366 days of gratitude

07/07/2016

When the world seems like an increasingly uncertain and unstable place, and events beyond our control threaten to impact on us, it’s helpful to retain a bit of perspective and remember that regardless of what hits the headlines and the gloomy prognosis the opinionati deliver as a result of that, the sun still rises in the east.

This week it has been doing so in a particularly spectacular fashion, painting the sky above the horizon in brilliant shades as I begin my morning constitutional and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

07/07/2016

Whenua – land, homeland, country; afterbirth, placenta.

(Recognising  Maori Language Week).


Rural round-up

07/07/2016

Need for young blood – Peter Burke:

The aging population in agriculture is working against New Zealand, says Lincoln University’s Jon Hickford.

Speaking to Rural News at the Careers in Agriculture hub at Fieldays, Hickford says this is a huge problem, compounded by NZ’s rapid urbanisation and disconnection from the agri sector.

The problem now is to find enough good young people to work in agriculture.

“The problem across the western world is that young people are entirely urbanised and don’t realise the job opportunities out there on the land. In the case of NZ, agri defines our existence as a country. . . 

Cheap food has high price:

A Lincoln University expert is warning of the cost of focusing on producing food cheaply.  

A report into European farming policy ‘Does the CAP still fit’, co-authored by Lincoln University Professor of Farm Management Alison Bailey, says there is overwhelming evidence at local, national and global levels that food systems need to change.  

The paper was for the Food Research Collaboration on the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which provides support to Europe’s farmers. . . 

Feds support stance on GMOs by 107 world-leading scientists:

As more than 100 world-leading and award-winning scientists voice their support of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Federated Farmers continues to endorse farmers’ rights to decide what technologies are used on their farms.

Federated Farmers’ spokesperson Katie Milne said it’s clear that the long-term stance opponents have against all GMO is well and truly outdated and lacks scientific scrutiny.

“Federated Farmers recognises GMOs can provide many positive benefits to farmers and it’s up to individual farmers to decide whether to use GMOs or not. We have a neutral stance on this.

“Through GMOs farmers could have cows without horns or have the ability to not breed calves, there are many positive animal welfare outcomes for the industry,” said Ms Milne. . . 

Feds unveil guide to local government excellence:

See full Federated Farmers Local Government Manifesto here.

A best-practice, practical and common-sense approach to governance has been unveiled by Federated Farmers at its national conference in Wellington today.

Federated Farmers’ Local Government spokesperson Katie Milne said this tri-annual guide promotes the latest thinking on how councils should be engaging with and providing services to farmers and other ratepayers.

“Farmers are some of the largest funders of local government and the sector most likely to be impacted by regulation developed and implemented by councils. “Farmers need level-headed councillors who prioritise real needs over the ‘nice to haves’. They also need to respect the considerable contributions from ratepayers,” said Ms Milne. . . 

Livestock and sustainability – challenges and opportunities for New Zealand:

Livestock may provide one-third of the value of global agricultural production, but it comes at a big cost for the planet. Livestock uses 80 per cent of the world’s agricultural land, putting pressure on water resources and biodiversity and emitting 14.5 per cent of the planet’s greenhouse gases.

The benefits, risk, trade-offs and consequences are complex and policy makers are always looking for guidance. Now, new guidelines have been developed by the Committee on World Food Security’s High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE). The Committee’s report Sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition: what roles for livestock? was launched last week at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome. . . 

UK referendum opens can of worms and some opportunities  – Allan Barber:

The referendum on EU membership produced a result nobody really expected and nearly half the voters didn’t want, but now everyone has to plan for an uncertain future. There have even been suggestions the exit might not happen, unless the Westminster Parliament passes the required motion to activate the start of the exit process. It’s not worth thinking about the implications for British democracy, if that were to happen.

In the immediate aftermath of the 23 June referendum there are only two certainties in a sea of uncertainty – the pound is worth a lot less than it was which will affect export receipts, but red meat access to the EU including the UK will not change for two years from the time the UK invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which sets the exit process officially in motion. . . 

Agriculture set for slow-down – OECD:

The latest 10-year outlook from the OECD warns the recent period of high agricultural commodity prices is most likely over.

The report, produced with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, said overall market growth was projected to slow and agricultural trade was expected to grow at less than half the rate of the previous decade.

The report – ‘OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2016-2025’ – said global agricultural trade was expected to grow by 1.8 percent per annum in volume during the next 10 years. . . 

Do possums howl at the moon?

Knowing if nocturnal pest mammals are more affected by the phases of the moon or by illumination could bring New Zealand one step closer to being pest free and save control agencies significant sums of money.

Lincoln UniversityEcology Master’s student Shannon Gilmore’s research into the effect lunar phases and illumination have on activity levels in possums, stoats, rats and mice is aimed at finding more effective and efficient means of targeting and managing these pests.

“It costs millions every year to control their populations,” says Shannon. “We’re waging a kind of war on pests. We need to discover their weaknesses. What trait do all four have in common that we can take advantage of? They are all nocturnal, and many nocturnal animals dramatically reduce their activity with the full moon, while others can become more active. . .

 


Thursday’s quiz

07/07/2016

Anyone is welcome to pose the questions.

Everyone who stumps us all will win a virtual batch of shortbread.


The spousing crisis

07/07/2016

Behind the humour is the sorry truth of an unfortunate aspect of modern life:

The spousing crisis is leading to homelessness and child poverty.

Rental spouses are just too expensive.They are insecure and impermanent. You could get kicked out at any time and have to go looking for another. Some spouses have become P-contaminated and put children at risk. But there simply aren’t enough solid, life-time spouses available, so more and more people are being forced into the rental spouse market. . . 

Read the rest at Lindsay Mitchell.


Chasing Great

07/07/2016

The official trailer for Chasing Great, the story of Richie McCaw and the path to the 2015 World Cup, has been released.

IMDb has the plot summary:

All Black captain Richie McCaw has lived his dream with characteristic precision and calculated determination. He’s 34 and perhaps the best rugby player ever. But the dream is almost over. He is old by professional sport standards and everyone is asking when he’s going to retire. Before his career ends Richie McCaw sets his sights on a risk-all attempt to win the Rugby World Cup back to back. No team has won it a second time in a row. No captain has won it twice. He will either end his career on an impossibly high note or take a nation’s dreams down with him. Chasing Great follows Richie McCaw through his final season as he attempts to captain the All Blacks to the first ever-back-to back World Cup win. Until now Richie McCaw’s achievements have been well documented, but little is known about the man himself. He has never courted the media and remains intensely private. Chasing Great takes the audience inside his world for the first time and what emerges is a very personal insight into high level international sport and a revealing psychological profile of the mind of a champion. Natural strength, hard work and sacrifice only get him so far. To become the best he has to master his mind. The mental toughness and self knowledge that McCaw has honed and worked to attain over the later years of his career has elevated him from a great player into perhaps the greatest ever. . . 

This film is about more than rugby and sport.

It’s the story of a country kid who worked out what he wanted to do and what it took to not only do it but do it to the best of his ability.

It launches on September 1.

 


Quote of the day

07/07/2016

We undress men and women, we don’t dress them any more. –  Pierre Cardin who celebrates his 94th birthday today.


July 7 in history

07/07/2016

1456 A retrial verdict acquitted  Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after her death.

1534 European colonization of the Americas: first known exchange between Europeans and natives of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in New Brunswick.

1543  French troops invaded Luxembourg.

1575  Raid of the Redeswire, the last major battle between England and Scotland.

1585  Treaty of Nemours abolished tolerance to Protestants in France.

1770 The Battle of Larga.

1777 American Revolutionary War: Battle of Hubbardton.

1798 Quasi-War: the U.S. Congress rescinded treaties with France sparking the “war”.

1799  Ranjit Singh‘s men took up their positions outside Lahore.

1807 Napoleonic Wars: Peace of Tilsit between France, Prussia and Russia ended the Fourth Coalition.

1846 Mexican-American War: American troops occupied Monterey and Yerba Buena (now San Francisco), beginning the United States conquest of California.

1851 Charles Tindley, American gospel music composer, was born (d. 1933).

1860 Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer, was born  (d. 1911).

1863  United States began first military draft; exemptions cost $300.

1892 Katipunan: the Revolutionary Philippine Brotherhood was established leading to the fall of the Spanish Empire in Asia.

1898  President William McKinley signed the Newlands Resolution annexing Hawaii as a territory of the United States.

1915 Margaret Abigail Walker Alexander, African-American novelist and poet, was born (d. 1998).

1915 World War I: end of First Battle of the Isonzo.

1916 The NZ Labour Party was founded.

NZ Labour Party founded

1915  An International Railway (New York – Ontario) trolley with an extreme overload of 157 passengers crashed near Queenston, Ontario, killing 15.

1917  Russian Revolution: Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov formed aProvisional Government in Russia after the deposing of the Tsar Nicholas II.

1919 Jon Pertwee, English actor, was born (d. 1996).

1922  Pierre Cardin, French fashion designer, was born.

1924 Arthur Porritt won a bronze medal for New Zealand in the 100m at the Olympic Games (portrayed as Tom Watson in the film Chariots of Fire).

'Tom Watson' wins bronze for New Zealand

1924 Mary Ford, American singer, was born (d. 1977).

1927 Doc Severinsen, American composer and musician, was born.

1928  Sliced bread was sold for the first time by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri. It was described as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”.

1930  Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser began construction of the Boulder Dam (now known as Hoover Dam).

1933 Sir Murray Halberg, New Zealand runner, was born.

1937 Sino-Japanese War: Battle of Lugou Bridge – Japanese forces invaded Beijing.

1940 Ringo Starr, English drummer and singer (The Beatles), was born.

1941  Bill Oddie, English comedian and ornithologist, was born.

1941 World War II: U.S. forces landed in Iceland to forestall an invasion by Germany.

1941  World War II: Beirut was occupied by Free France and British troops.

1942 Carmen Duncan, Australian actress, was born.

1946  Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini became the first American to be canonized.

1946   Howard Hughes nearly died when his XF-11 spy plane prototype crashed.

1947 Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, King of Nepal, was born.

1947 Alleged and disputed Roswell UFO incident.

1953 Che Guevara set out on a trip through Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador.

1956 Fritz Moravec reached the peak of Gasherbrum II (8,035 m).

1958 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act into United States law.

1959  Venus occulted the star Regulus. This rare event is used to determine the diameter of Venus and the structure of the Venusian atmosphere.

1967 Beginning of the civil war in Biafra.

1969  In Canada, the Official Languages Act was adopted making French equal to English throughout the Federal government.

1974 West Germany won the FIFA World Cup, beating Netherlands 2-1 in the Final.

1978 The Solomon Islands became independent from the United Kingdom.

1980  Institution of sharia in Iran.

1980 The Safra massacre in Lebanon.

1983 Cold War: Samantha Smith, a U.S.  schoolgirl, flew to the Soviet Union at the invitation of Secretary General Yuri Andropov.

1991  Yugoslav Wars: the Brioni Agreement ended the ten-day independence war in Slovenia against the rest of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

2002 News reports accused MI6 of sheltering Abu Qatada, the supposed European Al Qaeda leader.

2005  A series of four explosions  on London’s transport system killed 56 people, including four alleged suicide bombers and injured over 700 others.

2011 – The roof of a stand in De Grolsch Veste Stadium in Enschede which was under construction collapsed, one killed and 14 injured.

2012 – At least 171 people were killed in a flash flood in the Krasnodar Krai region of Russia.

2013 – A De Havilland Otter air taxi crashed in Soldotna, Alaska, killing 10 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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