Word of the day


Psithrism – a whispering sound, the sound the wind makes as it rustles leaves.

Quote of the week


“. . . Union leaders loved the idea that they were generals leading troops into battle in the great historic conflict between Capital and Labour, their members just wanted to go to work and get paid a decent wage. . .”

Dim Post

Remote control parenting


Is this what remote control parenting means?

. . . far more British children have a television in their bedroom than a biological father living at home throughout their childhood . . .

Theodore Dalrymple in It’s not ADHD, Sir, it’s in my genes

Socks stop slips study wins Ig Noble


Is it an urban myth or do Dunedin people really wear their socks outside their shoes to stop them slipping over on icy footpaths in winter?

It’s not a myth, they do, it’s been the topic of a scientific research and that research has won an Ig Nobel – the prize awarded for research which makes people laugh then think.

The 2010 Ignoble for physics prize was won by Lianne Parkin, Sheila Williams, and Patricia Priest of the University of Otago for demonstrating that, on icy footpaths in wintertime, people slip and fall less often if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes.

Among other awards were:

PEACE PRIZE: Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston of Keele University, UK, for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain.

MEDICINE PRIZE: Simon Rietveld of the University of Amsterdam and and Ilja van Beest of Tilburg for a discovering  asthma symptoms could be treated by a roller coaster ride.

ECONOMICS PRIZE: The executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar for creating and promoting new ways to invest money — ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Eric Adams of MIT, Scott Socolofsky of Texas A&M University, Stephen Masutani of the University of Hawaii, and BP [British Petroleum], for disproving the old belief that oil and water don’t mix.

MANAGEMENT PRIZE: Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo of the University of Catania, Italy, for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.

Their study was called the Peter Principle Revisited.

Hat Tip: TV3.

Reasons to be pleased I live in the country #1


We get to vote for the best people without the complication of party tickets in local body elections and don’t have central government politicians using our money to tell us for whom we should vote.

October 2 in history


On October 2:

1187 Siege of Jerusalem: Saladin captured Jerusalem after 88 years of Crusader rule.


1263  The battle of Largs between Norwegians and Scots.


1535 Jacques Cartier discovered Montreal.


1552  Conquest of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible.

Kazan storm chronicle.GIF

1780 John André, British Army officer, was hanged as a spy by American forces.

John andre loc.jpg

1789  George Washington sent the proposed Constitutional amendments (The United States Bill of Rights) to the States for ratification.

United States Bill of Rights

1800 Nat Turner, American leader of slave uprising, was born (d. 1831)

1814  Battle of Rancagua: Spanish Royalists troops under Mariano Osorio defeated rebel Chilean forces of Bernardo O’Higgins and Jose Miguel Carrera.

Carga de O'Higgins.jpg

1835  The Texas Revolution began with the Battle of Gonzales: Mexicansoldiers attempted to disarm the people of Gonzales but encountered stiff resistance from a hastily assembled militia.

1851  The pasilalinic-sympathetic compass was demonstrated but proved to be a fake.


1852  William Ramsay, Scottish chemist who discovered noble gases, was born (d. 1916).

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Saltville – Union forces attacked Saltville, Virginia, but were defeated by Confederate troops.

1889  In Colorado, Nicholas Creede struck silver during the last great silver boom of the American Old West.

1890 Groucho Marx, American comedian and actor, was born (d. 1977).

1904 Graham Greene, British novelist, was born (d. 1991).

1907  Alexander R. Todd, Baron Todd, Scottish chemist, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1997).

1919  US President Woodrow Wilson suffered a  stroke, leaving him partially paralysed.


1921 Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury, was born (d. 2000).

1924  The Geneva Protocol was adopted as a means to strengthen the League of Nations.

1925  John Logie Baird performed the first test of a working television system.

1928 The “Prelature of the Holy Cross and the Work of God”, commonly known as Opus Dei, was founded by Saint Josemaría Escrivá.

1938  Tiberias massacre: Arabs murdered 20 Jews.

1941  Pilot Officer Carlyle Everiss – a New Zealand fighter pilot saved the lives of countless people in the Scottish village of Cowie by staying with his crippled plane to steer it away from houses.

NZ pilot saves Scottish village

1941  World War II: Operation Typhoon, Germany began an all-out offensive against Moscow.


1944 World War II: Nazi troops ended the Warsaw Uprising.


1948 Donna Karan, American fashion designer, was born.

Donna Karan by David Shankbone.jpg

1949 Annie Leibovitz, American photographer, was born.

1950  Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz was first published

Peanuts gang.png

1950 Mike Rutherford, English musician (Genesis), was born.

1951 Sting, English musician and actor, was born.

1958 Guinea declared its independence from France.

1959  The anthology series The Twilight Zone premiered on CBS television.


1967  Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African-American justice of United States Supreme Court.


1968 A peaceful student demonstration in Mexico City culminated in the Tlatelolco massacre.


1970 A plane carrying the Wichita State University football team, administrators, and supporters crashed in Colorado killing 31 people.

1990 A Chinese airline Boeing 737-247 was hijacked; after landing at Guangzhou, it crashed into two airliners on the ground, killing 132 people.

1992 The Carandiru Massacre after a riot in the Carandiru Penitentiary in São Paulo, Brazil.


1996  The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments were signed by U.S. President Bill Clinton.

1996  An AeroPerú Boeing 757 crashed in Pacific Ocean shortly after takeoff from Lima, Peru, killing 70.

1997   European Union: The Amsterdam Treaty was signed.

2001  Swissair liquidated and the airline was replaced by SWISS.

2002  The Beltway sniper attacks began.


2004 American Samoa joined the North American Numbering Plan.

2005 Ethan Allen Boating Accident: The Ethan Allen tour boat capsizes on Lake George, killing twenty people.


2006  Five school girls were murdered by Charles Carl Roberts in a shooting at an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania.

2007  President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea walked across the Military Demarcation Line into North Korea on his way to the second Inter-Korean Summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.


2009 The Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland was approved at the second attempt, permitting the state to ratify the European Union’s Treaty of Lisbon.

Sourced from NZ History & Wkipedia

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