Word of the day

December 1, 2017

Schwellenangst – a fear of, or aversion to, crossing a threshold or entering a place, especially of a potential customer; a fear of something new.


A very mirry Christmas

December 1, 2017

 


Friday’s answers

December 1, 2017

Andrei wins a virtual haggis for answering Thursday’s questions and can claim a virtual batch of shortbread for his question by leaving the answer below.

  1. Name three countries of which is Andrew the Saint.

 

  1. Cyprus, Scotland, Greece, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, San Andres Island, Colombia, Barbados and Tenerife.

 

  1. 2. Andrew is the saint of which two occupations?

 

  1. Fishermen,  fish mongers and singers. (I do realise that’s three, but I asked for two, thinking it was just fishermen and singers but when Andrei put fishmongers I consulted Professor Google who said fishmongers too).  The professor told me that Andrew’s also the saint of women wanting to be mothers, gout and sore throats.

3. The diagonal cross of St Andrew and Scotland is called what?

Saltire Cross.

4. Why is it associated with St Andrew?

He was crucified on a diagonal cross.

5. What’s your favourite Scottish song?

Loch Lomond and the Skye Boat Song tie for first equal with me.


Rural round-up

December 1, 2017

Essential to keep close watch on alternative products – Allan Barber:

This is the year when plant based alternatives to dairy and meat have suddenly started to pose a more serious threat to the traditional animal based products on which New Zealand farmers, and our economy as a whole, depend. There is no danger these alternatives will suddenly take over the world, leaving dairy and sheep and beef farmers wondering what to do with their stranded assets. But, to prevent being taken unpleasantly by surprise, it will be necessary for the dairy and red meat sectors to keep a close watch on these competitors and track their progress with global consumers.

Perfect Day is a San Francisco based start-up company which has developed what it claims is a ‘cow-free milk’ that tastes like the real thing because it contains casein and whey produced by inserting a cow’s DNA into a particular strain of yeast and mixed with plant based nutrients and fats. The result is a lactose free milk alternative which uses 65% less energy, generates 84% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 91% less land and 98% less water. . . 

How can we make dairy sustainable – Keith Woodford:

The big challenge for New Zealand dairy is how it can become sustainable in the coming decades. This sustainability includes both financial and environmental sustainability. And it needs to occur in the context of both scepticism and some antipathy from within the urban community.

One of the challenges for our new Government is to come to terms with the extent to which dairy and indeed the broader pastoral industries provide a key pillar that underpins the export economy. Without a vibrant export economy, there is no practical way we can address poverty and inequality within Zealand.   However, that is not the way that many New Zealanders currently see it.  And therein lies the challenge.

I live in an urban community, and my assessment is that most urban people think we do have too many cows.  When I ask what alternatives they recommend, the responses are typically naïve. . . 

Cutting down on cow burps to ease climate change – Eloise Gibson:

In a cream-colored metal barn two hours north of Wellington, New Zealand, a black-and-white dairy cow stands in what looks like an oversize fish tank. Through the transparent Plexiglas walls, she can see three other cows in adjacent identical cubicles munching their food in companionable silence. Tubes sprout from the tops of the boxes, exchanging fresh air for the stale stuff inside. The cows, their owners say, could help slow climate change.

Livestock has directly caused about one-quarter of Earth’s warming in the industrial age, and scientists from the U.S. departments of agriculture and energy say bigger, more resource-heavy cattle are accelerating the problem. Contrary to popular belief, cows contribute to global warming mostly through their burps, not their flatulence. So about a dozen scientists here at AgResearch Grasslands, a government-owned facility, are trying to develop a vaccine to stop those burps. “This is not a standard vaccine,” says Peter Janssen, the anti-burp program’s principal research scientist. “It’s proving to be an elusive little genie to get out of the bottle.” . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand elected onto Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef board of directors:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has been elected on to the Board of Directors of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) for a two-year term.

