August 31

August 31, 2011

12 Gaius Caligula, Roman Emperor, was born (d. 41).

1218 Al-Kamil became Sultan of Egypt, Syria and northern Mesopotamia on the death of his father Al-Adil. 

1422  Henry VI became King of England at the age of 9 months. 

1803 Lewis and Clark started their expedition to the west. 

1870 Maria Montessori, Italian educator, was born (d. 1952).

1876 Ottoman sultan Murat V was deposed and succeeded by his brother Abd-ul-Hamid II.

1880 Wilhelmina I of the Netherlands, was born (d. 1962). 

1886 An earthquake killed 100 in Charleston, South Carolina.

1888  Mary Ann Nichols was murdered, the first of Jack the Ripper’s known victims.

1894 The new Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration (IC&A) Act, a flagship policy of Richard Seddon’s Liberal government, made New Zealand the first country in the world to outlaw strikes in favour of compulsory arbitration. There were no major strikes for 11 years and wages and conditions generally improved.

Arbitration Act becomes law

1894 Albert Facey, Australian writer, was born (d. 1982).

1897  Thomas Edison patented the Kinetoscope, the first movie projector. 

1907 Count Alexander Izvolsky and Sir Arthur Nicolson signed the St. Petersburg Convention, which resulted in the Triple Entente alliance. 

1918 Alan Jay Lerner, American lyricist, was born (d. 1986).


1920 Polish-Bolshevik War: A decisive Polish victory in the Battle of Komarów

1940 Pennsylvania Central Airlines Trip 19 crashed near Lovettsville, Virginia. The CAB investigation of the accident was the first investigation to be conducted under the Bureau of Air Commerce act of 1938.

1940 Jack Thompson, Australian actor, was born.

1943  The USS Harmon, the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after a black person, was commissioned.


1945 The Liberal Party of Australia was founded by Robert Menzies.


1945 Van Morrison, Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician, was born.


1949 The retreat of the Greek Democratic Army in Albania after its defeat in mountain Grammos marked the end of the Greek Civil War.

1949 Richard Gere, American actor, was born.


1957 The Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia) gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

1958 A parcel bomb sent by Ngo Dinh Nhu, younger brother and chief adviser of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, failed to kill Sihanouk of Cambodia.

1958 Serge Blanco, French rugby union footballer, was born.


1962  Trinidad and Tobago became independent.

1965 Willie Watson, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1965  The Aero Spacelines Super Guppy aircraft made its first flight.


1974 Leader of the Labour Party since 1965 and Prime Minister from late 1972, Norman Kirk, ’Big Norm’, died suddenly at the age of 51. He was the fifth New Zealand PM to die in office.

Death of Norman Kirk

1978 William and Emily Harris, founders of the Symbionese Liberation Army, pleaded guilty to the 1974 kidnapping of

1986 Aeroméxico Flight 498 collided with a Piper PA-28 over Cerritos, California, killing 67 in the air and 15 on the ground.


1986 The Soviet passenger liner Admiral Nakhimov sank in the Black Sea after colliding with the bulk carrier Pyotr Vasev, killing 423.


1991  Kyrgyzstan declared its independence from the Soviet Union.

1992  Pascal Lissouba was inaugurated as the President of the Republic of the Congo .

1993  HMS Mercury, shore establishment of the Royal Navy,  closed after 52 years in commission.


1994 The Provisional Irish Republican Army declared a ceasefire.

1997 Diana, Princess of Wales, her companion Dodi Al-Fayed and driver Henri Paul died in a car crash in Paris.

1998 North Korea reportedly launches Kwangmyongsong, its first satellite.

1999 The first of a series of bombings in Moscow, killing one person and wounding 40 others.

1999 – A LAPA Boeing 737-200 crashed during takeoff from Jorge Newbury Airport in Buenos Aires, killing 65, including 2 on the ground. 

2005  A stampede on Al-Aaimmah bridge in Baghdad killed 1,199 people. 

2006 Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream, which was stolen on August 22, 2004, was recovered in a raid by Norwegian police.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Word of the day

August 30, 2011

Mubble-fubbles/ mubblefubbles – depression for no apparent reason, melancholy.

Unreliable memories and thinking

August 30, 2011

Unreliable memory opened discussion with Finlay MacDonald  on Critical Mass this afternoon.

Eric Barker asked Should You Trust Your Memory? and found the answer was no.

This blog, Barking Up The Wrong Tree, is a recent find which has brief posts on research that make fascinating reading.

Be warned before venturing there that it will provide all sorts of opportunities for work avoidance.

Recent posts include: do letters of recommendation actually hurt women when it comes to getting hired or promoted? and does the internet make people happier?

We moved from memory to critical thinking with Louis Menand who writes in the New Yorker on the value of a university education.


$4b EQC liability increase doesn’t change surplus target

August 30, 2011

It’s easy for anyone outside Christchurch to forget just how difficult life is there.

Even those whose homes and workplaces haven’t been badly affected find day to day life more demanding because of damage to roads, infrastructure and properties; business disruption and the ongoing strain of continued aftershocks.

