Word of the day

April 30, 2015

Asterism – an ingeniously polite insult or deriding of another; genteel irony; polite mockery.


Rural round-up

April 30, 2015

Dairy industry ‘paper’ flawed

Federated Farmers is disappointed to see Massey University supporting attempts to use academia to tarnish the dairy industry by pretending a student’s academic hypothesis is established fact.

“The paper is being discredited by the authors’ academic peers as being sloppy,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy Chair.

“Unfortunately Joy, Death and Foote’s conclusions are drawn off assumptions, which are out in the world now and we have to rely on the intellect of its readers to see through its many untruths.”

“We support the authors’ desire to have ‘accurate reporting of real costs’ but the student’s thesis only looks at the negative externalities under very poor and inaccurate assumptions of the dairy industry while ignoring the positives. Therefore it could not possibly arrive at an accurate conclusion.” . .

 Downward revision for Westland Milk Products’ pay-out to shareholders:

The decline in international prices for milk has resulted in Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second biggest dairy co-operative, revising its predicted pay-out for the 2014-15 season.

Westland’s board has advised shareholders that the predicted pay-out is now $4.90 – $5.10 per kilo of milk solids (kgMS) before retentions. This is down from the previously announced range of $5 to $5.40 per kgMS.

Chief Executive Rod Quin says prices were such that a $5.20 pay-out seemed possible before the recent auctions, as buyers looked to New Zealand to secure supply ahead of the dry conditions during January and February. . .

 

Rates a balancing act of who’s going to foot the bill – Chris Lewis:

Rates are being set across the country as local government prepare their Long Term Plans (LTP) for the next three years.

These plans set out the council’s long term focus, describe the activities it intends on providing and specifies which community outcomes are to be achieved. More importantly, from the rate payer’s perspective, who is going to foot the bill for these activities?

Across the country Federated Farmers staff and elected members are busy squirrelling away on council’s plans. One of the things members don’t fully understand is where our membership money is spent. It has taken me a while to get my head around all the different activities the Federation covers and the effort that geos in to keeping 85 councils around New Zealand honest and fair for rural communities. . .

Ministers welcome scientific progress in cutting agricultural greenhouse gases:

Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have welcomed news of a breakthrough by New Zealand researchers which offers the potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions from sheep and cattle by 30 to 90 percent without cutting production.

This breakthrough in methane inhibitors was made by researchers working through the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre and Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium.

“Livestock methane is New Zealand’s single largest greenhouse gas emissions source, making up 35 percent of our total emissions in 2013,” says Mr Groser. . .

Tight times force farmers to adopt new tactics – Tony Field:

Dairy New Zealand is warning farmers to prepare for tough times next season as well as this one.

It says the average farmer needs $5.40 in income per kilogram of milk solids just to cover farm working expenses and interest and rent this season. Fonterra is forecasting a payout of $4.70 per kilogram of milk solids this season.

Industry body DairyNZ says “bank balances for most dairy farmers will be heading south this winter and spring, producing some short-term but significant cashflow management challenges for farmers”. . .

Secret recipe through the seasons:

There’s a lot to be said for a fertiliser which does double duty, giving an instant boost of nitrogen to promote autumn growth, followed by the slower release of sulphur.

That’s the verdict of King Country sheep and beef farmers, George and Sue Morris who followed advice from their Ballance Agri-Nutrients representative to give PhaSedN a try.

The product is a granulated combination of SustaiN, elemental sulphur and lime. While the nitrogen offers an immediate boost to pasture, the elemental sulphur delivers a long-term supply of sulphur. It is an ideal combination where there is a high sulphur need such as sandy, peat and pumice soils or if there is high rainfall or a high risk of sulphur leaching. . .

 

 

Snapshots of US agriculture – Conversable Economist:

An extraordinary shift happened in the US agricultural sector during the last century or so. Robert A. Hoppe lays out the facts in his report “Structure and Finances of U.S. Farms: Family Farm Report,
2014 Edition,” written as Economic Information Bulletin Number 132, December 2014, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Indeed, when I hear arguments about how difficult (impossible?) it will be for the US workforce to adjust to the coming waves of technology, my thought quickly jump to the shift in agriculture.

For example, back around 1910, about one-third of all US workers were in agriculture (blue line, measured on the right-hand scale).  It’s now about 2%. The absolute number of jobs in agriculture declined, too, but the big change was that more than 100% of the job growth in the U.S. was in the non-agricultural sector. I haven’t researched the point, but my guess is that many people around 1910 would have viewed these changes as somewhere between  impossible and inconceivable.  . .  Hat tip: Utopia


Thursday’s quiz

April 30, 2015

1. Who said: Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.?

2. Who wrote Crime and Punishment?

3. It’s châtiment in French; castigo in Italian and Spanish and whiu  in Maori, what is it in English?

4. What  are the two missing lines from this verse from The Mikado?

My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time —
 .  . . 
. . . 
And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment!
Of innocent merriment!

5. An inquisitorial justice system  an adversarial one or  . . . ?


Have your say on census 2018

April 30, 2015

Statistics New Zealand is consulting on the next census which will take place in 2018.

Statistics NZ wants to hear your views about the next census and is inviting you to take part in an online discussion forum open from 30 April to 10 June 2015 via www.statistics.govt.nz

This is the first time Statistics NZ has engaged online with the public about the content of census, and it is an important step in ensuring the 2018 Census is relevant for New Zealand.

Statistics NZ has developed a ‘Preliminary view’ of content for the 2018 Census based on its review process to date. The online forum will be structured around these topics, with current thinking – including proposed changes – a starting point for discussion.

Statistics NZ is encouraging people to respond to its initial recommendations, share their views and discuss issues that matter to them with other Kiwis.

The best opportunity to influence census content is to make a formal submission, via www.statistics.govt.nz. The formal submission period will be open from 18 May until 30 June.

Statistics NZ welcomes all engagement and will listen carefully to everyone’s views, but will need to find the right balance between making changes to better reflect New Zealand today and being able compare data over time. Factors such as the length and complexity of the questionnaire will also need to be considered.

Following consultation, Statistics NZ will analyse the submissions and aim to confirm final content for the 2018 Census in early 2017. . .

You’ll find a link to the discussion forum here.

I want the census to recognise New Zealander as an ethnicity instead of just allowing people to choose it under other.

If you’re in Australia you can be a New Zealander but it’s not a distinct category in the New Zealand census.

People who are European can choose distinctive ethnicities such as Dutch. But those of us of non-Maori descent are supposed to choose the broad and inaccurate category European while people of other descent such as Asian or African aren’t recognised as New Zealanders even if their families have been here for generations unless we opt for the after-thought category of other.


Better results not ideological obsessions

April 30, 2015

A new funding system for people with disabilities was the subject of this exchange at question time yesterday:

CARMEL SEPULONI (Labour—Kelston) to the Minister of Finance: Is the Productivity Commission report released yesterday indicative of a Government agenda to privatise the welfare system?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): No. It is indicative of a Government agenda to get better results for people who really need them. We are happy to debate the kind of toolset that the Productivity Commission has laid out, but I would like to signal to that member and to the Labour Party that we are focused more on getting better results and less on their ideological obsessions. What we are doing is building a system that allows Governments to invest upfront in personalised interventions for the child, the individual, or the family for a long-term impact, and to track the results of that investment. The Productivity Commission has produced a framework that gives the Government a wider range of tools. It has been heavily consulted on with the social service sector to a draft form, and now it will be further consulted on before it gives us a final report. But I expect at the end of that that the Labour Party will be out of step with pretty much everybody by sticking to its 1970s models.

Carmel Sepuloni: Does the Minister intend to establish a voucher system for social services in New Zealand?29 Apr 2015 Oral Questions Page 11 of 15 (uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing)

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes. We are under way in establishing a voucher system particularly for people with disabilities. It is called Enabling Good Lives. It has been broadly welcomed by the disability sector. I suspect that the mass adoption of it by the Australian Government in the form of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is going to put a lot of pressure on New Zealand to further develop a sophisticated voucher system for people with disabilities. The reason why is that it gives them some choices rather than being subject to a system where the Labour Party tells the providers—

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Jami-Lee Ross: What progress has the Government made in delivering better outcomes from social services?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: We have made considerable progress in focusing on our customers—that is, getting to know much better the circumstances and prospects of those most vulnerable New Zealanders. For instance, a child under the age of 5 who is known to Child, Youth and Family, whose parents are supported by a benefit, and where either parent is in contact with the Department of Corrections—and there are a lot of those families; around 470 of them in Rotorua, for instance—is around five times more likely to end up on a long-term benefit and seven times more likely than the average to get to be in prison before the age of 21. In the light of that information, we feel a moral obligation, as well as a fiscal one, to act now to reduce the long-term costs, and we are not—

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Carmel Sepuloni: Does he agree with the findings of the draft Productivity Commission’s report he commissioned that the Government faces incentives to underfund contracts with NGOs for the delivery of social services, with probably adverse consequences for service provision; if so, does he agree that greater contracting out could harm service provision?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I agree with the first one but not the second one. The Government often does deliberately, as a result of Government policy, actually, pay less than the full cost of services, and often the users of those services need a higher level of more sophisticated service that what we currently offer them. There is no evidence at all that contracting out, as the member calls it, will reduce service provision. Sometimes that is the right way to do it. For instance, the Government owns no elderly care beds in New Zealand. It is all contracted out. That has been a bipartisan approach for many years with a highly vulnerable population. There are other areas where there are benefits from competition and also benefits from cooperation.

Jami-Lee Ross: What results has he seen from investment in Better Public Services?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: One of the first results we are seeing from taking an investment approach to public services is a much better understanding of our customers. The reports, now published 6-monthly, into the welfare liability have lifted the lid on a very complex ecosystem of dependency. Now we are starting to take initiatives in order to change the way that system works. For instance, around 70 percent of the people who sign up for a benefit in any given month have been on a benefit before. They are long-term regular and returning customers. In the past we have thought that because we found them a job once, that was the end of it. In fact, they need sustained support and employment, and we expect to be taking more measures in order to back up that initiative. But there will be hundreds of others that will involve contracting out, will involve competition, will involve the private sector, and will involve better results. . .

Carmel Sepuloni: Does he agree with the finding of the report, which he commissioned, that “Problems with contracting out are often symptoms of deeper causes such as the desire to exert top-down control to limit political risk.”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes.

Carmel Sepuloni: Does he agree that the Government needs to take responsibility for system stewardship and for making considered decisions that shape the system, including taking the overarching responsibility for monitoring, planning, and managing resources in such a way as to maintain and improve system performance?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes, the Government can do a better job of what the Government does. We are still unravelling the damage done by the previous Labour Government to our social services delivery, where that Government turned it into what I would call a dumb funding system. Communities and families have an important role as well as Governments—in fact, a more important role. In fact, one of the programmes that the commission refers to is Whānau Ora, which is designed around the radical proposition that a lot of our most dysfunctional families can actually heal some of their own problems and improve some of their own aspirations. . .

This exchange shows a stark difference between National and Labour.

National is determined to improve the delivery of social services, give people with disabilities more choices and reduce dependence.

Labour which is still ideologically opposed to private provision of services even if that gives better results.

And it’s not just Labour which has the wrong idea of welfare and the government’s role in services.

Lindsay Mitchell writes on Green MP Jan Logie’s contention that social problems aren’t solved one individual at a time:

If problems aren’t solved “one individual at a time”, when it is individuals who abuse or neglect each other, when it is individuals who successfully resolve to change their behaviour, what hope? And why have role models eg Norm Hewitt to show what individuals can achieve? Why have organisations like AA who focus on each individual owning and addressing their problem; in living one day at a time to break their addiction?

Logie believes in deterministic explanations for human behaviour. Causes are outside of the control of the individual. For instance, colonisation and capitalism cause social chaos to entire groups. Therefore the largest representative collective – government – must play the major remedial role.

And she has the gall to talk about private service providers securing an “ongoing need for [their] services”.

When for the past forty odd years  government policy has been creating and increasing social problems through the welfare state.

This reinforces this morning’s quote from Thomas Sowell: Although the big word on the left is ‘compassion,’ the big agenda on the left is dependency.


Fonterra drops forecast payout

April 30, 2015

Newsletter from Fonterra chair John Wilson:

Today we’ve unfortunately had to announce that the forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season is being reduced from $4.70 per kgMS to $4.50 per kgMS.

When combined with the previously announced estimated dividend range of 20-30 cents per share, this amounts to a forecast Cash Payout of $4.70 – $4.80 for the current season.

The 20 cent drop in the forecast means we have had to reduce the Advance Rate payments, particularly over winter which will have a significant impact on farm budgets.

The updated Advance Rate schedule will be available on Fonterra Farm Source later this morning.
There is still a lot of volatility in international dairy commodity prices caused by over-supply in the market.

We have confidence in the long-term fundamentals of international dairy demand but, right now, the market is out of balance. GDT prices for products that set our forecast Farmgate Milk Price have fallen 23 per cent since February.

Given the uncertainty, there continues to be further risk.

We also announced today that our latest estimate of New Zealand milk production for the current season is 1,607 million kgMS. This is based on recent growth conditions on-farm but will depend on conditions for the rest of the season.

Westland dropped its forecast yesterday too.

It’s disappointing but not unexpected.


Quote of the day

April 30, 2015
Helping those who have been struck by unforeseeable misfortunes is fundamentally different from making dependency a way of  life. – Thomas Sowell
He also said:
Although the big word on the left is ‘compassion,’ the big agenda on the left is dependency.

April 30 in history

April 30, 2015

313  Roman emperor Licinius unified the entire Eastern Roman Empire under his rule.

1006  Supernova SN 1006, the brightest supernova in recorded history, appeared in the constellation Lupus.

1315 Enguerrand de Marigny was hanged on the public gallows at Montfaucon.

1492 Spain gave Christopher Columbus his commission of exploration.

1513 Edmund de la Pole, Yorkist pretender to the English throne, was executed on the orders of Henry VIII.

1651 Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, French educational reformer, Catholic saint, was born (d. 1719).

1662 Queen Mary II of England was born (d. 1694).

1671  Petar Zrinski, the Croatian Ban from the Zrinski family, was executed.

1789  George Washington took the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States.

1794  The Battle of Boulou was fought, in which French forces defeated the Spanish under General Union.

1803  Louisiana Purchase: The United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation.

1838  Nicaragua declared independence from the Central American Federation.

1864  Pai Marire warriors were defeated at Sentry Hill.

Pai Marire defeated at Sentry Hill Taranaki

1865 ex-Governor Robert Fitzroy committed suicide.

Ex-Governor FitzRoy commits suicide

1871 The Camp Grant Massacre took place in Arizona Territory.

1894 Coxey’s Army reached Washington, D.C. to protest the unemployment caused by the Panic of 1893.

1900 Hawaii became a territory of the United States, with Sanford B. Dole as governor.

1900  Casey Jones died in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express.

1904 The Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Fair opened in St. Louis, Missouri.

1907  Honolulu, Hawaii became an independent city.

1909  Queen Juliana of the Netherlands,  was born (d. 2004).

1917 – Lieutenant-Commander William Sanders was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery when the Q-ship he commanded was attacked by a German U-boat.

