Word of the day

October 14, 2012

Gedankenexperiment – a thought experiment; an experiment carried out in imagination only;  a hypothetical experiment which is possible in principle and is  analysed (but not performed) to test some hypothesis.


Rural round-up

October 14, 2012

Alarm as PSA confirmed in the Bay – Patrick O’Sullivan:

Hawke’s Bay kiwifruit orchardists are on heightened alert after an outbreak of the devastating vine-killing disease Psa-V in an orchard near Taradale.

A positive test result was confirmed yesterday and industry organisation Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has established a controlled area that includes 43 kiwifruit orchards in the Hawke’s Bay region. . .

New Zealand Pinot Noirs Triumph at Major International Competition:

New Zealand Pinot Noir shone at this year’s International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC). Over half of the country’s Gold Medals were awarded to wines made from the variety, while the Valli Gibbston Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 beat all other Pinot Noirs entered from around the world to win the Competition’s coveted Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir Trophy. . .

Further success for Gibbston Valley Winery in their 25th year of winegrowing

A Central Otago Winery is celebrating as it received results overnight from the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London (IWSC).

The IWSC has awarded Gibbston Valley Winery a Gold Medal for its 2010 Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir. This was one of only 12 Gold Medals awarded to New Zealand wines across all varieties, and one of five Pinot Noirs. . .

Eye-opening visit to Canada – Jill Galloway:

Peter Fitz-Herbert has just been absent from his farm at Hunterville, on a trip to British Columbia in Canada, to talk beef cattle.

He won the Beef and Lamb scholarship to the Five Nations Beef Alliance and the Young Ranchers programme.

Fitz-Herbert is stock manager on the family farm in Upper Pakihikura Rd, near Hunterville. He manages 2400 ewes and 220 breeding cattle on 600 hectares. . .

Industry Training for the Primary Industries:

Federated Farmers welcomes the new Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO), following the formal merger launch yesterday of the AgITO and Horticulture ITO. This follows July’s merger of the Seafood ITO and the NZITO (meat and dairy sectors).

“What we are seeing is the natural alignment of the primary industries training organisations ITO’s),” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers spokesperson on education and skills.

“So far this year, we have seen four related ITO’s announce intentions to become just two. This not only reduces duplication but provides a more seamless offer to trainees. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Workshops to Kickstart the Conversation Around Farm Succession:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is holding a series of workshops in Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay to help farming families plan for the future.

A succession plan can help to avoid family rifts further down the track, ease the transition from one generation to the next, and ensure a fair go for all involved.

It’s a big issue for the sheep and beef sector. We’re told that more than 60 per cent of farm businesses are owned by over-60s – the majority of whom want to pass the family farm on to the kids. . .

Award-winning ‘super farm’ goes on the market for sale

One of the biggest dairy farms in the Bay of Plenty – and the recipient of an award for environmental best practice policies – has been placed on the market for sale.

“Lake Farm” near the townships of Matata and Kawerau encompasses some 373 hectares of land – milking 850 cows and producing 306,644 kilogram’s of milk solids over the 2011/12 season. This was forecast to grow to 320,000 kilogram’s of milk solids over the current year.

The farm is owned by former New Zealand Dairy Board deputy chairman Doug Bull, who also held senior roles at the Rangitaiki Plains Dairy Company and which became a part of the single merged Bay of Plenty dairy company known as Bay Milk Products. This year the farm won the environmental section of the Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards. . .


Prettiest sheep story no bull

October 14, 2012

A Senegal reality show is featuring the prettiest sheep:

The street level of Ousmane Ndiaye’s building features a fabric shop. He and his family live in a posh apartment on the second floor. Their upstairs neighbours? His beloved ram Billal and 10 other sheep.

Here his animals prance on a sunny outdoor terrace well above the commotion of buses and vendors below, and only rarely use the building’s winding staircase.

Billal is fed the family’s dinner leftovers, and Ndiaye jokes that his wife is jealous of his sheep. The family even foregoes potential rental income by leaving the upper level of their building unfinished.

“I could rent this place out for 250,000 francs (US$500) a month, but I prefer to keep Billal and my sheep here,” says Ndiaye, 60, sporting a royal blue boubou as he strokes the head of the sheep he hopes will become a reality television star.

In a nation where sheep are given names and kept inside homes as companion animals, the most popular television show is “Khar Bii,” or literally, “This Sheep,” in the local Wolof language. . . 

This sounds like an Australian satirists idea of life in New Zealand but there’s no bull in this story.
The show even has a Facebook page.

Green or greenwash?

October 14, 2012

Green is the new black in marketing but all’s that labelled green isn’t necessarily good for the environment or the consumer.

A University of Canterbury researcher is slamming consumer goods companies for green-washing supermarket shelf items with a flood of eco-labels. . . .

UC College of Business and Economics research director Pavel Castka said today there were so many labels with products claiming all sorts of environmental and social issues that it was difficult to distinguish, which one to trust.

It’s easy to label something as eco-this or environmentally-friendly-that but such claims might be nothing more than green-wash.

Even if the claim can be substantiated it’s not the only concern for consumers:

New Zealanders are becoming greener when they think about what to buy, but only when the price suits, a survey has found.

Colmar Brunton’s Better Business Report for 2012 found that 73 percent of New Zealanders thought about at least one green factor when deciding what to buy.

But price (94 percent), quality (88 percent), taste or performance (81 percent) and brand name (76 percent) were all more important factors, the survey showed.

“We’re prepared to recycle and be more energy efficient at home but not quite ready to buy organic foods or offset carbon on flights en masse,” Colmar Brunton chief executive Jacqueline Ireland said. . . 

That last sentence illustrates the problem – recycling and organic farming are regarded as better for the environment but those claims aren’t always supported by science.


Private activism or politicing by public servants?

October 14, 2012

I came across this on Facebook:

The middle sign warns of the danger of using gas or liquid fuel cookers, heaters and lights without adequate ventilation.

The bottom one reads:

We would have the money to restore this hut if you all stopped voting for that dork John Key.

The sign has the Department of Conservation logo and the bottom but it’s not in DoC’s usual green and yellow colours.

If it was put there by a political activist it’s up to DoC to worry about unauthorised signs on its property.

If it was put up or condoned by a DoC staff member then I’m reminded of what former State Services’ Commission Mark Prebble said in an interview with Kathryn Ryan:

“Public servants have to implement the policies of the government of the day

Many people come to government to try to support a good cause. They don’t realise the one who has to determine which good cause is to be supported is the democratically minister of the day. And quite a lot of departments, not slinging off at their professionalism but say DOC, you get a lot of people who join DOC because they know they want to save a kakapo and if not a kakapo it will be the lesser spotted whatever. And if the lesser spotted whatever is not on the minister’s list of priorities they’ll find it hard to do.

A key part of the role of senior public servants is to explain to them well it is the minister who has to take the heat in public about that and the public servant really isn’t just employed to follow their own interests and if they want to follow their interests they can go and work in the private sector like anyone else. . .

. . . No public servant should be zealous about the particular cause they’re interested in. They should be zealous about democracy and respecting the law. . .”

As for the content of the sign, the message should be directed at the former Prime Minister.

DoC would have the money to restore the hut if she and her  government hadn’t added so much land to the conservation estate and paid well above the market price for much it.

 


October 14 in history

October 14, 2012

1066  Norman Conquest: Battle of Hastings – the forces of William the Conqueror defeated the English army and kill King Harold II of England.

1322  Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeated King Edward II of England at Byland, forcing Edward to accept Scotland’s independence.

1644 William Penn, English founder of Pennsylvania, was born (d. 1718).

1656  Massachusetts enacts the first punitive legislation against the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

1758  Seven Years’ War: Austria defeated Prussia at the Battle of Hochkirk.

1773  The first recorded Ministryof Education, the Komisja Edukacji Narodowej was formed in Poland.

1805 Battle of Elchingen, France defeated Austria.

1806 Battle of Jena-Auerstädt France defeated Prussia.

1840  The Maronite leader Bashir II surrendered to the British Army and then is sent into exile on the islands of Malta.

1843  The British arrested the Irish nationalist Daniel O’Connell for conspiracy to commit crimes.

1863  American Civil War: Battle of Bristoe Station – Confederate troops under the command of General Robert E. Lee failed to drive the American Union Army completely out of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

1867  The 15th and the last military Shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate resigned in Japan, returning his power to the Emperor of Japan and thence to the re-established civil government of Japan.

1882 Eamon de Valera, Irish politician and patriot, was born (d. 1975).

1882 University of the Punjab was founded in a part of India that later became West Pakistan.

1884  The American inventor, George Eastman, received a U.S. Government patent on his new paper-strip photographic film.

1888 Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand writer, was born (d. 1923).

1888  Louis Le Prince filmed first motion picture: Roundhay Garden Scene.

1890  Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th President of the United States, was born (d. 1969).

1894  E. E. Cummings, American poet, was born (d. 1962).

1912 While campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the former President Theodore Roosevelt, was shot and mildly wounded by John Schrank.With the fresh wound in his chest, and the bullet still within it, Mr. Roosevelt still carried out his scheduled public speech.

1913  Senghenydd Colliery Disaster, the United Kingdom’s worst coal mining accident claimed the lives of 439 miners.

1926  The children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne, was first published.

1927 Roger Moore, English actor, was born.

1938  The first flight of the Curtiss Aircraft Company’s P-40 Warhawk fighter plane.

1939 Ralph Lauren, American fashion designer, was born.

1939 The German Kriegsmarine submarine U-47 sank the British battleship HMS Royal Oak in the harbour at Scapa Flow.

1940 Cliff Richard, English singer, was born.

1940 Christopher Timothy, British actor, was born.

1940  Balham subway station disaster, in London during an air raid.

1943 Prisoners at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland revolted against the Germans, killing eleven SS troops who were guards there, and wounding many more.

1943 – The American Eighth Air Force lost 60 B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers in aerial combat during the second mass-daylight air raid on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing factories in western Nazi Germany.

1944 – Athens was liberated by British Army troops.

1946 Justin Hayward, English musician (Moody Blues), was born.

1947 Captain Chuck Yeager of the U.S. Air Force flew a Bell X-1 rocket-powered experimental aircraft, the Glamorous Glennis, faster than the speed of sound.

1949 – Chinese Civil War: Chinese Communist forces occupied the city of Guangzhou.

1952  Korean War: United Nations and South Korean forces launched Operation Showdown against Chinese strongholds at the Iron Triangle. The resulting Battle of Triangle Hill was the biggest and bloodiest battle of 1952.

1956  Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Indian Untouchable caste leader, converted to Buddhism along with 385,000 of his followers (see Neo-Buddhism).

1957  Queen Elizabeth II became the first Canadian Monarch to open up an annual session of the Canadian Parliament, presenting her Speech from the Throne in Ottawa, Canada.

1958 The American Atomic Energy Commission, with supporting military units, carried out an underground nuclear weapon test.

1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis began: A U.S. Air Force U-2 reconnaissance plane and its pilot flew over  Cuba and took photographs of Soviet missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

1964 Leonid Brezhnev became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1967 Joan Baez was arrested concerning a physical blockade of the U.S. Army’s induction centre in Oakland, California.

1968 – An earthquake rated at 6.8 on the Richter Scale destroyed the Australian town of Meckering, Western Australia, and ruptured all nearby main highways and railroads.

1968  Jim Hines of the United States of America becomes the first man ever to break the so-called “ten-second barrier” in the 100-meter sprint in the Summer Olympic Gamesheld in Mexico City with a time of 9.95 seconds.

1969  The United Kingdom introduced fifty-pence coin, which replaced, over the following years, the British ten-shilling note, in anticipation of the decimalization of the British currency in 1971

1973  In the Thammasat student uprising over 100,000 people protested in Thailand against the Thanom military government; 77 were killed and 857 are injured by soldiers.

1979 The mutilated body of Marty Johnstone, leader of the Mr Asia drug syndicate, was found in Eccleston Delft, a flooded disused quarry in Lancashire.

'Mr Asia' murder victim found

1979  The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, demanded “an end to all social, economic, judicial, and legal oppression of lesbian and gay people”, and draws 200,000 people.

1981  Amnesty International charged the U.S. Federal Government with holding Richard Marshall of the American Indian Movement as a political prisoner.

1981 – Vice President Hosni Mubarak was elected as the President of Egypt.

1982 U.S. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed a War on Drugs.

1994 Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, and Foreign Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, received the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in the establishment of the Oslo Accords and the framing of the future Palestinian Self Governing.

2004 – A special nine-member council selects Norodom Sihamoni as the new King of Cambodia, replacing his father who abdicated a week earlier.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia


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