Today’s announcement by Finance Minister Bill English that EQC’s earthquake liability has been revised upwards by about $4 billion is financial reminder of just how bad it is.

However, the government isn’t using that as an excuse for moving its target to return to surplus:

“Despite the increased liability, which will have a one-off impact on the Government’s operating balance for the 2010/11 year, the Government remains on track to meet Budget forecasts of a return to surplus in 2014/15 and to keep net debt below 30 per cent of GDP,” Mr English says.

There is no hope that this target would remain realistic if there’s a change of government.

We need continued commitment to policies which reduce the burden of state and increase savings, investment and export-led growth.

Labour and Green policies to tax and spend will do the reverse.

Responsible use and increased royalties

August 30, 2011

Responsible use of resources is one of the guiding principles behind the Energy Strategy and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy which were released today by the Acting Minister of Energy and Resources, Hekia Parata.

Anotther very important part is the potential for $12.7  billion in royalties from oil and gas.

“New Zealand is blessed with an abundance of energy resources,” says Ms Parata.

“Our Government’s goal is to make the most of all the assets we have – hydro, wind, geothermal, oil, gas and minerals.

“We want to use those resources responsibly to secure our energy future and to lift our standard of living.  That is why the Government is taking a balanced approach to building a sustainable energy and resources future.”

On the renewables side of the energy and resources portfolio, New Zealand’s renewable energy levels are the second highest in the OECD, behind Iceland.

“Renewables and energy efficiency are a big part of our energy picture,’’ says Ms Parata.

”Renewables made up 79 per cent of our total electricity generation in the March 2011 quarter. New Zealand has a target of 90 per cent of electricity generation to be from renewable sources by 2025, and we are well on our way to achieving that.’’

Maximising the use of renewable resources gives us a natural advantage which we need to make the most of, although that doesn’t mean damming every river and putting windmills on every hill.

Fossil fuels will continue to play an important role in the global economy. Around half of the energy we currently consume is from petroleum,’’ says Ms Parata.

“We can’t just turn off the tap in our journey to a lower carbon economy. We also can’t ignore the major economic opportunity that continuing global oil demand could provide New Zealand. Petroleum was our fourth biggest export earner in 2010.’’

In addition to the energy strategies, the Minister today released an independent report assessing New Zealand’s oil and gas potential.

The Woodward report shows that New Zealand is set to earn more than $3 billion in royalties from oil and gas fields already in production.

That could increase to $12.7 billion with future discoveries, which would help pay for schools, hospitals, broadband and roads.

“People want to be sure that the environment is protected and they also want jobs and growth,’’ says Ms Parata.

“We have seen the difference the oil and gas industry has made in Taranaki, employing over 5,000 people (in 2009) and contributing $2 billion to our country’s GDP.’’

Sales of crude oil were one of the factors which led to last month’s trade surplus.

The full energy strategies are here. the Woodward Report on future royalty income is here.

Three times a world champ

August 30, 2011

Valarie Adams has won her third World Championship shot put title.

Her 21.24 metre throw equalled the world  record  World Championship record, breaking both the New Zealand record and her personal best.

Keeping Stock, the NZ blogosphere’s sports king, says:

At just 26 years old, Adams has the world at her feet. Her third World Championship sits alongside two Comonwealth Games gold medals and the Olympic gold medal from Beijing in 2008. She is well on her way to becoming New Zealand’s best-ever track and field athlete; shot-putters traditionally mature late, and it’s conceivable that she could have another ten years of competing at the top level and at the pinnacle of her powers.

I am in awe of the physical and mental strength it takes to be a top athlete and this win makes her one of our very best.

Who wants to be an MP?

August 30, 2011

Cactus Kate wrote a post before the announcement of the Act list which was a model of party loyalty and personal restraint.

It included this paragraph:

I am particularly aware what a sacrifice those candidates have made, who have actually given up jobs or scaled back businesses or put their careers on hold to campaign through to November. It was not one that I was personally willing to commit to and have always been open about that with the Board.

On Newstalk ZB yesterday evening Fran O’Sullivan said that Cathy had been offered a position which would almost certainly meant she wouldn’t have got into parliament. I can’t find a link but I think she said it was the 9th spot.

I can’t fathom the board’s reasoning on this. I’ve never met her but from what I know about her I’d have thought that she would have been an asset to the Act caucus.

Young, intelligent, accomplished females willing to forgo successful careers and take a significant cut in salary to serve as an MP aren’t numerous.   

Standing for parliament is a big sacrifice and it is one that fewer people seem willing to make.

In the recent past competition for selection was strong and people keen to be MPs were willing to stand in unwinnable seats as an initiation or apprenticeship. They were there to fly the party flag and demonstrate their commitment in the hope that next time round they might be selected in a seat where their chances of winning were greater.

It appears that people are less willing to do this now, and given the personal and financial cost of campaigning, who can blame them?

This might explain why Labour still hasn’t selected a candidate for every seat.

Being a candidate with no hope of winning an electorate could come with the compensation of a list seat. But since Labour did its list ranking in April it has nothing to offer would-be candidates for whom taking one for the team in tiger country obviously isn’t attractive.

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