Word of the day

30/07/2012

Rusticate – go or send to, live, reside or spend time in the country; follow a rustic life; to suspend a student from university;  fashion masonry in large blocks with sunk joints and a roughened surface.


Would it work for windscreen wipers too?

30/07/2012

A trial using a non-toxic repellant that makes keas feel queasy might deter them from attacking sheep.

If it also works for windscreen wiper they could be on to a winner with people using South Island ski field car parks or tramping in the high country.

Keas are cheeky birds which entertain visitors? But they do a lot of damage to  the rubber on windscreen wipers and around the windows of vehicles and many’s the tramper who has been woken by one or more keas pecking holes in their tents.

UPDATE: TV3 reports researchers are looking at whether the repellant could be used on tents and cars too.

 


Which whiteware?

30/07/2012

Another kitchen renovation question: which whiteware do you recommend?

We’ve had a Fisher and Paykel double dishdrawer for years.

It’s good when there’s just the two of us because it gets full before we run out of dishes but it does take a long time to do a cycle.

It’s had a couple of malfunctions and is at an age where it probably isn’t worth repairing if it breaks down again.

Kitchen renovations which are in the planning stage could be an excuse for a replacement.

The question is, if we go for a new dishwasher do we go for a dishdrawer again or another make and/or model?

The oven is 21 years old, its seal is sagging and both it and the cook top will be replaced.

Everyone tells me to stick to electricity for the oven, but do I go for gas or stick with electricity for the cook top and if it’s the latter is conventional or convection better and which brand?


Some questions best left unanswered

30/07/2012

One of the first rules journalists learn is that good news stories should answer all the Ws – Who, What, Where, When, Why and hoW?

The ODT has a story about rangers rescuing a seal in a G string at Lovers Leap.

Two questions it doesn’t address are whose G-string it was and how it got from the owner to the seal.

But there are exceptions to every rule and there are some questions best left unanswered.


Not the doing but catching and fixing

30/07/2012

Andrea Vance thinks New Zealand’s halo is slipping:

Frequently topping global transparency indexes, the world believes Kiwis operate the world’s cleanest government. Its politicians are rated incorruptible: fraud, bribes and sleaze-free.

And yet, of late, domestic politics has been dominated by a series of grubby scandals. Take Taito Philip Field’s conviction in 2009 as the watershed. Since then MPs have been exposed for rorting their expenses to pay for blue movies and gluttony, golf clubs, flowers and massages, family holidays and bucketloads of booze. . .

She goes on to list various scandals, though misses two of the ones which best-fit the label corruption – Labour’s pledge card rort and Winston Peter’s dance around the truth of the donation from Owen Glenn.

However, bad as these are, it’s not the doing of dastardly deeds which puts a country’s reputation at risk. Even the best countries can’t claim a total absence of corruption from every citizen.

It’s the catching of the corrupt and fixing that really matter.

Our reputation is based on relatively few acts of corruption and a good record for catching the wrong-doers and making changes to close the loopholes through which they wriggled.

Fields was accused, tried, found guilty and imprisoned. Speaker Lockwood Smith has made MPs’ expenses public which has acted as a very effective restraint on their spending. . .

The halo is slipping, it’s not yet tarnished.

There is no room for complacency but our reputation for lack of corruption shouldn’t be threatened while those who do the catching and fixing keep ahead of those who do the doing.


Missing link on Planet Labour

30/07/2012

There’s at least a couple of missing links on Planet Labour – the one between action and reaction and the one between productivity and wages.

There’s no better example of this than in Dunedin MP David Clark’s ignorance about the impact on an increase of the minimum wage:

” . . . It will affect a couple of hundred thousand New Zealanders, . . . “

I presume he means there are a couple of hundred people on the minimum wage who would get a pay rise.

But what about the people who employ them and the people who might have got a job had the minimum wage not been increased?

What about the people who have to pay more for goods and services when businesses can’t absorb the extra cost of wages and put up their prices?

What about people who lose jobs because the business can’t afford the flow on increase to other wages.

Keeping Stock explains:

 . . . You see Dr Clark; it’s not just as simple as paying people $15/hour. If the minimum wage goes up, so will everyone else’s. Our wage bill is in the order of $1m per annum, so an arbitrary, across-the-board 15% wage increase would cost us an additional $150,000 per year. That would be totally unsustainable for us; our businesses run at break-even at best. There is little doubt for our businesses that we would have to reduce our staff numbers.
 
So who wins there Dr Clark? We certainly don’t; nor do the staff members whose jobs are lost, and their families. And far from the Wanganui economy receiving a shot in the arm, there are suddenly less people spending. . .

Pay rises as a result of productivity increases or a reduction in costs are sustainable.

Pay rises by decree are not and would affect a lot more than a couple of hundred thousand people.


July 30 in history

30/07/2012

762  Baghdad was founded.

1419  First Defenestration of Prague.

1502 Christopher Columbus landed at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras during his fourth voyage.

1549 Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was born (d. 1609).

1608  Samuel de Champlain shot and killed two Iroquois chiefs which set the tone for FrenchIroquois relations for the next 100 years.

1619  The first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convened for the first time.

1629  An earthquake in Naples killed 10,000 people.

1733  The first Masonic Grand Lodge in what became the United States was constituted in Massachusetts.

1756 Bartolomeo Rastrelli presented the newly-built Catherine Palace to Empress Elizabeth and her courtiers.

1811  Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, leader of the Mexican insurgency, was executed by the Spanish.

1818 Emily Brontë, English novelist, was born (d. 1848).

1825 Malden Island was discovered.

1859 First ascent of Grand Combin.

1863 Henry Ford, American industrialist, was born (d. 1947).

1863 Indian Wars: Chief Pocatello of the Shoshone tribe signed the Treaty of Box Elder, agreeing to stop the harassment of emigrant trails in southern Idaho and northern Utah.

1864 American Civil War: Battle of the Crater – Union forces attempt edto break Confederate lines at Petersburg, Virginia by exploding a large bomb under their trenches.

1866 New Orleans’s Democratic government ordered police to raid an integrated Republican Party meeting, killing 40 people and injuring 150.

1871  The Staten Island Ferry Westfield’s boiler exploded, killing over 85 people.

1893 Fatima Jinnah, Pakistani Mother of the Nation, was born (d. 1967).

1898 Henry Moore, English sculptor, was born (d. 1986).

1916  Black Tom Island explosion in Jersey City.

1925 Alexander Trocchi, Scottish writer, was born (d. 1984).

1926 Christine McGuire, American singer (The McGuire Sisters), was born.

1930  Uruguay won the first Football World Cup.

1932  Premiere of Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short.

1935 Ted Rogers, English comedian and game show host, was born (d. 2001).

1940 Sir Clive Sinclair, English entrepreneur and inventor (pocket calculator, home computer), was born.

1941 Paul Anka, Canadian singer and composer, was born.

1945   Japanese submarine I-58 sank the USS Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen.

1947 Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-born American actor and 38th Governor of California, was born.

1950 Frank Stallone, American singer and actor, was born.

1953  Rikidōzan held a ceremony announcing the establishment of the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance.

1956  A joint resolution of the U.S. Congress was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, authorizing In God We Trust as the U.S. national motto.

1958 Kate Bush, English singer/songwriter, was born.

1958 Daley Thompson, English decathlete, was born.

1965  US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.

1969 Vietnam War: US President Richard M. Nixon made an unscheduled visit to South Vietnam and met  President Nguyen Van Thieu and U.S. military commanders.

1971  Apollo 15 Mission – David Scott and James Irwin on Apollo Lunar Module module, Falcon, landed with first Lunar Rover on the moon.

1971  An All Nippon Airways Boeing 727 and a Japanese Air Force F-86 collided over Morioka killing 162.

1974  Watergate Scandal: US President Richard M. Nixon released subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the United States Supreme Court.

1974  Six Royal Canadian Army Cadetswere  killed and fifty-four injured in an accidental grenade blast at CFB Valcartier Cadet Camp.

1975  Three members of the Miami Showband and two gunmen were killed during a botched paramilitary attack in Northern Ireland.

1978  The 730 (transport), Okinawa changed its traffic on the right-hand side of the road to the left-hand side.

1979 Carless days were introduced in New Zealand to combat the second oil shock.

Carless days introduced

1980 Vanuatu gained independence.

1980  Israel’s Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law

1997  Eighteen lives were lost in the Thredbo Landslide.

2003  In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line.

2006 World’s longest running music show Top of the Pops was broadcast for the last time on BBC Two after 42 years.

2006 Lebanon War: At least 28 civilians, including 16 children were killed by the Israeli Air Force in what Lebanese call the Second Qana massacre.

2009 A bomb exploded in Palma Nova, Mallorca, killing 2 police officers. Basque separatist group ETA was believed to be responsible.


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