Word of the day

May 1, 2013

Carom – to strike and rebound; to glance; a rebound following a collision; a glancing off; a shot in billiards in which the cue ball successively strikes two other balls; a shot in pool in which an object ball strikes another ball before falling into a pocket.


Rural round-up

May 1, 2013

Feel good factor that comes from living with bees – Sally Rae:

Murray and Heidi Rixon get a real buzz from sharing their love of bees.

The couple have launched a business, offering a beehive rental and management service to clients with domestic gardens, lifestyle blocks or rural land.

It was a business they described as having a ”massive feel-good factor” as they provided a hands-on teaching environment and actively encouraged clients to get involved with their new residents.

Brought up in Mosgiel, Mr Rixon has returned to his roots after years away following an interesting career path; horticulture to aviculture and now apiculture.

Horticulture was his first profession and he worked at the Dunedin Botanic Garden for 10 years before moving to the United Kingdom in 1991. . .

Pesticides not to blame for bee deaths:

Europe’s decision to ban neonicotinoids is another example of politicians making decisions meant for regulators. Pesticides have been blamed for a decline in bee health despite a lack of scientific proof.

“Clear scientific evidence has taken a back-seat to a politically-based decision on regulation, which could mean the reduction of effective crop protection products in Europe,” said Graeme Peters, chief executive of Agcarm.

There is absolutely no evidence that neonicotinoids are harming New Zealand’s bee population. First introduced in 1992, neonicotinoids are thoroughly assessed before being approved for use by the Environmental Protection Authority.

Blaming pesticides is barking up the wrong tree. A multitude of factors are responsible for persistent bee mortality, including pests and parasites, microbial disease, inadequate diet, bee management practices and climate change. . .

Fonterra to cut 300 jobs, slashing costs to invest in growth strategy:

Fonterra Cooperative Group, which imposed a hiring freeze in February, may eliminate up to 300 jobs as it seeks annual cost savings of $65 million a year, adding to $60 million of cost cutting already targeted for 2013.

The review of support services affects workers at Fonterra’s corporate offices in New Zealand. It didn’t quantify the potential restructuring costs. The May Day announcement marks the biggest layoff at the dairy giant since it cut workers in 2006 with the closure of manufacturing plants.

“While we are investing in growth, we have to make sure our people are working on the right things and that we are spending our precious capital on the right priorities,” chief executive Theo Spierings said in a statement. Jobs would be eliminated by centralising services, reducing duplication and stripping out layers of management, he said. . .

No fish for you – Offsetting Behaviour:

If you’re a fisherman on Manitoba’s lakes, you can only sell your fish to the government’s monopsonist Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. I’ve heard different stories about its establishment: some stories had it that the FFMC was set up to protect small fishermen against big corporations who’d otherwise exploit them; others had it that the system was meant to encourage efficiency through centralised processing. Or maybe it was both of them.

It really isn’t working out very well for fishers based far from the processing plant. And it isn’t working out for fishers who have put in the yards to identify markets for fish that the FFMC has deemed to be of very low value. Fishers cannot sell some species of fish to the FFMC at any kind of profit, but they’re also forbidden from selling those fish to other willing buyers. And so the fish are left for the birds to eat. . . .

Farmers Beef Up Leadership Skills At Environmental Forum:

The first Beef + Lamb New Zealand Environmental Leadership Forum has been hailed as an outstanding success.

Twenty five sheep and beef farming leaders attended the B+LNZ -funded event, held in Wellington from April 16 to April 18.

The forum was facilitated by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust, which has run a similar annual event for dairy farmers and also delivers the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Participants included past-winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards and B+LNZ Farmer Council members.

Simon Saunders, deputy chair of the NZFE Trust, says the forum was designed to equip farmers with the skills needed to become effective ambassadors for the sheep and beef industry.

“These farmers have already achieved a huge amount in terms of environmental leadership. So a key aim of the forum was to refresh their skills and give them the tools to work successfully with a range of community stakeholders to address environmental issues.” . . .

DCANZ Welcomes Establishment of Joint Government/Dairy Industry Working Group On Food Testing:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) today met with the Ministry of Primary Industries and agreed to develop appropriate engagement protocols across dairy companies and MPI where a food integrity issue comes to light.

