I read too well to remember faces

November 15, 2010

Prospagnosia can be embarrassing – especially if the face you’ve forgotten is one with which you ought to be familiar.

But those of us who have a bad memory for faces can blame our reading skills:

. . .   when the researchers showed participants pictures of faces, the visual word form area of those who could read was much less active than that of participants who could not read. So, the researchers speculate, learning to read competes with face recognition ability – in this part of the brain at least.

“The intriguing possibility that our face-perception abilities suffer in proportion to our reading skills will be explored in future research,” they say.

Does this mean next time I’m discombobulated by prospagnosia I can excuse myself by saying I read to   too well to remember faces?

Hat Tip: Beatties Book Blog.


Word of the day

November 15, 2010

Horrescent –  expressing or showing horror.


Monday’s quiz . . .

November 15, 2010

. . .  is changing it’s name to another day’s quiz and moving to later in the week.

If you’ll find it difficult to wait until then you can always pose some questions yourselves.

I’ll award an electronic bouquet/s to the question/s which stump everyone.


Trade makes new friends of old enemies

November 15, 2010

We were the first country in the world to get a free trade agreement with China and are now the first to begin free trade talks with Russia Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Negotiations on a free trade agreement between New Zealand and Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will start early next year, Prime Minister John Key announced at the APEC Summit in Japan today.

“Free trade deals offer real benefits for jobs and economic growth in New Zealand and I am very pleased to be able to announce the start of negotiations on this FTA,” says Mr Key.

. . . “Russia is also one of the world’s emerging powerhouses, with Brazil, India and China.  It is the 12th largest economy in the world and the world’s fifth-largest food importer, with food imports reaching US$30 billion in 2008.

“An FTA with Russia would give us an improved position in that market.  New Zealand’s exports to Russia grew 267 per cent from NZ$51 million to NZ$187.1 million between 2000 and 2009. There is further strong growth potential, not only in food and beverage exports but also in agritech, specialised manufacturing and clothing.”

It’s good news for New Zealand in general and the primary sector in particular.

The Meat Industry Association and Beef + Lamb NZ  say improved market access in Russia will provide exciting opportunities.

B+LNZ Chairman, Mike Petersen said while Russia is currently a relatively small market for the New Zealand red meat industry, it’s a country with a substantial population of red meat consumers. They have increasing incomes and the potential to support significant market growth.

Over the last five years, the New Zealand red meat industry’s exports to Russia have been around $30 million annually, mainly consisting of sheepmeat and beef offals.

Exports peaked at $56 million in 2008 before the impact of the global financial crisis softened Russian demand for imported meat last year.

MIA Chairman, Bill Falconer said that while Russian imports of red meat have been volatile, the expectation is that Russian demand for red meat will continue to increase and that a significant proportion of this increased demand will have to be met by imports.

An arrangement with Russia would be significant if it provided genuine improved access into the market.

Securing an FTA with Russia is important because it’s not just about eliminating tariffs, it’s also about addressing non-tariff barriers that restrict trade, he said.

The Chairman of the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, Malcolm Bailey, said the FTA talks with Russia and its Customs Union partners, Belarus and Kazakhstan, as great news for the New Zealand dairy industry.

“New Zealand is really picking up pace in the FTA game” said Bailey.  “Adding Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to our growing list of FTA partners should mean new market opportunities for New Zealand dairy exporters.  Russia is already a significant butter market for New Zealand and reducing trade restrictions will only lead to further growth and diversification in the future,” he said.

Bailey said it was also a smart strategy to place New Zealand as one of the first countries to negotiate an FTA with Russia.  “Russia is a vast country with an economy that promises to continue to grow in the coming years.  Projections are for very significant growth in dairy consumption met by imports in the medium term.  Integrating our export industries with expanding Russian wealth and consumption is a good place for New Zealand to be.”

Russia is the world’s largest market for imports of butter and cheese.  New Zealand exports last year were around 33,200 tonnes, mostly butter and cheese, worth approximately $120 million.  New Zealand has the largest share of butter imported into Russia, last year supplying 28,600 tonnes which was over 50% of Russia’s internationally imported butter.

It’s not very long ago that China and Russia were cold war enemies. It’s much better not just for the economy but for security to be friends.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful about dealing with people who have different cultures and different values from us. But trade is a very good way to develop positive relationships from which both sides can benefit.


Too soon to ban 1080

November 15, 2010

Finding alternatives to 1080 for pest destruction is a really good idea.

Banning it before those alternatives have been developed and proved effective is not.

Yet that’s what Peter Dunne wants to do:

The United Future Party will push for a total ban on 1080 poison as part of government-forming negotiations after next year’s election, leader Peter Dunne says.

He told his party’s annual conference at the weekend he would seek an immediate ban on the continued use of 1080 in any shape or form.

“We want the millions of dollars currently going on this indiscriminate killer of our wildlife to be diverted to other forms of pest control, and scientific research on better options,” he said.

Trapping, shooting  and other ways of killing possums and other pests which endanger native flora, fauna and farm animals work in some places. But where access is difficult, poisoning with 1080 is still the best method of pest control.

Banning 1080 before viable alternatives are found risks setting back TB control, forest regeneration and efforts to rebuild native bird populations.

It’s a silly idea. That Dunne wants to use it in negotiations over government formation is one more reason to dislike MMP.


November 15 in history:

November 15, 2010

On November 15:

655 – Battle of Winwaed: Penda of Mercia was defeated by Oswiu of Northumbria.

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1315 – Battle of Morgarten the Schweizer Eidgenossenschaft ambushed the army of Leopold I.

Schlacht am Moorgarten.jpg

1515 – Thomas Wolsey was invested as a Cardinal.

 

1532 – Commanded by Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistadors under Hernando de Soto met Inca leader Atahualpa for the first time outside Cajamarca.

Ataw Wallpa portrait.jpg

1533 – Francisco Pizarro arrived in Cuzco, the capital of the Inca Empire.

1708  William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

1769 The British flag flew in New Zealand for the first time.

British flag flies for first time in NZ

1777 – American Revolutionary War: After 16 months of debate the Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation.

Page I of the Articles of Confederation

1791 – The first U.S Catholic college, Georgetown University, opened its doors.

A vertical oval shaped black and white design with a bald eagle whose wings are spread and who is grasping a globe and a cross with its claws. Around the seal are leaves and the numbers 17 and 89 on either side.

1854 – The Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, was given the necessary royal concession.

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1859 – The first modern revival of the Olympic Games in Athens.

Olympic flag.svg

1861 The first issue of the Otago Daily Times was published.

First issue of <em>Otago Daily Times</em> published

1864 – American Civil War: Union General William Tecumseh Sherman burned Atlanta, Georgia and started Sherman’s March to the Sea.

 

1889 – Brazil was declared a republic by Marechal Deodoro da Fonseca and Emperor Pedro II was deposed in a military coup.

1891  Erwin Rommel, German field marshal, “The Desert Fox”, was born.

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1973-012-43, Erwin Rommel.jpg

1903 – Stewie Dempster, New Zealand cricketer, was born (d. 1974).

1905 Mantovani, Italian-born composer, was born (d. 1980).

 1920 – First assembly of the League of Nations was held in Geneva.

1923 – The German Rentenmark is introduced in Germany to counter Inflation in the Weimar Republic.

1926 – The NBC radio network opened with 24 stations.

NBC logo.svg

1932 Petula Clark, English singer, was born.

1935 – Manuel L. Quezon was inaugurated as the second president of the Philippines.

1939 –  President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial.

 

1942 Daniel Barenboim, Argentine-born conductor and pianist, was born.

 

1942 – First flight of the Heinkel He 219.

1942 – The Battle of Guadalcanal ended in a decisive Allied victory.

1943 – Holocaust: German SS leader Heinrich Himmler ordered that Gypsies be put “on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps”.

1945  Roger Donaldson, Australian- born New Zealand film producer/director, was born.

1945  Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad, Norwegian (By Birth) singer (ABBA) was born.

1948 – Louis Stephen St. Laurent succeeded William Lyon Mackenzie King as Prime Minister of Canada.

1949 – Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte were executed for assassinating Mahatma Gandhi.

1951 – Greek resistance leader Nikos Beloyannis and 11 resistance members, were sentenced to death.

 

1966 –  Gemini 12 splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean.

Gemini 12 insignia.png

1966 –  Pan Am Flight 708 crashed near Berlin, killing the three people on board.

1967 – The only fatality of the X-15 program occurs during the 191st flight when Air Force test pilot Michael J. Adams lost control of his aircraft which was destroyed mid-air over the Mojave Desert.

CG render of X-15 66672 ascending

1968 – The US Air Force launched Operation Commando Hunt, a large-scale bombing campaign against the Ho Chi Minh trail.

1969 –  The Soviet submarine K-19 collided with the American submarine USS Gato in the Barents Sea.

K-19

1969 –  250,000-500,000 protesters staged a peaceful demonstration against the Vietnam War, including a symbolic “March Against Death”.

1969 – In Columbus, Ohio, Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s restaurant.

1971 – Intel released world’s first commercial single-chip microprocessor, the 4004.

C4004.JPG.jpg

1976 – René Lévesque and the Parti Québécois took power to become the first Quebec government of the 20th century clearly in favour of independence.

1978 – A chartered Douglas DC-8 crashed near Colombo, Sri Lanka, killing 183.

1979 – A package from the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski began smoking in the cargo hold of a flight from Chicago to Washington, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.

1983 – Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded. Recognised only by Turkey.

1985 – A research assistant was injured when a package from the Unabomber addressed to a University of Michigan professor exploded.

1985 – The Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed at Hillsborough Castle by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald.

1987 – Continental Airlines Flight 1713, a Douglas DC-9-14 jetliner, crashed in a snowstorm at Denver, Colorado Stapleton International Airport, killing 28 occupants, while 54 survive the crash.

1987 – In Braşov, Romania, workers rebelled against the communist regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu.

1988 – In the Soviet Union, the unmanned Shuttle Buran was launched on her first and last space flight.

Buran (spacecraft)

1988 – Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: An independent State of Palestine was proclaimed by the Palestinian National Council.

1988 – The first Fairtrade label, Max Havelaar, was launched in the Netherlands.

1989 – Sachin Tendulkar made his debut as an international cricketer.

Sachin Tendulkar.jpg

1990 –  Space Shuttle Atlantis launched with flight STS-38.

Space Shuttle Atlantis

2000 – A chartered Antonov An-24 crashed after takeoff from Luanda, Angola killing more than 40 people.

2003 – The first day of the 2003 Istanbul Bombings, in which two car bombs, targeting two synagogues, explode, killing 25 people and wounding about 300.

2005 – Boeing formally launched the stretched Boeing 747-8 variant with orders from Cargolux and Nippon Cargo Airlines.

 

2007 – Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh, killing an estimated 5000 people and destroyed the world’s largest mangrove forest, Sundarbans.

 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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