Flag of the day

May 27, 2015

The Flag Consideration Panel is inviting people to upload designs for a new flag.

There’s more than 1500 in the gallery already.

This is FernZealand by Gerad Taylor:

flag

 


Sunday soapbox

May 24, 2015

Sunday’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.
SimpleReminders.com's photo.

The words of the tonuge should have three gate keepers: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?


Saturday soapbox

May 23, 2015

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.
Polished Marketing's photo.

The most dangerous phrase in the language is “we’ve always done it this way.”


Rural round-up

May 19, 2015

Spare a thought –  Gravedodger:

While Greater Wellington is being rinsed a pocket of Eastern North Canterbury remains in the grip of a crippling drought. Now accepting I have railed against over egging a summer dry as drought and asked for such adverse weather events to be viewed against much more serious world events, what is happening in an area centred on Cheviot is now very serious.

The affected area is quite local from around  the Waipara river to the Conway and extending from the coast variably extending inland approximately 50 kms this land has been able to miss out on autumn rains. A friend who visited Cheviot to play golf from a more favoured area of the region was gobsmacked a week ago. Any land not subject to irrigation is a depressing grey colour with nothing growing even weeds are in trouble. . .

Farmers despondent in Canterbury drought – Jemma Brackebush:

A stock transporter in north Canterbury says he has trucked nearly 20,000 sheep out of the area to date because of the drought, and claims he has never seen anything like it before.

North Canterbury, particularly Cheviot, is suffering from an ongoing drought, and farmers are having to choose between culling capital stock or sending them to graze in other regions, at quite an expense.

Cheviot Transport owner Barry Hanna, who has been driving trucks for 45 years, said he had not seen a drought as bad as this in a long time. . . .

Keep kids off quad bikes experts urge:

A new study into quad bike use among children has added weight to calls for a law change.

The review, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal today, shows over a seven-year period nearly 30 youngsters were taken to Starship Hospital with injuries from bikes. Two of them died.

Dr Rebecca Pearce, who co-authored the study, wants under-16s banned from using them.

“A lot of children’s groups are advocating against children riding quad bikes, but there’s actually no legislation,” she told RadioLIVE. . .

Some relief for pressured Otago farmers –  Jemma Brackebush:

Farmers in north Otago are welcoming the rain that is slowly bringing life to grass and winter feed crops, though they say there is a way to go before they are out of a green drought.

Parts of Otago are recovering from the effects of the drought that also gripped the Canterbury and Marlborough regions earlier this year.

Farmers in north Canterbury, particularly Cheviot, are still without relief, however, resulting in tens of thousands of sheep and cattle being culled or sent to other regions because of the extremely dry conditions. . .

Opportunities for farmers in lower livestock values:

The release of the National Average Market Values (NAMV) for livestock this week presents an opportunity for dairy farmers to reassess the valuation method they are using for their livestock.

This according to Crowe Horwath’s Tony Marshall who says the valuation highlights the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different industry sectors.

“The release of the 2015 values has seen a substantial fall in the market value of dairy cattle, a slight dip in the value of sheep and a significant increase in the value of beef cattle. These changes mirror closely the changes in the associated commodity prices,” Marshall says. . .

Commerce Commission to hold conference on wool scouring authorisation:

The Commission will hold a one day conference on Wednesday 10 June 2015 to discuss matters relating to Cavalier Wool Holding Limited’s application for authorisation to acquire New Zealand Wool Services International’s wool scouring business.

The conference will be held at The Majestic Centre, 100 Willis Street in Wellington.

The notification and agenda of the Conference as well as all other relevant information relating to the application for authorisation can be found on the Commission’s website at http://www.comcom.govt.nz/business-competition/mergers-and-acquisitions/authorisations/merger-authorisation-register/cavalier-and-new-zealand-wool/ . .

Cuts both ways – ASB lowers milk price forecast and predicts OCR to drop:

ASB cuts its 2015/16 milk price forecast
At the same time, ASB predicts OCR cuts later this year
NZ dollar predicted to hit US 67 cents by year-end
Dairy prices are low and likely to stay that way a while longer, according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report.

“After a drought-driven false dawn earlier this year, prices are at their lowest in five years,” says ASB’s Rural Economist Nathan Penny. “This is driven by a potent mix of domestic production getting a second wind and demand remaining weak. However, we still expect production to slow down to the point where demand can catch up, just later than previously expected.”

“As a result, we have cut our forecast for the 2015/16 season to $5.70/kg as well as adopting Fonterra’s lowered 2014/15 milk price forecast of $4.50/kg.” . . .

Lewis Road Creamery supports new organic dairy co-operative:

Lewis Road Creamery is supporting a new initiative to grow the organic dairy sector in New Zealand and sure up organic milk supply for its growing customer base.

The popular dairy brand is a founding customer of the newly launched Organic Dairy Hub Co-operative of New Zealand. The Hub links organic dairy farms with dairy producers providing certainty of sale for farmers and certainty of supply for purchasers like Lewis Road Creamery.

Peter Cullinane, Lewis Road Creamery founder and one of two independent directors of the Organic Dairy Hub welcomes the initiative. . .


Rural round-up

May 18, 2015

Desire signalled to rebuild farmer trust – John Gibbs:

The Otago Regional Council is keen to repair the damaged trust between some of the region’s farmers and the council after concerns about rising charges and communication issues were highlighted this week.

That message came through clearly yesterday as an ORC hearing panel began discussing the ORC’s proposed long-term plan, and in submissions made on the plan at public hearings earlier this week.

The panel yesterday completed nearly a week of hearings involving submissions on the ORC’s proposed 2015-25 long-term plan, including Dunedin hearings on Wednesday and Thursday. . .

Benefits from Chinese investment extend beyond the farm gate to NZ Inc.:

The benefits of Chinese investment extend beyond the farm gate and into the New Zealand economy according to the CEO of Pengxin International, Gary Romano.

Romano made these comments when Shanghai Pengxin subsidiary, Milk New Zealand Holdings, was named the supreme winner at the 2015 HSBC NZCTA New Zealand China Business Awards. The company also took out the DLA Piper category ward for Inward or Outward Investment with China.

The awards follow success earlier this year when Milk New Zealand Holdings won the Emerging Business Award and then the overall Supreme Business Award at the BNZ New Zealand Chinese Business Awards. . .

Texel coming of age – Sally Rae:

Geoff Howie was one of the original breeders who invested in Texel sheep when they were released from quarantine in 1990.

The South Otago farmer always liked to look at something new that had a promising future and he had also been ”right into meat and something outside the square”.

”Texels took my eye right from the start,” he said. The Texel originated on the island of Texel to the north of Holland in the North Sea. The sheep imported into New Zealand were sourced from Denmark and Finland. . .

Greenfeeds contest highly successful – David Bruce:

More than $30,000 will go to two beneficiaries from North Otago’s first farming greenfeeds competition, aimed at finding the best winter crop.

The competition was organised by the Waianakarua and Waiareka Valley Lions Clubs.

The overall winners, Matt and Julie Ross, of Kokoamo Farms in the Waitaki Valley, were announced on Friday at a dinner, auction and award presentations attended by more than 250 people. . .

Exclusive contract ‘crucial’ for Otago fine wool grower–  Rob Tipa:

An exclusive contract to supply a leading Japanese fine wool suit manufacturer with ultra-fine merino wool has proven to be a crucial business move for Maniototo fine wool grower Tony Clarke, of Closeburn Station.

Konaka Co is one of the top three suit manufacturers in Japan, it is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and has more than 450 retail stores.

Closeburn Station hosted a visit by 21 of the company’s top executives and sales people last week during a five-day tour of New Zealand to acquaint them with the exclusive source of fine wool used to make top-of-the-line fashion suits they sell. . .

500,000 shades of grey beef trade – Andrew Marshal:

CHINA’S much talked about and unofficial beef ‘grey trade’, accounting for between 500,000 tonnes and 750,000t of the nation’s annual imports, is unlikely to fade away any time soon says ANZ’s global agribusiness research head Michael Whitehead.

Despite Chinese government efforts to clamp down on back door red meat and seafood imports which avoid tariffs and government biosecurity scrutiny, he doubted the social upheaval caused by any serious restrictions would be worth the gains they achieved.

Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong and Bangladesh were expected to continue supplying China’s grey trade with beef – largely from Brazil, India and the US – despite Chinese authorities still campaigning against the trade. . .


