Word of the day

February 12, 2015

Ethnomethodology – a method of sociological analysis that examines how individuals use everyday conversation to construct a common-sense view of the world; study of how people use social interaction to maintain an ongoing sense of reality in a situation;  study of everyday communication.


Rural round-up

February 12, 2015

Farmers trading risks with barns, study shows:

Investing in a wintering barn may feel good for the farmer but it won’t necessarily be profitable, according to a DairyNZ study.

DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman and AgFirst consultant Phil Journeaux, presented the interim results of the study to a conference in Rotorua today, indicating that the jury is still out on whether investing in a wintering barn is a good financial or environmental move.

The paper presented to the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society’s annual (AARES) conference is based on analysis of a selection of five South Island farms with free stall barns. . .

Safer Farms a personal responsibility:

Speech by Peter Jex-Blake, Federated Farmers Gisborne/Wairoa provincial president to the SaferFarms launch at Wairakaia Station, Muriwai

First of all I would like to congratulate WorkSafe on the Safer Farms initiative. Improving farmer awareness and understanding of risks involved, along with education on how these risks can be minimised and or managed, is a far more effective approach than dishing out heavy handed fines which are totally disproportionate to the offence committed, and create much antagonism towards the regulators.

By nature, farmers are individuals who strongly believe in personal responsibility rather than having ‘big brother’ telling them what to do, and have an inherent intolerance for bureaucracy and attending to endless compliance documents. Family farms are still the backbone of the New Zealand economy, and often are run solely by family members. Farmers do what they do because they enjoy the lifestyle the business provides. It enables the family to be involved in the business. It is a challenging, demanding and complex business, so attending to increasing compliance and filling out of forms is not something that most farmers enthuse over, and does take away some of the enjoyment factor. . .

Biosecurity officials go to war over bug:

Biosecurity officials are raising a bit of a stink about a voracious bug that could cause havoc with fruit and vegetable crops if it gets loose here.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has scaled up treatment requirements for vehicles and machinery coming from the United States because of more frequent discoveries of the brown marmorated stink bug on these imports.

The stink bug originated in Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea but has now invaded the United States where it is causing huge losses to crops. . .

China-NZ Customs work to enhance trade:

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner says New Zealand and China Customs authorities are a step closer to establishing a system to enhance trade assurance and facilitation under the New Zealand China Free Trade Agreement.

Ms Wagner and NZ Customs officials met with the Vice Minister of the General Administration of China Customs Mr Sun Yibiao and his delegation in Auckland today to discuss facilitating trade and combating drug trafficking.

“Trade with China is critical to our economy, and it’s important that traders’ documents meet our trade partners’ standards to ensure exports travel smoothly,” Ms Wagner says. . .

 

Julio’s first day of farming – Julian Lee:

Campbell Live reporter Julian Lee – also known as Julio – wanted to find out what it was really like to be a dairy farmer.

So he left the office for the day and stayed on the Downings’ Farm in Morrinsville and did an actual shift on the job.

Everyone in the Campbell Live office was so impressed by Julio’s first day as a dairy farmer, that we’ve decided to turn it in to a series: Have you got a job for Julio? . . .

Merino fashion brand PERRIAM expands with the launch of Little PERRIAM:

Little PERRIAM, the exciting, fresh new babies and children’s merino clothing label by Wanaka fashion designer Christina Perriam, launches online and in select retail outlets today.

Today’s release of the first Little PERRIAM range follows the successful launch of Christina’s new luxury lifestyle merino fashion brand PERRIAM, which took place in Tarras in October 2014.

Little PERRIAM replaces Christina’s hugely popular babies and children’s label Suprino Bambino as she continues to deliver her new brand’s overall vision. With similar design elements to Suprino Bambino, like fun prints, bold colours, touches of Liberty fabrics and on-trend designs, the Winter 2015 range of Little PERRIAM is expected to continue to be a hit with parents and kids.

 

Leading real estate company strengthens leadership of its rural division:

Bayleys Real Estate has strengthened its countrywide rural division – with the appointment of Simon Anderson to head up the company’s rural marketing and sales activities nationally in the newly created role of national country manager.

Mr Anderson has been involved with the company’s rural activities for 13 years as the regional rural manager for the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Taranaki regions.

Based out of Bayleys’ Tauranga office, Mr Anderson will take on a strategic role to expand the agency’s national and international marketing of rural properties – ranging from horticulture, sheep and beef, forestry and viticulture sites, through to agricultural and dairying blocks. . .

 

 

 


Thursday’s quiz

February 12, 2015

1. Who said: Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love.? And since it’s probably an easy guess, from which work does it come?

2. Who was Valentine and why is the celebration on February 14 named after him?

3. It’s cadeau in French regalo in Italian and Spanish and koha in Maori, what is it in English?

4. By what name is dianthus caryophyllus more commonly known?

5. Valentine’s Day is . . .?


A tale of two conferences

February 12, 2015

 

Lincoln University is hosting an international conference on food science and technology:

The overarching theme of the conference is the future of food innovation, nutrition and technology, and it will bring together more than 250 scientists, government officials and industry representatives from more than 50 countries around the globe.

The conference also celebrates the 50 year anniversary of the International Journal of Food Science and Technology (IJFST) – one of the oldest and most established journals in food science and technology in the world.

The conference theme is a highly relevant one, with food science and technology expected to play an increasingly important role in addressing current and future challenges in food production.

A large and rapidly growing global population, deteriorating agricultural soils, increasing demand for water resources, and the need to rapidly modify production methods based on climate change are all providing a serious challenge to the field of food science.

According to Lincoln University Professor in Food Science, Editor-in-Chief of IJFST, and conference chairman, Charles Brennan, the event is a unique opportunity to facilitate an information exchange that brings together industry, universities and research centres.

“The mix of those attending should allow for some good dialogue between both industry and research, which is tremendously important to ensure that tangible and workable projects are undertaken, the right kind of issues are addressed, and new opportunities are identified.

“The conference will also provide a great opportunity to showcase the pivotal role New Zealand plays in the area of food science and product innovation. . .

This conference will highlight the scientific approach to the challenge of feeding the world.

Offsetting Behaviour posts on another conference which provides a stark and unscientific contrast:

A plucky group of scientific outsiders, presenting results outside of the mainstream consensus, hosts its own conference with presentations mostly from those in their heterodox club. They present themselves as providing the truth that is much opposed by big moneyed interests. They’re celebrated in a reception hosted in Parliament by one of the political parties. The media is expected to highlight their alternative take on reality, with perhaps some offsetting commentary from those in the mainstream; the overall effect, though, is to stoke and legitimise popular misunderstandings. . .

This weekend brings GMO-sceptics to Wellington. Presentations include “Pesticides: scilencing the ecosystem and silencing our children” and “Overweight, undernourished, sterile and dying of cancer. Our food is it sealing the fate of humanity?”

And the Greens are hosting them in Parliament: . . .

Imagine the uproar if another party was to host a pseudo-scientific conference in parliament.

A few further notes:

  • The keynote speaker, Gilles-Eric Seralini, found tumours in mice fed GM crops. But his paper was retracted due to concerns like these. It was later elsewhere republished in a friendlier outlet.
  • Vandana Shiva, also there speaking, earned this profile in the New Yorker, which concluded:

    When Shiva writes that “Golden Rice will make the malnutrition crisis worse” and that it will kill people, she reinforces the worst fears of her largely Western audience. Much of what she says resonates with the many people who feel that profit-seeking corporations hold too much power over the food they eat. Theirs is an argument well worth making. But her statements are rarely supported by data, and her positions often seem more like those of an end-of-days mystic than like those of a scientist.

  • On 29 January this year, the American Association for the Advancement of Science released a rather timely survey on scientific support for use of genetic modification techniques in food. Huffington has the summary

    In sharp contrast to public views about GMOs, 89% of scientists believe genetically modified foods are safe.

    That’s the most eye-opening finding in a Pew Research Center study on science literacy, undertaken in cooperation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and released on January 29.

    The overwhelming scientific consensus exceeds the percentage of scientists, 88%, who think humans are mostly responsible for climate change. However, the public appears far more suspicious of scientific claims about GMO safety than they do about the consensus on global warming.

    Some 57% of Americans say GM foods are unsafe and a startling 67% do not trust scientists, believing they don’t understand the science behind GMOs. AAAS researchers blame poor reporting by mainstream scientists for the trust and literacy gaps.

    The survey also contrasts sharply with a statement published earlier this week in a pay-for-play European journal by a group of anti-GMO scientists and activists, including Michael Hansen of the Center for Food Safety, and philosopher Vandana Shiva, claiming, “no scientific consensus on GMO safety.”

The scientific consensus on GMOs is as strong as the scientific consensus on climate change. Will Browning have to retract this like he had to pull back from endorsing homeopathy for Ebola?

The Greens could play at highlighting the heterodox views on GMOs a couple years ago. But when 89% of scientists say GMO food is safe?

Scientific validity isn’t based on popularity.

But if the Greens decry as deniers those who doubt the high percentage of scientists who support the concept of human induced climate change what are they if they doubt the even higher percentage who say GMOs are safe?

And is parliament the appropriate place for such a conference?

 

 

 

 


February 12 in history

February 12, 2015

881 Pope John VIII crowned Charles the Fat, the King of Italy.

1429  English forces under Sir John Fastolf defended a supply convoy carrying rations to the army besieging Orleans from attack by the Comte de Clermont and John Stuart in the Battle of Rouvray (also known as the Battle of the Herrings).

1502 Vasco da Gama set sail from Lisbon on his second voyage to India.

1541 – Santiago, Chile was founded by Pedro de Valdivia.

1554 A year after claiming the throne of England for nine days, Lady Jane Grey was beheaded for treason.

1567 Thomas Campion, English composer and poet, was born (d. 1620).

1700 The Great Northern War began in Northern Europe.

1719 The Onderlinge van 1719 u.a., the oldest existing life insurance company in the Netherlands was founded.

1771 Gustav III became the King of Sweden.

1809 Charles Darwin, English naturalist, was born (d. 1882).

1809 Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, was born (d. 1865).

1816 The Teatro di San Carlo, the oldest working opera house in Europe, was destroyed by fire.

1817 An Argentine/Chilean patriotic army, after crossing the Andes, defeated Spanish troops on the Battle of Chacabuco.

1818 Bernardo O’Higgins formally approved the Chilean Declaration of Independence near Concepción, Chile.

1825 The Muscogee (Creek )ceded the last of their lands in Georgia to the United States government, and migrate west.

1828 George Meredith, English writer, was born (d. 1909).

1832 Ecuador annexed the Galápagos Islands.

1855 Michigan State University was established.

1879 The first artificial ice rink in North America opened at Gilmore’s Park in New York City.

1881 Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina, was born  (d. 1931).

1894 Anarchist Émile Henry hurled a bomb into Paris’s Cafe Terminus, killing one and wounding 20.

1909 SS Penguin was wrecked in Cook Strait.

SS <em>Penguin</em> wrecked in Cook Strait

1909 The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded.

1911 Stephen H. Sholes, American recording executive, was born  (d. 1968).

1912 Xuantong Emperor of the Manchu Qing dynasty, the last Emperor of China, abdicated.

1914 The first stone of the Lincoln Memorial was put into place.

1915 Lorne Greene, Canadian actor, was born  (d. 1987).

1923 – Franco Zeffirelli, Italian film and opera director and designer, was born.

1924  Calvin Coolidge became the first President of the United States to deliver a political speech on radio.

1934 The Austrian Civil War began.

1934 In Spain the national council of Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista was inaugurated.

1938 Judy Blume, American author, was born.

1945 David Friedman, American economist, was born.

1946 Operation Deadlight ended after scuttling 121 of 154 captured U-boats.

52 surrendered U-boats moored at HMS Ferret,Lisahally, Northern Ireland

1948 Raymond Kurzweil, American inventor and author, was born.

1949 – Joaquín Sabina, Spanish singer and songwriter, was born.

1950 Steve Hackett, English guitarist (Genesis), was born.

1961 U.S.S.R. launched Venera 1 towards Venus.

1966 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, announced the Six Points in Karachi as the election manifesto of Awami League, that led to formation of Bangladesh.

1973 The first United States prisoners of war were released by the Viet Cong.

1974 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature was exiled from the Soviet Union.

1990 Carmen Lawrence became the first female Premier in Australian History when she became premier of Western Australia.

1997 Hwang Jang-yop, secretary in the Workers’ Party of Korea and a prime architect of North Korea’s Juche doctrine, defects at the South Korean embassy in Beijing along with his aide, Kim Dok-hong.

1999 President Bill Clinton was acquitted by the United States Senate in his impeachment trial.

2001 NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touchdown in the “saddle” region of 433 Eros becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.

2002 – The trial of former President of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milošević began.

2002 – An Iran Air Tupolev Tu-154 crashed in the mountains outside Khorramabad, Iran while descending for a landing at Khorramabad Airport, killing 119.

2004 The city of San Francisco,  began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in response to a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom.

2006 A powerful winter storm blanketed the Northeastern United States dumping 1 to 2 feet of snow from Washington D.C. to Boston, and a record 26.9 inches of snow in New York City.

2007 A gunman opens fire in a mall in Salt Lake City killing 5 people wounding 4 others in the Trolley Square shooting.

2009 Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed into a house near Buffalo, New York killing 50 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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