Second explosion dashes hope

November 24, 2010

A second explosion in the Pike River mine has dashed hopes that any of the trapped men might still be alive.

The waiting is over but this is the worst possible outcome.

Rob left a comment on my first post this morning saying  it was a time to hope.

Now is a time to grieve and I hope the media give the people who have lost husbands, sons, fathers and friends, the space they will need to do that.


Word of the day

November 24, 2010

Dephlogisticate – to make something fire-proof, to take away the aiblity to burn.


Good science and good farming at Grasslands conference

November 24, 2010

An International Grasslands Conference in Ireland five years ago convinced opened my farmer’s eyes to New Zealand’s natural advantages – the climate and soils which help us grow good pasture.

It also confirmed the already positive view he had of Grasslands Association as an organisation.

Farmers tend to be good adopters of science because it’s generally easy to apply findings and measure the benefits. Grasslands’ conferences brings together scientists and farmers for their mutual benefit.

At the conference dinner last week I was immediately struck  by the mutual respect scientists and farmers had for each other and the positive atmosphere. It was great to be somewhere where farming is valued, appreciated and celebrated.

A highlight of the dinner was the presentation of the Grasslands Trust Awards.

The Ray Brougham Trophy for an outstanding national contribution to the New Zealand grassland industry went to John McKenzie, general manager of  Wrightson Seeds.

The Regional Award for exceptional effort above and beyond the normal career contribution that supports the regional pastoral agricultural industry, be it technology development or an aspect of farming itself, went to Andy Macfarlane. He runs his own consulting firm, Macfarlane Rural Business, among many other contributions to farming.

The Farming Awards are given in recognition of  high performance pastoral farming and adoption of new technologies. The criteria includes: 

  • Good grassland farming – an impressive, profitable grassland-based business, run for at least five years on the property.
  • Innovative approach – using the latest grassland technology effectively.
  • Sustainable management – a good degree of sustainability in the enterprise and a strong responsibility for environmental matters.
  • Communication skills – passing on good grassland farming skills to others in the region, and including local community activity.

 These were won by Craig and Ros Mckenzie who farm at Methven, and my farmer.

The certificate says:  The presentation of this honour is a just tribute to outstanding ability and confidence in the potential of NZ’s greatest industry – Grassland Farming.

My farmer is quietly chuffed by  the honour and I’m basking in reflected glory.


Bad employers make bad policy

November 24, 2010

Labour has a penchant for employment policy which treats all employers as if they are like the minority of bad ones.

My theory that that’s because they judge others by their own low standards has been strengthened by another example:

Mr Goff today put pressure on Mr Key, saying he should make Mrs Wong front-up and explain, or sack her from National’s caucus.

Kiwiblog covers the hypocrisy of this in the wake of the way Labour has acted over misdeeds in its own caucus.

But there is more hypocrisy – Labour is the party which keeps telling us it’s the one which stands up for workers’ rights, among which is the right to fair process.

Yet here’s the leader calling for someone to be thrown out of caucus before the process is completed.

Imagine how he’d react if an employer tried to do that with a worker.

And oh how ironic that this call was made when employment law reforms, including a 90 day trial period for all new employees, are being opposed so strongly by Labour.


How long do you hope?

November 24, 2010

When we were told our then-16 week old son had a degenerative brain disorder and was likely to die soon I understood what we were being told, but I couldn’t, wouldn’t quite believe it.

Medical science isn’t infallible, there’s always the possibility of miracles . . .  in spite of the fact I knew neither of those were possible this time, I still clung to a tiny bit of hope.

Four weeks later when the doctor told me he had died, my first response was to say “pardon?”

It wasn’t that I didn’t hear him or understand, Tom was in my arms and I could see he wasn’t breathing.  I knew in my head that he’d gone, but my heart wouldn’t quite accept it.

That’s hope in the face of hopelessness and it’s not unusual.

Perhaps that’s how the families and friends of the men trapped in the Pike River mine feel. As every day goes past with nothing heard from deep inside the mine the outlook gets bleaker, but still they hope. 

The video of the blast  showed the severity of the explosion, but still, no-one wants to give up and say it’s a matter of recovery rather than rescue.