DCANZ Chairman, Malcolm Bailey, said that the meeting was a positive step forward in strengthening closer ties between dairy companies and government to meet market information needs on food testing.“New Zealand has one of the most robust food safety response systems in the world. The detection of DCDs was not a food safety issue but demonstrated strong interest from markets for information on food testing,” said Bailey.

“Today MPI and DCANZ agreed to formalise coordination and communication protocols related to all future food testing incidents, to help meet market needs both in New Zealand and overseas.” . . .

 

Photo: Happy Earth Day everyone! Thanks to www.FarmOn.com for the picture!

 


Science Challenges announced

May 1, 2013

The Government has announced the final 10 selected National Science Challenges and a $73.5 million boost over four years to fund them.

“The National Science Challenges will tackle some of the biggest science-based issues and opportunities facing New Zealand,” Minister of Science and Innovation Steven Joyce says.

“The Challenges are designed to take a more strategic approach to our science investment by targeting a series of goals which, if they are achieved, would have a major and enduring benefit for New Zealand. . . .

The 10 challenges are:

  • Ageing well – harnessing science to sustain health and wellbeing into the later years of life
  • A better start – improving the potential of young New Zealanders to have a healthy and successful life
  • Healthier lives – research to reduce the burden of major New Zealand health problems
  • High value nutrition – developing high value foods with validated health benefits
  • New Zealand’s biological heritage – protecting and managing our biodiversity, improving our biosecurity, and enhancing our resilience to harmful organisms
  • Our land and water – research to enhance primary sector production and productivity while maintaining and improving our land and water quality for future generations
  • Life in a changing ocean – understanding how we can exploit our marine resources within environmental and biological constraints
  • The deep south – understanding the role of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean in determining our climate and our future environment
  • Science for technological innovation – enhancing the capacity of New Zealand to use physical and engineering sciences for economic growth
  • Resilience to nature’s challenges – research into enhancing our resilience to natural disasters

This covers a wide field of scientific endeavour.

I’m especially pleased the challenges focussing on high value nutrition, land and water, biological heritage and technological innovation included with the potential to improve productivity while enhancing the environment.


Opt in and targeting better than universal

May 1, 2013

NZEI is urging the government to vote for the bill to provide children in low decile schools with breakfasts and lunches.

This is a blunt instrument. It’s also an expensive and wasteful one.

Fonterra has offered all schools free milk and some have chosen not to take it because their children don’t need it or the staff think it’s too much work.

Allowing schools to opt in and targeting those whose pupils are most in need is far better than a universal approach which will be cost more and generate more waste.

 


Farming not attractive?

May 1, 2013

The top 10 most attractive industries to work for in the 2013 Randstad Awards are:

1 – Media
2 – Education & training services
3 – Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG)
4 – Public Administration & Safety
5 – Banking & Financial services
6 – Public Sector
7 – Professional Services
8 – IT & Telecommunications
9 – Transport & Logistics
10 – Healthcare

The media industry received top marks for its provision of interesting job content, competitive salary and employee benefits.

That could apply to farming, farm support and science but none of them appear on the list.

Is that because the survey had an urban bias or are those industries really not attractive?

There’s nothing in travel or tourism either though that could be because a lot of jobs in those industries aren’t particularly well paid.


Need an operation?

May 1, 2013

If you need an operation you should be hoping it’s scheduled for earlier in the week because a British survey shows the number of deaths increases as the week progresses.

The 48 hours after the operation is critical, according to Dr Paul Aylin of the London Imperial College.

“If this post-operative period overlaps with the weekend when you’ve got lower numbers of senior staff, you might have lower levels of nursing staff, you might also have reduced numbers of diagnostic services so it might be more difficult to order a blood test or a more complex scan,” he says. . .

In the bad old days when cars were expensively assembled here there was a  theory it was best not to get a Monday or Friday one because workers got careless as they anticipated and recovered from weekends.

It’s not carelessness but rostering which appears to be the cause of higher post-op mortality rates as the week progresses.

But full service 24 hours a day, seven days a week would be a lot more demanding on staff and a lot more expensive.

