Word of the day


Idiocrasis – idiocracy; peculiarity of temperament or constitution; idiosyncrasy.



5/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.

Friday’s answers


1.Who said: “”Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”?

2. What is a nematode?

3.  Name the poet who wrote the following lines and the poem from which they come:

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the


Like a patient etherised upon a table;

4. In which country is Ephesus?

5. Vancouver and Alberta are in which states?

Memo to self don’t compose quiz questions late at night when overtired.

5. was supposed to be: in which provinces are Vancouver and Calgary?

Points for answers:

Everyone gets one for #5 because I got the question wrong.

Bearhunter got 5 with bonuses for reading to kids and reasoning which earns an electronic batchof biscuits.

Andrei got four.

Cadwallader got 3 1/2 (you got the poet but not the poem).

PDM got three and a bonus for humour.

Gravedodger got four and a bonus for wit.

David got three and a bonus for extra facts.

Fred got three.

Adam got three and a bonus for the pasta.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

A subsidy by any other name


Quote of the week from Trans Tasman:

If a NZ business can’t deliver a good value/quality product to a NZ based Crown entity compared with a foreign based company without assistance then it is more politically honest not to call it a procurement policy, but a state subsidy. It will then be up to taxpayers whether the extra money is worth it.

It’s referring to Labour’s procurement policy for crown entities which aims to favour local businesses and it’s right.

There’s no point pussy-footing round with euphemisms, a subsidy by any other name still comes at a cost.

If local companies were used in spite of inferior goods and services and/or higher prices then they’d be being subsidised and it’s taxpayers who would pay the higher bill.

Celebrating success and philanthropy


The NBR calls it’s Rich List a celebration of success and it is.

Those who practice the politics of envy will focus on the numbers. Those who prefer politics of aspiration will appreicate the hard work and risks required to make it and will take note of the philanthropic attitudes of most of those featured

John Todd, who is in the top 10, was inducted into the Fairfax Media New Zealand Business Hall of Fame on Wednesday and said:

Making money is not a sin, but if you are successful you have a moral responsibility to help others . . .

I am fortunate that my family and friends take this attitude regardless of whether or not they have a lot of money, but obviously the more you have the more you’re able to help.

The Dominion Post notes the philanthropic attitude is shared by all seven of this week’s inductees:

The seven new inductees of the Fairfax Media New Zealand Business Hall of Fame share many traits – all are enterprising and have made enormous contributions to the country’s economic and social development.

Philanthropy is another defining feature along with the desire to protect their privacy, particularly when it comes to their finances. 

The Rich List and Hall of Fame recognise entrepreneurial success and philanthropy, and we need more of both.

Overt better than covert


Why all the fuss about parties openly doing deals over electorate candidates?

Patrick Gower calls them dirty electorate deals done dirt cheap; and the Herald follows up one editorial saying parties do deals at their peril with another saying  it’s politics but not as many want it.

One of MMP’s virtues is supposed to be that it encourages parties to work together to get concensus. If that’s good in parliament, why not in elections?

There’s nothing new about accommodations between potential allies and it’s better to have overt deals than covert ones.

There is a risk. National voters put Peter Dunne into parliament which allowed him to be part of the Labour government for nine years.

But if there’s going to be deals it’s better that they’re in the open. That way voters know parties’ intentions and can take them into consideration, or not, when they vote.

If people don’t like the way parties are playing the game they have an opportunity to change the rules by voting against MMP in the referendum on the electoral system on election day.

July 29 in history


On July 29:

1014  Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars: Battle of Kleidion: Byzantine emperor Basil II inflicted a decisive defeat on the Bulgarian army.


1030  Ladejarl-Fairhair succession wars: Battle of Stiklestad – King Olaf II fought and died trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes.

1565 The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

1567  James VI was crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.

1588 Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – English naval forces under command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake defeated the Spanish Armada off the coast of Gravelines, France.

Loutherbourg-Spanish Armada.jpg

1693 War of the Grand Alliance: Battle of Landen – France won a Pyrrhic victory over Allied forces in the Netherlands.

1793  John Graves Simcoe decided to build a fort and settlement at Toronto.

1830  Abdication of Charles X of France.

1836  Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

1847 Cumberland School of Law was founded in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Logo of Cumberland School of Law

1848 Irish Potato Famine: Tipperary Revolt – an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule was put down by police.

1851  Annibale de Gasparis discovered asteroid 15 Eunomia.

1858 United States and Japan signed the Harris Treaty.

1883 Benito Mussolini, Italian dictator, was born (d. 1945).

1891 Bernhard Zondek German-born Israeli gynecologist, developer of first reliable pregnancy test, was born (d. 1966).

1899  The First Hague Convention was signed.

1900 King Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by Italian-born anarchist Gaetano Bresci.

1901  The Socialist Party of America founded.


1905 Stanley Kunitz, American poet, was born (d. 2006).

1907 Sir Robert Baden Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour. The camp ran from August 1-9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.

Brownsea Island Scout camp

1920 Construction of the Link River Dam began as part of the Klamath Reclamation Project.

1921  Adolf Hitler became leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

1925 Mikis Theodorakis, Greek composer, was born.

1937  Tongzhou Incident – assault on Japanese troops and civilians by Japanese-trained East Hopei Army in Tōngzhōu, China.

1945  The BBC Light Programme radio station was launched.

1948 The Games of the XIV Olympiad – after a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the first Summer Olympics to be held opened in London.

Olympic logo 1948.png

1957  The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

Flag of IAEA.svg

1958  U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NASA seal.svg
NASA logo.svg

1959  John Sykes, British guitarist (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Tygers of Pan Tang), was born.

1965  Tfirst 4,000 101st Airborne Division paratroopers arrived in Vietnam.

1967 USS Forrestal caught on fire  killing 134.

USS Rupertus;025916.jpg

1967  During the fourth day of celebrating its 400th anniversary, the city of Caracas, Venezuela was shaken by an earthquake, leaving approximately 500 dead.

1981 Up to 2000 anti-Springbok tour protestors were confronted by police who used batons to stop them marching up Molesworth Street to the home of South Africa’s Consul to New Zealand.

Police baton anti-tour protestors near Parliament

1981 Marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer.

1987  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France François Mitterrand signed the agreement to build a tunnel under the English Channel (Eurotunnel).


1988 The film Cry Freedom was seized by South African authorities.

1987  Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and President of Sri Lanka J. R. Jayawardene signed the Indo-Lankan Pact on ethnic issues.

1993  The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk of all charges.

2005  Astronomers announced their discovery of Eris.

Eris (centre) and Dysnomia (left of centre), taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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