Yesterday the tone at the media conferences was more subdued, but still the mine management and rescue teams are trying to do everything possible, just in case.

And still, no matter how grim the outlook, unless there is evidence that it’s absolutely hopeless, people will continue to hope.

How long do you hope?

As long as you can.


November 24 in history

November 24, 2010

On November 24:

380 – Theodosius I made his adventus, or formal entry, into Constantinople.

 

1429 – Joan of Arc unsuccessfully besieged La Charité.

1542 – Battle of Solway Moss: The English army defeated the Scots.

1639 – Jeremiah Horrocks observed the transit of Venus, an event he had predicted.

 

1642 – Abel Tasman became the first European to discover the island Van Diemen’s Land (later renamed Tasmania).

1806 William Webb Ellis, who is credited with the invention of Rugby, was born (d. 1872).
 
 
1815 Grace Darling, English heroine, was born (d. 1842).
 
Grace Horsley Darling - Portrait.jpg
 
1849  Frances Hodgson Burnett, British-born author, was born (d. 1924).
 

1850 – Danish troops defeated a Schleswig-Holstein force in the Battle of Lottorf.

1859 – Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species.

 
Origin of Species title page.jpg

1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Lookout Mountain – Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant captured Lookout Mountain and began to break the Confederate siege of the city led by General Braxton Bragg.

 

1864 – Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French painter, was born (d. 1901).

  

1868 Scott Joplin, Ragtime Composer, was born (d. 1917).
 
 
1888  Dale Carnegie, American writer, was born (d. 1955).
 
 
 
 
1894 Herbert Sutcliffe, English cricketer, was born (d. 1978).
 
 
Herbert Sutcliffe.jpg
 
 
1897  Lucky Luciano, American gangster, was born  (d. 1962).
 
 
 

1922 – Author and Irish Republican Army member Robert Erskine Childers was executed by an Irish Free State firing squad for illegally carrying a revolver.

1940 – World War II: Slovakia became a signatory to the Tripartite Pact, officially joining the Axis Powers.

1941 – World War II: The United States granted Lend-Lease to the Free French.

1942 Billy Connolly, Scottish comedian, was born.
 
 
Billy 1.jpg

1943 – World War II: The USS Liscome Bay was torpedoed near Tarawa and sank with nearly 650 men killed.

 

1944 – World War II: The first bombing raid against Tokyo from the east and by land was carried out by 88 American aircraft.

 

1959 – All hands were lost when the modern coastal freighter Holmglen foundered off the South Canterbury coast. The cause of the tragedy was never established.

Fifteen die in mysterious shipwreck

1961 Arundhati Roy, Indian writer, was born.

1962 – The West Berlin branch of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany formed a separate party, the Socialist Unity Party of West Berlin.

1963 – Lee Harvey Oswald was murdered by Jack Ruby in the basement of Dallas police department headquarters. The shooting was broadcast live on television.

1965 – Joseph Désiré Mobutu seized power in the Congo and becomes President.

1966 – A Bulgarian plane with 82 people on board crashed near Bratislava, Czechoslovakia.

1966 – New York City experienced the smoggiest day in the city’s history.

1969 – The Apollo 12 command module splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean, ending the second manned mission to the Moon.

AP12goodship.png

1971 – During a severe thunderstorm over Washington state, a hijacker calling himself Dan Cooper (AKA D. B. Cooper) parachutes from a Northwest Orient Airlines plane with $200,000 in ransom money.

1973 – A national speed limit was imposed on the Autobahn in Germany due to the 1973 oil crisis.

1974 – Donald Johanson and Tom Gray discovered the 40% complete Australopithecus afarensis skeleton, nicknamed “Lucy” (after The Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”), in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia’s Afar Depression.

1992 – A China Southern Airlines domestic flight crashed, killing all 141 people on-board.

1993 – In Liverpool, 11-year-olds Robert Thompson and Jon Venables were convicted of the murder of 2-year-old James Bulger.

2007 – Australians elected the Labor Party at a federal election; outgoing prime minister, John Howard, became the first since 1929 to lose his own seat.
  Kevin Rudd headshot.jpg John Howard May 2006.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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