Saturday’s smiles


After driving all night, a man arrived in a small town where he decided to stop beside a park for a nap.

Just as he dozed off, there was a knock on the window. Outside the car, was a jogger.
“Excuse me, can you give me the time?” the she asked.

The man looked at his watch and replied, “It’s 6:27.”

He closed his eyes again and just as he dozed off there was another knock on the window.

There stood another jogger who said, “I’m sorry to disturb you. Do you have the time?”,

Struggling to be polite, he peered at his watch again and replied, “It’s 6:34.”
The man rolled up the window but realizing that this could go on indefinitely, he took paper and pen and wrote: “I DO NOT KNOW THE TIME.”
He stuck the paper in the window, closed his eyes, and was barely asleep when there came yet another tap on the window. The man looked and sure enough, there was another jogger. He rolled down the window and said, “Yeah, what is it?”
The jogger replied, “It’s 6:42.”

Word of the day


Uberous –  abundant, fruitful, yielding an abundance of milk.

From plastic waste to brick walls


Recycling reduces the amount of waste put into landfills but it’s not necessarily better for the environment and it doesn’t always stack up economically.

But a Dunedin inventor Peter Lewis has come up with a machine which  turns plastic waste into bricks which might stack up.

His Byfusion machine has been operating at the Green Island landfill for eight years and since the ODT gave it publicity he’s had approaches from around the world from people interested in buying one.

The prototype at the Green Island landfill can swallow most types of raw plastic – from drink bottles to meat packaging – where it was washed, dried and compacted into a plastic block.

Each brick is formed from 10kg of plastic, and could be used for garden retaining or landscaping walls, and had other potential uses including as shock absorbers behind crash barriers.

Consideration was being given to using the products to build hurricane and tsunami shelters in the Pacific Islands, or cheaper sustainable housing where wood is scarce.

The machine’s main source of interest for buyers was its ability to turn millions of tonnes of plastic, which took many years to break down in landfills, into something of continued use, he said.

I’ve been a reluctant recycler since reading about problems with workers’ health and air and water pollution in recylcing plants in China.

But from what I’ve read the Byfusion machine turns plastic waste into bricks without endangering the health of workers or the environment. If he gets the investment he needs to expand, Mr Lewis and his comapny will also make a significant contribution to the Dunedin economy.

Smith speaks sense on emissions targets


A friend is developing a farm which has small blocks of forestry.

As the Kyoto rules stand at the moment if he fells the pines re-plants in the same place or fells the trees and leaves the stumps he will have no carbon liability. But if he fells the trees, clears the stumps and replants trees in a different place he will.

Many hectares of land around Taupo were planted in trees because stock grazed there got bush sickness. It has since been recognised that this was caused by cobalt deficiency which can be addressed.

In other areas development incentives encouraged farmers to clear marginal land which is prone to erosion.

It would be better for both the economy and the environment if the land near Taupo was cleared for pastoral farming and the marginal land was returned to forestry but that is unlikely to happen under the current Kyoto rules which were designed with native forests in mind.

New Zealand is one of few, possibly the only, country in the world with a large areas of exotic forestry.

There may be sense in requiring the replanting of trees where they’ve been felled if you’re trying to save rain forests but it makes no difference to carbon emissions if replacement trees are planted in a different place.

New Zealand has put a lot of effort into getting this changed and now Climate Change Minister is sensibly saying New Zealand won’t commit to emissions targets unless forestry rules are clear.

He told the United Nations conference in Cancun New Zealand wants a change to allow pre-1990 forests to be harvested and re-planted elsewhere and also to lock up emissions for wood which is felled and used for building  rather than have it count as being consumed and its emissions released on felling.

It’s such a good idea, Whaleoil, who doesn’t praise lightly, has given him politician of the week on the strength of it.



Oh dear, I obviously wasn’t concentrating this week – only 5/10 in the NZ Herald weekly news quiz.

December 11 in history


On December 11:

 969 – Byzatine Emperor Nikephoros II was assassinated by his wife Theofano and her lover, the later Emperor John I Tzimiskes.

Nikiphoros Phokas.jpg

1282 Llywelyn the Last, the last native Prince of Wales, was killed at Cilmeri.

Llywelyn the Last at Cardiff City Hall.jpg

1789 The University of North Carolina was chartered.

1792 – French Revolution: King Louis XVI of France was put on trial for treason by the National Convention.

1890  Carlos Gardel, tango singer was born  (d. 1935).

1904  Marge, American cartoonist, was born.

 The first Little Lulu from the February 23, 1935 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

1907 Fire swept through Parliament Buildings destroying Bellamy’s restaurant but missing the library.

Parliament's library escapes great fire

1917 Lithuania declared its independence from Russia.

1918  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian writer and Soviet dissident, Nobel laureate, was born.

1931 The Statute of Westminster was passed granting complete autonomy to Britain’s six Dominions. It established legislative equality between the self-governing dominions of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, the Irish Free State, Dominion of Newfoundland, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa.

Statute of Westminster passed

1936  Edward VIII‘s abdication as King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India became effective.

1940 David Gates, American musician (Bread), was born.

1941 Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, following the Americans’ declaration of war on Japan in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbour. The United States, in turn, declared war on Germany and Italy.

1942 – Donna Mills, American actress, was born.

1943  John Kerry, American politician, was born.


1944 Brenda Lee, American singer, was born.

1946 The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.


1954  Jermaine Jackson, American singer (Jackson 5), was born.

1958  French Upper Volta gained self-government from France, and became the Republic of Upper Volta.

Flag Coat of arms

1972  Apollo 17 became the sixth Apollo mission to land on the Moon.

Apollo 17-insignia.png

1997  The Kyoto Protocol opened for signature.

2005 Cronulla riots: Thousands of White Australians demonstrated against ethnic violence resulting in a riot against anyone thought to be Lebanesen (and many who were not) in Cronulla Sydney.


2008 Bernard Madoff was arrested and charged with securities fraud in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.


Sourced from Wikipedia and NZ History Online.

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