Word of the day

January 29, 2015

Ochlophobia – an abnormal or morbid fear of, or aversion to, crowds.


Rural round-up

January 29, 2015

Irrigating farmers need to optimise every drop to stave off drought, says IrrigationNZ:

Irrigating farmers need to pull out all the stops to ensure they are optimising every drop of water as the irrigation season may shut down six weeks earlier than usual in some parts of New Zealand threatening the viability of crops and winter feed supply for stock, says IrrigationNZ.

Earlier forecasts that Lake Opuha in South Canterbury may sustain irrigation until the end of February are now being revisited. “The sustained dry conditions have reduced flows across the catchment and increased pressure on our storage prompting us to review the forecast for the lake. Both river flows and irrigation will suffer when we run out of storage,” says Opuha Water Ltd CEO Tony McCormick. . .

Breakfast table a start for sheep milk – Craig Prichard:

While New Zealand can still boast the highest number of sheep per head of population, you will go a long way to buy a litre of ewe milk for your cornflakes or latte. Why is that?

Why is there virtually no liquid sheep milk for sale in New Zealand supermarkets? And why is there virtually no sheep dairying industry?

It’s not for want of trying. Groups of farmers and scientists had a go in the 1980s and late 1990s. A couple of today’s five commercial producers are survivors from the 1990s.

But these operators are hardly a pimple on the side of New Zealand’s dairy cow or sheep meat industries. . .

Otago/Southland kicks off ANZ Young Farmer Contest Regional Finals

The first of seven Grand Finalists will be determined next weekend, Saturday 7 February as Otago/Southland starts the 2015 Regional Finals for the ANZ Young Farmer Contest in Queenstown.

“This contest season is shaping up to be very impressive, every year the calibre of contestants continues to impress,” says Terry Copeland, Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers – organisers of the event.

The eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Taupo 2 – 4 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $271,000 in products, services and scholarships from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone. . .

Initiative offers free cow condition assessments:

Northland herds have the opportunity this season to be part of the DairyNZ body condition score (BCS) initiative which will see certified BCS assessors provide free body condition score assessments.

“Farmers, researchers and advisers all agree that getting cows in the right condition at calving is critical for milk production and reproductive performance – two key drivers of farm profitability,” says DairyNZ developer – productivity, Sally Peel.

“Yet every year we see large numbers of cows calving at below target condition and consequently achieving below potential production and profitability.” . . .

New Zealand’s Top Restaurants and Chefs Revealed:

The top restaurants and chefs in the nation were revealed at a long lunch held at the prestigious Kelliher Estate on Puketutu Island today, after months of assessment by culinary trained experts.

163 restaurants from across New Zealand received the 2015 Beef and Lamb Excellence Award, recognising the highest quality, most skilfully composed and superbly presented beef and lamb cuisine.

2015 marks the 19th year of the Awards, making them the country’s longest running culinary award programme and one which is highly regarded within the industry. . .

 International experts bring change:

After a horror year for fatalities in 2013, New Zealand’s forest industry performed superbly in 2014, both in terms of safety and wood production. Credit has to go to the people on the forest floor who had a chance to get their voice heard through the Independent Forest Safety Review and ask for changes to be made for ensuring workplaces in forestry could be safer for everyone.

As part of the sweeping changes coming to the forestry workplace, the ) is committed to ensuring forestry people have access to the best safety thinkers. This is the key to bring change to ensure safe workplaces continue to be achieved for forestry in coming months and years. Forestry’s initial paradigm shift came from change agents who brought new ideas to forestry health and safety. More change agents are set to bring lasting change. . .

New website signifies a united front by manufactures of possum products:

The New Zealand Fur Council today launched it’s website: www.furcouncil.org.nz. The website signifies a united front by manufactures of possum fur products in New Zealand.

New Zealand Fur Council Chairman Neil Mackie says: “The possum fur industry is a growing industry already worth $130 million to the New Zealand economy annually. It’s important that people understand the industry, its contribution and potential for growth. This website for the New Zealand Fur Council is about collaboration and making sure there is a balanced view in regards to possum fur and harvesting. Given the general public’s concern for animal welfare and conservation it is important facts and science are at the forefront of any debate.”

In June 2013 in an update on the use of 1080 poison to kill possums the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment recommended the Minister of Conservation ask the Department of Conservation to prioritise the development of national policy and operational procedures on possum fur harvesting. . .

 


Thursday’s quiz

January 29, 2015

1. Who said: If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

2.  What substance helps turn hydrangea flowers blue or pink?

3. It’s récolter in French, raccogliere in Italian, cosechar or recolectar in Spanish and kotinga in Maoir, what is it in English?

4. What are the common names for Pisum sativum and Lathyrus odoratus?

5. Which flowers would you pick from your garden to give to a friend?

P.S. When I was searching for quotes I came across these. I thought there were too obscure to use but still worth sharing:

I say, if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life. ~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Gardening requires lots of water — most of it in the form of perspiration. ~Lou Erickson

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves. ~Mahatma Gandhi


10 minute animated history of English language

January 29, 2015

Hat tip: Utopia


Govt isn’t the country

January 29, 2015

New Zealand author Eleanor Catton used the forum of the Jaipur Literary Festival to criticise her country, its people and its  government:

Man Booker Prize author Eleanor Catton says she is uncomfortable being seen as an ambassador for New Zealand which she says is dominated by neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, shallow and money hungry politicians who do not care about culture.

The Luminaries author made her comments at the Jaipur Literary Festival which were reported across India, including at length on Indian news website Live Mint.

She said New Zealand did not have a lot of confidence in the brains of its citizens and there was a lot of embarrassment over writers. . .

She also said:

. . . “We have this strange cultural phenomenon called ‘tall poppy syndrome’,” she said. “If you stand out, you will be cut down.

“If you get success overseas often the local population can suddenly be very hard on you … it betrays an attitude towards individual achievement which is very uncomfortable.”

Despite her historic novel winning the Man Booker prize, it missed out on the main prize at New Zealand Post Book Awards.

Catton said she was uncomfortable with the way her international accolade was regarded in her home country. “It has to belong to everybody or the country really doesn’t want to know about it.”

She also said she was angry with the Government, which cared only about short-term gains.

Catton said had struggled with her identity as a New Zealand writer in the past year despite being in an “extraordinary position”.

“I feel uncomfortable being an ambassador for my country when my country is not doing as much as it could, especially for the intellectual world.” . . .

She has been criticised for making the comments.

I have no issue with her speaking out, she has the right to say what she thinks.

I do, however, take issue with what she said and think that much of it is wrong.

New Zealanders generally rank well for literacy and reading. From what I’ve observed from travel we have a lot more bookshops than many other countries and we have active and vibrant literary and artistic communities here who appreciate our artists.

To say New Zealand is dominated by neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, shallow and money hungry politicians who do not care about culture and that we have a Government, which cared only about short-term gains reflects her own political views which is very much a matter of opinion and one I think is unfair.

This government is focussed on the economy not as an end but the means to help people help themselves and look after those who can’t.

It  took a very moderate approach to policies in order to protect the vulnerable from the worst of the global financial crisis. Just one example of its long-term approach is welfare where it is determined to get those who can work into jobs.

But even is she was right about the government she is wrong to confuse it with the country.

Governments come and go, some of their policies endure and some don’t. They influence what happens but they are not the country.

To be uncomfortable as an ambassador for the country simply because she doesn’t like the government is showing the sort of ignorance of which she criticises her fellow citizens.


January 29 in history

January 29, 2015

904 – Sergius III came out of retirement to take over the papacy from the deposed antipope Christopher.

1676 – Feodor III became Tsar of Russia.

1814 – France defeated Russia and Prussia in the Battle of Brienne.

1834– US President Andrew Jackson ordered first use of federal soldiers to suppress a labour dispute.

1842 Auckland’s first Anniversary Day regatta was held.

“a regatta took place between a five-oared gig belonging to the Surveyor-General, and a six-oared gig belonging to the “Anna Watson,” both pulled in excellent style by amateurs. This was followed by a match for a purse of five pounds between two whale boats pulled by sailors – and by another between two large canoes, paddled by Natives.”

1845 “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe  was published in the New York Evening Mirror.

1856 Queen Victoria instituted the Victoria Cross.

1860 Anton Chekhov, Russian writer, was born (d. 1904).

1863 Bear River Massacre.

1874 John D. Rockefeller Jr., American entrepreneur, was born (d. 1960).

1880 W.C. Fields, American actor and writer was born  (d. 1946).

1886 Karl Benz patented the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.

1891 Liliuokalani was proclaimed Queen of Hawaii, its last monarch.

1916  Paris was first bombed by German zeppelins.

1939 Germaine Greer, Australian writer and feminist, was born.

1940 Three trains on the Sakurajima Line, in Osaka collided and exploded while approaching Ajikawaguchi station. 181 people were killed.

1944  USS Missouri (BB-63) the last battleship commissioned by the US Navy was launched.

1944 Approximately 38 men, women, and children died in the Koniuchy massacre in Poland.

1944 In Bologna the Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio was destroyed in an air-raid.

1945 Tom Selleck, American actor, screenwriter and film producer, was born.

1949 Tommy Ramone, Hungarian-born musician and record producer (The Ramones), was born.

1954  Oprah Winfrey, American talk show host and actress, was born.

1996 President Jacques Chirac announced a “definitive end” to French nuclear weapons testing.

1996 – La Fenice, Venice’s opera house, was destroyed by fire.

2001 Thousands of student protesters in Indonesia stormed parliament and demanded that President Abdurrahman Wahid resign due to alleged involvement in corruption scandals.

2002 In his State of the Union Address, United States President George W. Bush described “regimes that sponsor terror” as an Axis of Evil.

2005 The first direct commercial flights from the mainland China(from Guangzhou) to Taiwan since 1949 arrived in Taipei. Shortly afterwards, a China Airlines carrier landed in Beijing.

2006 – India’s Irfan Pathan became the first bowler to take a Test cricket hat-trick in the opening over of a match.

2009 – The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt ruled that people who do not adhere to one of the three government-recognised religions, while not allowed to list any belief outside of those three, were still eligible to receive government identity documents.

2009 – Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich was convicted of several corruption charges, including the alleged solicitation of personal benefit in exchange for an appointment to the United States Senate as a replacement for then-U.S. president-elect Barack Obama.

2013  – SCAT Airlines Flight 760 crashed near the Kazakh city of Almaty, killing 21 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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