Word of the day

September 7, 2019

Saccade – a rapid movement of the eye between fixation points; a quick, simultaneous movement of both eyes between two or more phases of fixation in the same direction; a small rapid jerky movement of the eye especially as it jumps from fixation on one point to another.


Thatcher thinks

September 7, 2019


Rural round-up

September 7, 2019

Farmer’s open letter to Jacinda Ardern: Part 2 –  Andrew Stewart:

 Last month Rangitikei farmer Andrew Stewart wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about his concerns over climate change and farming. In his follow up letter, he calculates his farm’s emissions profile and finds some worrying statistics.

Nearly a month ago I wrote an emotive open letter to Jacinda Ardern and the farming leaders of New Zealand.

My motivation was to try and articulate what I was feeling as a sheep and beef farmer in regards to climate change obligations.

Now I want to share the facts about my own farm and my emissions profile that inspired me to write the open letter. . . 

Time to recognise real progress made by dairy farmers – Tim Mackle:

I can remember a time not so long ago when more than 70 per cent of the country loved our dairy farmers, but it feels like things have changed in recent times. Farmers are doing their best to stay “relentlessly positive” in the face of relentless criticism, but it’s not easy.

Some commentators are quick to stand back and fire shots at farmers from a distance, but what does that actually achieve? It’s easy to criticise our dairy sector in the New York Times.

It’s much harder to voluntarily put in fencing at your own cost that almost runs the equivalent of New Zealand to New York and back – but that’s exactly what our dairy farmers have done.

New Zealand dairy farmers have fenced off 24,744km of waterways. That means that 97.5 per cent of the significant waterways on New Zealand dairy farms are now excluded from dairy cattle. We have also constructed bridges and culverts for more than 99.7 per cent of 44,386 regular stock crossing points on dairy farms. . . 

Water plan cautiously welcomed, but deadline tight, say dairy, beef, lamb sectors :

The Government’s water proposals will not work as a one-size-fits-all plan when it comes to dairy and sheep and beef farmers, says Sam McIvor. The Beef+Lamb chief executive spoke to The Country’s Jamie Mackay, along with DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle about the Action Plan for Healthy Waterways which was announced yesterday.

While both Mackle and McIvor said they welcomed the idea behind the freshwater plan, they still have concerns for their industries.

Government figures showed the average annual cost on the proposals would be $9350 for a lowland dairy farm, but a hill country sheep and beef farmer could be looking at $14,850. . . 

Social licence to operate just as important as methane reduction – Allan Barber:

Amid all the debate about agriculture’s responsibility to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets, and the appropriate levels for those targets, it may seem counterintuitive to claim an equally pressing problem is to earn a licence to operate. Just as great a threat to agriculture’s future is not whether it faces a potentially unachievable government imposed target, but a business environment in which consumers make their decisions based on their perception of the acceptability of the food they eat.

All primary production sectors – red meat, dairy, horticulture, fisheries, forestry and the rest – must recognise they are in competition for the attention of consumers who increasingly have the luxury and the right to decide between products they consume on the basis of multiple dimensions, way beyond the traditional choice based on taste, price and availability. While we are continually told the world’s population will provide ready markets for more than New Zealand can produce, we are also being made increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability and working with instead of exploiting the environment. . .

Oamaru’s Berry family are breaking the mound with special blue cheese – Lucy Corry:

Simon Berry eats blue cheese on toast for breakfast. Not every day, of course, but he has to do his bit to support the family business. “I love all our cheeses, but the blue’s the best,” he says. “It depends on the season, because there’s so much scope. I mean, I do love the halloumi. But yeah, I’m definitely a blue cheese guy.”

It’s not as if he doesn’t have a wide variety to choose from. Whitestone Cheese, the company started by his father Bob and mother Sue back in 1987, now produces 25 different cheeses from its Oamaru factory. One of those cheeses — the Vintage Windsor Blue that Simon is so fond of having on his toast of a morning — is now exported to France. It also won a gold medal in the 2019 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards, along with Whitestone’s Ferry Road Halloumi (the highest scoring cheese in the awards) and its Vintage Five Forks.

Wool footwear:

Thanks to our more active lifestyles and casual approach to dressing, runners are undoubtedly one of the most popular items in today’s global market. The success of wool in footwear lies not only in the fibre’s natural properties, but also in its ability to be constructed in a way that aids performance.

Using the latest fully-fashioned knitting technology, wool footwear can be knitted to its final shape, reducing the amount of wastage associated with regular cut-and-sew techniques.

Wool fibres can absorb large quantities of moisture vapour and then allow it to evaporate, helping keep you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cool. . .


Bad science scapegoats meat

September 7, 2019

Bad science is to blame for scapegoating meat:

Meat has been getting a bad rap in some parts of society, being blamed for everything from increased cancer to greenhouse gas emissions by environmental and commercial influencers. This has led to Professor Frédéric Leroy, Professor of Food Science and biotechnology at Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, to concluded that meat has effectively become a scapegoat for commercial and environmental advocates, much of which was based on bad science. Speaking at a lecture at the University of Auckland, Professor Leroy discussed how this scapegoating came about and whether it is justified. . . 

The anti-farming rhetoric is not based on the good practices followed in New Zealand where cattle, deer and sheep are raised on extensive farms, ranging free.

The anti-meat rhetoric overlooks the important part moderate amounts of beef, lamb and venison play in a healthy diet.


Saturday soapbox

September 7, 2019

Saturday’s  soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Image result for Pericles of Athens quotes

We do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all. – Pericles


September 7 in history

September 7, 2019

1191 Third Crusade: Battle of Arsuf – Richard I of England defeated Saladin at Arsuf.

1524 Thomas Erastus, Swiss theologian, was born (d. 1583).

1533 Queen Elizabeth I, was born (d. 1603).

1652 Around 15,000 Han farmers and militia rebelled against Dutch rule on Taiwan.

1776  World’s first submarine attack: the American submersible craftTurtleattempted to attach a time bomb to the hull of British AdmirlRichard Howe’s flagship HMS Eagle in New York Harbour.

1812 Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Borodino – Napoleon defeated the Russian army of Alexander I near the village of Borodino.

1818 Carl III of Sweden-Norway is crowned king of Norway.

1819 Thomas A. Hendricks, 21st Vice President of the United States, was born (d. 1885).

1821 The Republic of Gran Colombia was established, with Simón Bolívaras the founding President and Francisco de Paula Santander as vice president.

1822 Dom Pedro I declared Brazil independent from Portugal.

1860 Grandma Moses, American painter, ws born (d. 1961).

1860 Steamship Lady Elgin sank on Lake Michigan, with the loss of around 400 lives.

1862 Sir Edgar Speyer, American-born British financier and philanthropist, was born (d. 1932).

1867  J. P. Morgan, Jr., American banker and philanthropist, was born (d. 1943).

1868 Prussian soldier of fortune Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky was killed during the assault on Titokowaru’s pa in south Taranaki.

Von Tempsky killed at Te Ngutu-o-te-manu

1876 – C. J. Dennis, Australian poet and author, was born (d. 1938).

1887 Edith Sitwell, British poet and critic, was born (d. 1964).

1893  The Genoa Cricket & Athletic Club, to become the first Italian football club, was established by British expats.

1895  The first game of what would become known as rugby league was played, in England, starting the 1895-96 Northern Rugby Football Union season.

1901 The Boxer Rebellion in China officially ended with the signing of the Boxer Protocol.

1903 – Margaret Landon, American missionary and author, was born (d. 1993)

1903 – Dorothy Marie Donnelly, American poet and author, was born (d. 1994)

1906 Alberto Santos-Dumont flew his 14-bis aircraft at Bagatelle, France for the first time successfully.

1907 Cunard Line’s RMS Lusitania set sail on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England to New York City.

1909 – New Zealand’s heaviest gold nugget was found by Messrs Scott and Sharpe at Ross on the West Coast.

1909  Eugene Lefebvre (1878–1909), while test piloting a new French-built Wright biplane, crashed at Juvisy France. He died, becoming the first ‘pilot’ in the world to lose his life in a powered heavier-than-air craft.

1911 French poet Guillaume Apollinaire was arrested and put in jail on suspicion of stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre museum.

1913 Anthony Quayle, British actor and director, was born (d. 1989).

1916 Federal employees won the right to workers’ compensation by(Federal Employers Liability Act (39 Stat. 742; 5 U.S.C. 751).

1917 – Ewen Solon, New Zealand-English actor, was born (d. 1985).

Actor Ewen Solon.jpg

1920 Two newly purchased Savoia flying boats crashed in the Swiss Alps en-route to Finland where killing both crews.

1921 – The NZ Maori  team played the Springboks for the first time.

1921 The first Miss America Pageant, a two-day event, was held.

1922 Independence of Aydin, from Greek occupation.

1925 Laura Ashley, British designer, was born (d. 1985).

1927 Eric Hill, British children’s author, was born (d. 2014).

1927  The first fully electronic television system was achieved by Philo Taylor Farnsworth.

1929  Steamer Kuru capsized and sank on Lake Näsijärvi, Finland with 136 lives lost.

1932  – Malcolm Bradbury, English author and academic, was born (d. 2000).

1932 – John Paul Getty, Jr., American-English philanthropist and book collector, was born (d. 2003)

1936 The last surviving member of the thylacine species, Benjamin, died alone in her cage at the Hobart Zoo.

1936 Buddy Holly, American singer (The Crickets), was born (d. 1959).

1940   The Blitz – Nazi Germany began to rain bombs on London, the first of 57 consecutive nights of bombing.

1940 Treaty of Craiova: Romania lost Southern Dobrudja to Bulgaria.

1942  8,700 Jews of Kolomyia (western Ukraine) sent by German Gestapo to death camp in Belzec.

1942  First flight of the Consolidated B-32 Dominator.

1943  A fire at the Gulf Hotel in Houston, Texas, killed 55 people.

1945  Japanese forces on Wake Island, which they had held since December of 1941, surrendered to U.S. Marines.

1949 Gloria Gaynor, American singer, was born.

1951 Chrissie Hynde, American guitarist and singer (The Pretenders), was born.

1953 – Marc Hunter, New Zealand singer-songwriter, was born (d. 1998).

1953 Nikita Khrushchev was elected first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1957 Jermaine Stewart, American pop singer (Shalamar and Culture Club), was born (d. 1997).

1970 – Bill Shoemaker set record for most lifetime wins as a jockey (passing Johnny Longden).

1977 The Torrijos-Carter Treaties between Panama and the United States on the status of the Panama Canal were signed.

1978  While walking across Waterloo Bridge in London Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was assassinated by Bulgarian secret police agent Francesco Giullino by means of a ricin pellet fired from in a specially-designed umbrella.

1978 British Prime Minister James Callaghan announced that he would not call a general election for October, considered to be a major political blunder.

1979 The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, ESPN, made its debut.

1979 – The Chrysler Corporation asked the United States government for USD $1.5 billion to avoid bankruptcy.

1986  Desmond Tutu became the first black man to lead the Anglican Church in South Africa.

1986  Gen. Augusto Pinochet, president of Chile, escaped attempted assassination.

1988 Abdul Ahad Mohmand, the first Afghan in space, returned aboard the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz TM-5 after 9 days on the Mir space station.

1999 A 5.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Athens, rupturing a previously unknown fault, killing 143, injuring more than 500, and leaving 50,000 people homeless.

2004 Hurricane Ivan, a Category 5 hurricane hit Grenada, killing 39 and damaging 90% of its buildings.

2005 First presidential election was held in Egypt.

2008  The US Government took control of the two largest mortgage financing companies in the US, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

2010 – A Chinese fishing trawler collided with two Japanese Coast Guard patrol boats in disputed waters near the islands. The collisions occurred around 10am, after the Japanese Coast Guard ordered the trawler to leave the area. After the collisions, Japanese sailors boarded the Chinese vessel and arrested the captain, Zhan Qixiong.

2011 – A plane crash in Russia killed 43 people, including nearly the entire roster of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Kontinental Hockey League team.

2012 – Canada officially cut diplomatic ties with Iran by closing its embassy in Tehran and ordered the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Ottawa, over support for Syria, nuclear plans and alleged rights abuses.

2013 – The Liberal Party of Australia led by Tony Abbott won the Australian federal election, 2013.

2017 – The 8.2 Mw 2017 Chiapas earthquake struck southern Mexico killing at least 60 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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