Word of the day

June 28, 2012

Commination – a  formal denunciation; threatening divine vengeance; the recital of divine threats against sinners in the Anglican Liturgy for Ash Wednesday.


Why change what works?

June 28, 2012

A survey found that 40% of people only ever use one cycle on their machine, no matter what’s being washed.

I’m surprised that number isn’t higher.

There’s little change to what gets put in our dishwasher and therefore very rarely a need to change its cycle when it works.

But ours is just used to wash dishes unlike some others:

Gen Ys are more likely than all other age groups to not understand dishwasher cycle options and are also less likely to be able to perform basic maintenance on their machines.

“They are also more likely to use their dishwasher to clean things other than dishes and cutlery; washing pans, baking trays, sponges and even toothbrushes or sports shoes,” says Bonnar.

Toothbrushes and sports shoes?

That raises a whole lot of questions but I’m not sure I want to know the answers.


Thursday’s quiz

June 28, 2012

This is your opportunity to ask the questions.

An electronic batch of lolly cake will go to anyone who stumps everyone.


Writing on books

June 28, 2012

Do/can you write on the pages of books you’re reading?

I don’t mean other people’s books, that is graffiti if not desecration.

I mean your own books.

The thought occurred to me while reading Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.*

There are so many good lines, paragraphs, sometimes whole pages I want to remember that I’m itching to underline them or make notes in the margins.

But I can’t do it.

Blame it on my upbringing by parents who instilled in me a love of reading and such respect for books that I can’t deliberately mark a page.

* Published by  Viking 2012.


Planet EU like Planet Labour

June 28, 2012

The theory behind the European Union might be good, but in practice it is full of problems, not least of which is the rules and regulations which hinder businesses unnecessarily.

There is no better example than a ruling from the EU’s Court of Justice that workers who happened to get sick on holiday were legally entitled to take another holiday:

The workers originally won their case in a Spanish court, where they argued that collective bargaining agreements made a distinction between annual leave and sick leave that was recognized by Spanish law. The National Association of Large Distribution Businesses, known as Anged, appealed to the Supreme Court in Madrid, which then asked the Court of Justice for a ruling on how to apply European law covering working times.

The Court of Justice had previously ruled that a person who gets sick before going on vacation is entitled to reschedule the vacation, and on Thursday it said that right extended into the vacation itself.

“The point at which the temporary incapacity arose is irrelevant,” the court found.

The ruling applies across the European Union of 27 countries.

It isn’t unknown for people to suffer self-inflicted illnesses while on holiday from too much sun, food and/or alcohol.

If I read this ruling correctly it would allow people who have hangovers to add an extra day to their holidays . There would be nothing to stop them repeating the acts which led to the hangover which would result in another day’s illness and a subsequent extra day’s holiday and keep on doing that.

This ruling effectively enables people to take permanent holidays.

It shows that Planet EU is similar to Planet Labour – a place far removed from the real world where there’s no understanding of the connection between productivity and progress.

Hat tip: Anti Dismal


Trial periods work for businesses and workers

June 28, 2012

Employers are using the 90 day trial  period to reduce the risk of taking on new staff and they are employing more people because of it.

This is one of the findings from research undertaken by the Department of Labour:

The Employers’ Perspectives – Part One: Trial Periods research is based on the findings of the National Survey of Employers of around 2,000 employers and qualitative interviews with 53 employers in Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Auckland and Dunedin/Invercargill from the retail, hospitality, agriculture, forestry and fishing, and manufacturing industries.

The report found:
 

• Sixty percent of hiring employers in the national survey reported using a trial period since its introduction (49 percent in 2010). There is not a significant difference between the level of use in SME’s and larger employers.
• Employers use trial periods to address risk when hiring, for example:
o To check an employee’s ability for the job before making a commitment to employ permanently (66 percent)
o To employ someone with the skills required, but where the business is unsure about their ‘fit’ with the workplace (35 percent)
o To avoid incurring costs if staff are unsuitable for the job (13 percent)

• Employers used trial periods to test the viability of a position (rather than person) within the business, saying they would not have filled their most recently vacant position without a trial period. This was more likely in SME’s (30 percent), compared with 17 percent for larger employers.

• Trial periods improved employment opportunities – 41 percent of employers in the national survey said they would not have hired the most recent employee without a trial period. 
• SME’s were more likely to use trial periods to take a risk – 44 percent of SME’s would not have hired the last trial period employee without the use of a trial period, compared with 28 percent of larger employers. 
• Youth and long-term unemployed are benefitting. Respondents to the qualitative interviews said trial periods were one of the key government initiatives that had improved their willingness to hire applicants from these groups – due to reduction of risk. 
• Eighty percent of employers in the survey reported they had continued employing staff once the trial period had ended. . This is similar to the level found in the 2010 evaluation of trial periods in SME’s.

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson, is justified in welcoming this news:

“Research by NZIER has previously told us that 90-day trials led to 13,000 new jobs in small and medium sized businesses,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“This latest research confirms trial periods allow employers to take on new staff, with the majority retaining their staff after the trial period is over. That’s great to see.