May 17 in history

May 17, 2015

152 Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was executed for treason.

1536  George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford and four other men were executed for treason.

1590  Anne of Denmark was crowned Queen of Scotland.

1642 Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve  founded the Ville Marie de Montréal.

1673  Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette began exploring the Mississippi River.

1749 Edward Jenner, English medical researcher was born (d. 1823).

1775  American Revolutionary War: the Continental Congress banned trade with Canada.

1792 The New York Stock Exchange was formed.

1805 Muhammad Ali became Wāli of Egypt.

1809 Napoleon I of France ordered the annexation of the Papal States to the French Empire.

1814  Occupation of Monaco changed from French to Austrian.

1814 The Constitution of Norway was signed and the Danish Crown Prince Christian Frederik was elected King of Norway by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly.

1849 A fire threatened to burn St. Louis, Missouri to the ground.

1860 German football club TSV 1860 München was founded.

1863 Rosalía de Castro published Cantares Gallegos, her first book in the Galician language.

1865 – The International Telegraph Union (later International Telecommunication Union) was established.

1868 Horace Elgin Dodge, American car manufacturer, was born (d. 1920).

1873 El Paso, Texas was established by charter from the Texas Legislature.

1875  Aristides won the first Kentucky Derby.

1877 The Victorian Football League was founded.

189– The first Omonoia station of the Athens metro was inaugurated in Greece.

1900  Second Boer War: British troops relieved Mafeking.

1902 Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovered the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer.

1911 Maureen O’Sullivan, Irish actress, was born (d. 1998).

1914  The Protocol of Corfu was signed recognising full autonomy to Northern Epirus under nominal Albanian sovereignty.

1915 The last British Liberal Party government (Herbert Henry Asquith) fell.

1919 War Department (UK) ordered the use of National Star Insignia on all airplanes.

1922 – James Liston, the assistant Catholic bishop of Auckland, was found not guilty of sedition.

1927 U.S. Army aviation pioneer, Major Harold Geiger, died in the crash of his Airco DH.4 de Havilland plane.

1933  Vidkun Quisling and Johan Bernhard Hjort formed Nasjonal Samling — the national-socialist party of Norway.

1935  Dennis Potter, English writer, was born (d. 1994).

1936 Dennis Hopper, American actor and director, was born  (d. 2010).

1939 The Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers played in the first-ever televised sporting event, a collegiate baseball game.

1939 Gary Paulsen, American author, was born.

1940 World War II: Germany occupied Brussels.

1940 World War II: the old city centre of the Dutch town of Middelburg was bombed by the German Luftwaffe, to force the surrender of the Dutch armies in Zeeland.

1943 The United States Army contracted with the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School to develop the ENIAC.

1943 – World War II: the Dambuster Raids by No. 617 Squadron RAF on German dams.

1949  Bill Bruford, English musician (Yes), was born.

1954 The United States Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education which declared that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students and denying black children equal educational opportunities unconstitutional.

1956 Sugar Ray Leonard, American boxer, was born.

1961 Enya, Irish singer and songwriter, was born.

1962 George Wilder escaped from New Plymouth prison.

George Wilder escapes from prison

1963  Bruno Sammartino defeated Nature Boy Buddy Rogers in 48 seconds in Madison Square Garden for the WWWF Heavyweight Championship. It begins the longest heavyweight championship reign in professional wrestling history.

1967 Six-Day War: President Abdul Nasser of Egypt demanded dismantling of the peace-keeping UN Emergency Force in Egypt.

1969 Venera program: Soviet Venera 6 began its descent into the atmosphere of Venus, sending back atmospheric data before being crushed by pressure.

1970 – Thor Heyerdahl set sail from Morocco on the papyrus boat Ra II to sail the Atlantic Ocean.

1971 Princess Máxima of the Netherlands was born.

1973 – Watergate scandal: Hearings begin in the United States Senate and are televised.

1974 Andrea Corr, Irish singer (The Corrs), was born.

1974 Police in Los Angeles raided the Symbionese Liberation Army‘s headquarters, killing six members, including Camilla Hall.

1974  Thirty-three people were killed by terrorist bombings in Dublin and Monaghan.

1980 General Chun Doo-hwan of South Korea declared martial law in order to suppress student demonstrations.

1980 – On the eve of presidential elections, Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path attacked a polling location in the town of Chuschi, Ayacucho, starting the Internal conflict in Peru.

1983 U.S. Department of Energy declassified documents showing world’s largest mercury pollution event in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (ultimately found to be 4.2 million pounds), in response to Appalachian Observer’s Freedom of Information Act request.

1983 Lebanon, Israel, and the United States signed an agreement on Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

1984 Prince Charles called a proposed addition to the National Gallery, London, a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend,” sparking controversies on the proper role of the Royal Family and the course of modern architecture.

1987  An Iraqi fighter jet fired two missiles into the U.S. warship USS Stark (FFG-31), killing 37 and injuring 21 of her crew.

1992 Three days of popular protests against the government of Prime Minister of Thailand Suchinda Kraprayoon began in Bangkok, leading to a military crackdown that resulted in 52 officially confirmed deaths, many disappearances, hundreds of injuries, and more than 3,500 arrests.

1994  Malawi held its first multiparty elections.

1995  After 18 years as the mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac took office as President of France.

1997 – Troops of Laurent Kabila march into Kinshasa. Zaire is officially renamed Democratic Republic Of Congo.

2004 Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.

2006 The aircraft carrier USS Oriskany was sunk in the Gulf of Mexico to be an artificial reef.

2007 Trains from North and South Korea crossed the 38th Parallel in a test-run agreed by both governments. This was the first time that trains crossed the Demilitarized Zone since 1953.

2009 Dalia Grybauskaitė was elected the first female President of Lithuania.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Academic success not only measure of smart

May 4, 2015

The New Zealand Herald asks what, if anything, can be done about a new social problem:

 A shortage of men that well-educated women want to marry? . . .

Among people in the 30-34 age bracket with a university degree or similar qualification, there are 155 women for every 100 men. That would be less of a problem if the women were more willing to “marry down”. The overall ratio is 91 men to 100 women in the population aged 25-49.

But women are perhaps less inclined than men to marry someone not as well educated, which may add to the shortage of partners for intelligent women. . .

Women of that age are the first generation to have been brought up by mothers who almost certainly had at least part-time paid work.

They are more likely than their mothers and certainly grandmothers to have been encouraged into tertiary education and to have fulfilling careers that wouldn’t stop when they married and which they could continue, at least part-time, when they had children.

That doesn’t necessarily make them smarter than their mothers or fathers, nor does it necessarily make them smarter than their contemporaries, male or female, who don’t go to university.

Whether or not, as some argue, education has become more feminised which makes it easier for girls and women to succeed than boys and men, academic qualifications aren’t the only measure of smart.

Education is good but more formal education isn’t necessarily better for everyone.

Earning power isn’t the only measure of smart either. But someone who straight to university could take years to, and might never, make up for the lost wealth that others who go straight into work can accrue while their contemporaries are studying.

The solution is not, as one dating agency suggests, for women to lower their expectations. They should, of course, keep an open mind when they meet someone but it would be idle to pretend that these things are of no account. The solution, as the researchers suggest, is to raise the numbers of men in higher education.

The gender imbalance among 30-somethings with degrees is exactly the same problem that began to be noticed in secondary schools 15-20 years ago. A number of teachers noticed boys were being overshadowed by girls in class work and results. The problem was denied by educational research at that time, perhaps because the observers put it down to new modes of teaching and group-learning that suited girls more than teenage boys.

Nothing has been done about it and it should be no surprise that women now comprise 60 per cent of tertiary graduates. Women have taken their rightful place in many professions, if not yet reaching the top in fair numbers. They are no longer denied the opportunity to reach their educational potential and society is better for their participation.

The failure of men to foot it with them educationally in equal numbers is no reason to change the education system or promote men undeservedly. The shortage of partners for highly educated women is a problem only men can solve. Get your credentials, boys.

Moving quickly past the question of whether the education system has changed to favour females and whether women have been promoted undeservedly. . .

Being academic equals might do it for some couples, but it takes a lot more to making a strong and enduring marriage than that.

In real life few marry and live happily ever after. A strong and enduring marriage requires a whole lot more from both partners than can be measured by an academic qualification.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,620 other followers

%d bloggers like this: