Zandie enjoying being brushed Supplied: GRNZ

The best of The Spinoff this week

Bringing you the best weekly reading from your friendly local website. 

Emily Writes: Great mates: The prison inmates caring for retired greyhounds

“A prisoner in the unit said that working with greyhounds has taught him to trust again. He says working with the greyhounds has taught him communication skills. Another said it has taught him to ask people for help.

It’s a beautiful connection joining greyhounds that may have struggled with a lack of attachment, love and support – and, at worst, abuse – with incarcerated men who may have as well. One prisoner talked about how it allows him to have someone to show affection to. There’s not likely much affection, if any, in a prison.

Anything that makes prison less torturous for inmates and gets greyhounds out of cages and into loving homes is a fantastic initiative.”

Bernard Beckett: A petty matter: Why it’s OK that teens don’t know what ‘trivial’ means

“It might be less a case that students don’t know what trivial means, and more a case that the meaning of the word trivial is changing.

Back in comments world, the response to this is predictably unsympathetic. If students can’t decipher a simple word like trivial, then they don’t deserve to pass the exam, sayeth the trolls, and yet this completely misunderstands what assessment is trying to do.”

Alastair Reath: Why didn’t we strike under National?

This year has seen the welcome, long overdue return of strike action to New Zealand. As it’s gone on, I’ve noticed an unfortunate talking point sneaking into the discussion. “Why didn’t you strike under National, why are you only doing this now? Give Labour and Jacinda a chance!”

It’s an interesting question. Why were strikes so low, for so long? Was it a case of union officials not wanting to take action, and the rank and file following that? Or were union members not ready to take action, despite officials being up for it?

Alex Casey: What’s the point in a women’s ride-sharing app? Any woman can tell you

“‘Yesterday, a feeble troll of a petition on announced that the new women-only ride-sharing app DriveHer was ‘sexist’ and ‘denying men jobs.’ To illustrate just how misguided the petition was, I put a call out on social media for women to share their experiences of travelling in taxis and Ubers. It’s been just over 24 hours and I have had well over 100 responses, ranging from creepy comments, to terrifying reroutes, to life-shattering instances of sexual assault.

So even though the plonkers behind the petition have since announced they will be deleting it due to ‘backlash’ – seriously, my heart goes out to them – here are just some of the stories sent by women to The Spinoff.”

Don Rowe: Remembering Kozmik, the grooviest Kiwi clothes of the 90s

“Their aesthetic sat perfectly in the centre of a Venn diagram of road workers, toddlers and ravers: a psychedelic world of swirls, peace signs and fluorescent yin and yang symbols. You might recognise them as the preferred attire of two-time World Cup Aerobic Champion Brett Fairweather, aka the inventor of bloody Jump Jam. Or perhaps you’ve seen them embracing the bod of one SUZY CATO.”

Toby Manhire: Announced: the date after which blaming the last government is banned

‘Nine long years’ is a jazz standard in political debate. Using opinions and mathematics Toby Manhire has settled on the moment from which it is no longer acceptable to use this rhetorical device. No correspondence will be entered into.

Emily Writes: Stop letting your kids watch horror films

“A few weeks ago my son stopped being able to go to sleep easily at night. He needed a night light. He needed me to lie with him, sometimes for up to two hours, as he jumped at every noise. He became afraid to go to the toilet at night. He stopped walking the dog because he’d have to walk past sewer drains. Eventually, things got so bad his dad started sleeping next to him to calm him when he woke screaming. School drop offs became a nightmare.

Finally, he told another parent what his recurring nightmare was. He said he couldn’t tell me, because he didn’t want to upset me.

He had dreamed that he was being made to cut me, his mum, up.”

Ollie Neas: What lies inside Rocket Lab’s secret US military contracts?

“Rocket Lab’s link with the CIA’s venture capital firm was revealed in 2016 by US investigative journalism site The Intercept, but has not been reported by the New Zealand media.

Although it operates independently, In-Q-Tel invests on behalf of the CIA and the broader US intelligence community in companies whose products may have national security applications.

document obtained by The Intercept shows that Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck spoke at a summit of In-Q-Tel portfolio companies in February 2016. Other speakers included then-FBI director James Comey. Beck earlier wrote about Rocket Lab for In-Q-Tel’s quarterly publication in 2015.

In contrast, Lockheed Martin’s investment in Rocket Lab is mentioned routinely in press coverage and was the subject of a jibe by departing Vector chairman Michael Stiassny to the Vector AGM last week.

However, the extent of Rocket Lab’s defence industry work has gone essentially unremarked.”

Emily Writes: Why does a Wellington councillor want to charge homeless people to live in their cars?

“’Apparently there are now 32 people living in cars in the unrestricted parking area directly below X Road*’ the flyer from Wellington City Councillor Nicola Young said. Shockingly, what followed next wasn’t an appeal to support them as the Christmas period begins. Instead, Nicola Young was attempting to re-brand those homeless individuals and families ‘Freedom Campers’.

Yeah. She did that.

‘Introducing parking charges would help,’ The Grinch of Lambton Quay said. ‘So I have asked officers to investigate the options. Frustratingly, there’s no progress to report on the government and mayoral joint working party on ‘freedom campers’.’

Almost as frustrating as not having a home I’d suppose.”

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