But maybe it’s not such a problem here anyway:

. . . The acting chief medical officer Stewart Jessamine released a statement saying the usual practice for district health boards is to schedule fewer operations on Fridays than on other week days.

`He also said a health, quality and safety commission review committee noted the risk from elective surgery in New Zealand is very low.


Making a positive difference

May 1, 2013

It’s a political truism that governments get criticised for anything they do wrong, or don’t do at all, but are rarely acknowledged for what they get right.

 
Families are better off under National

Under National:

* We’ve got the lowest increase in the cost of living since 1999.

* Mortgage rates are the lowest since 1965 – that’s significantly more left from most people’s pay packets each week.

* After tax wages have increased 22% since 2008 – more than twice the rate of inflation – superannuation is based on after tax wages so pensioners have been getting more too.

These are all the more noteworthy when they’ve happened in the face of the global financial crisis.

They’ve also happened with no increase in government spending.

Those on the left want the government to take more and spend more. That’s just churn.

It’s far better to reduce the burden of the state and leave people with more money in their own pockets.


Fast

May 1, 2013

“It’s May already? Where did the first four months go?”

“I’m not sure where they went, but I do know how they went –  far faster than most of the items on my to-do list.”


May 1 in history

May 1, 2013

305  Diocletian and Maximian retired from the office of Roman Emperor.

880 The Nea Ekklesia was inaugurated in Constantinople setting the model for all later cross-in-square Orthodox churches.

1328  Wars of Scottish Independence ended: Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton – the Kingdom of England recognised the Kingdom of Scotland as an independent state.

1576 Stefan Batory, the reigning Prince of Transylvania, married Anna Jagiellon and they became the co-rulers of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

1707 The Act of Union joined the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

1751 The first cricket match was played in America.

1753 Publication of Species Plantarum by Linnaeus, and the formal start date of plant taxonomy adopted by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

1759 Josiah Wedgwood founded the Wedgwood pottery company in Great Britain.

1776 Establishment of the Illuminati in Ingolstadt (Upper Bavaria), by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt.

1778 American Revolution: The Battle of Crooked Billet began in Hatboro, Pennsylvania.

1785  Kamehameha, the king of Hawaiʻi defeated Kalanikupule and established the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.

1786  Opening night of the opera The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Vienna.

1831 Emily Stowe, Canadian physician and suffragist, was born (d. 1903).

1834  The British colonies abolished slavery.

1840  The Penny Black, the first official adhesive postage stamp, was issued in the United Kingdom.

1846  The few remaining Mormons left in Nauvoo, Illinois, formally dedicated the Nauvoo Temple.

1848 The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta was founded at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

1851 Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition in London.

1852 Calamity Jane, American Wild West performer, was born (d. 1903).

1852 The Philippine peso was introduced into circulation.

1863  American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville began.

1865 The Empire of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay signed the Treaty of the Triple Alliance.

1869 The Folies Bergère opened in Paris.

1875 Alexandra Palace reopened after the 1873 fire burnt it down.

1884  Proclamation of the demand for eight-hour workday in the United States.

1884 Moses Fleetwood Walker became the first black person to play in a professional baseball game in the United States.

1885 Ralph Stackpole, American sculptor, painter, was born  (d. 1973).

1886 Rallies, that ended in the Haymarket affair, were held throughout the United States demanding the eight-hour work day.

1893 The World’s Columbian Exposition opened in Chicago.

1893 Richard Seddon became Premier of New Zealand.

Richard Seddon becomes Premier

1894 Coxey’s Army, the first significant American protest march, arrived in Washington, D.C.

1898  Spanish-American War: The Battle of Manila Bay – the United States Navy destroyed the Spanish Pacific fleet in the first battle of the war.

1900 The Scofield mine disaster killed more than 200 men in Scofield, Utah.

1901 The Pan-American Exposition opened in Buffalo, New York.

1910 Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Astronomer/Astro-physicist. Noted UFO investigator, was born  (d. 1986).

1915  The RMS Lusitania departed from New York City on her two hundred and second, and final, crossing of the North Atlantic.

