Word of the day


Triskaidekaphobia – irrational fear of things or events associated with the number 13.

Good idea, wrong designation


Bigger parks for women, what’s wrong with that?

A small German town has made headlines by introducing easy-access parking spaces reserved for women.

The scheme, introduced by Mayor Gallus Strobel in the south German town of Triberg, sparked international interest after Mr Strobel said the women-only spaces were introduced because females were worse parkers than males.

That’s where he’s gone wrong, he’s making a generalisation and acting upon it.

In doing so he’s maligning women who have no problem with parking and doing nothing to help men who do.

He should keep the bigger parks but change the signs to show they’re available for anyone who needs more room. That could include anyone with passengers who need assistance getting in or out of the car as well as those of either gender whose spatial awareness isn’t up to scratch.

For the record, I hate small car parks, especially when I’m in a modern car from the driving seat of many of which you can’t see the vehicle’s extremities.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

July 12, 2012

1. It’s the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones’ first concert were you aware of it at the time?

2. Who were the members of the band then?

3. What’s your favourite Rolling Stones’ song?

4. Beatles, Rolling Stones or . . . .?

5. Do they still make music like that?

Given there were no wrong answers – except for # 2 for which I’ll take a generous view of near enough is good enough, everyone who answered gets an electronic batch of apple muffins.

My answers:

1. I was still into nursery rhymes.

2. If Wikipedia is to be trusted: On 12 July 1962 the band played their first gig at the Marquee Club billed as “The Rollin’ Stones”.[17] The line-up was Jagger, Richards and Jones, along with Stewart on piano, and Taylor on bass. Wyman recalls Mick Avory (later of the Kinks) being on drums, but Avory states it was probably Chapman, since Avory only did a couple of rehearsals with them, not even knowing the name of the band until later.

3. If I had to Google their songs I don’t think I can claim a favourite.

4. Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel or Roberta Flack.

5. No – but I’m prepared to be persuaded that different isn’t necessarily worse.



Rural round-up


Threats to NZ’s meat exports – Rob O’Neill:

No-one knows exactly how much New Zealand meat and produce is smuggled into China, but a recent crackdown on the “grey channel”, as it’s called, and the seizure of a US$10 million frozen meat cargo highlight not just a trade mystery, but potential threats to our meat exports. 

 On June 12, Chinese authorities descended on an inbound ship, seizing more than 1800 metric tons of frozen goods. Five crew members were put in detention by Shenzhen Customs. 

  The 60-container cargo was described as including beef, chicken wings and pork from the United States, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. . .

Sustainability possible Kirsty Kirsten Byrant:

Sustainability is a word that we hear bandied about on an ever-increasing basis. But what does it really mean? 

    To some people, it means all things environment. But, to me, sustainability encompasses more than just our physical surroundings. To be truly sustainable, there are four strands to be considered: the environment, economic, social and cultural factors all interact to determine sustainability. 

    Last month, I attended the grand final of the 2012 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Nine farming operations from throughout New Zealand underwent a gruelling programme of judging, lined up against these four pillars of sustainability. The judging criteria covered the spectrum – from on-farm profitability and ethical staff management, through to community participation and demonstrating a commitment to ecological stewardship. . .

Europe learns the drill:

The crusade to encourage more farmers to adopt no-tillage techniques on their properties has been taken to Europe. 

    No-Tillage New Zealand was set up in 2000 to promote the direct-drill system developed in Manawatu by John Baker and is marketed by Bunnythorpe-based Baker No-Tillage. The factory is in Feilding. 

    Baker said the company held a bus tour, a “moving conference”, each year, visiting people with Cross-Slot, no-tillage equipment, and this year it was in Germany and France. . .

US drought rising food prices – Andrew Stern:

US corn and soybean crops, the world’s largest, are in the worst condition since the last major drought in America’s breadbasket in 1988, the government said on Monday, pushing up grain prices and raising the prospect of global food-price inflation. 

    Corn and soybean prices soared at the Chicago Board of Trade, based on forecasts that thirsty crops will get no relief for at least another week, although a record-shattering heatwave abated over the weekend in the eastern half of the country. 

    On Monday, the US Agriculture Department said its surveys showed only 40 percent of the corn and soybean crops were rated in good to excellent condition, the lowest rating at this stage of the season since the last severe US drought in 1988. . .

Changes in carbon levels of dariy farm soils quantified, evaluated:

There’s something going on in the dairy farming pastures of New Zealand and a team of Waikato University scientists is determined to find out exactly what. 

    They know the amount of carbon in dairy soils has reduced in recent years but they don’t know if it is still declining. They also want to find out what management practices will best restore those carbon levels. The university says the work is important because carbon supports life in the soil, and declining amounts mean declining returns for farmers. 

    On a Waharoa dairy farm near Morrinsville, 20 times a second two special machines are recording the amount of carbon dioxide going in and out of the soil. They will keep measuring it at the same rate for the next year. . .

Water clean-up a challenge – Jon Morgan:

We are about to enter a new phase in this country’s development, one that farmers will have to be involved in, whether they like it or not. 

    It is as momentous as the last big change that swept through the country in the 1980s – the removal of subsidies. 

    Farmers were hard hit by that change and they will be again by this one. It is the setting of a firm programme of how to clean up New Zealand’s soils and waterways.

    Such a programme could be laid out in a matter of months, two years at most. . .

Here are the jobs #2


The Wairarapa water use project group working on a large-scale irrigation project says it has narrowed the number of potential water storage sites in the region down to 30.

Large-scale irrigation is music to the ears of farmers and others who realise the environmental. economic and social costs of droughts.

It is also a red rag to the green bulls who think water should flow from its source to the sea untouched by human hand or enterprise.

However, the people who oppose irrigation, like many who oppose mining, often the same people who keep asking the government where are the jobs?

In North Otago we are benefitting from the jobs which have come with irrigation.

Two of our neighbours are in the process of completing dairy sheds and two houses. We built a new dairy shed and house last year and are about to start building another house.

That’s jobs for everyone involved in the building and for the people who will be living in the houses.

These are just on our farm and two neighbouring properties, other farms in the district have or are building too. There are also more jobs in supplying and servicing farms and the people who work on them.

None of that work would have been available if it had not been for irrigation.

The economic and social gains are obvious and thanks to strict conditions on water takes by the irrigation company  which strictly monitors the impact on soil and water, they haven’t come at the cost of environmental degradation.

How close does Labour want to get to Greens?


Trans-Tasman asks an interesting question: how cosy will Labour and the Greens remain?

Labour’s relationship with the Greens is one of the most intriguing elements in the current Parliament. The assumption on the Left has been they are close allies certain to form the next Govt. But when it comes to the point, how far will Labour go in accepting Greens’ fundamental credo the interests of the environment rate ahead of economic development? Taking a cue from the debate now raging in Aust. . .  In NSW last week general secretary Sam Dastyari launched a scathing attack on the Greens, labelling them as “extremists, not unlike One Nation” and said he will move a resolution at the NSW Labor conference urging the party to consider giving preferences to the Greens last at the Federal election.

Julia Gillard agreed with Dastyari’s stance, saying she stands by a controversial speech she gave in April last year in which she said the Greens do not value family or work. In NZ, former PM Helen Clark steadfastly refused to include the Greens within her Cabinet during her 9 years in office. The difficulty for Labour now is whether its new leadership team has the political “smarts” Clark displayed in keeping the Greens at bay while she pursued unalloyed Labour goals.

Commentators keep pointing out that National doesn’t have many coalition partners. Labour has a potential one in the Green Party, but would they want to share the government benches with them?

MMP is designed to prevent one party getting a majority. It also puts the power in the middle which leaves Labour with a conundrum. The Green Party will take votes from its left but it could just as well scare voters from the centre who have genuine concern for the environment but not as a sugar coating for extreme left economic and social policies.

July 13 in history


100 BC  Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic, was born  (d. 44 BC).

1174   William I of Scotland, a key rebel in the Revolt of 1173–1174, was captured by forces loyal to Henry II.

1558 Battle of Gravelines: Spanish forces led by Count Lamoral of Egmont defeated the French forces of Marshal Paul des Thermes.

1573  Eighty Years’ War: The Siege of Haarlem ends after seven months.

1643  English Civil War: Battle of Roundway Down –  Henry Wilmot, 1st Earl of Rochester, commanding the Royalist forces, won a crushing victory over the Parliamentarian Sir William Waller.

1787  The Continental Congress enacted the Northwest Ordinance establishing governing rules for the Northwest Territory establishing  procedures for the admission of new states and limiting the expansion of slavery.

1794  Battle of the Vosges between French forces and those of Prussia and Austria.

1821 Nathan Bedford Forrest, American Confederate cavalry officer, and founder of the original Ku Klux Klan, was born  (d. 1877).

1830 The General Assembly’s Institution, now the Scottish Church College, was founded by Alexander Duff and Raja Ram Mohan Roy, in Calcutta.

1854  In the Battle of Guaymas, Mexico, General Jose Maria Yanez stopped the French invasion led by Count Gaston de Raousset Boulbon.

1863 New York Draft Riots: Opponents of conscription began three days of rioting.

1878 Treaty of Berlin: The European powers redraw the map of the Balkans. Serbia, Montenegro and Romania became completely independent of the Ottoman empire.

1916 Vivian Walsh became the first New Zealander to obtain an aviator’s certificate, following the establishment in October 1915 of the New Zealand Flying School at Orakei.

Walsh becomes first NZer to obtain pilot's certificate

1919 The British airship R34 lands in Norfolk, completing the first airship return journey across the Atlantic in 182 hours of flight.

1923  The Hollywood Sign was officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood. It originally read “Hollywoodland ” but the four last letters were dropped after renovation in 1949.

1928 Bob Crane, American actor, was born  (d. 1978).

1941  World War II: Montenegrins started popular uprising against the Axis Powers (Trinaestojulski ustanak).

1942 – Harrison Ford, American Actor, was born.

1942 – Roger McGuinn, American musician (The Byrds), was born.

1950 Ma Ying-jeou, President  of China, former mayor of Taipei, former chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT), was born.

1960  Ian Hislop, British writer, editor of Private Eye, was born.

1973  Alexander Butterfield revealed the existence of the Nixon tapes to the special Senate committee investigating the Watergate break in.

1985  The Live Aid benefit concerts  in several places including London, Philadelphia, Sydney and Moscow.

1985 – United States Vice President George H.W. Bush became the Acting President for the day when President Ronald Reagan underwent surgery.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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