Thursday’s quiz

May 10, 2012

Having another of those fortnights this week.

I enjoyed the contributions last time I left the quiz up to you (most surprsied that Lego  is the world’s biggest tyre manufacturer) so here’s your chance again to ask the questions.

An electronic banana cake with chocolate icing will go to anyone who asks a question no-one can answer.


How often is cannabis/alcohol a factor?

May 10, 2012

The pilot of the hot air balloon which crashed near Carterton tested positive for cannabis:

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) released the  report this morning which stated toxicology results from the body of pilot  Lance Hopping, 53, gave a positive result for cannabis. His body was tested four  days after the accident.

The Commission has not made any link between the pilot’s  cannabis use and the accident, saying it is “wrong to draw premature  conclusions” but it does say the results are “very concerning”. . .

Another report released by the TAIC yesterday into the Fox Glacier air crash  revealed two skydive instructors had cannabis in their systems. TAIC recommended  drug and alcohol testing as a result. . .

It is worth repeating both that the Commission hasn’t made any link between the cannabis use and the accident and that the results are very concerning.

Moving from these particular cases to the general – adventure tourism attracts young, adventurous people who work hard and play hard.

The playing hard often involves a lack of sleep, alcohol and possibly other drugs, all of which can affect work performance the next day.

How often are one or all of these a factor which increases the risk of accident in pursuits which require full attention and quick reactions?


Nelson trip exercise in futility

May 10, 2012

Goodness only knows what striking meatworkers thought they’d achieve by going to Nelson to put their case to the Talley family.

It was an exercise in futility summed up by Allan Barber:

. . . this isn’t a dispute that will be resolved by the employer’s sympathy for the plight of workers who are out of work, but by constructive negotiation between the parties. This is where it gets difficult, because there doesn’t appear to be any constructive desire by the Meat Workers Union or its members to try to understand what AFFCO or its owners actually want.

The union contents itself with repeating platitudes about hard nosed, union bashing employers not being willing to make any concessions which would enable its members to get back to work. In the meantime families suffer, union members increasingly resign from the union and sign individual agreements, and the season continues without the locked out or striking workers. But it will all be over by the end of June because there won’t be any more meaningful plant throughput that can’t be handled quite easily by non union workers.

AFFCO, and make no mistake AFFCO is the employer, not the Talley family members, wants to achieve a clear, modern and flexible collective agreement which reflects today’s meat industry. The days of thirty or forty years ago when the Meat Workers Union representatives cut their teeth in the industry are long gone. Sheep numbers have more than halved, prime cattle volumes are down and the biggest single species is boner cows destined for the US grinding trade. . .

My father was a carpenter at the freezing works several decades ago when strikes were much more common.

Being on the maintenance staff he was usually not directly affected but I remember him talking about the short-sighted actions of the strikers, often losing more pay on the days they had off than they’d gain in pay increases which was often what they were striking for.

Then, though, the balance of power was in the workers’ favour. Stock numbers were high and increasing and there was pressure on killing space, especially during droughts when farms ran short of feed.

The ag-sag of the 80s and subsequent drop in stock numbers changed the balance and the AFFCO workers couldn’t have chosen a worse season to try to exert pressure on their employers.

All meat companies are having a very difficult year. Stock is in short supply and there’s a falling market which means AFFCO probably isn’t losing much by having staff on strike.

The Meatworkers Union is trying to keep last century’s work practices which are unaffordable and inappropriate in 2012.


Who would oppose secret ballots?

May 10, 2012

Tau Henare’s Employment Relations (Secret Ballot for Strikes) Amendment Bill passed into law yesterday by 61 votes to 60.

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said:

“Strikes can be incredibly stressful, both financially and mentally. Workers have differing personal circumstances so it is only fair that any vote on whether to strike is made in private.

“This law will provide protection for any workers who may feel judged by colleagues or intimidated through a voting process that does not use secret ballots.”

Who would oppose a measure which helps protect workers from undue pressure or intimidation?

Well, National, Act and United Future voted for it.

That leaves Labour, the Green and Maori parties and New Zealand First opposing it.

That has to be a case of opposition for the sake of it rather than on principle.


May 10 in history

May 10, 2012

1291 Scottish nobles recognised the authority of Edward I of England.

1497  Amerigo Vespucci allegedly left Cádiz for his first voyage to the New World.

1503 Christopher Columbus visited the Cayman Islands and named them Las Tortugas after the numerous turtles there.

1534 Jacques Cartier visited Newfoundland.

1760 Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, French composer (La Marseillaise) was born (d. 1836).