1925 Dodge Brothers, Inc was sold to Dillon, Read & Company for $146 million plus $50 million for charity.

1927  The Federal Industrial Institute for Women, opened in Alderson, West Virginia, as the first women’s federal prison in the United States.

1927 – Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford became the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

1933 Willie Nelson, American musician, was born.

1937  The Philippines held a plebiscite for Filipino women on whether they should be extended the right to suffrage; more than 90% voted in the affirmative.

1938  The animated cartoon short Porky’s Hare Hunt debuted in movie theatres, introducing Happy Rabbit.

1938 The first televised FA Cup Final took place between Huddersfield Town and Preston North End.

1939  The 1939-40 New York World’s Fair opened

1939  NBC inaugurated its regularly scheduled television service in New York City, broadcasting President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s World’s Fair opening day ceremonial address.

1943  World War II: Operation Mincemeat: The submarine HMS Seraph surfaced in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain to deposit a dead man planted with false invasion plans and dressed as a British military intelligence officer.

1945 World War II: Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide after being married for one day. Soviet soldiers raised the Victory Banner over the Reichstag building.

1946 King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, was born.

1947 The Boulder Dam was renamed Hoover Dam a second time.

1948 The Organization of American States was established.

1949 António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, was born.

1953  In Warner Robins, Georgia, an F4 tornado killed 18 people.

1953 Merrill Osmond, American musician (The Osmonds), was born.

1954 Jane Campion, New Zealand film director, was born.

1956 Former Vice President and Senator Alben Barkley died during a speech in Virginia. He collapsed after proclaiming “I would rather be a servant in the house of the lord than sit in the seats of the mighty.”

1959 Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, was born.

1973  Watergate Scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announced that top White House aids H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and others had resigned.

1975 Fall of Saigon: Communist forces gained control of Saigon. The Vietnam War formally ended with the unconditional surrender of South Vietnamese president Duong Van Minh.

1980 Accession of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

1988 Queen Elizabeth II officially opened World Expo ’88 in Brisbane, Australia.

1993  CERN announced World Wide Web protocols would be free.

1993 Virgin Radio broadcast for the first time in the United Kingdom.

1995 U.S. President Bill Clinton became the first President to visit Northern Ireland.

1999 Cambodia joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bringing the number of members to 10.

2004 U.S. media release graphic photos of American soldiers abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

2008  Two skeletal remains found near Ekaterinburg, Russia were confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and one of his sisters Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna.

2009 Chrysler  filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2009 – Seven people were killed and 17 injured at a Queen’s Day parade in Apeldoorn, Netherlands in an attempted assassination on Queen Beatrix.

2010 – Hailed as the largest World’s Fair in history, Expo 2010 opened in Shangai.

2013 – A powerful explosion occurred in an office building in Prague, Czech Republic, believed to have been caused by natural gas, injures 43 people.

2014  – A bomb blast in Ürümqi kiled three people and injured 79 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

April 29, 2015

Imperdible – indestructible; incapable of being lost.


Rural round-up

April 29, 2015

Scientists make breakthrough in fight against methane gas – Adrien Taylor:

Scientists in Palmerston North have found a way to reduce methane emissions from cows and sheep by up to 90 percent.

The breakthrough came after trials found certain compounds inhibited methane being produced during digestion of food.

Chambers help scientists accurately monitor the amount of methane being produced by sheep, with the goal to reduce it.

Peter Janssen of AgResearch says they’re one step closer to finding a solution. . .

 

Extraordinary Focus Earns Couple Supreme Award in 2015 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Table Hill farmers Dave and Janene Divers have won the Supreme title in the 2015 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

The Divers, who farm a 1600ha sheep and beef property ‘Table Hill’, inland from Milton, were presented with the award at a BFEA ceremony on April 17. They also collected the Massey University Innovation Award, the Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award.

BFEA judges described the Divers as an “an extraordinarily focused, motivated and enthusiastic couple” who have embedded their philosophy of ‘Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Tourism, Sustainable Lifestyle’ into their personal and business lives. . .

Te Anau dairy pioneers claim supreme title in 2015 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Te Anau sheep and dairy farmers Robert and Anna Kempthorne are the Supreme Winners of the 2015 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

At a BFEA ceremony on April 16 the Kempthornes also received the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award.

The couple runs Mavora Farms Ltd, a successful self-contained dairy and sheep operation spread over 613ha in the Te Anau Basin. In partnership with Robert’s parents Bruce and Linda, the Kempthornes converted the family drystock farm and a neighbouring property in 2007, creating the first dairy farm in the district .The dairy operation now milks 550 cows on 235ha of mainly river-terrace contour, with the crossbred herd producing 231,000kgMS last year. . .

One Step Closer to Finding the Nation’s Top Steak:

The 2015 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition charges ahead with today’s announcement of the successful semi-finalists.

The competition, sponsored by Zoetis, seeks to find the nation’s most tender and tasty sirloin steak – and the Grand Champion title is hotly contested by farmers.

Carne Technologies has now completed scientific testing of all entries for tenderness and colour. The top 20 per cent now go through to the semi-final at Auckland University of Technology on Friday 1 May, where they will be tasted by a panel of chefs and foodwriters. . .

Dairy Awards Trainees Begin Tour:

The 11 finalists in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competition begin a three-day study tour of the Central Plateau and Waikato today, where they will visit award-winning farmers and gain a greater insight into the dairy industry.

“The trainee study tour has quickly gathered a reputation for enabling the trainees to see what is possible to achieve in the industry with the right attitude and aptitude,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“It really focuses them on their own career, what they need to do and who can assist them. The dairy industry has a great co-operative spirit with people willing to share knowledge and assist others to achieve their goals. That’s really what the study tour is all about.” . . .

New growth opportunities for NZ Agri as ASEAN becomes Asia’s third engine of growth – Opportunity for NZ exporters to diversify from China, Australia:

A resurgent ASEAN will provide a significant opportunity for New Zealand exporters to diversify and reduce their reliance on the China and Australian markets over the next decade, according to ANZ Bank NZ.

A new ANZ Research report finds that greater economic integration could see ASEAN replace China as the world’s leading manufacturing centre over the next 10 – 15 years and emerge as a key market for New Zealand food and agriculture products with the potential for NZ-ASEAN trade and investment to increase from US$13 billion last year to US$22–US$27billion by 2025.

“ASEAN: The Next Horizon,” released today, highlights the region’s enormous potential driven by closer economic integration, demographics, low labour costs and its strategic position at the intersection of global trade and shipping routes. . .

Opportunities for New Zealand in revival of Japanese wine demand – Rabobank:

Signs of a revival in demand in the important, high-income Japanese wine market present opportunities for New Zealand wine producers, according to Rabobank’s latest Wine Quarterly report.

After a nearly two decade-long hiatus, beginning after the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the Japanese wine market has now ‘come of age’ with the country’s wine drinkers increasingly open to new consumption occasions, wine styles and innovations, the report says.

Emerging indications that white wines are beginning to grow in popularity amongst Japanese wine consumers, albeit from a relatively low base, signal opportunities for New Zealand producers, according to report co-author, Rabobank senior wine analyst Marc Soccio. . .


Sixth commandment applies to states

April 29, 2015

Eight of the Bali-Nine have been executed.

An Indonesian firing squad has executed Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and six other drug offenders.

The executions went ahead despite heavy international pressure on Indonesia and President Joko Widodo to grant clemency. . .

People who smuggle drugs are amoral.

Those who do so in countries which have the death penalty can not expect their own governments to save them.

But that doesn’t make the death penalty right. It is abhorrent.

The sixth commandment applies to states.

It is wrong for individuals to kill and it is wrong for their governments to kill.


We’re h-a-p-p-y

April 29, 2015

The 2015 World Happiness report uses this definition:

“Subjective well-being encompasses three different aspects: cognitive evaluations of one’s life, positive emotions (joy, pride), and negative ones (pain, anger, worry). While these aspects of subjective well-being have different determinants, in all cases these determinants go well beyond people’s income and material conditions…

This confirms the belief that money doesn’t buy happiness.

However, all the countries in the top 10 for happiness have reasonable standards of living:

1. Switzerland (7.587)

2. Iceland (7.561)

3. Denmark (7.527)

4. Norway (7.522)

5. Canada (7.427)

6. Finland (7.406)

7. Netherlands (7.378)

8. Sweden (7.364)

9. New Zealand (7.286)

10. Australia (7.284)

Although not all those in the bottom 10 are poor:

44. Uzbekistan (6.003)

45. Slovakia (5.995)

46. Japan (5.987)

47. South Korea (5.984)

48. Ecuador (5.975)

49. Bahrain (5.960)

50. Italy (5.948)

51. Bolivia (5.890)

52. Moldova (5.889)

53. Paraguay (5.878)

 

 


Quote of the day

April 29, 2015

 . . . Had New Zealand’s economic growth rate been only a percentage point higher since 1970, the country would today have higher per-capita GDP than Australia and be fourth in the OECD instead of languishing below the median.

Further, economic growth is the single best way we can prepare against the range of natural calamities to which New Zealand can be subject. In our report on the merits of economic growth, we found that wealthier countries are better protected against even earthquakes.

Richer places can afford safer buildings. Over the next twenty years, a 1% growth rate would reduce the number of deaths in a substantial Wellington earthquake by about twelve percent. But at a 4% growth rate, the number of fatalities could be cut by over 60%.

As Wellington and Christchurch continue their unwelcome wobbles, let’s not forget the role growth can play in making us all a little safer. Eric Crampton


April 29 in history

April 29, 2015

711  Islamic conquest of Hispania: Moorish troops led by Tariq ibn-Ziyad landed at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus).

