Word of the day

December 16, 2014

Truthiness – the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true; the quality of preferring concepts one wishes to be true rather than those known to be true; the quality of seeming to be true according to one’s intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic, factual evidence, intellectual examination, or facts; truthfulness or faithfulness.

Hat tip: Utopia


Rural round-up

December 16, 2014

Largest ever control campaign knocks back predators:

The Department of Conservation’s largest ever aerial 1080 campaign to combat this year’s rat and stoat plague has successfully knocked down predator populations in key target areas.

Over the last four months, DOC has completed an unprecedented 25 aerial 1080 operations over about 550,000 hectares to combat the biggest beech seed-fuelled rodent plague seen in 15 years.

Rat numbers reached extreme levels at some sites but early results from the Battle for Our Birds 1080 programme show rat populations crashing giving much needed protection to breeding populations of vulnerable native birds and bats. (see attached graph). . .

EPA 1080 annual report released:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has released its seventh annual report on the aerial use of 1080. Findings are again consistent with previous years. The 1080 regime is working as intended with the benefits of using 1080 being seen while the risks are minimised.

1080, also known as sodium fluoroacetate, is used to control animal pests such as possums, rabbits, stoats and rats, to reduce the impacts on native animals and plants, and to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis. Aerial application uses aircraft to distribute baits and is considered by users to be a key advantage where pest control is undertaken on rugged or remote land. . .

 Farmhand graduate praises training – Sally Rae:

”Oh, mate, I’m just overwhelmingly chuffed,” a delighted Emma Hollamby said after graduating from the inaugural Farmhand training programme.

Ms Hollamby was among the first intake of the pilot programme, which was launched in Dunedin in September.

The programme, which ran for 12 weeks, aimed to expose the city’s disengaged youth to rural work opportunities. . . 

Allflex acquisition set to help Australasian producers:

Allflex, the worldwide market leader in animal identification products, has announced a $250 million dollar acquisition of livestock monitoring and intelligent milking solutions company, SCR Engineers Ltd.

Based in Israel, SCR Engineers is highly regarded across the globe for its cutting-edge cow-monitoring systems, which gather data via activity and rumination sensors.

High-tech analysis then converts the data into real-time reports to help monitor individual animals as well as provide reliable data around herd performance. . .

Dairy prices end 2014 low, in contrast to where they started the year:

Beef prices end 2014 still flying high

The Reserve Bank delivers an early Christmas present

It’s a mixed end to 2014 according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report, with dairy prices low compared to the high prices at the start of the year.

“Beef prices, on the other hand, are providing farmers with some festive joy and are currently 23 percent higher than last Christmas,” explains ASB Rural Economist Nathan Penny. “Lamb prices peaked ahead of the previous two seasons this year, although prices have softened recently.” . . .

Seeka announces record returns for Class 2 kiwifruit into Australia:

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries Ltd (NZX:SEK) has delivered record returns to growers from its SeekaFresh programmes, primarily into Australia, the company said today.

In its latest grower forecast, Seeka said that Class 2 returns per Class 1 tray averaged $0.24 for Hayward Green (conventional) and $0.50 for Hayward Green (organic) in 2014, well up on last year and significantly ahead of industry average forecasts of $0.14 for conventional and $0.16 for organic green. The season also saw record returns for SeekaFresh-marketed avocados and kiwiberries.

“Lean overhead cost structures plus an Australia programme directed at major retailers rather than wholesalers, supported by promotions, planning and quality, have delivered Seeka growers record returns,” said Seeka chief executive Michael Franks. . .

Move to protect farm information:

Farmers can be more confident their information is being protected as organisations handling their data sign up to a new code of practice.

DairyNZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries have funded development of the new Farm Data Code of Practice and associated data standards through the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), with a contribution from FarmIQ Systems in the first year and co-funding from the Red Meat Profit Partnership this year.

The funding organisations are all involved in PGP programmes that focus on innovation in farming and food processing, and as part of this they are driving new developments in farm data recording, storage, analysis and reporting. This led to awareness of the need for a code to guide fair behaviour and standards to get consistency. . .

Determining the origin of insect pests:

Researchers in the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University are developing a new way to reveal the birthplace of unwanted insect pests – information that is vital for managing pest incursions. . .

Despite stringent biosecurity measures, unwanted insects occasionally arrive in New Zealand from overseas in shipping containers and imported goods. If these pests breed and spread, they could have a huge impact on agriculture, horticulture, forestry and the environment. . .

Pinpointing the birthplace of an exotic insect pest is crucial for determining whether it is an isolated ‘hitchhiker’ or part of an established breeding population. This knowledge is helpful for biosecurity agencies, such as the Ministry for Primary Industries, to decide the best approach for dealing with an incursion. . .

Fyfe Joins Craggy Range – Strategic role supports winery’s global growth:

Craggy Range today announces that Icebreaker CEO Rob Fyfe is joining the award winning winery in a newly created position of strategic advisor reporting to the board and CEO Michael Wilding.

Mr Fyfe has been working in a consultancy capacity with Craggy Range, for more than 12 months. The move formalises his involvement with the winery that was recently named the New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast.

A former CEO of Air New Zealand, Mr Fyfe says his long-standing passion for businesses and NZ brands are behind his decision to accept the role. . .

Origin Earth Drops Price of Milk:

Local boutique dairy company Origin Earth has announced a reduction in the price of their 2 litre bottles of milk.

Origin Earth director, Joanie Williams said “The price that we pay for our raw milk is inextricably linked with the price that farmers receive from Fonterra.”

She went on to say, “As you will be aware Fonterra has reduced its forecast payout for the coming season which in turn has the reduced the cost of our raw milk. As a result we are pleased to be able to pass this cost saving on our Hawke’s Bay customers and as from today, 12 December 2014, the recommended retail price for our 2 litre bottles of milk drops from $5.80 to $5.50. We also feel that this price drop will put our all natural whole milk within reach of even more customers and look forward to welcoming these new customers to enjoying milk the way it used to be.” . . . 

Origin Earth produces Hawke’s Bay’s own Chocolate Milk:

Origin Earth’s Chocolate Milk combines the popular Hawke’s Bay sourced Origin Earth cow’s milk with organic and fair trade chocolate and cocoa powder from Hawke’s Bay chocolatier La Petite Chocolat, then adds a dash of Hawke’s Bay honey and a drop of Heilala vanilla extract and that’s it. Just like our milk it is not homogenised, just pasteurised, and there are no thickeners, emulsifiers, milk powders, additives or stabilisers.

Chocolate and flavoured milks have long been Kiwi favourites and it was in response to requests from customers wanting a product made using Origin Earth milk that got Origin Earth director, Joanie Williams, into the testing room and trying out different combinations/recipes. . .

 Christmas ‘lights’ from Whitecliff:

Whitecliff’s newly released 2014 low alcohol wines give Kiwi wine drinkers a refreshing, low alcohol option, perfect for Christmas festivities and to help lighten up the season of excess.

Whitecliff low alcohol Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and low alcohol Pinot Gris 2014 are ideal wines for those people wanting to enjoy the festive season but still fulfil their New Year’s resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle.

Whether it is for a Boxing Day barbecue or a casual Christmas catch up with friends, these wines from the 2014 vintage offer reduced alcohol and calories without compromising on flavour. . .


Science matters

December 16, 2014

“It doesn’t matter about the science of climate change, the politics is settled.”

Someone who knows a lot about both science and politics said this to me some years ago.

It was a private conversation and  who said it doesn’t matter but the science does when it comes to responding to the politics.

I was reminded of this by the large number of comments on last week’s post about the issue (253 and counting!) and the inevitable arguing about the outcome of the Lima summit on Climate change.

The politics has settled on the premise that climate change is a problem and therefore demands a solution.

That solution should be based on the best science available but unfortunately too often it’s politics that  triumphs.

It is troubling that many of those who criticise our government for not doing enough to help the disadvantage advocate climate change policies which would do little if anything for the environment and a lot of damage to the economy.

That would hurt the vulnerable the most.

New Zealand’s emissions are tiny on a global scale and, unusually for a developed nation, most come from farm animals.

That those animals produce food and most of that is exported doesn’t seem to trouble those who appear to be more concerned about the politics than the science.

There’s no point inflicting economic damage to score political Brownie points when reduced production here would inevitably result in greater production in other places at a higher cost to the environment.

The responsible response to the politics must be a scientific one with a global environmental gain without unnecessary local economic pain.


Siege over, hostage dead

December 16, 2014

The Sydney siege has ended with two dead – the gunman, Man Haron Monis, and a hostage.

Terror knows no borders nor does it respond to reason but the response to the aftermath must be one of reason.

This was the response of Brian Andreas to the 9.11 attacks in the USA, it is just as appropriate to this morning’s tragedy.

awakening StoryPeople print by Brian Andreas

In those days, we finally chose to walk like giants & hold the world in arms grown strong with love & there may be many things we forget in the days to come, but this will not be one of them.

Awakening  ©2014 Brian Andreas

UPDATE:

Andrei quite rightly points out in his comment this wasn’t a terrorist attack. It was the actions of one man who appears to have been mentally ill.

The deaths of two innocent people is none the less tragic because of that.


December 16 in history

December 16, 2014

1431  Henry VI of Englandwas crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris.

1485  Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England, was born (d. 1536).

1497  Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, the point where Bartolomeu Dias had previously turned back to Portugal.

1653  Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.

1707  Last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan.

1770  Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer was born  (d. 1827).

1773  Boston Tea Party – Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawks dump crates of tea into Boston harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.

1775 Jane Austen, English writer, was born (d. 1817).

1787  – Mary Russell Mitford, English writer, was born  (d. 1855)

1790  King Léopold I of Belgium, was born (d. 1865).

1850 The Charlotte-Jane and the Randolph brought the first settlers to Lyttelton.

1882   Sir Jack Hobbs, English cricketer, was born (d. 1963).

1883 Max Linder, French pioneer of silent film, was born (d. 1925).

1888  King Alexander I of Yugoslavia, was born  (d. 1934).

1893  Antonín Dvořák‘s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, “From The New World” was given its world première at Carnegie Hall.

1899  Sir Noel Coward, English playwright, actor and composer, was born  (d. 1973).

1905  Piet Hein, Danish mathematician and inventor was born (d. 1996).

1905 A great rugby rivalry was born when a last-minute try to All Black Bob Deans was disallowed, handing the Welsh victory.

All Black's 'non-try' hands Wales historic win

1907 The Great White Fleet (US Naval Battle fleet) began its circumnavigation of the world.

1915  – Turk Murphy, American trombonist, was born (d. 1987).

1917  Sir Arthur C. Clarke, English writer, was born (d. 2008).

1920 The Haiyuan earthquake, magnitude 8.5, in  Gansu province killed an estimated 200,000.

1938  Adolf Hitler instituted the Cross of Honor of the German Mother.

1943 Tony Hicks, English guitarist (The Hollies), was born.

1944 The Battle of the Bulge began with the surprise offensive of three German armies through the Ardennes forest.

1946 Benny Andersson, Swedish musician, singer and songwriter (ABBA), was born.

1947 Ben Cross, English actor, was born.

1947  William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain built the first practical point-contact transistor.

1949 Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, later knons as SAAB, was founded in Sweden.

1952 Joel Garner, Barbadian West Indies cricketer, was born.

1955 – Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este, was born.

1960  1960 New York air disaster: While approaching New York’s Idlewild Airport, a United Airlines Douglas DC-8 collided with a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation in a blinding snowstorm over Staten Island, killing 134.

1971 Bangladesh War of Independence and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: The surrender of the Pakistan army brings an end to both conflicts.

1971 – Independence Day of the State of Bahrain from British Protectorate Status.

1972  Angela Bloomfield, New Zealand actress, was born.

1991 Independence of The Republic of Kazakhstan.

1997  Dennō Senshi Porygonan episode of Pokémon, was aired in Japan, inducing seizures in hundreds of Japanese children.

2003  President George W. Bush signed the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 into law. The law established the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail.

2009 – Avatar (2009 film) was released internationally. It became the first film to gross $2 billion and the highest grossing movie of all time.

2012 – 2012 Delhi gang rape – A 23 year old woman was viciously gang raped on a bus in Delhi.

2013 – A bus fell from an elevated highway in Manila, Philippines, killing at least 18 people and injuring 20 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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