1655 England, with troops under the command of Admiral William Penn and General Robert Venables, annexed Jamaica from Spain.

1768  John Wilkes was imprisoned for writing an article for The North Briton severely criticizing King George III.

1774 Louis XVI became King of France.

1775 American Revolutionary War: Fort Ticonderoga was captured by a small Colonial militia led by Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold.

1775  American Revolutionary War: Representatives from the 13 colonies began the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

1796 First Coalition: Napoleon I of France won a decisive victory against Austrian forces at Lodi bridge over the Adda River in Italy.

1801 First Barbary War: The Barbary pirates of Tripoli declared war on the United States of America.

1824 The National Gallery in London opened to the public.

1833 The desecration of the grave of the viceroy of southern Vietnam Le Van Duyet by Emperor Minh Mang provokds his adopted son to start a revolt.

1837– Panic of 1837: New York City banks failed, and unemployment reached record levels.

1857  Indian Mutiny: The first war of Independence began when Sepoys revolted against their commanding officers at Meerut.

1863  Confederate General Stonewall Jackson died eight days after he is accidentally shot by his own troops during the American Civil War.

1864  American Civil War: Colonel Emory Upton led a 10-regiment “Attack-in-depth” assault against the Confederate works at The Battle of Spotsylvania.

1865 American Civil War: Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia.

1865  American Civil War: Union soldiers ambushed and mortally wounded Confederate raider William Quantrill.

1869 The First Transcontinental Railroad, linking the eastern and western United States, was completed at Promontory Summit, Utah with the golden spike.

1872 Victoria Woodhull became the first woman nominated for President of the United States.

1877  Romania declared itself independent from Ottoman Empire following the Senate adoption of Mihail Kogălniceanu‘s Declaration of Independence.

1897 Ethel Benjamin became the first woman in New Zealand to be admitted as a barrister and solicitor.

1893  The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Nix v. Hedden that a tomato is a vegetable, not a fruit, under the Tariff Act of 1883.

1899 Fred Astaire, American dancer and actor, was born (d. 1987).

1908 Mother’s Day was observed for the first time in the United States, in Grafton, West Virginia.

1915 Denis Thatcher, British businessman and husband of Margaret Thatcher, was born (d. 2003).

1922 The United States annexed the Kingman Reef.

1924 J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the Director of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation.

1933 Barbara Taylor Bradford, English writer, was born.

1940  World War II: The first German bombs of the war fell on England at Chilham and Petham, in Kent.

1940  World War II: Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

1940  World War II: Winston Churchill was appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1940  World War II: Invasion of Iceland by the United Kingdom.

1941 World War II: The House of Commons in London was damaged by the Luftwaffe in an air raid.

1941  World War II: Rudolf Hess parachuted into Scotland in order to try and negotiate a peace deal between the United Kingdom and Germany.

1942 World War II: The Thai Phayap Army invaded the Shan States during the Burma Campaign.

1944 Maureen Lipman, English actress, was born.

1946  First successful launch of a V-2 rocket at White Sands Proving Ground.

1946 Graham Gouldman, British musician and songwriter (10cc), was born.

1954  Bill Haley & His Comets released “Rock Around the Clock“, the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.

1957 Sid Vicious, English bassist (The Sex Pistols) was born (d. 1979).

1960 The all-white All Blacks left for South Africa.

All-white All Blacks leave for South Africa

1960 The nuclear submarine USS Triton completed Operation Sandblast, the first underwater circumnavigation of the earth.

1960 Bono, Irish singer (U2), was born.

1969 Vietnam War: The Battle of Dong Ap Bia began with an assault on Hill 937 which became known as Hamburger Hill.

1979 The Federated States of Micronesia became self-governing.

1981 François Mitterrand won the presidential election and became the first Socialist President of France in the French 5th republic.

1993  In Thailand, a fire at the Kader Toy Factory killed 188 workers.

1994 Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president.

1996  A “rogue storm” near the summit of Mount Everest killed eight climbers including Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, both of whom were leading paid expeditions to the summit.

2002 F.B.I. agent Robert Hanssen was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole for selling United States secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds.

2003 May 2003 tornado outbreak sequence.

2005  A hand grenade thrown by Vladimir Arutinian landed about 20 metres from U.S. President George W. Bush while he was giving a speech to a crowd in Tbilisi, Georgia, but it malfunctioned and did not detonate.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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