Word of the day

May 10, 2019

Alembicated – (of an idea, expression, or style) excessively subtle or refined; precious.


Maya muses

May 10, 2019


Rural round-up

May 10, 2019

Trade water NZ Initiative says – Neal Wallace:

A trading scheme for water, similar to that for emissions, will improve water quality, the New Zealand Initiative says.

Its chief economist Eric Crampton’s report, Refreshing Water: valuing the priceless, advocates a cap and trade market system backed by hard-wired environmental constraints to manage and sustain freshwater resources.

A well-functioning system can ensure all users follow best practice but cannot choose between the merits of competing water and land uses. . .

Bid to assess ‘M. bovis’ scheme surge – Sally Rae:

An independent report has been commissioned into the cause and effects of the current surge in the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme and to identify additional immediate improvements.

Last month, the Ministry for Primary Industries announced the programme was increasing activity before autumn and winter stock movements.

About 300 farmers would be contacted as a priority and it was expected 250 of those would have notice-of-direction movement controls placed on them immediately and, following testing, that 10% to 12% might become confirmed properties. . . 

 

Dairy can protect water gain – Tim Fulton:

Water carried Graeme Sutton’s forebears to a life of freedom in New Zealand and it keeps doing the same for them on land. Tim Fulton reports.

Five generations ago, in 1842 Graeme Sutton’s English family landed in Nelson. 

It was the start of a family partnership that has endured and expanded into several irrigated dairy ventures.

“The reason they came out, I understand, is that New Zealand gave them an opportunity for land ownership. They never had that in England. They just worked for a Lord,” Graeme says. . .

Giant new painting reflects Tauranga’s rich horticulture history :

New Zealand’s largest rural art collection that tells the stories of provincial communities has a giant new painting.

Award-winning artist Erika Pearce completed her striking mural on the side of Tauranga’s Farmlands store on Taurikura Drive off State Highway 36.

Pearce started work on April 28 and managed to finish by her May 4 deadline, despite the project being rained off earlier in the week.

The finished product is an impressive 23 metres long. . .

Southland TeenAg member puts love of tractors to work

Southland student Hamish Goatley is using his love of tractors and machinery to make hay while the sun shines.

The 18-year-old spent six weeks over the summer school holidays driving for an agricultural contractor.

“It was an amazing learning experience. I really enjoyed it. It was my first season operating a round baler,” said Goatley.

Goatley is the vice-chair of Gore High School’s thriving TeenAg club. . .

The erosion of trust in society’s food regulators – Scott McPherson:

In a twist of remarkable irony, the very agencies that were put in place to protect each nation’s food supply, health, and environment are now often viewed with suspicion. This follows an overall trend in where, in general, trust in the expertise of society’s authorities appears to be at an all-time low.

What psychology repeatedly tests as the most fearful, anxious, and worried generations in history did not happen by accident. World War II had developed in the previous generations a genuine sense that citizens were united in making society happen. The natural deterioration of that sense happened over time, to everyone except farmers. They still needed their neighbors.

By the 1980s, cities were getting so disconnected that impressionable parents were teaching their children the concept of stranger danger. Considering the fact that modern parents were taught as children that strangers were potentially lethal, today’s lack of trust makes more sense. . .


Nutrient density must be part of carbon equation

May 10, 2019

Are non-dairy drinks really better for the environment than milk?

It depends on what you measure:

A lot of people make food choices based on what they think is good for the environment, and therefore also makes them feel good, but often their choices are hurting the environment unnecessarily.

The trouble is, it’s difficult to distinguish between green and greenwash.

This was the underlying message of Rabobank’s Netherlands-based managing board member, Berry Marttin’s talk at last month’s Farm2Fork summit, held at Cockatoo Island. . . 

“Let’s start measuring the right thing,” Mr Marttin said, as he opened his talk. . . “

He said “those people” (i.e. our world leaders) that agreed on the Paris Climate Agreement set the rules and guidelines that we will have to abide by in the coming years.

“Why that is so important and so relevant, is agriculture is the second most polluting process in the world, after energy,” he said. . . 

“In 2010, our industry (agriculture) emitted 12 megatonnes of carbon of a total of 50Mt (globally),” he said.

“The other thing that they (the Paris Climate Agreement folk) have said … (is) if we want to limit the increase of temperature by two degrees, food production can not emit more than four megatonnes.

