We’ll Meet Again

October 23, 2009

Hayley Westenra & Dame Vera Lynn launched Britain’s annaul Poppy Appeal together:


PM’s science prizes total $1m

October 23, 2009

John Key has launched the inaugural Prime Minister’s prizes for science.

“Our scientists are doing high-quality research in many areas but too often their achievements receive little public acclaim. We are committed to raising the profile and prestige of science in New Zealand,” says Mr Key.

“New Zealand’s prosperity rests on our ability to make full use of our scientific expertise. These prizes, by combining recognition and financial reward, will be important in attracting young people into science careers.”

Helen Clark introduced Prime Minister’s awards for writing. I have no quibble with that but these awards for science signal a change in focus. The recognition by the government of the importance of science will be good for science and the economy.

Our scientists are highly regarded but we produce too few and retain too few of those we do train. That is partly because science and scientists don’t get the recognition they deserve and partly because not enough money goes in to science.

These prizes will improve the recognition of scientists and also give them a financial boost.

The prize for a science teacher recognises the important role teachers play in engendering an enthusiasm for science in pupils.

The prize categories are:

The Prime Minister’s Science Prize.

This will recognise an outstanding science discovery or achievement which has resulted in an economic, health, social and/or environmental impact on New Zealand  and is worth $500,000 .

The Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Young Scientist of the Year Prize.

This is for a scientist, who is carrying out leading edge science, and is within five years of completing a PhD. – $150,000. For 2009 the recipient of this Prize will be the winner of the 2009 MacDiarmid Young Scientist of the Year: John Watt.

The Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize.

This is for a secondary school student for their achievements in carrying out a practical and innovative research or technology project.  The winner will receive a scholarship of $50,000 to support her/his tertiary education.     

The Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize

This prize is to recognise an outstanding teacher of Science. The the recipient will receive $50,000 and the recipient’s school will receive $100,000.

The Prime Minister’s Science Media Communications Prize

This Prize will support the recipient to carry out a programme of activities to further their understanding of the media communication sector and to develop skills that will make them an effective science media communicator in the future. The prize offers support to achieve this goal of up to $150,000.

More details of the prizes are here.


Learning to Lie Together

October 23, 2009

 Learning to Lie together is a collection of poems by Diane Brown.

It starts with a possum falling out of a tree in Who makes the first move and finishes with an analysis of a relationship in The maths of happiness.

In between is a selection of poetic reflections on everything from the discovery that in Korean the word for poem means fart to long distant love.

 The poems are very personal, but most deal with universal themes. They reveal enough but not too much, they show but don’t tell and all trust the reader to find what s/he will between the lines.

 

dairy 10008

Post 23 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge.

book month logo green

Over at In A Strange Land Deborah posts on Eel Dreaming by Helen Taylor and Ben Brown.

Oswald Bastable  posts  on  Tararua, the story of a mountain range Chris Maclean.


Sport talk

October 23, 2009

Is there anything to discuss except Southland’s Ranfurly Shield win, about which Roarprawn is justifiably excited?

If there is (or even if there isn’t), the floor is yours.


Feds’ sections spar over Google doodles

October 23, 2009

Federated Farmers Dairy and Meat & Fibre sections are sparring over the competition to design a Google 4 Doodle.

It started when Dairy Section chair Lachlan McKenzie issued a media release calling on people to vote for Molly Ploeg’s entry titled, ‘Moogle Google’: 

 “While more than a little biased, Federated Farmers Dairy gives Molly 10 out of 10 for her ‘Moogle Google’.  We honestly believe this ought to win. . .

“Molly wants to be a dairy farmer when she grows up and is the kind of person we want to see enter our industry.  The fact she attends an inner city school in Avondale is no barrier. . . “

Meat & Fibre chair Bruce Willis countered by encouraging people  to vote for the sheep which feature in all four age-groups of the competition.

He reckons this shows sheep are an integral part of the New Zealand psyche.

“It’s actually inspirational that so many young New Zealanders when asked to define New Zealand show affinity for agriculture. . .

“For me this shows how sheep still stand as an icon for all New Zealand agriculture.

“Agriculture remains the backbone of the New Zealand economy and these entries tell me that it defines our identity as New Zealanders.  That’s something to not just cherish, but to champion,” Mr Wills concluded.

The entries which feature sheep are:

Harrison Dykes’:

Atalya Fakavamoeanga’s:

Samantha Waters’:

Andrei Golovka’s:

 

Ashleigh Brown’s:

And Olivier Bartolomei’s:

You can see all the entries and vote for your choice here.

myaddress might save a life

October 23, 2009

We’ve had to call 111 only once.

It was 22 years ago when the phone was answered in the local hospital just 20 kilometres away by someone who used to shear for us.

If we had to make an emergency call now it would be answered in Christchurch or the North Island and the chances of the person answering it having local knowledge are low.

They have pretty good maps to help but they’re not much use if the caller uses a local name which isn’t the official one.

However, we can all do something to help with that.  A new website, myaddress.co.nz has been set up to help emergency services match commonly used names with the official ones.

It’s especially important for those of us with rural addresses and everyone is being asked to go into the site and confirm or correct their address.

I checked ours and found it had the right road the specific address, which ought to have led to our house, went to our dairy shed more than a kilometre away. That distance, and the time taken to travel it could make a difference in an emergency.

It was easy to change that and add other details, like the farm name, which might help emergency services reach us more easily.

This website is a great idea – please spread the word, it might save a life one day.


NZ Post shouldn’t get free rein

October 23, 2009

New Zealand Post wants to deliver more government services such as driver licensing, registering births and marriages, pay fines and taxes and the issuing of passports.

NZ Post acting chief executive Sam Knowles, who also heads Kiwibank, told MPs at the commerce select committee that the state owned company could do a lot more and charge the public less.

That might be so, but if NZ Post could offer a cheaper and more convenient service than we get now so might a lot of private businesses.

If the government does decide to devolve any of these services to other agencies it ought to be by way of a competitive tender.

NZ Post is losing business to other paper-moving competitors and the internet but that’s not a good reason to give it a free rein in providing other government services.


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