Word of the day

May 20, 2015

Amplitude  – in navigation, the arc of the horizon between east and a body when it is rising, and west and a body when it is setting; the angular distance of a celestial object from the true east or west point of the horizon at rising or setting; the maximum extent of a vibration or oscillation, measured from the position of equilibrium; one half the full extent of a vibration, oscillation, or wave.

 

 


1951 Wellington-Lyttelton yacht race TV1 tonight

May 20, 2015

The Peninsula Cruising Club’s Canterbury centennial race from Wellington to Lyttelton is the subject of Descent from Disaster, on TV1 at 8:30 this evening.

Only one of the 20 starters finished the race and two yachts, Argo and Husky, were lost with all their crew.

Another race entrant, Astral, was dismasted. A trawler, Tawera, took the yacht in tow but as the weather worsened the tow rope chafed through.

My father was one of the crew on the Caplin. A newspaper report in his journal records the account of the trawler skipper, George Brasell:

A newspaper report in Dad’s journal records the account of the trawler skipper, George Brasell:

“Astral was carrying a light and all we could do was to stand by alongside her and keep her in view. This was a tremendous task as it was blowing a full gale and a light was only visible when she topped the seas. My crew were tried to their utmost that night and did a wonderful job i n trying to keep the Astral in sight. Visibility was very bad. We only picked up land once after leaving Lyttelton.

“About midnight on Friday the crew of the Astral signalled us to put oil on the water. We did as requested until daylight when we started to take the crew off by means of a line dragging each member through the water. Luckily the rescue was carried out successfully. I felt proud of my crew. The rescue was carried out at the height of the gale. . . “

 I posted on the race on its anniversary. Several people with memories of it or connections to it left comments.


Rural round-up

May 20, 2015

Better returns trump loyalty – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra must put more effort into understanding why it is losing market share and therefore its shareholder capital is being diluted, major supplier Trevor Hamilton says.

Family-owned TH Enterprises (THE), which has 10 big dairy farms in the North and South Islands, has “driven a bus through Trading Among Farmers (TAF)”.

Founder and chief executive Hamilton said THE directors, including two independents, had exposed the weaknesses of TAF by making perfectly reasonable and sound business decisions over the past 30 months to cash in shares, to buy more farms and divert half of the milk supply to other processors. . .

TAF delivers what it promised – Hugh Stringleman:

Trading Among Farmers (TAF) has delivered what farmer-shareholders wanted in the way of more flexibility as well as capital security for Fonterra, equity analysts have said.

The 2012 restructure created a new generation of hybrid co-operative in which farmers were able to sell the economic rights of supply shares into the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund (FSF) but retain co-operative control and voting rights.

The fund had grown to $713 million at the interim balance date January 31 with the economic rights of just under 122m shares. . .

 Sheep numbers down but productivity up – Jamie Mackay:

News last week our national sheep flock had dropped below 30 million for the first time since 1943 probably surprised no one but, regardless, it’s a damning and telling statistic for a once all-conquering industry.

When I was a kid growing up on a Southland sheep farm, two things stuck in my head from my final year of primary schooling in 1972. . .

 Apple harvest appears positive – Alan Williams:

Scales Corporation subsidiary Mr Apple is busy packing this season’s apple crop and isn’t expecting a dramatic impact on yields from hail in Hawke’s Bay earlier this year.

The harvest was due to finish about now but packing operations would continue through to the end of June, Scales managing director Andy Borland said.

The incidence of hail damage would be revealed during the packing process. Borland estimated a “bit of an impact” but many of the orchards avoided the hail altogether, a benefit of the group strategy to spread the orchard across the fruit-growing region. . . .

New Zealand Young Farmers educating Tasman teens at Stock Skills Day:

New Zealand Young Farmers is providing an educational day for Canterbury teens wanting to learn more about stock judging and handling on Sunday 24 May at the Canterbury Agricultural Park.

Members of New Zealand Young Farmers High School Clubs, commonly known as TeenAg Clubs, in the Tasman region have been invited to take part in a hands-on, interactive one day program which aims to introduce students to a different aspect of the agriculture industry.

Students will participate in groups of twelve and move through modules as they would through a typical day of competition at an A & P Show; from prepping and handling through to judging and prize giving. Prizes will be awarded to the most engaged students. There will also be a clipping and shearing demonstration. . .

RailBike adventures begin pedalling into the Forgotten World:

The visitor industry in the central north Island is set to surge once again with the introduction of the country’s first tandem RailBike experience.
Operating along what is arguably known as New Zealand’s most scenic decommissioned railway; Forgotten World Adventures has added the RailBike product to its already impressive list of seasonal rail based adventures using converted golf carts, also known as RailCarts.

Waikato Farmer and Forgotten World Adventures founder and Managing Director Ian Balme believes the introduction of the RailBike is a timely step for a business that has seen exponential growth since it was launched in 2012.

“This season we’ve provided over 6,000 clients with an outstanding experience through the historic Forgotten World and I am thrilled that we’re now in a position to build on our existing range of tours by introducing what will undoubtedly become a must-do kiwi adventure for groups of up to ten people” says Mr Balme. . .

10 reasons we don’t need organic food:

1. Organic crops do not increase yield.

GMOs have increased yields by 22% with even greater success in developing nations.

2. Organic crops increase pesticide use.

GMOs have decreased pesticide use by 37% with even greater success in developing nations.

Organic herbicides only kill the plant tissue that it touches, requiring more to be sprayed, and more repeated spraying. Glyphosate, on the other hand, attacks a specific enzyme that is only found in plants. Farmers using glyphosate don’t need to cover all of the weed to kill it, and they don’t need to spray as often. . .

New Horizons for regional South Island:

A new fund has been announced this morning to help regional South Island tourism operators capture the tsunami of opportunities from the growing China market.

The ‘New Horizons Fund’ is a regional economic development programme initiated by Christchurch Airport, as part of the “South” initiative, which sees all 15 South Island regional tourism organisations working collaboratively in tourist markets.

The programme kicks off with a budget of $100,000 and aims to support a minimum of two South Island tourism operators into the China market each year. . .


Flag of the day

May 20, 2015

The Flag Consideration Panel is inviting people to upload designs for a new flag.

There’s more than 1000 in the gallery already.

I plan to feature one most days.

Today’s is Land Between Waves by Lukas van de Wiel:

flag2

 

 

 

 

Apropos of the flag change, David Squire writes the issue is cultural not political:

. . . I’m disappointed that so many people seem to view the current referendum as a political smokescreen.

They’re not wrong in saying that this government needs to do more to address the gap between rich and poor, or that $26 million is a huge amount of money. However, the flag debate is only political in a peripheral sense.

It is primarily a cultural issue, and I sincerely hope the New Zealand public can look past the way the process is being managed, and vote for a flag that truly represents our modern, mature, multicultural nation.

I am proud of my British heritage (as well as my Irish and American heritage), but I don’t believe that the Union Jack has any place on our flag. India, Canada, Jamaica, Samoa, Malaysia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea and a whole host of other Commonwealth countries have already come to this conclusion – now it’s our turn. . .

My worry is that the naysayers are dissing the concept of a flag change for all the wrong reasons, be it that they don’t like the personalities involved (someone has to drive the change – it may as well be the government that has the power to do something about it); the political agendas (I don’t like the TPPA either, but this is a completely separate issue); the erroneous idea that our forefathers fought and died for our flag (most of them rest under headstones with silver ferns); or misinformation about how it will affect our status as a Commonwealth country or constitutional monarchy (we will still be both). . .

I’m pretty sure that most New Zealanders feel a strong connection to the land, not too dissimilar to the way that the tangata whenua have for centuries. We have an ideal opportunity to create a symbol of our country that will stand out as distinctly New Zealand, something our oft-confused current flag does not do.

For this reason, I like versions that keep elements of the current flag, mixed with natural symbols of our homeland, such as Kyle Lockwood’s version (the current southern cross with the silver fern, but red and blue rather than black) or Dick Frizzell’s version(combining the southern cross and Hundertwasser’s koru, which could also be interpreted as a wave or mountain).

Both are not too busy, look attractive and distinctive when flying (an essential characteristic of a good flag), are not easily confused with other flags, embrace all the people of our land, and represent our independent South Pacific nation to the world in a fresh and vibrant manner.

The big difference between our flag change process and the one that took place in Canada is that the Canadian people were not given the final choice of flag: after much bitter debate, it was selected in parliament by closure.

It would be a real shame if, due to the more democratic nature of our process, change was stymied because of apathy, falsehoods or red herrings.

If the majority of the population really does believe that our quaint, colonial, dominion flag represents a modern Aotearoa New Zealand, then I shall reluctantly abide by that decision. But people should be able to look at the possibility of change without some of the ridiculous scaremongering and rhetoric that seems to be filling the headlines.

 


Nature has a reason for men

May 20, 2015

Ever wondered why we need men?

Nature has a reason:

 . . .Biologists have always puzzled over why males have survived given that their only contribution to reproduction is sperm.

It makes far more sense in evolutionary terms to have an all-female asexual population which creates daughters who can reproduce rather than sons who cannot, such as the Mexican whiptail lizard.

But new research suggests that sexual competition for mates keeps populations healthy, free of disease and genetically diverse. . .

It wouldn’t be hard to think of some other reasons, would it?

Hat tip: Tim Worstall


WTO rules aainst USA CoOL on meat

May 20, 2015

The World Trade Organisation has ruled that labels on red meat in the United States that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered will have to be dropped or revised.

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the WTO has rejected a final U.S. appeal, deciding that the U.S. “country of origin” labels put Canadian and Mexican livestock at a disadvantage.

The Obama administration had previously revised labels to try to comply with WTO obligations. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said that if the WTO ruled against the final U.S. appeal, Congress will have to weigh in to avoid retaliation – such as extra tariffs – from the two neighbour countries. . .

Though the ruling went against the U.S., it’s a victory for the U.S. meat industry, which has said the labels are burdensome. Meat processors quickly called for repeal of the labelling laws after the WTO decision.

Canada and Mexico issued a joint statement calling on the United States to repeal the labelling rules and saying they will seek authorization from the WTO to take retaliatory measures against U.S. exports.

The joint statement of Canadian and Mexican agriculture and trade officials said the rules cause Canadian and Mexican livestock and meat to be segregated from those of U.S. origin. The labeling is “damaging to North America’s supply chain and is harmful to producers and processors in all three countries,” the officials said. . .

I don’t support compulsory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) but I don’t understand why labels which give consumers information on which they might want to base their purchases has been disallowed.


GDT down again

May 20, 2015

The GlobalDairyTrade price index dropped 2.2% in this morning’s auction.

That’s the fifth consecutive drop.

gdt20.5.15

GDT.20515

gdt20515


Quote of the day

May 20, 2015

New Zealand National Party's photo.

We will maintain a considered economic course so we can manage the risks and challenges that come our way in an ever-changing world. – John Key


May 20 in history

May 20, 2015

325 The First Council of Nicea – the first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church was held.

526  An earthquake killed about 300,000 people in Syria and Antiochia.

685  The Battle of Dunnichen or Nechtansmere is fought between a Pictish army under King Bridei III and the invading Northumbrians under King Ecgfrith, who are decisively defeated.

1217  The Second Battle of Lincoln resulting in the defeat of Prince Louis of France by William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke.

1293  King Sancho IV of Castile created the Study of General Schools of Alcalá.

1497  John Cabot set sail from Bristol,on his ship Matthew looking for a route to the west (other documents give a May 2 date).

1498  Vasco da Gama arrived at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.

1521  Battle of Pampeluna: Ignatius Loyola was seriously wounded.

1570  Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issued the first modern atlas.

1609  Shakespeare’s Sonnets were first published in London, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.

1631  The city of Magdeburg in Germany was seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire and most of its inhabitants massacred, in one of the bloodiest incidents of the Thirty Years’ War.

