Word of the day

February 19, 2019

Trichotillomania – hair-pulling disorder; an anxiety disorder which causes a person to pull out their hair strand by strand, often causing noticeable hair loss as a result.


Sowell says

February 19, 2019


Rural round-up

February 19, 2019

Tasman facing serious drought – Tracey Neal:

First there were floods, then fire and now drought.

The Waimea Plains, cradled between two mountain ranges, are usually immune to such extremes in the weather.

But a Tasman District Council water scientist says the wider area is facing its worst drought since 2001. . .

Explainer: Why NZ can’t afford to mess with China – Aimee Shaw:

China and New Zealand have enjoyed decades of mutual benefits.

The global powerhouse and New Zealand signed a Free Trade Agreement in 2008 and since then have phased in provisions to ease trade between the two countries.

China is now New Zealand’s largest trading partner, followed by Australia. Suffice to say it’s a relationship New Zealand can’t afford to lose.

Fallout from the Government taking the United States stance on the Huawei debate and now reports of people not wanting to come to New Zealand as a result are threatening the country’s long-standing friendly relationship. . . 

Year of the Pig means feast of exports for Fonterra :

Celebrations have been underway around the world to celebrate the festive Chinese New Year season — welcoming the Year of the Pig.

In China itself those celebrations are likely to have included family feasts including dairy produced in Waipa’s Fonterra plants.

Fonterra’s Te Awamutu site exported around $175 million in products to China for consumption in 2017/18. That’s about $12,500 per person in Te Awamutu. . . 

Optimistic report on ‘M bovis’ response – Sally Rae:

Improvements are already being made in many areas highlighted in the Mycoplasma bovis Technical Advisory Group’s report, response head Geoff Gwyn says.

Work is under way to develop a new surveillance approach for the beef industry and the focus is increasing on improving communication to affected farmers, the public and staff.

The report, released this month and following the group’s meeting in late November, provided independent validation the eradication programme was ”on track”, he said.

Mr Gwyn said the findings and recommendations were not surprising. Some of the recommendations were relatively simple to implement or were already in train, while others would need careful consideration before a decision was made. . . 

Open Country challenges validity of Fonterra 2018 milk price – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Open Country Dairy is seeking a judicial review of the way Fonterra Cooperative Group set its milk price in the 2018 season, despite the Commerce Commission giving the price-setting process a pass mark.

The commission noted the judicial review on its website, saying Open Country Dairy brought proceedings against certain conclusions in its 2018 report.

In that report, the regulator was satisfied that Fonterra’s calculation was largely in line with the efficiency and contestability elements required by law governing the dairy sector. . . 

Unusual beefalo meat in demand – Ken Muir:

A chance meeting with an engineer building a cowshed on a neighbouring farm next door to Nadia and Blair Wisely introduced them to bison and from there they’ve taken to producing beefalo – a bison beef cross – on their Isla Bank farm.

”We met Dennis Greenland by chance and he had purchased animals from a Marlborough breeder Bob Blake”, Mr Wisely said.

”He told us about the animals and that piqued our interest.”

The Wiselys purchased a bison bull, crossed it with a range of cows and Netherton Farm Beefalo was born. . . 

Wild horses go under the hammer in Hanmer

Twenty horses, all aged two or three years old, were mustered from the isolated Ada Valley and sold by auction at cattle yards in the St James Conservation Area, where there was once an 80,000-hectare cattle station.

The two-day biennial muster is a family tradition.

Hugh Dampier-Crossley, a sheep and beef farmer near Cheviot, has been mustering the horses since he was ten.

“The Stevensons owned the property. Jim Stevenson was my grandfather, they bought the place in 1927. He taught me how to break in horses and shoe horses so it’s become a bit of a passion,” he said. . . 

Plan to plant genetically engineered trees throughout US to save dying forests – John Gabattis:

Inserting genes to protect against foreign diseases and pests could bring species back from brink of extinction

Plans are under way to plant swathes of genetically engineered trees across the ailing forests of North America in a bid to save them from the ravages of disease and pests. 

Species such as the ash tree and whitebark pine have faced catastrophic declines of up to half their populations after creatures introduced from overseas tore through their defences. . .

 


Rainbow wins from Cadbury self-sabotage

February 19, 2019

Cadbury started sabotaging its brand when it started using palm oil in its chocolate .

It bowed to consumer pressure and went back to using dairy milk.

Then it changed the Minties’ recipe and moved production to Thailand.

Its next exercise in brand self-sabotage was to downsize its chocolate bars. and now it’s doing it again:

Following news that Cadbury would be dropping the size of its family chocolate block, it has now been revealed that lolly packets are also in for a chop.

Stuff reported today that Pascall lolly packets, including Jet Planes, Wine Gums and Jubes have all been cut from 240g to 180g packets. . . 

But perhaps its silliest move yet was to change to selling half Easter eggs.

Cadbury’s new-look marshmallow Easter eggs for 2019 are being called Easter “humps” and “rocks” online.

But no-one’s laughing.

Kiwis are outraged that the Australian chocolate manufacturer is selling easter eggs that are shaped like one half of an egg.

It replaces the old egg-shaped style where two halves were joined together, creating a crunchy chocolate layer in the middle. . . 

It doesn’t matter that the new half eggs are the same weight as the old whole ones. Half an egg is only half an egg.

But one’s company’s self-sabotage is another’s opportunity and Oamaru’s Rainbow confectionery is seizing it:

A change in shape for Cadbury’s marshmallow Easter eggs left a sour taste in the mouths of many New Zealanders.

It also increased demand for locally-made products, including one factory in Oamaru still making Easter eggs by half.

Easter’s still two months away, but production lines at Rainbow Confectionery have been running since before Christmas.

An extra 40 staff are working flat out, piecing together Easter eggs the old fashioned way.

Brent Baillie, Rainbow Confectionery general manager, says they are making the eggs the traditional way it has always been done.

“We’re doing it the way kiwis expect it to be done.” . . 

Some facts on Rainbow:

    • Every year, Rainbow Confectionery produces 9 million marshmallow eggs. If they were to be placed side by side, the eggs would stretch 540km.</li&gt;
    • Since 2012, Rainbow Confectionery has increased its marshmallow egg production by 6 million eggs.
    • Manufacturing for Easter runs from November through to March.
  • In April 2017, the factory completed a $3 million expansion project, which meant it could boost production capacity from about 2700 tonnes a year to 8000 tonnes a year.
  • At present, it is the largest manufacturer of gummy lollies in the country, and still produces classic New Zealand sweets such as pineapple chunks, chocolate-coated baby fish and whole marshmallow Easter eggs.

The Rainbow story is here.

I’m maintaining my annual protest against the sale of Easter eggs so long before Easter, but when I do buy some in the week before Easter, it will be whole Rainbow ones not the inferior halves.

 


How much does Minister know?

February 19, 2019

Conservation Minister Eugene Sage has ruled out genetic modification in the fight against pests:

 Predator Free 2050 aims to rid New Zealand of the most damaging introduced predators by 2050, and has a number of government agencies involved in the plan including the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

But Predator Free 2050 is forbidden from carrying out any research which could lead to the use of genetic modification or gene editing, a letter written by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage shows.

The letter of direction to Predator Free 2050 obtained by lobby group Life Sciences Network said its primary tasks were to invest in breakthrough scientific research, but not to research into genetically modified organisms and technologies or gene editing, and to raise funds for co-investment by other (non-government) parties, in landscape scale projects and breakthrough science, excluding any science involving genetic modification.

“Gene technologies are problematic and untested and have significant risks.” . . 

This directive counters officials’ views that GE could be an alternative to 1080:

“It could be efficient and much more cost-effective method of pest control than conventional approaches.

“For potential application to replace knockdown tools such as aerial 1080, they would be most effective for short generation pests such as rodents, and less effective for longer generation pests such as stoats and possums, due to their requirement to spread over generations.” . . 

The minister’s refusal to permit sciencetific exploration is rank stupidity.

It’s also hypocritical coming from a member of the party that exhorts everyone to accept the science on climate change.

But how much does the minister know about the science when the strongest opponents of GM food know the least and think they know the most?

The most extreme opponents of genetically modified foods know the least about science but believe they know the most, researchers have found.

The findings from public surveys in the US, France and Germany suggest that rather than being a barrier to the possession of strongly held views, ignorance of the matter at hand might better be described as a fuel.

“This is part and parcel of the psychology of extremism,” said Philip Fernbach, a researcher at the University of Colorado and co-author of the 2017 book The Knowledge Illusion. “To maintain these strong counter-scientific consensus views, you kind of have to have a lack of knowledge.” . . 

Is the minister’s decision based on a lack of knowledge or just politics and emotion trumping science?

Whichever it is, a minister should not be shutting the door on scientific exploration.


Quote of the day

February 19, 2019

In Russia – Poets are considered a danger to the political system and are sent into Asylums.
What a compliment to the Russian People
that poetry could move them so.
In NZ Poets are not considered a danger.
No one reads poetry
Poets aren’t sent to Asylums but they are considered mad nonetheless  
Tim Shadbolt who celebrates his 72nd birthday today.


February 19 in history

February 19, 2019

197 Roman Emperor Septimius Severus defeated usurper Clodius Albinus in the Battle of Lugdunum, the bloodiest battle between Roman armies.

1473 – Nicolaus Copernicus, mathematician and astronomer, was born (d. 1543).

1594-  Having already inherited the throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth through his mother Catherine Jagellonica of Poland,Sigismund III of the House of Vasa was crowned King of Sweden, succeeding his father John III of Sweden.

1600 – The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina exploded in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America.

1674 – England and the Netherlands signed the Peace of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War. A provision of the agreement transfered the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to England, and it was renamed New York.

1743 Luigi Boccherini, Italian composer, was born  (d. 1805).

1807 Former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr was arrested for treason and confined to Fort Stoddert.

1819 British explorer William Smith discovered the South Shetland Islands, and claimed them in the name of King George III.

1847 – The first group of rescuers reached the Donner Party who had been snowbound. Some of the party resorted to cannibalism to survive.

1861 Serfdom was abolished in Russia.

1878 The phonograph was patented by Thomas Edison.

1884 The Enigma tornado outbreak.

1895 Diego Mazquiarán, Spanish matador, was born  ( d. 1940 ).

1924 Lee Marvin, American actor, was born (d. 1987).

1936 Sam Myers, American musician and songwriter, was born (d. 2006).

1938 Twenty men and one woman were drowned when a sudden cloudburst sent a wall of water surging through a public works camp at Kopuawhara, near Mahia. This was New Zealand’s deadliest 20th-century flood.

21 drown in Kopuawhara flash flood

1940 Smokey Robinson, American singer, was born.

1942 Nearly 250 Japanese war planes attacked Darwin killing 243 people.

1942 –President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the executive order 9066′, allowing the United States military to relocate Japanese-Americans toJapanese internment camps.

1943 Battle of the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia began.

1945 Battle of Iwo Jima – about 30,000 United States Marines landed on Iwo Jima.

1947 Tim Shadbolt, mayor of Invercargill, New Zealand, was born.

1949 – Ezra Pound was awarded the first Bollingen Prize in poetry by the Bollingen Foundation and Yale University.

1952 Amy Tan, American novelist, was born.

1953 – Murray McCully, former New Zealand MP and cabinet minister was born.

Murray McCully November 2016.jpg

1953 Georgia approved the first literature censorship board in the United States.

1958 Helen Fielding, English writer, was born.

1959 – The United Kingdom granted Cyprus its independence.

1960  Prince Andrew, Duke of York, was born.

1963 – The publication of Betty Friedan‘s The Feminine Mystique launched the reawakening of the Feminist Movement in the United States as women’s organisations and consciousness-raising groups spread.

1972 The Asama-Sansō hostage standoff began in Japan.

1976 Executive Order 9066 was rescinded by President Gerald R. Ford’s Proclamation 4417

1978 Egyptian forces raid Larnaca International Airport, in an attempt to intervene in a hijacking situation, without authorisation from the Republic of Cyprus authorities. The Cypriot National Guard and Police forces kill 15 Egyptian commandos and destroy the Egyptian C-130 transport plane in open combat.

1985 William J. Schroeder became the first Artificial heart recipient to leave hospital.

1985 – Iberia Airlines Boeing 727 crashed into Mount Oiz in Spain, killing 148.

1986 Akkaraipattu massacre, massacre of 80 Tamil farm workers by the Sri Lankan Army in the eastern province of Sri Lanka.

1986 – The Soviet Union launched its Mir spacecraft.

1999 – President Bill Clinton issued a posthumous pardon for U.S. Army Lt.Henry Ossian Flipper.

2001 An Oklahoma City bombing museum was dedicated at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

2001 Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal was awarded an honorary knighthood in recognition of a “lifetime of service to humanity”.

2002 – NASA’s Mars Odyssey space probe started to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system.

2006 – A methane explosion in coal mine near Nueva Rosita, Mexico,killed 65 miners.

2011 – The debut exhibition of the Belitung shipwreck, containing the largest collection of Tang Dynasty artefacts found in one location, began in Singapore.

2012 – 44 people were killed in a prison brawl in Apodaca, Nuevo León.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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