Word of the day


Ratiocination – of, relating to, marked by, or skilled in methodical and logical reasoning; the process of exact thinking; conscious deliberate inference.

Enough but not too much


For years we’ve been told to be slip,slap and slop when we’re in the sun and seek shade as much as we can to avoid skin cancer.

But now there are warnings we’re not getting enough vitamin D and a study – admittedly only in mice – suggests that this vitamin could help prevent some age-related diseases including some  which lead to blindness.

Unfortunately the report doesn’t say how to get enough sun to get the vitamin D required for eye health without getting too much which would put us at risk of the diseases caused by over exposure.

Maybe someone could do a study on the adverse affects on anxiety levels from incomplete reports on health studies.



8/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

Saturday’s smiles


A city couple were driving down a country lane on their way to visit some friends.

They turned off the main road onto an unsealed track, came to a muddy patch in the road and the car became bogged.

After a few minutes of trying to get the car out by themselves, they saw a young farmer coming down the lane, driving some oxen before him.

The farmer stopped and offered to pull the car out of the mud for $50. The couple accepted and minutes later the car was free. The farmer turned to the driver and said, “You know, you’re the tenth car I’ve helped out of the mud today.”

The driver looked around at the fields incredulously and said to the farmer, “That’s very public-spirited of you but when do you have time to plough your land? At night?”

“No,” the young farmer replied, “Night is when I put the water in the hole.”

Where’s the proof?


A lot of people believe this:

We all know recycling is good for the planet . . .

But where is the proof that it is and the cost of collecting, transporting and recycling rubbish is justified by the benefits?

Recycling definitely reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

It could well be better than burning, burying or whatever other methods people who don’t use landfills do with their rubbish.

But is it always better for the planet?

My question is prompted in part by the memory of a newspaper story read some years ago,  which I haven’t been able to find on-line, of the air and water pollution from recycling plastic in China and the damage to the health of the workers.

It’s possible that was an isolated case that recycling plastic has improved since then and that other forms of recycling do more good than harm but I don’t know for sure.

I have no problem accepting that reducing and reusing are better for the environment but I have yet to see anything to prove that recycling always is.

Air NZ looking east?


Asia is the flavour of the moment as New Zealand moves from traditional markets and destinations for trade and tourism.

It’s called the east but that’s from a European perspective, Asia is really to our west unless you go the long way round the world.

The nearest major land block to our east is South America and there are also opportunities for business and holidays there too.

Fonterra is already involved in dairy farming in Chile.

PGG Wrightson’s investment in Uruguay wasn’t successful but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still opportunities there and in other parts of South America.

One of the obstacles is the shortage of flights and I hope speculation that Air New Zealand is exploring markets in South America is true.

It would add a much-needed additional option for would-be travellers.

Only Lan Chile and Aerolineas Argentina fly direct between Auckland and South America – to and from Santiago and Buenos Aires respectively.

You have to fly to Sydney to go with Qantas. Emirates has recently entered the South American market but you not only have to take the long way via Dubai you have to stay there for at least a night.

The only options with Star Alliance partners are with indirect and much longer routes via the United States or Europe.

The World Cup brought more tourists here from Argentina. Now that the tri-nations competition has been expanded to include the Pumas in what will be the Rugby Championship,  there will be more interest from people wanting to come here and go there. That will lead to an increase in interest in Argentina and further afield in South America with the potential for more tourism and trade opportunities.

We’ve been to Argentina five times. It’s an amazing country and in spite of the cultural and language differences we’ve found the people are like us in many ways.

Visiting there would be even better if we could fly with Air New Zealand.

Quote of the day


. . .  It is within the state-sustained underclass that the greatest danger to children appears to exist. And even if it is doesn’t, even if it is merely part of a larger problem, it is the part we can influence.

Forget colour. Consider circumstance. Multiple babies, different fathers, transient partners, a lifestyle entirely dependent on benefits paid by state agencies so haunted by the memory of the soup kitchens that they refuse to make anybody “pray” for anything. So they write the cheque and leave the bridge. They don’t stay on board. They don’t come to the rescue. They don’t even know there’s been an accident.

This is not Daniel Moynihan’s infamous “benign neglect”. It is malign neglect, a breech of the duty of care. It is the state failing the most vulnerable, the most helpless, the most dependant of its citizens. If money is paid for the nurture of children, then those who pay it must do everything in their power to ensure those children are nurtured. If they don’t, they are complicit.

There’s nothing wrong with asking people to perform certain tasks in exchange for payment they have freely sought. That’s how the world works. . .  Jim Hopkins

January 21 in history


1189 – Philip II of France and Richard I of England began to assemble troops to wage the Third Crusade.

1525 – The Swiss Anabaptist Movement was born when Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaurock, and about a dozen others baptised each other in the home of Manz’s mother in Zürich, breaking a thousand-year tradition of church-state union.

1643 Abel Tasman was the first European to reach Tonga.

1749 – The Verona Philharmonic Theatre was destroyed by fire.

1789 The first American novel, The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth, was printed in Boston, Massachusetts.

1793 – After being found guilty of treason by the French Convention, Louis XVI of France was executed by guillotine.

1824   Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, American, Confederate army general was born (d. 1863).

1864 – The Tauranga Campaign started during the New Zealand Land Wars.

1887 – Brisbane received a daily rainfall of 465 millimetres (18.3 inches), a record for any Australian capital city.

1893 – The Tati Concessions Land, formerly part of Matabeleland, was formally annexed to the Bechuanaland Protectorate, which is now Botswana.

1899 – Opel manufactured its first automobile.

1905 Christian Dior, French fashion designer, was born.

1908 – New York City passed the Sullivan Ordinance, making it illegal for women to smoke in public, but the measure was vetoed by the mayor.

1911 – The first Monte Carlo Rally.

1915 – Kiwanis International was founded in Detroit, Michigan.

1919 – Meeting of the First Dáil Éireann in the Mansion House Dublin. Sinn Féin adopted Ireland’s first constitution. The first engagement of Irish War of Independence, Sologhead Beg, County Tipperary.

1921 The Italian Communist Party was founded at Livorno.

1924 Benny Hill, English actor, comedian, and singer, was born (d. 1992).

1925  Albania declared itself a republic.

1938 Wolfman Jack, American disk jockey and actor, was born(d. 1995).

1940  Jack Nicklaus, American golfer, was born.

1941 Plácido Domingo, Spanish tenor, was born.

1942,  Mac Davis, American musician, was born.

1944 New Zealand & Australia signed the Canberra Pact, which was an undertaking by both countries to co-operate on international matters, especially in the Pacific.

NZ and Australia sign the Canberra Pact

1950 Billy Ocean, West Indian musician, was born.

1953 Paul Allen, American entrepreneur, co-founder of Microsoft, was born.

1954 – The first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), was launched in Groton, Connecticut by Mamie Eisenhower, the First Lady of the United States.

1958 – The last Fokker C.X in military service, the Finnish Air Force FK-111 target tower, crashed, killing the pilot and winch-operator.

1960 – Miss Sam, a female rhesus monkey, lifted off from Wallops Island, Virginia, aboard Little Joe 1B – an unmanned test of the Mercury spacecraft.

1968 Battle of Khe Sanh – One of the most publicised and controversial battles of the Vietnam War began.

1974 Rove McManus, Australian television host and comedian, was born.

1976 – Commercial service of Concorde began with London-Bahrain and Paris-Rio routes.

1976 Emma Bunton, English singer (Spice Girls), was born.

1977 – President Jimmy Carter pardoned nearly all American Vietnam War draft evaders.

1981 – Tehran released United States hostages after 444 days.

1997 – Newt Gingrich became the first leader of the United States House of Representatives to be internally disciplined for ethical misconduct.

1999 – War on Drugs: In one of the largest drug busts in American history, the United States Coast Guard intercepted a ship with over 4,300 kg (9,500 lb) of cocaine on board.

2002 – The Canadian Dollar set all-time low against the US Dollar (US$0.6179).

2008 – Black Monday in worldwide stock markets. FTSE 100 had its biggest ever one-day points fall, European stocks closed with their worst result since 11 September 2001, and Asian stocks dropped as much as 15%.

Sourced from NZ hisotry Online & Wikipedia.

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