“The 90-day trials have been especially beneficial for young people and the long-term unemployed. it’s of clear benefit to both employers and employees.”

The opposition and unions fought against this legislation but these findings show it is working for employers and employees. 

 Businesses  face less risk when taking on new staff and they are taking on more staff including those least likely to get work without the safety net of a trial period, the long-term unemployed and young people, because of that.

Rather than opening the door to exploitation as the left prophesied the legislation has reduced risk for businesses and increased employment opportunities which is exactly what is was designed to do.


June 28 in history

June 28, 2012

1098  Fighters of the First Crusade defeated Kerbogha of Mosul.

1389  Ottomans defeated Serbian army in the bloody Battle of Kosovo, opening the way for the Ottoman conquest of Southeastern Europe.

1491 Henry VIII was born  (d. 1547).

1519  Charles V elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

1577 Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish painter, was born (d. 1640).

1635 Guadeloupe became a French colony.

1651  Battle of Beresteczko between Poles and Ukrainians started.

1703 John Wesley, English founder of Methodism, was born (d. 1791).

1712 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Swiss philosopher, was born (d. 1778).

1776  American Revolutionary War: Carolina Day – commemorates the defense of Fort Moultrie during the Battle of Sullivan’s Island.

1776  American Revolutionary War: Thomas Hickey, Continental Army private and bodyguard to General George Washington, was hanged for mutiny and sedition.

1778 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Monmouth fought between the American Continental Army under George Washington and the British Army led by Sir Henry Clinton.

1807  Second British invasion of the Río de la Plata; John Whitelock landed at Ensenada on an attempt to recapture Buenos Aires and was defeated by the fierce resistance of the locals.

1838  The coronation of Queen Victoria.

1841 The Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique in Paris premiered the ballet Giselle.

1859  First conformation dog show is held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

1865  The Army of the Potomac was disbanded.

1880  Ned Kelly the Australian bushranger was  captured at Glenrowan.

1881 Secret treaty between Austria and Serbia.

1882  Anglo-French Convention of 1882 signed marking territorial boundaries between Guinea and Sierra Leone.

1895  El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua formed the Central American Union.

1896  An explosion in the Newton Coal Company’s Twin Shaft Mine in Pittston City, resulted in a massive cave-in that killed 58 miners.

1902 Richard Rodgers, American composer, was born (d. 1979).

1902  The U.S. Congress passed the Spooner Act, authorising President Theodore Roosevelt to acquire rights from Colombia for the Panama Canal.

1904  The SS Norge ran aground and sank.

1909 Eric Ambler, English writer, was born (d. 1998).

1914  Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo by young Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip, the casus belli of World War I.

1919  The Treaty of Versailles was signed in Paris, formally ending World War I between Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, the United States and allies on the one side and Germany and Austria Hungary on the other side.

1922  The Irish Civil War began with the shelling of the Four Courts in Dublin by Free State forces.

1926 Mel Brooks, American filmmaker, was born.

1928  Harold Evans, English journalist and writer; editor of The Sunday Times, was born.

1936  The Japanese puppet state of Mengjiang was formed in northern China.

1940 Romania ceded Bessarabia (current-day Moldova) to the Soviet Union.

1948  Cominform circulated the “Resolution on the situation in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia”; Yugoslavia was expelled from the Communist bloc.

1948  Boxer Dick Turpin beat Vince Hawkins to become the first black British boxing champion in the modern era.

1950  Seoul was captured by troops from North Korea.

1954  A. A. Gill, British writer and columnist, was born.

1956  Protests and demonstrations in Poznań.

1964  Malcom X formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

1967  Israel annexed East Jerusalem.

1969  Stonewall riots began in New York City.

1971 Louise Bagshawe, British novelist and politician, was born.

1973 HMNZS Otago sailed for the Mururoa nuclear test zone.

1973  Elections were held for the Northern Ireland Assembly, which led to power-sharing between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland for the first time.

1976  The Angolan court sentenced US and UK mercenaries to death sentences and prison terms in the Luanda Trial.

1978  The United States Supreme Court, in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke barred quota systems in college admissions.

1981  A powerful bomb exploded in Tehran, killing 73 officials of Islamic Republic Party.

1983  The Mianus River Bridge collapsed killing 3 drivers in their vehicles.

1986  ¡A Luchar! held its first congress in Bogotá.

1990  Paperback Software International Ltd. found guilty by a U.S. court of copyright violation for copying the appearance and menu system of Lotus 1-2-3 in its competing spreadsheet program.

1992  The Constitution of Estonia was signed into law.

1994  Members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult released sarin gas attack at Matsumoto, 7 persons killed, 660 injured.

1996  The Constitution of Ukraine was signed into law.

1997 Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield II – Tyson was disqualified in the 3rd round for biting a piece from Holyfield’s ear.

2004  Sovereign power was handed to the interim government of Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority, ending the U.S.-led rule of that nation.

2005 War in Afghanistan: Three U.S. Navy SEALs and 16 American Special Operations Forces soldiers were killed during Operation Red Wing, a failed counter-insurgent mission in Kunar province.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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