1733 Captain James Cook released the first sheep in New Zealand.

NZ's first sheep released

1772  Sir William Congreve, English inventor, was born  (d. 1828).

1776 Simon Fraser, Canadian Explorer, was born  (d.1862).

1799 Honoré de Balzac, French novelist, was born  (d. 1850).

1802 By the Law of 20 May 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte reinstated slavery in the French colonies.

1806 John Stuart Mill, English philosopher, was born (d. 1873).

1813 Napoleon Bonaparte led his French troops into the Battle of Bautzen in Saxony, Germany, against the combined armies of Russia and Prussia.

1818 William Fargo, co-founder of Wells, Fargo & Company  was born (d. 1881).

1835  Otto was named the first modern king of Greece.

1840  York Minster was badly damaged by fire.

1845  HMS Erebus and HMS Terror with 134 men under John Franklin sailed from the River Thames, beginning a disastrous expedition to find the Northwest Passage.

1861  American Civil War: The state of Kentucky proclaimed its neutrality.

1862  Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Ware Bottom Church – in the Virginia Bermuda Hundred Campaign, 10,000 troops fight in this Confederate victory.

1865 The paddle steamer City of Dunedin was lost with all hands on board.

1873  Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

1882  The Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy was formed.

1883  Krakatoa began to  erupt.

1891 The first public display of Thomas Edison’s prototype kinetoscope.

1896  The six ton chandelier of the Palais Garnier fell on the crowd resulting in the death of one and the injury of many others.

1902  Cuba gained independence from the United States. Tomás Estrada Palma became the first President.

1916  The Saturday Evening Post published  its first cover with a Norman Rockwell painting (“Boy with Baby Carriage”).

1920  Montreal radio station XWA broadcast the first regularly scheduled radio programming in North America.

1927  By the Treaty of Jedda, the United Kingdom recognizes the sovereignty of King Ibn Saud in the Kingdoms of Hejaz and Nejd, which later merged to become the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

1927  At 07:52 Charles Lindbergh took  off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island on the world’s first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, touching down at Le Bourget Field in Paris at 22:22 the next day.

1932  Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to begin the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot.

1940  Holocaust: The first prisoners arrived at a new concentration camp at Auschwitz.

1941 New Zealand, British, Australian and Greek forces defending the Mediterranean island of Crete fought desperately to repel a huge airborne assault by German paratroopers.

German paratroopers assault Crete

1946  Cher, American singer, was born.

1949  In the United States, the Armed Forces Security Agency, the predecessor to the National Security Agency, was established.

1949  The Kuomintang regime declared  martial law in Taiwan.

1956  In Operation Redwing the first United States airborne hydrogen bomb was dropped over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean;

1965  PIA Flight 705, a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 720 – 040 B, crashed while descending to land at Cairo International Airport, killing 119 of the 125 passengers and crew.

1969  The Battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam ended.

1980  In a referendum in Quebec, the population rejected by a 60% vote the proposal from its government to move towards independence from Canada.

1983  First publications of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo individually.

1983  A car-bomb explosion killed 17 and injures 197 in the centre of Pretoria.

1985  Radio Martí, part of the Voice of America service, began broadcasting to Cuba.

1989  Chinese authorities declared martial law in the face of pro-democracy demonstrations setting the scene for the Tiananmen Square massacre..

1990  The first post-Communist presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Romania.

1995  In a second referendum in Quebec, the population rejected by a slight majority the proposal from its government to move towards independence from Canada.

1996   The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Romer v. Evans against a law that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of gays and lesbians.

2002  Portugal recognised the independence of East Timor , formally ending 23 years of Indonesian rule and 3 years of provisional UN administration (Portugal itself is the former colonizer of East Timor until 1976).

2006 – Dhaka wildcat strikes: A series of massive strikes began, involving nearly 1.8 million garment workers in Bangladesh.

2013 – An EF5 tornado struck the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, killing 24 people and injuring 377 others.

2014 – More than 118 people are killed in two bombings in Jos, Nigeria.

Sourced from Wikipedia & NZ History Online


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