365 days of gratitude

April 16, 2018

A text last week alerted me to the arrival of flu vaccines at my GP.

I made an appointment for this morning, got the jab, sat reading for the required 20 minutes afterwards just in case I had an allergic reaction then got on with my day.

Today I’m grateful for medical science and research which reduce the risk of contracting potentially deadly diseases.


It’s only one poll

April 16, 2018

Labour’s honeymoon is over for now.

National is back in front of Labour but the three parties in the coalition are still comfortably ahead of National and Act.


Word of the day

April 16, 2018

Ayurnamat –  the philosophy that there is no point in worrying about events that cannot be changed.


Rural round-up

April 16, 2018

Farmers have lost faith in MPI – Annette Scott:

Farmers must not let dairy cattle be taken for slaughter till they are sure they will get compensation, Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis says.

He wants the Mycoplasma bovis decision-makers to front up as the second round of culling infected herds gets going.

All confidence in compensation promises had been lost, he said.

The Ministry for Primary Industries late last month said a further 22,300 cattle from all infected properties will be killed by the end of May. . . 

Science and technology at every farmers’ fingers tips – Pat Deavoll:

In the three and a half years I have spent as a farming reporter, nothing has struck me more than how hi-tech the industry has become.

Gone are the days when a farmer could step into his father’s shoes and expect to follow the same time-tested methods and be successful.

In this age of uber-production, every sector is based on an application of science, research and technology that is changing at a mind-boggling rate. And farmers are required to change with it. In fact, I read somewhere that by 2025 farmers will need a tertiary qualification to keep up. . .

Lactoferrin – a magic ingredient – Hugh Stringleman:

Lactoferrin became the flavour of the month when Fonterra’s giant New Zealand Milk Products division held an exhibition of its advanced ingredients on the day rival processor Synlait said it will double its production of the pricy protein.

Lactoferrin is an iron-binding milk protein distinguished by its pink crystalline form, produced in small quantities and sold for high prices – perhaps $500/kg or more.

NZMP’s display said it takes 10,000 litres of milk and smart freeze-dry technology to make one kilogram of lactoferrin, which has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancement qualities. . .

Kiwi farmers’ validity at stake – Deborah Rhodes:

As we stare down the barrel of a global consumer revolution we need to be brave to tell them what they want: not what they demand, but what we are going to supply them.

The concept of appealing to every whim of the consumer has driven our farming mentality to that of the oil business: reap now and pay later. Now we are starting to pay as we scramble towards trying to prove in our dairy business that we are different from the rest, and we are — but for how long? . . .

Good – could have done better at Owl Farm – Mark Daniel:

It’s been a challenging season down on the banks of the Waikato River for St Peters School’s Owl Farm.
Tracking behind the previous season, the farm is hoping an extended lactation will help pull things back into line.

Visitors at a farm focus day in late March were told that overall production is down by about 5000kgMS (-3%) and still trending downward.

The farm has more cows (412) than last season (378) but performance per cow has been lower, as has the average yield of 363kgMS versus last year’s 370kgMS in the same period. . . .

As dairy crisis crushes farmers, Wisconsin’s rural identity in jeopardy – Rick Barrett:

Kyle Kurt fought to keep his emotions just below the surface as he talked about selling off his herd of Holstein dairy cows, which he’s milked twice a day, 365 days a year, through good times and bad.

Dairy farming has been Kurt’s livelihood, and his passion, since he graduated from Lodi High School 18 years ago. But come Monday, he’s having an auction to sell his cows, his milking equipment, his tractors and other farm machinery that he’s spent years acquiring.

It’s probably the toughest decision I have ever had to make,” Kurt said, “but I have been told it’s going to be a big weight lifted off my back.”

Scores of Wisconsin farmers are in a similar predicament. And with them, a way of life that has defined much of the state for more than a century and a half is disintegrating. . .


What’s green & what’s greenwash?

April 16, 2018

How do we know what’s green and what’s greenwash?

The green mantra is reduce, reuse and recycle.

It ought to be safe to claim reducing our use of limited resources and our impact on the environment is green.

Reusing and recycling aren’t so clear-cut.

Reusing some things can be better for the environment than chucking them in the rubbish – providing whatever needs to be done to make them reusable has a lower environmental footprint than dumping.

But that isn’t always the case.

Take reusable shopping bags and the so-called single use plastic ones for example.

 It’s counterintuitive, but  are far more energy efficient than any of the other options. Paper’s out – it causes seven times more global warming than a plastic bag reused as a bin liner. A cotton bag would have to be used 327 times to break even with plastic, and trendy “organic” cloth bags are hopelessly inefficient.

 

You also have to take into account what people use in place of the single-use plastic bags.

. . .The supermarket chains can’t believe their luck. The overseas experience suggests they’re about to receive a massive boost in the sale of bin liners, which they essentially gave away for free all these years, and come out of the whole thing looking like heroes, despite potentially making global warming worse. . . 

However, it’s not that simple. An environmental footprint takes into account more than the energy and emissions used to produce and dispose of it.

What happens to the bags when they’re no long wanted also has an impact as the number of plastic bags littering land and sea show.

If you dispose of plastic bags properly you’re probably treading more gently on the environment than using reusable ones. But does that counteract the damage done by people who don’t dispose of them carefully so they pollute oceans and endanger sea life?

Then we come to recycling.

If the whole pathway of recycling which includes transport to and from processing as well as the processing itself is taken into account then it isn’t always as green as it’s painted and might have a higher environmental cost than dumping in an environmentally safe landfill.

 

Energy use in transport as well as the potential for air and water pollution from processing can more than counter the benefit of less rubbish being sent to landfills.

Supermarkets are full of products claiming to be eco-friendly but it’s very difficult for consumers to know whether their claims are empty, if they do have a lesser impact on the environment or if they do more harm than alternatives which don’t make any claims.

It is much easier to see the greenwash in the government’s ban on off-shore oil exploration. As Taranaki MP Jonathan Young says:

. . . The Government may think they have attacked the problem, but unfortunately, they have attacked the solution.

As National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson I would support a transfer of knowledge, skills and investment into the greening of the petroleum industry rather than ending it.

Apart from 50 per cent of all oil produced being for environmentally benign purposes, we should continue to pursue the goal of utilising hydrocarbons as feedstock for ultra-low or zero emission fuels. 

Research is already underway for this, such as methanol, and hydrogen. There is a tremendous amount of research taking place on improving engine and fuel efficiency. The petroleum sector has some of the smartest people in the country when it comes to understanding carbon and molecules. Utilising their knowledge and skills here and collaborating with other industry-based research is the smart thing to do.

The Ardern-Peters Government has made a significant misstep in their approach. New Zealand has 10 years of known gas supply lefts. We haven’t had a gas discovery for eight years. With existing exploration hoping to make a discovery, it has a 10-15% chance of success.

When a discovery is made, it will take a further ten years of development before gas is available for market. Just do the math, without considering any chilling effect on investment the Government’s decision has created, we should get ready for a gasless future. 

With every fifth day of our electricity generated from fossil fuels, mostly gas – we have a problem. When electricity demand increases because of the growth of electric vehicles in New Zealand, we have a compounded problem. Wind and solar energy might contribute, but both are intermittent. This will require overbuild and capacity charging, leading to higher electricity prices. With gas possibly gone, and any shortfall in renewables, we’re left with coal to keep our lights on. Emissions will likely rise rather than fall. 

In a contest between energy security and the environment, the need to keep lights on will win.

Considering New Zealand’s contribution to world Green House Gas emissions is 0.17% of the total, our energy emissions (including electricity generation and transport) is 40 per cent of that 0.17 per cent. 

If the petroleum industry was to completely disappear tomorrow, then our emissions profile will remain unchanged as we import crude for all our liquid fuels. What we sell overseas will be sold by someone else, as supply exceeds demand. No change here both domestically or globally.

If we were able to replace half of our liquid fuel fleet with zero emission electric vehicles, we’d be down to 0.136 per cent of the world’s emissions. The sobering truth is our reductions will get swallowed up by the massive increase of emissions in a growing and developing Asia. So, while we work hard to do our essential bit, world emissions increase for some time yet.

We ought to be realistic about being “world leaders” as James Shaw wants. Norway are world leaders, but they do that through giving all electric vehicles free electricity for life, free parking and exemption from any congestion taxes, arguably afforded through their wealth derived from oil production. 

World emissions are set to increase for a while yet, which is why I think we must take a global and rational approach. We should find more gas and export it to Asia. We should encourage the industry rather than close it down. It’s counter-intuitive, but it works!

Gas replacing coal is one of the key reasons why energy emissions stalled in their growth in 2014, 2015 and 2016 according to the International Energy Agency. . . 

The ban on future exploration will have no affect on demand for fossil fuels here or anywhere else.

It will almost certainly add to our emissions and to the cost of fuel not just for private cars which the eco-warriors hate but for heat, light and industry, including food production.

There’s nothing green about the exploration ban. It’s quite clearly greenwash.

 


Quote of the day

April 16, 2018

Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself. – Charlie Chaplin who was born on this day in 1889.


April 16 in history

April 16, 2018

1178 BC; The calculated date of the Greek king Odysseus‘s return home from the Trojan War.

73 Masada, a Jewish fortress, fell to the Romans after several months of siege, ending the Jewish Revolt.

1346 The Serbian Empire was proclaimed in Skopje by Dusan Silni,occupying much of the Balkans.

1521 Martin Luther’s first appearance before the Diet of Worms to be examined by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the other estates of the empire.

1582 Spanish conquistador Hernando de Lerma founded the settlement of Salta, Argentina.

1682 John Hadley, British inventor, was born (d. 1744).

1728 Joseph Black, Scottish chemist, was born (d. 1799).

1746 The Battle of Culloden was fought between the French-supported Jacobites and the Hanoverian British Government.

1780 The University of Münster was founded.

1799 Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Mount Tabor – Napoleon drove Ottoman Turks across the River Jordan near Acre.

1853 The first passenger rail opened in India, from Bori Bunder, Bombay to Thane.

1862 American Civil War: The Battle at Lee’s Mills in Virginia.

1862 American Civil War: A bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia became law.

1863 American Civil War: The Siege of Vicksburg – ships led by UnionAdmiral David Dixon Porter moved through heavy Confederate artillery fire on approach to Vicksburg, Mississippi.

1865 Henry George Chauvel, Australian general, was born  (d. 1945).

1867 Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer, was born (d. 1912).

1889 Charlie Chaplin, English actor, writer, songwriter, composer, and film producer, was born (d. 1977).

1892 The New Zealand Rugby Football Union was founded.

Rugby Union founded

1910 The University of Queensland was founded, with the names of the members of the first Senate published in the Queensland Government Gazette.

1912 – News of the Titanic’s loss reached New Zealand.

News of <em>Titanic</em> sinking reaches NZ

1912  Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly an aeroplane across the English Channel.

1917 Lenin returned to Petrograd from exile in Switzerland.

1918 Spike Milligan, Irish comedian, was born (d. 2002).

1919 – Gandhi organised a day of “prayer and fasting” in response to the killing of Indian protesters in the Amritsar Massacre by the British.

1921 Peter Ustinov, English actor, was born (d. 2004).

1922  Kingsley Amis, English author, was born (d. 1995).

1922 The Treaty of Rapallo, pursuant to which Germany and the Soviet Union re-established diplomatic relations, was signed.

1924 Henry Mancini, American composer, was born  (d. 1994).

1925 The St Nedelya Church assault in Sofia – 150 people were killed and 500 were wounded.

1924 Rudy Pompilli, American musician (Bill Haley & His Comets), was born (d. 1976).

1927 Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger, was born.

1939 Dusty Springfield, English singer, was born.

1941 – World War II: The Italian-German Tarigo convoy is attacked and destroyed by British ships.

1941  – World War II: The Nazi-affiliated Ustaše was put in charge of the Independent State of Croatia by the Axis powers after Operation 25 was effected.

1941 – Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians threw the only Opening Day no-hitter in the history of Major League Baseball, beating the Chicago White Sox 1-0.

1943 Ruth Madoc, British actress, was born.

1943  Dr. Albert Hofmann discovered the psychedelic effects of LSD.

1945 The Red Army began the final assault on German forces around Berlin.

1945 The United States Army liberated Nazi Sonderlager (high security) Prisoner of War camp Oflag IV-C (better known as Colditz).

1945 – More than 7,000 died when the German refugee ship Goya was sunk by a Soviet submarine torpedo.

1946 Syria gained independence.

1947  Texas City Disaster: An explosion on board a freighter in port caused the city of Texas City to catch fire, killing almost 600.

1947 Bernard Baruch coined the term “Cold War” to describe the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.

1953 Queen Elizabeth II launched the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia.

1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his Letter from Birmingham Jailwhile incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting against segregation.

1963 Jimmy Osmond, American pop singer (The Osmonds), was born.

1972 Apollo programme: The launch of Apollo 16 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

1973 – Arthur Allan Thomas was convicted of the Crewe murders for a second time.

Arthur Allan Thomas convicted of Crewe murders – again

1987 British Conservative MP Harvey Proctor appeared at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court charged with gross indecency.

1990 The “Doctor of Death”, Jack Kevorkian, went through with his first assisted suicide.

1992 The Katina P. ran aground off Maputo, Mozambique. 60,000 tons of crude oil spilt into the ocean.

2003 The Treaty of Accession was signed in Athens admitting 10 new member states to the European Union.

2004 – The super liner Queen Mary 2 embarks on her first trans-Atlantic crossing, linking the golden age of ocean travel to the modern age of ocean travel.

2007 Virginia Tech massacre:  Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 and injured 23 before committing suicide.

2007 – President of Côte d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo declared the First Ivorian Civil War to be over.

2013 – A 7.8-magnitude earthquake strikes Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran, the strongest in the country in 40 years, killing at least 35 people.

2014 The MV Sewol ferry carrying more than 450 people capsised near Jindo Island off South Korea, leaving 295 passengers and crew dead and 9 more missing.

2016 – A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Muisne and Pedernales, Ecuador.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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