Word of the day

March 2, 2015

Aestival – of, like, or belonging or pertaining to or appearing in summer.


Rural round-up

March 2, 2015

Farmers are not bulletproof – Neal Wallace:

It was a decision hundreds of farmers make every day. 

But Andrew Fleming’s decision to take a shortcut up the spur of a hill rather than a longer route that involved opening and closing six gates was a life-changing few seconds.

It was October 2000 and near the top of the spur on his in-laws Taranaki farm, the front wheel of his quad bike lifted as he crossed a sheep rut and he believes wind, which had grown in strength in the minutes leading up to the incident, caught under the guards of the quad bike helping to tip it over. . .

Forest safety paradigm shift from international experts:

After a horror year of workplace fatalities in 2013, New Zealand’s forest industry performed superbly in 2014, both in terms of safety and wood production. The credit for the dramatic turnaround in safety performance has to go to the people on the forest floor. These hard-working people were the same ones who made their voice heard at the Independent Forest Safety Review. They did it to ensure workplaces in forestry could be safer for everyone.

As part of the sweeping safety reform in forestry workplaces, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) is bringing international safety experts to New Zealand next week for an industry-wide summit. At this event, forest safety leaders and forest company CEOs will have access to the best safety thinkers in the business globally. . .

 

Drought shows water storage vital – Katie Milne:

Water storage will never stop the types of drought which have just been declared throughout the eastern South Island.

But water retention schemes can blunt their impact and negate their effect.

It should be a no brainer.  We are, as Geoffrey Palmer so famously once put it, a pluvial country – in other words, it rains a lot here.

In simple terms, the problem is that most rain falls when it’s too cold for pasture to grow.  And, conversely, it doesn’t rain when it’s warm enough for pasture to grow.

We are so accustomed to farming in between these seasons in our spring and autumn flushes that we don’t realise that in other parts of the world it doesn’t happen that way.  It’s not even universal in New Zealand. . .

Last chance to reunite the Bee Industry:

Federated Farmers is calling on the bee industry to unite and ensure they achieve a fully integrated entity peak body.

John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bee Chairperson says “The bee industry has long needed a more united approach to its activities, whether it’s to do with the government, market access or biosecurity, but it can only be achieved with the whole industry united as one.”

“When you look at the current structure of the industry well less than 1000 are members of an industry body, whilst the industry has 5400 involved. That is our main problem because you end up with 20 percent funding 100 percent of industry good activity.” . . .

 

A2 Milk 1H profit tumbles 81% as listing costs, fees rise, lodges ASX application – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co, which markets milk with a protein variant said to have health benefits, said first-half profit fell 81 percent on costs for its planned ASX listing, lodged today, and for hiring consultants.

Net profit dropped to $125,000, or 0.02 cents per share, in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $643,000, or 0.11 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. That included $762,000 in one-time costs associated with the Australian listing, and a $1.4 million increase in other operating costs to $5.3 million, which was largely selling and consulting costs linked to business growth, it said.

Excluding those costs, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation climbed 27 percent to $3.3 million as revenue rose 38 percent to $74.8 million, largely in line with Forsyth Barr’s estimate for sales of $75.2 million and Ebitda of $3 million. . . .

Farmers need to step-up their human capital risk planning:

Farmers aren’t paying enough attention to human capital risk planning, says Hastings-based Crowe Horwath Risk Adviser Tim Ewen.

Although the intellectual property underpinning the farm’s wealth was often tied up with the owner, too little focus was placed on the “what-if?” factor, he said. In the event of a farmer becoming either temporarily or totally disabled, or passing away, planning was essential to make sure the farm business could continue to provide for family members.

“Farms rely on key people to make the business work,” said Mr Ewen. “Farmers need to take account of the human capital risk and ensure they have appropriate planning in place so the right money goes to the right people at the right time.” . . .

