Word of the day

December 21, 2017

Sniglet – a word for which no previous word existed; any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should; neologism, protologism.


Thursday’s quiz

December 21, 2017

Anyone is welcome to pose today’s questions and if in doing so you stump everyone you’ll win a virtual Christmas cake.


Rural round-up

December 21, 2017

Southland stock trading  likely to be affected by Mycoploasma bovis outbreak – Dave Nicoll:

Some Southland farmers are frustrated and concerned as calves infected with Mycoplasma bovis may have been traded before the outbreak in Southland was discovered.

Last week, the ministry identified three farms near Winton that had tested positive for the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird said there was some uncertainty among farmers because they knew little about the disease and it was possible some of them had stock from the affected farms.

Baird said he had fielded calls from several people concerned about the disease. . . 

Success of merino held up as example of how to boost languishing coarse wool – Gerard Hutching:

Rattle your dags” – that might be the call to Kiwi merino farmers following the news that the dags of the fine wool sheep are generating three times the price of quality strong wool fleece.

Higher quality regular fibre is selling up to a 700 per cent premium over coarse wool. The contrast could not be greater with the prices of coarse wool fleeces tumbling over the past 12 months, and a lot of wool not being sold has been put into storage until the industry picks up again.

Coarse wool exports fell 28 per cent to $550 million to the year to June as a lack of demand from China weighed on prices.

But New Zealand Merino (NZM) is starting to put a focus on coarse wool and using its marketing nous to turn the industry around. . . 

Streamlining NAIT comes with tougher compliance approach:

Federated Farmers is pleased that moves to streamline the National Animal Identification and Tracing Scheme (NAIT) process are coming in tandem with a tougher approach on non-compliance.

Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has indicated after nearly five years of educating farmers about the importance of NAIT for biosecurity and food traceability, those who continue to ignore their obligations would face prosecution and fines of up to $10,000. . . 

Grant awarded to Paeroa company to study nutritional needs of bees:

It may well be the biggest thing to come out of Paeroa since L&P. 

Paeroa-based biostimulant company AgriSea NZ Seaweed Ltd has just been awarded a project grant from Callaghan Innovation for $74,000. The grant will go towards research and development of their bioactive products and the nutritional needs of honey bees. 

“This grant recognises the innovation happening at AgriSea and will continue to grow our R&D capabilities,” said Agrisea general manager Tane Bradley. “To date there is limited scientific data around the nutritional needs of the honey bee so this is really important.”  . . 

OIO considers $105.5 mln buyout of Harvard dairy farms – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – The Overseas Investment Office is considering the sale of Harvard University’s 5,500-head dairy farms in the South Island to a Singapore-based investor.

Accounts for the dairy farms filed with New Zealand’s Companies Office show that it entered into an agreement to sell its business assets to WHL Otago Operations on May 31, and the sale was now pending OIO approval but the settlement was expected by June 2018. The accounts show that the expected realisation value of all the company’s assets, after the cost of selling, was calculated to be $105.5 million as at June 30, 2017. . . 

Westland Milk Products completes leadership revitalisation:

Westland Milk Products Chief Executive Toni Brendish has completed her revitalisation of the dairy co-operative’s Executive Leadership Team, with the appointment of Jeffrey Goodwin to the role of General Manager, Sales.

Goodwin came to Westland from his role as Vice-President, Global Operations, for James Farrell & Co, which represents United States-based manufacturers in the export of their ingredients and finished goods.

“Jeffrey’s experience in food and ingredients sales is global in scale,” Brendish said, “with a record of success in South East Asia, Japan, China and the United States (among others). . . 

‘Green window dressing’: EU criticised for wasting billions on green farming subsidies:

Attempts to ‘green’ EU farm policy did not lead to any significant increase in environmentally-sound farming practices – despite countries spending a huge chunk of the EU’s annual budget on the scheme.

The UK’s net contribution of £8.6billion from last year went towards the project, but a European Court of Auditors report shows just 5 percent of the EU’s farmland benefited from the scheme.

The auditors found that the new payments added more complexity to the system but had led to changed farming practices on only about five per cent of EU farmland. . . 

Livestock to help offset big fall in grain production – Brad Thompson:

The farm sector appears fundamentally strong following a record year for farm production in Australia, Rabobank says, anticipating a weaker Australian dollar and strong livestock prices will bolster returns for most farmers next year.

Rabobank’s head of research in Australia and New Zealand, Tim Hunt, said Federal forecaster ABARES’ expectation of a 7 per cent fall in the value of gross production reflected less favourable weather conditions for grain growing after a record harvest last year.

“That is a climate story rather than a structural story, as in we are not back into industry decline we have just had a bad grain season,” he said. . . 

Moving beyond the green revolution in Africa’s new era of hunger – Calestous Juma:

A quarter of the world’s hungry people are in sub-Saharan Africa and the numbers are growing. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of hungry – those in distress and unable to access enough calories for a healthy and productive life – grew from 20.8% to 22.7%. The number of undernourished rose from 200 million to 224 million out of a total populationof 1.2 billion.

Conflict, poverty, environmental disruptions and a growing population all contribute to the region’s inability to feed itself.

To tackle hunger, the continent needs to find new, integrated approaches. These approaches – discussed at a recent Harvard conference – must increase crop yield, enhance the nutritional content of people’s diets, improve people’s health and promote sustainability. . . 

 


Colin James on journalism

December 21, 2017

Colin James’ final column in the Otago Daily Times as a political journalist gives an insight into the craft of good journlaism:

. . . Journalists are close in to events but never part of them. They meet the powerful and the celebrated. Some are seduced into thinking themselves their equals. They are then lost to journalism.

Journalists make no momentous decisions. Celebrity ill-becomes them. They are a channel through which the powerful and celebrated talk to the people and the people talk back.

To others, the journalist seems greatly privileged to be alongside power and stardust. And the journalist is privileged. But not in the way most non-journalists think.

The privilege is to spend a lifetime learning.

A journalist can ask questions of almost everyone and almost all will answer: the powerful and celebrated, the knowing and skilled, the repositories of arcane science or ways of thinking and the “ordinary” guardians of understanding of a community or of a simple truth or of a good way to live an “ordinary” life.

They are all at the journalist’s call. They all teach a journalist who listens.

It’s the journalists who listen carefully who get the inside information and the scoops, not those who do the most talking.

Yet the journalist need not be expert or knowing or complete. The journalist needs understand only so much of a topic as readers-viewers-listeners want or need to know. The journalist has only to light on and illuminate an idea or project or nation or technology.

No other occupation offers that intense opportunity — to learn but not to have to know, to learn a little and move to the next learning.

For a half-century I have had that deeply enriching privilege.

The utu is to listen with respect.

I think he’s using utu in the sense of reciprocation or balance, not revenge.

A journalist is sceptical, alert to lies, deceit, backside-covering and charlatanism. But not cynical. A cynic has stopped listening and learning. A journalist is open. If not, the communication channel that is the journalist will choke.

The utu is also to write down or talk about the learning so that others can know what the journalist has learnt. . . 

My beat was politics and policy, a high privilege. Since politics is power, I met those in power and their advisers and came to understand and respect them, even those I could not admire. Many I the inner person came quietly to like.

Almost all in politics mean well. I learned they are different: they see, or affect to see, only one side of each many-sided story the journalist sees.

Most do indeed mean well, which shouldn’t be confused with mostly doing good.

And since politics seeps into almost every corner of a nation’s life, I met thousands of interesting people from nearly every walk of life.

I met many more when I could put my email address under what I wrote and readers could write to me easily.

Almost all were thoughtful and courteous. The tiny few who were angry or abusive almost all recovered the courtesy and decency that is in everyone when I replied with courtesy and respect. . . 

Courtesy and respect – some regard them as old-fashioned but values like that should never go out of fashion.

The  media would be better if there was more of  both, from journalists, to those they deal with, and from those who respond to what they see and hear in the media.

P.S.

I met James a few times and was impressed by both his courtesy and his knowledge.

He told me that his determination to be impartial kept him from voting.

I don’t think journalists have to refrain from voting to be impartial in their work.

But I wonder if  it’s just coincidence that the examples he picks in this paragraph are from the left or if they give a clue to James’ political leaning:

. . . When David Lange died and the Greens stood in his memory opening their 2005 election campaign, I the journalist stayed sitting while I the inner person behind the journalist secretly stood. There was the same wrench when the Council of Trade Unions conference in 2015 stood in memory of the fine Peter Conway. . .

You can catch up with James’ writing at his website.


Quote of the day

December 21, 2017

There is no logical reason why the camel of great art should pass through the needle of mob intelligence.  – Rebecca West who was born on this day in 1892.


December 21 in history

December 21, 2017

69 – The Roman Senate declared Vespasian as Roman emperor, the last in the Year of the Four Emperors.

640 – Muslim Arabs captured Babylon Fortress in the Nile Delta  after a seven-month siege.

1140 – Conrad III of Germany besieged Weinsberg.

1361 – The Battle of Linuesa was fought in the context of the Spanish Reconquista between the forces of the Emirate of Granada and the combined army of the Kingdom of Castile and of Jaén resulting in a Castilian victory.

1118  Thomas Becket, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury was born  (d. 1170).

1598  Battle of Curalaba: The revolting Mapuche, led by caciquePelentaru, inflicted a major defeat on Spanish troops in southern Chile.

1620 William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims landed on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

1682 Calico Jack Rackham, English pirate, was born (d. 1720).

1804 Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1881).

1815  Thomas Couture, French painter and teacher, was born (d. 1879).

1843 Thomas Bracken, Irish-born New Zealand poet, was born (d. 1898).

1844 – The Rochdale Pioneers commenced business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement.

1861  Medal of Honor: Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.

1872  HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sailed from Portsmouth.

1883 The first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army were formed: The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment.

1892  Rebecca West, British writer, was born  (d. 1983).

1905  Anthony Powell, British author, was born (d. 2000).

1913 Arthur Wynne’s “word-cross”, the first crossword puzzle, was published in the New York World.

1917  Heinrich Böll, German writer and Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1985).

1937 – Jane Fonda, American actress, was born.

1937  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated film, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre.

1946 Carl Wilson, American musician (The Beach Boys), was born (d. 1998).

1958 Charles de Gaulle was elected President of France when his Union des Démocrates pour la République party gained 78.5% of the vote.

1962 – Rondane National Park was established as Norway‘s first national park.

1964 More than 170 years of New Zealand whaling history came to a close when J. A. Perano and Company caught its last whale off the coast near Kaikoura.

NZ whalers harpoon their last victim

1967  Louis Washkansky, the first man to undergo a heart transplant, died 18 days after the transplant.

1968 Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. At 2h:50m:37s Mission elapsed time (MES), the crew performed the first ever manned Trans Lunar Injection and became the first humans to leave Earth’s gravity.

1971 New Zealand Railways (NZR) launched a new tourist-oriented steam passenger venture, the Kingston Flyer.

Full steam ahead for Kingston Flyer

1979 Lancaster House Agreement: An independence agreement for Rhodesia was signed in London by Lord Carrington, Sir Ian Gilmour, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and S.C. Mundawarara.

1988  A bomb exploded on board Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, killing 270.

1992 – A Dutch DC-10, flight Martinair MP 495, crashed at Faro Airport, killing 56 people.

1994 – Mexican volcano Popocatepetl, dormant for 47 years, erupted.

1995 – The city of Bethlehem passed from Israeli to Palestinian control.

1999 – The Spanish Civil Guard intercepted a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid.

2004 – Iraq War: A suicide bomber killed 22 at the forward operating base next to the main U.S. military airfield at Mosul, the single deadliest suicide attack on American soldiers.

2012  – The Walt Disney Company completed its acquisition of Lucas film and of the Star Wars franchise.

2012 – 2012 phenomenon: this day was regarded as the end-date of a 5,126-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, leading to widespread expectations of cataclysmic events (which failed to happen).

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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