365 days of gratitude

January 18, 2018

This morning’s history post informed me that today was the birthday of Joseph Glidden who patented barbed wire.

There’s been the odd occasion when I’ve been snagged in it and cursed it, but many more when I’ve appreciated its usefulness and I’m grateful for it.

 


Word of the day

January 18, 2018

Prestidigitation –  sleight of hand; quick hand movements and secret techniques of an illusionist;  performance of or skill in performing magic or conjuring tricks with the hands.


Thursday’s quiz

January 18, 2018

You’re invited to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual box of nectarines.


Rural round-up

January 18, 2018

Mycoplasma bovis is unlikely to go away – Keith Woodford:

It now seems likely that Mycoplasma bovis is in New Zealand to stay. Just like the rest of the world, we must learn how to live with it. We do not yet have to give up totally on hopes of eradication, but eradication is looking more and more unlikely.

The control program has suffered from incorrect information and poor communication, and there is much to be learned from that. These information flaws have affected farmer and public attitudes. In some cases, this has created additional and unnecessary stress, and unfair criticism of individuals.

However, the probability is that these flaws have not affected the success or failure of the eradication program. The chances are that Mycoplasma bovis has been here for some years, in which case eradication was always going to be impossible. . .

Plants dying as drought threatens vegetable and fruit supplies to shoppers – Pat Deavoll:

Droughts are threatening the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables on shopping shelves and storing water in dams would rectify this, says Horticulture New Zealand.

“Relying on water to fall from the sky simply isn’t enough,” said HortNZ chief executive Mike Chapman. “HortNZ believes we should be more proactive in capturing and storing that water to ensure sustainability of supply during times of drought.”

Chapman said the dry conditions of early summer were putting fruit and vegetable growers under pressure to the point where some of them were having to make decisions about which plants and trees they would plant or harvest. . . 

Kiwi-born Nasa scientist for CSST – Pam Jones:

An award-winning Nasa scientist has been appointed director of research for the Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST).

The appointment of Delwyn Moller was announced yesterday.

Dr Moller was born and raised in the Waikato, studied at the University of Auckland and went on to design and implement technology for Nasa space missions. She will be moving to Central Otago from Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

CSST chief executive Steve Cotter said Dr Moller’s contribution would be invaluable to CSST and to New Zealand as a whole. . . 

Ask a farmer, we don’t hate you – Pete Fitzherbert:

It must be so easy for the average New Zealander to just start again at the end of one year and begin another – make some resolutions, forget about them within the week, and then if you are feeling a little overweight just go down to the food court at the local mall and problem solved, because compared to the fatty at the smorgasbord you are an athlete!

It’s fair to say it is not as easy for your average farmer. Our seasons roll over without ever having a definitive start or finish.

So, what kind of New Year resolutions or hopes could we have? The best we can do sometimes is hope for the best, plan for the worst and the rest of the time play it as it lays.

Maybe we could hope the next year brings the chance to take off a couple of those public holidays.

Maybe hope for a totally average year in every way, or hope that we can farm, just farm, to the best the season presents us with without the public scrutiny that has begun to develop around agriculture.

Could you imagine a return to a world where the only people that gave dairy farmers grief were sheep farmers and bank managers? . . 

Fonterra partners with Alibaba’s Hema Fresh to launch fresh milk product into China:

Fonterra has launched a new fresh milk product in China in partnership with Hema Fresh, Alibaba’s innovative new retail concept which combines traditional bricks-and-mortar shopping with a digital experience.

The new Daily Fresh milk range is now available in Hema’s 14 stores in Shanghai and Suzhou in 750mL bottles, sourced directly from Fonterra’s farm hub in Hebei province. The product boasts unique product labels to match each day of the week in order to emphasise freshness, with stock being replenished overnight ready for each new day.

Initial volumes are currently around three metric tonnes daily, with plans to scale-up over time and expand with the retailer as it rapidly grows its footprint of stores across China. . . 

A blast from the Haast – NZ’s most isolated town – Sarah Harris:

Of the 240 people who call Haast home there’s one policeman, 13 students at the only school, one electrician who is trying to retire and no plumber. If one comes to town residents chase him down the road.

There’s also no doctor – one comes once a fortnight. If there’s a medicial emergency a helicopter can land on the school field.

A drive to the closest supermarket is two hours away and the nearest hospital in Greymouth is a four-hour drive or 90 minute flight. . . 