 

 


10 Commandments of rational debate

March 2, 2015

Relatively Interesting lists 10 Commandments of rational debate:

  1. Though shall not attack the person’s character, but the argument itself. (“Ad hominem”)
  2. Though shall not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack. (“Straw Man Fallacy”) . . .
  3. Though shall not use small numbers to represent the whole. (“Hasty Generalization” . . .
  4. Though shall not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true. (“Begging the Question”) . . .
  5. Though shall not claim that because something occurred before, but must be the cause. (“Post Hoc/False Cause”). . . .
  6. Though shall not reduce the argument down to only two possibilities when there is a clear middle ground. (“False Dichotomy”) . . .
  7. Though shall not argue that because of our ignorance, the claim must be true or false. (“Ad Ignorantiam”). . .
  8. Though shall not lay the burn of proof onto him that is questioning the claim. (“Burden of Proof Reversal”). . .
  9. Though shall not assume that “this” follows “that”, when “it” has no logical connection. (“Non Sequitur”). . .
  10. Though shall not claim that because a premise is popular, therefore, it must be true. (“Bandwagon Fallacy”). . .

These are good guidelines for posts and comments.

 

 

 


All schools aren’t equal

March 2, 2015

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced schools in Northland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay and Canterbury have gained approval to use a new allowance to recruit principals who can help them tackle significant challenges:

The Principal Recruitment Allowance was agreed as part of Investing in Educational Success, the $359 million package to help lift students’ educational achievement.

“A board of trustees can apply for approval to offer an allowance of $50,000 to help recruit a principal with the right skills to meet the particular and significant challenges at their school,” says Ms Parata.

“There are very clear criteria the school must meet in its application. These include significant underachievement, particularly for the groups of kids most at risk, serious safety or wellbeing issues for students and/or staff, high principal turnover or a number of statutory interventions.”

The five schools granted approval to offer the allowance are Opononi School and Mangamuka School in Northland, Ngaruawahia High School in Waikato,  Kimi Ora Community School in Hawkes Bay and Aranui Community Campus in Canterbury.

Ms Parata says applicants for the positions will have to provide strong evidence of highly successful performance.

“We’re supporting schools with significant challenges to do one of the two most important things they can to lift educational achievement, which is get the right leadership in place. 
“The other major in-school factor is the quality of teaching and we’re supporting that through new teaching roles and the communities of schools that will work together to share best practice to tackle their shared goals.”

Approval for the Principal Recruitment Allowance is given by the Secretary for Education.

Conditions of the allowance  the allowance include:

  • the fixed-term allowance attaches to a permanent principal position
  • both the school and the applicant must meet separate eligibility criteria for the allowance to be payable
  • the initial period of the allowance is for a fixed-term of three years; a board may seek approval to renew the allowance for a further period of up to two years (the allowance cannot be renewed more than twice)
  • approval for payment (or renewal) of the allowance is discretionary and may be subject to conditions imposed by the Secretary for Education.
  • consideration will be given to each expression of interest on its merits
  • the allowance is on top of other remuneration offered by the employing board
  • the allowance will end when the fixed period of the allowance ends, regardless of whether the principal ceases to be employed as a principal at the school; or when the principal ceases to be employed as a principal at the school.

All schools aren’t equal nor are their principals.

Schools with significant challenges need special leadership.

Those leaders deserve financial recognition of the challenges they face and for their skills, experience and accomplishments.


March 2 in history

March 2, 2015

537 – Siege of Rome: The Ostrogoth army under king Vitiges began the siege of the capital. Belisarius conducteda delaying action outside the Flaminian Gate.

986 Louis V became King of the Franks.

1127 Assassination of Charles the Good, Count of Flanders.

1316  Robert II of Scotland, was born (d. 1390).
1545 Thomas Bodley, English diplomat and library founder, was born (d. 1613).
1578 George Sandys, English colonist and poet, was born (d. 1644).
1717 The Loves of Mars and Venus was the first ballet performed in England.

1791 Long-distance communication speeds up with the unveiling of a semaphore machine in Paris.

1793 Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas, was born  (d. 1863).

1807  The U.S. Congress passed an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States… from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.”

1808 The inaugural meeting of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a Scottish learned society, was held in Edinburgh.