1429 Joan of Arc arrived to relieve the Siege of Orleans.

1483 Gran Canaria, the main of the Canary Islands was conquered by the Kingdom of Castile, an important step in the expansion of Spain.

1624 Cardinal Richelieu became Prime Minister of Louis XIII.

1672 Franco-Dutch War: Louis XIV of France invaded the Netherlands.

1707  Scotland and England unified in United Kingdom of Great Britain.

1770 James Cook arrived at and named Botany Bay, Australia.

1832 Évariste Galois released from prison.

1861 American Civil War: Maryland’s House of Delegates voted not to secede from the Union.

1863 William Randolph Hearst, American publisher, was born (d. 1951).

1864 – The British attacked the Ngāi Te Rangi stronghold of Pukehinahina (Gate Pā) with the heaviest artillery bombardment and one of the largest forces used in the New Zealand Wars.

1864 The Theta Xi fraternity was founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

1869 – The assault on Gate Pa started.

Assault on Gate Pā

1881 – The steamer Tararua, en route from Port Chalmers to Melbourne, struck a reef at Waipapa Point, Southland. Of the 151 passengers and crew on board, 131 were lost including 12 women and 14 children.

1882  The “Elektromote” – forerunner of the trolleybus – was tested by Ernst Werner von Siemens in Berlin.

1899 Duke Ellington, American jazz pianist and bandleader, was born (d. 1974).

1901 Hirohito, Emperor of Japan, was born (d. 1989).

1903 A 30 million cubic-metre landslide killed 70 in Frank, Alberta.

1915 Donald Mills, American singer (Mills Brothers), was born (d. 1999).

1916 World War I: The British 6th Indian Division surrendered to Ottoman Forces at Kt in one of the largest surrenders of British forces up to that point.

1916 Easter Rebellion: Martial law in Ireland was lifted and the rebellion was officially over with the surrender of Irish nationalists to British authorities in Dublin.

1933 Rod McKuen, American poet and composer, was born.

1934 Otis Rush, American musician, was born.

1938 Bernard Madoff, American convict, who was a financier and Chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange, was born.

1945 World War II: The German Army in Italy unconditionally surrendered to the Allies.

1945 World War II: Start of Operation Manna.

1945 World War II – Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler married his long-time partner Eva Braun in a Berlin bunker and designated Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor.

1945 – The Dachau concentration camp was liberated by United States troops.

1945 – The Italian commune of Fornovo di Taro was liberated from German forces by Brazilian forces.

1946  Former Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tojo and 28 former Japanese leaders were indicted for war crimes.

1952 Anzus came into force.

ANZUS comes into force

1953 The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast showed an episode of Space Patrol on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV.

1954 Jerry Seinfeld, American comedian, was born.

1957 – Daniel Day-Lewis, British-Irish actor, was born.

1958 Michelle Pfeiffer, American actress, was born.

1958 Eve Plumb, American actress, was born.

1965 Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) successfully launched its seventh rocket in its Rehber series.

1967 After refusing induction into the United States Army the day before (citing religious reasons), Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing title.

1968  The controversial musical Hair opened on Broadway.

1970 Andre Agassi, American tennis player, was born.

1970 Vietnam War: United States and South Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia to hunt Viet Cong.

1974 President Richard Nixon announced the release of edited transcripts of White House tape recordings related to the Watergate  scandal.

1975 Vietnam War: Operation Frequent Wind: The U.S. began to evacuate U.S. citizens from Saigon prior to an expected North Vietnamese takeover. U.S. involvement in the war ended.

1979  Jo O’Meara, British singer (S Club), was born.

1980 Corazones Unidos Siempre Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Inc. was founded.

1980 Kian Egan, Irish singer (Westlife), was born.

1986 Roger Clemens then of the Boston Red Sox set a major league baseball record with 20 strikeouts in nine innings against the Seattle Mariners.

1986 A fire at the Central library of the City of Los Angeles Public Library damaged or destroyed 400,000 books and other items.

1991 A cyclone struck the Chittagong district of southeastern Bangladesh with winds of around 155 mph, killing at least 138,000 people and leaving as many as 10 million homeless.

1992  Riots in Los Angeles  following the acquittal of police officers charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King. Over the next three days 53 people were killed and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.

1997 The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 enters into force, outlawing the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons by its signatories.

1999 The Avala TV Tower near Belgrade was destroyed in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

2002 The United States was re-elected to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, one year after losing the seat that it had held for 50 years.

2004 Dick Cheney and George W. Bush testified before the 9/11 Commission in a closed, unrecorded hearing in the Oval Office.

2004  Oldsmobile built its final car ending 107 years of production.

2005 Syria completed withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation.

2005 – New Zealand’s first civil union took place.

2011 – Wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Kate Middleton.

2013 – A powerful explosion occurred in an office building in Prague, Czech Republic, believed to have been caused by natural gas, injures 43 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.


Word of the day

April 28, 2015

Curglaff  – the physical sensation or shock the body experiences from going in to cold water.


Rural round-up

April 28, 2015

Report card: could do better – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s Shareholders Council has told the co-operative’s directors and senior management the recent interim results were below the council’s expectations.

Council chairman Ian Brown said shareholders would rightfully feel disappointed that, in particular, an increase in dividend was not delivered.

He was introducing the FSC April report to all shareholders, one of four written reports a year. . .

Fighting nature with nature:

New research into sustainable pest management controls might soon offer avocado growers an effective non-chemical control against leafrollers.

The research, being conducted by scientists at Plant & Food Research aims to use the pests’ own sex pheromones to disrupt the mating process in an effort to reduce populations.

“Sex pheromones, the natural chemicals released by the females of many insect species to attract mates, can be used to disrupt communication between insects” says Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Max Suckling. . .

Fileding scientist’s seed drill a Rolls Royce system – Gerard Hutching:

Feilding soil scientist and inventor Dr John Baker is on a mission to save the world’s soils and has created a special machine that has been described as the “Rolls Royce” of direct drill seed machines.

With a turnover of between $3-4 million a year, Baker’s cross-slot no-tillage drills are sold in 18 countries and used extensively in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

As the earth’s soil quality diminishes, Baker’s drill has been touted by its designer and enthusiastic supporters as a potential saviour.

Recently researchers from the University of Sheffield found that soils under Britain’s allotments were significantly healthier than soils that had been intensively farmed. They said the UK had only 100 harvests left in its soil. . .

Boffins dirty on soil profile

New Zealand’s commitment to participating in the United Nation’s International Year of Soils has been challenged by some soil scientists.

With four months of the year already gone, Dr Doug Edmeades has questioned how much effort the NZ scientific community was making during the year for raising the profile of soils’ contribution to the economy and the potential careers on offer.

 “I was recently at a seminar in Wellington that described the gap that exists between scientists and society.  . .

Westpac honours rural women at Rocky:

PHILANTHROPIST Turia Pitt will join Rural Women’s Award state winners at a Beef Australia 2015 high tea in Rockhampton next week.

Westpac Agribusiness will celebrate the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award by honouring the winners’ quintet at the Women in Business High Tea, led by guest speakers Ms Pitt and Juliette Wright, founder of Givit. Westpac has been a long-term sponsor of the RIRDC Award.

 Susan Bower, head of Agribusiness at Westpac, said the bank was pleased to host the inspirational group at an event which would bring highly skilled women into agribusiness settings to share their skills.  . .

Automation marks new age for ag – Rebecca Sharpe:

RISING costs and difficulty in sourcing skilled labour have contributed to farmers seeking automated machinery systems for their operations, particularly in broadacre cropping enterprises.

Technology in this area continues to evolve quickly, with an Australian-first Yanmar driver-less tractor prototype revealed earlier this year in the Riverina.

But the days of driver-less machines haven’t yet been reached in Australia, according to Chesterfield Australia Integrated Solutions manager Paul Slatter, Brisbane, Queensland. . .


Bureaucracy trumps science & animal welfare

April 28, 2015

This is the triumph of bureaucracy over science and animal welfare:

British organic farmers are being forced to treat their livestock with homeopathic remedies under new European Commission rules branded ‘scientifically illiterate’ by vets.

Although homeopathy has been branded as ‘rubbish’ by the government’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, organic farmers have been told they must try it first under a new EU directive which came into force in January.

The regulation means that animals could be left diseased or in pain for far longer than necessary and organic meat could end up containing higher levels of bacteria, vets have warned.

John Blackwell, President of the British Veterinary Association, said: “We should always use medicines which have a strong science base and homeopathic remedies are not underpinned by any strong science.

“Disease is painful and farmers have an obligation to reduce that pain and not allow their animals to suffer so this regulation is troubling. It may lead to serious animal health and welfare detriment.

“If animals are not treated promptly it could lead to an underlying level of pathogen which could mean that the animal was no longer fit for human consumption.” . . .

The directive states that: “it is a general requirement…for production of all organic livestock that (herbal) and homeopathic products… shall be used in preference to chemically-synthesised allopathic veterinary treatment or antibiotics.”  . .

The Department for Food and Rural Affairs admitted that organic farmers were bound by the new regulations but said they could resort to other means, such as antibiotics, without losing their ‘organic’ status if homeopathic remedies proved to be ineffective.  . .

But what about the suffering of the animals while they wait for treatment that will work?

Vets in Norway have also called on their country’s Food Standards Agency to delay fully implementing the directive in protest at the “ridiculous” guidelines.

“We think it’s totally unacceptable from a scientific point of view because there’s no scientific basis for using homeopathy,” Ellef Blakstad, scientific director of the Norwegian Veterinary Association, adding that the move was “scientifically illiterate”.

“If you start using homeopathy, you prolong the time when the animals are not getting adequate treatment and that’s a threat to animal welfare.” . .

Antibiotics should not be used indiscriminately but no good farmer or vet should let animals suffer for bureaucracy when there’s a scientifically proven way to treat the problem.

A friend who was overseeing an organic farm received a call from the manager telling him sheep were dying in large numbers.

The overseer took one look at the stock and told the manager to drench them.

The farm lost its organic status but the stock survived and thrived.

Hat tip: Tim Worstall


Quote of the day

April 28, 2015

We still carry this old caveman-imprint idea that we’re small, nature’s big, and it’s everything we can manage to hang on and survive. When big geophysical events happen – a huge earthquake, tsunami, or volcanic eruption – we’re reminded of that.James Balog


April 28 in history

April 28, 2015

357 – Emperor Constantius II entered Rome for the first time to celebrate his victory over Magnus Magnentius.

1192  Assassination of Conrad of Montferrat (Conrad I), King of Jerusalem, in Tyre, two days after his title to the throne was confirmed by election.

1253 Nichiren, a Japanese Buddhist monk, propounded Nam Myoho Renge Kyo for the very first time and declared it to be the essence of Buddhism, in effect founding Nichiren Buddhism.

1611 Establishment of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines, the largest Catholic university in the world.

1715 Franz Sparry, composer, was born (d. 1767).

1758 James Monroe, 5th President of the United States, was born. (d. 1831).

1789 Mutiny on the Bounty: Captain William Bligh and 18 sailors were set adrift; the rebel crew returned to Tahiti briefly and then set sail for Pitcairn Island.

1792  France invaded the Austrian Netherlands (present day Belgium), beginning the French Revolutionary War.

1796  The Armistice of Cherasco was signed by Napoleon Bonaparte and Vittorio Amedeo III, the King of Sardinia, expanding French territory along the Mediterranean coast.

1862 American Civil War: Admiral David Farragut captured New Orleans.

1888 – The first British rugby team to tour New Zealand played its first match, against Otago at the Caledonian Ground in South Dunedin.

1902  Using the ISO 8601 standard Year Zero definition for the Gregorian calendar preceded by the Julian calendar, the one billionth minute since the start of January 1, Year Zero occured at 10:40 AM on this date.

1912 Odette Sansom, French resistance worker, was born (d. 1995).

1916 Ferruccio Lamborghini, Italian automobile manufacturer, was born (d. 1993).

1920 Azerbaijan was added to the Soviet Union.

1922 Alistair MacLean, Scottish novelist, was born (d. 1987).

1926 Harper Lee, American author, was born.

1930 The first night game in organised baseball history took place in Independence, Kansas.

1932 A vaccine for yellow fever was announced for use on humans.

1937 – Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, was born (d. 2006).

1941 – Jack Hinton won the Victoria Cross.

1941 Ann-Margret, Swedish-born actress, was born.

1945 Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were executed by a firing squad consisting of members of the Italian resistance movement.

1947 Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the Kon-Tiki to prove that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia.

1948 Terry Pratchett, English author, was born (d. 2015).

1949  Former First Lady of the Philippines Aurora Quezon, 61, was assassinated while en route to dedicate a hospital in memory of her late husband; her daughter and 10 others are also killed.

1950 Jay Leno, American comedian and television host, was born.

1950  Bhumibol Adulyadej married Queen Sirikit.

1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower resigned as Supreme Commander of NATO.

1952 Occupied Japan: The United States occupation of Japan ended with the ratification of Treaty of San Francisco.

1952 The Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty (Treaty of Taipei) iwa signed in Taipei between Japan and the Republic of China to officially end the Second Sino-Japanese War.

1956 Jimmy Barnes, Scottish-born singer, was born.

1960  Ian Rankin, Scottish novelist, was born.

1965 United States troops landed in the Dominican Republic to “forestall establishment of a Communist dictatorship” and to evacuate U.S. Army troops.

1967  Expo 67 opened to the public in Montreal.

1969 Charles de Gaulle resigned as President of France.

1969 – Terence O’Neill announced his resignation as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

1970 Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon formally authorised American combat troops to fight communist sanctuaries in Cambodia.

1974 Penélope Cruz, Spanish actress, was born.

1977 The Red Army Faction trial ended with Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe found guilty of four counts of murder and more than 30 counts of attempted murder.

1977 The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure was signed.

1978 President of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, was overthrown and assassinated in a coup led by pro-communist rebels.

1981  Jessica Alba, American actress, was born.

1986 The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise became the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal, navigating from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to relieve the USS Coral Sea.

1987 American engineer Ben Linder was killed in an ambush by U.S. funded Contras in northern Nicaragua.

1988  Near Maui, Hawaii, flight attendant Clarabelle “C.B.” Lansing was blown out of Aloha Flight 243, a Boeing 737 and fell to her death when part of the plane’s fuselage rips open in mid-flight.

1994  Former C.I.A. official Aldrich Ames pleaded guilty to giving U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union and later Russia.

1996 Whitewater controversy: Bill Clinton gave a 4½ hour videotaped testimony for the defence.

1996 – In Tasmania Martin Bryant went on a shooting spree, killing 35 people and seriously injuring 21 more.

1997 – The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention goes into effect, with Russia, Iraq and North Korea among the nations that have not ratified the treaty.

2001 – Millionaire Dennis Tito became the world’s first space tourist.

2008 – A train collision in Shandong, China, killed 72 people and injured 416 more.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

April 27, 2015

Deoppilate – free from or remove obstruction; free a passage through.


%d bloggers like this: