Word of the day

August 11, 2011

Sgiomlaireached –  the habit of dropping in at mealtimes.


Mana helping National

August 11, 2011

Former Green MP Sue Bradford wants to stand in Waitakere for the Mana party.

The one who is most likely to benefit from that is sitting  National MP and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

The ones most likely to lose from this are the labour and Green candidates as the vote gets split between them and a party even further to the left.

This won’t be the first time a wee party has acted as a spoiler, helping the candidate they have least in common with at the exepnse of potential coalition partners.

It is another fault with MMP.

Parties are criticised for pre-election accommodations in electorates although that is both sensible for them and helpful for voters who can choose to follow the lead they’re given or not.

But the alternative is for the wee parties to butcher the vote of their likely allies.


Thursday’s quiz

August 11, 2011

1. Who said: The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessing; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries”?

2. What is Allium sativum?

3. Where in mianland New Zealand is Mount Domet?

4. It’s herbe in French, erba  in Italian,  hierba in Spanish and taru in Maori, what is it in English?

5. Ra was the Egyptian god of what?


Uni’s not supposed to be easy

August 11, 2011

NZUSA is criticising changes made by NZQA which will make it a little more difficult for people to gain entry to university.

The NZQA’s deputy chief executive (qualifications), Bali Haque, said the changes were not designed to restrict student entry to university, but to ensure the standard was set at an appropriate level for entry in 2015.

“The new requirement, while not a radical change, does raise the bar for university entrance.”

He believed the changes, which stemmed from a periodic review last year, would have a “motivational effect and lift achievement”.

However, a spokesman for the NZ Union of Students’ Associations, Max Hardy, said the requirements followed an “erosion of access to tertiary education” over the past few years and would shut even more people out.

“We are very concerned that students, as a result of this change, who could have done very well at university are being shut out.”

It is possible that some people who didn’t do well at school will, with a little more maturity and focus, succeed at university.

But what’s the point of lowering the entry bar only to have students who haven’t got the required academic ability waste money and time failing?

University isn’t supposed to be easy and getting there shouldn’t be either unless participation rather than success is the aim.

If success in tertiary study is the goal, as it should be, then the requirement for entry should be related to the standard required to succeed once you’re there.

Who is NZUSA working for in opposing this – it ‘s members or its own interests? While student union membership is compulsory anything which increases participation works in NZUSA’s favour but not necessarily in the interests of its members.


Where everyone gets bargain milk

August 11, 2011

The warehouse is selling two 2 litre bottles of milk for $6.50 when one 2 litre bottle cost $3.68 on average.

The Warehouse CEO, Mark Powell, says, “The company remains dedicated to reducing the cost of essentials for New Zealand families, and that means keeping the cost of milk down.

“Milk is a basic living cost for families and last week’s ‘bundle deal’ – two 2ltr bottles of milk and two loaves of bread for $9 – is part of our on-going commitment to delivering exceptional value to our customers.”

This can’t be having much of an affect on supermarkets’ market share yet or they’d be dropping their prices too.

Supermarkets in Australia are having price wars over milk and it’s the customers who benefit.

How many customers will the Warehouse have to woo before supermarkets here are forced to drop their prices too?


Why the secrecy when it’s not a secret? – updated

August 11, 2011

Helen Clark is back in New Zealand and told the Bay of Plenty Times she wouldn’t be giving interviews and was “home on family business”.

She is perfectly entitled to visit her family and not give interviews, but I don’t know why she wouldn’t in this case because it was an opportunity for her to promote a very good cause. 

One of the reasons she’s back in New Zealand was to speak at a fundraising dinner for Project HHH – Hearts and Hands for Haiti. That was publicised in the ODT, Oamaru Mail and HHH’s website.

Oamaru nurse Robyn Coupler spent more than 30 years working in Haiti. She was back home when the earthquake which killed more than 230,000 people struck.

She and local supporters set up HHH to help survivors and the trust has sent several teams of doctors, nurses and physiotherapists to Haiti.

Robyn already had local networks and the teams were able to work with local people to give the help they needed most in contrast to the United Nations teams which some thought were doing little good and some harm.

A supporter of HHH contacted Ms Clark who was impressed by the work the charity was doing and offered to help.

That’s it – a good cause, no conspiracy so why the secrecy?

Hat Tip for the BPT link: Whaleoil

UPDATE: The ODT’s report on last night’s funciton is here.


August 11 in history

August 11, 2011

3114 BC   The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, used by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations, notably the Mayans, began. 

2492 BC  Traditional date of the defeat of Bel by Hayk, progenitor and founder of the Armenian nation. 

480 BC  Greco-Persian Wars: Battle of Artemisium – the Persians achieved a naval victory over the Greeks in an engagement fought near Artemisium.

355  Claudius Silvanus, accused of treason, proclaimed himself Roman Emperor against Constantius II.

1755  Charles Lawrence gave expulsion orders to remove the Acadians from Nova Scotia beginning the Great Upheaval

1786  Captain Francis Light established the British colony of Penang.

1804  Francis II assumed the title of first Emperor of Austria.

1858  First ascent of the Eiger.

1892 Hugh MacDiarmid, Scottish poet, was born  (d. 1978).

1897 Enid Blyton, English author, was born (d. 1968).

1918 World War I:  Battle of Amiens ended. 

1919 Constitution of Weimar Republic adopted.

1920  The LatviaBolshevist Russia peace treaty, which relinquished Russia’s authority and pretenses to Latvia, is signed.

1921  Alex Haley, American writer, was born  (d. 1992).

1929   Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs in his career with a home run at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio.

1929  The Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic began its annual tradition, which is now the oldest and largest African American parade in the United States.

1933 Jerry Falwell, American preacher, was born (d. 2007).

1934   First civilian prisoners arrived at Federal prison on Alcatraz Island.

1942 Mike Hugg, British musician (Manfred Mann), was born.

1942  Actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil received a patent for a frequency hopping, spread spectrum communication system that later became the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi.

1952  Bob Mothersbaugh AKA Bob 1, American musician (Devo), was born.

1952  Hussein proclaimed king of Jordan.

1960 Chad declared independence.

1962 The country’s first roll-on roll-off (RO-RO) ferry, New Zealand Railways’ Aramoana entered service between Wellington and Picton.

Picton ferry Aramoana enters service

1965  The Watts riots began in Watts area of Los Angeles. 

1972 The last United States ground combat unit left South Vietnam.

1975  Governor Mário Lemos Pires of Portuguese Timor abandoned the capital Dili, following a coup by the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) and the outbreak of civil war between UDT and Fretilin.

1982  A bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 830, en route from Tokyo to Honolulu, killing one teenager and injuring 15 passengers.

1988  Al-Qaeda was formed.

1999 The Salt Lake City Tornado tore through the downtown district of the city, killing one.

2003 NATO took over command of the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, marking its first major operation outside Europe in its 54-year-history. 

2003 – Jemaah Islamiyah leader Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, was arrested in Bangkok.

2003 – A heat wave in Paris resulted in temperatures rising to 112°F (44° C), leaving about 144 people dead. 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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