What about the points?


If I could type on bended knees I would be doing that. Since I can’t I’ll simply apologise in abject tones for forgetting to award points to the loyal readers who answered yesterday’s quiz:

Bearhunter got four.

Andrei got 5 (taking a generous view on his answer which said what the triceps and biceps are rather than what they do) which earns the electronic boquet.

David got four with a bonus for extra information which earns an electronic posy.(I’d sack the random quote-o-meter).

Adam got three, a suggestion he learns his blood group and an I-hope-the-oats-he-confessed-to-sowing-weren’t-wild.

Word of the day


Quomodocunquize – to make money by any means possible.

Critical Mass


Are the Humanities dying?

That was the starting question for my chat with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today.

It started with a column by Graeme Turner in the Australian: In the thrall purely to science.

That inspired two posts at Larvatus Prodeo by Mark Bahnisch here and here.

In one of those he referred to Stanley Fish: The Crisis of the Humanities Officially Arrives.

Club Troppo responded with The Humanities: passed on or just pining for the fjords?

We also briefly touched on the Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2010.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Which blood group is generally regarded as the universal donor and which is the universal recipient?

2. What do pitch and yaw describe?

3. Who said: “Farming looks mighty easy when your plough is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”?

4. In Spanish and Italian it’s avena, in French it’s l’avoine, in Maori it’s oti – what is it in English?

5. What do the biceps and triceps do?

The answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s really motivating opposition to National Standards?


What’s really motivating opposition to National Standards?

Credo Quia Absurdum Est has the answer in an email from a teacher:

“…we teachers have been told the entire campaign by the principals and the NZEI would be dropped in a second if the Government agreed to take school assessment data and make it top secret – i.e. not public, not even if someone made an Official Information Act request. . .

That’s nothing to do with education it’s all to do with a fear that the public will be able to compare schools.

Other quotes in that post show opposition is also motivated by politics. That’s confirmed by this post:

The Dominion came up with the strange response of children needing to come before philosophy – pathetic. Philosophy is a search for the truth: how can a rejection of the truth be good for children.

Never mind that needed a question mark, now I know why my life is so wrong.  I’ve been putting my children ahead of philosophy.  Bugger.

In a related post CQAE asks How far is too far?

 Kiwiblog also comments on Principal Compares Minister to Hitler too and has another post on the politics of those who oppose the standards .

Whaleoil has several posts on the politics of the opposition too including:

Tweetchers tweeting about National Standards.

 More Labour meddling in education.

Politically neutral protest.

and Auckland Primary  Principal’s Association hijacked by Wellington school.

The standards are simply a tool to show how well children are learning.

No-one’s claiming they’re a perfect tool but they are necessary. One in five young people leave school with inadequate literacy and numeracy skills and the first step to changing that is early identification of the ones who are struggling.

Rather than fighting the tool the teachers should put their energy into ensuring the pupils who need help get it because that is what really matters.

Tragic reinforcement of need for quad bike action


Less than a week after Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson launched a campaign aimed at reducing the toll from quad bike accidents on farms there’s been a tragic reinforcement of the need for it.

A young farmhand on a Landcorp farm in Buller died yesterday after being pinned under the four wheeler she’d been riding.

I doubt if there’s a farm with a quad which hasn’t been invovled in an accident of some sort.

We’ve had some near misses  – two of our staff have ended up in the irrigation dam – fortunately both times on top of the quad not underneath it;  several have come off when bikes went out of control and one worker broke a leg when she rolled the four wheeler.

RivettingKate Taylor also has a list of quad bike accidents.

The safety campaign will focus on four basic safety steps:

  • Wear a helmet
  • Ensure riders are trained/experienced
  • Don’t let children ride adult quad bikes (over 90cc)
  • Choose the right vehicle for the job – pay close attention to what your quad bike owner’s manual says about carrying passengers, and the maximum towing and carrying limits. 
  • Federated Farmers supports the campaign:

    “It’s been a while since we had a coordinated ATV safety programme like this and it’s most welcome,” says Donald Aubrey, Federated Farmers Vice-President and Chair of the Agricultural Health and Safety Council, who was represented at the launch, by Stew Wadey, Federated Farmers Waikato provincial president.

    “The lesson we’ve learnt is that safety education is not a one-off exercise, due to the natural turnover of farm workers.  It needs to be on-going just like it is with road safety.

    “Like with road safety we see it as education and training led.  Prosecution, the ultimate DoL sanction, is like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.  This is about preventing accidents occurring in the first place.

    “Federated Farmers, the Agricultural Health and Safety Council and FarmSafe are all fully behind the DoL on this and genuinely commend the Department for its efforts.

    “ATV’s have become the farmer’s ‘Swiss Army knife’, being horse, trail bike and light tractor all in one.  This multi-use nature of ATV’s can see them pushed beyond their design limits

    Everyone who rides a four wheeler needs to follow the basic safety steps promoted by the campaign to reduce the risk of another four wheel tragedy.

    Licences will be required for people who operate quads from next year, a move supported by FarmSafe chair Charlie Pedersen:

    Pedersen believed a licence offered farmers an affordable and simple means of ensuring they were employing staff at a certain standard of ATV ability.

    “It will probably cost around the same as a gun licence and last for around 10 years.

    “There will have to be evidence of some practical time done on a quad and the ATV Guidelines would be similar to a Road Code,” he said.

    The ATV licence would either be a requirement for new staff applying for a job or something employers contributed towards staff obtaining while in the job.

    “As an employer if I require them to have a licence then, as long as I provide a bike that is safe and a helmet to wear, I have done my utmost to meet health and safety regulations.”

    Requiring a licence will ensure people using quads are trained and may also help bring home the message about the need to take quad bike safety seriously.

    November 9 in history


    On November 9:

    694 – Egica, a king of the Visigoths of Hispania, accused Jews of aiding Muslims, sentencing all Jews to slavery.

    1282 – Pope Martin IV excommunicated King Peter III of Aragon.


    1313 – Louis the Bavarian defeated his cousin Frederick I of Austria at the Battle of Gamelsdorf.

    1330 – Battle of Posada, Wallachian Voievode Basarab I defeated the Hungarian army in an ambush.

    Molnár József Carol Robert fleeing from Posada Battle.jpg

    1456 – Ulrich II of Celje last prince of Celje principality, was assassinated in Belgrade.

    1492 – Peace of Etaples between Henry VII and Charles VIII.

    1494 – The Family de’ Medici were expelled from Florence.

    Coat of arms of the House of de' Medici.png

    1620 – Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sighted land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.


    1688 – The Glorious Revolution: William of Orange captured Exeter.


    1720 – The synagogue of Yehudah he-Hasid was burned down by Arab creditors, leading to the expulsion of the Ashkenazim from Jerusalem.

    1729 – Spain, France and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Seville.

    1764 – Mary Campbell, a captive of the Lenape during the French and Indian War, was turned over to forces commanded by Colonel Henry Bouquet.


    1769 – Captain Cook and astronomer Charles Green observed the transit of Mercury at Te Whanganui-a-hei (Mercury Bay) on the Coromandel Peninsula.

    Captain Cook observes transit of Mercury

    1791 – Foundation of the Dublin Society of United Irishmen.


    1799 – Napoleon Bonaparte led the Coup d’état of 18 Brumaire ending the Directory government, and becoming one of its three Consuls (Consulate Government).


    1841 King Edward VII was born.

    1851 – Kentucky marshals abducted abolitionist minister Calvin Fairbank from Jeffersonville, Indiana, and took him to Kentucky to stand trial for helping a slave escape.

    1857 – The Atlantic was founded in Boston.

    1862 – American Civil War: Union General Ambrose Burnside assumed command of the Army of the Potomac, after George B. McClellan was removed.

    1867 – Tokugawa Shogunate handed power back to the Emperor of Japan, starting the Meiji Restoration.

    1868  Marie Dressler, Canadian actress, was born.

    1872 – The Great Boston Fire of 1872.


    1887 – The United States received rights to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

    1888 – Jack the Ripper killed Mary Jane Kelly, his last known victim.

    1902  Anthony Asquith, British film director, was born (d 1968).

    1906 – Theodore Roosevelt was the first sitting USA president to make an official trip outside the country. He did so to inspect progress on the Panama Canal.

    1907 – The Cullinan Diamond was presented to King Edward VII on his birthday.


    1913 – The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, the most destructive natural disaster ever to hit the lakes, destroyed 19 ships and killed more than 250 people.


    1914 – SMS Emden was sunk by HMAS Sydney in the Battle of Cocos.

    SMS Emden wreck.jpg

    1917 – Joseph Stalin entered the provisional government of Bolshevik Russia.

    1918 – Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany abdicates after the German Revolution, and Germany was proclaimed a Republic.

    1918  Spiro Agnew, 39th Vice President of the United States, was born (d1996).

    1920  The Immigration Restriction Amendment Act 1920 made it necessary for immigrants to apply for a permanent residence permit before they arrived in New Zealand, which in effect introduced a white New Zealand policy.

    White New Zealand policy introduced

    1921 – Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work with the photoelectric effect.

    1923 – In Munich, Germany, police and government troops crushed the Beer Hall Putsch in Bavaria.

    1932 – Riots between conservative and socialist supporters in Switzerland killed 12 and injured 60.

    1936 Mary Travers was born (Peter, Paul & Mary), was born (d 2009).

    1937  Roger McGough, English poet, was born.

    1937 – Japanese troops took control of Shanghai.

    1938 – Nazi German diplomat Ernst vom Rath died from the fatal gunshot wounds of Jewish resistance fighter Herschel Grynszpan, an act which the Nazis used as an excuse to instigate the 1938 national pogrom, Kristallnacht.


    1940 – Warsaw was awarded the Virtuti Militari.

    Virtuti Militari Grand Cross.jpg

    1953 – Cambodia gained independence from France.

    1955 – Karen Dotrice, British actress, was born.

    1960 – Robert McNamara is named president of Ford Motor Co., the first non-Ford to serve in that post.


    1963 – At Miike coal mine, Japan, an explosion kills 458, and hospitalises 839 with carbon monoxide poisoning.

    1963 – A three-train disaster in Yokohama, killed more than 160 people.

    1965 – Several U.S. states and parts of Canada were hit by a series of blackouts lasting up to 13 hours in the Northeast Blackout of 1965.

    1965 – Catholic Worker member Roger Allen LaPorte, protesting against the Vietnam War, set himself on fire in front of the United Nations building.

    1967 – Apollo program: NASA launches the unmanned Apollo 4 test spacecraft atop the first Saturn V rocket from Cape Kennedy, Florida.

    Apollo program insignia.png

    1967 – First issue of Rolling Stone Magazine was published.

    1970 – Vietnam War: The Supreme Court of the United States voted 6 to 3 against hearing a case to allow Massachusetts to enforce its law granting residents the right to refuse military service in an undeclared war.

    1979 – Nuclear false alarm: the NORAD computers and the Alternate National Military Command Center in Fort Ritchie, Maryland detected purported massive Soviet nuclear strike. After reviewing the raw data from satellites and checking the early warning radars, the alert is cancelled.

    1985 – Garry Kasparov 22, of the Soviet Union became the youngest World Chess Champion by beating Anatoly Karpov, also of the Soviet Union.


    1989 –  Fall of the Berlin Wall. Communist-controlled East Germany opened checkpoints in the Berlin Wall allowing its citizens to travel to West Germany.

    1990 – New democratic constitution was issued in Nepal.

    1993 – Stari most, the “old bridge” in Bosnian Mostar built in 1566, collapsed after several days of bombing.


    1994 – The chemical element Darmstadtium was discovered.

    1998 – Brokerage houses were ordered to pay $US1.03 billion to cheated NASDAQ investors to compensate for their price-fixing. This is the largest civil settlement in United States history.

    1998 – Capital punishment in the United Kingdom, already abolished for murder, was completely abolished for all remaining capital offences.

    2005 – The Venus Express mission of the European Space Agency was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

    Venus Express in orbit.jpg

    2005 – Suicide bombers attacked three hotels in Amman, Jordan, killing at least 60 people.

    2007 – The German Bundestag passed the controversial data retention bill mandating storage of citizens’ telecommunications traffic data for six months without probable cause.

    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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