about 15% (Note. Reducing top speeds does not proportionally reduce average speeds, due to cornering and travelling through towns, etc).

The trick is to provide a proposal on reducing the top speed that the public can accept. Well, this is where the advantages of driverless Uber-style transport comes in. Let me create a scenario to give you the picture.

You live in Wellington and want to spend the weekend in Auckland. So, you order up a bed-car designed for sleeping for long trips, on Friday night. When your car gets to your door at 8 pm, it has a pre-ordered meal waiting for you included. You get in, start eating dinner, and watch the movie on the screen or work on your computer. At 10 pm you get tired and lie back and go to sleep, using your personal duvet and pillow, on what is literally a bed base in the car.

You wake up in Auckland at 6 am the next day, Saturday, without the sore neck. Your top travel speed was 70 km/h and your average speed was ~65 km/h.

What you would also notice, is that the car ride was unusually smooth. This is because the car has electronically controlled suspension that provides some active lean into the corners, and has an explicit map that allows it to smoothly avoid significant bumps on the road.

Now this is the point. Do we really need to travel at dangerous speeds when car-time is no longer dead time?

I would argue we don't. In fact car-time could be valued as it gives people more of their own space where they won't be directly disturbed. And the increase in travel times will not be drastic, at about 15%, if we reduce the top speed to 70 km/h.

And finally, there is always the possibility of building new roads that safely specialise to faster operation in the future. Maybe operating at 150 km/h with roads that have heavy super-elevation, for those who want to pay for this.

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Let me list some other advantages of reducing highway speeds to 70 km/h.

-Approximately 60 - 70% reduction in energy consumption, from reducing aerodynamic drag and braking losses.

-Great reduction in road maintenance.

-Far more economical driverless freight operation.

-Major reduction in vehicle maintenance.

-Huge increase in road capacity via close platooning, which requires constant road speeds (not slowing for corners) to work well. (Note, driverless cars can be compartmentalised for privacy in car-pooling, which should be popular. This also can increase road capacity dramatically).

-Good for tourists, for where the trip is the destination.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

If I were a Moderate Muslim
























By Andrew Atkin:

If I was a Moderate Muslim, then what would I do to combat all these Islamophobes and Neo-Nazi's who call me unkind names?

Well for start, I wouldn't worry about them. They are not my real enemy. My real enemies are the fundamentalist Islamist's that share my faith. The fundamentalists perform terrorists activities, practice sharia law when they can, and push for the Islamification of the entire world via Jihad.

The fundamentalists would be threatening to ruin my moderate reputation via toxic association. They're making non-Muslim's nervous about all Muslims. Naturally, if I was a moderate Muslim I wouldn't want non-Muslims to feel that way about me, especially if I'm living in a non-Muslim host country.

So what would I do? First I would join up with non-Muslims and do everything I can to explain, to them, the difference between people like me and extremists. And I would do it respectfully. Of course it's a bit silly to call people Islamophobes and racists after what extremist Islam has done, and is still doing today. And name-calling would never help my cause. That's no way to get people on my side.

In clarifying the difference, I would clearly define my moderate religious position. I would take the Qur'an and remove all the parts within that book that I believe are a perversion of 'true' Islam. I would also condemn the evil aspects of Muhammad's life that, to my mind, must be a false representation of history and therefore my faith.

Of course, I cannot be a moderate Muslim and simultaneously consider the brutal and totalitarian directives within the Qur'an to be Allah's truth. If I did, then I would be an extremist - not a moderate. A moderate can only believe in the Qur'an as it stands today selectively, so again I would extract all the corruption from the original book and call my edited version "The true Qur'an".

My version would be a pure statement of the beliefs of a moderate Islamist, and there would be no ambiguity. This is what a religious book should be like. If you want people to know the truth that you believe in, then you shouldn't mix words with how it is expressed. And I wouldn't.

In conjunction with this, I would study extremism and extremists on the psycho-social level. I would need to. Extremists are my enemy as they want me converted or dead, so I would have to put in place measures to defend moderate Islam from them. I would need to understand my enemy to work against them.

Further, I would insist that all mosques are carefully monitored, along with other precautionary measures, to defend against any corrupting influence from extremist elements that might get in. And naturally I would want to take the opportunity to prove my innocence to my wider society, so as to protect the reputation of my faith.

A genuine moderate has nothing to hide, and would never wish to become an enemy of the non-Muslim world. A moderate only wants to do good things, and their beliefs are consistent with western human rights.

But most importantly of all, as I must stress, I would transparently draw a definitive line between the moderates and the extremists. There would be no confusion. I would explain the differences explicitly. Again I would not want to be confused with the extremists. I would see it as my duty to protect moderate Islam and also to explain my faith to my host country, out of respect for my host country, and like everyone else I would believe that I have a duty to fight extremism and the pervasive threat of extremism. Because extremism is real - not phobic.

Ends.

Now this is where I have a concern with the moderates. I have to say their behaviour is not entirely consistent with who they claim to be. Where is THEIR Qur'an, or do they endorse the whole original thing? If so, then, like many studious people have claimed, there is no moderate Islam - only Islam. And if these (so called) moderates are not prepared to define their religious faith in explicit terms that we can all understand, and also take serious action against the forces of extremism, then they can't complain when people look at them with suspicion. If they're going to be conspicuous by their silence--which may be interpreted as passive endorsement--then they deserve the suspicion they might recieve.

Realistically though, most moderates are probably just ignorant. They don't understand their holy book because they've only read a part of it. But again that is not good enough. They need to get off their butts and clarify where, exactly, they are at, and what exactly they believe. Otherwise the western world will continue to give them that concerning suspicion that is both understandable and justified.

In a nutshell, the moderates need to join the rest of us in maturely answering the question:

"What action should we take to be sure there is no Islamic radicalisation process occurring or potentially occurring within our society?"

The author has already given his best attempt at answering that specific question: