Spot the irony and omissions

March 29, 2009

I thought I’d finished with earth hour until I read this:

It starts with:

New Zealand’s power consumption dropped by 3.5 percent last night, as a record number of candle-wielding kiwis flicked the switch for Earth Hour.

But fails to draw the link between candles and carbon.

Continues with:

Most major New Zealand cities backed the event, with free concerts and entertainment helping to pull in the crowds.

Without questioning the fuel used to get people to these concerts and the power used in the sound systems.

Then concludes with:

And while Transpower says the warmer weather could have contributed to the drop-off in power usage, there is no doubt that that Earth Hour had an effect.

But it fails to ask if there was any change in power usage either side of earth hour which might indicate people used more electricity before and after it as Andrew Landeryou   (Hat Tip: Not PC) showed:

Don’t they teach journalists to ask questions any more?

Better to reuse than recycle

March 29, 2009

Nelson’s cafes and takeaway outlets are taking BYO to a new level by asking customers to bring their own mugs.

They are part of the city’s new Bring Your Own Container (BYOC) scheme aimed at reducing the mountain of waste dumped into the landfill each year.

The mugs will need to be washe, but the tiny amount of hot water and detergent needed for that ought to have a fraction of the impact on the environment that recycling does and will reduce the amount of single-use plastic and paper cups that get binned.

This is a very sensible green initiative – notwithstanding the opportunity for the health police to warn us of the dangers which lurk in mugs subjected to improper washing.


Blue cheese blues

March 29, 2009

Fonterra’s has made a blue  and from all acounts it – Kapiti Kikorangi – is a very nice blue. But it’s not as the company claims the blue which has won the most cheese awards.

Fonterra has based its claim on based on results from the Cuisine Champions of Cheese Awards, started in 2004 by the NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Association but Whitestone Cheese isn’t swallowing that because:

Bob Berry, Whitestone Cheese founder, says Fonterra has a short memory. While the awards are only a few years old, a national competition has been in place since 1994.

“I think it’s quite simple. What they’re saying is let’s forget the first half and start again. But good things take time and good cheeses have long memories.”

My votes with Whitestone and not just for its Windsor Blue  but also for Moeraki Bay Blue  and Highland Blue.

They are delicious on their own, with oat crackers or bread and promote the humble asapragus roll to a gourment delight.

While it’s best with fresh asparagus , when that’s not available you can use tinned:

Cut the crusts of thin sliced wholemeal bread, top with one or two asparagus spears and a generous amount of grated blue cheese.

Roll, place on oven tray and cook until bread is toasted; or cook them in a toasted-sandwich maker and call them asparagus flats 🙂


Dirty water

March 29, 2009

Agriculture Minister David Carter was right when he said, in reference to dairying & clean streams:

The small number of dairy farmers who ignore effluent disposal requirements are damaging the reputation of the dairy industry as a whole.

It is simply unacceptable to pollute. Not only does it antagonise environmental organisations but also wider New Zealand. More importantly, it risks the hard-gained reputation that New Zealand Inc. has established in our international markets.

There is no excuse for wanton pollution of waterways but this isn’t just a country issue.

Earlier this month sewage was visible off the coast of Dunedin and Dave Haywood at Public Address discovered the people of Christchurch might be flushing their loos into the Avon and Heathcote rivers.

Well, frankly, this sucks. And it sucks that I even have to point out how much it sucks. Surely it’s absolutely obvious that you shouldn’t dump raw sewage into a river — any river — let alone a river that runs through a major city. Even if it’s only when the wastewater network becomes ‘overloaded’ (which, incidentally, the council expects will be around twice a year).

While dairy farmers are – quite rightly – being fined if they allow  cattle or effluent , near water ways, whole cities are discharging untreated sewage into rivers and the sea.

That’s what I call a very inconvenient truth.

Hat Tip: Alf Grumble


It pays to be clean

March 29, 2009

The Sunday Times Story of the family who got repeated stomach bugs because their cleaner wiped the loo with their towels is revolting.

But what shocked me most was that the cleaning company charged $50 a hour.

I have nothing against a business making money and realise the hourly rate will cover not just wages but overheads.

But either they do things differently in the city or I’m very out of touch because $50 an hour for cleaning sounds exorbitant to me.

I wonder how much the cleaner got?

If it was half the amount the home owner paid, it would be a little more than twice the sum offered to a graduate journalist in an advertisement spotted by David Cohen:

Starting salary is $25,000.

Interesting. According to the Department of Labour, the minimum wage is $12 an hour, or $24,960 a year, which puts the offered amount here only microscopically higher (not quite 2c an hour before tax) than what an entry-level burger-flipper might expect to command at McDonald’s.

Even if the cleaner got a quarter of the charge-out rate, s/he would be nearly 50 cents an hour better paid than the reporter.


Did you see the light/dark?

March 29, 2009

Did you see the light dark last night?

TV3 showed us the lights on the Sky Tower going out (and also lots of candles burning).

The Herald declared Earth Hour a success but Keeping Stock reckoned that was a Tui truth.

Around other blogs this morning:

Zen Tiger at NZ Conservative has a much better idea for dirt day once a week

Psycho Milt at No Minister had some family learning opportunities

And some I missed last night:

A seven year old speaks sense at M&M

Dave Gee switched on for sanity hour

Roarprawn declared it a crock

Oswald Bastable switched on everything

Mr Dennis lit up too.


If the cap fits public opinion will wear it

March 29, 2009

The Herald asked if public sector jobs should be capped when unemployment is rising?

The response, albeit unscientific, was conclusive: A total of 2867 people voted and 2234, 78% of them said yes with just 633 (22%) saying no.


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