Word of the day

August 26, 2011

Anecdotard  – an old man given to telling tales.

Dishdrawers and jiff don’t mix

August 26, 2011

Public service announcement: Dishdrawers and jiff don’t mix.

The dishdrawer in our office has worked well since it was installed about nine years ago.

Today, for some reason best known to him, one of our staff put jiff where you’re supposed to put the dishwasher powder.

It didn’t work and now the dishdrawer doesn’t either.

The electrician is doing his best to fix it.

He said, with some degree of amazement in his tone, that this is the first time he’s come across this cause for a dishwasher disaster.

The staff member will be told that should he have the urge to put Jiff in the dishwasher again he should resist it.


August 26, 2011

7/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.

Friday’s answers

August 26, 2011

Thursday’s questions were:

1. By what name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu better known?

2. What are the symbols for sodium and potassium?

3. It’s gagner in French; vincere in Italian; ganar in Spanish and wini in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Moke Lake is close to which much larger lake?

5. Which of Lloyd Jones’ novels is being filmed in New Zealand at the moment and who is the actor who plays the main character?

Points for answers:

Andrei got four right.

Cadwallader got 4 1/2 (accepting that overcome in some contexts is close enough to win).

Adam got one, possibly for # 2.

Teletext gets an electronic batch of uffins for 5 right.

Answers follow the break:
Read the rest of this entry »

Almost half safest banks in Europe

August 26, 2011

If you only read headlines you could be excused for thinking the whole of Europe is about to go into financial meltdown.

But almost half the institutions on Global Finance’s list of the 50 safest banks are European and the commentary has more reassurance:

With more than 40 of the top 50 banks from last year once again making the list, the Global Finance ranking shows that most of the top echelon of banks are truly worthy of the moniker World’s Safest Bank.

Winners were selected through an evaluation of long-term credit ratings—from Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch—and total assets of the 500 largest banks worldwide.

The list includes the four Australian banks which opponents of foreign investment crticise for owning trading banks in New Zealand.

The top 50 are:

1 KfW
26 United Overseas Bank
2 Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC)
27 Crédit Lyonnais
3 Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten (BNG)
28 Pohjola Bank(Finland)
4 Zürcher Kantonalbank
29 Credit Suisse Group(Switzerland)
5 Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank
30 BMO Financial Group
6 Rabobank Group(Netherlands) Tie*31 Cassa Depositi e Prestiti(Italy)
Tie*7 Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg – Förderbank
Tie*31 CIBC
Tie*7 Nederlandse Waterschapsbank(Netherlands) 32 Banco Español de Crédito (Banesto)(Spain)
8 Banque et Caisse d’Épargne de l’État(Luxembourg) 33 Deutsche Bank(Germany)
9 NRW.Bank(Germany) 34 JPMorgan Chase(United States)
10 Banco Santander(Spain) 35 Société Générale(France)
11 Royal Bank of Canada(Canada) 36 Wells Fargo(United States)
Tie*12 National Australia Bank Limited(Australia) 37 Intesa Sanpaolo(Italy)
Tie*12 Commonwealth Bank of Australia(Australia) 38 China Development Bank(China)
13 Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank)(Canada) Tie*39 Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel (BFCM)(France)
14 Westpac Banking Corporation(Australia) Tie*39 Landesbank Baden-Württemberg(Germany)
15 BNP Paribas(France) 40 U.S. Bancorp(United States)
16 HSBC Holdings(United Kingdom) 41 Nationwide Building Society(United Kingdom)
17 Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)(Spain) 42 Agricultural Development Bank of China(China)
Tie*18 Scotiabank (Bank of Nova Scotia)(Canada) 43 Shizuoka Bank(Japan)
Tie*18 Australia and New Zealand Banking Group(Australia) 44 Northern Trust Corporation(United States)
19 DBS Bank(Singapore) 45 CoBank, ACB(United States)
20 Caisse centrale Desjardins(Canada) 46 National Bank of Abu Dhabi(United Arab Emirates)
21 Crédit Agricole(France) 47 National Bank of Kuwait(Kuwait)
22 Nordea Bank(Sweden) 48 Pictet & Cie(Switzerland)
23 Svenska Handelsbanken(Sweden) 49 Barclays Group(United Kingdom)
24 BNY Mellon(United States) 50 Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ(Japan)
25 Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation(Singapore)

*A tie is assigned when two banks with the same score have total assets withina $5 billion range.

Politics-free education requires professional approach

August 26, 2011

The Principal’s Federation wants some parts of the school system to be immune from political interference.

That call would be a lot more powerful if the Federation was dedicated to improving professional and educational standards rather than being more like a union that appears to be at least as interested in members’ pay, conditions and other employment and political issues.

They could take the lead from the medical workforce. The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists deals with employment issues and leaves professional matters to professional bodies like, for example, the College of GPs.

Principals and teachers would have far more standing if they took a more professional approach with a clear division between the organisations which deal with employment issues and those which deal with professional matters.


Culture change more important than law change

August 26, 2011

The government has accepted all 130 substantive changes that the Justice Select Committee made to the Alcohol Reform Bill.

Critics say that’s not going far enough.

But it doesn’t matter how far law changes go, a cultural change is what’s needed and that will take decades.

The anti-smoking message started more than 40 years ago.  It took at least 20 before it started being accepted that smoking was an unhealthy habit and smokers didn’t have a right to impose their habit on others.

Law changes and price rises helped. But the change in attitude of non-smokers who stopped tolerating smoke-filled air and smokers who realised it wasn’t a good habit and definitely wasn’t okay to smoke wherever they liked was at least as important.

Posters  saying Nosmo King is Cool were collectors’ items when I was  student (possibly as much for the cartoon character of a good looking bloke as the smoke-free message).

Nodrin King is cool doesn’t have quite the same ring and the message doesn’t have to be no drinking.

The ads that say it’s not the drinking it’s how we’re drinking are right, moderation rather than abstinence is what’s needed.

Alcohol has a place as a social lubricant and an accompaniment to food.

But drunkenness and the bad behaviour which some try to excuse because of it are far from cool.

Changes in law might go someway towards addressing some problems with alcohol. But ultimately it’s attitude changes not legislative ones that will get rid of our anti-social and immature drinking culture.


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