Word of the day

July 3, 2017

Zyzzyva –  a genus of tropical weevils (family Curculionidae) native to South America and typically found on or near palm trees.

(It’s also the last word in several dictionaries including the Oxford English.)


Rural round-up

July 3, 2017

Crippling footrot could become malady of the past for merinos – Gerard Hutching:

The perfect sheep: that’s the holy grail scientists working for the New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) are chasing as they move a step closer to creating a merino that does not suffer footrot.

Using DNA testing, researchers can now accurately predict how resilient a sheep is to the crippling foot disease. Sheep breeders can use the information to selectively breed for greater resistance to footrot.

One of the outcomes is that the range of the breed might expand from dry high country to lowland regions, and its population could grow from 2 million up to 10 million.   . . 

Wool pile grows – Neal Wallace:

A collapse in the market for some types of crossbred wool has forced the stockpiling of thousands of bales amid warnings it could be another year before the market improves.

For some types of wool, farmers have been told more has been put in storage than has sold in the last nine months.

PGG Wrightson wool manager Cedric Bayly was reluctant to reveal figures but said the firm was storing three times the normal volume because of the drying up of demand from China for predominantly second shear 38 to 40 micron crossbred wool that was 50mm to 75mm in length. . . 

Putting the bounce back into wool returns – Chris Irons:

It’s incredibly frustrating that wool is languishing as the cellar-dweller in returns to farmer producers.

Given wool’s incredible attributes, and world markets that supposedly are clamouring for products that are renewable, natural, biodegradable and healthy, New Zealand wool should be doing just fine.

But while the prices for sheep and beef meat have bounced backed to sustainable levels, the returns from wool remain dismal, with no immediate prospect of an upward turn. . . 

Seafood’s men and women tell their stories:

New Zealand’s seafood industry is publicly promising to protect the environment and secure long-term sustainable fisheries.

A promise to the people of New Zealand will air tonight on mainstream television. It will feature people from throughout the country employed in catching, harvesting and processing the seafood that drives one of the country’s most important domestic and export sectors.

The country’s main seafood companies have collaborated to promote the television and web-based programme, committing to a code of conduct that backs the promise. . . 

Word ‘milk’ banned for use in branding of plant based products

Producers using the term ‘milk’ to market purely plant-based products have been forced to rebrand.

The EU Court of Justice confirmed a ban on products of a ‘purely plant-based substance’ using milk, cream, butter, cheese or yoghurt as a marketing tool – terms reserved by EU law for milk of animal origin or products directly derived from bovine milk.

There are some allowances, including coconut milk, nut butter and ice cream, but the majority rule applies to all products not on the list of exceptions, such as soya and tofu. . . 

Agri business using IoT will jolt the NZ economy:

A new research study has identified agri-business as one of the best opportunities to use the internet of things (IoT) for economic advantage in New Zealand, mainly because of the contribution that agriculture already makes to the Kiwi economy.

The research study was commissioned by the New Zealand IoT Alliance, an independent member funded group of tech firms, major corporates, startups, universities and government agencies. . . 

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Ingredients of an all natural egg.


Trust the science not the headline

July 3, 2017

The headline says: Study finds ‘potentially toxic’ nanoparticles in Australian baby formula:.

Tiny, needle-like nanoparticles that are potentially toxic have been found in Australian baby formulas.

A world-leading team in nanotechnology at Arizona State University tested seven off-the-shelf baby formula products and found two – Nestle’s NAN HA 1 Gold and Nature’s Way Kids Smart 1 – contained needle-shaped hydroxyapatite nanoparticles. . . .

Cue a panic among parents who use the formula.

But Michelle Dickinson at SciBlogs looks at the science and finds it’s better to trust the science, not the headline:

. . . So in conclusion, scientific jargon has been used to scare parents using evidence from a scientific paper which has findings of no special significance.

Based on current research, the hydroxyapatite nanoparticles found in baby formula are most likely safe, are in small doses, in a form that your baby can easily digest and could even be beneficial for your baby in the long run. 

Michelle’s explanation is an interesting read, and guess what, she notes that:

the study was commissioned and published by Friends of The Earth which is an environmental advocacy group.

There are more than enough real environmental problems for those genuinely concerned about making the planet a cleaner, greener place to act on without inventing more with pseudo science that accomplishes nothing more than scaremongering.

 

 


Why are Foodstuffs blocking Macleans?

July 3, 2017

The last item on my shopping list was toothpaste.

I wandered down the aisle where it ought to be and saw several different brands and sizes but not the one I wanted.

I walked back up, looking more carefully and still couldn’t see the brand I’ve been buying for years.

I found several others, some I recognised and some I didn’t, but no Macleans .

A staff member was stocking shelves near by. I asked her if she could help me.

She said, sorry, the supermarket no longer stocked that brand. Foodstuffs had decided to replace Macleans with Oral B.

Bother, I thought. I could try the other brand but what if I don’t like the taste?

I had a vague memory someone once told me it tasted like liniment. Did I trust that vague memory or take a chance?

I might be pleasantly surprised by a new flavour. But then again I might not and I didn’t want several weeks feeling like I was cleaning my teeth with something better suited to a rugby changing room than the inside of my mouth.

The tube at home still has two or three weeks of teeth cleaning left in it. There is a Countdown in town and while it’s not as convenient to get to as the Four Square or New World supermarkets, I could make a detour for toothpaste before I ran out.

So I didn’t buy any toothpaste and next time I’m near another supermarket I’ll pop in to make the purchase.

I like the New World and Four Square stores I frequent. The staff are friendly and helpful, the stores are on my direct route in and out of town, and they usually have what I want.

So, Foodstuffs,  you’re not going to lose a customer because of this change but you will lose some custom because if I’m in the other supermarket for toothpaste, odds are I’ll buy something else as well.

You’re also going to worry me – if you drop one of my usual purchases from your range, what’s to stop you dropping more for what appears to be your convenience rather than your customers’ choice?

Your stores are usually pretty good at customer service and in my experience your staff generally act on the principle that the customer is always right.

Why then have you changed to the wrong toothpaste?

Stock the other one as well if you want to, but please bring back the right one for me too.


Quote of the day

July 3, 2017

For me, human rights simply endorse a view of life and a set of moral values that are perfectly clear to an eight-year-old child. A child knows what is fair and isn’t fair, and justice derives from that knowledge.Tom Stoppard who celebrates his 80th birthday today.


July 3 in history

July 3, 2017

324  Battle of Adrianople Constantine I defeated Licinius.

987 Hugh Capet was crowned King of France, the first of the Capetian dynasty.

1608  Québec City was founded by Samuel de Champlain.

1728 Robert Adam, Scottish architect, was born (d. 1792).

1754  French and Indian War: George Washington surrendered Fort Necessity to French forces.

1767 Pitcairn Island was discovered by Midshipman Robert Pitcairn on an expeditionary voyage commanded by Philip Carteret.

1767  Norway’s oldest newspaper still in print, Adresseavisen, was founded and the first edition published.

1775 American Revolutionary War: George Washington took command of the Continental Army.

1778 American Revolutionary War: British forces massacred 360 people in the Wyoming Valley massacre.

1819 The Bank of Savings in New York City, the first savings bank  in the United States, opened.

1839  The first state normal school in the United States, the forerunner to today’s Framingham State College, opened in Lexington, Massachusetts with 3 students.

1844 The last pair of Great Auks was killed.

1848  Slaves were freed in the Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands) by Peter von Scholten in the culmination of a year-long plot by enslaved Africans.

1849  The French entered Rome to restore Pope Pius IX to power.

1852  Congress established the United States’ 2nd mint in San Francisco, California.

1863  U.S. Civil War: The final day of the Battle of Gettysburg culminated with Pickett’s Charge.

1866  Austro-Prussian War was decided at the Battle of Königgratz,resulting in Prussia taking over as the prominent German nation from Austria.

1884  Dow Jones and Company publishes its first stock average.

1886  Karl Benz  officially unveiled the Benz Patent Motorwagen – the first purpose-built automobile.

1886  The New York Tribune became the first newspaper to use a linotype machine, eliminating typesetting by hand.

1898  Spanish-American War: The Spanish fleet, led by Pascual Cervera y Topete, was destroyed by the U.S. Navy in Santiago, Cuba.

1913  Confederate veterans at the Great Reunion of 1913 reenacted Pickett’s Charge; upon reaching the high-water mark of the Confederacy they were met by the outstretched hands of friendship from Union survivors.

1937 Tom Stoppard, Czech-born, British playwright, was born.

1938  World speed record for a steam railway locomotive was set in England, by the Mallard, which reaches a speed of 126 miles per hour (203 km/h).

1938  President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and lights the eternal flame at Gettysburg Battlefield.

1940  World War II: the French fleet of the Atlantic was bombarded by the British fleet, coming from Gibraltar, causing the loss of three battleships:Dunkerque, Provence and Bretagne, and death of 1200 sailors.

1944 World War II: Minsk was liberated from Nazi control by Soviet troops during Operation Bagration.

1947 Dave Barry, American humorist and author, was born.

1950 – Ewen Chatfield, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1951  Richard Hadlee, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1952-  The Constitution of Puerto Rico was approved by the Congress of the United States.

1952  The SS United States set sail on her maiden voyage to Southampton. During the voyage, the ship took the Blue Riband away from the RMS Queen Mary.

1959 Julie Burchill, British journalist and author, was born.

1960 Vince Clarke, British songwriter (Depeche Mode, Yazoo, and Erasure), was born.

1962  Tom Cruise, American actor, was born.

1962  The Algerian War of Independence against the French ended.

1963 In New Zealand’s worst internal civil aviation accident, all 23 passengers and crew were killed when a DC3 crashed in the Kaimai Range. Helicopters were used for the first time in the search and rescue operation that followed.

DC-3 crashes in Kaimai Range

1964 Joanne Harris, British author, was born.

1969  The biggest explosion in the history of rocketry occurred when theSoviet N1 rocket exploded and destroyed its launchpad.

1970 The Troubles: the “Falls Curfew” began in Belfast.

1970  A British Dan-Air De Havilland Comet chartered jetliner crashed into mountains north of Barcelona killing 113 people.

1977 The Senegalese Republican Movement was founded.

1979  US President Jimmy Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.

1986  US President Ronald Reagan presided over the relighting of the renovated Statue of Liberty.

1988  United States Navy warship USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 killing all 290 people aboard.

1988 Winston Reid,   New Zealand– Danish Football Player, was born.

1988  The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey was completed, providing the second connection between the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus.

1994 The deadliest day in Texas traffic history when 46 people were killed in crashes.

1996 Stone of Scone was returned to Scotland.

2001 A Vladivostok Avia Tupolev TU-154 jetliner crashed on approach to landing at Irkutsk, Russia killing 145 people.

2004  Official opening of Bangkok’s subway system.

2005  Same-sex marriage was legalised in Spain.

2006 Valencia metro accident left 43 dead.

2006  Asteroid 2004 XP14 flew within 432,308 kilometres (268,624 mi) of Earth.

2009  Mark II.5 Skytrain cars entered service in Metro Vancouver.

2013 – Egyptian coup d’état: President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the military after 4 days of protests all over the country calling for Morsi’s resignation, to which he didn’t respond. President of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt Adly Mansour was declared acting president.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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