Word of the day

02/03/2013

Recrudescent  – breaking out again; the revival of an unfortunate situation after a period of abatement; coming into renewed activity after a period of quiescence.


Saturday’s smiles

02/03/2013

Some contemporary philosophy:

As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind – every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.

~ John Glenn

*****

When the white missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.

~ Desmond Tutu

*****

America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.

~ David Letterman

*****

I’m not a paranoid, deranged millionaire. God dammit, I’m a billionaire.

~ Howard Hughes

*****

After the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box.

~ Italian proverb

*****

Men are like linoleum floors. Lay ’em right and you can walk all over them for thirty years.

~ Betsy Salkind

*****

The only reason they say ‘Women and children first’ is to test the strength of the lifeboats.

~ Jean Kerr

*****

I’ve been married to a communist and a fascist, and neither would take out the garbage.

~ Zsa Zsa Gabor

*****

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.

~ Emo Philips.

*****

Wood burns faster when you have to cut and chop it yourself.

~ Harrison Ford

*****

The best cure for sea sickness, is to sit under a tree.

~ Spike Milligan

*****

Lawyers believe a man is innocent until proven broke.

~ Robin Hall

*****

Kill one man and you’re a murderer, kill a million and you’re a conqueror.

~ Jean Rostand.

*****

Having more money doesn’t make you happier. I have 50 million dollars but I’m just as happy as when I had 48 million.

~ Arnold Schwarzenegger.

*****

We are here on earth to do good unto others. What the others are here for, I have no idea.

~ WH Auden

*****

In hotel rooms I worry. I can’t be the only guy who sits on the furniture naked.

~ Jonathan Katz

*****

If life were fair Elvis would still be alive today and all the impersonators would be dead.

~ Johnny Carson

*****

I don’t believe in astrology. I am a Sagittarius and we’re very skeptical.

~ Arthur C Clarke

*****

Hollywood must be the only place on earth where you can be fired by a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a baseball cap.

~ Steve Martin

*****

Home cooking. Where many a man thinks his wife is.

~ Jimmy Durante

*****

America is so advanced that even the chairs are electric.

~ Doug Hamwell

*****

The first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone.

~ George Roberts

*****

If God had intended us to fly he would have made it easier to get to the airport

~ Jonathan Winters

*****

I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.

~ Robert Benchley


Rural round-up

02/03/2013

Grain farmers step up to meet stock feed needs:

With the availability of supplementary feed in the North Island becoming tight due to extremely dry conditions, Federated Farmers Grain & Seed is promoting New Zealand feed grains and straw as a major supplementary feed solution.

“North Island dairy farmers in particular are weighing up the economic cost of drying off early,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Grain and Seed chairperson and a dual grains and dairy farmer himself.

“Federated Farmers Grain & Seed believes New Zealand feed grains and straw are solutions, especially out of the South Island.

“These are not only cost competitive to imported feeds but are available in quantity right now. These could help hard pressed dairy farmers in seeing the milking season through to its proper end and could also help out our meat and fibre colleagues too. . .

Happier cows could be one solution to industry’s employment issues:

With more and more dairy farm staff entering the industry from urban backgrounds an animal husbandry expert says there has to be more emphasis placed on stockmanship skills, which start with managers and owners having farm policies that put animal welfare first.

 animal husbandry expert Chris Leach and farm dairying specialist Mel Eden share a passion for interpreting cow behaviour and helping farmers get “inside the cow’s head.” By understanding their animals, they say farmers will improve job satisfaction for farm staff, animal health and the bottom-line.

In March the two experts will present a workshop called ‘Interpreting cow behaviour’ to more than 300 dairying women at the Dairy Women’s Network annual conference in Nelson – most of them farm owners and managers. . .

Bovine TB control achieves less cattle and deer TB testing:

The success of the TBfree New Zealand programme has led to more than 3750 cattle and deer herds having their movement control restrictions, or number of bovine tuberculosis (TB) tests, scaled down.

Animal Health Board (AHB) National TB Manager Kevin Crews said the decrease is due to a strong focus on TB-infected wild animal control, strict movement rules on infected herds and an extensive cattle and deer testing programme.

The AHB is responsible for implementing the TBfree New Zealand programme which is working to eradicate bovine TB in New Zealand. Changes to movement restrictions will affect around 50 herds across Tasman, Marlborough and North Canterbury from 1 March 2013. . .

MPI Applauds Stiff Fine For Border Cheat:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) applauds the stiff fine handed down to a woman who three years earlier tried to deceive an airport quarantine inspector and illegally bring packets of bird nest into New Zealand.

Chen Shar Wong was arrested at the Auckland International Airport on Wednesday after arriving from Taiwan. She faced two charges under the Biosecurity Act 1993 of knowingly making false and misleading statements to an inspector, and knowingly attempting to possess unauthorised goods under the Crimes Act.

On 28 February 2010, an MPI quarantine inspector seized four packets of bird nest from Mrs Wong at the airport. Mrs Wong had claimed the bird nests were sea weed. . .

Biosecurity Report Welcomed By Beef + Lamb New Zealand:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) welcomes the release today, by the Office of the Auditor General, of the report into the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) preparedness and response to biosecurity incursions.

Dr Scott Champion, B+LNZ CEO, said the report made a number of observations and recommendations that have previously been identified by a joint-Government and industry report into the current state of readiness for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), published last year.

“These and other learnings from Exercise Taurus (a FMD incursion simulation) are the ongoing focus of a collaborative process between the affected livestock industries and MPI to make the improvements required in this area,” he said. . .

Ballance closes the loop on investments for growth:

Ballance has taken a further step in its growth strategy, moving to full ownership of animal nutrition company Seales Winslow Limited and farm technology company Farmworks Systems Limited. It has held 51% shareholdings in both companies since 2011.

Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau says full ownership will see the co-operative better placed to support the growth goals of both business units, enabling Ballance to meet increasing demand from customers for the full range farm nutrients and technology which enable them to farm smarter and more productively.

“Farm nutrients and technology are clearly two growing areas of the market and a natural fit with our core business. We know that farmers are looking towards strategic animal nutrition supplementation and farm technology to get the best returns from their businesses and reduce their environmental footprint. . .

Soil and Health Association applauds new organic research report:

New Zealand’s oldest organic organisation, and publishers of Organic NZ , the Soil & Health Association – Organic NZ, is delighted with the growth in the number of organic producers and consumers over the past three years.

“The results in the latest organic market research report show that organics is definitely moving from the fringe into the mainstream,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ.

Soil &Health – Organic NZ has sponsored a new section in this year’s report,which covers the organic community sector. “Our National Council was delighted to be able to offer their support to such worthy research” said Ms Swanwick. . .


8/10

02/03/2013

8/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.


Bloodmeal makes bioplastic

02/03/2013

Low meat prices get most attention from those bemoaning the economics of sheep farming.

But poor prices for by-products are another contributing factor.

That might change if Aduro Biopolymers’ work on turning bloodmeal into plastic succeeds commercially.

The company has received investment from Wallace Corporation.

“Aduro Biopolymers has developed an innovative method for the production of bioplastics made from by-products of the red meat and poultry industries,” says Graham Shortland, CEO of Wallace Corporation. “We’re always looking for innovative ways to turn new and existing raw materials into higher value products in order to sustainably deliver superior returns to our meat processing partners.”

“We’ve been very impressed by the team at WaikatoLink and their track record in commercialisation as well as the quality of research from the University of Waikato. This investment is part of a broader strategy and the start of a partnership that will allow us to bring new research from the University into our business.” . . .

Aduro Polymers aim is to develop environmentally conscious materials for the manufacturing and construction sectors. The company’s first product is Novatein, a bioplastic that will be price competitive with petrochemical plastics. The global plastics market is worth over a trillion dollars and currently bioplastics represent 5-10% of that market, with a compounded annual growth rate of almost 20%.