1925 The All-China Federation of Trade Unions was officially founded.

1926 New Zealand Railways magazine was launched.

NZ Railways Magazine launched

1927 The first cooked meals on a scheduled flight were introduced on an Imperial Airways flight from London to Paris.

1927  The Union Labor Life Insurance Company was founded by the American Federation of Labor.

1930 The dwarf planet Pluto was officially named.

1931 The Empire State Building was dedicated in New York City.

1937  Una Stubbs, English actress, was born.

1939 Judy Collins, American folk singer, was born.

1940 The 1940 Summer Olympics were cancelled owing to war.

1941 – World War II: German forces launch a major attack on Tobruk.

1945 World War II: A German newsreader officially announced that Adolf Hitler had “fallen at his command post in the Reich Chancellery fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany”.

1945  Yougoslav partisans freed Trieste.

1945  Rita Coolidge, American singer, was born.

1946  Joanna Lumley, English actress, was born.

1946 Start of 3 year Pilbara strike of Indigenous Australians.

1946 The Paris Peace Conference concluded that the islands of the Dodecanese should be returned to Greece by Italy.

1947 Portella della Ginestra massacre against May Day celebrations in Sicily by the bandit and separatist leader Salvatore Giuliano; 11 people were killed and 33 wounded.

1948 The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) was established, with Kim Il-sung as president.

1950  Guam was organized as a United States commonwealth.

1955 – Flight Lieutenant Stuart McIntyre, led the RNZAF’s first combat strike since the conclusion of the Second World War.

1956  The polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk was made available to the public.

1956  A doctor in Japan reported an “epidemic of an unknown disease of the central nervous system”, marking the official discovery of Minamata disease.

1960 Formation of the western Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

1960  Cold War: U-2 incidentFrancis Gary Powers, in a Lockheed U-2 spyplane, iwa shot down over the Soviet Union, sparking a diplomatic crisis.

1961 The Prime Minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro, proclaimed Cuba a socialist nation and abolishes elections.

1965 Battle of Dong-Yin, a naval conflict between ROC and PRC, took place.

1970  Protests erupted in Seattle, Washington, following the announcement by U.S. President Richard Nixon that U.S. Forces in Vietnam would pursue enemy troops into Cambodia, a neutral country.

1971 Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) was formed to take over U.S. passenger rail service.

1977 36 people were killed in Taksim Square, Istanbul, during the Labour Day celebrations.

1978 Japan’s Naomi Uemura, travelling by dog sled, became the first person to reach the North Pole alone.

1982 The 1982 World’s Fair opened in Knoxville, Tennessee.

1982 Operation Black Buck: The Royal Air Force attacked the Argentine Air Force during Falklands War.

1983 Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.

1987 Pope John Paul II beatified Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun who was gassed in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

1989 Disney-MGM Studios opened at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida.

1990 The former Philippine Episcopal Church (supervised by the Episcopal Church of the United States of America) was granted full autonomy and raised to the states of an Autocephalous Anglican Province and renamed the Episcopal Church of the Philippines.

1992 On the third day of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, African-American activist, criminal, and victim of police beating Rodney King appeared in public before television news cameras to appeal for calm and plead for peace, asking, “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”.

1994  Three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna was killed in an accident during the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

1995 Croatian forces launch Operation Flash during the Croatian War of Independence.

1997  Tasmania became the last state in Australia to decriminalize homosexuality.

2001 Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared the existence of “a state of rebellion”, hours after thousands of supporters of her arrested predecessor, Joseph Estrada, stormed towards the presidential palace at the height of the EDSA III rebellion.

2003 2003 invasion of Iraq: In the “Mission Accomplished” speech, on board the USS Abraham Lincoln (off the coast of California), U.S. President George W. Bush declared that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended”.

2004 Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined the European Union, celebrated at the residence of the Irish President in Dublin.

2006  The Puerto Rican government closed the Department of Education and 42 other government agencies owing to to significant shortages in cash flow.

2007  the Los Angeles May Day mêlée occurred, in which the Los Angeles Police Department’s response to a May Day pro-immigration rally become a matter of controversy.

2008 The London Agreement on translation of European patents, concluded in 2000, entered into force in 14 of the 34 Contracting States to the European Patent Convention.

2009 Same-sex marriage was legalised in Sweden.

2010 – attempted car bombing of Times Square.

2011 – Pope John Paul II was beatified by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

2011 – Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks was killed by United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.


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