The GRSB is a global initiative developed to advance continuous improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain through leadership, science, engagement and collaboration.

“This is about B+LNZ on behalf of New Zealand beef farmers and the wider industry stepping up into a global leadership role,” says CEO Sam McIvor. “It is also recognition of the high st anding of New Zealand and our beef farmers when it comes to sustainability globally. . . 

Enhancing native biodiversity in agroecosystems:

Project 3.3

Leaders: Professor David Norton (University of Canterbury) and Associate Professor Hannah Buckley (Auckland University of Technology)

Mission Statement

This project aims to rebuild structure and enhance ecological function of native biodiversity on sheep and beef farms in Aotearoa New Zealand. By working with universities, research institutes, regional councils, iwi and farming communities across the country we will gain a well-rounded view of social and cultural attitudes towards biodiversity in agroecosystems. We will fill gaps in the current knowledge regarding how biodiversity contributes to ecological processes, economic outcomes and human well-being across these farming landscapes. By doing so we will learn how to manage biodiversity in agroecosystems in a way that results in gains for both farming and nature conservation.

Summary

Sheep and beef farms make up nearly 40% of New Zealand’s landscape and play a vital role in our economy. We know that native biodiversity can help agroecosystem resilience, but we don’t know what is required to create and support changes in how this biodiversity is regarded, protected and managed in agricultural landscapes. Given that these farms usually occur in the lowlands in New Zealand – where there is the least native biodiversity remaining – they might be the only opportunity we have to sustain some of our taonga (treasured) species. . . 

NZ Dairy Industry Awards not just about winning:

The first solo female to win the Dairy Manager of the Year category in the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards believes her win proves that women are capable of being successful in senior roles within the dairy industry.

29-year-old Manawatu Farm Manager Hayley Hoogendyk says her success also shows that the dairy industry is a fast-changing environment that is always looking for the best result.

“One of the hurdles for women years ago was that farming required brawn and skills that supposedly only males possess. It is now obvious that there are a huge amount of aspects involved in dairy farming, some of which your ‘typical female’ is better at than most males,” says Hayley. . . 

 

From potato eaters to world leaders in agriculture – Priti Kumar & Fokke Fennema:

Van Gogh’s famous painting of Potato Eaters depicts a family of poor peasants seated around a dinner table eating their staple fare. The artist confessed that this work is deeply reflective of the hard work that Dutch peasants have to do to earn a bare meal. Van Gogh frequently painted the harvest and often compared the season to his own art, and how he would someday reap all that he had put into it. 

Since those difficult times in the late 1800s, the tiny country of the Netherlands (pop: 17 mill; about the size of Haryana state in India) has come a long way. Matching sheer ingenuity with technological prowess, the Netherlands today is one of the world’s most agriculturally productive countries, feeding people across the globe from its meager land area. Indeed, this small nation is now the world’s second-largest exporter of agri-food products including vegetables, fruits, potatoes, meat, milk and eggs; some 6% of world trade in fruits and 16% in vegetables comes from the Netherlands.

But how exactly did they do this? In October 2017, we went to find out. Our team – of World Bank and Indian government officials working on agribusiness, rural transformation and watershed development projects – sought to learn from Dutch experience and identify opportunities for future collaboration. We met farmer cooperatives, private companies, growers’ associations, academia, social enterprises, and government agencies, and gained fascinating insights. . . 

 


Cost of confidence slump

December 1, 2017

Business confidence has fallen to the lowest level in more than eight years:

The ANZ business outlook survey found a net 39 per cent are pessimistic about the economy over the coming year, a 29 point fall since October.

The latest survey is the first of its kind to be taken since the new Labour-led Government was formed.

Headline business confidence was negative across all the five sub-sectors covered, with agriculture the most pessimistic.

All the anti-farmer rhetoric in the lead up to the election gives those in agriculture and related industries good cause for concern and dry weather throughout much of the country isn’t helping.

Dairy, sheep meat and beef prices are all reasonably good but there is a lot of uncertainty about what the government might or might not do.

“Uncertainty around changing Government policy, a softer housing market, and difficulty getting credit are likely culprits,” ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner said.

“The economy is at a delicate juncture as migration, construction and housing run out of steam as growth drivers. Commodity prices are strong and a fiscal boost will come through in time, but at such times of transition, sentiment is more vulnerable.”

Zollner said while it was the first survey of its type that ANZ had conducted since Jacinda Ardern became prime minister, “it would be too simplistic to ascribe the full move to the change of government”.

“There is a lot else going on. The softening in house price inflation is one obvious factor that shouldn’t be overlooked (particularly its importance for the retail sector), as is the reported difficulty of getting credit.”

So-called “own activity expectations” – what individual owners expect of their businesses remained positive overall, but fell sharply, down 15 points to a net 7 per cent positive. This was also the weakest measure since 2009.

The survey found a net 41 per cent of businesses expected it will become more difficult to obtain credit, the highest since the question was introduced to the survey in 2009.

ASB senior economist Jane Turner said the fall in headline confidence was hardly a surprised, and was typically biased when Labour has been in Government.

“However, the fall in own activity is concerning and if sustained will suggest material downside risk to the economic outlook,” Turner said. . . 

Just as one political poll shouldn’t be taken too seriously, one business survey shouldn’t be cause for panic.

But lack of confidence can become self-fulfilling and the cost of that is an economic slow down.

Businesses need confidence to invest, to take the risk to grow, to employ more staff. Without confidence they hold back on new or bigger investments, they’re much less likely to take risks, less likely to invest more, and less likely to take on more staff.

Governing parties are back pedalling on several of their pre-election policies but until it’s clear what they’re saying and whether that’s what they’ll do, businesses are going to be wary.


Quote of the day

December 1, 2017

Group conformity scares the pants off me because it’s so often a prelude to cruelty towards anyone who doesn’t want to – or can’t – join the Big Parade. – Bette Midler who celebrates her 72nd birthday today.


December 1 in history

December 1, 2017

800 – Charlemagne judged the accusations against Pope Leo III.

1083 – Anna Komnene, Byzantine physician and scholar was born (d. 1153).

1420 – Henry V of England entered Paris.

1640 – End of the Iberian Union: Portugal acclaimed as King, João IV of Portugal, thus ending a 60 year period of personal union of the crowns of Portugal and Spain and the end of the rule of the House of Habsburg (also called the Philippine Dynasty).

1761 Marie Tussaud, French creator of wax sculptures (Madame Tussauds), was born (d. 1850).

1768 – The slave ship Fredensborg sank off Tromøy in Norway.

1821 – The first constitution of Costa Rica was issued.

1822 – Pedro I was crowned Emperor of Brazil.

1824 – U.S. presidential election, 1824: Since no candidate had received a majority of the total electoral college votes in the election, the United States House of Representatives was given the task of deciding the winner in accordance with the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1826 – French philhellene Charles Nicolas Fabvier forced his way through the Turkish cordon and ascended the Acropolis of Athens, which had been under siege.

1834 – Slavery was abolished in the Cape Colony in accordance with theSlavery Abolition Act 1833.

1898 – The first movie was shot in New Zealand.

1864 – In his State of the Union Address President Abraham Lincoln reaffirmed the necessity of ending slavery as ordered ten weeks earlier in the Emancipation Proclamation.

1901 – Ilona Fehér, Hungarian-Israeli violinist and educator was born (d. 1988).

1913 – The Buenos Aires Subway started operating, the first underground railway system in the southern hemisphere and in Latin America.

1913 – The Ford Motor Company introduced the first moving assembly line.

1913 – Crete, was annexed by Greece.

1918 – Transylvania united with Romania.

1918 – Iceland became a sovereign state, yet remained a part of the Danish kingdom.

1918 – The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later known as theKingdom of Yugoslavia) was proclaimed.

1919 – Lady Astor became the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons (she had been elected to that position on November 28).

1925 – World War I aftermath: The final Locarno Treaty was signed in London, establishing post-war territorial settlements.

1930  – Dame Marie Bashir, Australian psychiatrist, academic, and politician, 37th Governor of New South Wales, was born.

1932  – Matt Monro, English singer, was born.

1933 – Pilot E.F. (‘Teddy’) Harvie and his passenger, Miss Trevor Hunter,set a record for the longest flight within New Zealand in a single day. They flew approximately 1880 km between North Cape and Invercargill in 16 hours 10 minutes.

First flight from North Cape to Bluff

1934 – Politburo member Sergei Kirov was shot dead by Leonid Nikolayevat the Communist Party headquarters in Leningrad.

1935 Woody Allen, American film director, actor, and comedian, was born.

1939 Lee Trevino, American golfer, was born.

1940  Richard Pryor, American actor, comedian, was born.

1941 – Fiorello La GuardiaMayor of New York City and Director of the Office of Civilian Defense, signed Administrative Order 9, creating the Civil Air Patrol.

1945 Bette Midler, American actress and singer, was born.

1946  Gilbert O’Sullivan, Irish singer, was born.

1952 – The New York Daily News reported the news of Christine Jorgenson, the first notable case of sexual reassignment surgery.

1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws.

1958 – The Central African Republic became independent from France.

1958 – The Our Lady of the Angels School Fire in Chicago killed 92 children and three nuns.

1959 – Cold War: Opening date for signature of the Antarctic Treaty, which set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on the continent.

1960 – Paul McCartney and Pete Best were arrested then deported from Hamburg, Germany, after accusations of attempted arson.

1961 – The independent Republic of West Papua was proclaimed in modern-day Western New Guinea.

1965 – The Border Security Force was formed in India as a special force to guard the borders.

1969 – Vietnam War: The first draft lottery in the United States was held since World War II.

1971 – Cambodian Civil War: Khmer Rouge rebels intensified assaults on Cambodian government positions, forcing their retreat from Kompong Thmar and nearby Ba Ray.

1971 – The Indian Army recaptured part of Kashmir occupied forcibly by Pakistan.

1973 – Papua New Guinea gained self government from Australia.

1974 – TWA Flight 514, a Boeing 727, crashed northwest of Dulles International Airport killing all 92 people on-board.

1974 – Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 6231, crashed northwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport.

1981 – A Yugoslavian Inex Adria Aviopromet DC-9 crashed in Corsica killing all 180 people on-board.

1981 – The AIDS virus was officially recognized.

1982 – At the University of Utah, Barney Clark became the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto was appointed Prime Minister of Pakistan.

1989 – 1989 Philippine coup attempt: The right-wing military rebel Reform the Armed Forces Movement attempted to oust Philippine President Corazon Aquino in a failed bloody coup d’état.

1989 – Cold War: East Germany’s parliament abolished the constitutional provision granting the communist party the leading role in the state.

1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the seabed.

1991 – Cold War: Ukrainian voters overwhelmingly approve a  referendum for independence  from the Soviet Union.

2001 – Captain Bill Compton brought Trans World Airlines Flight 220, an MD-83, into St. Louis International Airport bringing to an end 76 years of TWA operations following TWA’s purchase by American Airlines.

2001  Aiko, Princess Toshi of Japan, was born.

2009 – The Treaty of Lisbon, which amended the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, which together comprise the constitutional basis of European Union, came into effect.

2013 – China launched Yutu or Jade Rabbit, its first lunar rover, as part of the Chang’e 3 lunar exploration mission.

2013 – At least four were killed and 61 injured following a Metro-North Railroad train derailment nearSpuytenDuyvil, Bronx, New York City.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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