Word of the day

September 28, 2012

Presentism – evaluating past events and people by present-day values.


Friday’s answers – updated

September 28, 2012

Thursday’s questions were up to you, so are the answers.

Update: Congratulations Andrei, you’ve earned the electronic bunch of freesias for stumping us all.


Ag subsidies dropping

September 28, 2012

The  OECD agricultural policy monitoring and evaluation report shows a small drop in agricultural subsidies in the past year.

In 2011 support to producers across the OECD amounted to USD 252 billion or Eur 182 billion as measured by the Producer Support estimate (PSE) This is equivalent to 19% of gross farm receipts in OECD countries, down slightly from 20% in 2010. This is the lowest level observed since OECD began measuring support in the 1980s when the PSE as a percentage of gross farm receipts was 37%.

The drop isn’t as encouraging as the numbers suggest.

In recent years the decline in producer support was largely driven by higher prices on international markets rather than policy changes.

However, the trend is down and it will improve in three years when the European Union stops subsidising its farmers.

Some countries are giving support based on such things as historical area, livestock numbers and income rather than production which distorts the market less.

Australia, Chile and New Zealand had the lowest level of support – less than 1 to 4% of gross farm receipts. In Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Korea and Iceland from a half to two-thirds of gross farm returns were from subsidies.

The analysis for New Zealand starts on page 185. It shows most of the support is sector-wide general services such as research and biosecurity which improve the economic environment for agriculture.

Hat tip: Interest.co.nz


Ready for daylight saving?

September 28, 2012

It’s that time of year when I have to steel myself for the loss of an hour’s sleep.

It doesn’t help that the loss of the hour comes several weeks too early meaning less light in the morning when I prefer it while it’s still neither  light nor warm enough for late enough on the evening to compensate.

I was preparing to mutter,mumble grump and grumble about it when I cam across some tips and thoughts on daylight saving which made me smile instead:

1. get some sleep – we lose an hour and it is a jolly long time until we get that hour back!
2. make the most of early morning walks – for a time you lose the early light – it just disappears overnight!
3. forget the idea that you are really saving daylight – it is a myth.  I have been researching this and it is a fact that there is not an extra hour of daylight at all – they just adjust the clocks to make it seem as if you have extra daylight!  Honest!  Well, I think I am being honest… maybe I am wrong…
4. for if you were saving it, where would you store it? . . .

You’ll find the other six tips here.


September 28 in history

September 28, 2012

551 BC: Confucious, the Chinese philosopher was born (d. 479 BC).

48 BC  Pompey the Great was assassinated on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt after landing in Egypt.

351 Battle of Mursa Major: the Roman Emperor Constantius II defeated the usurper Magnentius.

365  Roman usurper Procopius bribed two legions passing by Constantinople, and proclaims himself Roman emperor.

935  Saint Wenceslas was murdered by his brother, Boleslaus I of Bohemia.

995  Members of Slavník’s dynasty – Spytimír, Pobraslav, Pořej and Čáslav – were murdered by Boleslaus’s son, Boleslaus II the Pious.

1066  William the Conqueror invaded England: the Norman Conquest began.

1106 The Battle of Tinchebrai – Henry I of England defeated his brother, Robert Curthose.

1238 Muslim Valencia surrendered to the besieging King James I of Aragon the Conqueror.

1322  Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor defeated Frederick I of Austria in the Battle of Mühldorf.

1448  Christian I was crowned king of Denmark.

1542  Navigator João Rodrigues Cabrilho of Portugal arrived at what is now San Diego, California.

1571:Italian artist  Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was born (d. 1610).

1708  Peter the Great defeated the Swedes at the Battle of Lesnaya.

1779  American Revolution: Samuel Huntington was elected President of the Continental Congress, succeeding John Jay.

1781  American forces backed by a French fleet began the siege of Yorktown, Virginia, during the American Revolutionary War

1787  The newly completed United States Constitution was voted on by the U.S. Congress to be sent to the state legislatures for approval.

1791  France became the first European country to emancipate its Jewish population.

1836 Thomas Crapper, English inventor, was born (d. 1910).

1844  Oscar I of Sweden-Norway was crowned king of Sweden.

1864  The International Workingmen’s Association was founded in London.

1868  Battle of Alcolea caused Queen Isabella II of Spain to flee to France.

1889  The first General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) defined the length of a meter as the distance between two lines on a standard bar of an alloy of platinum with ten percent iridium, measured at the melting point of ice.

1891  Club Atletico Peñarol was founded under the name of Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club.

1899 Premier R.J. (‘King Dick’) Seddon asked Parliament to approve an offer to the British government of a contingent of mounted rifles to fight in Transvaal.

NZ answers Empire's call to arms in South Africa

1901 US television host Ed Sullivan was born (d1974).

1916 Peter Finch, English-born Australian actor,was born (d1977).

1928  The U.K. Parliament passed the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawing cannabis.

1928  Sir Alexander Fleming noticed a bacteria-killing mould growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.

1934 French model and actress Brigtte Bardot was born.

1939 – Warsaw surrendered to Nazi Germany.

1944  Soviet Army troops liberated Klooga concentration camp in Estonia.

1946 English singer Helen Shapiro was born

1958  France ratified a new Constitution of France

1961 A military coup in Damascus effectively ended the United Arab Republic, the union between Egypt and Syria.

1962  The Paddington tram depot fire destroyed 65 trams in Brisbane.

1971  The British government passed the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 banning the medicinal use of cannabis.

1973  The ITT Building in New York City was bombed in protest at ITT’s alleged involvement in the September 11 coup d’état in Chile.

1975  The Spaghetti House siege, in which nine people were taken hostage, took place in London.

1987  The beginning of the Palestinian civil disobedience uprising, “The First Intifada” against the Israeli occupation.

1994  The car ferry MS Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea, killing 852 people.

1995  Bob Denard and a group of mercenaries took the islands of Comoros in a coup.

2000  Al-Aqsa Intifada: Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

2008  SpaceX launched the first ever private spacecraft, the Falcon 1 into orbit.

2009 The military junta leading Guinea, headed by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, sexually assaulted, killed and wounded protesters during a protest rally in the Stade du 28 Septembre.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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