Did you see the one about . . .


Chinese Communism – Offsetting Behaviour on attitdues to trade.

“I’m going to kill him,” she shouts – Private Secret Diary spells out signwriting flaws.

Metropolitan police still ‘discriminating against clowns’ – from  News Biscuit- a recent find and very, very funny.

Analysis of a knee jerk with example – Andrei at NZ Conservative on the biology of politics.

Moose at sunrise – Robert Guyton finds art on the beach.

Lauraine Jacobs on restaurant reviews – Quote Unquote worries that chaos and confusion will follow.

The Carnival Is Over


Happy birthday Bruce Woodley, 68 today.

This was one of my father’s favourite songs. My brothers and I gave him a  recording of it on a 45* for his birthday.

* For those of you too young to recognise that term: before digital downloads and CDs we had 45s (singles) and LPs (albums).

Singles had an A side and a B or flip side. The A side usually had the hit song but sometimes the song on the flip side became more popular than the A side one.

 We played the records on record players which pre-dated stereos but were more modern than gramaphones.

My family also had a collection of 78s, given to us by an uncle, which were  older and bigger versions of singles.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the numbers referred to revolutions per minute.

No today if it’s not yesterday


If New Zealand was a motel, there’d be a great big “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door – to keep the world at bay. It would hang on the handle all day, every day, telling rowdy yobbos like change and decline to keep the noise down because we’re trying to sleep and would be very grateful if they’d refrain from raucous clamour.

This is the opening paragraph of Jim Hopkins’ NZ Herald  column, in which he points out, wittily and well, the consequences if New Zealanders keep saying no today to anything that’s not like yesterday.

He’s right.

Researchers give methane a curry up


Newcastle University researchers have found that coriander and turmeric – spices used to flavour curries – can reduce the amount of methane produced by bacteria in a sheep’s stomach by up to 40pc.

Working a bit like an antibiotic, the spices were found to kill the methane-producing ‘bad’ bacteria in the animal’s gut while allowing the ‘good’ bacteria to flourish.

The findings are part of an on-going study by Newcastle University research student Mohammad Mehedi Hasan and Dr Abdul Shakoor Chaudhry – the most recent part of which is published this week in the Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2010.

Mehedi explained: “Spices have long been used safely by humans to kill bacteria and treat a variety of ailments – coriander seeds, for example, are often prescribed for stomach complaints while turmeric and cloves are strong antiseptics.

“Methane is a major contributor to global warming and the slow digestive system of ruminant animals such as cows and sheep makes them a key producer of the gas.

“What my research found was that certain spices contain properties which make this digestive process more efficient so producing less waste – in this case, methane.”

It sounds good in theory but there’s a long way between what works in a lab and what can be applied in the field – literally in this case.

Can coriander and turmeric be grown by the thousands of hectares in the soils and climates in which grass grows well?

If it does, will sheep eat it?

Will they get the nutrients they need from it?

What will eating spices do to the flavour of their meat and milk?

That said, reducing methane emissions in animals relies on science. Reductions of up to 40 per cent in the lab make persevering with the study to see if if can be applied in the fields and paddocks worthwhile.

Hat Tip: Interest.co.nz

Good theory too expensive in practice


When our son, who had cerebral palsy which left him profoundly disabled, was approaching his fifth birthday his paediatrician discussed the options for schooling with us.

He said he thought Dan was incapable of learning but he was willing to be proved wrong and even if Dan didn’t gain intellectually from school access to physiotherapy may help him physically.

Legally Dan could have gone to the local school but it had only three teachers and none of them was trained to work with severely handicapped children. Nor did it have the equipment or facilities which might have helped him. We enrolled him at a school in town instead. It had a unit for children with a range of disabilities which was staffed by teachers who specialised in high needs children.

We’ll never know whether it might have helped Dan because he died a few days after his fifth birthday but I was reminded of the options we had for Dan when I read that half our schools are failing high needs students.

The ERO report, released today, pins the failings on poor leadership and training in schools, as well as prejudice.

That may be true of some schools but I doubt it’s fair for them all. It won’t be the will but the means and the money which prevents many schools giving high-needs pupils the help and attention they require.

Wellington High School principal Prue Kelly said resources were the bigger issue. “It’s grossly under-funded. It’s all very well to say personalised programmes, and get a plan around the kids, but actually it takes a huge commitment by the school to do that.”

Quite. This is what happens when a good theory – the integration of children with disabilities into mainstream schools – meets the expensive reality.

These children require specially trained staff working one to one. Few schools have those staff and the money for the equipment and facilities they need.

Mainstreaming may be the ideal, but fewer schools offering specialised help may be the better option with the staff and resources available.

This doesn’t mean ghettoising disabled children.  At the school Dan would have gone to the disabled children mixed with the other pupils who were encouraged to play with and help them which had mutual benefits. But the special unit allowed dedicated staffing to ensure the high-needs children got the skilled help they required.

In a perfect world high needs children would be able to get everything they require through mainstreaming, but in the imperfect world we have it’s not always practical or affordable.

The ideology which drove mainstreaming without the resources to make it work is similar to that which led to the closure of This  sheltered workshops. Karl du Fresne wrote on this in wanted: work not walls  in the Listener and on politicising the disabled on his blog.

In both education and work some people with disabilities are victims of the best of intentions to help them because we can’t afford the resources to make the theory work in practice.

July 25 in history


On July 25:

285 Diocletian appointed Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler.


306 Constantine I was proclaimed Roman emperor by his troops.


864 The Edict of Pistres of Charles the Bald ordered defensive measures against the Vikings.


1139  Battle of Ourique: The independence of Portugal from the Kingdom of León declared after the Almoravids, led by Ali ibn Yusuf, were defeated by Prince Afonso Henriques.


1261  The city of Constantinople was recaptured by Nicaean forces under the command of Alexios Strategopoulos, re-establishing the Byzantine Empire.


1536  Sebastián de Belalcázar on his search for El Dorado founded the city of Santiago de Cali.


1547 Henry II of France was crowned.

1567 Don Diego de Losada founds the city of Santiago de Leon de Caracas, modern-day Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela.

1593  Henry IV of France publicly converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism.


1603 James VI of Scotland was crowned bringing the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into personal union.


1722 The Three Years War began along the Maine and Massachusetts border.

1755  British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council ordered the deportation of the Acadians.


1758 Seven Years’ War: the island battery at Fortress Louisbourg in Nova Scotia was silenced and all French warships destroyed or taken.

1788 Wolfgang Mozart completed his Symphony number 40 in g minor (K550).


1792 The Brunswick Manifesto was issued to the population of Paris promising vengeance if the French Royal Famiy was harmed.

1795 The first stone of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was laid.

The aqueduct

1797 Horatio Nelson lost more than 300 men and his right arm during the failed conquest attempt of Tenerife.


1799 David Douglas, Scottish botanist, was born (d. 1834).


1799 At Aboukir in Egypt, Napoleon I of France defeats 10,000 Ottomans under Mustafa Pasha.

Cavalry battlescene with pyramids in background 

1814 War of 1812: Battle of Lundy’s Lane.

Battle of Lundys Lane.jpg

1837 The first commercial use of an electric telegraph was successfully demonstrated by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone on 25 July 1837 between Euston and Camden Town.


1853 Joaquin Murietta, the Californio bandit known as “Robin Hood of El Dorado”, was killed.


1861 American Civil War: the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution was passed by the U.S. Congress stating that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery.

1866 The U.S. Congress passed legislation authorizing the rank of General of the Army (commonly called “5-star general”). Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant becomes the first to be promoted to this rank.


1869 The Japanese daimyō began returning their land holdings to the emperor as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms.


1894 The First Sino-Japanese War began when the Japanese fired on a Chinese warship.

First Sino-Japanese War, major battles and troop movements

1898  The United States invasion of Puerto Rico began with U.S. troops led by General Nelson Miles landing at harbour of Guánica.

1907  Korea became a protectorate of Japan.

1908 Ajinomoto was founded. Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University discovered that a key ingredient in Konbu soup stock was monosodium glutamate (MSG), and patented a process for manufacturing it.


1909  Louis Blériot made the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine, from Calais to Dover in 37 minutes.


1915  RFC Captain Lanoe Hawker became the first British military aviator to earn the Victoria Cross, for defeating three German two-seat observation aircraft in one day, over the Western Front.

Lanoe Hawker.jpg

1917 Sir Thomas Whyte introduced the first income tax in Canada as a “temporary” measure (lowest bracket 4% and highest 25%).

1920 Telecommunications: the first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast.

1925 Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) was established.


1930 Murray Chapple,  New Zealand cricketer, was born (d. 1985).

1934 Nazis assassinated Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in a failed coup attempt.

1940  General Guisan ordered the Swiss Army to resist German invasion and makes surrender illegal.


 1942  Bruce Woodley, Australian musician (The Seekers), was born. 


1942 Norwegian Manifesto called for nonviolent resistance to the Nazis

1943  Jim McCarty, English musician (The Yardbirds), was born.

1943  Benito Mussolini was forced out of office by his own Italian Grand Council and replaced by Pietro Badoglio.


1944 Operation Spring – one of the bloodiest days for the First Canadian Army during WWII:  1,500 casualties, including 500 killed.

1946 Operation Crossroads: an atomic bomb was detonated underwater in the lagoon of Bikini atoll.

Mushroom-shaped cloud and water column from the underwater nuclear explosion of July 25, 1946. Photo taken from a tower on Bikini Island, 3.5 mi (5.6 km) away. 

1946   Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis staged their first show as a comedy team.


1948  The Australian cricket team set a world record for the highest successful run-chase in Test cricket history in the Fourth Test against England.

Man in double breasted suit, hair parted down the middle, sitting on a long bench in a sports stadium, posing with a cricket bat, held vertical and supported on his thigh.Donald Bradman, the Australian captain.

1951 Verdine White, American musician (Earth, Wind & Fire), was born.

1953 Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, was born.

1956 Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria collided with the MS Stockholm in heavy fog and sank the next day, killing 51.


1957  Republic of Tunisia proclaimed.


1958 The African Regroupment Party (PRA) held its first congress in Cotonou.

1959  SR-N1 hovercraft crossed  the English Channel from Calais to Dover in just over 2 hours.


1965  Bob Dylan went electric as he plug in at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music.


1969 Vietnam War: US President Richard Nixon declared the Nixon Doctrine, stating that the United States expected its Asian allies to take care of their own military defense. 

1973 Soviet Mars 5 space probe launched.

1978 The Cerro Maravilla incident – two young Puerto Rican pro-independence activists were killed in a police ambush.

File:El Vocero 1978 July 25 Cerro Maravilla.JPG

1978  Louise Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby” was born.

1981 The invasion of  Hamilton’s Rugby Park by 350 anti-tour demonstrators forced the Springboks-Waikato match to be abandoned.

Anti-Springbok protestors derail Hamilton match

1983  Black July: 37 Tamil political prisoners at the Welikada high security prison in Colombo were massacred by the fellow Sinhalese prisoners.

 Sinhalese mob burns Tamil shops.

1984  Salyut 7 Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a space walk.

USSR Stamp 1983 SouzT7 Salyut7 SouzT5 Cosmonauts.jpg

1993  Israel launched a massive attack against terrorist forces in Lebanon.

1993 The St James Church massacre in Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa.

1994  Israel and Jordan signed the Washington Declaration, which formally ends the state of war that had existed between the nations since 1948.

1995 A gas bottle exploded in Saint Michel station in Paris. Eight were killed and 80 wounded.

1996 In a military coup in Burundi, Pierre Buyoya deposed Sylvestre Ntibantunganya.


1997  K.R. Narayanan was sworn-in as India’s 10th president and the first Dalit— formerly called “untouchable”— to hold this office.


2000  Air France Flight 4590, a Concorde supersonic passenger jet, F-BTSC, crashed just after takeoff from Paris killing all 109 aboard and 4 on the ground.

2007  Pratibha Patil was sworn in as India’s first woman president.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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