Today we talked a lot about world population – we have to produce more. But Paris is saying ‘no, no, we can only emit four megatonnes'”.

Do we feed the world or save the planet, and can we do both?

He said the gap that our food producers will have to overcome is to lift from the current 13 trillion calories to “20-something trillion calories”, in 30 years time, which is an increase in the realm of 50-60 per cent.

At the same time, food production will have to go from 12Mt down to 4Mt of carbon output.

“Every calorie produced has to be four to five times more efficient,” Mr Marttin said.

“So we have to understand, what are we going to do? What are we measuring?”

He said a lot of current reports are measuring how much emissions per gram, or kilogram.

“But the issue is that we don’t live by kilos. We survive as humans by calories.”

He said if you look at it from a calorie point of view, it painted a clearer picture of the amount of carbon output along the whole supply chain versus what calorific value you obtained from that food – and also better reflected the amount of processing.

However, humans don’t live on calories alone, we also need nutrients.

All calories aren’t equal.

He used milk as an example (with findings from the report Nutrient density of beverages in relation to climate impact, by Annika Smedman et al), as it was consumed by 6 billion of the world’s 7.7 billion people.

It had lots of “pretenders” competing for its market share, such as plant derived “milks”, many of which sold themselves as healthy alternatives.

Milk production also represents 3-4pc of global carbon emmissions.

“And that brings us to the fact that people think that cows are polluters – it’s a big issue. That’s what people think about it.”

He said the Australia-New Zealand region did have the lowest output of carbon in the world per litre of milk produced.

“If you look at 100 grams of milk, it produces 100g of CO2. But if you look at the most important thing, which is actually the nutrition density of milk, it’s 50 (nutrients that we need daily).

“It’s a very high nutrition density.”

“Let’s look at the emission of soya drink – it has very low emissions (per unit of volume). But then let’s look at the nutrition density of soya drink, the problem is it has only one or two nutrients that we need every day.

“So are we measuring the right thing? Nope. Are we telling the right story? What’s better? Milk, or soya drink?

“Is the industry telling what is better for the environment?”

He said if you correlate the emissions with the nutrient density, you get a clearer picture of nutritional value against emissions output.

Mr Marttin said people must start asking what is the nutritional value per amount of carbon emitted, or else food production from farming will never get to the four megatonnes target.

And, as a society, if we don’t understand that, we will continue to make the wrong decisions and produce foods that are actually not nutritious and be emitting carbon in the process.

He said it takes, on average, about 2.5 tonnes of CO2 to feed one person per year, and he estimated that if carbon was priced, it’s value would be about US$100/t.

Milk has higher per kilo emissions than the ‘pretenders’ but  when you take into account its nutrient density it is far better than manufactured alternatives.

P.S. Beer comes a distant third in the nutrient density equation – but some might say it has other qualities which ought to be taken into account.

 

 


Quote of the day

May 10, 2019

I didn’t become a feminist in order to wear a strippy-strappy dress and get legless outside a bar shouting ‘F*** me’. I’m not an admirer of that. I don’t think today’s problems are much to do with gender. I think we must be very careful not to make our daughters despise men.Maureen Lipman who celebrates her 73rd birthday today.


May 10 in history

May 10, 2019

28 BCE – A sunspot was observed by Han dynasty astronomers during the reign of Emperor Cheng of Han, one of the earliest dated sunspot observations in China.

70 – Siege of Jerusalem: Titus, son of emperor Vespasian, opened a full-scale assault on Jerusalem and attacked the city’s Third Wall to the northwest.

1291 Scottish nobles recognised the authority of Edward I of England.

1497  Amerigo Vespucci allegedly left Cádiz for his first voyage to the New World.

1503 Christopher Columbus visited the Cayman Islands and named themLas Tortugas after the numerous turtles there.

1534 Jacques Cartier visited Newfoundland.

1760 Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, French composer (La Marseillaise) was born (d. 1836).

1655 England, with troops under the command of Admiral William Pennand General Robert Venables, annexed Jamaica from Spain.

1768  John Wilkes was imprisoned for writing an article for The North Briton severely criticizing King George III.

1774 Louis XVI became King of France.

1775 American Revolutionary War: Fort Ticonderoga was captured by a small Colonial militia led by Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold.

1775  American Revolutionary War: Representatives from the 13 colonies began the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

1796 First Coalition: Napoleon I of France won a decisive victory against Austrian forces at Lodi bridge over the Adda River in Italy.

1801 First Barbary War: The Barbary pirates of Tripoli declared war on the United States of America.

1824 The National Gallery in London opened to the public.

1833 The desecration of the grave of the viceroy of southern Vietnam Le Van Duyet by Emperor Minh Mang provokds his adopted son to start a revolt.

1837– Panic of 1837: New York City banks failed, and unemployment reached record levels.

1857  Indian Mutiny: The first war of Independence began when Sepoys revolted against their commanding officers at Meerut.

1863  Confederate General Stonewall Jackson died eight days after he is accidentally shot by his own troops during the American Civil War.

1864  American Civil War: Colonel Emory Upton led a 10-regiment “Attack-in-depth” assault against the Confederate works at The Battle of Spotsylvania.

1865 American Civil War: Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia.

1865  American Civil War: Union soldiers ambushed and mortally wounded Confederate raider William Quantrill.

1869 The First Transcontinental Railroad, linking the eastern and western United States, was completed at Promontory Summit, Utah with thegolden spike.

1872 Victoria Woodhull became the first woman nominated for President of the United States.

1877  Romania declared itself independent from Ottoman Empire following the Senate adoption of Mihail Kogălniceanu‘s Declaration of Independence.

1897 Ethel Benjamin became the first woman in New Zealand to be admitted as a barrister and solicitor.

1893  The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Nix v. Hedden that a tomato is a vegetable, not a fruit, under the Tariff Act of 1883.

1899 Fred Astaire, American dancer and actor, was born (d. 1987).

1908 Mother’s Day was observed for the first time in the United States, in Grafton, West Virginia.

1915 Denis Thatcher, British businessman and husband of Margaret Thatcher, was born (d. 2003).

1922 The United States annexed the Kingman Reef.

1924 J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the Director of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation.

1925 – William Ferguson Massey, or ‘Farmer Bill’ as he was known by many, New Zealand’s second-longest-serving prime minister, died.

Death of William Massey

1933 – Barbara Taylor Bradford, English-American author was born.

1940 – World War II: German raids on British shipping convoys and military airfields began.

1940 – World War II: Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

1940  World War II: Winston Churchill was appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1940  World War II: Invasion of Iceland by the United Kingdom.

1941 World War II: The House of Commons in London was damaged by the Luftwaffe in an air raid.

1941  World War II: Rudolf Hess parachuted into Scotland in order to try and negotiate a peace deal between the United Kingdom and Germany.

1942 World War II: The Thai Phayap Army invaded the Shan States during the Burma Campaign.

1946 – Maureen Lipman, English actress, was born.

1946  First successful launch of a V-2 rocket at White Sands Proving Ground.

1946 Graham Gouldman, British musician and songwriter (10cc), was born.

1954  Bill Haley & His Comets released “Rock Around the Clock“, the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.

1957 Sid Vicious, English bassist (The Sex Pistols) was born (d. 1979).

1960 The all-white All Blacks left for South Africa.

All-white All Blacks leave for South Africa

1960 The nuclear submarine USS Triton completed Operation Sandblast, the first underwater circumnavigation of the earth.

1960 Bono, Irish singer (U2), was born.

1969 Vietnam War: The Battle of Dong Ap Bia began with an assault on Hill 937 which became known as Hamburger Hill.

1979 The Federated States of Micronesia became self-governing.

1981 François Mitterrand won the presidential election and became the first Socialist President of France in the French 5th republic.

1993  In Thailand, a fire at the Kader Toy Factory killed 188 workers.

1994 Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president.

1996  A “rogue storm” near the summit of Mount Everest killed eight climbers including Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, both of whom were leading paid expeditions to the summit.

2002 F.B.I. agent Robert Hanssen was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole for selling United States secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds.

2003 May 2003 tornado outbreak sequence.

2005  A hand grenade thrown by Vladimir Arutinian landed about 20 metres from U.S. President George W. Bush while he was giving a speech to a crowd in Tbilisi, Georgia, but it malfunctioned and did not detonate.

200 – An EF4 tornado struck the OklahomaKansas state line, killing 21 people and injuring over 100.

2012 – The Damascus bombings:  a pair of car bombs detonated by suicide bombers outside a military intelligence complex in Damascus, killed 55 people and injured 400 others.

2013 – The Freedom Tower became the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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