Word of the day

March 3, 2012

Inclement –  severe in temper or action; harsh, unkind, unmerciful; physically severe; rough; stormy.


Rural round-up

March 3, 2012

Mount Linton improves ewes’ genetics – Shawn McAvinue:

Dag-laden sheep should be nervous when sheep genetics manager Hamish Bielski enters their paddock on Mt Linton station.

“I want marbles and handgrenades, instead of slops and plops,” he said.

He looks at the lambs’ faecal consistency twice a year, once in autumn and when they are one year old. . .

Kaiwhakahaere used a “Garry Owen” – Gravedodger:

This week I attended the biennial get together  of the High-Country section of Federated Farmers, this year hosted by the Marlborough area centered on the Middle Clarence Valley.
The commencement was at the Kahautara River on Highway 70 and kicked off by current chair, Graeme ‘Stumpy’ Reid. . .

Investment firms eyes southern dairy farms – Shawn McAvinue and Alan Wood:

 A new investment company is looking to buy “attractive” dairy farms in the south.

The dairy farms would be part of an investment fund that opened to investors yesterday.

Investors can buy into the Pastoral Dairy Investments fund with a minimum commitment of $20,000, plus fees. . .

Pig power proves promising:

There’s a new, unlikely energy source that can power farms while reducing greenhouse gas emissions – pig poo.   

A team of scientists at NIWA in Hamilton has developed a system that stores greenhouse gases from pig manure in a deep pond, from where it can be used as an energy source.   

NIWA research engineer Stephan Heubeck said the system reduces greenhouse gases in the atmosphere while providing an alternative source of energy . . .   

Protocol frustrates export of apples – Che Baker:

Apple exports from Central Otago to Australia will not go ahead this year after “excessive” biosecurity protocols have made exporting to the country uneconomic.

Pipfruit New Zealand director and Ettrick apple grower Stephen Darling said despite a 90-year ban on apple exports from Australia being lifted in 2010, the fruit would not be exported from the region this year.

Trial supports DCD’s environmental value – Gerald Piddock:

New research has confirmed the effectiveness of the nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide (DCD) as a tool to reduce environmental impacts of pastoral farming.

The three-year nitrous oxide mitigation research (NOMR) trials commenced in autumn 2009.

They were conducted in the Waikato, Manawatu, Canterbury and South Otago dairy regions. . .

Boysenberry growers call it quits after continuing losses – Peter Watson:

The country’s two biggest boysenberry growers have quit the Nelson-based industry after another season blighted by bad weather and a high New Zealand dollar.

Their withdrawal means not only the loss of export income, but the end to hundreds of seasonal jobs which local people, particularly students, relied on to supplement their income.

Both Ranzau Horticulture and Berry Fields have started pulling out about 80 hectares of vines, although an existing grower is to take over 23ha of the Berry Fields’ fruit on McShane Rd and another is interested in running its pick-your-own operation.

Ngai Tahu wants to farm more fish species – Penny Wardle:

Ngai Tahu Seafoods Resources plans to add new species to its 14 hectare Marlborough Sounds mussel farm.

The Christchurch-based iwi-owned firm has applied to the Marlborough District Council for resource consents covering its plans to farm king salmon and hapuku, trial 13 New Zealand fish species and to grow algae and seaweeds at its Beatrix Bay marine farm in Pelorus Sound.

The company intends to grow fish, shellfish and seaweed together to improve production while reducing environmental impacts. Scallops and dredge and pacific oysters as well as mussels are covered in its existing consent. . .

Oysters on lunch menu – Shawn McAvinue:

Skippers say they look great and the first few hundred dozen oysters in from Bluff will be flown up to the Dockside restaurant in Wellington for lunch. And, so the oyster season has begun in what has been tipped to be a bumper year.

The first oyster boat got in to Bluff at 5.05am before heading back out . . .

Dairy Farms could save energy: study:

New Zealand dairy farms could achieve cost-effective annual      energy savings of at least 68.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in the dairy shed, the results of a pilot programme show.   

That was a 10% reduction and equivalent to the annual electricity use of about 7100 households. Individual farms could cut milking-shed electricity consumption by 16%, and a      post-pilot survey showed 46% of farmers would adopt savings technologies if their costs could be recouped within three years.  

Rabbits still a problem – Gerald Piddock:

Rabbit numbers in the eastern Mackenzie Basin have increased post-Christmas, the Canterbury Regional Council says.

The concerning area is 12,000ha and encompasses seven adjoining high country properties, Environment Canterbury (ECan) biodiversity team leader Brent Glentworth said.

The increase could have resulted from the high levels of vegetation this season caused by the wet spring and summer. . .


Saturday smiles

March 3, 2012

Tool Guide:

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light . Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, ‘Oh sh–!’

SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle… It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VICE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race.

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a vehicle to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

TWO-TONNE ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit.
UTILITY KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

*##&***! TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling *##&***! at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.


Holiday shift not so hot idea

March 3, 2012

Maybe moving the summer holiday from late December – early January to February isn’t such a hot idea.

Last month was very cloudy and cooler than usual.

Hopes that we’d have a warm autumn to compensate aren’t high after a cool and wet start to March.

Rain was welcome for people who’d sown winter feed but it’s a pain for those trying to harvest.


Nosmo King is cool again

March 3, 2012

Publicity on the dangers of smoking and anti-smoking campaigns started as I was finishing school.

One of the messages that  gained traction was Nosmo King  is cool.  The word play entered the student lexicon and posters showing a comic character eschewing cigarettes was a popular decorating feature in flats.

More than 30 years later the no smoking message is cool again among teens.

The Year 10 snapshot by ASH shows:

  • 4.1% of all Year 10 students were daily smokers, a drop from 5.5% in 2010.

• This is the biggest year on year decline in youth daily smoking since 2003 to 2004.

• 8.2% of students were regular smokers (daily, weekly or monthly) in 2011, a drop from 10.0% in 2010.

• 70.4% of students were never smokers. An increase from 64.3% in 2010.

This survey shows the lowest rates of smoking by youths ever recorded and the decline in daily smoking between last year and this is one of the biggest since the survey began.

ASH credits part of the drop to price increases which make cigarettes too expensive.

It might also be because the increase in smoke-free areas make it more difficult and anti-social to smoke.

Whatever the reasons it’s good news, not starting smoking is much easier than stopping once you’re addicted and few people start once they’re out of their teens.

 Hat tip: Kiwiblog


Welfare isn’t working

March 3, 2012

Quote of the day:

The benefit system is simply not working and not delivering for New  Zealand. One in eight New Zealanders of working-age, is on a benefit, while 220,000  children live in benefit-dependent homes. This is creating too many vulnerable  people and trapping them in a life of limited choices, poverty, and poor  health. Evidence clearly shows children are better off when their parents are  in work and not on welfare.

This week we announced a two-stage programme to fundamentally alter the  welfare system with a new work-focused benefit, greater work expectations, and  an approach that focuses on the long-term cost of welfare dependency.  Bill English

Welfare isn’t working.

Income from benefits for those who could work should never be high enough to provide a disincentive for doing so.

That means most people on benefits will be poor and the longer they stay on benefits the poorer they become.

Encouraging them to find work, and helping them become work-ready if they lack skills or qualifications is more expensive in the short-term than letting them languish on benefits. But it will have a long term pay off for them, their dependents, the economy and society.


March 3 in history

March 3, 2012

1284 The Statute of Rhuddlan incorporated the Principality of Wales into England.

1575 Indian Mughal Emperor Akbar defeated Bengali army at the Battle of Tukaroi.

1585 The Olympic Theatre, designed by Andrea Palladio, was inaugurated in Vicenza.

1776 The first amphibious landing of the United States Marine Corps began the Battle of Nassau.

1803 Colégio Militar was founded in Portugal by Colonel Teixeira Rebello.

1805 Jonas Furrer, first President of the Swiss Confederation, was born (d. 1861).

1820 The U.S. Congress passed the Missouri Compromise.

1831 George Pullman, American inventor and industrialist, was born (d. 1897).

1845 – For the first time the U.S. Congress passed legislation overriding a presidential veto.

1847  Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-Canadian inventor, was born (d. 1922).

1849 – The U.S. Congress passed the Gold Coinage Act allowing the minting of gold coins.

1857 Second Opium War: France and the United Kingdom declared war on China.

1865 – Opening of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the founding member of the HSBC Group.

1873 The U.S. Congress enacted the Comstock Law, making it illegal to send any “obscene, lewd, or lascivious” books through the mail.

1875 Georges Bizet‘s opera Carmen received its première at the Opéra Comique of Paris.

1875 – The first ever organized indoor game of ice hockey was played in Montreal.

1878 Bulgaria regained its independence from Ottoman Empire under the Treaty of San Stefano.

1879 The United States Geological Survey was created.

1882 Charles Ponzi, Italian fraud convict, was born  (d. 1949).

1885 The American Telephone and Telegraph Company was incorporated in New York.

1893 Beatrice Wood, American artist and ceramicist, was born  (d. 1998).

1904  Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany became the first person to make a sound recording of a political document, using Thomas Edison‘s cylinder.

1905 Tsar Nicholas II of Russia agreed to create an elected assembly, the Duma.

1910 Rockefeller Foundation: J.D. Rockefeller Jr. announced his retirement from managing his businesses so that he can devote full time to being a philanthropist.

1911 Jean Harlow, American actress, was born (d. 1937).

1915  NACA, the predecessor of NASA, was founded.

1918 Germany, Austria and Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ending Russia’s involvement in World War I, and leading to the independence of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

1920 Ronald Searle, British illustrator, was born (d 2011) .

1923 TIME magazine was published for the first time.

1924 – Tomiichi Murayama, former Prime Minister of Japan, was born.

1924 The 1400-year-old Islamic caliphate was abolished when Caliph Abdul Mejid II of the Ottoman Empire was deposed.

1924 – The Free State of Fiume was annexed by Kingdom of Italy.

1930 Ion Iliescu, President of Romania, was born.

1931 The United States officially adopted The Star-Spangled Banner as its national anthem.

1938 Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia.

1939 In Mumbai, Mohandas Gandhi began to fast in protest at the autocratic rule in India.

1940 Five people were killed in an arson attack on the offices of the communist newspaper Norrskensflamman in Luleå, Sweden.

1942 Mike Pender, English singer and guitarist (The Searchers), was born.

1942 Ten Japanese warplanes raided the town of Broome, Western Australia killing more than 100 people.

1943  173 people were killed in a crush while trying to enter an air-raid shelter at Bethnal Green tube station in London.

1948 Snowy White, British guitarist (Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd), was born.

1953 A Canadian Pacific Airlines De Havilland Comet crashed in Karachi, killing 11.

1958 Miranda Richardson, British actress, was born.

1958 Nuri as-Said became the prime minister of Iraq for the 14th time.

1960 Barry Crump’s novel A Good Keen Man  was published.

Barry Crump's novel <em>A good keen man</em> published

1961 Hassan II became King of Morocco.

1964 Duncan Phillips, Australian drummer (Newsboys), was born.

1969  NASA launched Apollo 9 to test the lunar module.

1971 Beginning of Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and India’s official entry to the Bangladesh Liberation War in support of Mukti Bahini.

1972 Mohawk Airlines Flight 405 crashed as a result of a control malfunction and insufficient training in emergency procedures.

1974  Turkish Airlines Flight 981 crashed at Ermenonville near Paris,  killing all 346 aboard.

1976 Five workers were killed by the police in a demonstration in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

1985 Arthur Scargill declared that the National Union of Mineworkers national executive voted to end the longest-running industrial dispute in Great Britain without any peace deal over pit closures.

1991 An amateur video captured the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers.

1991 – In two concurring referendums: 74 % of the population of Latvia and 83% of the population of  Estonia voted for independence from the Soviet Union.

1991 United Airlines Flight 585 crashed on approach into Colorado Springs, killing 25.

1992 – The nation of Bosnia was established.

1997  The tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower in downtown Auckland opened after two-and-a-half years of construction.

Sky Tower Collage Auckland.jpg

2002  Citizens of Switzerland narrowly voted in favor of their country becoming a member of the United Nations.

2004  Belgian brewer Interbrew and Brazilian rival AmBev agreed to merge in a $11.2 billion deal that formed InBev, the world’s largest brewer.

2005 James Roszko murdered four Royal Canadian Mounted Police constables during a drug bust at his property in Rochfort Bridge, Alberta, then commits suicide.

2005 Steve Fossett became the first person to fly an airplane non-stop around the world solo without refueling.

2009  The Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by terrorists while on their way to the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore for a Test match against Pakistan.

2009 – The building of the Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln (Historical Archives) in Cologne, Germany, collapsed.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: