Word of the day

July 31, 2017

Bezel – the rim which encompasses and fastens a jewel, watch crystal, lens or other object; rim that holds a transparent covering (as on a watch, clock, or headlight) or that is rotatable and has special markings (as on a watch);  a band of metal containing a groove and a flange (i.e. projecting lip) holding a watch crystal or gemstone in its setting; the oblique side or face of a cut gem, specifically the upper faceted portion of a brilliant projecting from the setting; the diagonal face at the end of the blade of a chisel, or the like, leading to the edge.

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Water woes

July 31, 2017

After last week’s floods a local wit quipped, ah well, we must be a day nearer the next drought.

It’s difficult to remember parched paddocks when yours are sodden, or worse as they are for some, still flooded.

But while we live in a pluvial country the pluviality doesn’t always come at the right time and the right places.

Sooner or later, drought will be causing water woes for farmers again in those places which don’t have the insurance of irrigation.

In other parts of the world, the problem isn’t just the lack or rain, it’s lack of infrastructure and I can’t avoid the temptation to ask: if it was men’s job to get the water would wells, pumps and pipes be a bigger priority?


Rural round-up

July 31, 2017

MPI urges vigilance – Annette Scott:

While he may be the first in New Zealand to have the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis detected on his farm, South Canterbury dairy farmer Aad van Leeuwen is confident he won’t be the last.

The Ministry for Primary Industries notified the detection of Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) disease on a South Canterbury dairy farm on July 25, but the identity of the property wasn’t revealed until four days later, on Friday, prompting speculation to run rife meantime.

Devastated that the disease – listed as an unwanted organism under NZ’s Biosecurity Act 1993 – had hit his dairy operation, van Leeuwen said he was co-operating 100% with MPI. . .

Japan frozen beef tariffs expected – Alan Williams:

New Zealand beef exporters are facing 50% tariffs on frozen exports to Japan over the next eight months.

Suppliers in this country have been caught in the reaction to big shipments from Australia, and especially the United States this year, so that total volumes have reached a trigger point at which the Japanese government has decided it needs to protect domestic farmers. . .

Give up farming generate power – Neil Malthus:

Farmers installing solar power can now get a better return from it than from farming itself, a solar power installer claims.

Electrical contractor Andrew Wells, of ABW Electric, Christchurch, recently set up Sunergy Solar to market solar photovoltaic systems. His company specialises in farm installations, marketed at farming field days and A&P shows; it also does residential systems.

Wells sees huge potential for solar power on farms: electricity charges for a dairy shed average $5000 – $6000 a month and solar panels now cost only about 8% of what they did 10 years ago. . . 

More wool needed for a brighter future – WNZ – Pam Tipa:

Greater sales volume is critical for Wools of NZ, says chair Mark Shadbolt.
The trademarked scouring process Glacier XT will be a more volume-focused business, he says.

“That will create lot more demand. It is creating a wool that is a lot whiter and brighter and is the sort innovation and technology we need to invest in to add value to the wool.

“We have had a lot of interest in the market for it because the brightness is the key aspect that the industry hadn’t been able to acquire until this technology became available.” . .

Southland a winner – Sonita Chandar:

Southlander Katrina Thomas knew “absolutely nothing about cows” when she and husband James Dixon converted to dairy farming.

But she turned that lack of knowledge around by joining the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) and volunteering her time to the community.

It is this generosity that saw her win the 2017 Dairy Women’s Network Dairy Community Leadership award. . .

NZ’s prosperity still tethered to farm gate – Liam Dann:

There’s nothing like a biosecurity scare to remind us that New Zealand’s economic prosperity is still – for better or for worse – tethered to the farm gate.

The instant that news of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak in South Canterbury hit the headlines last Tuesday the dollar plunged.

Luckily it only dropped 20 basis points (0.2 per cent) before it became apparent that this was a more benign disease than foot and mouth.

But it was enough to put a deep V shape in the daily dollar chart and illustrate how quickly a more serious outbreak could take this country to the brink of recession. . .

Fonterra Australia increase farmgate milk price for the 2017/18 season:

Fonterra Australia has today advised its farmers of an increase of 20 cents per kilogram of milk solids (kgMS) to its farmgate milk price for the 2017/18 season, bringing its average farmgate milk price to $5.50kgMS. The increase will apply from 1 July 2017 and will be paid on 15 August 2017.

Fonterra’s additional payment of 40 cents/kgMS is payable on top of the revised farmgate milk price, and brings the total average cash paid to $5.90kgMS.

Fonterra Australia Managing Director René Dedoncker said that improved market conditions and the strength ohf the Australian business supported this step up. . . .


Once were friends

July 31, 2017

This could be from one of  Labour”s foes:

The people in charge of Labour have guided the party through a period of strategic ineptitude, policy torpor, financial ruin and organisational decay. They are just not very good at politics.

Until the party reckons with this, root and branch, their only other idea — changing leaders periodically in the hope that doing so will transform the party’s fortunes — is merely window dressing to distract from the shambles within.

Bur Phil Quin and Labour once were friends.

He like several other commentators are already calling the election for National.

But while it certainly looks like Labour is losing it doesn’t mean that National will win:

The latest poll results show voters recognise National offers a strong stable government, in contrast to the opposition, Prime Minister Bill English says.

But Mr English said party needed to lift its support further to ensure its re-election. . . 

. . . Labour’s poor poll showing would not ensure National’s re-election. “Despite Labour doing worse, the Greens are doing a bit better, and they could have a majority with New Zealand First so our view is that our support, while it’s good, isn’t enough.’

One of the determinants of who leads the next government will be what happens to the wasted votes.

If for example National got a similar level of support as it did in this poll and TOP got around 4.5%, the reallocation of those and other votes for parties that didn’t make the 5% might just be enough.

But National can’t rely on that outcome, it must earn the right to lead the government and in doing so get the votes to enable it to do so.

That won’t be easy because after nearly nine years in government it too has people who once were friends but for a variety of reasons are no longer.


Could there be a Labour overhang?

July 31, 2017

In MMP it’s almost always the party vote that counts.

The exception is with electorates like Epsom or Ohariu where minor party leaders win the seat and get their parties into parliament without getting at least 5% of the party vote.

Even though we’ve had MMP for more than 20 years some people still don’t understand the importance of the party vote.

And some people who do understand the system split their vote, giving their electorate vote to the person in spite, rather than because, of their party.

If a party gets more electorate seats than it’s party vote entitles it to we  end up with more than 120 MPs which is called an overhang.

Labour has slumped to its lowest level in more than  20 years in the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll.

It’s fallen three points to 24 per cent this poll. That’s one per cent lower than the 25 per cent recorded at the last election. The 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll began in 1995.

It’s important not to read too much into a single poll but this one does confirm a downward trend for Labour.

When a party loses support electorate MPs are vulnerable too, especially those in marginal seats.

But voters sometimes stay loyal to individual electorate MPs even though they no longer support their party.

If Labour’s party vote continues to fall not only would it get no list MPs, which would end its leader, Andrew Little’s parliamentary career, it could end up with more electorate MPs than its party vote entitles it to.

Ironically, that wouldn’t be good for National because parliament would end up with an overhang and therefore a government would need more than 61 votes to get a majority.

Another way we might end up with an overhang would be if Labour bleeds enough electorate votes to allow more Maori Party MPs into parliament through winning more seats than their party vote would entitle them to.

That might or might not help National. The Maori Party has been part of National-led governments since 2008. It has given the government confidence and supply but it’s voted against National more often than for it so while National has been able to govern it hasn’t always been able to pass legislation.

National support stayed steady on 47% in this poll.

To my surprise and despair, the Green Party gained 4% support which is being attributed to Meteria Turei’s confession of fraud and possibly the mad policy that would increase benefit dependency.

However, this is only one poll and that level of increase is against the trend.


Quote of the day

July 31, 2017

 The candle burns not for us, but for all those whom we failed to rescue from prison, who were shot on the way to prison, who were tortured, who were kidnapped, who ‘disappeared’. That’s what the candle is for. –   Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International, who was born on this day in 1921.


July 31 in history

July 31, 2017

30 BC  Battle of Alexandria: Mark Antony achieved a minor victory over Octavian’s forces, but most of his army subsequently deserted, leading to his suicide.

781 The oldest recorded eruption of Mt. Fuji.

904 Thessalonica fell to the Arabs, who destroyed the city.

1009  Pope Sergius IV became the 142nd pope, succeeding Pope John XVIII.

1200 Attempted usurpation of John Komnenos the Fat.

1423  Hundred Years’ War: Battle of Cravant – the French army was defeated at Cravant.

1451  Jacques Cœur was arrested by order of Charles VII of France.

1492 Jews were expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree took effect.

1498 On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus became the first European to discover the island of Trinidad.

1658 Aurangzeb was proclaimed Moghul emperor of India.

1667   Treaty of Breda ended the second Anglo-Dutch War.

1703  Daniel Defoe was placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but was pelted with flowers.

1741  Charles Albert of Bavaria invaded Upper Austria and Bohemia.

1777 Pedro Ignacio de Castro Barros, Argentine statesman and priest, was born (d. 1849).

1777 The U.S. Second Continental Congress passed a resolution that the services of Marquis de Lafayette “be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States.”

1790  First U.S. patent was issued to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.

1800 Friedrich Wöhler, German chemist and founder of organic chemistry, was born (d. 1882).

1803 John Ericsson, Swedish inventor and engineer, was born (d. 1889).

1843 – The foundation stone was laid for New Zealand’s first purpose-built theatre, the  Royal Victoria Theatre on Manners St, Wellington.

Foundation stone laid for New Zealand's first purpose-built theatre

1856  Christchurch, New Zealand, was chartered as a city.

1860 Mary Vaux Walcott, American artist and naturalist, was born (d. 1940).

1865 The first narrow gauge mainline railway in the world opened atGrandchester, Australia.

1895  The Basque Nationalist Party (Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea-Partido Nacionalista Vasco) was founded by Basque nationalist leader Sabino Arana.

1909  Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Austrian writer and polyglot, was born (d. 1999).

1912  Milton Friedman, American economist, Nobel laureate (d. 2006).

1913 The Balkan States signed an armistice at Bucharest.

1919 German national assembly adopted the Weimar constitution.

1921 Peter Benenson, British founder of Amnesty International, was born (d. 2005).

1930  The radio mystery programme The Shadow  aired for the first time.

1932  The NSDAP won more than 38% of the vote in German elections.

1936  The International Olympic Committee announced that the 1940 Summer Olympics would be held in Tokyo. However, the games were given back to the IOC after the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out, and are eventually cancelled altogether because of World War II.

1938 – Bulgaria signed a non-aggression pact with Greece and other states of Balkan Antanti (Turkey, Romania, Yugoslavia).

1938 Archaeologists discovered engraved gold and silver plates from King Darius in Persepolis.

1940 A doodlebug train in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio collided with a multi-car freight train heading in the opposite direction, killing 43 people.

1941  Holocaust: under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, ordered SS General Reinhard Heydrich to “submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question.”

1943 Lobo, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1944  Geraldine Chaplin, American actress, was born.

1944 – Jonathan Dimbleby, British journalist and television presenter.

1945  Pierre Laval, the fugitive former leader of Vichy France, surrendered to Allied soldiers in Austria.

1945  John K. Giles attempted to escape from Alcatraz prison.

1948  New York International Airport (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport) was dedicated.

1951  Japan Airlines was established.

1954 First ascent of K2, by an Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio.

1959  The Basque separatist organisation ETA was founded.

1964 Jim Corr, Irish singer and musician (The Corrs), was born.

1964  Ranger 7 sent back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes.

1970 Black Tot Day: The last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy.

1972 – Operation Motorman: British troops moved into the no-go areas of Belfast and Derry. End of Free Derry.

1972 – Three car bombs detonated in Claudy, Northern Ireland, killing nine.

1973 A Delta Air Lines jetliner crashed while landing in fog at Logan Airport, Boston, Massachusetts killing 89.

1976 John Walker won gold in the 1500 metres at the Montreal Olympics.

John Walker wins gold in Montreal

1976 NASA released the  Face on Mars photo.

1978 Will Champion, English musician (Coldplay), was born.

1980 Mils Muliaina, New Zealand rugby union player, was born.

1980 Mikko Hirvonen, Finnish rally driver, was born.

1981 – General Omar Torrijos of Panama died in a plane crash.

1981 A total solar eclipse occured.

1987  A rare, class F4 tornado ripped through Edmonton, Alberta, killing 27 people and causing $330 million in damage.

1988  32 people died and 1,674 injured when a bridge at the Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal collapsed in Butterworth, Malaysia.

1991  The Medininkai Massacre in Lithuania. Soviet OMON attacked Lithuanian customs post in Medininkai, killing 7 officers and severely wounding one other.

1992  A Thai Airways Airbus A300-310 crashed into a mountain north of Kathmandu, Nepal killing 113.

1999  Lunar Prospector – NASA intentionally crashed the spacecraft into the Moon, ending its mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface.

2002  Hebrew University of Jerusalem was attacked when a bomb exploded in a cafeteria, killing 9.

2006  Fidel Castro handed over power temporarily to brother Raúl Castro.

2007 Operation Banner, the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the longest-running British Army operation ever, ended.

2012 – Michael Phelps broke the record set in 1964 by Larisa Latynina for the greatest number of medals won at the Olympics.

2014 – Gas explosions in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung killed at least 20 people and injured more than 270.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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