Word of the day


Prepone –  to reschedule or bring forward to an earlier time.

3620 points


3620 points (100%) in Merriam-Webster’s vocabualry vocabulary quiz.

Smiling not harpooning


Quote of the day:

“Today we smile at the whales and take their pictures, rather than harpooning them.” David Higgins in a story on Moeraki’s 175th anniversary celebrations.

A change of which no doubt Whaleoil approves.

Telling people they’re ineligible “not necessarily bad”


Quote of the day:

The Rev Dennis Povey, who recently completed another report into poverty in Dunedin for Presbyterian Support, said telling people clearly they were no longer eligible for a state house was not necessarily a bad thing.

Presbyterian Support staff had been helping clients through the change by examining their budgets, ensuring they received accommodation supplements, and showing them they might be able to afford a private rental, he said. From Policy accepted: fewer apply for state houses.

Schools could radically change lives for good


Opponents of charter schools have used overseas examples to show what’s wrong with them.

But there are local examples that do work.

 Alwyn Poole, academic manager at Mt Hobson Middle School, writes:

The recently released charter schools proposal may be the most exciting idea for improvement for some groups in the New Zealand education system over the past 20 years. Parents and pupils ought not leave this to the unions, professional educators and politicians to fight over and water down. It is an opportunity to give genuine choice and bring parents far closer to the decisions that matter for the children that they know best. . . 

This is the opening paragraph of an opinion piece which is worth reading in full.

December 27 in history


537  The Hagia Sophia was completed.

1571 Johannes Kepler, German astronomer, was born  (d. 1630).

1773  George Cayley, English scientist, inventor, and politician, was born (d. 1857).

1822 Louis Pasteur, French scientist, was born (d. 1895).

1831 Charles Darwin embarked on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle.

1836 The worst ever avalanche in England occured at Lewes, Sussex, killing 8 people.

1845  Ether anesthetic was used for childbirth for the first time by Dr. Crawford Williamson Long in Jefferson, Georgia.

1901 Marlene Dietrich, German actress and singer, was born (d. 1992).

1915 William Masters, American gynecologist, was born (d. 2001).

1918 The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans began.

1922  Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō became the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world.

1932  Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.

1941 Michael Pinder, British musician (Moody Blues), was born .

1943 Joan Manuel Serrat, Spanish musician, was born.

1945  The World Bank was created with the signing of an agreement by 28 nations.

1948 Gérard Depardieu, French actor, was born.

1949 Indonesian National Revolution: The Netherlands officially recognised Indonesian independence.

1968 Apollo Program: Apollo 8 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.

1951 Ernesto Zedillo, President of Mexico, was born.

1955 Brad Murphey, Australian racing driver, was born.

1978 Spain became a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.

1979  Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

1987 Rewi Alley, friend of China, died of heart failure and cerebral thrombosis at his Beijing residence.

Rewi Alley dies

2001  The People’s Republic of China was granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States.

2004 Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reached Earth – the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet.

This is where SGR 1806-20 would appear in the sky if it were visible to human eyes.

2007 – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber.

2008 – Israel launched 3-week operation on Gaza – Operation Cast Lead.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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