Tag Archives: grumpy old man

All Black – but What’s in a Name anyway?

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Filed under New Zealand, Random Grumps & Raves
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A NZ Herald editorial on Saturday 6 June discussed a possible deal between the NZ All Blacks and the American company, and opposed the deal.  It had this to say:

To prevent the undermining of the  All Black brand, the New Zealand Rugby Union has jealously guarded its trademarks and copyrights.

It is all the more surprising, therefore, that it could be contemplating an advertising logo across the front of the All Black jersey. The suitor is reported to be insurance company AIG.

The rugby union has not denied the suggestion, and says it is talking to several potential sponsors in the lead-up to the Rugby Championship.

Advertising on the All Black jersey would not be new. There was a discreet Steinlager logo in the mid-1990s. That was not well received by many fans. The name of an American insurer with a problematic profile emblazoned across the front of the playing strip would be many times more intrusive and would, therefore, create a far greater furore.

The level of opposition should lead the rugby union to reconsider. So, too, should the prospect of damage to the All Black brand.

A black jersey adorned only with a silver fern and the manufacturer’s moniker makes a powerful statement. Not for nothing does it have a worldwide status akin to that of Italy’s soccer shirt, a strip also noted for its commercial-free purity.

If the All Blacks went the way of the Wallabies, the Springboks and British rugby sides, it would only devalue that status.

The All Blacks would become just another team, and any immediate financial gain would have to be balanced against the long-term implications of a serious diminishing of the brand.

I agree that we should oppose the deal, but for a fundamentally different reason.   The Herald editorial surrenders before it even begins the fight, because it concedes that “All Black” is merely a brand.

“Coca Cola” is a brand.  “L’Oreal”, “Colgate”, “Ford”, “Apple”, “Microsoft”, “Mobil”, Betty Crocker”, etc are brands.  You get the idea…

“All Black” properly should be grouped with words or phrases like “Anzac”, “New Zealand”, “New Zealander”, or “Maori”.   While they all have powerful brand value (the successes of our tourist, film and dairy industries illustrate that very clearly) none of them are brands, none should ever be brands.  They are much more than that – they are definitive identifiers.  They are who and what we are, and are not for sale, not to be qualified by tags of commercial ownership or patronage.  Can you imagine it – the Mobil Anzacs, the Hyundai New Zealanders?  Changing the iconic TVNZ programme “Country Calendar” to “Hyundai Country Calendar” is bad enough, thanks.  But in TVNZ’s defence, they did create the programme and own it and the name outright.  It is entirely their business if they choose to diminish their own brand for commercial reasons, and all I can do is express sadness that they found it necessary to do so.

The NZRU did not create the All Blacks name.  In this case, “Diminishing the brand” doesn’t even begin to describe the issue.  If we describe the proud name of our national side as a brand, the damage is already done, because we have already diminished it.

It’s OK to allow that the All Blacks are “proudly sponsored by AIG”, and we could acknowledge it with an AIG logo discreetly placed on the Jersey in the same way as the Adidas logo is now. But to emblazon the AIG or any other logo across the front of the jersey is too close to calling our team “The AIG All Blacks”.

No.  The name is not for sale.  Neither is the All Black jersey.  Let’s leave that kind of sell-out to the Wallabies and Springboks.

 

Joe Bastardi – The Message or the Medium?

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Filed under Global Warming
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Joe Bastardi is a weatherman.  He works for Weatherbell, a US-based forecaster, that provides global weather reports and forecasts through its website, http://www.weatherbell.com/.  Joe also has a number of corporate clients, for whom he prepares specific detailed forecasts tailored to their weather information needs.

If one judges a weatherman by the success rate of his seasonal forecasts, then Joe is a super-weatherman.

