Word of the day

January 31, 2012

Chauvinist – one with a militant devotion to the glorification of one’s own country, fanatical patriotism; person with a prejudiced belief in the superiority of her/his own gender, group or kind;


Silly little boys

January 31, 2012

 

“Because our society, New Zealand society, Western society in general, has been hijacked by a conspiracy of Silly Little Boys. They’re everywhere; in the schools, in the media, in the public service, in the judiciary, even in Cabinet.

Everywhere we turn, the foundations of feminity, the pillars of female-ness which have underpinned the construction and development of our very civilisation, are being undermined, by Silly Little Boys. And we are putting up with it.”

Those two paragraphs are no sillier than the latest outpouring of stupidity by New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser uncovered by The Hand Mirror.


Last words, robots and predictions

January 31, 2012

Discussion on Critical Mass with Jim Mora today was sparked by:

The ultimate Facebook app, if I die.

Children’s ideas on  a robot-influenced future – more details at Latitude

Predictions for 2112

Hat tip for links – Idealog’s email newsletter  Daily Bacon


No Missionaries

January 31, 2012

GoNZo Freakpower wonders if a sign saying No Missionaries will keep unwanted people from his place the way a No Junk Mail sign keeps unwanted rubbish from his mailbox.

If it doesn’t he could follow the example of a friend who keeps a Bible reading by the door and quotes it at anyone who calls on a mission to convert her to their brand of religion.

Or he could try tears – it worked for me.

Our baby son and I had been home for only a couple of days after his eventful first couple of weeks of life during which he’d stopped breathing several times and had multiple seizures when we had to return to hospital.

My farmer and I decided it would be better if I drove down to Dunedin myself so I could keep the car down there. It seemed like a good idea until he went to the stock sale with our daughter leaving me at home alone.

A few minutes later some religious peddlers knocked on the door.

When I opened it they asked how I was. I said, “My baby’s dying,” and burst into tears.

They took one horrified look at me and fled.

I admire missionaries who do practical good but have never understood those who only preach. This experience reinforced my prejudice – if they’d taken their faith seriously they would have offered to help.


Aussie in NZ Racing Hall of Fame

January 31, 2012

Australian trainer Bart Cummings has been made an honorary member of  the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame:

Bart Cummings’ induction as the first foreigner to the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame was the early highlight of the Karaka Premier Yearling Sale on Monday.

Cummings was inducted by Prime Minister John Key in a ceremony before the sale started at Karaka, on the southern outskirts of Auckland.

He was admitted on the strength of his success with New Zealand-bred horses. Eight of his 12 Melbourne Cup winners were New Zealand bred, as was his most recent champion So You Think.

“No overseas trainer has done more to promote the New Zealand thoroughbred,” Hall of Fame chairman Gerald Fell said.

Cummings bought So You Think at Karaka a few years ago and said he was hoping to find another top horse.

“I’m always looking for a bargain in New Zealand because I can’t get one in Australia,” he said.

The induction wasn’t the main motivation for his visit, though:

However, the real reason for his visit is to pick another winner of the race  he’s almost made his own, the Melbourne Cup.

Cummings has won a few – 12 Melbourne Cups, with seven Kiwi-bred winners – and says the prize money is the attraction.  He had back-to-back wins with  Think Big in the 1970s.

The master trainer is now hoping he can get the right mix of sales business  and pleasure at Karaka.

Race horses are definitely not must-haves and prices paid at the sales this week will be an indicator of buyer confidence in the racing industry and wider economy.

 


5/10

January 31, 2012

5/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.


National Standards are working

January 31, 2012

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets/hub.1326407570.htmlWairarapa principal Kevin Jephson says National Standards are failing because most of his school’s pupils failed its benchmark last year.

Only 11 per cent of Dalefield’s students met the reading standard, 2 per cent the writing standard and 7 per cent the mathematics standard, he said.  

That’s not the standards failing, the results show they’re working.

The school, its staff and parents now know pupils aren’t learning as they should be and they should be focussed on getting them the help they need.

But Gail Marshall, principal of Solway Primary School in Masterton, said she had utmost faith in National Standards as a workable system.

The standards were trialled at Solway ahead of being rolled out nationwide.

The 2011 assessment at Solway found 91 per cent of Years 4 to 6 pupils met the reading standard, 87 per cent the writing standard and 82 per cent the mathematics standard.

 “What I like about the standards is that it shows very clearly what the kids need, and we can target that. This year we’ll be concentrating on writing and maths and we can target toward that end.”

Kiwiblog points out there is not a big difference in the decile rating of the schools:

Dalefield is decile 5 and Solway decile 6. Not a huge difference. Certainly not enough to explain why Solway is a magnitude higher in terms of the national standard.

Even if the decile rating was vastly different that wouldn’t mean the standards were wrong.

The assessment shows that Dalefield needs more help to ensure its pupils are learning as they should be which doesn’t mean the standards have failed.

The only failure identified so far is in Jephson who doesn’t understand that the true test of the standards won’t be in any problems they identify but in what happens next and the difference that makes.

Hat tip: Whaleoil


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