366 days of gratitude

April 13, 2016

I don’t do details and like Pooh Bear’s friend Wol, my spelling can be a bit wobbly.

That isn’t to be confused with typos which happen when I type faster than I spell.

But thanks to spell checks neither are the major problem they used to be in the old days when typewriters just typed and didn’t help you spell as well, which computers do now.

Today I’m grateful for spell checks, and the education which, in spite of wobbly spelling, enables me to recognise when the spell check is wrong.


Word of the day

April 13, 2016

Diablerie – reckless mischief; charismatic wildness; mischievous conduct or manner; sorcery, witchcraft;  representation of devils or demons, as in paintings or fiction; devilish conduct; deviltry; a representation in words or pictures of black magic or of dealings with the devil;  demon lore.


Rural round-up

April 13, 2016

Plan for the worst, hope for the best – Jackie Harrigan:

If you could bottle optimism and cheerfulness and spray it around, Ben and Belinda Price would be a great source.

The Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmers of the Year for 2016 could be forgiven for feeling a little down, with their feed wedge flatlining on their Waitotara sharemilking farm after a hot dry summer and the Fonterra payout forecast dipping to new lows.

But the indomitable pair have picked up many skills in their eight years of sharemilking and they put optimism and healthy thinking at the top of their list of useful habits, followed closely by budget monitoring and giving back. . .

Three years of low payouts for dairy farmers will build pressure – Jill Galloway:

Farmers are dealing with tough times.

Rabobank Feilding branch manager Asti Williamson said 99 per cent of dairy farmers were likely to survive the three-year milk payout downturn.

“Each case is different. It depends how much debt a farm has.  But we are supporting our farmers.”

He said bank economists thought New Zealand was about halfway through the payout downturn.

“And the impact of the low payout is on the banks, farmers and the whole country.” . . 

 

The hunt for the golden kiwifruit – Julian Lee:

Scientists in Te Puke are concocting bizarre and wonderful new types of kiwifruit.

The kiwifruit industry will bring in $1 billion next year, and scientists are on the hunt for the next golden kiwifruit.

The SunGold kiwifruit was developed in New Zealand in the 1990s but has its origins in China. It’s now a popular variety, both domestically and for export.

Zespri and Plant and Land Research are looking to replicate that success. . . .

NZ lamb angers British farmers after imports sold under Prince Charles’ label :

British farmers are dismayed to find New Zealand lamb being sold under Prince Charles’ brand Duchy Originals, which was meant to promote the best of British produce.

Duchy Originals products are sold only at UK supermarket Waitrose, which confirmed it does sell imported lamb under the Duchy brand when supplies from British farms were not available, the Daily Mail reported.

Welsh sheep farmer Gethin Havard said New Zealand lamb was ‘over-fat and over-priced’ compared with Welsh lamb. . . 

Fonterra board size in focus in first governance overhaul since inception –  Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra’s board and shareholders’ council successfully opposed a remit to shrink its board at last year’s annual meeting and the outcome of this week’s first-ever governance overhaul may hold that line while proposing other changes to ensure the best spread of boardroom skills.

New Zealand’s biggest exporter is scheduled to release a set of proposals to refresh its governance structures – both at board and shareholders’ council level – on Thursday, with the aim of putting any proposed changes to its structure before shareholders for a vote in May. Auckland-based Fonterra hasn’t changed its governance and representation arrangements since being set up 15 years ago although it undertook a full review in 2013. . .

NZ Wine Industry Embraces Automation –WineWorks and Sacred Hill lead the way with supply chain integration:

WineWorks, Sacred Hill, and Flow Software have taken a significant step towards integrating the New Zealand wine industry supply chain.

The organisations have just gone live with a new automated process that allows efficient management of the wine to bottling, warehousing, and distribution of Sacred Hill wine via WineWorks.

“We identified that if we could send our sales orders via EDI to WineWorks this would reduce administration processing costs, negate duplicate rekeying of orders, remove error input rates, eliminate stock from being allocated if not available and allow for more orders to be sent to WineWorks. ” says Cameron Sutton, Production Manager of Sacred Hill. “Flow worked closely with our specialist ERP provider UXC Eclipse, which was fundamental to the success of the project”, notes Sutton. . .


Matching politics to age

April 13, 2016

Can we guess your age by your political views?

I got 47 which would make my views younger than I am if I agreed with this summary, which I don’t entirely:

You must be around 47 years old! You have lived through a lot of world-changing events and experienced a myriad of historical innovations. You have lost a lot of the optimism that runs free in the young, liberal population of nowadays. You tend to be more conservative on the political spectrum, and you consider yourself a bit of a realist. You definitely support human rights and other social issues, but you have a harder stance on things like immigration, security and economic policies. Although you are mostly a traditionalist, you are open to some forms of progress which makes your political persuasions very logical and moderate.

 


Grass is ‘green’ but . . .

April 13, 2016

New Zealand’s contributions to greenhouse gas emissions are small on a global scale and, unusually for a developed country, a high proportion come from animals.

Millions of dollars is going into research which is showing promise but there is a road block to circumvent:

AgResearch scientists have developed a genetically modified ryegrass that cuts greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30% but biotechnology experts warn regulations could delay its use.

Though it has several environmental benefits and could boost production it faces regulatory hurdles here because it has been genetically engineered.

The scientists have shown in the laboratory the ryegrass, called High Metabolisable Energy (HME), can reduce methane emissions from animals by 15% to 30% while modelling suggests a reduction in nitrous oxide of up to 20%.

It has also shown resilience to dry weather and can increase milk production by up to 12%.

Environmentalists have berated agriculture for not reducing greenhouse gas emissions but if laboratory results are replicated in the field, HME could reignite the GM debate.

This reminds me of the question – what would an enviromentalists do if they saw an endangered bird eating an endangered plant? – but this isn’t a joke.

Research has produced grass which could reduce emissions and boost production but many of the people who are demanding urgent action on climate change are also likely to be opposed to this because it’s genetically modified.

AgResearch Grasslands principal plant biotechnology scientist Greg Bryan said HME could transform NZ farming by reducing its environmental footprint and improving animal productivity.

“The potential value to GDP based on modelling we have done is in the range of $2 billion to $5b a year in additional revenue depending on the adoption rate by farmers.”

But New Zealand’s regulations mean HME field trials would have to be done overseas then repeated here.

Earlier last week scientists and science leaders attending a NZ BIO symposium at Massey University warned NZ’s GM laws had not kept pace with technology such as gene editing.

Much of the developed world was embracing GM and while NZ scientists were leaders in this science, regulations might prevent its use.

New Zealand leads the world in many areas of agriculture but the blind opposition to GM is handicapping our scientists.

Approval for field trials was technically possible but realistically difficult, with restrictions that no reproductive material left the site, thus preventing plant breeding studies. 

In an interview after the symposium, Bryan said international science companies were not interested in a small, temperate, pastoral farming system, making HME a NZ solution to a NZ farming system problem.

The 15-year HME project cost AgResearch $24 million with another $24m expected to be spent before it was ready for commercialisation. . . 

Seed multiplication in containment glasshouses was under way ahead of field trials planned for 2018-19 and animal nutrition trials in 2020. Depending on those results approval would be sought for NZ trials.

Bryan said GM organisms had been used for over 20 years in agriculture and the growing number of products on the market had not caused health issues for humans or animals eating them. . . 

On the contrary, developments like golden rice have proven health benefits.

This grass is “green” but what’s the bet the people who consider themselves greenest will oppose further trials the most.

Caution with new technology is sensible, blind opposition is not.

 


Quote of the day

April 13, 2016

Excellent wine generates enthusiasm. And whatever you do with enthusiasm is generally successful. – Philippe de Rothschild who was born on this day in 1902.

 


April 13 in history

April 13, 2016

1111 –  Henry V was crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

1250 The Seventh Crusade was defeated in Egypt, Louis IX of France was captured.

1256 – The Grand Union of the Augustinian order formed when Pope Alexander IV issues a papal bull Licet ecclesiae catholicae.

1570 Guy Fawkes, English Catholic conspirator, was born (d. 1606).

1598 Henry IV of France issued the Edict of Nantes, allowing freedom of religion to the Huguenots.

1742 George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah made its world-premiere in Dublin.

1743 Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, was born  (d. 1826).

1796 The first elephant ever seen in the United States arrived from India.

1808 Antonio Meucci, Italian inventor, was born (d. 1889).

1829 The British Parliament granted freedom of religion to Roman Catholics.

1849 Hungary became a republic.

1852 F.W. Woolworth, American businessman, was born  (d. 1919).

1861 American Civil War:  Fort Sumter surrendered to Confederate forces.

1866 Butch Cassidy, American outlaw, was born  (d. 1908).

1868  The Abyssinian War ended as British and Indian troops captured Magdala.

1870 The Metropolitan Museum of Art  was founded.

1873 The Colfax Massacre took place.

1892 Arthur Travers ‘Bomber’ Harris, British Air Force commander, was born  (d. 1984).

1892 – Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, Scottish inventor, was born  (d. 1973).

1895 Sir Arthur Fadden, thirteenth Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1973).

1896 The National Council of Women was formed in Christchurch.

NCW formed in Christchurch

1902– James C. Penney opened his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

1902 Philippe de Rothschild, French race car driver and wine grower, was born (d. 1988).

1906 Samuel Beckett, Irish writer, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1989).

1919 The Establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.

1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre: British troops massacred at least 379 unarmed demonstrators in Amritsar, India. At least 1200 wounded.

1919  Eugene V. Debs entered prison at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia for speaking out against the draft during World War I.

1920  Liam Cosgrave, fifth Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, was born.

1921 Foundation of the Spanish Communist Workers’ Party.

1923 Don Adams, American actor and comedian, was born (d. 2005).

1926   – John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough, English businessman, was born (d. 2014).

1931 Jon Stone, co-creator of Sesame Street, was born (d. 1997).

1939  In India, the Hindustani Lal Sena (Indian Red Army) was formed and vows to engage in armed struggle against the British.

1941 – Len Cook, New Zealand-English mathematician and statistician, was born.

1941 – Pact of neutrality between the USSR and Japan was signed.

1943  World War II: The discovery of a mass grave of Polish prisoners of war executed by Soviet forces in the Katyń Forest Massacre was announced, alienating the Western Allies, the Polish government in exile in London, from the Soviet Union.

1943 James Boarman, Fred Hunter, Harold Brest and Floyd G. Hamilton took part in an attempt to escape from Alcatraz .

1943 The Jefferson Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’ss birth.

1944 Diplomatic relations between New Zealand and the Soviet Union were established.

1945 Judy Nunn, Australian actress, was born.

1945 German troops killed more than 1,000 political and military prisoners in Gardelegen.

1945 Ninth American army crossed the Elbe River.

1948 The Hadassah medical convoy massacre: In an ambush, 79 Jewish doctors, nurses and medical students from Hadassah Hospital and a British soldier are massacred by Arabs in Sheikh Jarra near Jerusalem.

1949 Christopher Hitchens, English-born journalist, critic, and author, was born (d. 2011).

1953  CIA director Allen Dulles launched the mind-control programMKULTRA.

1956 Peter ‘Possum’ Bourne, New Zealand rally driver, was born (d. 2003).

1964 – At the Academy Awards, Sidney Poitier became the first African-American male to win the Best Actor award for Lilies of the Field.

1969 Closure of the Brisbane tramway network.

1970 An oxygen tank aboard Apollo 13 exploded, endangering the crew and causing major damage to the spacecraft en route to the Moon.

1974 – Western Union (in cooperation with NASA and Hughes Aircraft) launches the United States’ first commercial geosynchronous communications satellite, Westar 1.

1975 Bus Massacre in Lebanon: Attack by the Phalangist resistance killed 26 militia members of the P.F.L. of Palestine, marking the start of the 15-year Lebanese Civil War.

1976 The United States Treasury Department reintroduced the two-dollar bill as a Federal Reserve Note on Thomas Jefferson’s 233rd birthday as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.

1983 Harold Washington was elected as the first African-American mayor of Chicago.

1984 India moved into Siachen Glacier thus annexing more territory from the Line of Control.

1987 Portugal and the People’s Republic of China sign an agreement in which Macau would be returned to China in 1999.

1992 The Great Chicago Flood.

1997 Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to win The Masters Tournament.

2009 – The world’s longest webcomic, Homestuck, officially began.

2014 – – A bus traveling from Villahermosa to Mexico City crashed into a tractor-trailer and caught fire, killing at least 36 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: