Stephen Hawking 8.1.42 – 14.3.18

March 14, 2018

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died.

Stephen Hawking – who died aged 76 – battled motor neurone disease to become one of the most respected and best-known scientists of his age.

A man of great humour, he became a popular ambassador for science and was always careful to ensure that the general public had ready access to his work.

His book A Brief History of Time became an unlikely best-seller although it is unclear how many people actually managed to get to the end of it. . . 


365 days of gratitude

March 14, 2018

Sometimes a little thing can become a big thing, especially if it’s stuck between your teeth.

Tonight I’m grateful for dental floss.


Word of the day

March 14, 2018

Herpetologist – one who specialises in the study of amphibians and reptiles.


Rural round-up

March 14, 2018

Irrigation essential for Central Otago – Brittany Pickett:

New technology to help improve water use and efficiency will be essential for the future of horticulture and agriculture in Central Otago, IrrigationNZ says.

“What we’re seeing is a gradual move towards higher and higher land value uses of irrigation,” IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis said.

Cherry and other pip fruit businesses, as well as wine, were expected to expand because they used less water per hectare than other farming types, he said.

New technology to assist irrigators meet water quality requirements will be on display at IrrigationNZ’s conference on April 17-19 in Alexandra. . . 

Clock ticking for farm houses to comply with new laws for insulation – Gerald Piddock:

Farm owners have been warned to make sure their staff accommodation complies with new laws coming into effect in July next year.

The laws will insist that all rental properties, including farm housing, had to meet new standards for insulation.

There was a myth among farmers that they were excluded from the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), Morrinsville lawyer Jacqui Owen told farmers at a field day near Walton run by the Matamata Piako Three Rivers Trust.

“You 100 per cent are and any one of your staff can file a claim against you with the tenancy tribunal,” she said. . .

Labour shortage could spoil apple season :

A bumper crop of Hawke’s Bay apples is being harvested early this year but there are fears a labour shortage could spoil things – leaving thousands of apples unpicked.

A spokeswoman for Bostock said the company was usually behind conventional packing but this year was 10 days ahead of schedule since they started the harvest.

“We have a good quality product at present, it’s going to be a bumper season. We should be picking 1400 bins a day but we are picking only 1200 and that’s purely because of the labour shortage. . . 

Record crowds see games records :

More than 30,000 people participated in Hilux Rural Games activities in Palmerston North over the weekend.

Rural Games Trust chairwoman Margaret Kouvelis said “It was so fantastic to see people of all ages trying out different things from tree climbing to digger driving to gumboot throwing.

“Friday was fabulous for Feilding as thousands attended the Property Brokers Running of the Wools and that evening the Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards were held in front of a sell-out crowd.” . .

Little farmer reaction to LIC plan – Alan Williams:

Owners of LIC’s co-operative shares are being urged to read the information on the directors’ plans for a share restructure to see what the impact on them will be.

The call from Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird applies especially to dairy farmers who own only the co-op shares and not the NZAX-listed investment shares. . . 

Don’t make it hard for next generation– Dan Korff:

Every generation says the same thing, or something similar: “That’s how it is, we had to go through the same thing”.

Why? Why is that just how it is? Who decided? And why would you want other people to keep feeling the same frustration and annoyance you felt?

I’m talking about the challenge of trying to become involved in local or industry committees or groups trying to remain relevant, get new energy into them or attract a new crowd of people back to the cause or event. . . .


Dairy following failed example of meat industry

March 14, 2018

Have we reached peak dairy factory?

The number of dairy factories sprouting in Waikato has got to the stage that farmers are concerned the industry has reached a tipping point.

They fear further growth could lead to overcapacity – too many milk processing sites – and dairying will follow the path of the meat industry, which over the past decade has been plagued by plant closures and job losses. . .

Fonterra Shareholder’s Council chairman and Waikato farmer Duncan Coull​ says it is becoming a national issue for the industry. It is bigger than Fonterra and an industry-wide discussion is needed to find a way to save it from itself.

“Do farmers really want to reach that tipping point because once that tipping point is reached, there is no turning back. We need to start asking ourselves the question as farmers what we want the industry to look like going forward.

“If farmers continue to allow capacity to be built and continued to supply that capacity, be very careful what we wish for, we are another red meat sector waiting to happen and we are another Australian dairy industry waiting to happen.” . . 

Farmers like some competition but it the meat industry found out at great cost – in money and human terms – that it is possible to have too much competition.

Synlait chief executive John Penno​ says the dairy industry is already at overcapacity and the vast bulk of the processing technology built in recent years has been large-scale milk powder plants producing dairy commodities.

“There’s no question in my mind that overcapacity across the industry exists. But the real question is, is it the right capacity? What is the total capacity is the wrong question.”

Synlait does not operate in that market and builds plants focusing on high-end, value-added products. . ..

Farmers are free to choose which company they supply.

A new one might look attractive, especially if it doesn’t require suppliers to buy shares.

But the lesson from the meat industry is that more competition isn’t always better for farmers or the industry.


Quote of the day

March 14, 2018

  Medicinal discovery, It moves in mighty leaps, It leapt straight past the common cold And give it us for keeps. – Pam Ayres who celebrates her 71st birthday today.


March 14 in history

March 14, 2018

44 BC – Casca and Cassius decided, on the night before the Assassination of Julius Caesar, that Mark Antony should stay alive.

313 – Emperor Jin Huidi was executed by Liu Cong, ruler of the Xiongnu state (Han Zhao).

1381 – Chioggia concluded an alliance with Zadar and Trogir against Venice.

1489 – The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sold her kingdom to Venice.

1590 Battle of Ivry: Henry of Navarre and the Huguenots defeated the forces of the Catholic League under the Duc de Mayenne during the French Wars of Religion.

1647 Thirty Years’ War: Bavaria, Cologne, France and Sweden signed the Truce of Ulm.

1681 – Georg Philipp Telemann, German composer, was born (d. 1767).

1757 Admiral John Byng was executed by firing squad, on-board the HMS Monarch, for neglecting his duty.

1794 Eli Whitney was granted a patent for the cotton gin.

1804 – Johann Strauss, Sr., Austrian composer, was born (d. 1849).

1833 – Lucy Hobbs Taylor, first female dentist in the United States, was born (d. 1910).

1844 – King Umberto I of Italy, was born (d. 1900).

1864 – Casey Jones, American railroad engineer, was born (d. 1900).

1868 – Emily Murphy, Canadian women’s rights activist, first female magistrate in the British Empire, was born (d 1933).

1869 – Defeat of Titokowaru.

Von Tempsky's death Kennett Watkins.jpg

1879 – Albert Einstein, German-born physicist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d. 1955).

1900 The Gold Standard Act was ratified, placing United States currency on the gold standard.

1903 The Hay-Herran Treaty, granting the United States the right to build the Panama Canal, was ratified by the United States Senate.

1905 Chelsea Football Club was founded.

1910 Lakeview Gusher, the largest U.S. oil well gusher near Bakersfield, California, vented to atmosphere.

1914 – Bill Owen, British actor, was born (d. 1999).

1915 Cornered off the coast of Chile by the Royal Navy after fleeing theBattle of the Falkland Islands, the German light cruiser SMS Dresdenwas abandoned and scuttled by her crew.

1933 – Sir Michael Caine, British actor, was born.

1936 – Sir Bob Charles, New Zealand golfer, was born.

1939 Slovakia declared independence under German pressure.

1942  Orvan Hess and John Bumstead became the first in the world to successfully treat a patient, Anne Miller, using penicillin.

1945 World War II – The R.A.F. first operational use of the Grand Slam bomb, Bielefeld, Germany.

1945 – Walter Parazaider, American saxophonist (Chicago), was born.

1947 – Pam Ayres, British poet, was born.

1948 – Billy Crystal, American actor and comedian, was born.

1951  Korean War: For the second time, United Nations troops recaptured Seoul.

1958 – Albert II, Prince of Monaco, was born.

1964  A jury in Dallas, Texas found Jack Ruby guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of John F. Kennedy.

1968 – Megan Follows, Canadian actress, was born.

1972  Italian publisher and former partisan Giangiacomo Feltrinelli was killed by an explosion.

1976 – Daniel Gillies, Canadian born New Zealand actor, was born.

1978  The Israeli Defense Force invades and occupies southern Lebanon, in Operation Litani.

1979 A Hawker Siddeley Trident crashed into a factory near Beijing, killing at least 200.

1980 Split Enz reached No 1 with I Got You from their True Colours  album.

Split Enz hit No.1 with 'I got you'

1980 A plane crashesd during final approach near Warsaw killing 87 people, including a 14-man American boxing team.

1984 – Gerry Adams, head of Sinn Féin, was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt.

1989 General Michel Aoun declared that he will act for the liberation of Lebanon.

1994 Linux kernel version 1.0.0 was released.

1995 Astronaut Norman Thagard became the first American astronaut to ride to space on-board a Russian launch vehicle.

1998 An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hit southeastern Iran.

2005 Cedar Revolution: hundreds of thousands of Lebanese went into the streets of Beirut to demonstrate against the Syrian military presence in Lebanon and against the government.

2007 – The Left Front government of West Bengal sent at least 3,000 police to Nandigram in an attempt to break Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee resistance there; the resulting clash left 14 dead.

2008 – A series of riots, protests, and demonstrations erupted in Lhasa and elsewhere in Tibet.

2012 – The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued its first verdict in the case of Prosecutor vs. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. At issue was the military use of children. Unanimously, the Trial Chamber, led by Sir Adrian Fulford, found Lubanga guilty of the war crime of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them in his rebel army The Union of Congolese Patriots.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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