Can we keep our country shows alive? – Alex Druce:

IT’s been nearly two years since Wingham last held a country show and organisers are determined to get it right.

“We had to go back to the drawing board, and we’ve got some pretty exciting new things,” says press officer Elaine Turner. 

“For starters, there’s the piggy races. And the demolition derby is going to be on again too . Everyone loves that.” . . 


Water storage is the green answer to food shortages

January 18, 2018

HorticultureNZ says drought is threatening food supply:

Water is vital for plants and trees to grow and New Zealand needs to better mitigate droughts that threaten our domestic supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.

“The dry conditions we have seen through early summer are putting fruit and vegetable growers under pressure to the point where some are having to make decisions about which plants and trees they may not be able to plant or harvest, and which may need to be left to die as scarce water supply is used to keep other plants alive,” Chapman says.

“No water means plants die and as a result, fresh fruit and vegetables are unavailable and prices go up because demand is higher than supply.

“Relying on water to fall from the sky simply isn’t enough. HortNZ believes we should be more proactive in capturing and storing that water to ensure sustainability of supply during times of drought.

“The best way to ensure adequate water supply to irrigate fruit and vegetable plants is to store water in dams. Dams also benefit streams and rivers by reducing flood risk and keeping flows up during dry periods, which protects aquatic life.

“There are benefits to every New Zealander from having a reliable water supply. But there are inconsistent policies across central and local government when it comes to water, land use, preparing for climate change goals, and community needs. We believe these should be looked at holistically.

“On the one hand the government wants a  Zero Carbon Act and to plant one billion more trees, but on the other hand, local authorities are increasingly putting pressure on water supplies, limiting water access for irrigation to grow food. There needs to be a wider national approach to these issues and support and recognition for regions that are addressing them as communities.

“For example, Horticulture New Zealand supports the Waimea Dam in the Tasman District and the proposal for it to be a joint venture with the territorial authorities. This is because there are broad community benefits from the dam in an area that is growing in population, and therefore, has a greater need for water supply for people as well as plants.

“The benefits of the dam include water for food security and primary production, security of water supply for urban water users, improved ecosystem health of the Waimea River, recreational benefits, regional economy benefits, business development and expansion, and more jobs.

“The Waimea Dam is the answer to everyone’s water needs in the district.”

Horticulture New Zealand’s submission on the Waimea Dam proposal for governance and funding can be found here

The emotive anti-farming green lobby paints irrigation as bad for the environment but it can be, and often is, good.

Irrigation is like precision rainfall – applied where and when it’s needed.

Storing excess water in times of flood and high river flows to use when there’s not enough rain ticks the economic, environmental and social boxes.

It ensures minimum flows can be maintained to protect water life, it allows plant growth to protect soil from erosion, it provides secure jobs and enables food to be grown during droughts.

Without irrigation farmers and horticulturists are at the mercy of the weather. When it’s dry they produce less food and as the supply drops the price increases which hits the poorest hardest.

There’s irony that many of those opposed to irrigation which enables the growth of fruit and vegetables are often the ones making the most noise about growing obesity.

More irrigation enables the production of food including fruit and vegetables which ought to form the basis of every-day diets. Without irrigation these foods become more expensive leaving the poor no choice but to purchase cheaper, less nutritious and more energy-dense food.

The anti-farming lobby must remove their blinkers and open their minds to the fact that water storage is the green answer to the problems of food shortages, poor diets and soil and water degradation.

 


Quote of the day

January 18, 2018

A clever conjurer is welcome anywhere, and those of us whose powers of entertainment are limited to the setting of booby-traps or the arranging of apple-pie beds must view with envy the much greater tribute of laughter and applause which is the lot of the prestidigitator with some natural gift for legerdemain. – A.A. Milne who was born on this day in 1882.


January 18 in history

January 18, 2018

532 – Nika riots in Constantinople failed.

1126 – Emperor Huizong abdicated the Chinese throne in favour of his son Emperor Qinzong.

1486 – King Henry VII of England married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV.

1520 – King Christian II of Denmark and Norway defeated the Swedes at Lake Åsunden.

1535  Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded Lima, the capital of Peru.

1591 King Naresuan of Siam killed Crown Prince Minchit Sra of Burma in single combat,  this date is now observed marked as Royal Thai Armed Forces day.

