365 days of gratitude

November 20, 2018

It’s still World Toilet Day in those parts of the world that are several hours behind New Zealand.

Knowing there’s at least one working loo at home and that it won’t be too hard to find one when I’m out is something I take for granted.

That’s not the norm for too many people.

In some places, it’s not just that people don’t have access to a loo, nor to clean water to wash their hands afterwards, answering the call of nature can put them at the risk of physical or sexual assault.

Today I’m grateful that when nature calls, I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to answer.


Word of the day

November 20, 2018

Bourdaloue – a type of a chamberpot, supposedly named for Louis Bourdaloue, a famous 17th century priest; the story goes that his sermons were so long that listeners would need to bring along a chamberpot to get through them.


Sowell says

November 20, 2018


Rural round-up

November 20, 2018

Has the time come for genetic modification?– Charlie Dreaver:

Trees with red trunks and apples that are red right the way through and flower all year round. Should we back or block the genetically changed plants New Zealand scientists are growing? Charlie Dreaver reports for Insight. 

Gene edited plants are just as safe as normal plants, according to one scientist. At a Plant and Food Research greenhouse in Auckland, one of the sections is filled with $300 apple trees, and Andy Allan, a professor of plant biology, is pointing out one of his favourite experiment, a tree with bright, fuchsia-coloured flowers.

“The particular red gene we’re testing is under a strong expression, so the roots are red, the trunk is red, the leaves are copper and the fruit goes on to look more like a plum, it’s so dark.” . . 

Hope for kiwi comeback from 1080 project targeting stoats – Jono Edwards:

The first western Fiordland 1080 project will start mid-next year in the hope of bringing the stoat-ridden area’s kiwi back from the brink.

As part of the Department of Conservation’s “Save Our Iconic Kiwi” initiative, the operation will target 50,000ha of rugged, inaccessible terrain at Shy Lake, between Wet Jacket Arm and Breaksea Sound.

Non-toxic baits to accustom rats to the bait are planned for late winter next year, followed by toxic baits in September and October. The stoats will then eat the poisoned rats. . .

Native vegetation on sheep and beef farms summary report:

A report from the University of Canterbury has revealed that 24 per cent of New Zealand’s native vegetation (approximately 2.8 million hectares) is estimated to be on sheep and beef farms. This is the largest amount of native vegetation present outside of public conservation land. 

The report has also uncovered that 17 per cent of all New Zealand’s native forest is estimated to be on sheep and beef farms and is likely playing a vital, but often unheralded role in supporting biodiversity.

B+LNZ CEO Sam McIvor reflects that “This is a great acknowledgement for our farmers and the work they’re doing as stewards of the land. I hear sheep and beef farmers talking every day about what they’re doing on farm to support biodiversity and it’s great we have been able to develop evidence to back their passionate voices”. . .

Less effective killers cost more – Jacqueline Rowarth:

 Glyphosphate, commonly sold as Roundup, has been in the news again, this time because of a link to antibiotic resistance.

Canterbury University’s Professor Jack Heinemann has done some interesting work in the laboratory. He has also acknowledged agar plates in controlled conditions are a very long way from field use.

More research is required. Of course.

And scientists love having a reason to do more research.

It’s different in Russia – Keith Woodford:

This last week I have been working in Russia on issues of A1 and A2 beta-casein.  I am still there, but today is Sunday and together with my wife Annette, I am on a fast train from Moscow to St Petersburg.

It’s late autumn over here, but to a Kiwi lad it seems like the middle of winter. Until today, the weather has been fine and clear but with temperatures below freezing. Today the snow has arrived, and it will now be on the ground for at least the next four months.  There is not much sign of global warming over here!

Travelling by fast train at 250 km per hour, I am fascinated by the lungs of Russia. By that I mean the hundreds of kilometres of trees, largely pines, with just the occasional village.  Somewhere there must be some farm lands, but they sure aren’t in sight from the train. . . 

Signs mount that Fonterra will have to cut its payout forecast –  Jenny Ruth:

(BusinessDesk) – The risks are mounting against Fonterra holding its current forecast milk payout and this week’s GlobalDairyTrade auction could be yet another nail in its coffin.

The auction results will be released early Wednesday, New Zealand time.

Fonterra’s current forecast is a rate of $6.25-to-$6.50 a kilogram of milk solids but Mark Lister, the head of wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners, says the trends in both dairy pricing and the renewed strength in the kiwi dollar could see the actual payout settle closer to $6.00 or $6.25. . . 

Fonterra too helpful to councils – Hugh Stringleman:

The ever-increasing compliance load on dairy farmers was forcibly questioned at the Fonterra annual meeting by Cambridge dairy farmer Judy Bryan.

She alleged Fonterra accepts and facilitates regional councils’ demands for environmental actions that load costs on farmers.

“We may be getting $6 something in milk price but look where a lot of that is going, on compliance. . .

Careful! You might miss New Zealand’s latest luxury lodge:

New Zealand’s newest luxury lodge epitomises discretion, from blending seamlessly into its secluded rural location to the luxe surroundings and discerning service of a high-calibre luxury destination.

Set to become New Zealand’s newest luxury destination, The Lindis which opened this month in a dramatic South Island high country valley, blends so perfectly with the surroundings that you’d be forgiven for missing it.

Try spotting The Lindis from the air and you’re liable to miss it thanks to outstanding architecture designed to blend with the stunning landscape surrounding the building’s resting place in the Ahuriri Valley. The valley lies in a stretch of South Island high country between Mount Cook and Wanaka and the lodge name associates with The Lindis Pass, a picturesque alpine roadway linking the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. . .


Dry rivers show need for water storage

November 20, 2018

It’s not yet officially summer but two Hawkes Bay Rivers have already dried up:

Some businesses and farmers in Central Hawke’s Bay may start rationing water as parts of the Waipawa and Tukituki rivers are already bone dry.

It comes as figures obtained by RNZ show the top six water consent holders in the district are using more than half of all allocated water from the Ruataniwha Aquifer and rivers.

Surface water user group chair Alastair Haliburton said around 40 consent holders were considering rationing and rostering their water supplies this summer because of concerns that river levels were so low.

His own company, Medallion Pet Foods, which employed 14 people in Waipukurau, could go bust if it does not get enough water.

“If we don’t get water we can’t manufacture and the doors close,” Mr Haliburton said.

Other businesses would be affected by the rationing, he said.

“It means that some crops probably won’t be planted, or yields will be lower, livestock productivity is going to be lower … essentially it means a scaling back of commercial activity.” . . 

Ongaonga farmer Alistair Setter was also worried about getting enough water for his crops this summer.

A section of the Waipawa River near his home dried up in mid-October.

“On a dry year it might dry up around Christmas time but it’s never done this before,” he said. . . 

Over allocation of water from aquifers is widespread.

Rationing is one solution, water storage is another.

Building dams to hold water when it’s not needed to release it when it is needed has both environmental and economic benefits.

Water from dams can be used to maintain minimum flows to protect and enhance water life when there’s insufficient rain. The water can also be used for manufacturing and irrigation.

Irrigation also helps recharge aquifers.

Forecasts warn of more hotter, dryer summers. Central and local governments ought to be planning for that and more water storage should be part of their plans.

Building dams is expensive but so too are the economic, environmental and social costs of dry rivers and water rationing.


Quote of the day

November 20, 2018

In the best of times, our days are numbered anyway. So it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby. – Alistair Cooke who was born on this day in 1908.


November 20 in history

November 20, 2018

284 – Diocletian was chosen as Roman Emperor.

762 – During An Shi Rebellion, Tang Dynasty, with the help of Huihe tribe, recaptured Luoyang from the rebels.

1194 – Palermo was conquered by Emperor Henry VI.

1407 – A truce between John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy and Louis of Valois, Duke of Orléans was agreed under the auspices of John, Duke of Berry.

1695 – Zumbi, the last of the leaders of Quilombo dos Palmares in Brazil, was executed.

1620 – Peregrine White, was born – first English child born in the Plymouth Colony (d. 1704).

1700 – Great Northern War: Battle of Narva – King Charles XII of Sweden defeated the army of Tsar Peter the Great at Narva.

1739 – Start of the Battle of Porto Bello between British and Spanish forces during the War of Jenkins’ Ear.

1765 Sir Thomas Fremantle, British naval captain, was born (d. 1819).

1820 – An 80-ton sperm whale attacked the Essex (a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts) 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America (Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby-Dick was in part inspired by this story).

1841 – Maketu Wharetotara, the 17-year-old son of the Nga Puhi chief Ruhe, killed five people at Motuarohia in the Bay of Islands.

Mass murder in the Bay of Islands

1845 – Argentine Confederation: Battle of Vuelta de Obligado.

1889 – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer, was born (d. 1953).

1900 – Chester Gould, American comic strip artist, creator of Dick Tracey, was born (d. 1985).

1908 – Alistair Cooke, British-born journalist, was born (d. 2004).

1910 – Francisco I. Madero issued the Plan de San Luis Potosi, denouncing President Porfirio Díaz, calling for a revolution to overthrow the government of Mexico, effectively starting the Mexican Revolution.

1917 – World War IBattle of Cambrai began.

1917 – Ukraine was declared a republic.

1919 – Lucilla Andrews, Egyptian-Scottish nurse and author, was born (d. 2006).

1923 – Nadine Gordimer, South African author and activist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d. 2014).

1925 Robert F. Kennedy, American politician was born (d. 1968).

1936 – José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falange, was killed by a republican execution squad.

1937 Parachuting Santa, George Sellars, narrowly escaped serious injury when he was able to sway his parachute just in time to avoid crashing through the glass roof of the Winter Gardens during the Farmers’ Christmas parade.

Parachuting Santa crashes in Auckland Domain

1940 – World War IIHungary becomes a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, officially joining the Axis Powers.

1942 – Joe Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States, was born.

1943 – World War II: Battle of Tarawa (Operation Galvanic) begins – United States Marines land on Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands and suffer heavy fire from Japanese shore guns and machine guns.

1945 – Nuremberg Trials: Trials against 24 Nazi war criminals start at thePalace of Justice at Nuremberg.

1947 – Princess Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey in London.

1952 – Slánský trials – a series of Stalinist and anti-Semitic show trials in Czechoslovakia.

1956 – Bo Derek, American actress, was born.

1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis ended: In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ended the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.

1969 – Vietnam War: The Cleveland Plain Dealer published explicit photographs of dead villagers from the My Lai massacre.

1974 – The United States Department of Justice filed its final anti-trust suit against AT&T.

1975 – Francisco Franco, Caudillo of Spain, died after 36 years in power.

1979 – Grand Mosque Seizure: About 200 Sunni Muslims revolted in Saudi Arabia at the site of the Kaaba in Mecca during the pilgrimage and take about 6000 hostages. The Saudi government received help from French special forces to put down the uprising.

1984 – The SETI Institute was founded.

1985 – Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released.

1989 – Velvet Revolution: The number of protesters assembled in Prague,Czechoslovakia swells from 200,000 the day before to an estimated half-million.

1991 – An Azerbaijani MI-8 helicopter carrying 19 peacekeeping mission team with officials and journalists from RussiaKazakhstan and Azerbaijanwas shot down by Armenian military forces in Khojavenddistrict of Azerbaijan.

1992 – Fire broke out in Windsor Castle, badly damaging the castle and causing over £50 million worth of damage.

1993 – Savings and loan crisis: The United States Senate Ethics Committee issued a stern censure of California senator Alan Cranston for his “dealings” with savings-and-loan executive Charles Keating.

1994 – The Angolan government and UNITA rebels signed the Lusaka Protocol in Zambia, ending 19 years of civil war.

1998 – A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declared accused terroristOsama bin Laden “a man without a sin” in regard to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

1998 – The first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, was launched.

2001 – In Washington, D.C., U.S. President George W. Bush dedicated the United States Department of Justice building as the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building, honouring the late Robert F. Kennedy on what would have been his 76th birthday.

2003 – A second day of the 2003 Istanbul Bombings destroyed the Turkish head office of HSBC Bank AS and the British consulate.

2008 – After critical failures in the US financial system began to build up after mid-September, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its lowest level since 1997.

2015 – Following a hostage siege, at least 19 people were killed in Bamako, Mali

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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