Word of the day


Quaesitum – the object of a search, that which is sought; answer to a problem; the true value.



Oh dear – only 4/10 in the NZ History Online quiz.



7/10 in the NZ Herald news quiz.

The chocolate diet


It sounds too good to be true – chocolate might help you lose weight:

Researchers John Ashton and Lily Stojanovska have written a book full of claims many of us have waited a lifetime for – chocolate may help you lose weight.

“What we’ve found is chocolate has some surprising properties,” says Mr Ashton. “These properties include the ability to switch on hormones that promote fat burn.”

In the chocolate diet, they say the natural fats found in chocolate burn fat, whereas processed foods tell the body to store fat.

Even if it’s true there’s little joy in it for chocoholics. It’s not an invitation to eat as much chocolate as you want to and the recommendation isn’t for any chocolate:

 Experts say you should look for chocolate that’s at least 70 percent cocoa and not consume more than 25g a day.

Twenty five grams, at least 70% cocoa – that’s not very much at all and as it doesn’t include marshmallow it excludes most Easter eggs.

Sigh, the headline was too good to be true.

Pak and Steal


Self-service check-outs at supermarkets save time for customers and wages for the business but they also provide opportunities for the dishonest.

Expensive fruit and vegetables are keyed in as cheaper ones; the inexpensive bottle of wine is scanned, the dearer one put in the bag and the cheaper one scanned again.

These are just a couple of the tricks a supermarket owner told me his staff had caught customers trying.

One or two items is bad enough. Some opportunistic shoppers took advantage of an electronic glitch which opened a Hamilton Pak and Save supermarket with no staff and turned it into Pak and Steal:

“I actually believe a lot of these people just came in today innocently to shop,” says security guard Basil Way.

He’s been reviewing the footage of the confused shoppers.

“People have the opportunity to be honest, or be dishonest. Or just run for the hills,” he says.

Management says it’s highly embarrassed by what’s happened and says thanks to a quick police response – they didn’t lose too much.

The management says if any of the thieves come in and pay for what they took, the money will be donated to the Red Cross for Christchurch.

And it warns that it already knows who some of them are, because they’re regular customers.

What saddened me more was that some people who were asked what they’d have done had they found the shop unstaffed  appeared to find nothing wrong in the thefts and said they’d have taken the groceries too.

That makes them not only dishonest but unashamed to admit it on national television.

Is it too much to hope they are a tiny minority or is honesty no longer the norm?

April 24 in history


On April 24:

1479 BC – Thutmose III ascended to the throne of Egypt, although power effectively shifted to Hatshepsut.

1184 BC – The Greeks entered Troy using the Trojan Horse (traditional date).


1533 William I of Orange was born (d. 1584), .

1558 Mary, Queen of Scots, married the Dauphin of France, François, at Notre Dame de Paris.


1581 Vincent de Paul, French saint was born  (d. 1660), .

1620  John Graunt, English statistician and founder of the science of demography, was born  (d. 1674), .

1704 The first regular newspaper in the United States, the News-Letter, was published.


1800 The United States Library of Congress was established when President John Adams signed legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress”.


1815 Anthony Trollope, English novelist was born (d. 1882), .

1862 American Civil War: A flotilla commanded by Union Admiral David Farragut passed two Confederate forts on the Mississippi River on its way to capture New Orleans.


1877  Russo-Turkish War: Russia declared war on Ottoman Empire.

1898 The Spanish-American War: The United States declared war on Spain.

1904 The Lithuanian press ban was lifted after almost 40 years.


1907 Hersheypark, founded by Milton S. Hershey for the exclusive use of his employees, was opened.


1913 The Woolworth Building skyscraper in New York was opened.


1915  The Armenian Genocide began when Ottoman authorities arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople.:


1916 Easter Rising: The Irish Republican Brotherhood led by nationalists Patrick Pearse, James Connolly, and Joseph Plunkett started a rebellion.

Easter Proclamation of 1916.png

1916 Ernest Shackleton and five men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition launched a lifeboat from uninhabited Elephant Island to organise a rescue for the ice-trapped ship Endurance.

 Men with digging tools removing ice surrounding the ship's hull, creating an icy pool of water 

1918 First tank-to-tank combat, at Villers-Bretonneux, when three British Mark IVs met three German A7Vs.


1922 New Zealand’s first Poppy Day.

New Zealand's first poppy day

1926 The Treaty of Berlin was signed. Germany and the Soviet Union each pledged neutrality in the event of an attack on the other by a third party for the next five years.

1932 Benny Rothman led the Mass trespass of Kinder Scout, leading to substantial legal reforms in the United Kingdom.


1953 Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.


1955 – The Bandung Conference ended Twenty-nine non-aligned nations of Asia and Africa finished a meeting that condemned colonialism, racism, and the Cold War.


1957 Suez Crisis: The Suez Canal was reopened following the introduction of UNEF peacekeepers to the region.

1960 A severe earthquake shook Lar in Fars province, Iran, killing more than 200 people.

1961 The 17th century Swedish ship Vasa was salvaged.


1963 Marriage of Princess Alexandra of Kent to Angus Ogilvy at Westminster Abbey.

1965 Civil war broke out in the Dominican Republic when Colonel Francisco Caamaño, overthrew the triumvirate that had been in power.

1967 Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov died in Soyuz 1 when its parachute failed to open. He was the first human to die during a space mission.


1967 – Vietnam War: American General William Westmoreland said in a news conference that the enemy had “gained support in the United States that gave him hope that he could win politically that which he cannot win militarily.”

Gen William C Westmoreland.jpg

1970 The first Chinese satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, was launched.

1970 – The Gambia became a republic with Dawda Jawara as the first President.

1971 Soyuz 10 docked with Salyut 1.

Soyuz 10.png

1980 Eight U.S. servicemen died in Operation Eagle Claw as they attempted to end the Iran hostage crisis.

Eagle Claw wrecks at Desert One April 1980.jpg

1990 STS-31: The Hubble Space Telescope was launched by the Space Shuttle Discovery.


1990 – Gruinard Island, Scotland, was officially declared free of the anthrax disease after 48 years of quarantine.

Gruinard Island is located in Scotland 


1993 – An IRA bomb devastated the Bishopsgate area of London.

1996  In the United States, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 was introduced.

2004 The United States lifted economic sanctions imposed on Libya 18 years previously, as a reward for its cooperation in eliminating weapons of mass destruction.

200 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was inaugurated as the 265th Pope taking the name Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope, 13 march 2007.jpg

2005  Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog was born in South Korea.

2006  King Gyanendra of Nepal gave into the demands of protesters and restored the parliament that he dissolved in 2002.

2007 Iceland announced that Norway would shoulder the defense of Iceland during peacetime.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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