366 days of gratitude

August 4, 2016

The Kakanui mountains are usually snow-clad throughout winter.

There was a reasonable fall in early June but mild weather in the following weeks melted most of it.

But in the last few days winter has arrived and with it a good covering of the snow we need to feed rivers and aquifers in spring and for that I’m grateful.

 


Word of the day

August 4, 2016

Currach –  a coracle; a small round boat made of wickerwork or interwoven laths covered with a waterproof layer of animal skin, canvas, tarred or oiled cloth, or the like, propelled with a paddle; a boat made of waterproof material over a light wood frame, traditionally propelled by means of oars or a sail.


Rural round-up

August 4, 2016

British wasps could solve NZ problems:

Scientists have a secret weapon in their war against wasps – other wasps.

German and common wasp problems cost New Zealand’s primary industries around $130 million a year, but a parasitic wasp whose larvae feeds off their host before killing it is expected to change that.

It’s an idea that has been used with some success since the 1980s, but scientists have discovered the wasps they’ve used in the past might speak the wrong language.

“In order for the Sphecophaga to go undetected in the nest, they may speak the correct language, or dialect, in order to fool their hosts,” Landcare Research biocontrol scientist Ronny Groenteman said.  . . 

Organic story needs more tale:

Despite the organic sector’s rapid growth kiwifruit growers might need to do even more to maintain the advantages they have in the marketplace, food marketing expert Professor David Hughes warns.  

Hughes, from Imperial College, London, gave growers his take on developments in the booming organic sector that is now topping US$80 billion a year in global sales.  

He spoke at Zespri’s inaugural organic dinner, hosted by the marketer to showcase organic produce and give the industry’s small pool of 80 organic growers insight to global developments. . .  

Preparedness for irrigation season ‘vital’:

With low groundwater levels confirmed by Environment Canterbury today and the outlook for recharge before the coming irrigation season not looking good, irrigating farmers must ensure their equipment and irrigation schedules are up to scratch if they are to survive another dry summer, says IrrigationNZ.

“Preparedness for the coming irrigation season is vital. Poorly operating irrigation systems cost time and water efficiency, not to mention the additional cost to production. Farmers must make sure irrigation systems are operating as efficiently as possible because water resources are already stretched so every drop must be optimised,” says IrrigationNZ Project Manager Steven Breneger. . . 

Change of Chair of the Land And Water Forum:

Alastair Bisley has stood down as the Land and Water Forum’s Chair after seven years in the role.

Soon after the Forum was establishment in late 2008, Alastair was appointed its Chairman to moderate a multi-stakeholder consensus on the challenging issue of freshwater policy reform.

The Forum’s recommendations have formed the basis for decisions by Government and regional councils that are progressively deploying its recommendations. . . 

NZ commodity prices rise for third straight month; dairy, meat lead gains – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand commodity prices rose for a third straight month in July, led by dairy products, aluminium and meat, although the strong kiwi dollar limited the benefits for local producers.

The ANZ commodity price index rose 2 percent last month, bringing its three-month gain to 6.9 percent. In New Zealand dollar terms, prices have gained just 2.5 percent in the past three months and are 5.7 percent lower than in the same period last year. . . .

Nelson company DroneMate launches the ultimate farming drone to New Zealand market:

Nelson company DroneMate is launching a ground-breaking new agricultural farming drone into the New Zealand market that features a multi-application sensor developed by US company Sentera.

Marketed as DroneMate Agriculture, the product costs $5000 (approximately one third of the drone technology currently being used for much agricultural survey work) or $7000 for the deluxe model and is poised to revolutionise the way that aerial survey technology is used by farmers across a range of sectors, including dairy, horticulture, orcharding and viticulture. . . 

Beekeepers swarm to Rotorua for hui:

Māori landowners and honey producers will be buzzing in Rotorua over the next two days (4/5 August) as they attend the He kai kei aku ringa National Māori Mānuka Hui.

