Word of the day

June 3, 2019

Baisemain – homage the vassal gave to the fief seigneur, by kissing his hand; a kiss not he hand as a sign of respect or affection.


Thatcher thinks

June 3, 2019


Living with the world’s sexiest accent

June 3, 2019

Rural round-up

June 3, 2019

Townies ringing the changes on rural folk – Nigel Malthus:

Decisions are being made about and for New Zealand’s rural communities by the 80% of the population who live in urban areas, say the authors of a new book on rural change.

Current trends favour a market led, business focussed approach to regional growth, but these trends downplay social and community considerations, and that needs further thought, the authors say.

Heartland Strong: how rural New Zealand can change and thrive finds that rural communities have enormous strengths which could be enhanced and maintained even in the face of inexorable change. . .

Debt problems rise only slightly – Nigel Stirling:

The number of dairy farmers struggling with high debt has risen slightly, according to the Reserve Bank’s latest stock-take of the health of the financial system.

In its twice-yearly Financial Stability Report it said the number of non-performing dairy loans reported by the trading banks has increased slightly.

“The dairy sector is continuing to recover from the two major dairy price downturns in the past decade. . .

Plan needed for competing wood demands – Fonterra – Gavin Evans:

(BusinessDesk) – Wood is a viable industrial fuel but greater effort may be needed to ensure that new demand from processors doesn’t strip supplies from existing users, Fonterra says.

Co-firing the firm’s Brightwater milk powder plant near Nelson on a wood-coal blend shows that wood is a viable means to reduce emissions from process heat, Tony Oosten, the firm’s energy manager, says.

Capital and fuel costs for new wood or coal boilers are now very close and the company could – were it to be building its Darfield 2 dryer in Canterbury again – do that with wood. . . 

 

World leading scientist teaming up with Fonterra on sustainability:

Professor Ian Hunter is a serial entrepreneur. Born in New Zealand, he started his first company at age nine and published his first scientific paper at age 10.

Now living in Boston, he’s the Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, the co-founder of 25 companies, and has more than 100 patents to his name.

He’s also working on a new project – a partnership with Fonterra to solve some of dairy farming’s biggest sustainability challenges.

Kakariki Fund to help horticulture starts accelerate growth:

A wholesale investment offer being launched this week is aimed at helping the emerging stars of the New Zealand horticulture sector accelerate their growth.

Kakariki Fund Limited, which is seeking $100 million, will invest in orchards, vineyards, plantations and farms to be co-managed by leading horticulture processors and exporters including apple growers Rockit Global and Freshmax, Sacred Hill wines, craft beer hop grower Hop Revolution, Manuka honey producer Comvita and kiwifruit grower and packer DMS Progrowers.

Kakariki is targeting annual investment returns of 10%*, which will be made up of earnings from the sale of crops through the partners and any increases in land values.  . . 

Meat is magnificent water, carbon, methane & nutrition  – Diana Rodgers:

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

There was a recent article in The Washington Post entitled “Meat is Horrible”, once again vilifying meat, that was full of inaccurate statements about the harm cattle impose on the land, how bad it is for our health, and how it should be taxed. Stories like this are all too common and we’ve absolutely got to change our thinking on what’s causing greenhouse gas emissions and our global health crisis.

Hint: it’s not grass-fed steak

In the few days since the story originally came out, I’ve been brewing up some different angle to write. I’ve written here, and here about the benefits of red meat, and how Tofurky isn’t the answer to healing the environment or our health. I keep saying the same thing over and over. Recently, I posted this as a response to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new claims that a plant-based diet is optimal. I also wrote about Philadelphia’s sugar tax here, and I don’t think a meat tax is any better of an idea, especially when the government is subsidizing the feed. I’m feeling quite frustrated. . . 


Gliding On to knighthood

June 3, 2019

Decades of successful playwriting have been recognised with a knighthood for Roger Hall:

He has delivered dozens of hit plays and just received a knighthood, but Sir Roger Hall says there’s no secret formula but “putting your bum on the chair in the morning and working hard”.  . .

He paid tribute to his wife’s support throughout his career for theatre and television, especially before he made his name with sold out public service satire Glide Time in 1976.

“She’s been a very loyal supporter for all those years when I was struggling to be a writer and make myself known. When I was teaching, I came home one day, and she was sitting at home with a baby in her arms and I said, ‘I’m sorry, I want to give up teaching and go writing full-time.’ And she said, ‘Well, that’s what you better do,’ which was a brave decision.”

He followed up his debut play with a string of other hits featuring middle-class “everyman” New Zealanders, including Middle-Age Spread, which played in London’s West End for 15 months. It was also made into a film, with American magazine Variety describing the star, Grant Tilly, as an “Antipodean Woody Allen”.

Several of his works were successfully adapted for the small screen (Gliding On, Neighbourhood Watch, Conjugal Rites, Market Forces) and he won a script-writing award for his work on Spin Doctors.

He organised the first New Zealand Writers’ Week and successfully campaigned for the introduction of New Zealand Theatre Month, which was held for the first time in September 2018.

All this from a man who sailed from England to New Zealand at 19.

“I owe everything to New Zealand, really. It gave me a good university education and it got me away from the class system and it gave me a feeling I could do anything here if I wanted it.”

The late great comedian John Clarke once described Sir Roger’s work as “identifying faults and follies which highlight small monsters in ordinary people, and sometimes excite our sympathy as much as our laughter”.

“John is a very shrewd observer and I was very flattered to get that comment. That sort of comedy has always appealed to me, the mixture of funny and sad.” . .

I saw Glide Time at Dunedin’s Fortune Theatre and have been to almost every other play Hall has written since.

In each of them I remember thinking I’ve heard conversations like that, and then thinking I’ve had conversations like that.

This is one of the secrets of his success – an extraordinary ability to write about ordinary people in a relatable and entertaining way.

The full Honours List is here.


Quote of the day

June 3, 2019

Man is made for science; he reasons from effects to causes, and from causes to effects; but he does not always reason without error. In reasoning, therefore, from appearances which are particular, care must be taken how we generalise; we should be cautious not to attribute to nature, laws which may perhaps be only of our own invention. James Hutton who was born on this day in 1726.


June 3 in history

June 3, 2019

350 – Roman usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantinian dynasty, proclaimed himself Roman Emperor.

1140  French scholar Peter Abelard was found guilty of heresy.

1326 Treaty of Novgorod delineated borders between Russia and Norway in Finnmark.

1539 Hernado de Soto claimed Florida for Spain.

1608  Samuel de Champlain completed his third voyage to New France at Tadoussac, Quebec.

1620 Construction of the oldest stone church in French North America, Notre-Dame-des-Anges, began in Quebec City.

1621  The Dutch West India Company received a charter for New Netherlands.

1658  Pope Alexander VII appointed François de Laval vicar apostolic in New France.

1659 David Gregory, Scottish astronomer and mathematician, was born  (d. 1708).

1665  James Stuart, Duke of York (later to become King James II of England) defeated the Dutch Fleet off the coast of Lowestoft.

1770  Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo was founded in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

1726 James Hutton, Scottish geologist, was born  (d. 1797).

1800 U.S. President John Adams took up residence in Washington, D.C. (in a tavern because the White House was not yet completed).

1808 Jefferson Davis, American politician and President of the Confederate States of America was born (d. 1889).

1839 Lin Tse-hsü destroyed 1.2 million kg of opium confiscated from British merchants, providing Britain with a casus belli to open hostilities, resulting in the First Opium War.

1861  Battle of Philippi (also called the Philippi Races) – Union forces routed Confederate troops in Barbour County, Virginia in first land battle of the War.

1864 American Civil War: Battle of Cold Harbor – Union forces attacked Confederate troops in Hanover County, Virginia.

1865 George V was born  (d. 1936).

1866  The Fenians were driven out of Fort Erie, Ontario, into the United States.

1869 – The University of Otago was founded.

University of Otago founded

1885 In the last military engagement fought on Canadian soil Cree leader Big Bear escaped the North West Mounted Police.

1888 – The poem “Casey at the Bat“, by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, was published in the San Francisco Examiner.

1889  The coast to coast Canadian Pacific Railway was completed.

1889  The first long-distance  electric power transmission line in the United States was completed, running 14 miles between a generator at Willamette Falls and downtown Portland, Oregon.

1916 The Reserve Officer Training Corp, ROTC , was established by the U.S. Congress.

1916 – The National Defense Act was signed into law, increasing the size of the United States National Guard by 450,000 men.

1921 Forbes Carlile, Australian Olympic swimmer and coach, was born.

1924 Jimmy Rogers, American blues guitarist, was born  (d. 1997).

1935 One thousand unemployed Canadian workers boarded freight cars in Vancouver,  beginning a protest trek to Ottawa, Ontario.

1936 Sir Colin “Pine Tree”  Meads, farmer and former All Black, was born (d. 2017).

Colin 'Pinetree' Meads born

1937  The Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson.

1940 – World War II: The Battle of Dunkirk ended with a German victory and Allied forces in full retreat.

1941 – The first women entered police training in New Zealand.

First women enter police training

1947 Mickey Finn, British guitarist and percussionist (T.Rex), was born  (d. 2003).

1950 Suzi Quatro, American musician and actress, was born.

1956 British Railways renamed ‘Third Class’ passenger facilities as ‘Second Class’ (Second Class facilities had been abolished in 1875, leaving just First Class and Third Class).

1962 Susannah Constantine, British fashion guru, was born.

1962  An Air France Boeing 707 charter, Chateau de Sully crashed after an aborted takeoff from Paris, killing 130.

1963  The Buddhist crisis: Soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam attacked protesting Buddhists in Huế,  with liquid chemicals from tear gas grenades, causing 67 people to be hospitalised for blistering of the skin and respiratory ailments.

1963  A Northwest Airlines DC-7 crashed in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of British Columbia, killing 101.

1965  Launch of Gemini 4, the first multi-day space mission by a NASA crew. Crew-member Ed White performed the first American spacewalk.

1968 Valerie Solanas, author of SCUM Manifesto, attempted to assassinate Andy Warhol by shooting him three times.

1969  Melbourne-Evans collision: Off the coast of South Vietnam, the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne cut the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Frank E. Evans in half.

1973  A Soviet supersonic Tupolev Tu-144 crashed near Goussainville  killing 14, the first crash of a supersonic passenger aircraft.

1979  A blowout at the Ixtoc I oil well in the southern Gulf of Mexico caused at least 600,000 tons (176,400,000 gallons) of oil to be spilled into the waters.

1982  The Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov, was shot on a London street. He survived but was permanently paralysed.

1989  The government of China sent troops to force protesters out of Tiananmen Square after seven weeks of occupation.

1989  SkyDome was officially opened in Toronto.

1991 Mount Unzen erupted in Kyūshū, Japan, killing 43 people, all of them either researchers or journalists.

1992 Aboriginal Land Rights were granted in Australia in Mabo v Queensland (1988), a case brought about by Eddie Mabo.

1998  Eschede train disaster: an ICE high speed train derailed in Lower Saxony causing 101 deaths.

2006 The union of Serbia and Montenegro ended with Montenegro’s formal declaration of independence.

2007  USS Carter Hall engaged  pirates after they boarded the Danish ship Danica White off the coast of Somalia.

2012 – A Dana Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83 crashed into a residential neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria, killing 163 people.

2013 – At least 120 people were killed in a fire at a poultry plant in Northeast China.

2013 – The trial of United States Army private Bradley Manning for leaking classified material to WikiLeaks began in Fort Meade, Maryland.

2015 – An explosion at a gasoline station in Accra, Ghana, killed more than 200 people.

2017 – London Bridge attack: Eight people were murdered and dozens of civilians wounded by Islamist terrorists. Three of the attackers were shot dead by the police.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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