Word of the day

August 12, 2019

Unbrak – the start of the thaw.


Thatcher thinks

August 12, 2019


Rural round-up

August 12, 2019

Big tick for farmers – Neal Wallace:

The red meat industry hopes to ramp up its Taste Pure Nature brand campaign on the back of the latest international climate change report.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is being welcomed by New Zealand farming leaders as an endorsement of our low impact systems and the importance of maintaining food production.

The IPCC says land on which we rely for food, water, energy, health and wellbeing is already under pressure and climate change will exacerbate that through desertification . . .

OAD milking offers labour solution – Peter Burke:

Once-a-day (OAD) milking could open a whole new labour market for dairy farmers, says a DairyNZ Wairarapa Tararua consulting officer Gray Beagley.

He says OAD farmers can choose what time they milk, so a later milking time may attract workers who find early mornings hard, and people getting young children off to school. About 9% of dairy herds nationwide are on full season OAD, but Beagley says this is just an average.

In Northland about 25% of all herds are OAD. This variation is partly, but not exclusively, due to the weather.  . .

The father and son shearing duo who both have world titles :

Sir David Fagan is known as the best shearer in the country, with over 600 wins, a number of world records and many world titles. 

His 27-year-old son Jack has just touched down in the country after winning the World Shearing Championships Speed Shear in France. 

The father and son duo have not only competed head to head in the shearing sheds, but they also own a dairy farm together.  . . .

First time dairy farmers take the plunge – Gerard Hutching:

“To buy or not to buy” – that’s the question on dairy farmers’ minds as they weigh up whether now is the right time to invest in some rural real estate.

Milk prices are up, land values are flat or falling, cow prices trending down, interest rates low and Fonterra shares in decline – all ingredients for dipping a toe into ownership.

“There’s a lot of opportunity out there. We looked at over 20 farms and we became pretty good at doing budgets quickly to figure out if a farm could work with the budget we had. We put offers on a few of farms which weren’t accepted, before finding the Tirau farm where our offer was accepted through the tender process,” Mark and Cathy Nicholas say. . .

Kellys keep balance and belief – Tim Fulton:

Even if locusts land on their post-earthquake property the Kelly family will be ready. Tim Fulton reports.

Rebekah and Dave Kelly have an eye for the upside.

In November 2016 the hill country farmers lost most of the infrastructure on their 2000ha North Canterbury property to the 7.8 magnitude Kaikoura earthquake.

Half a hillside slipped into the Leader River, creating a dam the family christened Lake Rebekah. . .

Walking the talk for safe farming through spring:

With spring just around the corner, farmers will be spending more time out on the farm preparing for the new season’s jobs.

Lambing and calving, tailing and docking, lice treatments, vaccinations, BVD testing for bulls, drenching young heifers, spreading fertiliser and preparing for shearing make it an incredibly busy time.

“Many of these jobs require close contact with animals, including lifting, chemical use and using heavy machinery,” says Mark Harris, Beef + Lamb New Zealand lead extension manager. . .


Lab meat’s unsavoury science

August 12, 2019

Nicola Dennis looks at the unsavoury science behind lab-grown meat:

. . .The process for growing meat in the lab is pretty similar to how I grew my E.coli. Cells from the muscles (myocytes) on an animal are put into a smoothie of nutrients and incubated at body temperature for days on end.

The things that like to grow in a clump of “meat” incubated at body temperature are exactly the kind of things that would like to grow inside a human and cause nasty infections. This is precisely the reason why humans invented refrigerators to cool our food.

A lonesome myocyte, outside its natural environment, is not able to defend itself. Back when it was inside the animal it was living in a very controlled environment. In its natural environment, the immune worked hard to keep it safe from any nasties.

The lab-grown myocytes are going to have to be dosed with antibiotics; there is pretty much no other safe way around it. Even then, it could be hard to maintain food safety.

Strict regulations require withholding periods after stock are given drench or medicine, including antibiotics, to ensure no residues are left in meat. Do we know what, if any, residues are left in lab-grown meat?

When an animal is butchered, there are a lot of ways that we can test if it is safe to eat. We can observe its behaviour before slaughter and we can inspect the non-meat parts of the carcase such as the lungs and liver for anything out of the ordinary.

It is much harder to tell if a bunch of cells in a flask are infected (or malformed in the case of mad cow disease). How are the lab-based meat-mush growers going to ensure that their product is safe to consume on any given day?

Also, since the cells are not exposed to natural hormones in the blood, they will have to be treated with hormones and growth promoters so that they will replicate and grow. The protocols used by the proposed lab-meat companies are proprietary and secretive. However, I was able to dig up some humble science papers on how to culture skeletal myocytes (muscle cells) for research. These were being treated with Epidermal Growth Factor, Basic fibroblast growth factor, Dexamethasone, Insulin, Penicillin, Streptomycin, and Fetuin.

Your lab-grown meat is doping up like a performance-enhancing body-builder.
And that doped up athlete ain’t exactly eating grass, either.

New Zealand stock grows naturally on pasture and crops without the assistance of hormones or any other artificial growth promotants

Now that we have ensured the myocyte’s safety, we still need to feed it. It needs to be kept in a slushy of its favourite food called “medium”, which is a rough approximation of blood. The science papers I looked at all started off with a recipe of “Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle Medium” which doesn’t include eagles, but a complicated mix of amino acids, glucose, salt and vitamins. To this, we add things like foetal calf serum and chicken embryo extract. Both of those ingredients are exactly what they sound like, pieces of cow and chicken foetuses.

Fetal calf serum and chicken embryo extract? That doesn’t sound like the sort of thing a vegan would eat.

At a conservative estimate, more than 40 ingredients are used in the juice keeping the cells alive. You would have to be severely optimistic to think that all these ingredients would be coming from sustainable and ethical sources.

But let’s just focus on the glucose in that recipe. Cultured meat is going to require a LOT of medical-grade glucose (ie: table sugar of the highest standard). Right now, the world produces somewhere between 300 and 500 million tonnes of meat each year. In contrast, global production of sugar (the ordinary kind) is about 180 million tonnes. I have no idea how much sugar is needed to make a kilogram of cultured meat, but I am sure we don’t have enough sugar to make an impact on global meat production.

Sugar is sometimes added to processed meals which include meat but pasture-raised meat is single-ingredient and sugar-free.

Pastoral agriculture is a pretty simple and slick system. We turn a natural resource that we can’t eat (grass) into something we can eat (meat and milk) with grazing animals. The land we (the world) use to do this is, by and large, not suitable for the production of sugar or the other 40 ingredients needed for cultured meat. Or, for the ingredients required in the less-terrifying, but no-less-processed plant-based “meats”.

Some people can’t stand the thought of an animal being killed for their food. So be it. Let them eat cake… or felafel. But, when it comes to meat, there is no substitute for the simplicity and safety of the real deal.

Those last two paragraphs need repeating:

Pastoral agriculture is a pretty simple and slick system. We turn a natural resource that we can’t eat (grass) into something we can eat (meat and milk) with grazing animals. The land we (the world) use to do this is, by and large, not suitable for the production of sugar or the other 40 ingredients needed for cultured meat. Or, for the ingredients required in the less-terrifying, but no-less-processed plant-based “meats”.

Some people can’t stand the thought of an animal being killed for their food. So be it. Let them eat cake… or felafel. But, when it comes to meat, there is no substitute for the simplicity and safety of the real deal.

Eat like our grandparents ate, the closer to nature the better; eat fresh unprocessed food; eat less sugar. This is the advice from health professionals advising on healthy diets.

Lab-grown meat is nothing like our grandparents ate, it’s far from nature, it’s highly processed and sugar is one of its many ingredients.

Simple, slick and safe is a far better recipe for healthy eating than the lab-grown alternatives.

 


Quote of the day

August 12, 2019

 Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.Sue Monk Kidd who celebrates her 71st birthday today.


August 12 in history

August 12, 2019

30 BC Cleopatra VII Philopator, the last ruler of the Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty, committed suicide allegedly by means of an asp bite.

1099  First Crusade: Battle of Ascalon – Crusaders under the command of Godfrey of Bouillon defeated Fatimid forces under Al-Afdal Shahanshah.

1121   Battle of Didgori: the Georgian army under King David the Builder won a decisive victory over the famous Seljuk commander Ilghazi.

1164  Battle of Harim: Nur ad-Din Zangi defeated the Crusader armies of the County of Tripoli and the Principality of Antioch.

1281  The fleet of Qubilai Khan was destroyed by a typhoon while approaching Japan.

1323   Treaty of Nöteborg between Sweden and Novgorod (Russia) regulated the border for the first time.

1332   Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Dupplin Moor – Scots under Domhnall II, Earl of Mar were routed by Edward Balliol.

1480   Battle of Otranto – Ottoman troops behead 800 Christians for refusing to convert to Islam.

1499  First engagement of the Battle of Zonchio between Venetian and Ottoman fleets.

1676 Praying Indian John Alderman shot and killed Metacomet the Wampanoag war chief, ending King Philip’s War.

1687   Charles of Lorraine defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Mohács.

1806  Santiago de Liniers re-took the city of Buenos Aires after the first British invasion.

1816 – New Zealand’s first school opened beside missionary Thomas Kendall’s house in the  Church Missionary Society (Anglican) settlement at Hohi (Oihi) in the Bay of Islands.

New Zealand’s first school opens

1851  Isaac Singer was granted a patent for his sewing machine.

1859 Katharine Lee Bates, American poet, was born (d. 1929).

1877   Asaph Hall discovered Deimos.

1881  Cecil B. DeMille, American film director, was born (d. 1959).

1883   The last quagga died at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam.

1886  Sir Keith Murdoch, Australian journalist and newspaper owner, was born (d. 1952).

1889 Zerna Sharp, American writer and educator (Dick and Jane), was born (d. 1981).

1895 Minnie Dean became the first (and only) woman to be hanged by law in New Zealand.

Minnie Dean

1898  Armistice ended the Spanish-American War.

1898  The Hawaiian flag was lowered from Iolani Palace in an elaborate annexation ceremony and replaced with the American flag to signify the transfer of sovereignty from the Republic of Hawai`i to the United States.

1911 Cantinflas, Mexican actor, was born (d. 1993).

1914 World War I– Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary.

1914 – World War I: The Battle of Halen a.k.a. Battle of the Silver Helmets a clash between large Belgian and German cavalry formations at Halen, Belgium.

1918   Guy Gibson, British aviator, awarded Victoria Cross, was born (d. 1944).

1925  Norris McWhirter, Scottish co-founder of the Guinness Book of Records, was born (d. 2004).

1925   Ross McWhirter, Scottish co-founder of the Guinness Book of Records, was born  (d. 1975).

1932 Queen Sirikit, Queen of Thailand, was born.

1943  Alleged date of the first Philadelphia Experiment test on United States Navy ship USS Eldridge.

1944  Waffen SS troops massacred 560 people in Sant’Anna di Stazzema.

1944  Alençon was liberated by General Leclerc, the first city in France to be liberated from the Nazis by French forces.

1948 – Sue Monk Kidd, American nurse, author, and educator, was born.

1949  – Mark Knopfler, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (Dire Straits), was born.

1952  The Night of the Murdered Poets – thirteen most prominent Jewish intellectuals were murdered in Moscow.

1953  The Soviet atomic bomb project continued with the detonation of Joe 4, the first Soviet thermonuclear weapon.

1953   The islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia in Greece were severely damaged by an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the richter scale.

1954 – François Hollande, French lawyer and politician, 24th President of France, was born.

1960  Echo I, the first communications satellite, launched.

1961  Roy Hay, British guitarist and keyboardist (Culture Club), was born.

1961 Mark Priest, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1964  South Africa was banned from the Olympic Games due to the country’s racist policies.

1964 – Charlie Wilson, one of the Great Train Robbers escaped from Winson Green Prison.

1969 Violence erupted after the Apprentice Boys of Derry march resulting in a three-day communal riot – the Battle of the Bogside.

1973 Richard Reid, British Islamist terrorist (the “Shoe Bomber”), was born.

1975 John Walker broke the world mile record, becoming became history’s first sub-3:50 miler.

1976  Between 1,000-3,500 Palestinians killed in the Tel al-Zaatar massacre, one of the bloodiest events of the Lebanese Civil War.

1977  The first free flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

1977 Start of Sri Lankan riots of 1977, targeting the minority Sri Lankan Tamil people – over 300 Tamils were killed.

1978   Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China was signed.

1980   Signature of the Montevideo Treaty establishing the Latin American Integration Association.

1981  The IBM Personal Computer was released.

1982   Mexico announced it was unable to pay its enormous external debt, marking the beginning of a debt crisis that spread to all of Latin America and the Third World.

1985   Japan Airlines Flight 123 crashed into Osutaka ridge in Japan, killing 520, to become the worst single-plane air disaster.

1992  Canada, Mexico, and the United States announced completion of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

2000  The Oscar class submarine K-141 Kursk of the Russian Navy exploded and sank in the Barents Sea during a military exercise.

2005  Sri Lanka’s foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, was fatally shot by an LTTE sniper at his home.

2007  Bulk carrier M/V New Flame collided with oil tanker Torm Gertrudat the southernmost tip of Gibraltar, ending up partially submerged.

2015  – At least two massive explosions killed 145 people and injured nearly 800 in Tianjin, China.

2017 – Violence erupted at the Unite the Right rally between the Alt-right and counter-demonstrators, resulting in the death of one civilian, two police officers and numerous additional injuries.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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