365 days of gratitude

February 16, 2018

The science isn’t settled on whether manuka honey is helpful for sore throats or not.

I”m not ruling out the placebo effect, but have been sucking pure manuka honey lozenges today, am finding they’re reducing the soreness and I”m grateful for that.

 


Word of the day

February 16, 2018

 Interstices – intervening spaces, especially a very small or narrow ones, between things or parts; tiny gaps; the cracks and crevices of life.


Friday’s answers

February 16, 2018

Teletext gets my thanks for posing Thursday’s questions and can claim a virtual bunch of red roses for stumping us all by leaving the answers below.


Rural round-up

February 16, 2018

Drought, disruption undermines farmers’ confidence:

A marked drop in farmer optimism and growing concern about the ability to recruit suitable staff are stand-out features of the Federated Farmers Mid-Season Farm Confidence Survey.

For the first time in two years, farmer optimism has decreased, including negative perceptions of the economy, farm profitability, farm production and farm spending. Farm debt levels have also increased and fewer farms are now debt-free.

The Federated Farmers survey is conducted by Research First twice a year (January and July) and 1070 farmers responded to the questionnaire last month. . . 

Time to get real about forestry – Graham West:

Last year I commented on the high returns from current harvesting, however I don’t believe this is being translated into significant interest in new planting, certainly not at the rate of the governments aspirational target of 50,000ha per year. The Crown Forestry action is clearly around doing deals to secure land for leasing and other deal makers, like Toitu Te Waonui, and various forestry consultants, are doing the same, good on them.

But this doesn’t really raise the general awareness of the forestry business opportunity for land owners and investors. The challenge is how to create a pipe line of prospects who are considering land use change. The target group must be the approximately 25,000 drystock farmers in New Zealand, owning 9.5m hectares. The timeline is also important, seedlings for next winter are already booked, but the deadline for orders to secure plants for the following winter (2019) needs to be placed with nurseries by Oct-Nov 2018. . . 

Minister needs to step up as drought worsens in Coastal Taranaki:

The Minister for Primary Industries needs to step up and listen to the rural sector in the face of the worsening drought in Coastal Taranaki, National’s Rural Communities Spokesperson Barbara Kuriger says.

Mrs Kuriger reached out to Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor last week to discuss ideas put forward by the Taranaki Rural Support Trust, but the Minister has not accepted the invitation to meet.

“It would seem that the response by the Minister – since initially declaring the drought – has been to bury his head in the sand on the Coastal Taranaki issue. . . 

Govt passing the cap around primary industry:

The Government is going cap-in-hand to the primary sector seeking support to help eradicate the rapidly-spreading cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis, National’s Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy says.

“It’s my understanding that the Ministry for Primary Industries is canvassing the dairy and red meat industry for contributions to fund the response and eradication of this disease.

“In Parliament yesterday the Minister Damien O’Connor couldn’t say how much money the Government is prepared to contribute to fully eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis.

“Knowing how tight the Government’s finances are because of its other big-spending commitments – and even with financial contributions from industry – Mr O’Connor has an uphill battle convincing his Cabinet colleagues how critical funding of over $100 million actually is,” Mr Guy says. . . 

National welcomes continuation of 1080 policy:

A reassurance from the Department of Conservation (DOC) that there has been no change in policy over the use of 1080 poison is welcome, National’s Conservation Spokesperson Maggie Barry says.

“At today’s annual review the Director General, Lou Sanson, reassured the Environment Select Committee that not only has there been no change in 1080 policy, but DOC expects to expand its use.

“This approach is critical to achieving National’s long term Predator-Free NZ by 2050 vision. Possums, rats and stoats kill 25 million birds a year, and if DOC was hamstrung from using 1080, we would see further unique species becoming extinct. . . 

Regulator asks how gene-edited food should be treated:

Planning for future GM foods coming down the line, the food safety regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is calling for suggestions for how it should consider applications for foods that have been made using new genetic techniques that aren’t currently covered by their laws.

The current code only covers food produced by genetic techniques that add DNA into a genome and doesn’t cover newer gene editing techniques like CRISPR/Cas9 which knock out genes or proteins, or others that don’t change the DNA of the final food product.

FSANZ are asking for submissions on how these newer techniques should be assessed before they go to market. Options range from treating them like conventional breeding techniques – given a green light once a technique has been proved safe – or to be treated like current genetically modified organisms which would mean that each application requires a rigorous safety assessment. . . 

Golden Rice: Loved by humanitarians, reviled by environmentalists – Green Jihad *

Despite the Philippines and Bangladesh edging toward commercializing it, New Zealand’s food regulation agency (FSANZ) endorsed approving importing Golden Rice for sale in order to reduce trade disorder with Asian countries that allow it.

Unfortunately, an opposition group named GE-Free New Zealand has started an effort urging New Zealand’s food safety minister to review the FSANZ’s recommendation in hopes of eventually halting the importation of Golden Rice. The organization’s views are nearly in line with what environmentalist groups, like Greenpeace, have been claiming about GMO’s for years.

Golden Rice has been a vital source of nutrition for many people in developing countries who lack Vitamin A that humans need to help them survive. Sadly, environmentalist groups are undaunted in halting not only the dissemination of Golden Rice and all other GMO’s but their production too. This being done so that more humans die of starvation or illness resulting from malnutrition due to a reduction in the food supply. . . 

Sustainable ag series – farmers – Dirt to dinner:

The agriculture industry is often criticized for using too much water, using too many chemicals, and adding more carbon to the atmosphere.

However, farmers have their boots on the ground and occupy the front lines of sustainability initiatives within agriculture. No farms, no food!

While some farmers employ better approaches to farming sustainably, no farmer deliberately damages human or environmental health or wants to waste their inputs, such as water, pesticide, and labor. As stewards of the land, it is in a farmer’s best interest to preserve all of their resources for future generations of farming. . . 

* (Hat tip: Utopia):


If only there’d been a teal deal

February 16, 2018

The governing coalition is all at sea over fisheries monitoring:

Evidence given to the Environment Select Committee from the Department of Conservation (DOC) today just goes to show the deeply divided factions occurring within the Coalition Government, National’s Fisheries spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says.

“Speaking at DOC’s annual review, the Director General Lou Sanson was asked what input his department has had on the new Government’s decision to firstly postpone and then, this week, cancel the introduction of cameras on fishing boats.

“Mr Sanson and DOC have always been spirited advocates of on-board cameras as one of the best practical measures needed to protect our declining marine bird species.

“He told the committee that DOC ‘absolutely’ maintains its position that cameras on fishing boats are essential if we are to reverse the decline in the sort of seabird species we see in our waters.

“It’s therefore quite extraordinary that his Minister, Eugenie Sage, has so quickly and thoroughly distanced herself from Stuart Nash’s decision to cancel the roll-out that the National Government initiated.

“It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to work out that Mr Nash is being leant on by Coalition partner, New Zealand First.

“I’m surprised that as a junior Coalition partner, the Greens have allowed themselves to be side-lined in this way,” Mr Brownlee says.

The Green Party has had to swallow a lot of dead rats in its agreement to support Labour and New Zealand First in government.

Had they been able to countenance a deal with National last year, there would be no compromise over on-board cameras.

If the Greens could moderate their radical left economic and social agenda, they could sit in the political middle, able to go left and right.

A teal deal would have been better for both the economy and environment than what we’ve got – a red and black one with a weak green off-shoot.


Quote of the day

February 16, 2018

Oh, they never lie. They dissemble, evade, prevaricate, confound, confuse, distract, obscure, subtly misrepresent and willfully misunderstand with what often appears to be a positively gleeful relish and are generally perfectly capable of contriving to give one an utterly unambiguous impression of their future course of action while in fact intending to do exactly the opposite, but they never lie. Perish the thought. ― Iain Banks


February 16 in history

February 16, 2018

1032 Emperor Yingzong, of China, was born  (d. 1067).

1646  Battle of Great Torrington, Devon – the last major battle of the firstEnglish Civil War.

1770 Captain James Cook sighted what he called Banks Island but later discovered was a peninsula.

James Cook sights Banks 'Island'

1804  First Barbary WarStephen Decatur led a raid to burn the pirate-held frigate USS Philadelphia (1799).

1838 Weenen Massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal were killed by Zulus.

1852 Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established.

1899 President Félix Faure of France died in office.

1899 – Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur Iceland‘s first football club was founded.

1918 The Council of Lithuania unanimously adopted the Act of Independence, declaring Lithuania an independent state.

1923 – Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of PharohTutankhamun.

1926 Margot Frank, German-born Dutch Jewish holocaust victim, was born (d. 1945).

1931 – Otis Blackwell, American singer-songwriter and pianist, was born (d. 2002).

1934 – Austrian Civil War ended with the defeat of the Social Democrats and the Republican Schutzbund.

1934 – Commission of Government was sworn in as form of direct rule for the Dominion of Newfoundland.

1935 – Sonny Bono, American actor, singer, and politician, was born (d. 1998).

1936 – Elections brought the Popular Front to power in Spain.

1937 – Wallace H. Carothers received a patent for nylon.

1940 Altmark Incident: The German tanker Altmark was boarded by sailors from the British destroyer HMS Cossack. 299 British prisoners were freed.

1941  – Kim Jong-il, North Korean leader, was born (d. 2011).

1946 – Ian Lavender, English actor, was born.

1947 – Canadians were granted Canadian citizenship after 80 years of being British subjects. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie Kingbecame the first Canadian citizen.

1954 – Iain Banks, Scottish author, was born.

1956 Vincent Ward, New Zealand director and screenwriter, was born.

1957 The “Toddlers’ Truce“, a controversial television close down between 6.00pm and 7.00pm was abolished in the United Kingdom.

1959 John McEnroe, American tennis player, was born.

1959 Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba after dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on January 1.

1960 Pete Willis, English guitarist (Def Leppard), was born.

1961 Andy Taylor, English musician (Duran DuranThe Power Station), was born.

1961 – Explorer program: Explorer 9 (S-56a) was launched.

1968 – In Haleyville, Alabama, the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system went into service.

1973  Cathy Freeman, Australian athlete, was born.

1978 – The first computer bulletin board system was created (CBBS in Chicago, Illinois).

1983 – The Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claimed the lives of 75 people.

1985 – The founding of Hezbollah.

1986 – The Soviet liner Mikhail Lermontov ran aground in the Marlborough Sounds.

Sinking of the <em>Mikhail Lermontov</em>

1987 – The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi guard dubbed “Ivan the Terrible” in Treblinka extermination camp, started in Jerusalem.

1991 – Nicaraguan Contras leader Enrique Bermúdez was assassinated in Managua.

1999 – Across Europe Kurdish rebels took over embassies and hold hostages after Turkey arrested one of their rebel leaders, Abdullah Öcalan.

2005 – The Kyoto Protocol came into force, following its ratification by Russia.

2005 – The National Hockey League cancelled the entire 2004-2005 regular season and playoffs, becoming the first major sports league in North America to do so over a labour dispute.

2006 – The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) was decommissioned by the United States Army.

2013 – A bomb blast at a market in Hazara Town in Quetta, Pakistan, killed more than 80 people and injures 190 others.

2015 – A CSX train crashed in Mount Carbon, West Virginia, resulting in large fires.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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