World’s worst names


When Romeo asked, “what’s in a name?” he wasn’t thinking about the possibility for smut, but that’s the opportunity provided by many of the 22 worst names in the world as ranked by Jane Copland and other editors at Drivl.Com.

Topping the list was Whakapapa.

. . . At first glance, it’s more confusing than horrible. Here’s the secret to understanding why it got the top spot: In Maori, the native language of New Zealand, the “wh” sound is pronounced “f.” Say it aloud…and you’ll understand. . .

The other 21 were:

  1. Fucking, Austria
  2. Disappointment, Kentucky
  3. Shitterton, Dorset, England
  4. Horneytown, North Carolina
  5. Middelfart, Denmark
  6. Toad Suck, Arkansas
  7. Hell, Michigan
  8. Hookersville, West Virginia
  9. Whiskey Dick Mountain, Washington
  10. Cockup, Cumbria, England
  11. Bald Knob, Arkansas
  12. Spread Eagle, Wisconsin
  13. Wetwang, Yorkshire, England
  14. Gravesend, Kent, England
  15. Thong, Kent, England
  16. Titty Hill, Sussex, England
  17. Looneyville, Texas
  18. Muff, Ireland
  19. Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand
  20. Twatt, Orkney, Shetland Islands, Scotland
  21. Cockburn, Western Australia


Word of the day


Foudroyant – dazzling or stunning; having an awesome and overwhelming effect; occurring suddenly and severely (of disease).



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

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.”?

2. What are the two main ingredients of a Bloody Mary?

3. It’s sang in French, sangue in Italian, sangre in Spanish and toto in Maori – what is it in English?

4. What is a phlebotomist?

5. What is hemophilia?

Points for answers:

Gravedodger got four with a bonus for extra information.

Andrei wins an electronic bunch of spinach (to replace the iron lost in giving blood) for a clean sweep. You’ve obviously got more tender skin or encountered rougher phlebotomists than I have, I’ve never had a problem.

Kate got 1 and a bonus for reading.

IH Stewart got two with bonuses for humour and extra information.

Keeping Stock also wins an electronic bunch of spinach with five right.

PDM got three.

Grant got four and a bonus for word play.

Adam got three.


Answer follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Fairer pastoral lease rents


The passing of the Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Act establishes a fairer and simpler system for pastoral lease rents.

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson said:

“This Act is a significant reform of the way rents are charged on pastoral leases in the South Island high country and will go a long way towards eliminating the years of tension that has existed between the Crown and lessees over rent issues.

“Under the Act, lessees of pastoral leases will be charged rents based on the earning capacity of the property.”

The new system, known as earning capacity rents, will be in place later this year.

“It’s a much simpler system to administer, is more transparent and provides a fairer rent,” Mr Williamson says.

“It will allow farmers to get on with the job of farming and helping to grow New Zealand’s economy.”

The old system was time consuming, expensive to administer and unfair. The new one will mean most if not all properties face higher rents but it is much fairer.

However, the anti-farmer Labour Party doesn’t think so:

A select few High Country farmers have been handed a sweetener from the Government in the form of cheap rents, says Raymond Huo, Labour’s spokesperson for Land Information.

“The passing of the Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Act, severely compromises the Crown’s right to negotiate fair rents for the high country land it owns. Instead it offers a select few farmers special privileges,” Raymond Huo said.

“The Act will allow Crown leases to be determined purely on the “stock carrying” capacity of the land, not the land value.

This shows how poorly he understands pastoral leases. Rents were based on LEI – land exclusive of improvements. That is the land in its natural state before it was settled which has a very low value. The stock carrying capacity will give a much higher value than that.

The new system will reduce administration costs, increase transparency and is fairer to both the crown and pastoral lessees.

Website explains MOM share offers


The government has launched a website which gives the facts on share offers under the Mixed Ownership Model for state assets.

State Owned Entreprises Minister Tony Ryall said:

“The website provides information about the share offer programme including what mixed ownership means, why the Government is undertaking the programme and how a public share offer works,” Mr Ryall says.

Mr Ryall says the website content reaffirms the Government’s core share offer commitments, including:

  • The Government will retain at least 51 per cent ownership of each company;
  • The Government expects 85-90 per cent New Zealand ownership. This means Kiwi investors will be at the front of the queue for shares; and
  • No investor will be able to own more than 10% of each company.

“With New Zealand’s debt going from $50 billion today to $72 billion in three years’ time, New Zealand needs to control debt.

“We expect to receive $5 billion to $7 billion in proceeds, which will help control debt and allow us to build new schools and hospitals.

“The programme will also reinvigorate the capital markets and bring stronger commercial disciplines to each of the mixed ownership model companies.”

The Government remains on track to proceed with the first share offer, for Mighty River Power, in the third quarter of 2012, market conditions permitting.

Under securities law, there are restrictions on what owners can say publicly about the business and their shares in advance of an offer. An exemption from some of these restrictions has been granted by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Such exemptions are quite common, such as the recent exemption for Fonterra, and past exemptions for the float of Contact Energy and at Auckland International Airport.

The website is here. It requires you to put the name of the nearest city to where you live and confirm you are a New Zealander before you get access.

For want of $200 billion


Green co-leader Russel Norman wanted to know why the government doesn’t intervene to bring down the value of the dollar.

Finance Minister Bill English told him:

The Government focuses on those things it can influence. To actually have a direct impact on the exchange rate you need to have a couple of hundred billion US dollars in the bank—and we do not; we actually owe hundreds of billions—and it helps if you are not a democracy. That is a feature of those countries that do directly manage their exchange rates, but that is not where we are.

For want of a couple of hundred billion and becasue we’re a democracy, we’re stuck with the market setting the value of our dollar rather than politicians.

May 4 in history


1008 Khajeh Abdollah Ansari, The Persian Sufi was born (d. 1088).

1256  The mendicant Order of Saint Augustine was constituted at the Lecceto Monastery when Pope Alexander IV issued a papal bull Licet ecclesiae catholicae.

1343 The four Estonian kings were murdered at the negotiations with the Livonian Order.

1415 Religious reformers John Wycliffe and Jan Hus were condemned as heretics at the Council of Constance.

1471  Wars of the Roses: The Battle of Tewkesbury: Edward IV defeatsed a LancastrianArmy and killed Edward, Prince of Wales.

1493 Pope Alexander VI gave most of the New World to Spain via the papal bull Inter caetera.

1494 Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica.

1626  Dutch explorer Peter Minuit arrived in New Netherland (present day Manhattan Island) aboard the See Meeuw.

1655 Bartolomeo Cristofori, Italian maker of musical instruments, was born (d. 1731).

1675  King Charles II ordered the construction of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

1715 Richard Graves, English writer, was born (d. 1804).

1722 1772 French explorer Marion du Fresne arrived in the Bay of Islands.

Marion du Fresne arrives in Bay of Islands

1776  Rhode Island became the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III.

1799 Fourth Anglo-Mysore War: The Battle of Seringapatam: The siege of Seringapatam ended when the city was assaulted and the Tipu Sultan killed by the besieging British army, under the command of General George Harris.

1814 Emperor Napoleon I of France arrivesdat Portoferraio on the island of Elba to begin his exile.

1814 – King Ferdinand VII of Spain signed the Decrete of the 4th of May, returning Spain to absolutism.

1855  William Walker departed from San Francisco with about 60 men to conquer Nicaragua.

1859  The Cornwall Railway opened across the Royal Albert Bridge linking the counties of Devon and Cornwall.

1863  American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville ended with a Union retreat.

1869 – The Naval Battle of Hakodate took place in Japan.

1886 Haymarket Square Riot: A bomb was thrown at policemen trying to break up a labor rally in Chicago, killing eight and wounding 60.

1904  The United States began construction of the Panama Canal.

1904  Charles Stewart Rolls met Frederick Henry Royce at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.

1910 The Royal Canadian Navy was created.

1912  Italy occupied the Greek sland of Rhodes.

1919  May Fourth Movement: Student demonstrations in Tiananmen Squarein Beijing protesting the Treaty of Versailles, which transferred Chinese territory to Japan.

1932  Mobster Al Capone began serving an eleven-year prison sentence for tax evasion.

1942 World War II: The Battle of the Coral Sea began with an attack by aircraft from the United States aircraft carrier USS Yorktown on Japanese naval forces at Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands.

1945 World War II: British forces liberated Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg.

1945 – World War II: The North Germany Army surrendered to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

1946  U.S. Marines stopped a two-day riot t which killed five people at Alcatraz federal prison .

1949 The  Torino football team (except for one player who did not take the trip due to an injury) was killed in a plane crash at the Superga hill at the edge of Turin, Italy.

1950 – Darryl Hunt, English musician (The Pogues)

1953  Ernest Hemingway was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea.

1961 American civil rights movement: The “Freedom Riders” begin a bus trip through the South.

1970 Vietnam War:  Kent State shootings: the Ohio National Guard, sent to Kent State University after disturbances in the city of Kent the weekend before, opened fire killing four students and wounding nine others.

1972 The Don’t Make A Wave Committee, a fledgling environmental organisation founded in Canada in 1971, officially changed its name to “Greenpeace Foundation“.

1974 An all-female Japanese team reached the summit of Manaslu, becoming the first women to climb an 8,000-meter peak.

1979 Margaret Thatcher beccame the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1980  President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia died in Ljubljana at the age of 87.

1982  Twenty sailors were killed when the British Type 42 destroyer HMS Sheffield was hit by an Argentinian Exocet missile during the Falklands War.

1987 United States Supreme Court building was designated a National Historic Landmark.

1988 The PEPCON disaster rocked  Henderson, Nevada, as tons of space shuttle fuel detonates during a fire.

1989  Iran-Contra Affair: Former White House aide Oliver North was convicted of three crimes and acquitted of nine other charges. The convictions are, however, later overturned on appeal.

1990  Latvia proclaimed the renewal of its independence after the Soviet occupation.

1994  Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo accords regarding Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

1996 José María Aznar was elected Prime Minister of Spain, ending 13 years of Socialist rule.

1998 Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski  ws given four life sentences plus 30 years after Kaczynski accepted a plea agreement sparing him from the death penalty.

2000  Ken Livingstone became the first Mayor of London.

2001 – The Milwaukee Art Museum addition, the first Santiago Calatrava-designed structure in the United States, openedto the public.

2002  An EAS Airlines BAC 1-11-500 crashed in a suburb of Kano, Nigeria shortly after takeoff killing more than 148 people.

2007  Greensburg, Kansas was almost completely destroyed by a 1.7mi wide EF-5 tornado.

2007 –The Scottish National Party won the Scottish general election and became the largest party in the Scottish Parliament for the first time ever.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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