Word of the day

June 13, 2015

Coherentific – causing to become coherent; causing cohesion.


Rural round-up

June 13, 2015

 Farmer Wellness Big Breakfast – Nathan Guy

The title of my speech today is “Managing Through Tough Times”.

I came up with the idea of this function when I was out running about six weeks ago and felt the time was right for the Government to communicate two very important messages to our farming families and communities.

Firstly, I want to acknowledge that these are challenging times for many farmers and the wider rural community, particularly in the dairy sector, but that we expect much improved conditions in the longer term.

Secondly, I wanted to reinforce the message that if farmers are struggling, or have concerns about how things are going, you are not alone and help is out there.

We know there are plenty of challenges this year, as there always is with farming. . .

$500,000 boost to help rural mental health:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced a $500,000 funding boost to support mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities.

“Rural depression is a significant issue. The physical isolation as well as the uncertainties of being reliant on the land creates different pressures to those living in an urban setting,” says Dr Coleman.

“The Ministry of Health and Ministry for Primary Industries have each contributed $250,000 to the one off funding boost. . .

Federated Farmers Fielday Seminars: “The essence of farming: water, land, capability”:

Agribusiness expert, Jaqueline Rowarth, has told a Federated Farmers seminar at the Mystery Creek Fieldays this afternoon that investment is necessary for ensuring supplies of sufficient farm water, but meanwhile maintaining water quality.

She said this investment is only possible if primary produce meets the huge challenge of attracting good prices.

Professor Rowarth told the 50 odd people at the seminar New Zealand has both water quantity and quality, which farmers are capturing and using responsibly. . .

 

Greenhouse gas study tour winners announced:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced the two winners of the 2015 Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) – World Farmer Organisation Study Tour in Argentina later this year.

Doug Avery and Zach Mounsey have been selected as winners by a panel including Mr Guy and Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew after giving presentations at Fieldays this year.

“The purpose of this study tour is to increase global understanding and engagement on agricultural greenhouse gas research. These two winners will have an important role as ambassadors for New Zealand in sharing environmental management practices that support sustainable productivity. . .

Breeder confident of sheep’s safety:

A Canterbury sheep breeder with stock on board a major shipment to Mexico says she has been in touch with the destination farm and has no concerns about the animals’ safety.

Penni Loffhagen, who is one of the biggest Suffolk stud breeders in the country, has sold 15 young pedigree sheep to a Mexican farm for breeding.

Her ewes and rams are among 50,000 sheep now at sea on the way to Mexico. . .

They’re not ‘our’ sheep – Kiwiblog:

Newstalk ZB reports:

Labour wants assurances that tens of thousands of sheep and cattle being shipped to Mexico won’t be killed when they get there.

The shipment leaves Timaru today.

Leader Andrew Little told Newstalk ZB’s Rachel Smalley the regulations are clear – you can export live sheep for breeding purposes, you can’t for slaughter. . .

PGG Wrightson lifts annual earnings outlook for a second time, warns of weak farmer confidence – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson, the rural services firm controlled by China’s Agria Corp, lifted its annual earnings outlook as second-half trading comes in ahead of expectations, but warned weak farmer confidence may weigh on future sales.

The Christchurch-based company expects annual operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to be between $66 million and $69 million in the year ending June 30, above the February forecast for earnings between $62 million and $68 million. That in itself was an upgrade from previous guidance to beat last year’s earnings of $58.7 million. . .

New Zealand Avocados Achieve Record Sales Volume:

New Zealand’s largest ever avocado crop has been successfully harvested, packed and marketed with a massive 7 million trays sold during the 2014-15 season.

Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, today announced the new record volume which was 43 per cent higher than last season, and up from a previous industry high of 6.1 million trays sold in 2011-12 and a great industry return.

“Growth in the consumption of avocados in our key markets continues to be very impressive. . .

Best Young Butchers in the Region:

Two of New Zealand’s top young butchers have been named following the Alto Young Butcher & Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year Lower North Island regional final yesterday.

Havelock North local, Justin Hinchco from New World Havelock North took out the Alto Young Butcher category and Vernon Atutahi from New World Marton finished first place in the Competenz Butcher Apprentice category. . .

 

Body condition score to become a breeding trait:

Body condition score (BCS) is to be included as a new trait in Breeding Worth (BW) from February 2016.

Breeding Worth provides farmers with an economic measure of genetic merit (profit per five tonne of dry matter) and is calculated for all dairy cattle. During a National Breeding Objective Review in 2012, BCS (particularly late lactation BCS) was identified as an important trait with economic value to farmers. . .

 

Wool values ease:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the North Island offering this week, made up predominantly of short coarse Second Shear wools compared to the more varied South Island longer selection last sale on 4th June, saw prices ease despite the weakening New Zealand dollar.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies came back by 1.95 percent with a 98 percent clearance of the 9,400 bales on offer. . .

NIWA’s Fieldays stand a winner:

NIWA’s Fieldays team is today basking in the glory of winning the Best Indoor Agribusiness Site awarded by the National Agricultural Fieldays organisation for the 2015 event.

Dr Mark Bojesen-Trepla, NIWA’s manager of marketing and industry engagement, said the win was a great endorsement for the team who had worked extremely hard to put together a space that would be eye-catching and relevant to farmers.

“We are delighted our efforts have been formally recognised but are also looking forward to meeting more farmers during the rest of Fieldays and showing them how we can help.” . . .

 

 


In a past life . . .

June 13, 2015

. . . I was an:

Artist

What your memories show about you is that you have a natural creative streak. To you, the world is more colourful, iridescent and exciting than it is to others, even while you are only sitting in a quiet room. If all else fails, you build entire new worlds in your imagination. In your past life this made you a talented artist who was masterful at translating grandiose ideas into reality and capturing the imagination of the people.

Such a pity that artistic ability didn’t come in to my present life in which any fine motor skills are a challenge.


Saturday’s smiles

June 13, 2015

* One students said to another, “I’m reading a great book on anti-gravity and I can’t put it down.

Her friend replied, “I’m reading a great book on helium and I can’t put it down either.”

* I have a new theory on inertia but it doesn’t seem to be gaining momentum.

* Why can’t atheists solve exponential equations? Because they don’t believe in higher powers.

* Q: If H2O is the formula for water, what is the formula for ice?
   A: H2O –  CUBED.

* A chemistry teacher asks her class, “What is the formula for water?”
A pupil replies, “H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O”
The teacher says, “Where did you get that from? That’s not what you have been taught.”
The pupil responds, “Yes it  is, you told us the formula for water was…H to O.”

* Do you know the name Pavlov? It rings a bell.

*  A group of protesters in front of a physics lab are chanting:
“What do we want?”.
“Time travel”
“When do we want it?”.
“Irrelevant.”

* Q: How did the blonde define hydrophobic in his chemistry exam?
   A: Fear of utility bills.  

* What does a subatomic duck say? Quark!

*  A neutron walks into a bar and asks how much for a beer.  The barman replies “For you, no charge”.

*  Two atoms are walking together. One of them says:
“Oh, no, I think I lost an electron.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m positive.”

*  An optimist sees a glass half full. A pessimist sees it half empty. An engineer sees it twice as large as it needs to be.

The science theme was prompted by the story of Sir Tim Hunt who told a conference in South Korea:

“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls … three things happen when they are in the lab … You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry.” . . .

He has now resigned:

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, Sir Tim said he was “really sorry that I said what I said”, adding it was “a very stupid thing to do in the presence of all those journalists”.

The British biochemist, who was knighted in 2006, said the remarks made at a conference in South Korea were “intended as a light-hearted, ironic comment” but had been “interpreted deadly seriously by my audience”.

He went on to say he stood by some of the comments.

“I did mean the part about having trouble with girls,” he said.

“I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me and it’s very disruptive to the science because it’s terribly important that in a lab people are on a level playing field.

“I found that these emotional entanglements made life very difficult.

“I’m really, really sorry I caused any offence, that’s awful. I certainly didn’t mean that. I just meant to be honest, actually.”

That an apparently intelligent man thinks like this is bemusing, but should he have resigned when universities are supposed to be bastions of freedom of thought and speech?

Especially when female scientists have shown themselves quite capable of countering his contention with their #Distractinglysexy Twitter campaign


Flag of the day

June 13, 2015

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

There are more than 3000 in the gallery already.

This is Future New Zealand by Charly Joan Jacobson:

flag


Public Interest Project launches

June 13, 2015

The New Zealand Public Interest Project is being launched in Christchurch today.

What does it do?

In even the fairest justice system, there are those who fall through the cracks. The New Zealand Public Interest Panel was founded on the belief that it is in the highest interest of the New Zealand public to investigate and appeal potential miscarriages of justice wherever possible.

In some countries, such as in England and Scotland, there are Criminal Cases Review Commissions whose role is to pursue these miscarriages and see that they are amended. While these organisations were created and funded by Acts of Parliament, no such Act exists here in New Zealand. 

We see this as an important absence in our country’s legal system, and so we decided to create one ourselves. 

The New Zealand Public Interest Project was founded by a volunteer team that includes prominent lawyers, academics, investigators and forensic scientists, all of whom are committed to acting in the interest of the public. Prior to the launch of NZPIP, members of this team have been privately involved in public interest cases and potential miscarriages of justice such as those of Teina Pora, Michael October, Mark Lundy and David Bain.

NZPIP is supported by the University of Canterbury School of Law, whose facilities help us to keep costs low. UC law students also play a key role in NZPIP, both as volunteers and working for course credit. Their involvement gives us the manpower to keep running on a day-to-day basis but also provides a great opportunity to develop

We take cases that we think are in the public good, whatever they may be. This includes appealing miscarriages of justice against individuals, but can also extend to civil matters where access to justice is inhibited or where there is a public interest which would not otherwise be  effectively served. This may consist of test cases or class actions where the rights of many citizens are affected, or cases where issues of considerable public interest are involved, such as human rights and freedom from discrimination, civil and political rights, or commercial or consumer matters where fundamental economic security are at risk including health, work, and accommodation.

The people behind NZPIP are:

* Dr Jarrod Gilbert, a sociologist and lecturer at the University of Canterbury and a coordinator of the Criminal Justice Degree. He is also the lead researcher at Independent Research Solutions.

* Tim Mckinnel, a Director of the investigation firm Zavést.

* Nigel Hampton  OBE QC.

* Dr Anna Sandiford, a forensic science consultant and director of The Forensic Group Ltd, a scientific consultancy based in New Zealand with extensive national and international networks of experts.

* Kerry Cook, a barrister and a member of the New Zealand Criminal Bar Association Committee.

* Glynn Rigby, the founding Director of investigation firm Zavést.

* Dr Duncan Webb, a expert in Professional Responsibility and Liability.

* Associate Professor Chris Gallavin, the Dean of Law and the Head of the School of Law at the University of Canterbury.


Saturday soapbox

June 13, 2015

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.
Dr Rick Kausman's photo.

A well worn path doesn’t mean it’s the right track – Dr Rick Kausman


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