Word of the day


Nepenthe – medicine for sorrow; drug of forgetfullness; a potion capable of making one forget suffering.

No opportunity lost by spammers


The email from the bank started sympathetically:

Dear ANZ Customer

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the earthquake on February 22. If you’re a ANZ customer in the affected area, we know you’ve got a lot going on at the moment and we’re doing everything we can to make things easier for you.

Any ANZ Home Loan and Business Banking customers that live in the Christchurch area who have been affected by the earthquake will be offered:

* three months repayment holiday on their loans (including business banking loans)
* $1,000 overdraft or increase of $1,000 to existing personal overdraft or revolving credit facilities.

But then it said:

Also due to the Canterbury Earthquake, we have lost some of our customers internet banking details,so please click the link below to enter your Customer Registration Number and Password details correctly so we can help you update your account:

That’s a definite spam alert – that and the fact we don’t bank with ANZ anyway.

Even in a national emergency no opportunity is lost by spammers who want to get hold of someone else’s money.

Orientation then and now


Quote of the day from the UC Volunteer Army:

 “These orientation activities seem much more constructive than mine did 25 years ago!”

Stories from the quake


There must be something else going on in the world, haven’t we had enough of the earthquake? an email to a radio station moaned last week.

There are a lot of other things going onin the world but none is as important to the whole of New Zealand than the earthquake and its aftermath.

The MSM is doing exactly what it should be in keeping people in the city and beyond informed and amongst the hard news are some heartwrenching stories.

Social media – Facebook, Twitter and blogs are keeping people in touch and also telling stories.

Many of those, like the three that follow, won’t reach the MSM but they are part of the record of the disaster.

* Yesterday afternoon I visited friends from Christchurch who’ve moved down to Wanaka with both their elderly mothers.

He was in a 12 storey building in the CBD when the quake struck – ceiling tiles fell and furniture moved as the building shuddered and swayed but it’s fairly new and appeared to escape any major damage. As soon as the shaking stopped he and his colleagues tore down the stair well and outside.

She was at home and safe though badly shaken, but they aren’t sure their house will be salvageable.

Their relief at their own safety and that of family and friends is tempered by sorrow at the devastation and tragedy in the city which is their home.

One mother was badly bruised from falling, the other was unharmed. Both had been living independently, neither wants to live by herself now.

* A friend told  me of the son of other friends who was running from the quake when a fissure about a metre wide opened up in front of him. He stopped and grabbed a young Asian woman beside him who was about to fall into it. As he hauled her back the earth closed in front of them again.

* This friend has been helping friends whose son in law died when his car was crushed. They know he’s dead but they also know it could be days or even weeks before his body is returned because search and rescue efforts must concentrate on looking for anyone who might still be alive.

Desperate as they are to get him back, they understand why this is so and say that Victim Support have been amazing in helping them.

February 28 in history


On February 28:

20 BC coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty‘s rule over China.

870 The Fourth Council of Constantinople closed.

Council Trent.jpg

1261 Margaret of Scotland, queen of Norway, was born  (d. 1283).

1638 The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh.


1710  In the Battle of Helsingborg, 14,000 Danish invaders under Jørgen Rantzau were decisively defeated by an equally sized Swedish force under Magnus Stenbock.

Battle of Helsingborg print.jpg

1784 John Wesley chartered the Methodist Church.


1787 The charter establishing the institution now known as the University of Pittsburgh was granted.

University of Pittsburgh Seal

1824 Blondin, French tightrope walker, was born  (d. 1897).


1827  The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight.

1838 Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaimed the independence of Lower Canada (today Québec).

1844 A gun on USS Princeton exploded while the boat was on a Potomac River cruise, killing eight people, including two United States Cabinet members.

USS Princeton, Lithograph by N. Currier, New York, 1844.

1849 Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States began with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 21 days after leaving New York Harbour.

1865 Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary, was born  (d. 1940).


1870 The Bulgarian Exarchate was established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire.


1883 The first vaudeville theatre opened in Boston, Massachusetts.

1897 Queen Ranavalona III, the last monarch of Madagascar, was deposed by a French military force.

Queen Ranavalona III

1900 The Second Boer War: The 118-day “Siege of Ladysmith” was lifted.

Ladysmith Town Hall 1900 - Project Gutenberg eText 15972.png

1912 Clara Petacci, Italian mistress of Benito Mussolini, was born  (d. 1945).

1914 The Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus was proclaimed in Gjirokastër, by the Greeks living in southern Albania.

1922 The United Kingdom accepted the independence of Egypt.

1925 Harry H Corbett, English actor, was born  (d. 1982).


1928  C.V. Raman discovered Raman effect.

1933 Gleichschaltung: The Reichstag Fire Decree was passed in Germany a day after the Reichstag fire.

Flag of Nazi Germany

1935 DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invented Nylon.


1939 The first issue of Serbian weekly magazine Politikin zabavnik was published.


1939 – The erroneous word “Dord” was discovered in the Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.

1942 Brian Jones, English musician (The Rolling Stones), was born  (d. 1969).

1942 The heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30) was sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait with 693 crew members killed.

USS Houston

1943 Charles Bernstein, American composer, was born.

1945 New Zealand soldier David Russell was executed by a Nazi firing squad in Italy.

Kiwi soldier faces Nazi firing squad

1946 Robin Cook, British politician, was born.

1947 228 Incident: In Taiwan, civil disorder is put down with the loss of 30,000 civilian lives.

 The 228 Monument located near the Presidential Office in Taipei

1953 Paul Krugman, American economist, Nobel laureate, was born.

Paul Krugman-press conference Dec 07th, 2008-8.jpg

1957 Cindy Wilson, American singer (The B-52′s), was born.

1958 A school bus in Floyd County, Kentucky hits a wrecker truck and plunged down an embankment into the rain-swollen Levisa Fork River. The driver and 26 children died in what remains the worst school bus accident in U.S. history.

1970 Daniel Handler, American writer, better known as Lemony Snicket, was born.

1972 The Asama-Sanso incident ended in Japan.

1972 The United States and People’s Republic of China signed the Shanghai Communiqué.

1974 Moana Mackey, New Zealand politician, was born.

1975 A major tube train crash at Moorgate station, London kills 43 people.

Moorgate station

1985 The Provisional Irish Republican Army carried out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing nine officers in the highest loss of life for the RUC on a single day.

1986 Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden  was assassinated in Stockholm.

1991 The first Gulf War ended.

1993 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas with a warrant to arrest the group’s leader David Koresh. Four BATF agents and five Davidians die in the initial raid, starting a 51-day standoff.


1995 Denver International Airport officially opened in Denver, Colorado to replace Stapleton International Airport

DIA Airport Roof.jpg

1997 – The North Hollywood shootout took place.

1998 – First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace.


1998 – Kosovo War: Serbian police begin the offensive against the Kosovo Liberation Army in Kosovo.

2001 – The Nisqually Earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale hits the Nisqually Valley and the Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia area of the U.S. state of Washington.

2001 – Six passengers and four railway staff are killed and a further 82 people suffer serious injuries in the Selby rail crash.

200 More than 1 million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally formed a 500-kilometre (300-mile) long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947.


2005 Lebanon‘s pro-Syrian prime minister, Omar Karami, resigned amid large anti-Syria street demonstrations in Beirut.

2005 A suicide bombing at a police recruiting centre in Al Hillah, Iraq killed 127.

2007  Jupiter flyby of the New Horizons Pluto-observer spacecraft.

New Horizons

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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