Word of the day

May 26, 2015

Thanatology – the scientific study of death and the practices associated with it, including the study of the needs of the terminally ill and their families; the description or study of the phenomena of death and of psychological mechanisms for coping with them; the study of death and its surrounding circumstances.


Greenwash, exercise and soup

May 26, 2015

Discussion with Simon Mercep on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* Envormation – a New Zealand-based website which aims to help consumers cut through the greenwash by understanding key environmental information about products and services. (hat tip Idealog).

*  How to fall in love with exercise.

And

* The Soup Chick


Rural round-up

May 26, 2015

Arable farmers voice safety concerns – Jemma Brackebush:

Arable farmers concerned with how changes to the Health and Safety Act may affect them are meeting WorkSafe representatives in Southland this week.

The Foundation for Arable Research’s group, Women in Arable, have organised sessions after farmers voiced uncertainty about the changes that are due to come into force later this year.

Spokesperson Anna Heslop said one session had already been held in Ashburton, where they found many people were sceptical of the new rules. . .

Fonterra unit investors kick unit values after interim result – Tim Fulton:

Investors are punishing Fonterra for a disappointing balance sheet and dividend payments to farmers, a Canterbury-based share advisor says.

The value of Fonterra’s listed investment units has dropped up to 20 per cent since the co-op’s interim result two months ago.

The sharemarket “wasn’t too happy” with Fonterra’s interim financial result on March 25 and the feeling had contributed to the unit price in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund falling from about $6 per unit to $4.80, Hamilton Hindin Green authorised advisor Grant Davies said. . .

Westland’s Farm Excellence roll-out close to 100%:

The first stage of the roll-out of Westland Milk Products’ new Farm Excellence (FarmEx) programme has almost been completed, with 97 percent of farms having had their first FarmEx assessment.

Launched in 2014, FarmEx works on the basic philosophy that what happens behind the farm gate impacts on Westland’s ability to sell in a highly competitive marketplace. The programme sets high quality production, environmental, animal welfare and sustainability standards for Westland’s shareholder suppliers.

The move has been welcomed by the Department of Conservation on the West Coast because of the positive environmental spin-offs that the programme entails. . .

Awards experience gave confidence – Sally Rae:

Dave and Janene Divers first entered the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards four years ago.

At that time, they were newcomers to running Table Hill, a 1650ha family owned property 5km inland from Milton.

While they did not get past the first round of judging, they enjoyed the process and gained a professional look at their business, along with confirmation that their vision was ”on the right track”, Mrs Divers said.

It gave them the confidence to move forward with their ideas and goals and they decided to enter again when they had a chance of injecting ”a bit of their personalities” into the business and achieving some of their goals. . .

Delmont Angus bull fetches top price of $15,000

A top price of $15,000 was achieved at the 15th Delmont Angus bull sale held recently on farm at Kuriwao.

John and Tracey Cochrane sold 25 bulls for an average price of $6388, with a top price of $15,000, to Jeff Farm at Kaiwera.

Bev and Malcolm Helm, from Rough Ridge Shorthorns, at Gimmerburn, sold eight bulls for an average of $5000 and a top price of $9000, to Rob and Sally Peter, from Cape Campbell, Marlborough. . .

No farm ‘fire-sale’ scenario from lower milk payouts says real estate industry leader:

Lower dairying payouts will lead to a tightening of the proverbial belt around many Canterbury farm budgets – but not a rush to the mass selling of productive units, according to the head of a leading real estate agency in the region.

Bayleys Canterbury director Bill Whalan said the full impact of the latest lowered Fonterra payout forecast would depend on how long prices remained depressed – but any talk of ‘fire sale pricing’ was wide of the mark.

“A vast majority of Canterbury dairy farmers are in a position to deal with this season’s low payout – and therefore a rush of distressed farm sales is not anticipated,” Mr Whalan said. . .


Woolly words

May 26, 2015

Drought is no laughing matter but a North Canterbury has found an opportunity for humour while feeding out:

. . .Parnassus sheep farmer Mike Bowler has been hit hard by the drought, which has crippled farming operations throughout North Canterbury.

The harsh conditions have scorched his fields, requiring Bowler to drop thousands of dollars of feed each day for his stock.

To vent his frustration, each day he scatters the feed into a different pattern, manipulating his sheep into a giant roadside billboard.

One day it was the shape of a kiwi; other days it has been the names of his grandchildren.

Bowler’s most popular design expressed in simple terms what many of his fellow farmers are thinking – “bugger”.

His sheep art had been a useful way for dealing with his frustration, he said.

“I feel that if I’m pouring that much money into the ground I might as well get some benefit from it, even if it is just a smile from somebody going along the road.” . . .


Flag of the day

May 26, 2015

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

There’s more than 1500 in the gallery already.

Andrew McMillan blogs on the five essentials of a new flag:

1. Meet the design guidelines . . .

2 Remove the Union Jack. . .

3. Acknowledge Maori. . .

4. Have a bold recognisable symbol  . . .

5. Use our national colours . . .

He says few of those submitted meet these criteria, among those that do are:

NZ Flag Proposals2


Snow good but . . .

May 26, 2015

Ski fields didn’t have as much snow as they’d like last year and it wasn’t just the ski season that was affected.

Less snow on the mountains meant less snow melt to feed rivers and underground aquifers.

That combined with drought over summer and into autumn to put a lot of farms under severe pressure.

Good dumpings of snow a couple of weeks ago and the follow up in the last two days is good for ski fields, aquifers, rivers and farming.

But it’s not all good news. Met Service is forecasting the return of El Niño that could dent agricultural production:

. . .The El Nino weather pattern that meteorological forecasters are predicting this year is likely to reduce New Zealand’s agricultural output, based on historic data, economists at Bank of New Zealand say.

Historic data compiled by BNZ suggests a positive co-relation between New Zealand’s agricultural growth and the Southern Oscillation Index, a standardised index of sea level pressure differences between Tahiti and Darwin that is used to determine whether El Nino or La Nina is present.

The index dropped below 15 in May, a level that indicates the coming of El Nino. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology confirmed this month that the Pacific Ocean has officially entered into an El Nino pattern that has a 70 percent chance to last through the southern winter and spring.

El Nino typically increases the likelihood of drought in the east of New Zealand as a result of the strong frequent winds it brings from the west and south west, BNZ said. . .

Winters are supposed to be cold but cold weather continuing into spring holds back growth and  a continuation of drought will hit farms and those who depend on them hard.

Most farms and businesses can get through one season of drought but a second one or a continuation of the first puts even the best under a lot of pressure.

 

 


Quote of the day

May 26, 2015
Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts. E.B.White

May 26 in history

May 26, 2015

451   Battle of Avarayr between Armenian rebels and the Sassanid Emire.

113 5 Alfonso VII of León and Castile was crowned in the Cathedral of Leon as Imperator totius Hispaniae, “Emperor of All the Spains”.

1293 An earthquake in  Kamakura, Japan  killed about 30,000.

1328  William of Ockham, Franciscan Minister-General Michael of Cesena and two other Franciscan leaders secretly left  Avignon, fearing a death sentence from Pope John XXII.

1538  Geneva expelled John Calvin and his followers from the city.

1637  Pequot War: A combined Protestant and Mohegan force under Captain John Mason attacked a Pequot village massacring approximately 500 people.

1647 Alse Young was the first person executed as a witch in the American colonies.

1670  In Dover, England, Charles II of Great Britain and Louis XIV of France signed the Secret Treaty of Dover.

1689 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, English writer was born (d. 1762).

1736 Battle of Ackia: British and Chickasaw soldiers repelled a French and Choctaw attack on the Chickasaw village of Ackia.

1770 The Orlov Revolt, a first attempt to revolt against the Turks before the Greek War of Independence, ended in disaster for the Greeks.

1783  A Great Jubilee Day was held in Trumbull, Connecticut to celebrate the end of the American Revolution.

1822 116 people die din the Grue Church fire, the biggest fire disaster in Norway’s history.

1828 Mysterious feral child Kaspar Hauser was discovered wandering the streets of Nuremberg.

1830  The Indian Removal Act was passed by the U.S. Congress.

1857 Dred Scott was emancipated by the Blow family, his original owners.

1863 Robert Fitzsimmons, Boxing champion who lived in Timaru, was born (d. 1917).

 
Robert Fitzsimmons.jpg

1865 American Civil War: Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi division, was the last general of the Confederate Army to surrender, at Galveston, Texas.

1868 The impeachment trial of U.S. President Andrew Johnson ended with Johnson being found not guilty by one vote.

1869  Boston University was chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

1879  Parihaka Maori, led by Te Whiti and Tohu Kakahi, embarked upon a ploughing campaign to protest against European settlement on confiscated Maori land.

Parihaka ploughing campaign begins

1879  Russia and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Gandamak establishing an Afghan state.

1883  Mamie Smith, American singer , was born (d. 1946).

1886 Al Jolson, American singer, was born (d. 1950).

1889 Opening of the first Eiffel Tower lift to the public.

1896 Nicholas II became  Tsar of Russia.

1896  Charles Dow  published the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

1904  George Formby, English singer and comedian, was born (d. 1961).

1906 Vauxhall Bridge was opened in London.

1907 John Wayne, American actor, was born (d. 1979).

1908 At Masjed Soleyman (مسجد سليمان) in southwest Persia  the first major commercial oil strike in the Middle East was made.

1915 Antonia Forest, British children’s author, was born (d. 2003).

1917  An F4btornado ripped Mattoon, Illinois apart, killing 101 people and injuring 689. It was the world’s longest-lasting tornado, lasting for over 7 hours and traveling 293 miles.

1918  Armenia defeated the Ottoman Army in the Battle of Sardarapat.

1918  The Democratic Republic of Georgia was established.

1920 Peggy Lee, American singer, was born (d. 2002).

1923  Roy Dotrice, British actor, was born.

1926 Miles Davis, American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer, was born  (d. 1991).

1928 The first motion picture was projected publicly in Athens.

1936  In the House of Commons of Northern Ireland, Tommy Henderson began speaking on the Appropriation Bill. By the time he sat down in the early hours of the following morning, he had spoken for 10 hours.

1938  The House Un-American Activities Committee began its first session.

1940  World War II: Battle of Dunkirk – Allied  forces began a massive evacuation from Dunkirk, France.

1942  World War II: The Battle of Bir Hakeim.

1945  Garry Peterson, Canadian drummer (The Guess Who), was born.

1948 Stevie Nicks, American songwriter, was born.

1948 The U.S. Congress passes Public Law 557 which permanently established the Civil Air Patrol as an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

1951 Sally Ride, American astronaut, was born d. 2012.

1966 – Helena Bonham Carter, English actress, was born.

1966 – Zola Budd, South African athlete, was born.

1966 British Guiana gained independence, becoming Guyana.

1969 Apollo 10 returned to Earth after a successful eight-day test of all the components needed for the forthcoming first manned moon landing.

1970 The Soviet Tupolev Tu-144 became the first commercial transport to exceed Mach 2.

1972 Willandra National Park was established in Australia.

1972  The United States and the Soviet Union signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

1977 George Willig climbed the South Tower of  the World Trade Centre.

1981 Italian Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani and his coalition cabinet resigned following a scandal over membership of the pseudo-masonic lodge P2 (Propaganda Due).

1983  A  7.7 magnitude earthquake in Japan, triggered a tsunami that killed at least 104 people and injured thousands.

1986  The European Community adopted the European flag.

1991  Zviad Gamsakhurdia became  the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era.

1991  Lauda Air Flight 004 exploded over rural Thailand, killing 223.

1992  Charles Geschke, co-founder of Adobe Systems, Inc was kidnapped.

1998 The United States Supreme Court ruled that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of immigrants, was mainly in the state of New Jersey, not New York.

2003  – Only three days after a previous record, Sherpa Lakpa Gelu climbed  Mount Everest in 10 hours 56 minutes.

2004 – The New York Times published an admission of journalistic failings, claiming that its flawed reporting and lack of skepticism towards sources during the buildup to the 2003 war in Iraq helped promote the belief that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

2006  – The May 2006 Java earthquake killed more than 5,700 people, and left 200,000 homeless.

2008 – Severe flooding began in eastern and southern China that ultimately caused 148 deaths and forced the evacuation of 1.3 million people.

Sourced from NZ history Online & Wikipedia


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