Darren Harpur, Acting CEO of Aduro Biopolymers says, “The manufacturing process for Novatein is quite simple. This means the capital costs required to commence manufacture will be relatively low and should enable the cost effective production of Novatein. There is a growing demand for environmentally friendly plastics but they need to be at the right price point for consumers. We are confident we can achieve this price point with Novatein.”

The science behind Novatein originated and continues to be developed by the University of Waikato’s Dr Johan Verbeek and his team, where bloodmeal produced by the red meat industry is processed into granules which have been modified and optimised to suit a chosen product’s attributes. The granules can then be manufactured into injection moulded or extruded products using industry standard equipment. Novatein has been in development since 2007 and has received investment support from KiwiNet’s PreSeed Accelerator Fund from the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Harpur says, “As consumers, we’re all aware of the effects of plastics on the environment. Novatein will help solve some of those problems by introducing a bioplastic made from naturally occurring materials that on their own quickly degrade in the environment. We think that this aspect combined with a simple manufacturing process will enable our technology to be adopted quite rapidly.” . . .

TV3 has more about the product here.


NZ not so sorry savers

02/03/2013

New Zealanders have been accused of being poor savers for years, but are we really?

This exchange in parliament last week suggests otherwise:

David Bennett: How has household savings changed recently and what reports has he received on household wealth?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I think, as we are familiar with, official measures show a significant improvement in the last 3 years, from dissaving of 7.1 percent of household income in 2007 to just positive household savings more recently. Alongside that, though, there is a maybe confusing report from the Reserve Bank, which has recently highlighted that in measuring household wealth its statistics exclude some important items. For instance, when it measures household wealth it does not include equity in farms. It does not include equity in shares in some businesses and commercial properties and forests, and nor does it include some types of foreign assets held by New Zealanders. It estimates that when these items are included, household net wealth is in fact $167 billion higher than it thought, or around 25 percent—that is, the Reserve Bank’s revision of the numbers indicates households may be 25 percent wealthier than they thought.

Trans Tasman offers further explanation:

. . .  The reworked figures put NZ not as an outlier among developed nations for its low rate of savings but more in the mainstream. For the best part of a generation it’s been part of the NZ economic story that Kiwis focus on housing as their main form of saving, but the revelation household wealth, following a re-estimation of non-housing assets , is more evenly balanced between property and other assets, will have implications for several major areas of Govt policy ranging from retirement to housing needs. As a result of the information from the RBNZ, Finance Minister Bill English has Treasury testing the figures and reviewing the implications.

This is encouraging, better savers have more security, more choices and are better able to look after themselves.

Better domestic savings also reduce reliance on foreign savings for investment and growth.

Government’s role in encouraging savings include policies which encourage economic growth and discourage inflation.

The first helps lift incomes and the second protects the real value of wages and savings.


Saturday soapbox

02/03/2013

Saturday’s is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation.

You’re welcome 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.


March 2 in history

02/03/2013

986 Louis V became King of the Franks.

1127 Assassination of Charles the Good, Count of Flanders.

1316  Robert II of Scotland, was born (d. 1390).
1545 Thomas Bodley, English diplomat and library founder, was born (d. 1613).
1578 George Sandys, English colonist and poet, was born (d. 1644).
1717 The Loves of Mars and Venus was the first ballet performed in England.

1791 Long-distance communication speeds up with the unveiling of a semaphore machine in Paris.

1793 Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas, was born  (d. 1863).

1807  The U.S. Congress passed an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States… from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.”

1808 The inaugural meeting of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a Scottish learned society, was held in Edinburgh.

1815 Signing of Kandyan treaty by British invaders and Sri Lankan King.

1836 Texas Revolution: Declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico.

1842 The Grand National steeplechase at Aintree was won by Gaylad, ridden by Tom Olliver who won two other Grand national winners.

1855 Alexander II became Tsar of Russia.

1861 Tsar Alexander  II signed the emancipation reform into law, abolishing Russian serfdom.

1863 The U.S. Congress authorised track width of 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) for Union Pacific Railroad.

1865 The Volkner Incident: Missionary Carl Völkner was hanged from a willow tree near his church at Opotiki during the East Cape War.

Missionary Carl Volkner killed at Opotiki

1877 Just two days before inauguration, the U.S. Congress declares Rutherford B. Hayes the winner of the election even though Samuel J. Tilden had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876.

1888 The Convention of Constantinople was signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace.

1901 The U.S. Congress passed the Platt amendment, limiting the autonomy of Cuba as a condition for the withdrawal of American troops.

1903 In New York City the Martha Washington Hotel opened, becoming the first hotel exclusively for women.

1904 Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), American author, was born  (d. 1991).

1917 The enactment of the Jones-Shafroth Act granted Puerto Ricans United States citizenship.

1917 Desi Arnaz, Cuban-born actor and bandleader, was born (d. 1986).

1917 Nicholas II of Russia abdicated the throne in favor of his brother Michael II.

1919 The first Communist International meets in Moscow.

1923 George Basil Cardinal Hume, Archbishop of Westminster, was born (d. 1999).

1931 Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the Soviet Union and Nobel laureate, was born.

1931 Tom Wolfe, American author, was born.

1933 The film King Kong opened at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

1937  The Steel Workers Organizing Committee signed a surprise collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Steel, leading to unionization of the United States steel industry.

1938 Ricardo Lagos, President of Chile, was born.

1938 Lawrence Payton, American singer and songwriter (The Four Tops), was born  (d. 1997).

1939 Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pope and took the name Pius XII.

1942  Lou Reed, American singer and guitarist, was born.

1943  Tony Meehan, English drummer (The Shadows), was born (d. 2005).

1946 Ho Chi Minh was elected the President of North Vietnam.

1948 Rory Gallagher, Irish guitarist, was born (d. 1995).

1949 Captain James Gallagher landed his B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II in Fort Worth, after completing the first non-stop around-the-world aeroplane flight in 94 hours and one minute.

1949 – The first automatic street light was installed in New Milford, Conn..

1950 Karen Carpenter, American singer and drummer (The Carpenters), was born (d. 1983).

1953 The Academy Awards were first broadcast on television by NBC.

1955 King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated the throne in favor of his father, King Norodom Suramarit.

1955  Jay Osmond, American musician (The Osmonds, was born.

1956 John Cowsill, American musician (The Cowsills), was born.

1956 Mark Evans, Australian bassist (AC/DC), was born.

1956 Morocco declared its independence from France.

1962 Jon Bon Jovi, American musician (Bon Jovi), was born.

1962 In Burma, the army led by General Ne Win seized power in a coup d’état.

1968 Daniel Craig, English actor, was born.

1969 The first test flight of the Anglo-French Concorde was conducted.

1970 Rhodesia declared itself a republic.

1972  The Pioneer 10 space probe was launched from Cape Canaveral.

1977 Chris Martin, English musician (Coldplay), was born.

1978 Czech Vladimír Remek becomes the first non-Russian or non-American to go into space aboard Soyuz 28.

1989 Twelve European Community nations agreed to ban the production of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the end of the century.

1990  Nelson Mandela elected deputy President of the African National Congress

1991 Battle at Rumaila Oil Field brings an end to the 1991 Gulf War.

1992 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, San Marino, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan joined the United Nations.

2004  Al Qaeda carried out the Ashoura Massacre, killing 170 and wounding over 500.

2012 – March 2–3, 2012 tornado outbreak: A tornado outbreak occurred over a large section of the Southern United States and into the Ohio Valley region, resulting in 40 fatalities.

Sourced from NZ History On Line & Wikipedia


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