Economics

June 8, 2010

Happy birthday Millicent Martin, 76 today.


These Boots Are Made For Walking

June 8, 2010

Happy birthday Nancy Sinatra – 60 today.


Tuesday’s answers

June 8, 2010

Monday’s questions were:

1. Name the five Play School toys.

2. Name the programme set in a North Island timber town which starred Dame Pat Evison.

3. Name the drama set in a fictional publishing firm the stars of which included Ilona Rogers and Miranda Harcourt.

4. Who used to say “by hokey” and what show did he compere?

5. Name three of the four people who shared an office in Gliding On.

Rob got two right 1/2 of #4 and 2/3 of 5 though I’ll give him a fraction for the Welsh one.

Adam gets a point for lateral thinking.

G got four right.

Gravedodger got 4 right plus 2/5 of #1 and a bonus for all that extra information.

PDM got four right and an on the right track for #1 – the opening of Play School went: Here’s a house, here’s a door, windows 1,2,3,4; knock, knock, turn the lock, Playschool! (Why can I remember something I haven’t heard for 20 years but not what I heard a few mintues ago?)

Teletext gets the electronic boquet with a clean sweep.

Ray got three right plus 3/5 of #1 and I’ll let him away with Raewyn  for #5 because although she didn’t share the office, she was in and out often enough to count, and a bonus for touring with exchange students.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


An iPhone, a Blackberry or what?

June 8, 2010

My mobile phone is showing its age and I’m looking at  a replacement.

I’m unsure whether I should stick with what I’m used to – a model that can make and take phone calls and send and receive texts – or go for something which can do more.

If you’ve had experience with  a Blackberry or iPhone, or anything that’s better than those I’d appreciate your advice.

I’m with Telecom now and  looking at changing phone not provider.

I’ve stuck with XT for mobile broadband but in spite of the new advertising campaign which Cactus Kate reckons means all the wrinkles have been ironed out, I’ve noticed my farmer’s phone, which isn’t on XT, gets service where the T-stick for the computer won’t.

My tartan genes get excited over a Scottish accent, but not sufficiently to allow me to accept poor reception.


Why not water where and when we need it?

June 8, 2010

The drought has broken but the recovery will take months, maybe even a year or two, of optimal conditions for growth and there’s no guarantee we’ll get that.

Those of us who lived with drought for generation know how hard it is. You go backwards in dry years, catch up in good ones but rarely get much further ahead before the next drought hits.

The development of irrigation doesn’t mean drought doesn’t still hurt, but the impact isn’t as hard and the recovery afterwards is faster.

However, not everyone in dry areas has access to water for irrigation, some of those who do don’t always have enough and those who do face higher hurdles when using it.

The economic and social benefits of irrigation are obvious, the environmental ones are less so and one of the reasons for that is that, in the past, not everyone realised that irrigation could have a detrimental impact on both the quantity and quality of water.

That said, Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson points out that in spite of what you may hear and read, New Zealand’s water quality is still very good:

. . .  a joint study between the US universities, Yale and Columbia, ranked New Zealand second out of 163 nations for water quality . . .

Better is of course relative. We can’t afford to rest on our laurels and most of us are striving to meet ever higher standards at ever higher cots.

Water is a critical component of every farmer’s daily management regime and its use extends well beyond sustaining crops and drinking water for stock. Each year, our members make significant on-farm investments in order to reduce their overall impact on the quality and quantity of water. These investments include improvements in irrigation efficiency, nitrification inhibitors, effluent storage systems, riparian management and staff education and training.

Yet ladies and gentlemen, to be green, you have to be in the black these days.  Well into the black in fact, evidenced by the shrinking number of mum and dad farmers. 

 It is difficult if not impossible to stay in the black when farming dry land in drought-prone areas. We ‘ve got the water we need, but a lot of it isn’t where we need it when we need it.

There is a solution to that problem.

Water storage provides the potential to manage water for multiple purposes, to achieve environmental and community objectives as well as pressing economic growth. The world wants our food if we have the public policy will to expand our capacity to meet it.

There is real potential to increase the area of land under irrigation in New Zealand. For example, in Canterbury alone, it’s estimated half a million hectares of land could be irrigated. That’s about the size of Trinidad & Tobago.  Without the development of significant water storage and associated infrastructure, irrigation development in Canterbury is expected to fall well short of its potential.

A further impediment is regulation by public opinion.

Spurred on by myopic special interest groups, New Zealanders have become increasingly concerned about the potential environmental effects stemming from agricultural use and the intensification of land use. Consenting processes for water infrastructure, particularly large-scale infrastructure including storage, is protracted, adversarial and expensive.  That has to change unless New Zealand wishes to forego developed nation status.

