Word of the day

December 27, 2013

 Alexithymia – difficulty identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal; difficulty in experiencing, expressing, and describing emotional responses; a personality construct characterised by the sub-clinical inability to identify and describe emotions.


Rural round-up

December 27, 2013

Sustainably supplying native beech – Simon Hartley:

New Zealand’s largest supplier of Southland beech for the residential and commercial construction market is seeing increasing acceptance of the use of the native timber by architects.

While architects and homeowners may have been showing reluctance in using some native species, Southland beech is harvested by Lindsay and Dixon under a Ministry of Primary Industries sustainable management plan and carries independent certification from the Forestry Stewardship Council.

The fine-grained medium-density hardwood has featured recently in finishings in the Supreme Court building in Wellington, Air New Zealand’s Koru lounge in Christchurch and Auckland’s Novotel Hotel.

Tuatapere-based sawmiller Lindsay and Dixon, in western Southland, is a Southland beech supplier certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. . .

Hooked on meat: there’s no easy way to end the global habit – Michael Parker,

Raising livestock accounts for the largest single land-use on Earth. Cattle, sheep and goats, pigs and poultry occupy around 30% of the planet’s land area not covered in ice, generate 40% of the world’s agricultural GDP, provide livelihoods for 1.3 billion people, and nourishment for 800m people who would otherwise go without.

Despite this massive environmental, economic and social impact on the world, it is not a thoroughly studied industry. The results of a four-year livestock study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences compiles worldwide data that reveal the important role of livestock. While the study lays out the industry’s considerable greenhouse gas emissions, it also shows that demands to reduce numbers and meat consumption will come with unwanted consequences. . .

Venture Southland considers oat push – Allison Rudd:

Economic development organisation Venture Southland hopes to know soon whether it has been able to attract external funding for an ambitious project to develop a high-value oat production and food processing industry in the province.

The project could eventually include establishment of an oat milk plant. . .

Rural Australians are missing out on affordable fresh food

Would you pay A$9 for six mushrooms in inner-city Melbourne? Or A$4.50 for one small piece of broccoli or cauliflower in Sydney?

Probably not – but this is what rural Australians are being asked to fork out for their fresh produce.

Several studies in Australia have highlighted the disparity in the cost of healthy food between urban and rural areas in South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. . .

Farmer confidence up; still gulf: survey – Sally Rae:

New Zealand farmer confidence has continued to edge higher, but the gulf between dairy farmers and sheep and beef farmers in terms of self-assessed viability continues, the latest Rabobank rural confidence survey shows.

The final survey for the year showed confidence slightly up on the already high levels of last quarter.

The most significant gain was among horticultural producers, encouraged by an increase in prices, underpinned by strong global demand in key export markets.

Only 5% of farmers had a negative outlook for the year ahead, down 1% on the last quarter. . . .

Year in review – February – Rebecca Harper:

The dung beetle debate started with scientists and health experts raising concerns about health risks if the beetles were released in the country. Cue spirited debate about the merits of dung beetles, whether they posed a risk to human health and whether they had already been released years ago anyway.

The headline “Parched paddocks and pitiful prices” pretty well summed up the sentiment among sheep farmers with little rain, a depressed store lamb market, devalued breeding ewes and the prime lamb schedule plummeting. . .


She can do worse than twerking

December 27, 2013

The twerking was bad enough, but Miley Cyrus has come up with something worse:

Follow the link if you want to. It’s on TV3’s news site but it’s not the sort of thing I’d expect to see in news while children were watching.

No doubt it’s designed to get publicity as it has – and I thought long and hard about posting on it because I realised I was giving it more.

I decided to do so because I’m increasingly concerned about the lyrics in popular music and the videos which promote them which are normalising lower and lower standards of behaviour.

Things which used to be considered private are becoming acceptable in public; illegal or immoral acts are no longer considered aberrant and if you raise so much as an eyebrow at them you’re considered a prude.

That being the case I’ll accept the label and be grateful there are still some singers like Sol3 Mio who sell records simply by singing  and some parents who know teenagers need boundaries:

. . . THE REAL LORDE: My name is Ella, that’s who I am at school, hanging out with friends, while I’m doing homework. But when I’m up on stage, Lorde is a character. . .

FINDING TIME FOR HIGH SCHOOL: My parents are really onto it; they know what young people need. My mum takes my iPhone off me at night, because I need to do homework and sleep, otherwise I’d spend all night on Facebook and Instagram. . . .


Sometimes your number’s up

December 27, 2013

The driver of this car was heading east.

He said he went to sleep.

The driver of a vehicle going in the opposite direction saw the car swerve into the gravel, hit a bank, fly into the air, cross the road, go over the fence without breaking a wire and come to rest on its side facing west.

If the other vehicle had been a second closer, if this car had hit a post or if the driver hadn’t been wearing a seat belt, at least one person would have been severely injured or dead.

As it is the driver had no serious injuries and no-one else was hurt.

Sometimes your number’s up, sometimes it isn’t.

car


Is he respected as a person of good sense, character and integrity?

December 27, 2013

Questions are being raised over Len Brown continuing to be a JP.

But Alan Hart from the registrar for the Royal Association of JPs says it’s not that simple.

. . . “Whilst individually we find difficulty in how they reconcile that behaviour with being a JP, it’s not wrong,” he says. “It’s not legally wrong, it’s not morally wrong, it’s just people behaving as people do.” . . .

Len Brown’s actions may not have been legally wrong but I beg to differ with Mr Hart over whether they’re morally wrong and while it might be what some people do, that doesn’t make it acceptable.

That ought to matter when a JP:

. . .  should be of good standing in the community (which is not to be identified with material prosperity), and should be respected as persons of good sense, character and integrity.

The problem is that Brown is a JP because he is mayor.

. . . Mr Hart said that JPs appointed as a result of their roles were not covered by the federation’s rules, including its code of conduct.

He can’t be sacked as mayor and as long as he’s a mayor he’s a JP even though he’s clearly demonstrated his standards aren’t those not just expected but required of other people holding the office.


December 27 in history

December 27, 2013

537  The Hagia Sophia was completed.

1571 Johannes Kepler, German astronomer, was born  (d. 1630).

1773  George Cayley, English scientist, inventor, and politician, was born (d. 1857).

1822 Louis Pasteur, French scientist, was born (d. 1895).

1831 Charles Darwin embarked on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle.

1836 The worst ever avalanche in England occured at Lewes, Sussex, killing 8 people.

1845  Ether anesthetic was used for childbirth for the first time by Dr. Crawford Williamson Long in Jefferson, Georgia.

1901 Marlene Dietrich, German actress and singer, was born (d. 1992).

1915 William Masters, American gynecologist, was born (d. 2001).

1918 The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans began.

1922  Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō became the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world.

1932  Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.

1941 Michael Pinder, British musician (Moody Blues), was born .

1943 Joan Manuel Serrat, Spanish musician, was born.

1945  The World Bank was created with the signing of an agreement by 28 nations.

1948 Gérard Depardieu, French actor, was born.

1949 Indonesian National Revolution: The Netherlands officially recognised Indonesian independence.

1968 Apollo Program: Apollo 8 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.

1951 Ernesto Zedillo, President of Mexico, was born.

1955 Brad Murphey, Australian racing driver, was born.

1978 Spain became a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.

1979  Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

1987 Rewi Alley, friend of China, died of heart failure and cerebral thrombosis at his Beijing residence.

Rewi Alley dies

2001  The People’s Republic of China was granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States.

2004 Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reached Earth – the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet.

2007 – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber.

2008 – Israel launched 3-week operation on Gaza – Operation Cast Lead.

2009 – On the Day of Ashura in Tehran, government security forces fired upon demonstrators.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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