David Bowie 8.1.47 – 10.1.16

January 11, 2016

David Bowie has died:

David Bowie was one of the most influential musicians of his time, constantly re-inventing his persona and sound, from the 1960s hippy of Space Oddity, through Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke to his later incarnation as a soulful rocker.

Where before, artists and groups either evolved their musical style and appearance or remained unchanging, David Bowie seemed to be in permanent revolution. . . 

 


Word of the day

January 11, 2016

Largifical – ample;  bountiful; generous; liberal.


366 days of gratitude

January 11, 2016

Are you old enough to remember when toll calls were made only for matters of great importance?

My father was Scottish but I don’t ever recall him phoning his family in Scotland. Correspondence was by mail with the very rare exception of telegrams when the news was deemed urgent.

My mother’s family lived in New Zealand but toll calls to them were few and far between.

Now thanks to technological improvements national and international toll calls cost much less  and innovations like Skype and WhatsApp  give us alternatives to phoning.

Today I’m grateful for technology which makes keeping in touch easier and less expensive.

 


Feds challenge NZ Greens to follow Aus Greens on GMOs

January 11, 2016

Federated Farmers is challenging the New Zealand Green Party to follow Australian Greens on moderating their stance on Genetic Modification.

Federated Farmers has welcomed a shift in thinking by the Australian Green Party and encourages their New Zealand counterparts to be equally open minded about the benefits of genetic modification.

Over the past week Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale has conducted a series of interviews in which he has opened the door to changing the party’s longstanding opposition to genetically modified organisms.

He told ABC radio that “the concerns are less around human health and much more around the application of the technology when it comes to giving farmers choice.” In another interview with The Land he said he did “not have a blanket objection to the use of genetically modified crops” and that “it’s a bit simplistic to say GMO’s are safe or they’re not safe.”

“This is entirely in line with Federated Farmers’ position of giving farmers choice about what and how they farm, and assessing the benefits and risks of genetically modified organisms on a case-by-case basis,” says Federated Farmers National President Dr William Rolleston.

“It’s refreshing to see such an open minded approach from the Australian Greens on what we see as a key issue for the agricultural sector, and we encourage the NZ Green Party to also review their policy on genetic modification.”

“If you look at some of the biggest challenges facing farmers at the moment, such as drought and pressure from some quarters to reduce biological emissions. These are both things that likely have a scientific solution,” says Dr Rolleston.

Dr Rolleston said genetic modification has been used extensively around the world, to the benefit of farmers and the environment, without any incident of harm attributable to the GM aspects of the application.

“Although no crops using GM are approved or grown here yet, this vitally important science is being used successfully in New Zealand. GM products such as food enzymes, medicines and animal feed are now commonplace.”

“We ask that the Greens open their minds to the agricultural sector also taking advantage of these rapidly evolving technologies,” he said.

Di Natale, like Rolleston, is a medical doctor:

. . . Senator Di Natale – whose medical career included practicing in regional areas – said he personally had no philosophical or ideological objections to the science of GM.

He said genetic modification was “something we’ve done for a long time in medicine”.

“I do not have a blanket objection to the use of genetically modified crops – I absolutely don’t – and it would be hypocritical for me to say that because I support the use of genetic modification in medicine,” he said. . . 

In response to this, Grant Jacobs writes at Sciblogs:

I’m sure I’m not the only person who thinks much of the ‘debate’ on GM is unhelpful.

Below are a few suggestions to those thinking about this issue, or who wish to offer public comment. . . 

 

  • Remember that genetic engineering (GE) has applications far wider than just crops, and more than just herbicide-tolerant crops.
  • If your concern is food safety or environmental issues, talking about ‘GMOs’ is a distraction away from issues (if any). It is the traits of each crop or animal variety that determine if there might be risk, not how the crop or animal was first bred.
  • If your concern is over transgenic organisms, say ‘transgenic organisms’ not ‘GMOs’.
  • If your concern relates to business aspects, make sure those concerns are real, related to GMOs and avoid straw-man arguments.
  • If your concern relates to international trade, give examples of it being an issue (rather than ‘what if’-style claims).
  • Be aware of misapplied or inappropriate cultural memes, or conflation with separable things.
  • Aim for discussion, not ‘debate’ or argument. . . 

If you follow the link you can read his elaboration on each point.

A lot of the debate on GMOs is based on politics and misinformation rather than science.

Caution on any new technology is wise, but a blanket ban on GMOs is not.

 


Quote of the day

January 11, 2016

I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality. – Alice Paul who was born on this day in 1885.


January 11 in history

January 11, 2016

630 – Prophet of Islam Muhammad led an army of 10,000 Muslims toconquer Mecca.

1055 – Theodora was crowned Empress of the Byzantine Empire.

1158 – Vladislav II became King of Bohemia.

1569 First recorded lottery in England.

1571 Austrian nobility were granted freedom of religion.

1693 Mt. Etna erupted in Sicily. A powerful earthquake destroyed parts of Sicily and Malta.

1786 Joseph Jackson Lister, English opticist and physicist, was born (d. 1869).

1787  William Herschel discovered Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus.

1807  Ezra Cornell, American businessman and university founder, was born (d. 1874).

1846 Ruapekapeka pa was occupied by British troops. Debate raged as to whether the pa was simply abandoned by its defenders or captured by the British.

Ruapekapeka pa occupied by British forces
1857 Fred Archer, English jockey, was born  (d. 1886).
1878 Milk was first delivered in bottles.

1879  The Anglo-Zulu War began.

1885 Jack Hoxie, American actor, rodeo performer, was born  (d. 1965).

1885 – Alice Paul, American women’s rights activist, was born (d. 1977).

1915 –Robert Blair Mayne, British soldier, co-founder Special Air Service, was born  (d. 1955).

1919 Romania annexed Transylvania.

1922 First use of insulin to treat diabetes in a human patient.

1934 Sir Charles Antony Richard Hoare, British computer scientist, was born.

1935 Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

1938  Arthur Scargill, British politician, was born.

1946 Tony Kaye, British piano and organ player (Yes), was born.

1946  Enver Hoxha declared the People’s Republic of Albania with himself as dictator.

1949 First recorded case of snowfall in Los Angeles.

1957 The African Convention was founded in Dakar.

1962 An avalanche on Huascaran in Peru caused 4,000 deaths.

1964 – United States Surgeon General Dr. Luther Leonidas Terry, M.D., published a report saying that smoking may be hazardous to health – the first such statement made by the U.S. government.

1972 East Pakistan renamed itself Bangladesh.

1986  The Gateway Bridge, Brisbane in Queensland was officially opened.

1996  STS-72 launched from the Kennedy Space Centre marking the start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour.

1998– Sidi-Hamed massacre  in Algeria  killed more than 100 people.

2007 – China conducted the first successful anti-satellite missile test of any nation since 1985.

2013 – One French soldier and 17 militants were killed in a failed attempt to free a French hostage in Bulo Marer, Somalia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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