Word of the day

December 22, 2012

 Liminal – of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process; occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.


Lights on for life

December 22, 2012

Motorists are being urged to drive with their lights on low to reduce the risk of  accidents.

Cars with their lights on are up to 25% less likely to end up in a fatal daytime collision this Christmas, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.

Dogandlemon.com editor Clive Matthew-Wilson – who is an active road safety campaigner – says:

“The science is absolutely clear: if other motorists can see you, they can avoid colliding with you.”

In Europe, all vehicles are required to have lights on at all times.

“Driving with your headlights on low beam during the day is a proven way of reducing your accident risk. However, you still have to remember to turn your headlights off again at the end of the journey. In the longer term, drivers should fit daytime running lights to their vehicles.”

Unlike spotlights and foglights, which often dazzle other drivers, daytime running lights are designed solely to be noticed. Thanks to LED technology, daytime running lights now use less electricity than some car stereos.

Daytime running lamps normally turn on automatically when the engine is switched on, and turn off automatically when the engine is switched off or the headlamps are switched on.  

Daytime running lights are now fitted to many new cars, but can be retrofitted to virtually any vehicle.

According to European studies on the effectiveness of daytime running lights in improving road safety, the potential savings are:

• 25% of daytime multi-vehicle fatal accidents (11% of all non-pedestrian fatal accidents)

• 28% of daytime fatal pedestrian accidents (12% of all fatal pedestrian accidents)

• 20% of daytime multi-vehicle injury accidents

• 12% of daytime multi-vehicle property accidents.

Other studies have shown fewer safety benefits, but virtually all studies have shown a significant drop in both accidents and fatalities where headlights or daytime running lights were used during daylight hours.

Matthew-Wilson adds:

“You can’t control the other drivers on the road. However, by having your lights on during the day, you can make sure other drivers see you before a collision takes place.”

 It’s a simple enough precaution to take and  with modern cars you get a beep to alert you that your lights are on should you forget to turn them off before opening the driver’s door.

It doesn’t work if you get out the passenger door though.

I parked close to a wall once and decided it would be easier to get out the passenger door. I forgot the lights were on until too late to stop the battery going flat.

 

 


Calvin and Hobbes Christmas

December 22, 2012

If you’re not familiar with Bill Watterson’s wonderful cartoons, Calvin and Hobbes, Google will introduce you to them here.


Groser nominated for WTO DG

December 22, 2012

The government has nominated Trade Minister Tim Groser for Director General of the World Trade Organisation.

His experience and achievements before he entered parliament and in the last four years as Trade Minister more than qualify him for the position.

However, the DG is chosen by consensus by WTO members and politics may well carry more weight than ability and suitability.

If memory serves me correctly former PM Mike Moore held the position for half a term, with another nominee serving the other half because members couldn’t choose between them.

 


Good from evil

December 22, 2012

The family of the little girl who was raped in a Turangi camping ground last year has issued a statement saying thank you to New Zealanders:

“Christmas time is approaching. It is a time of joyful family gatherings in snowy Europe or at the beach in New Zealand.

However, for us – and some Kiwis – it will also be a time of dreadful memories.

One year after the drama, our daughter is fine. She recovered quickly and enjoys her first year at school, playing happily with her friends. Time passed by quickly and helped us get back to normal life. When her two new teeth finally grow, it will be even easier not to remember.

The memories fade, but we will never forget the incredible support from the hospital staff, police, organisations and most of all the support of individual people in their letters, emails, toys and donations. We will never forget the warmth and hospitality of the families who hosted us through the weeks after.

In these conditions trust in people returns quickly. You Kiwis are just special!

Keep it and cherish your uniqueness.

The family would have been forgiven for feeling bitter and never wanting anything to do with New Zealand or its people again.

This message demonstrates grace on their part. It also shows that good can come from evil and can beat it.

It would be easy to despair about the awful things that happen, but the best counter to that awfulness is for good people to do something.

 


Saturday soapbox

December 22, 2012

The soapbox is here.

You’re welcome to use it to look back or forward, discuss issues of  the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse.


December 22 in history

December 22, 2012

1550  Cesare Cremonini, Italian philosopher, was born.

1639  Jean Racine, French dramatist was born (d. 1699).

1805  John Obadiah Westwood, British entomologist, was born (d. 1893).

1807  The Embargo Act, forbidding trade with all foreign countries, was passed by the U.S. Congress, at the urging of President Thomas Jefferson.

1809 The Non-Intercourse Act, lifting the Embargo Act except for the United Kingdom and France, was passed by the U.S. Congress.

1819  Pierre Ossian Bonnet, French mathematician, was born  (d. 1892).

1851The first freight train was operated in Roorkee, India.

1858  Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer, was born (d. 1924).

1885 Ito Hirobumi, a samurai, became the first Prime Minister of Japan.

1888  J. Arthur Rank, British film producer, was born  (d. 1972).

1901  André Kostelanetz, American popular music orchestra leader and arranger, was born (d. 1980).

1907  Dame Peggy Ashcroft, English actress, was born(d. 1991).

1909  Patricia Hayes, English actress, was born (d. 1998).

1914 Swami Satchidananda, Yogi and Spiritual teacher, was born  (d. 2002).

1916 Peter Fraser, who later became Prime Minister, was charged with sedition following a speech attackign the government’s military consription policy.

Future PM Fraser charged with sedition

1942 Dick Parry, English musician (Pink Floyd), was born.

1948 Noel Edmonds, English game show host, was born.

1949  Maurice Gibb, English musician (The Bee Gees) was born  (d. 2003).

1949 – Robin Gibb, English musician (The Bee Gees), was born (d. 2012).

1956  Colo,  the first gorilla to be bred in captivity was born.

1962 Ralph Fiennes, English actor, was born.

1963 The cruise ship Lakonia burned 180 miles north of Madeira with the loss of 128 lives.

1964  First flight of the SR-71 (Blackbird).

1965 A 70mph speed limit was applied to all rural roads in Britain, including motorways, for the first time. Previously, there had been no speed limit.
1974  Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli voted to become the independent nation of Comoros.

1978 The Third Plenum of the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Beijing, with Deng Xiaoping reversing Mao-era policies to pursue a program for Chinese economic reform.

1989 After a week of bloody demonstrations, Ion Iliescu took over as president of Romania, ending Nicolae Ceauşescu‘s Communist dictatorship.

1989 – Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opened after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.

1990 Final independence of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia after termination of trusteeship.

1992Archives of Terror  – archives describing the fates of thousands of Latin Americans who had been secretly kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay – were discovered by  Dr. Martín Almada, and a human-rights activist and judge, José Agustín Fernández. This was known as Operation Condor.

1997  Acteal massacre: Attendees at a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic activists for indigenous causes in the small village of Acteal in the Mexican state of Chiapas werre massacred by paramilitary forces.

2001 Burhanuddin Rabbani, political leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, handeed over power in Afghanistan to the interim government headed by President Hamid Karzai.

2001 – Richard Reid attempted to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.

2008– An ash dike ruptured at a solid waste containment area in Roane County, Tennessee, releasing 1.1 billion gallons (4.2 million m³) of coal fly ash slurry.

2010 – The repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, the 17-year-old policy banning  homosexuals serving openly in the United States military, was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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