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The Bulletin: Skifield snowmaking a sign of the future

Global Development The Spinoff

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Skifield snowmaking a sign of the future, vaccination rates fall alarmingly, and construction industry encouraged to lower emissions.Snowmaking has saved the ski industry from disaster
'Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Skifield snowmaking a sign of the future, vaccination rates fall alarmingly, and construction industry encouraged to lower emissions. Snowmaking has saved the ski industry from disaster this year, after the weather didn’t create the desired winter wonderland.  The  ODT  reports that South Island mountains have seen very little natural snow this season, in what could be considered a sign of things to come. NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson said it was fortunate that nights have been cold enough for large scale snowmaking, because The Remarkables in particular have been incredibly busy with visitors. Ruapehu has had better luck, reports the  Rotorua Daily Post , but as of the 10th of this month there still wasn’t enough snow on the upper slopes for skiing. Data from  Niwa  predicts that climate change will have an effect on skifields, but it will be relatively gradual.  At higher elevations, there won’t be much decrease of natural snow, but at lower elevations it will be quite pronounced. Ironically, over time climate change could give New Zealand’s mountains an advantage over those in Europe and Australia, which are predicted to be more severely affected. Of course, it shouldn’t be forgotten that flying to New Zealand contributes to the emissions that cause climate change, so it’s not exactly a cause for wild celebration. And artificial snowmaking being a necessary component for the ski industry to survive in a warming world is rather on the nose, as symbolism goes. The  goal for the industry  is to have 2 million skier days each season by 2020.  As well as that, one initiative being taken by Ruapehu is to get more tourists visiting in summer with the  opening  of a new gondola. Mountain activities generally are a pretty crucial source of tourism income for the country – not everyone wants to go and see Lord of the Rings stuff after all. And while towns like Ohakune, Queenstown and Wanaka have diversified their tourism offerings away from just snow activities, they remain an important lynchpin of the local economies. But there are other, more immediate concerns that could hurt the industry,  covered in this  Stuff  piece. The Australian economy is looking like slowing down, and they’re a significant source of tourists. If as some predict there is another global financial crisis in the next year or two, that could put a huge squeeze on tourism to New Zealand generally. Skiing is a more expensive activity that attracts higher value tourists, so a global crunch could have an acute impact on the economy of regions around the mountains. Vaccination rates are falling alarmingly, but it isn’t necessarily because of anti-vaxxers , reports the  NZ Herald  (paywalled.) More than 1 in 5 babies aren’t getting fully vaccinated on time, which is below the level needed to maintain herd immunity in a population. But those numbers are more driven by people not having access to healthcare for poverty-related reasons, rather than being driven primarily by misinformation around vaccines. Either way, health system leaders are calling for more to be done both on bringing the rates of vaccination up, and in countering the falsehoods put out by the anti-vax movement. The construction industry is being encouraged to look at ways of reducing cement use, along with wider emissions reductions,  reports  Radio NZ . Cement itself is highly carbon intensive to produce, and research is underway into alternative materials. Emissions from the construction industry have leapt along with the boom in building, which will be a major challenge to address in a country that still needs plenty of house and infrastructure building to take place. The Opportunities Party has taken the slightly unusual step of publicly releasing data showing the state of their finances.  Interest  reports they’re staying afloat and attracting donations, however the party acknowledges that at present they don’t have the resources to mount an effective election campaign. It follows a tumultuous year for the party, which included the  permanent departure  of founder and funder Gareth Morgan, and  internal conflicts  – in part over the health of the accounts. A step from Fonterra on walking the talk on their carbon emissions,  reports the  NZ Herald . They had previously committed to not installing any new coal boilers, or increasing their capacity to burn coal, by 2030. But rather than wait a decade, they’ve announced that will simply take place from now. Fonterra remains a large user of coal to power their processing plants, but say they’re making plans to phase it out. Despite a building boom, Kiwibank economists say the housing shortage will continue to get worse,  reports  Interest . Population growth is outstripping supply, and it is estimated the country is about 130,000 short as a result. Having said that, the rate at which the shortage is growing is itself slowing. Paradoxically though, the economists expect prices in Auckland to keep slipping down, even though supply is down. A correction:  I was wrong yesterday to say the 1969 mission was the only time people had been to the moon, because as we all know that was in fact a hoax. Kidding, kidding, but seriously, there have in fact been quite a few missions to the moon that have resulted in people setting foot on it – here’s a  Wikipedia  list. The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed, free daily curated digest of all the most important stories from around New Zealand delivered directly to your inbox each morning. Sign up now Email * Right now on The Spinoff:  Eloise Callister-Baker  reviews a new audio exhibition based on the ‘Unfortunate Experiment’ – one of the darker chapters in New Zealand’s medical history.  Jordan Hamel  pays tribute to the Kiwi icons that helped get him through his life. Fashion designer  Grace Stratton  speaks to Timothy Giles about how accessibility for people with disabilities is much more complex than just building ramps.  Don Rowe  ranks every single fish from that poster that was on the walls at seemingly every single chippy back in the day. And I’m quite happy to endorse the idea behind this article. 14-year-old  Oli Morphew  makes the case for lowering the voting age to 16, arguing it would be better for both democracy and society as a whole. I reckon if we’re going to ask teenagers to solve the problems of tomorrow, we should be giving them more of a say today. Ed Sheeran has a new album out.  This is information that probably won’t be news to a lot of readers, given the popularity and ubiquity he has. Now I’m not a fan of Sheeran’s music in the slightest, but I’ve got nothing against people who are. And this piece from  The Atlantic  I think is a really good piece of cultural commentary, because it assesses his music on its own terms, and analyses it on both a musical and cultural level. Here’s an excerpt:  Sheeran’s songs thus tend to give off two opposing feelings. On one hand, there’s control, simplicity, and calm. The arrangements don’t ever get very busy, and Sheeran’s voice is always the LED-lit, easy-to-follow main attraction. He might emphasize a somewhat surprising syllable or tone—part of engineering catchiness is finding ways to smuggle surprise into the familiar—but the melodies always resolve in neat, satisfying patterns. Yet he also wants to create a feeling of veering near wildness, or of losing composure, or of yearning so hard, he might break. More than anything, he gives the impression of trying for something—a note, a memory, a person—that’s out of his reach. They might have lost overnight, but the Silver Ferns have shown they’re serious contenders at the Netball World Cup.  Stuff  reports the team went down 50-49 against Australia, but perhaps more importantly, the Ferns managed to pull back a six goal deficit from half-time. In fact, they even had a chance to shoot for a tie in the final seconds, but Maria Folau’s effort hit the rim. It sets up a likely clash with England in the semifinals. And all of a sudden, the All Blacks season is upon us as well.  The team has travelled to Argentina to play Los Pumas, who look suspiciously like Los Jaguares – the vast majority of the Super Rugby franchise will be in action for the national team this weekend. As  RugbyPass’s  Alex McLeod writes, there’s a decent chance of the All Blacks being tipped up, particularly without a large cohort of Crusaders players resting after their win a fortnight ago. This could well be a game getting up at 6 on a Sunday morning for. From our partners:  A two-tier system of energy use is developing, with those on high incomes much more able to reduce their bills than households on lower incomes.  Vector’s  Chief Risk and Sustainability Officer Kate Beddoe outlines what the company plans to do about that. That’s it for The Bulletin. If you liked what you read, and know other people who would find it useful, pass on this  signup form  to them. This content is brought to you by Vector. If you live in Auckland, they also delivered the power you’re using to read it. And they’re creating a new energy future for all of us, as showcased by the incredible Vector Lights in partnership with Auckland Council.'

A silicon valley legend on the coming of invisible technology

Global Development The Spinoff

In the future personal technology will be so seamlessly built into our lives it will be almost invisible. Claire McCall spoke to Ivy Ross, the woman in charge of designing Google’s hardware ahead of her appearance at the Future of the Future
'In the future personal technology will be so seamlessly built into our lives it will be almost invisible. Claire McCall spoke to Ivy Ross, the woman in charge of designing Google’s hardware ahead of her appearance at the Future of the Future conference next month. I vy Ross doesn’t see the future. She feels it. It’s intuition that has drawn her along a diverse career highway, driven not by an ambition to make it to the top but by the desire never to retrace her footsteps. “I don’t ever want to do the same thing twice,” says Ross on the phone while driving to the airport.  The only journey where she’s happy to press repeat is the drive – two hours there, two hours back – between her home, a modern tree house in the wooded hills north of San Francisco, and Googleplex, the company headquarters in Silicon Valley. That might be some people’s idea of insanity. For Ross, it’s the opposite.  “To me, nature is the most aesthetic place, filled with sound, scent, colour and texture.” Ross, the vice president of hardware design at Google, is headed to New Zealand to speak at The Future of The Future conference on August 15. She is part wacky Californian hippy – she has a 1000-square-metre ‘sound-bathing’ studio in New Mexico that she says looks like Willy Wonka’s factory, filled with pyramids and toys to climb into – but clearly has a serious side. The combination of those qualities has seen her work in product design at high-profile companies such as Gap, Swatch, Mattel and Google without a great deal of talent and vision. Ivy Ross is vice president of hardware design at Google (image: supplied) If her degree, from New York’s High School of Art and Design (majoring in fine arts, minoring in psychology) nudged open career doors a crack, her upbringing gave her the gumption to stride on through. Her father, an industrial engineer at the studio which designed the sporty, glamorous Studebaker Hawk, taught her to see possibilities. “He was always pointing out how things were put together and how you could learn from what you see and adapt it. He stretched my mind and left me hungry and curious.”   By her early twenties, that curiosity meant Ross had developed a technique shaping metals to craft jewellery from titanium and niobium that captured so much attention her work made its way into the permanent collections of museums such as The Smithsonian and the Victoria & Albert in London. It was a high point – and a low one. “Getting into museums was such an ego trip; it lasted about two weeks before life was back to normal,” she says. The experience taught her to focus on the journey, not the end goal.  Ivy Ross’s first breakthrough was with her jewellery (image: supplied). Ross was named by Fast Company magazine as one of the 100 most creative people in business. For the past five years, she has mentored a team that is driving the aesthetic of Google hardware and her belief in thoughtful design underpins what has been released to date. It’s woven into Daydream, a cloth-covered virtual reality headset that is lightweight, soft and easy to wear. It’s evident in Google Home, a voice-activated smart speaker that can be customised with a grille that comes in shades such as grey, mango, violet and copper. And in the tactility of the polyester and nylon knit cases that enclose the search engine’s offering to the mobile phone market – Pixel.  For Ross, these products are the tangible outcome of visceral experience: her tandem focus is on technology ‘doing’ and ‘feeling’.  Which is why at the Milan Furniture Fair held this April, the Google stand was not dedicated to Products On Display but rather a ‘conversation’ within the discipline. A series of three rooms was curated with different furniture, sounds, lighting, colour and even smells. Visitors were encouraged to turn off their phones and to just be, quietly, in the spaces, to take in the artwork, to run their hands over the textures. Visitors wore a custom-designed wristband to measure biometric data which was then collated and presented as an individualised inkblot drawing – a circle with colours to represent what the wearer was feeling. “I am a luminary scholar in neuro-aesthetics,” explains Ross. “The idea was to give people consciousness about what artists and designers have always known – that our physical body reacts to what we see and what we are feeling all the time.” Google’s custom-designed wristband to measure biometric data which was then collated and presented as an individualised inkblot drawing (image: supplied). Fortunately, says Ross, we have agency over what we surround ourselves with. Hence her mammoth commute to Mill Valley, to the forest and hideaway hills where the living room of the home she helped design is softened with colours of the earth and a 50s-style fireplace is the snug counterpoint to a deck that cantilevers beneath a magnificent oak tree.  Ross’s husband, photographer Arthur Drooker, is another treasured aspect of a life designed to feed her voracious spirit. They met as teenagers when she dated his best friend and hung out, listening to 70s rock. Decades later, they reconnected through Facebook and seven years ago were married. Drooker is the perfect foil to his on-the-move wife, freeze-framing moments in time before Ross, still so dynamic at the age of 64, darts off in a new direction.   “The future is so dynamic that we have to stay incredibly flexible as it reveals itself,” she says.  Ross has always moved towards the future faster than most. She grew up in Yonkers, a suburb just north of the Bronx, in a house designed by her father with architecture so avant-garde that it caught the eye of pop artist and director Andy Warhol. He used it as one of the settings in the movie Bad , a 1977 comedy described these days as “a subversive cult classic that imagines a world of empowered women.”  Ivy Ross’s tree house home in the hills north of San Francisco (image: supplied). By the time futurists such as Warhol were conjuring tomorrows where women left the kitchen Ross was already breaking down barriers. That hasn’t changed. As one of the most successful women in Silicon Valley, she believes today’s technology attention to our thinking mind is creating new opportunities. “Everyone is craving the more sensorial aspects of life. That is why women are increasingly thriving in the tech workforce.”  Our future, Ross believes, holds technology that amplifies our humanity, technology which is so integrated into the background of our homes and lives that it will all but disappear. It’s a curious conundrum that, when that day comes, the woman who wants to shape how it feels to “hold Google in the palm of your hand” will have, effectively, designed herself out of a job.  Ivy Ross is one of six global thought leaders who will speak at The Future of The Future presented with Spark Lab to be hosted at Auckland’s Aotea Centre on August 15. To learn more, see www.futureofthefuture.co.nz This content was created in paid partnership with the Future of the Future festival.  Learn more about our partnerships here .'

New Zealand Social Sector – Everybody has a part to play in creating a better future for older New Zealanders

Global Development LiveNews.co.nz

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions Source: Ministry of Social Development New Zealanders are encouraged to have their say on the draft strategy Better Later Life – He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034. Minister for Seniors, Tracey Martin, launched the draft
'Source: MIL-OSI Submissions Source:  Ministry of Social Development New Zealanders are encouraged to have their say on the draft strategy Better Later Life – He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034. Minister for Seniors, Tracey Martin, launched the draft strategy last month with consultation open until June 3. The draft strategy helps to create opportunities for everyone to participate, contribute and be valued as they age. Office for Seniors Director, Diane Turner, said it was important to hear from people in cities, towns and suburbs across the country. “People are living longer, they are more active and healthy. This is something to celebrate but we all need to prepare for the changes that are already happening in New Zealand,” she says. “Within the next 10 years there will be more people that are over 65 than under 16 years. Our population will also be more diverse, working longer and not all will be living in a home that they own.” “But we know that ageing is different for everyone. Here in New Zealand we have 200 ethnic groups and speak 160 different languages. That’s why we want to hear from people from all across the country and from all walks of life,” she says. “I urged everyone to have their say on what needs to be done to ensure that older New Zealanders can lead valued, connected and fulfilling lives.” A copy of the draft strategy, along with details on how to provide feedback is available on the SuperSeniors website:  www.superseniors@msd.govt.nz The closing date for submissions is Monday June 3, 2019. The draft strategy replaces the Positive Ageing Strategy that was released in 2001. Note for editors: New Zealand is becoming increasingly diverse. The number of people aged 65 plus by 2034 who are:  Māori to be 109,500 from 48,500 in 2018  Pacific peoples 46,700 from 21,300 in 2018  Asian 171,900 from 59,500 in 2018  Middle Eastern/Latin American and African peoples 18,000 from 4,000 in 2018, and  European or other (including New Zealander) 928,200 from 637,500 in 2018.  Currently, there are about 780,000 people aged 65 or over. By 2034, there will be more than 1.2 million people aged 65 plus, almost a quarter of the New Zealand’s total population, and nearly 180,000 aged 85 and over.  In a global context. New Zealand’s population is slightly younger than the OECD average . While New Zealand’s population is growing, other countries have aged faster, such as Japan, where more than 25 percent of their population is aged 65 plus.  Nearly one in four people aged 65 plus are in some paid employment.  It is estimated that by 2036 older people will contribute $50 billion of consumer spending per year, $25 billion worth of unpaid or voluntary work and through taxes (including GST) $13 billion. MIL OSI'