366 days of gratitude

February 1, 2016

It’s not that long ago that if you wanted to listen to something on the radio you had to listen as it was broadcast and you had to be at home to do that.

Yes, I’m old enough to remember when cars didn’t have radios.

Now, we can listen to the radio when we’re driving and, thanks to the internet, we can catch up on some of the programmes we missed long after they were broadcast.

As I type this, I’m listening to an interview broadcast several hours ago.

Today I’m grateful for the technological advances which make that possible.

 


Word of the day

February 1, 2016

Swage – a shaped tool or die for giving a desired form to metal by hammering or pressure;  groove, ridge, or other moulding on an object; to shape (metal) using a swage, especially in order to reduce its cross section.


“Free” for whom?

February 1, 2016

Labour has unveiled what’s being called a ‘free” tertiary education plan.

“Free” for whom?

I was one of those who supposedly had a “free” tertiary education. There were far fewer students per taxpayer then but people on modest incomes were paying 60% (or was it 66%?) in tax.

The taxpayer already covers 70% of the cost of study. Labour’s policy would save those students who benefit in the short term but they and all other taxpayers would pay more in the long term.

Labour’s supposed constituency of lower skilled workers won’t be enthusiastic about paying more so the children of better-off families can save a bit on their education whether or not what they study is what the country needs.

New Zealand does have a skills shortage in some areas but this policy doesn’t target those shortages, it’s across the board.

Everyone, including those working hard to pay off loans already incurred will be paying more tax to further subsidise the education of people who won’t necessarily be trained in skills we need and some of those who are won’t necessarily stay in New Zealand once qualified.

There are national-good benefits for a better educated population which is why the taxpayer is already very generous in its support of tertiary education.

And the national-good is not an argument for being even more generous, especially when this policy would increase the quantity of students while doing nothing to improve the quality of the education they get.

If there is money to spare  it would be better to be targeted where it will do most good, for example an extension of the existing funding for writing-off student loans for vets, doctors, nurses and others who work in hard-to-staff regions.

But the greatest need in New Zealand is the long-tail of underachievers who fail long before they get near any higher education.

P.S.

Labour hasn’t put much effort in to winning the Invercargill seat in recent years. This policy will help the incumbent MP, National’s Sarah Dowie, retain her seat by doing away with the advantage the Southland Institute of technology has in attracting students with its zero-fees policy.


Quote of the day

February 1, 2016

The word ‘education’ comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul. To Miss Mackay it is a putting in of something that is not there, and that is not what I call education, I call it intrusion, from the Latin root prefix in meaning in and the stem trudo, I thrust. – Muriel Spark who was born on this day in 1918.


February 1 in history

February 1, 2016

1327 Teenaged Edward III was crowned King of England, but the country was ruled by his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer.

1662 Chinese general Koxinga seized the island of Taiwan after a nine-month siege.

1663 Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, Filipino foundress of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, was born  (d. 1748).

1790 The Supreme Court of the United States attempted to convene for the first time.

1793 French Revolutionary Wars: France declared war on the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

1814 Mayon Volcano, in the Philippines, erupted, killing around 1,200 people.

1842 The Fifeshire arrived in Nelson with the first immigrants for the New Zealand Company’s latest venture, which followed the settlement of Wellington, New Plymouth and Wanganui.

First NZ Company settlers arrive in Nelson

1861 Texas seceded from the United States.

1862 Julia Ward Howe‘s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was published for the first time in the Atlantic Monthly.

1865 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1873 John Barry, Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, was born (d. 1901).

1884 Edition one of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.

1893 Thomas A. Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey.

1896 The opera La bohème premieresd in Turin.

1897 Shinhan Bank, the oldest bank in South Korea, opened in Seoul.

1901 Clark Gable, American actor, was born  (d. 1960).

1908 King Carlos I of Portugal and his son, Prince Luis Filipe were killed in Terreiro do Paco, Lisbon.

1918 Muriel Spark, Scottish author, was born  (d. 2006).

1920 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police began operations.

1931 Boris Yeltsin, 1st President of the Russian Federation, was born.

1934 Bob Shane, American folk singer (The Kingston Trio), was born.

1937 Don Everly, American musician (Everly Brothers), was born.

1937 Ray Sawyer, American singer (Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show), was born.

1942 Vidkun Quisling was appointed Premier of Norway by the Nazi occupiers.

1943 The German 6th Army surrendered at Stalingrad.

1946 Trygve Lie of Norway was picked to be the first United Nations Secretary General.

1957 Felix Wankel‘s first working prototype DKM 54 of the Wankel enginewas running at the NSU research and development departmentVersuchsabteilung TX in Germany.

1958 Egypt and Syria merged to form the United Arab Republic, which lasted until 1961.

1958 The United States Army launched Explorer 1.

1960 Four black students staged the first of the Greensboro sit-ins.

1965 The Hamilton River in Labrador, Canada was renamed the Churchill River in honour of Winston Churchill.

1968 – Canada’s three military services, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force, were unified into theCanadian Forces.

1972  Kuala Lumpur became a city by a royal charter granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.

1974 A fire in the 25-story Joelma Building in Sao Paulo killed 189 and injures 293.

1979 – The Ayatollah Khomeini was welcomed back into Tehran after nearly 15 years of exile.

1981 Trans-Tasman sporting relations reached breaking point at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when Australian captain Greg Chappell ordered his brother Trevor to bowl underarm (along the ground) for the final delivery of a limited-overs cricket international against New Zealand.

Trevor Chappell bowls underarm

1989 The Western Australian towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder amalgamate to form the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

1992 The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal court declares Warren Anderson, ex-CEO of Union Carbide, a fugitive under Indian law for failing to appear in the Bhopal Disaster case.

1996 The Communications Decency Act was passed by the U.S. Congress.

1998 Rear Admiral Lillian E. Fishburne became the first female African American to be promoted to rear admiral.

2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.

2004 251 people were trampled to death and 244 injured in a stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

2005 King Gyanendra exercised a coup d’état to capture Nepal, becoming Chairman of the Councils of ministers.

2005 – Canada introduced the Civil Marriage Act, making Canada the fourth country to sanction same-sex marriage.

2009 Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Iceland, becoming the first openly gay head of state in the modern world.

2013 – The Shard, the tallest building in the European Union, was opened to the public.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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