Word of the day

October 17, 2010

Ugsome – disgusting, loathsome.


Did you see the one about . . .

October 17, 2010

Undo, cut, tape . . . wait that’s not right – old technology meets new at Something Should Go Here.

Graham Lay on New Zealand English – guest post at  Quote Unquote

My shoes don’t eat meat – Laughy Kate on vegan footwear.

The recession made us poorer – Macdoctor puts the blame where it ought to be.

Silver Ferns turn into golden ferns – RivettingKate Taylor shares her excitement.

Who is punching above their weight – Eye To The Long Run does the numbers on the Australian & New Zealand medal tally.

An alternative to Breakfast – the fifth of Keeping Stock’s daily posts for those missing Paul Henry.

If real wars were like trade wars -Cafe Hayek  shows how silly it all is (Hat Tip Anti Dismal). 

Who should pay for university – Anti Dismal on student loans.


Three views on Chilean miners’ rescue

October 17, 2010

Theodore Dalrymple in the Wall Street Journal – In Chile the lessons of isolation:

That they behaved with great fortitude, courage, faith and dignity will hardly be denied by anyone; the efforts to save them were inspiring. . .  Angels could hardly have done better. . .

 . . . The miners were also aided by another factor. While they were isolated in the physical sense, they were far from isolated in any other. For once, media attention was wholly beneficial in its effects. The miners were in the eye of the world. They knew that what they did, how they acted, would be known to untold millions.

You have only to consider an alternative scenario to realize how important this was to their survival. Suppose that they had been trapped underground all that time, with enough food and drink to survive, but not knowing whether anyone was making an effort to reach them, or whether their plight was of any concern to anyone other than their immediate family (something that they could pretty well assume, but which in those circumstances would have been a cause of anxiety rather than of consolation). Would their conduct then have been so admirable? Would they have been able to maintain their equanimity to such a remarkable degree?

It seems intuitively very unlikely . . . Here, then, is an illustration of the evident but often forgotten fact that social pressure is conducive to virtue as well as to vice. . . No man but an out-and-out psychopath wants to appear worse than his fellows in the eyes of the world; and the miners’ (justified) pride in appearing brave and self-composed helped them to survive their ordeal. . .

Jim Hopkins in the NZ Herald: 33 reasons to make us feel more alive.

Take a bow, humanity. We made it happen. Or, more precisely, our inventions did.

So many inventions from so many inventors: cables and pulleys and machines that harness electricity; gears and cogs and pumps making oxygen; wires and winches and wirelesses, too.

And there, turning slowly on top of its simple wooden frame, raising the Phoenix upward, one of the earliest of them all, our liberating, rescuing wheel.

Throughout our time on this planet, it’s the things we’ve invented that have masked our frailty and freed us from it. Not completely, of course; we’re too frail for that.

//

Disease and disaster still have their wicked way with us. So, for the frailties invention cannot master, we have faith and hope, prayer and drama. . .

. . .  No one watching the drama unfold on their picture machine can feel so intensely alive as those rescued miners must. Nor can we be as grateful and relieved as their families and lovers and friends. But we can share some part of those emotions and know that they make us feel more human and more alive.

“Be strong, my love. I love you,” one miner wrote to his wife from deep in the earth. “I love you.” That is all any of us can hope to hear. “Be strong, my love.” And that is all that any of us can be, whatever hole we’re in.

Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal – Capitalism saved the miners (HatTip: Roger Kerr):

It needs to be said. The rescue of the Chilean miners is a smashing victory for free-market capitalism. . .

If those miners had been trapped a half-mile down like this 25 years ago anywhere on earth, they would be dead. What happened over the past 25 years that meant the difference between life and death for those men?

Short answer: the Center Rock drill bit.

This is the miracle bit that drilled down to the trapped miners. Center Rock Inc. is a private company in Berlin, Pa. It has 74 employees. The drill’s rig came from Schramm Inc. in West Chester, Pa. Seeing the disaster, Center Rock’s president, Brandon Fisher, called the Chileans to offer his drill. Chile accepted. The miners are alive.

Longer answer: The Center Rock drill, heretofore not featured on websites like Engadget or Gizmodo, is in fact a piece of tough technology developed by a small company in it for the money, for profit. That’s why they innovated down-the-hole hammer drilling. If they make money, they can do more innovation.

This profit = innovation dynamic was everywhere at that Chilean mine. The high-strength cable winding around the big wheel atop that simple rig is from Germany. Japan supplied the super-flexible, fiber-optic communications cable that linked the miners to the world above. . .

Samsung of South Korea supplied a cellphone that has its own projector. Jeffrey Gabbay, the founder of Cupron Inc. in Richmond, Va., supplied socks made with copper fiber that consumed foot bacteria, and minimized odor and infection. . .

 In an open economy, you will never know what is out there on the leading developmental edge of this or that industry.But the reality behind the miracles is the same: Someone innovates something useful, makes money from it, and re-innovates, or someone else trumps their innovation. Most of the time, no one notices. All it does is create jobs, wealth and well-being. But without this system running in the background, without the year-over-year progress embedded in these capitalist innovations, those trapped miners would be dead. . .

Update:

Hamish Collins at No Minister writes on The Chilean miners and capitalism.

And Pablo at Kiwi Politico  posts on The real Chilean miracle.

Update 3: Robert Tracinski at Not PC on Something heroic in their way of trading.


His place and her place

October 17, 2010

An email arrived inviting me to complete an on-line survey.

I accepted and found nothing startling until I got near the end. 

There the options given for the respondent’s occupation included: Businessman/Business owner and Female – Housework.

In the 21st century you’d think people who compose surveys might know that female isn’t an occupation it’s a gender; and that a woman’s place could be in business and a man’s at home.

Surveys aren’t the only place with very old fashioned views. The Herald on Sunday announces a birth:

It was once, twice, three times a baby girl for Dean and Mandy Barker.

But at the fourth time of trying, Auckland’s glamour couple have produced a young son and male heir to the Barker family dynasty.

There are no quotes from the Barkers. It’s just the reporter’s gross assumption that the couple were “trying” for a son and in spite of modern laws of inheritance he, rather than his sisters, will eventually lead the family business.


Shades of policy past

October 17, 2010

Labour will require the Reserve Bank to do more to keep the value of the dollar down if it’s elected to government.

As an incoming government, Mr Cunliffe says, Labour would require the bank to “play a much more activist role in currency markets, intervening on occasion to impose costs on speculators and, if you like, make the New Zealand dollar less attractive as a risk punt”.

I wonder how that sits with the party leader? Phil Goff  was part of the Labour government which floated the dollar and part of subsequent governments which didn’t try to change that policy.

Mind you, a few more mad policies from the distant past like this and they won’t have to do anything to lower the value of the dollar, anyone with any sense will take their money elsewhere.


October 17 in history

October 17, 2010

On October 17:

539 BC – King Cyrus The Great of Persia marched into  Babylon, releasing the Jews from almost 70 years of exile and making the first Human Rights Declaration.

 
Portrait of Cyrus the Great.jpg

1091 T8/F4 tornado struck the heart of London.

1346  Battle of Neville’s Cross: King David II of Scotland was captured by Edward III of England near Durham.

BNMsFr2643FroissartFol97vBatNevilleCross.jpg

1448  Second Battle of Kosovo: the mainly Hungarian army led by John Hunyadi was defeated by an Ottoman army led by Sultan Murad II.

Sueleymanname akinci.png

1456  The University of Greifswald was established, making it the second oldest university in northern Europe.

1604 Kepler’s Star: German astronomer Johannes Kepler observed a supernova in the constellation Ophiuchus.

 

1610   Louis XIII was crowned in Rheims.

1660 Nine Regicides, the men who signed the death warrant of Charles I, were hung, drawn and quartered.

1662  Charles II of England sold Dunkirk to France for 40,000 pounds.

1771 Premiere in Milan of the opera Ascanio in Alba, composed by Wolfgang Mozart, age 15.

1777 American troops defeated the British in the Battle of Saratoga.

Surrender of General Burgoyne.jpg

1781 General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the American revolutionists at Yorktown, Virginia.

 
The Marquess Cornwallis

1797  Treaty of Campo Formio signed between France and Austria.

1800  England took control of the Dutch colony of Curaçao.

1806  Former leader of the Haitian Revolution, Emperr Jacques I was assassinated.

Dessalines.jpg

1814  London Beer Flood killed nine.

1860 First The Open Championship for golf.

The Open Championship.svg

1877 Chief Justice Sir James Prendergast declared the Treaty of Waitangi “worthless” and a simple “nullity”

Chief Justice declares Treaty 'worthless' and a 'simple nullity'

1888 Thomas Edison filed a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first movie).

1907  Guglielmo Marconi‘s company begins the first commercial transatlantic wireless service between Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, and Clifden, Ireland.

1912  Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia declared war on the Ottoman Empire, joining Montenegro in the First Balkan War.

 

1915 Arthur Miller, American playwright, was born (d. 2005).

1918 Rita Hayworth, American actress, was born (d. 1987).

1930 Robert Atkins, American nutritionist, was born (d. 2003).

 

1931  Al Capone convicted of income tax evasion.

1933 Albert Einstein, fled Nazi Germany and moved to the U.S.A.

 
Head and shoulders photo of Einstein with moustache and graying, curly hair, smiling slightly

1941 Jim Seals American singer (Seals and Crofts), was born.

1941 – German troops executed the male population of the villages Kerdyllia in Serres, Greece and burned the houses down.

1942 Gary Puckett, American musician, was born.

1943  Burma Railway (Burma-Thailand Railway) was completed.

 

1945  A  large crowd headed by CGT (trade union) and Evita, gathered in the Plaza de Mayo  to demand Juan Peron’s release. Known to the Peronists as the Día de la lealtad (Loyalty Day), it is considered the founding day of Peronism.

1956 The first commercial nuclear power station was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth in Sellafield, Cumbria.

1961  Scores of Algerian protesters were massacred by the Paris police at the instigation of Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, then chief of the Prefecture of Police.

 

1964  Prime Minister of Australia Robert Menzies opened the artificial Lake Burley Griffin in the middle of  Canberra.

1965 The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair closed after a two year run.

 

1966 A fire at a building in New York, killed 12 firefighters

1969 Ernie Els, South African golfer, was born.

 
Golfer Ernie Els at US Open.jpg

1970 Quebec Vice-Premier and Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte  was murdered by members of the FLQ terrorist group.

1973  OPEC started an oil embargo against a number of western countries, considered to have helped Israel in its war against Syria.

1977  German Autumn: Four days after it was hijacked, Lufthansa Flight 181 landed in Mogadishu.

1979  Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

1987  First commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

1989  Loma Prieta earthquake (7.1 on the Richter scale) hit the San Francisco Bay Area, causesd57 deaths directly and 6 indirectly.

 

1998 At Jesse, in the Niger Delta,  a petroleum pipeline exploded killing about 1200 villagers, some of whom are scavenging gasoline.

2000 Train crash at Hatfield, north of London, led to collapse of Railtrack.

07-11-05 Hatfield 50.jpg

2003 The pinnacle was fitted on the roof of Taipei 101, a 101-floor skyscraper which became the World’s tallest highrise.

Taipei101.portrait.altonthompson.jpg

2006  The United States population reached 300 million.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: