Word of the day

September 15, 2012

Comminute – grind; reduce to small pieces or particles by pounding or abrading; reduce to powder; pulverise.


Hysteria

September 15, 2012

The invention of the vibrator is an unlikely subject for a romantic comedy and one for which the potential for getting it wrong is high.

But Hysteria gets it right, treating the subject without smut and with subtlety, humour and  a sub-plot about social reform and women’s rights.

The film is set in London towards the end of the 18th century. It opens with young Dr Mortimer Granville losing yet another job when his belief in germs and the need for cleanliness conflicts with his superior’s conviction the old ways – including bleeding with leeches – are better.

He finds a new job with Dr Robert Dalrymple a specialist in women’s medicine, in particular the treatment of  hysteria, an all encompassing term for a wide variety of physical, mental and emotional complaints. There he meets Dalrymple’s daughters, the gentle and biddable Emily and the feisty Charlotte.

Meanwhile his friend and benefactor Edmund St. John Smythe is embracing the new development of electricity and toying with some inventions.

If you want a couple of hours of escapism with lots of laughs I can recommend Hysteria which is based on a true story.

Don’t rush off when the credits roll, you’ll learn something if you stay to watch to the end.


Racing now . . .

September 15, 2012

The first annual sheep race at Cromwell:

There has to be a story behind this, does anyone know what it is?


Rural round-up

September 15, 2012

NZ being denied role as leader in biotechnology: Rolleston – Gerald Piddock:

Timid political will is stopping New Zealand from becoming a global leader in biotechnology, according to farming leader-scientist Dr Williams Rolleston. 

    As scientists worked to feed billions more humans opportunities existed for the country to show leadership in biotechnology without causing environmental degradation. 

“By any measure New Zealand ought to be a leader. No, it should be the leader. The fact we are not comes back to a timid political will,” he told an international conference on agricultural biotechnology in Rotorua. . .

Savings vet’s carrot for pig vaccination – Shawn McAvinue:

A Southland vet wants to spread the cost of vaccinating pigs to stop the spread of a deadly disease in humans. 

    Vet South Gore veterinarian Anne Gelling said all the pigs in Southland should be vaccinated to protect humans from leptospirosis. 

    Leptospirosis spread when pigs’ urine came in contact with human skin, eyes or mucous membranes, Dr Gelling said. 

    People become ill after about three to 14 days later. . .

Time now right for farmers, processors to talk – Rob Tipa:

Southland farming leader Andrew Morrison believes the time is right for farmers to talk with their meat companies about Red Meat Sector Strategy initiatives and what appetite both parties have to make changes to future-proof their industry. 

Mr Morrison, who is Southland Federated Farmers’ meat and wool section chairman, said southern sheep farmers and meat companies had experienced two very tough seasons in a row. 

In September 2010, spring snowstorms caused heavy lamb losses in Southland, the Catlins and South Otago and last spring was wet and just as challenging with similar lambing percentages to the previous year of the storm. . .

Dairy union talks action over layoffs – Al Williams:

The New Zealand Dairy Workers Union is considering legal action against Fonterra after eight staff members at the Waimate milk processing plant were given marching orders on Monday. 

    It follows Fonterra’s acquisition of the former New Zealand Dairies operation last week. 

    New Zealand Dairies was placed in receivership in May owing a substantial amount to its supplier farmers. 

    New Zealand Dairy Workers Union southern organiser Murray Kerse said the union was looking at a case for discrimination. . .

Disasters on farms ‘different‘ – Jill Galloway:

Farmers have a different view when it comes to natural disasters, said chairwoman of the Rural Family Support Trust Margaret Millard. 

    She said that in times of floods or earthquakes, farmers were concerned about their family and staff, but also about their stock. 

    “If it floods, they want to shift stock to higher ground before they leave. 

    “Farmers often take a broader view, urban dwellers often take a very people perspective,” Millard said. 

    Rural support trusts are giving their backing to the upcoming Civil Defence “Shakeout” earthquake drill at 9.26am on September 26. . .

Biofuels NZ not ‘mismanaged’ – Gerald Piddock:

The global economic downturn and poor decisions around land use fuelled by the desire to expand quickly led to the failure of profitability for Biodiesel New Zealand, a former senior employee says.

David Geary, who worked as national field operations manager for Biodiesel New Zealand from 2007-2010, said the economic environment meant it was not the ideal time to be starting a biofuel business.

‘‘I think the economics of the fuel industry and the economic downturn worldwide had quite a major impact for a fledgling start-up business.’’  

However he said he was confident the biofuel industry in New Zealand would survive. . .

In search of Australia’s dairy sweetspot – Dr Jon Hauser & Neil Lane:

In the previous two articles I have written about the value of flat milk supply to processors and “the market”. The articles also showed how milk pricing mechanisms have been used to pull southeast Australian milk towards a flatter milk supply curve. In this third article of the series I’ll take a look at the topic from the farmer’s perspective – what are the cost / benefit implications for a farmer who chooses to flatten their milk supply.

To write this article I have enlisted the support of Neil Lane – a dairy farmer consultant and member of the Intelact farm advisory group (www.intelact.com). Neil’s clients include some of the more profitable and successful farmers in southeast Australia and he is well respected for his theoretical and practical understanding of dairy farm economics and management. . .


Less meat, better health, less carbon?

September 15, 2012

A British study suggests eating less meat could reduce disease and carbon emissions:

. . . Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that cutting back on red meat consumption could decrease the number of cases of chronic disease by 3 to 12 percent, and make the carbon footprint nearly 28 million tons smaller per year by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The BMJ Open study included data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of British Adults in 2000-2001. Researchers looked at the amount of meat the people in the study consumed, as well as how many green gas emissions were emitted that are linked to 45 different kinds of food.

The BMJ Open study included data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of British Adults in 2000-2001. Researchers looked at the amount of meat the people in the study consumed, as well as how many green gas emissions were emitted that are linked to 45 different kinds of food.

After adjusting for proportions, the researchers found that people who regularly ate red or processed meat in the study also just generally consumed more food than people who didn’t regularly eat red or processed meat. So, they calculated that if people who ate the most red and processed meat in the study were to adjust their eating habits so they ate like the people who consumed the least red and processed meat in the study, that would decrease health risks (such as risk of diabetes, colorectal cancer and heart disease) anywhere from 3 to 12 percent. . .

If I’m reading this correctly, it says people don’t have to just eat less meat, they have to eat less fullstop.

It’s not a matter of replacing red meat with other food but in reducing total food intake.

If eating less still provided a balanced diet there would almost certainly be health benefits. If reduced consumption led to reduced production there would probably be a reduction in carbon emissions too – although that would depend on what food was consumed, how it was produced, transported and stored.

But if the meat was replaced with other food it’s possible there would be no benefits to either people’s health or the environment.


Unsung hero of hydatids eradication

September 15, 2012

Dog dosing used to be a regular occurrence for pets and working dogs.

The aim was to prevent the spread of hydatids which could be fatal in humans.

That we no longer have to worry about the disease is a great achievement.

The ODT reminds of us this in a profile of Geoff Neilson who played  a key part in eradication of hydatids.

The successful eradication of hydatids, a disease that caused significant numbers of deaths and hospital admissions in    New Zealand, was a great achievement – and one that went almost    unnoticed, Geoff Neilson says.   

      In 1971, Mr Neilson was elected to the Hydatids Council,  initially as a Young Farmers representative, and through his  involvement with the council contributed to both the      enhancement of sheep-meat quality and the eradication of the   disease. . .

Following the link above will take you to the rest of the profile of one of the unsung heroes to whom we owe gratitude for the eradication of hydatids.

NZ Farmers Weekly also has a profile.


September 15 in history

September 15, 2012

668  Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II was assassinated in his bath at Syracuse, Italy.

921  At Tetin Saint Ludmila was murdered at the command of her daughter-in-law.

994 Major Fatimid victory over the Byzantine Empire at the Battle of the Orontes.

1254 Marco Polo, Italian explorer, was born (d. 1324).

1616 The first non-aristocratic, free public school in Europe was opened in Frascati, Italy.

1649 Titus Oates, English minister and plotter, was born (d. 1705).

1762 Seven Years War: Battle of Signal Hill.

1820 Constitutionalist revolution in Lisbon.

1821  Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica jointly declared independence from Spain.

1830  The Liverpool to Manchester railway line opened.

1831  The locomotive John Bull operated for the first time in New Jersey on the Camden and Amboy Railroad.

1835 HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, reached the Galápagos Islands.

1851  Saint Joseph’s University was founded in Philadelphia.

1857 William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States, was born (d. 1930).

1879 Joseph Lyons, 10th Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1939).

1881 Ettore Bugatti, Italian automobile engineer and designer, was born (d. 1947).

1883 The Bombay Natural History Society was founded in Bombay (Mumbai).

1889  Robert Benchley, American author, was born (d. 1945).

1890  Agatha Christie, English writer, was born (d. 1976).

1894 First Sino-Japanese War: Japan defeated China in the Battle of Pyongyang.

1916  World War I: Tanks were used for the first time in battle, at the Battle of the Somm

1928  Tich Freeman became the only bowler to take 300 wickets in an English cricket season.

1931 In Scotland, the two-day Invergordon Mutiny against Royal Navy pay cuts began.

1935 The Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews of citizenship.

1935  Nazi Germany adopted a new national flag with the swastika.

1937 Fernando de la Rúa, 51st President of Argentina, was born.

1940 World War II: The climax of the Battle of Britain, when the Royal Air Force shot down large numbers of Luftwaffe aircraft.

1942  World War II: U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Wasp was torpedoed at Guadalcanal

1944 Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met in Quebec as part of the Octagon Conference to discuss strategy.

1945 Hans-Gert Pöttering, German politician, President of the European Parliament, was born.

1945  A hurricane in southern Florida and the Bahamas destroyed 366 planes and 25 blimps at NAS Richmond.

1947  RCA released the 12AX7 vacuum tube.

1947  Typhoon Kathleen hit the Kanto Region in Japan killing 1,077.

1948  The F-86 Sabre set the world aircraft speed record at 671 miles per hour (1,080 km/h).

1952 United Nations gave Eritrea to Ethiopia.

1958 A Central Railroad of New Jersey commuter train ran through an open drawbridge at the Newark Bay, killing 58.

1959  Nikita Khrushchev became the first Soviet leader to visit the United States.

1961  Hurricane Carla struck Texas with winds of 175 miles per hour.

1962  The Soviet ship Poltava headed toward Cuba, one of the events that sets into motion the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1963  The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing: Four children killed at an African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama.

1966 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to a sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote a letter to Congress urging the enactment of gun control legislation.

1968  The Soviet Zond 5 spaceship was launched, becoming the first spacecraft to fly around the Moon and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

1969 Iron and steel from local ironsand (titanomagnetite) was produced for the first time at New Zealand Steel’s mill at Glenbrook, south of Auckland.

First steel produced from local ironsand

1971 Nathan Astle, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1972  A Scandinavian Airlines System domestic flight from Gothenburg to Stockholm was hijacked and flown to Malmö-BulltoftaAirport.

1974  Air Vietnam flight 727 was hijacked, then crashed while attempting to land with 75 on board.

1976 The Rangatira arrived in Wellington from Lyttelton for the last time, bringing to an end more than 80 years of regular passenger ferry services between the two ports.

Lyttelton–Wellington ferry service ends

1981 The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

1981 – The John Bull becomes the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when the Smithsonian Institution operated it under its own power outside Washington, D.C.

1983  Israeli premier Menachem Begin resigned.

1984 Prince Harry of Wales, was born.

1987  United States Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze signed a treaty to establish centers to reduce the risk of nuclear war.

1993  Liechtenstein Prince Hans-Adam II disbanded Parliament.

2008 Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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