 This isn’t an argument for not taking into account environmental imapcts of irrigation and intensification. But the potential for problems shouldn’t stop development when there are ever improving practices, systems and technology to minimise any negative affects.

Like other activities, pastoral agriculture can impact the quality of New Zealand’s freshwater resources. We know that and we acknowledge it.  The impacts of farming can be classified into two sources being either point and non-point source discharges.

Point source discharges include those from specific sources, for example partially treated human sewage or industrial discharges to water.  Agriculture, especially dairy, has been to the forefront in positively addressing point source discharges from the farm.

Non-point or diffuse source discharges are caused by rainwater washing organic matter, sediment and nutrients into waterways. Diffuse pollution also occurs where nutrients or other contaminants leach into groundwater.

Over the past decade, farm based point source discharges to waterways and waterbodies have become less and less of an issue. This is in large part due to improvements in on-farm waste treatment processes – such as land based methods of effluent disposal.  As a farmer I can tell you the waste from grazing animals is a very effective fertiliser.

Non-point source discharges and in particular sediment erosion and nutrient loss from land, presents a much harder issue for us to address.  It’s complex and includes the time lag from discharge, the actual impact and the linkage between land use activities and nutrient loss.

However, farmers and the primary sector are taking the lead through significant investments in science and technology and on-farm mitigation such as riparian plantings through to better systems, training and new technologies.

Despite these efforts, over the next few years I predict, agriculture will continue to be under increasing pressure to address these non-point source discharges.  But and here’s the but, management of New Zealand’s freshwater resources must provide for economic growth and development.

I repeat what I said earlier, we farmers must be profitable businesses.  We do not live in a subsidised nirvana so it’s about finding the right economic/environmental balance.  Need I remind you that when you drive home to a house that is heated and full of appliances, we are all harvesters of the environment.  Federated Farmers does support efforts to reduce the negative impacts of land-based primary production on water but it must be practical and practicable.

 Our clean green image is one of our marketing advantages which gives us a vested interest in ensuring reality matches the rhetoric.

Furthermore we don’t just use the water to grow pastures and crops, fill stock troughs and wash down dairy sheds. We swim in it and we drink it ourselves. That gives us a very real incentive to safeguard it.

Nicolson concluded his speech by flying a kite which he stressed was his personal opinion, not FF policy:

 Perhaps the time has come to reassess the role of the Ministry for the Environment in respect of water delivery.

Water is, I believe, not too dissimilar infrastructure from our complex national road network.  Both roads and water are vital to commerce and communities.  But why do we treat roads so differently from water?  Having an agency of Government, a New Zealand Water Agency if you like, dedicated to the delivery of this staple of life is essential to overcome an ad hoc, seat of the pants approach that has typified this nation’s treatment of the water resource.  The lack of coherent development massively underplays our real potential as a global food exporter.

 I’m not keen on more bureaucracy in general but I think this is an idea worthy of investigation and may be a way to ensure that water policy gets the high priority it needs.

 New Zealand is a small producer of food in global terms but we are a major exporter of food. 

We export the most lamb of any nation and are the second largest exporter of dairy products on the planet.  If we take that last export, dairy products, our powerhouse status is built off producing a mere two percent of world’s milk. With a growing world population it highlights our economic potential if the public policy will exists to support it.

Every lamb, every kernel of grain and every kilogram of milksolids we increase the export of, is not just good for lifting our farm profits, its great for every single New Zealander.  Water is the hinge on the economic door.

Nicolson’s speech was delivered to an agricultural summit in Wellington. It’s worth reading in full.


June 8 in history

June 8, 2010

On June 8:

68  The Roman Senate accepted emperor Galba.

Stockholm - Antikengalerie 4 - Büste Kaiser Galba.jpg

793 Vikings raided the abbey at Lindisfarne in Northumbria, commonly accepted as the beginning of the Scandinavian invasion of England.

 

1191 Richard I arrived in Acre thus beginning his crusade.

 

1405  Richard le Scrope, Archbishop of York and Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Norfolk, were executed in York on Henry IV’s orders.

1671 Tomaso Albinoni, Italian composer, was born (d. 1751).

 

1690  Siddi general Yadi Sakat, razed the Mazagon Fort in Mumbai.

1776  American Revolutionary War: Battle of Trois-Rivières – American  attackers were driven back at Trois-Rivières, Quebec.

TroisRivieres1759.png

1783 Laki, in Iceland, began an eight-month eruption which killed over 9,000 people and started a seven-year famine.

 

1789  James Madison introduced 12 proposed amendments to the United States Constitution in the United States House of Representatives, 10 of which were ratified by the state legislatures and become the Bill of Rights.

 

1810 Robert Schumann, German composer, was born (d. 1856).

 

1856 The community of Pitcairn Islands and descendants of the mutineers of HMS Bounty consisting of 194 people arrived on the Morayshire at Norfolk Island commencing the Third Settlement of the Island.

1862 American Civil War: Battle of Cross Keys – Confederate forces under General Stonewall Jackson saved the Army of Northern Virginia from a Union assault on the James Peninsula led by General George B. McClellan.

Battle of Cross Keys.png

1867  Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect, was born (d. 1959).

Frank Lloyd Wright LC-USZ62-36384.jpg

1868 Three settlers were killed near Ketemarae, Hawera, by Nga Ruahine warriors acting on the orders of the spiritual leader Titokowaru.

Titokowaru's war begins

1887  Herman Hollerith received a patent for his punched card calculator.

 

1906  Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law, authorising the President to restrict the use of certain parcels of public land with historical or conservation value.

1912  Carl Laemmle incorporated  Universal Pictures.

The current Universal Studios logo
 

1916 Francis Crick, English molecular biologist; Nobel laureate (d. 2004).

Crick.jpg

1928 Second Northern Expedition: The National Revolutionary Army captured Peking, (Beijing).

 

1933 Joan Rivers, American comedian and author, was born.

 

1934 Millicent Martin, English singer and actress, was born.

1940 Nancy Sinatra, American singer, was born.

1941 World War II: Allies invaded  Syria and Lebanon.

1942 Chuck Negron, American singer (Three Dog Night), was born.

1942  World War II: Japanese imperial submarines I-21 and I-24 shelled the Australian cities of Sydney and Newcastle.

 

1948 Milton Berle hosted the debut of Texaco Star Theater.

1949 Celebrities Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson were named in an FBI report as Communist Party members.

1950 Sir Thomas Blamey became the only Australian-born Field Marshal in Australian history.

 
Blamey.jpg

1953   A tornado hit Flint, Michigan, and killed 115.

1953  The United States Supreme Court ruled that Washington, D..C. restaurants could not refuse to serve black patrons.

1959  The USS Barbero and United States Postal Service attempted the delivery of mail via Missile Mail.

Missilemail.jpg

1962 Nick Rhodes, English musician (Duran Duran), was born.

 

1966 One of the XB-70 Valkyrie prototypes was destroyed in a mid-air collision with a F-104 Starfighter chase plane during a photo shoot. NASA pilot Joseph A. Walker and United States Air Force test pilot Carl Cross were  killed.

1966  Topeka, Kansas was devastated by a tornado that registers as an “F5” on the Fujita Scale: the first to exceed US$100 million in damages. Sixteen people were killed, hundreds more injured, and thousands of homes damaged or destroyed.

1967  Six-Day War: The USS Liberty incident occurred , killing 34 and wounding 171.

The heavily damaged USS Liberty the day after the attack.

1968  James Earl Ray was arrested for the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.

1968 – The body of assassinated U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

1974  An F4 tornado struck  Emporia, Kansas,  killing six.

1979 Adine Wilson, New Zealand netball player, was born.

1982 Falklands War: Up to 50 British servicemen were killed in an Argentine air attack on two supply ships – RFA Sir Galahad and RFA Sir Tristram.

If you have a photo of this, please add it. 

1984 Homosexuality was declared legal in New South Wales.

1984 An F5 tornado struck  Barneveld, Wisconsin, killing 9 and injuring 200; 90% of the homes, seventeen out of the eighteen businesses, and the three churches are destroyed.

1986  Kurt Waldheim, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, was elected president of Austria.

1987  The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act was passed into law, establishing this country as a nuclear and biological weapon-free zone.

New Zealand becomes nuclear free

1992 The first World Ocean Day was celebrated.

Белая ночь над Белым морем.JPG 

1995 Downed U.S. Air Force pilot Captain Scott O’Grady was rescued by U.S. Marines in Bosnia.

OGrady-conference-bosnia.jpg

1995  The first release of the PHP programming language was released by Rasmus Lerdorf.

 PHP

2001  Mamoru Takuma stabbed 8 elementary school pupils to death during the Osaka school massacre.

2007 Newcastle, New South Wales, was hit by the State’s worst storms and flooding in 30 years resulting in the death of nine people and the grounding of trade ship, the MV Pasha Bulker.

Pasha Bulker grounded.jpg

2008 The Akihabara massacre: Tomohiro Katō drove a two-ton truck into a crowded pedestrianised area before leaving the truck and attacking people with a knife, killing seven and injuring ten.

 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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