When my wife and I came from New Zealand to live in the Haarlem in the Netherlands in 2008, we needed local weather information.  My Dutch language skills were non-existent, so I went looking in the internet for English-language reports on current conditions and forecasts.  The most accurate forecasts for Haarlem at the time were on the website of Accuweather, another global weather forecasting company, at http://www.accuweather.com/en-gb/nl/north-holland/haarlem/quick-look.aspx.

I had long been interested in the Anthropogenic Global Warming debate, which had wide publicity in New Zealand.  My interest (and suspicions) had been aroused by the way in which every weather event was described as evidence of human-influenced global warming.  However, the concept behind the idea seemed worthy of investigation, so I was interested in finding out more.

A Dutch television channel showed a film called “An Inconvenient Truth” featuring Al Gore showing a PowerPoint presentation which presented Michael Mann’s hockey-stick graph and argued in apocalyptic terms that the earth was in danger of a runaway greenhouse effect, caused by human beings, and specifically, the CO2 that we produce.

That film was a tipping-point for me.  “An Inconvenient Truth” was far from being a reasoned, scientifically-based presentation.  It was full of half-truths and special pleading, presented by a salesman.  For the first time, I began to suspect that the AGW scare was a textbook real-life example of the behaviour illustrated by the classic fable of Chicken Little.

One of the blog links on the Accuweather site that caught my attention was also hosted by Accuweather.  Joe Bastardi’s European Weather blog.  Bastardi is no Shakespeare, but his postings were always entertaining and well-argued.

Now Joe Bastardi has left Accuweather, and resurfaced at the Weatherbell site.  Inexplicably, his blog posts are behind a paywall – they are in the premium section of Weatherbell.  That is tragic.  One expects to pay for premium services – after all, they are a big part of the income of a web-based service.  But to pay for blog-posts?

Bloggers blog to be read.  They blog to communicate, to give their ideas the widest possible coverage.  Including pensioners who cannot afford the premium subscriptions. I am over sixty-five years old, and at the end of this month, I too shall be a pensioner.

So long, Joe.  I shall miss your posts.

Obama & Cameron call for “Open Science”. Do they really mean it?

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Filed under Global Warming, Politics
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Anthony Watts reports that Obama’s visit to the UK produced a joint statement, released in a White house memo.  The whole thing makes interesting reading, and can be seen here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/27/interesting-memo-from-the-white-house-on-science-and-climate-collaboration-with-the-uk/

The memo states that “Recognizing the great potential for productive cooperation in these domains, the Prime Minister and President reaffirmed during the State visit their mutual commitment to strong collaboration in science and higher education”.

It notes specific examples of existing cooperation in those fields.  At the end, there is this statement:  “They emphasized the importance of data sharing and open science data policies that support climate research and modelling”.

The trouble is, their own warmist poster boys on both sides of the Atlantic strongly disagree.  The British Royal Society honcho, Paul Nurse, must be very angry with them.  He claims that requests for data amount to intimidation, and even claims that people request information from scientists prior to publication of their findings.  He doesn’t say how people know what to ask for before the scientist publishes – I guess the malicious data requesters must be psychic:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/26/nursing-their-wounds-with-salt/

It is possible that data sharing and open science data policies are the last thing he wants to see, and his outburst is simply an attack on those who want data transparency, i.e. those who want scientists to follow the principles of science.

On the US side of the Atlantic, a court battle over the FOI request for the release of Michael Mann’s work-related emails has raged for some time.  The University of Virginia first claimed they had deleted the emails.  After investigation proved that the emails had not been deleted, they then argued that they should be kept confidential in the name of Academic Freedom.  Finally, a court has ordered that the emails must be released:

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/05/freedom-information-trumps-academic-freedom

The leaders of the UK and the US both create policies reflecting the views of the AGW-promoting scientists.  The same scientists who refuse to share their working data and working correspondence.  The same “scientists” who do not want their findings scientifically tested.  If the leaders really believe their call for data sharing and open science, they should be taking steps to ensure that scientists comply with the call.

If they fail to do so, Obama and Cameron will succeed only in inviting scepticism about their real intentions.