Associate Minister for Economic Development Te Ururoa Flavell, who is opening the hui this morning, says there are major opportunities for Māori landowners in mānuka honey because of rising demand and prices.

“New Zealand exports more than $220 million of honey a year and volumes have more than doubled in the last 10 years in response to rising prices. . . 

Big cities dominate early running in NZ young horticulturalist contest:
Search on for 2016 Young Horticulturist of the Year

The New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 competition — traditionally dominated by the regions — has taken a surprising twist this year with the Auckland and Wellington regions making a clean sweep of early results.

The results so far:

• 2016 New Zealand Amenity Horticulturalist competition winner: Jeanette Barker, Auckland Botanic Gardens.
• 2016 Young Grower of the Year, Andrew Hutchinson, AS Wilcox, Pukekohe.
• 2016 Nursery and Garden Industry New Zealand Young Achiever Award, Daniel Howard, Moores Valley Nurseries, Wellington . . 


Thursday’s quiz

August 4, 2016

You’re welcome to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual chocolate sponge.


What’s a necessity and who pays?

August 4, 2016

When I was in the UK in the early 80s women were up in arms over the imposition of VAT on tampons when pipe cleaners were exempt.

Fair enough.

One is a necessity the other is not.

Fast forward more than three decades and students want universities to supply free sanitary products to students in the same way they provide condoms.

New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations president Linsey Higgins said it had heard from a number of students from across the country about the compromises they were making due to not being able to afford sanitary products.

Ms Higgins said students were having to use substitutes, such as toilet paper, or staying home while on their period, and were missing out on their education.

She said universities could use their negotiating position to buy in bulk to provide the products for free.

“We would like to see menstrual products having the same pride of place that condoms do in tertiary environments, for example in fish bowls, in medical centre receptions or student association receptions, so they’re not hidden from students and it’s not a shameful thing.”

“The more we can minimise and destigmatise menstruation, the better off we are.” . . 

You could argue whether or not universities should be supplying condoms but they prevent disease and accidental pregnancies both of which impose a cost on individuals and the taxpayers.

Neither of those apply to sanitary protection, the benefits of which are the individuals’.

People on very low incomes struggle to afford enough food and other necessities. Sanitary products are necessities and aren’t cheap.

But students have choices.

They can work part time during the term and full time in holidays to supplement student allowances and loans.

They can study part time and hold down part or full time employment.

They can defer study while working to save enough to get them through their studies.

Every dollar universities spend on something like this is a dollar less available to spend on what they’re there for – providing excellent tertiary education.

If universities are expected to provide free sanitary protection should they also provide free razors for men who can’t afford to shave?


Quote of the day

August 4, 2016

Everyone with a cell phone thinks they’re a photographer. Everyone with a laptop thinks they’re a journalist. But they have no training, and they have no idea of what we keep to in terms of standards, as in what’s far out and what’s reality. And they have no dedication to truth. Helen Thomas who was born on this day in 1920.


August 4 in history

August 4, 2016

1265 Second Barons’ War: Battle of Evesham – the army of Prince Edward defeated the forces of rebellious barons led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, killing de Montfort and many of his allies.

1532 the Duchy of Brittany was annexed to the Kingdom of France.

1578 Battle of Al Kasr al Kebir – the Moroccans defeated the Portuguese. King Sebastian of Portugal was killed leaving his elderly uncle, Cardinal Henry, as his heir which initiated a succession crisis in Portugal.

1693 Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon’s invention ofChampagne.

1704  War of the Spanish Succession: Gibraltar was captured by an English and Dutch fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir George Rooke and allied withArchduke Charles.

1789 In France members of the National Constituent Assembly took an oath to end feudalism and abandon their privileges.

1790 A newly passed tariff act created the Revenue Cutter Service (the forerunner of the United States Coast Guard).

1791 The Treaty of Sistova was signed, ending the Ottoman-Habsburg wars.

1792 Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet, was born (d. 1822).

1821  Atkinson & Alexander published the Saturday Evening Post for the first time.

1821 Louis Vuitton, French designer, was born (d. 1892).

1824 Battle of Kos  between Turks and Greeks.

1834  John Venn, English mathematician, was born (d. 1923).

1854 The Hinomaru was established as the official flag to be flown from Japanese ships.

1870 Sir Harry Lauder, Scottish entertainer, was born (d. 1950).

1873  The United States 7th Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, clashed for the first time with the Sioux, one man on each side was killed.

1900 Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, (Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother), was born (d. 2002)

1901 Louis Armstrong, American jazz musician, was born (d. 1971).

1902 The Greenwich foot tunnel under the River Thames opened.

1906  Central Railway Station, Sydney opened.

1906 – Marie José of Belgium, was born (d. 2001).

1914   – World War I: Germany invaded Belgium. In response, the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. The United States declared its neutrality.

1916  Liberia declared war on Germany.

1920 – Helen Thomas, American journalist and author, was born (d. 2013).

1923 – The 8.5-km Ōtira tunnel, which pierced the Southern Alps and linked Christchurch with Greymouth, was formally opened by Prime Minister William Massey.

1923 – Reg Grundy, Australian television mogul, was born (d. 2016).

1936  Prime Minister of Greece Ioannis Metaxas suspended parliament and the Constitution and established the 4th of August Regime.

1940 – Larry Knechtel, American bass player and pianist (Bread and The Wrecking Crew), was born (d. 2009).

1942 David Lange,  former New Zealand Prime Minister, was born (d. 2005).

David Lange Posts a Letter.jpg

1943 Vicente Alberto Álvarez Areces, President of the Government of the Principality of Asturias in Spain, was born.

1944 A tip from a Dutch informer led the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse where they found  Anne Frank and her family.

1946 Dominican Republic earthquake of magnitude 8.0;  100  killed and 20,000 left homeless.

1947 The Supreme Court of Japan was established.

1952 Moya Brennan, Irish singer, was born.

1954  The Government of Pakistan approved Qaumi Tarana, written by Hafeez Jullundhry and composed by Ahmed G. Chagla, as the national anthem.

1958  The Billboard Hot 100 was founded.

1960 – Tim Winton, Australian author, was born.

1960 Paul Henry,  New Zealand broadcaster, was born.

1960 José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain, was born.

1961  Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was born.

1964  Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman andJames Chaney were found dead after disappearing on June 21.

1964  Gulf of Tonkin Incident: United States destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy reported coming under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.

1965  The Cook Islands gained Self Government.

Cook Islands achieve self-government

1965 Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden, was born.

1969 Vietnam War: at the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris, U.S. representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy began secret peace negotiations.

1974  A bomb exploded in the Italicus Express train at San Benedetto Val di Sambro, Italy, killing 12 people and wounding 22.

1975  The Japanese Red Army took more than 50 hostages at the AIA Building housing several embassies in Kuala Lumpur.

1984  The African republic Upper Volta changed its name to Burkina Faso.

1987 The Federal Communications Commission rescinded the Fairness Doctrine which had required radio and television stations to present controversial issues “fairly”.

1991  The Greek cruise ship MTS Oceanos sank off the Wild Coast of South Africa.

1995 Operation Storm began in Croatia.

2002 Soham murders: 10 year old school girls Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells went missing from Soham, Cambridgeshire.

2005 Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that Michaëlle Jean would be Canada’s 27th — and first black — Governor General.

2006 2006 Trincomalee massacre of NGO workers by Sri Lankan government forces, killing 17 employees of the French INGO Action Against Hunger (known internationally as Action Contre la Faim, or ACF).

2007 NASA’s Phoenix spaceship was launched.

2007 – Airport police officer María del Luján Telpuk discovered a suitcase containing an undeclared amount of US$800,000 as it went through an x-ray machine in Buenos Aires’ Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, sparking an international scandal involving Venezuela and Argentina known as “Maletinazo“.

2010 – California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative prohibiting same-sex marriage passed by the state’s voters in 2008, was overturned by Judge Vaughn Walker in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: