365 days of gratitude

July 12, 2018

There are friends and there are friends who like the books you like.

You recommend and lend books to each other and revel in the ones you enjoy.

A book shared with a friend who likes the books you like is a book whose pleasure is doubled and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

July 12, 2018

Hysteresis –  the phenomenon in which the value of a physical property lags behind changes in the effect causing it, as for instance when magnetic induction lags behind the magnetizing force; the dependence of the state of a system on its history; a retardation of an effect when the forces acting upon a body are changed; a property of a system such that an output value is not a strict function of the corresponding input, but also incorporates some lag, delay, or history dependence, and in particular when the response for a decrease in the input variable is different from the response for an increase.


Rural round-up

July 12, 2018

Dairy industry’s big challenge strategic reset – Keith Woodford:

There is great unease within the New Zealand dairy industry. Many farmers feel that the urban community plus a range of events have turned against them. Most are still proud to be dairy farmers but there is lots of stress and anxiety.  

This stress and anxiety is despite farmers receiving good prices for their milk in the last two years. This has followed two preceding years when most farmers made losses and some sharemilkers were wiped out.

Right now, there are some short-term worries with product prices dropping at the last dairy auction. This is creating uncertainty for the year ahead. But in the longer term, the outlook for dairy is actually very strong. . . 

Jayne Hrdlicka to take over as A2 managing director from July 16 –  Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co’s new managing director and chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka will start on July 16, replacing Geoff Babidge who had been in the role since 2010.

Babidge announced his plans to retire last year, having overseen the company while its shares jumped from around $1 at the end of 2015 to a then-record of $8.75 on the back of successive strong sales as the company’s infant formula attracted strong demand in China. The shares last closed at $11.40, and have gained 41 percent this year. . . 

Polarised views flowing from what some urban consumers say (loudly), and how they live their lives with the market signals they send to producers – Guy Trafford:

An interesting comparison can be drawn between the dairy industry in New Zealand and the coal industry in Australia. Both seem to have the ability to polarise groups and yet both countries economies are heavily reliant on them.

Coal prices have had a resurgence to over US$100 per tonne which is resulting in calls for increasing the amount exported from Australia. Currently, coal brings in about AU$58 bln, one of the major Australian exports.

Dairying in New Zealand holds a similar place and both hold about 30% of world trade. An observation noted while I am here in Australia is the diversity of commentary in the ‘mainstream media’. In Northern Queensland where coal mining appears to be held in very high regard, the major Cairns newspaper editorial seemed to typify the attitude of many. One piece leapt out which showed the gulf I believe exists between most Kiwis and certainly a section of Australians, “Environmental radicals sit in their West End homes with heating and air-conditioning, driving petrol-guzzling cars and generally in a way that generally consumes plenty of energy, most of it coming from fossil fuel sources”. . . 

Fonterra grants 86-year-old dairy industry pioneer’s sick-bed wish – Paul Mitchell:

A Kiwi dairy pioneer has been granted his one wish for his twilight years – the chance to see what his life’s work has led to in a modern processing plant. 

Palmerston North 86-year-old Don King’s work at the Diary Research Institute, now the Fonterra Research and Development Centre, in the decades after the 1950s helped lay the foundations and processes for modern dairy processing plants.

King, extremely ill and rest-home bound after a massive stroke, had one request – to see where it has all ended up.

And thanks to an old colleague, and the efforts of Fonterra staff, his wish has been granted.  . . 

Safety conference showcased forest floor successes:

A national forest safety conference in August will bring the latest practical solutions to the table for all contractors and forest managers to hear about and learn from. Following the challenges that this industry faced in 2013, it has responded with passion and commitment to new ways to embed safety culture into everyone’s mindset on the job. Also, over the past 5 years mechanical harvesting technologies have come a long way for keeping workers safe in logging, especially on steep slopes.

“Some of our most inspiring forestry safety specialists are those with hands-on experience in both crew culture and harvesting technologies. They have been out there doing it, earning the respect of their peers,” says Forest Industry Engineering Association spokesman, Gordon Thomson. . . 

Protecting people and animals from sharing disease – Agcarm:

On World Zoonoses Day, Agcarm reminds pet and livestock owners that good hygiene and vaccination is vital for protecting the health of people and animals.

Diseases such as Campylobacter, Leptospirosis and rabies are ’zoonotic’ and are transmissible between animals and humans. Research shows that 75 percent of all new human pathogens originate from animal sources.

Campylobacter, which is normally associated with eating undercooked chicken, can be associated with pets, especially dogs. Recent research shows that many dogs carry these bacteria without showing any signs of disease. Poor hygiene, such as not hand-washing before eating can spread the disease from dogs to people. . .

 


Free Speech Coalition has funds to take ACC to court

July 12, 2018

The Free Speech Coalition has succeeded in its first goal – raising enough funds to take the Auckland City Council to court.

In less than 24 hours, the Free Speech Coalition has reached its $50,000 fundraising goal and will be engaging lawyers to bring judicial proceedings against Auckland Council for its ban on Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux at Council-owned venues.

Chris Trotter, who is supporting the Coalition, says, “Thank you to every New Zealander who has dug deep to support such an important cause.”

“We had hoped to raise this money by 5pm Friday. However, within the first day of this campaign we have been completely swamped by people pledging money to the cause – from $5 to $5,000.”

Melissa Derby, another supporter of the Coalition, says, “We look forward to setting a strong legal precedent that shows the use of publicly-owned venue cannot be dictated by the political whims of those in power.”

“For us this is not about helping these particular speakers, but in defending the rights of all New Zealanders to express and hear controversial views.” 

Stephen Franks calls Goff’s actions in denying the speakers the right to use council-owned venues a partisan abuse of political power:

He has claimed the power to decide which political views can be discussed in Auckland public halls.

If the Mayor of Auckland has that power it is no local matter. With it he could deny nearly half the population of New Zealand a practical chance to see and to assess for themselves any speaker the Mayor decided they should not be free to judge. He may claim he has that power to ban things he sees as inimical to the “social” or “cultural” health of his subjects.

The law deliberately gave the Auckland Mayor presidential authority plus a Council with limited power to control him. But even if the Councillors had normal council powers over Council officers and the Mayor, a Council should not have the power to stop people from meeting in public halls to hear and judge unpopular speakers.

The long established legal boundaries on freedom of expression are all the “protection” Councillors should be allowed to assert. Public authorities at both central and local government level should now be scrupulously secular and politically neutral in their stewardship of public assets.

The bitter struggle to win freedom of religion, thought and expression was marked by majority tyranny. . .

Freedom of assembly and speech may be even more important now, in the era of social media echo-chambers and bubbles. Most political and religious discourse is now in soundbite abbreviations. Many political debates never reach the public, except as a species of comedy, lampooned by ignorant scoffers in media programmes that specialise in mockery. There is little chance for people to get the kind of sustained sequential argument and discussion that happens at public meetings.

Mr Goff, somewhat ludicrously, said he will not allow divisive speech. He wants speech for unity. What about diversity Mr Goff. Have you turned your back on that? What do you seek from it? All thinking and speaking in unison? If our society has become so fragile it can’t handle awkward or unsettling speech or challenge, then it may be because young people have had too little practice.

STEFAN MOLYNEUX AND LAUREN SOUTHERN gave New Zealanders an opportunity to test their values – most especially their tolerance. Controversialists, almost by profession, these two Canadians espouse ideas which most Kiwis find extremely jarring. We have come to accept human equality and religious tolerance as the unequivocal markers of all decent and rational societies. For a great many people it is deeply offensive to hear these concepts challenged openly.

Over the past few days Molyneux and Southern have very skilfully tested our tolerance – and we have failed. They’ve also tested our ability to re-state, re-affirm and justify our commitment to freedom of expression. We failed that test too. . .

Truth is not afraid of trigger-words. Truth does not need a safe space. Truth is not a snowflake. Truth can take the heat and most certainly should not be forced to vacate the kitchen in the face of a couple of Alt-Right provocateurs and a politically-correct Mayor.

When people across the political spectrum unite to protest, as they have over this, it pays to listen.

Few if any of them will support the speakers and their views. They are not fighting for them or their beliefs but for their right to express them.

Now that it has enough to take the council to the court, any further funds will be used to fight the case. You can donate to the FSC here. I have already.


Caught in trade war crossfire

July 12, 2018

Producers who think they will benefit if overseas competitors are shut out of their domestic market or face high tariffs aren’t looking at the whole picture as Mexican dairy farmer Georgina Gutierrez explains:

Obrador, for example, talks about the importance of self-sufficiency, suggesting that our country can produce everything it consumes. 

This idea holds a certain kind of appeal, at least on the surface. Consider my own case as a good example.  I’m a dairy farmer. If our government were to stop importing milk, in the name of self-sufficiency, it would reduce the competition that I face from foreign producers and, presumably, allow me to flourish.  

Yet in reality, we’d all suffer. Mexican dairy farmers don’t produce enough milk to meet the demands of consumers. Even if we did, we still wouldn’t be truly self-sufficient. Milk production doesn’t take just a dairy farmer with a bunch of cows—it also requires farmers who grow the food that dairy cows eat as well as technology and machinery that make us better producers. Mexico imports these goods as well.  

In fact, my farm wouldn’t exist in its present state but for our ability to exchange goods and services across borders. We import corn, soy, canola, vitamins, medicine, and machinery, for example. This is how sustainable economies work, keeping prices in check for everyone. And it’s much better than the protectionism, price controls, and subsidies that central planners wrongly believe will fix the problems of their own market distortions.  . . 

In trade wars, producers and consumers get caught in the crossfire and pay the price with higher prices and less choice.

The only ones who win are the politicians and bureaucrats and even that’s usually only in the short-term.

Once economic growth slows as an inevitable consequence of higher prices, voters usually tire of the politicians responsible for it.

For more on this, see Daniel Ikensom who writes that Trump’s trade wars are incoherent, angry and misguided. (Hat tip: Kiwiblog


Quote of the day

July 12, 2018

Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder. – Henry David Thoreau who was born on this day in 1817.


July 12 in history

July 12, 2018

1191  Saladin’s garrison surrendered to Conrad of Montferrat, ending the two-year siege of Acre.

1543 King Henry VIII married his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr at Hampton Court Palace.

1562 Fray Diego de Landa, acting Bishop of Yucatan, burned the sacred books of the Maya.

1580 Ostrog Bible, the first printed Bible in a Slavic language, was published.

1690  Battle of the Boyne (Gregorian calendar) – The armies of William III defeated those of the former James II.

1691  Battle of Aughrim (Julian calendar) – The decisive victory of William’s forces in Ireland.

1730 Josiah Wedgwood, English potter, was born  (d. 1795).

1790  The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was passed in France by the National Constituent Assembly.

1804  Former United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamiltondied after being shot in a duel.

1806  Sixteen German imperial states left the Holy Roman Empire and formed the Confederation of the Rhine.

1812  War of 1812: The United States invaded Canada at Windsor, Ontario.

1817 Henry David Thoreau, American writer and philosopher, was bron (d. 1862).

1854 George Eastman, American inventor, was born  (d. 1932).

1862 The Medal of Honor iwa authorised by the United States Congress.

1863 – Lieutenant-General Cameron’s force crossed the Mangatawhiri stream in the first act of war in the Waikato campaign,

British forces invade Waikato

1895 Buckminster Fuller, American architect, was born  (d. 1983).

1895 Oscar Hammerstein II, American lyricist, was born (d. 1960).

1917 Andrew Wyeth, American artist, was born (d. 2009).

1917  The Bisbee Deportation –  vigilantes kidnapped and deported nearly 1,300 striking miners and others from Bisbee, Arizona.

1918  The Japanese Imperial Navy battle ship Kawachi blew up at Shunan, killing at least 621.

1920   The Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty was signed. Soviet Russia recognized independent Lithuania.

1932  Hedley Verity established a first-class record by taking all ten wickets for only ten runs against Nottinghamshire on a pitch affected by a storm.

1933 Donald E. Westlake, American author, was born (d. 2008).

1943   World War II: Battle of Prokhorovka – German and Soviet  forces engaged in largest tank engagement of all time.

1937 Bill Cosby, American comedian and actor, was born.

1943 Christine McVie, British singer, musician, and songwriter (Fleetwood Mac), was born.

1947 Gareth Edwards, Welsh rugby union footballer, was born.

1950 Eric Carr, American drummer (Kiss), was born  (d. 1991).

1951 Cheryl Ladd, American actress, was born.

1960  Orlyonok, the main Young Pioneer camp of the Russian SFSR, was founded.

1961 Pune flooded due to failure of Khadakvasala and Panshet dams. Half of Pune was submerged. More than 100,000 families dislocated and death tally exceeded 2000.

1962  The Rolling Stones performed their first ever concert, at the Marquee Club in London.

1967 The Newark riots began in Newark, New Jersey.

1975 São Tomé and Príncipe declared independence from Portugal.

1978 – Claire Chitham, New Zealand actress,

1979  The island nation of Kiribati became independent from Great Britain.

1979  Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park Chicago.

1997  – Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born.

2001 – The first stage win by a New Zealander (Chris Jenner)  in the Tour de France came in a team time trial.

New Zealander wins Tour de France stage

2006  Hezbollah initiated Operation True Promise.

2007 – U.S. Army Apache helicopters performed airstrikes in Baghdad, Iraq; footage from the cockpit was later leaked to the Internet.

2012 – A tank truck explosion kills more than 100 people in Okobie, Nigeria.

2012 – The Turaymisah massacre – 250 people were killed during a Syrian military operation in a village within the Hama Governorate.

2013  – Six people were killed and 200 injured in a passenger train derailment in Brétigny-sur-Orge, France.

Sourced from Wikipedia & NZ History Online


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