Word of the day

August 26, 2012

Execrable –  extremely bad or unpleasant; utterly detestable; abominable; abhorrent;  deserving of execration; hateful.


1/10

August 26, 2012

Blush – only 1/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz and that was a guess.


Hate breeds hate

August 26, 2012

Film maker Barbara Sumner-Burstyn made the political personal when she used her Facebook page to make harsh criticisms about Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker.

Her words were stupid, insensitive, ugly and wrong.

She made an apology of an apology – in which she mis-spelled Jacinda as Jacinta more than once. And any good would, as Keeping Stock points out,  have been undone by the nine paragraphs of justification which followed it.

The value of the apology can also be judged by her telling the Herald on Sunday she does not resile from her comments.

But none of that justifies the response which incited violence against her.

Politics should stay well above the personal and debate should focus on ideas not people.

Hate breeds hate but that doesn’t make it right.


One small step

August 26, 2012

Where were you on July 20 1969 when Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon?

It would have been July 21 in New Zealand. I must have been at school and I think we were allowed to watch the news that night on our neighbours’ television but I have only very vague memories of the occasion.

I was too young to really appreciate the moment but that Apollo 11 trip was one of the major scientific achievements in my lifetime and the words of the astronaut are burned in my memory: ” . . .one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind“.

Armstrong, the man who said them died this morning, aged 82.

NASA’s obituary:

Neil Armstrong: 1930-2012
08.25.12
 

› View Photo Gallery

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, has died, following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. He was 82.

Armstrong’s words “That is one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind,” spoken on July 20, 1969, as he became the first person ever to step onto another planetary body, instantly became a part of history.

Those few words from the Sea of Tranquillity were the climactic fulfillment of the efforts and hopes of millions of people and the expenditure of billions of dollars. A plaque on one of the lander’s legs that concluded “We came in peace for all mankind,” further emphasized that Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were there as representatives of all humans.

Armstrong is survived by his wife, two sons, a stepson, a stepdaughter, 10 grandchildren, and a brother and sister.

“Neil Armstrong was a hero not just of his time, but of all time,” said President Barack Obama. “Thank you, Neil, for showing us the power of one small step.”

Armstrong’s family released the following statement on Saturday:

“Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.

While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.
› Read Full Family Statement

The family will be providing further updates at www.neilarmstronginfo.com .

As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

“Besides being one of America’s greatest explorers,” Bolden added, “Neil carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all.”
› See Administrator Bolden’s Full Statement

Apollo 11 lunar module pilot and fellow moonwalker Buzz Aldrin on Armstrong’s passing: “I am very saddened to learn of the passing of Neil Armstrong today. Neil and I trained together as technical partners but were also good friends who will always be connected through our participation in the Apollo 11 mission. Whenever I look at the moon it reminds me of the moment over four decades ago when I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone.”

Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins said simply, “He was the best, and I will miss him terribly.”

“The passing of Neil Armstrong has shocked all of us at the Johnson Space Center,” said Center Director Michael Coats. The whole world knew Neil as the first man to step foot on the Moon, but to us he was a co-worker, a friend, and an outstanding spokesman for the Human Space Program. His quiet confidence and ability to perform under pressure set an example for all subsequent astronauts. Our role model will be missed.”

“Neil Armstrong was a very personal inspiration to all of us within the astronaut office,” said Bob Behnken, Chief of NASA’s Astronaut Office. “His historic step onto the Moon’s surface was the foundation for many of our personal dreams to become astronauts. The only thing that outshone his accomplishments was his humility about those accomplishments. We will miss him as a friend, mentor, explorer and ambassador for the American spirit of ingenuity.”


5/10

August 26, 2012

5/10 in NBR’s Biz Quiz.


No single Maori view

August 26, 2012

The Maori and Mana parties both purport to represent Maori.

In as much as they are in parliament by dint of winning  Maori seats they do. But only about half of Maori opt to be included on  the Maori roll and these electorates usually have the smallest proportion of people who bother to vote.

This means at best they represent a small group of Maori.

That’s not surprising because there are many Maori voices and views, a point which John Moore, guest posting at Liberation makes:

. . . The left in New Zealand lost its way a long time ago, and now it is simply incapable of analysing Maori politics from a class perspective. So for example, leftists just can’t seem to get their heads around the fact that a section of Maoridom now has an inherent interest in the promotion of right-wing policies. A consequence of this non-class centred perspective is that corporate/pro-capitalist statements coming from the likes of the Maori party, the Iwi Leaders Group, and yes even the Maori Council, are all presented as anomalies or aberrations.

Why anomalies? Because the left generally sees all Maori as an oppressed group that is instinctively progressive, anti-corporate and anti-capitalist. But such a viewpoint is just plain wrong. Since the transfer of millions of dollars of assets to Maori tribal organisations over the last few decades, a Maori corporate class has emerged with its own distinct interests and politics. Yet the left prefers to see this Maori elite as ‘selling out’ (as opposed to the reality of them simply following their logical class interests). . . 

Rather than selling out, those iwi which have completed Treaty settlements and invested them wisely are taking their people from grievance to growth. They are standing on their own feet and prospering.

That might not please the left which fosters dependence in the hope of buying a constituency but it is better not just for Maori but the whole of New Zealand .

There is no single Maori voice because there is no single Maori view. Some, sadly are still looking behind, but others are looking ahead and keen to leave dependence in the past and use their skills and assets for development.

 

 


We’re all responsible for water

August 26, 2012

The ODT brings some balance to bear on water woes:

. .  . evidence that farmers are not the only cause of such pollution may surprise some.

Urban-sourced pollution of waterways does not have the same public profile as that from farms, but one of the country’s great rivers, the Clutha, is still used to remove urban waste from several towns on its banks. Readers were reminded this week that treated sewage from Alexandra, Cromwell, Lawrence, Balclutha, Stirling, Tapanui, Kaka Point and Owaka all ends up in the Clutha, while treated sewage from Queenstown is discharged into the Shotover River. Dunedin waste is treated and discharged to sea through the Tahuna plant but most of the city’s stormwater – untreated – drains into Otago Harbour.

While dairy farmers have largely been the focus of recent attention about waterway pollution, a report carried by Fairfax this week showed some local authorities had struggled to abide by the conditions of their discharge consents. It reported this week that, in the past four years, fines of $153,000 for 123 breaches by 34 of the country’s 61 district and city councils had been issued.

These were made up of eight prosecutions, 47 infringement fines and 68 abatement notices.

In contrast, over the same period, there were 151 prosecutions of dairy farmers, with 1564 infringement notices and 1698 abatement notices. Dairy farmers paid court-imposed fines totalling more than $3.2 million. The heaviest fine for a farmer has been $90,000 and for a local authority $30,000, raising questions about consistency. In a similar vein, in the past six years, while 76 Otago dairy farmers have been prosecuted for illegal effluent discharge, for allowing livestock to access waterways or for pugging, no Otago councils have been fined for any breach of any kind (Environment Southland has recently taken successful cases against Invercargill city and Gore district councils). . .

Milking on the Moove has more on the causes of water pollution:

There are essentially 3 types of pollutants that affect our water ways:
 
  • Sediment -as a result of erosion and flooding, where large amounts of soil and gravel etc get washed into the water ways.
  • Bacteria– from animal and human waste being discharged into the water ways.
  • Excess Nutrients-when Nitrogen and Phosphorus find their way into the water ways.
Dairy farms main pollutant is Nitrogen from excess nutrients. This graph shows how much nitrogen is leached per ha from the different farming classes. Interestingly Horticulture is the worst offender, but Horticulture makes up a very small area so the overall effect is not as great as the dairy industry. You can see that a dairy farm leaches on average 50kg of N/ha/yr, which is less than horticulture. I have seen data that show vineyards leaching 80kg of N/ha/yr.
They’re-worse-than-us is no excuse but this does show that  urban discharges, horticulture and cropping are part of the problem.
We all use water, we all contribute to waste water which means we’re all responsible for its quality to a greater or lesser degree.

 


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