Word of the day

October 15, 2015

Pentimento – a visible trace of earlier painting beneath a layer or layers of paint on a canvas; the presence or emergence of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over.


Rural round-up

October 15, 2015

Farmer saved seed to be retained:

The recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks have created disappointing doomsayer discourse.

Some misinformed commentators have a view that farmers will be stopped from saving some seed from their crops.

NZ Plant Breeding and Research Association (PBRA) President Tom Bruynel says there is no intent at all by the seed industry to get rid of farmer saved seed.

He says the Association and the Arable Industry Group of Federated Farmers have been jointly saying that the right to save seed needs to be part of any updated plants legislation and there is agreement in principle that there be a fair and simple system of royalty collection for seed that has been kept back for sowing. . . .

Judicial review sought of Lochinver decision:

Pure 100 Farm Limited (Pure 100), a subsidiary of Shanghai Pengxin, is seeking a judicial review of the Government’s decision to decline its application to purchase Lochinver Station.

Announcing the decision, Terry Lee, Director of Milk New Zealand (a subsidiary of Shanghai Pengxin) said the aim of the review is to obtain clarity on the ‘counterfactual’ to be used when assessing sales of non-urban land of greater than 5 hectares to overseas investors.

“To assess the benefits of an investment in such land, the regulator assesses the application against 21 factors which are laid out in the Overseas Investment Act and the Overseas Investment Regulations. These benefits are assessed relative to what would have occurred if this particular investment was not to occur i.e. ‘the counterfactual’. . . 

Ploughing the perfect well-turned furrow – Kate Taylor:

The drawcard of ploughing competitions for Tirau farmer Angela Taylor are the challenge and the camaraderie.

“There’s a lot of technique to it and you need a lot of concentration,” she says.

“There’s the satisfaction of achieving and improving, and the pride when you look at the straight furrows afterwards.” . . .

Innovation key to food security – Daniel Kruithoff:

AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has put innovation at the heart of the government’s efforts to improve the country’s global competitiveness.

The government’s renewed focus on the pivotal role innovation plays in helping us overcome complex challenges is welcome.

And I can think of no more complex challenge than sustainably producing enough food to meet rapidly rising global demand.

It is hard to not be alarmed by the looming collision of a rapidly growing population and a changing, more volatile climate. . . 

Organic GMOs Could Be The Future of Food — If We Let Them – Ferris Jabr:

Two years ago, I traveled to Woodland, California, to meet scientists who were developing tastier and more nutritious fruits and vegetables. On the way to the research center, my taxi driver asked what had brought me to town. “Well,” I started, “I’m a journalist and I’m here to visit Monsanto.” “Monsanto? They do all that unnatural GMO stuff, right?” “They do make a lot of GMOs,” I replied, “but the scientists I’m visiting do not use genetic engineering.” Instead, they perform marker-assisted breeding. They chip off tiny bits of seeds and young plants and analyze their genes in search of desirable traits. Then they use that information to decide which seeds to plant and, later, cross-pollinate and which ones to reject, speeding up the traditional plant breeding process. “And that’s not GMO?” my driver asked. “Since they are just reading the DNA, not changing it, it’s technically not a form of genetic engineering,” I answered.

I was about to go on, but I caught myself. In part because I worried that I was on the verge of subjecting another human to an unexpected seminar on plant genetics. But, more fundamentally, because I realized that what I had just said was wrong. Of course the breeders at Monsanto were changing the plants’ DNA. That is what breeders everywhere have done for centuries, regardless of their tools. That is what the pioneers of agriculture started doing at least 10,000 years ago. That is what sex itself does: it shakes up DNA. In that moment, I realized just how meaningless the term GMO is, and how obfuscating it is, too. . . 


Thursday’s quiz

October 15, 2015

Blogging lighter precludes me setting the questions but anyone else is welcome to, without the need to follow my usual five-question format should.

Anyone who stumps us all will win a virtual bunch of spring flowers.


Quote of the day

October 15, 2015

The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun. – P.G. Wodehouse, who was born on this day in 1881.


October 15 in history

October 15, 2015

70 BC  Virgil, Roman poet, was born (d. 19 BC).

533  Byzantine general Belisarius made his formal entry into Carthage, having conquered it from the Vandals.

1582 Pope Gregory XIII implemented the Gregorian calendar. In Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, October 4 of this year was followed directly by October 15.

1764 Edward Gibbon observed a group of friars singing in the ruined Temple of Jupiter in Rome, which inspired him to begin work on The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

1783 The Montgolfier brothers‘ hot air balloon marked the first human ascent, by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, (tethered balloon).

1793 Queen Marie-Antoinette was tried and condemned in a swift, pre-determined trial.

1815 Napoleon I of France began his exile on Saint Helena.

1844 Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher, was born (d. 1900).

1863  American Civil War: The H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a ship, sank during a test, killing its inventor, Horace L. Hunley.

1864  American Civil War: The Battle of Glasgow was fought, resulting in the surrender of Glasgow, Missouri and its Union garrison, to the Confederacy.

1877 Sir Geroge Grey, former Governor, became Premier of New Zealand.

Former Governor Grey becomes Premier

1878  The Edison Electric Light Company began operation.

1880  Mexican soldiers killed Victorio, one of the greatest Apache military strategists.

1881 P. G. Wodehouse, British novelist, was born (d. 1975).

1888 The “From Hell” letter sent by Jack the Ripper was received by the investigators.

1894  Alfred Dreyfus was arrested for spying.

1908 John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-born US economist, was born (d. 2006).

1917 World War I: Dutch dancer Mata Hari was executed by firing squad for spying for the German Empire.

1920 Mario Puzo, American novelist, was born (d. 1999).

1924 Lee Iacocca, American industrialist, was born.

1928 The airship, the Graf Zeppelin completed its first trans-Atlantic flight.

1932 Tata Airlines (later to become Air India) made its first flight.

1934 The Soviet Republic of China collapsed when Chiang Kai-shek’s National Revolutionary Army successfully encircled Ruijin, forcing the fleeing Communists to begin the Long March.

1939 The New York Municipal Airport (later renamed La Guardia Airport) was dedicated.

1942 – Seventeen New Zealand coastwatchers and five civilians who had been captured in the Gilbert Islands were executed by the Japanese.

NZ coastwatchers executed by the Japanese

1944  The Arrow Cross Party took power in Hungary.

1945 World War II: The former premier of Vichy France Pierre Laval was shot by a firing squad for treason.

1946  Nuremberg Trials: Hermann Göring poisoned himself the night before his execution.

1951  Mexican chemist Luis E. Miramontes conducted the very last step of the first synthesis of norethisterone, the progestin that would later be used in one of the first two oral contraceptives.

1953  British nuclear test Totem 1 detonated at Emu Field, South Australia.

1956  Fortran, the first modern computer language, was shared with the coding community for the first time.

1959 Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was born.

1965 Vietnam War: The National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam stages the first public burning of a draft card in the United States to result in arrest under a new law.

1966  Black Panther Party was created by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.

1970 Thirty-five construction workers were killed when a section of the new West Gate Bridge in Melbourne collapsed.

1970  Aeroflot Flight 244 was hijacked and diverted to Turkey.

1971 The start of the 2500-year celebration of Iran, celebrating the birth of Persia.

1979  Black Monday in Malta. The Building of the Times of Malta, the residence of the opposition leader Eddie Fenech Adami and several Nationalist Party clubs were ransacked and destroyed by supporters of the Malta Labour Party.

1987  The Great Storm of 1987 hit France and England.

1990  Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to lessen Cold War tensions and open up his nation.

1997  The first supersonic land speed record was set by Andy Green inThrustSSC.

1997  The Cassini probe launched from Cape Canaveral on its way to Saturn.

2003  China launched Shenzhou 5, its first manned space mission.

2003 The Staten Island Ferry boat Andrew J. Barberi ran into a pier at the St. George Ferry Terminal, killing 11 people and injuring 43.

2007  Seventeen activists were arrested in the Ureweara in New Zealand’s first anti-terrorism raids.

'Anti-terror' raids in Urewera

2008 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 733.08 points, or 7.87%, the second worst day in the Dow’s history based on a percentage drop.

2011 – Global protests broke out in 951 cities in 82 countries.

2102 British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond agreed on a deal setting out the terms of a referendum on Scottish independence at a meeting in Edinburgh.

2013 – A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Philippines, resulting in more than 215 deaths.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia


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