1815 Signing of Kandyan treaty by British invaders and Sri Lankan King.

1836 Texas Revolution: Declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico.

1842 The Grand National steeplechase at Aintree was won by Gaylad, ridden by Tom Olliver who won two other Grand national winners.

1855 Alexander II became Tsar of Russia.

1861 Tsar Alexander  II signed the emancipation reform into law, abolishing Russian serfdom.

1863 The U.S. Congress authorised track width of 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) for Union Pacific Railroad.

1865 The Volkner Incident: Missionary Carl Völkner was hanged from a willow tree near his church at Opotiki during the East Cape War.

Missionary Carl Volkner killed at Opotiki

1877 Just two days before inauguration, the U.S. Congress declares Rutherford B. Hayes the winner of the election even though Samuel J. Tilden had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876.

1888 The Convention of Constantinople was signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace.

1901 The U.S. Congress passed the Platt amendment, limiting the autonomy of Cuba as a condition for the withdrawal of American troops.

1903 In New York City the Martha Washington Hotel opened, becoming the first hotel exclusively for women.

1904 Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), American author, was born  (d. 1991).

1917 The enactment of the Jones-Shafroth Act granted Puerto Ricans United States citizenship.

1917 Desi Arnaz, Cuban-born actor and bandleader, was born (d. 1986).

1917 Nicholas II of Russia abdicated the throne in favor of his brother Michael II.

1919 The first Communist International meets in Moscow.

1923 George Basil Cardinal Hume, Archbishop of Westminster, was born (d. 1999).

1931 Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the Soviet Union and Nobel laureate, was born.

1931 Tom Wolfe, American author, was born.

1933 The film King Kong opened at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

1937  The Steel Workers Organizing Committee signed a surprise collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Steel, leading to unionization of the United States steel industry.

1938 Ricardo Lagos, President of Chile, was born.

1938 Lawrence Payton, American singer and songwriter (The Four Tops), was born  (d. 1997).

1939 Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pope and took the name Pius XII.

1942  Lou Reed, American singer and guitarist, was born (d. 2013).

1943  Tony Meehan, English drummer (The Shadows), was born (d. 2005).

1946 Ho Chi Minh was elected the President of North Vietnam.

1948 Rory Gallagher, Irish guitarist, was born (d. 1995).

1949 Captain James Gallagher landed his B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II in Fort Worth, after completing the first non-stop around-the-world aeroplane flight in 94 hours and one minute.

1949 – The first automatic street light was installed in New Milford, Conn..

1950 Karen Carpenter, American singer and drummer (The Carpenters), was born (d. 1983).

1953 The Academy Awards were first broadcast on television by NBC.

1955 King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated the throne in favor of his father, King Norodom Suramarit.

1955  Jay Osmond, American musician (The Osmonds, was born.

1956 John Cowsill, American musician (The Cowsills), was born.

1956 Mark Evans, Australian bassist (AC/DC), was born.

1956 Morocco declared its independence from France.

1962 Jon Bon Jovi, American musician (Bon Jovi), was born.

1962 In Burma, the army led by General Ne Win seized power in a coup d’état.

1968 Daniel Craig, English actor, was born.

1969 The first test flight of the Anglo-French Concorde was conducted.

1970 Rhodesia declared itself a republic.

1972  The Pioneer 10 space probe was launched from Cape Canaveral.

1977 Chris Martin, English musician (Coldplay), was born.

1978 Czech Vladimír Remek becomes the first non-Russian or non-American to go into space aboard Soyuz 28.

1989 Twelve European Community nations agreed to ban the production of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the end of the century.

1990  Nelson Mandela elected deputy President of the African National Congress

1991 Battle at Rumaila Oil Field brings an end to the 1991 Gulf War.

1992 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, San Marino, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan joined the United Nations.

2004  Al Qaeda carried out the Ashoura Massacre, killing 170 and wounding over 500.

2012 – March 2–3, 2012 tornado outbreak: A tornado outbreak occurred over a large section of the Southern United States and into the Ohio Valley region, resulting in 40 fatalities.

Sourced from NZ History On Line & Wikipedia


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