1670  Henry Morgan captured Panama.

1778 James Cook was the first known European to discover the Hawaiian Islands, which he named the “Sandwich Islands“.

1779 Peter Mark Roget, British lexicographer, was born  (d. 1869).

1788 The first elements of the First Fleet carrying 736 convicts from England to Australa arrived at Botany Bay.

1813 Joseph Glidden, American farmer who patented barbed wire, was born (d. 1906).

1849  Sir Edmund Barton, 1st Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1920).

1854 Thomas Watson, American telephone pioneer, was born (d. 1934).

1871 – Wilhelm I of Germany was proclaimed the first German Emperor in the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ of the Palace of Versailles.

1882 A. A. Milne, English author, was born (d. 1956).

1884 Dr. William Price attempted to cremate the body of his infant son, Jesus Christ Price, setting a legal precedent for cremation in the United Kingdom.

1886 –  Modern field hockey was born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England.

1889 Thomas Sopwith, British aviation pioneer, was born  (d. 1989).

1892  Oliver Hardy, American comedian and actor, was born (d. 1957).

1896 The X-ray machine was exhibited for the first time.

1903  President Theodore Roosevelt sent a radio message to King Edward VII: the first transatlantic radio transmission originating in the United States.

1904 Cary Grant, English actor, was born (d. 1986).

1911 Eugene B. Ely landed on the deck of the USS Pennsylvaniastationed in San Francisco harbor, the first time an aircraft landed on a ship.

1913  Danny Kaye, American actor, was born (d. 1987).

1919  The Paris Peace Conference opened in Versailles.

1919  Ignacy Jan Paderewski became Prime Minister of the newly independent Poland.

1919 Bentley Motors Limited was founded.

1933 Ray Dolby, American inventor (Dolby noise reduction system), was born .

1943  Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: The first uprising of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

1944 Paul Keating, 24th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1944 The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City hosted a jazz concert for the first time. The performers were Louis ArmstrongBenny GoodmanLionel HamptonArtie ShawRoy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden.

1944 – Soviet forces liberated Leningrad, effectively ending a three year Nazi siege, known as the Siege of Leningrad.

1945 Liberation of the Budapest ghetto by the Red Army.

1954  Tom Bailey, English musician (Thompson Twins), was born.

1955  Battle of Yijiangshan.

1958 – Willie O’Ree, the first African Canadian National Hockey League player, made his NHL debut.

1964 – Jane Horrocks, English actress and singer, was born.

1969  United Airlines Flight 266 crashed into Santa Monica Bay resulting in the loss of all 32 passengers and six crew members.

1974 A Disengagement of Forces agreement was signed between the Israeli and Egyptian governments, ending conflict on the Egyptian front of the Yom Kippur War.

1977  Scientists identified a previously unknown bacterium as the cause of the mysterious Legionnaires’ disease.

1977 – Australia’s worst rail disaster at Granville, Sydney killed 83.

1978  The European Court of Human Rights found the United Kingdom government guilty of mistreating prisoners in Northern Ireland, but not guilty of torture.

1980 Upper Hutt’s Jon Stevens made it back-to-back No.1 singles when ‘Montego Bay’ bumped ‘Jezebel’ from the top of the New Zealand charts.

'Montego Bay' hits number one

1982 – Mary Jepkosgei Keitany, Kenyan runner, was born.

1994 The Cando event, a possible bolide impact in Cando, Spain. Witnesses claimed to have seen a fireball in the sky lasting for almost one minute.

1997  Boerge Ousland of Norway becomes the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unaided.

1998 Lewinsky scandal: Matt Drudge broke the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair story on his website The Drudge Report.

2000 The Tagish Lake meteorite hit the Earth.

2002 Sierra Leone Civil War declared over.

2003 A bushfire killed 4 people and destroyed more than 500 homes in Canberra.

2005 The Airbus A380,, the world’s largest commercial jet, was unveiled at a ceremony in Toulouse.

2007 The strongest storm in the United Kingdom in 17 years killed 14 people, Germany’s worst storm since 1999 with 13 deaths. HurricaneKyrill, caused at least 44 deaths across 20 countries in Western Europe. Other losses included the Container Ship MSC Napoli destroyed by the storm off the coast of Devon.

2009 – Gaza War: Hamas announced they will accept Israeli Defense Forces’s offer of a ceasefire.

2012 – A series of coordinated actions (including a blackout of Wikipedia) take place in protest against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act).).

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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