Word of the day


Ignotism – mistake due to ignorance.

Thursday’s quiz


1. Who said: Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.”?

2. Which three arts are represented in Timeless Land and who are the three artists?

3. It’s inodoro or servicios in Spanish and whare paku in Maori, what is it in English? 

4. What does a galactometer measure?  It’s also called a lactometer.

5. What is CaCo3 and for which agricultural product is it a main ingredient?

Colin Meads’ jersey could be yours


The All Blacks returned from a tour in 1957 to play, and lose  11- 9,  against Canterbury.

The All Black No 8 in that game was Colin Meads. He’s put the jersey he wore  up for auction on the Farming Show with the money from the winning bid going to the Canterbury earthquake appeal.

Dick Taylor spoke about the idea on the Farming Show on Tuesday and Sir Colin added to the story yesterday.

Jamie Mackay opened bidding at $1,000 yesterday and it had got up to $2,700 when the show finished at midday.

If you want to bid: Text 5009.  Put FS [space] your bid, name and where you’re from.

UPDATE: the highest bid is now $5,000.

OCR down to 2.5%


Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard has reduced the official cash rate by half a percentage point to 2.5%.

“The earthquake has caused substantial damage to property and buildings, and immense disruption to business activity. While it is difficult to know exactly how large or long-lasting these effects will be, it is clear that economic activity, most certainly in Christchurch but also nationwide, will be negatively impacted. Business and consumer confidence has almost certainly deteriorated.

“Even before the earthquake, GDP growth was much weaker than expected through the second half of 2010. Households have continued to be very cautious, with retail spending volumes and residential investment both declining. The export sector has benefited from very high commodity prices, however, farmers have focused on repaying debt rather than increasing spending. Also the early summer drought constrained farm output through this time. Signs that the economy was beginning to recover early in 2011 have been more than offset by the Christchurch earthquake.

“In putting together the forecasts underlying this Monetary Policy Statement, the Bank has had to make many important assumptions based on limited information. Over the coming weeks and months, these judgments will be tested as new information comes to hand. For now, GDP growth is projected to be quite weak through the first half of the year. This will gradually build up to a very large reconstruction programme by 2012 that will last for some years and contribute to a period of relatively strong activity.

“Future monetary policy adjustments will be guided by emerging economic data. We expect that the current monetary policy accommodation will need to be removed once the rebuilding phase materialises. This will take some time. For now we have acted pre-emptively in reducing the OCR to lessen the economic impact of the earthquake and guard against the risk of this impact becoming especially severe.”

No mention of inflation, the overriding concern is lack of growth.

Just as well commodity prices are high, that’s the one bright spot in the short term outlook.

Urban-rural divide bridged by kindness


Fonterra’s newsletter to shareholders includes this Roger Kilpatrick, the company’s North Canterbury field officer:

A story that sums up the month up for me:

I needed to fill a couple of BBQ gas bottles after the earthquake. I went past a petrol station that was taped off, as it was out of petrol but still had LPG. There were more than 20 people queuing for LPG. I joined the queue and got talking to a couple from New Brighton who had spent an hour and a half getting to the station. They noticed my Fonterra uniform and the conversation went like this:

“We don’t know a lot about dairying and you guys seem to get a lot of stick, but Fonterra and your farmers have been fantastic.  You have helped deliver water – you have helped with cleaning up – you have donated heaps of money – remember  there are a lot of people in town who really appreciate everything the farmers are doing, so make sure you say thanks”

So, thanks to all of you from a lot of people in the city of Christchurch who really have appreciated the efforts of Fonterra and the farming community in general, for their generosity in a number of ways.

I don’t know how much Fonterra has given to the quake recovery effort in total now. A week ago it was more than $3 million which included the initial million from the company plus its dollar for dollar matching of donations from shareholders and staff.

Stock firms, freezing companies, wool processors and at least one rural real estate firm have also facilitated donations from clients; and Federated Farmers and the Farmy Army will be making another assault on the dirt and silt next weekend.

The rural-urban divide sometimes seems like an unbridgeable gulf but in a crisis it closes completely.

Why not composting loos?


The world supply of chemical loos has been exhausted by the demand from Christchurch.

Portaloos aren’t ideal at the best of times and even less so when they’re being used semi-permanently by several households.

Longdrops in the garden have their limitations. Squatting over a bucket isn’t much fun for the fit and agile and extremely difficult for the overweight, unfit, elderly or infirm.

It could be weeks, possibly months before sewer systems are functioning properly in some areas so what are people to do?

Robert Guyton suggests composting loos.

When friends were building a crib on their farm they installed a composting loo.

It works well and without the unpleasant smell anyone who’s been tramping knows is inevitable with a longdrop.

It’s far easier and more pleasant to get rid of compost than what’s deposited in portaloos or chemical ones and more hygienic for people and gentler on the environment than longdrops.

Why aren’t composting loos being considered?

March 10 in history


On March 10:

241 BC Battle of the Aegates Islands – The Romans sank the Carthaginian fleet bringing the First Punic War to an end.

1606 Susenyos defeated the combined armies of Yaqob and Abuna Petros II at the Battle of Gol in Gojjam, which made him Emperor of Ethiopia.

1762 French Huguenot Jean Calas, who was wrongly convicted of killing his son, died after being tortured by authorities; the event inspired Voltaire to begin a campaign for religious tolerance and legal reform.


1804 Louisiana Purchase: In St. Louis, Missouri, a formal ceremony is conducted to transfer ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States.


1814 Napoleon I of France was defeated at the Battle of Laon in France.

Full length portrait of a man in his forties, in high-ranking dress white and dark blue military uniform. He stands amid rich 18th-century furniture laden with papers, and gazes at the viewer. His hair is Brutus style, cropped close but with a short fringe in front, and his right hand is tucked in his waistcoat.

1830 The KNI, the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, was created.


1831  The French Foreign Legion was established by King Louis-Philippe to support his war in Algeria.

Grenade legion.svg

1847  Kate Sheppard, New Zealand suffragist, was born  (d. 1934).


1848 The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified by the United States Senate, ending the Mexican-American War.


1861 El Hadj Umar Tall seized the city of Segou, destroying the Bambara Empire of Mali.

1869 The New Zealand Cross was created because New Zealand’s local military were not eligible for the Victoria Cross. Only 23 were awarded, all to men who served in the New Zealand wars, making it one of the rarest military honours in the world.

New Zealand Cross created

1876 Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful telephone call by saying “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”

1891 Almon Strowger, an undertaker patented the Strowger switch, a device which led to the automation of telephone circuit switching.


1905 Eleftherios Venizelos called for Crete’s union with Greece, and started the Theriso revolt.

1906 Courrières mine disaster, Europe’s worst ever, killed 1099 miners in Northern France.


1912 Yuan Shikai was sworn in as the second Provisional President of the Republic of China.

1917  Batangas was formally founded as one of the Philippines’s earliest encomiendas.

1922 Mahatma Gandhi was arrested in India, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years in prison, only to be released after nearly two years for an appendicitis operation.


1933 An earthquake in Long Beach, California kills 115 people and causes an estimated $40 million dollars in damage.


1945 The USA Army Air Force firebombed Tokyo, and the resulting firestorm killed more than 100,000 people.


1952 –  Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, was born.

1952  Fulgencio Batista led a successful coup in Cuba and appointed himself as the “provisional president”.

1957 Osama bin Laden, Islamist and leader of al-Qaeda, was born.

Bin Laden Poster2.jpeg

1959 Tibetan uprising: Fearing an abduction attempt by China, 300,000 Tibetans surround the Dalai Lama’s palace to prevent his removal.

1964 Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, was born.

1969 James Earl Ray admitted assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. He later retracted his guilty plea.

1970 Captain Ernest Medina was charged with My Lai war crimes.

1977 Rings of Uranus: Astronomers discover rings around Uranus.


1980 Madeira School headmistress Jean Harris shot and killed Scarsdale diet doctor Herman Tarnower

1980 – Formation of the Irish Army Ranger Wing


1990 In Haiti, Prosper Avril was ousted 18 months after seizing power in a coup.

2000 NASDAQ Composite stock market index peaked at 5132.52, signaling the beginning of the end of the dot-com boom.


2006 The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived at Mars.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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