Word of the day


Nodus – a difficulty; a complicated, knotty or problematic idea or situation.

Hat Tip: Wordsmith Word A Day

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. What is a forecastle?

2. Who said “The world has grown suspicious of anything that look like a happily married life”?

 3. Who is the MP for Otaki?

4. Who wrote Middle Age Spread?

5. It’s félicité in French, felicità  in Italian,  felicidad in Spanish, and koanga in Maori, what is it in English?

The percentage of people getting all the answers right suggests it was easier this week (especially if I accept broad definitions for happiness):

Andrei* and Gravedodger get an electronic batch of biscuits with five right and a bonus for extra information.

Adam got four right.

Paul got two three right and a bonus for wit.

Rob got one right and three bonuses for humour.

Adam got a smile.

Bearhunter gets an electronic batch of biscuits * for five right.

PDM got three right and a couple of grins (dont’ give up on Mae West, one day you’ll be right).

* Second week running, I’ll have to use a different recipe so you don’t get bored with the biscuits.

UPDATE: Zen Tiger was late but got three right and a bonus for wit.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »



7/10 in the NZ Herald’s news quiz.

Greenpeace protest all about publicity


An ODT editorial says that Greenpeace took the wrong option in its protest against the Petrobras seismic survey off the East Coast:

The target for protest action should be the promised legislation that, while it should not prevent oil and gas exploration, needs to be sufficiently robust to ensure the marine environment will be adequately protected and, should an accident occur, restored.

That is the challenge for Greenpeace and others. Raising fears when none are justified is tactically foolish – and most likely to backfire.

But influencing legislation wouldn’t get the publicity swimming in front of a ship did and publicity is what Greenpeace needs most.

It is a large international organisation that requires a lot of money to run.

That’s why they recruit, usually young, people to travel* round the country trying to recruit supporters. They’re set targets of the number to sign up each day and their pay is related to how well they do – just like other big businesses which use incentive payments.

It’s much easier to recruit workers and supporters when they’re in the headlines looking like they’re the little people against a big, evil corporation or government than it is formulating and presenting logical submissions to influence legislation.

*The vans they travel in aren’t usually self-contained, I hope they abide by the clean, green principles they preach and don’t freedom camp where there are no loos.

Beneficiary artist at it again


Remember Tao Wells, the artist whose Beneficiaries’ Office advocating the benefits of being jobless caused an uproar last year?

He’s unveiled his latest installation in Dunedin. It’s called 6% forced unemployment. Fakes job competition. Stops wages rising.

It’s part of his on-going promotion of the lifestyle of unemployment. In spite of the criticism he receives:

. . . Wells remains unrepentant and has recently trained as a benefit rights volunteer.

“We need to work less, so we consume less. The average carbon footprint of the unemployed person is about half that of those earning over $100,000,” he said.

“We should never be forced to take a job. If you’re forced to take a job it’s a punishment.”

No-one’s forced to take a job. He’s free not to work as long as he doesn’t expect a benefit.

As for punishment, that’s what a lot of working people might call being forced to pay money they earn to support people who could work but won’t.

Not that he’ll be worried about that as long as he gets publicity for his art and his views guarantee he will.

April 15 in history


On April 15:

1071 – Bari, the last Byzantine possession in southern Italy, was surrendered to Robert Guiscard.

1450 – Battle of Formigny: Toward the end of the Hundred Years’ War, the French attacked and nearly annihilated English forces, ending English domination in Northern France.

Vigiles du roi Charles VII 32.jpg

1452 Leonardo da Vinci, Italian Renaissance polymath, was born (d. 1519).

1469 Guru Nanak Dev, the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, was born (d. 1539).


1632 Battle of Rain; Swedes under Gustavus Adolphus defeated the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years’ War.

Schlacht bei Rain am Lech 1632.jpg

1641 Robert Sibbald, Scottish physician, was born  (d. 1722).

1642 Suleiman II, Ottoman Sultan, was born  (d. 1691).

1684 Catherine I of Russia, was born (d. 1727).

1710 William Cullen, Scottish physician, was born  (d. 1790).


1715 Pocotaligo Massacre triggered the start of the Yamasee War in colonial South Carolina.

1738 Premiere in London of Serse (Xerxes) an Italian opera by George Frideric Handel.

1755 Samuel Johnson‘s A Dictionary of the English Language published in London.


1783 – Preliminary articles of peace ending Revolutionary War ratified.

Rev collage.png

1802-  William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy saw a “long belt” of daffodils, inspiring him to pen I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.


1841 Joseph E. Seagram, Canadian distillery founder, was born (d. 1919).

1843 Henry James, American author, was born (d. 1916).

1865 Abraham Lincoln died after being shot the previous day by actor John Wilkes Booth.

1868 The first two Maori MPs ,  Frederick Nene Russell (Northern Maori) and Tareha Te Moananui (Eastern Maori), were elected to parliament.

First two Maori MPs elected to Parliament

1885 The first sod was turned on the North Island main trunk line.

First sod dug for North Island main trunk

1883 Stanley Bruce, eighth Prime Minister of Australia, was born  (d. 1967).


1892 The General Electric Company was formed.

General Electric logo.svg

1894 Nikita Khrushchev, Premier of the Soviet Union, was born  (d. 1971).

A portrait shot of an older, bald man with bifocal glasses. He is wearing a blazer over a collared shirt and tie. In his hands, he is holding a set of papers.

1894 Bessie Smith, American blues singer, was born  (d. 1937).

1895 Clark McConachy, New Zealand billiards player, was born  (d. 1980).

1906 The Armenian organization AGBU was established.

1912 Kim Il-sung, President of North Korea, was born  (d. 1994).

1912 RMS Titanic, sank in the North Atlantic, after hitting an iceberg two and a half hours earlier, the previous day, killing more than 1,500 people.

1916 Alfred S. Bloomingdale, American businessman, was born (d. 1982).

1921 Black Friday, mine owners announced a decrease in wages leading to the threat of a strike all across England

1923 Insulin became generally available for use by people with diabetes.

1924 Sir Neville Marriner, English conductor, was born.

1924 Rand McNally published its first road atlas.

Rand McNally logo.png

1930 Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, President of Iceland, was born.

1933 Elizabeth Montgomery, American actress, was born  (d. 1995).

1940 The Allies begin their attack on the Norwegian town of Narvik which was occupied by Nazi Germany.


1940 Jeffrey Archer, British author, was born.

1940 Robert Lacroix, French Canadian professor of economics, was born.

1941 In the Belfast Blitz, two-hundred bombers of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) attacked Belfast, killing 1,000 people.


1942 George Cross was awarded to “to the island fortress of Malta – its people and defenders” by King George VI.


1943 An Allied bomber attack missed the Minerva automobile factory and hits the Belgian town of Mortsel instead, killing 936 civilians.

1945 The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated.

1947 Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking baseball’s colour line.

Waist-up portrait of black batter in his mid-thirties, in Brooklyn Dodgers uniform number 42, at end of swing with bat over left shoulder, looking at where a hit ball would be

1952  The maiden flight of the B-52 Stratofortress

1955 – Dodi Al-Fayed, Egyptian businessman, was born  (d. 1997).


1957 White Rock, British Columbia officially separated from Surrey,  and was incorporated as a new city.

1959 Emma Thompson, English actress, was born.

1960 Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant, heir to the Belgian throne, was born.

1979 An earthquake (of M 7.1) on Montenegro coast.

1989 A human crush occured at Hillsborough Stadium,  in the FA Cup Semi Final, resulting in the deaths of 96 Liverpool F.C. fans.


1989 Upon Hu Yaobang‘s death, the Tiananmen Square protests began.

1992 The National Assembly of Vietnam adopted the 1992 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

1994 Representatives of 124 countries and the European Communities signed the Marrakesh Agreements revising the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and initiating the World Trade Organization (effective January 1, 1995).

2002 – An Air China Boeing 767 200, flight CA129 crashed into a hillside during heavy rain and fog near Busan, South Korea, killing 128.

2010 – Volcanic ash from the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland led to the closure of airspace over most of Europe.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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