Floccinaucinihilipilification – the action or habit of estimating something as trivial, worthless or unimportant; to establish or state that something has no value.
(Thank you Andrei).
Floccinaucinihilipilification – the action or habit of estimating something as trivial, worthless or unimportant; to establish or state that something has no value.
(Thank you Andrei).
Andrei posed the questions and has already told us that Teletext got them right.
However, I await question 5 with interest.
Apropos the theme, my first car was a mini – mustard coloured which is a clue to how long ago it was.
Andrei, J Bloggs and Teletext get my thanks for posing the questions and educating me in the process.
If they’ve stumped us all they win a virtual jelly sponge which can be collected by leaving the answers below.
Don Brash posts on Facebook:
What intrigues me about media reaction to the book so far is that almost all of it has focused on either (a) my personal life (which occupies a very small part of the book) or (b) my relationship with John Key, and what he and I may or may not have agreed in a motel room in Blenheim late in 2004. Oh yes, and Kim Hill spent quite a bit of time in her interview with me talking about the Exclusive Brethren.
I have seen no comment at all on my views on drug policy; or the importance of treating all New Zealanders as equal before the law; or the importance that we should attach to all immigrants signing up to key aspects of the New Zealand way of life (equality of men and women, access for girls to education, freedom to worship God or not to worship God, etc.); or my worries about religious fundamentalism; or my views on our relationship with China; or my concern that a very high rate of immigration in recent decades may be contributing to both our slow rate of growth in per capita income and our over-valued real exchange rate; or my overall assessment of the Key Government; or indeed my concern for the future of democracy.
It’s a slightly depressing reflection on what the media think interests the general public.
Only slightly depressing?
We do get some good analysis in the media but too often, as Brash observes, what might be considered of interest gets attention and what’s really important is ignored.
Good Lord – this is inane.
We are on the brink of the Third World War, perhaps the only hope of staving it off is a conference in Geneva due to take place
tomorrow and as we speak any hope of that conference taking place is being sabotaged by evil men
This is Holy Week and very unholy it is, blood is being spilled to advance the cause of darkness and chaos.
Apologies for the threadjack.
If you pray, pray for peace.
How many of us know what he’s talking about?
How many of us understand the issues?
How much coverage and analysis are we getting on them?
Andrei left a comment on a post a couple of days ago which warrants further discussion.
A young man gets a young woman pregnant. In days of yore he would have most likely married her and taken financial responsibility directly for her and their child. If marriage wasn’t possible for whatever reason the child would have most likely been adopted – a sad situation.
But today the most likely outcome is for the young woman to go onto the DPB and if the young man is at the start of his working life and on low wages it is a financial no brainer for her to do this, she’ll get more money and retain “her independence” – well sort of, not really but it will appear that way.
But the young man – well he is in deep do dos. See he is wacked by the IRD for the upkeep of his child and the mother of said child cannot maintain a romantic style relationship with him without breaking the law and risking her benefit and therefore must distance herself and child from him.
And in a great many cases that young man is now better off not working because the reward for his labours is so low, and the money taken from him while in principle is for his child, his child who he might never see, is no better off no matter how hard he works or doesn’t.
And young men caught this way find themselves in a poverty trap with no way out except perhaps absconding to a place where the IRD can’t find them.
I know three young men in this position and there is no way forward for them – and no chance of ever starting a regular family.
If I understand the system correctly, if a couple goes through WINZ, the amount the liable parent pays is based on how much s/he earns but the custodial parent gets a set amount based on the number of children, not what her/his former partner pays.
If the earner gets a pay rise, s/he pays more but the payment to his/her family doesn’t change.
That’s the bind the young men Andrei writes of are in.
But there are ways out.
When friends’ marriage broke up they were advised to settle payments for their children between themselves.
That way the mother, who in this case was the major breadwinner, paid less, and the father received more than if they had gone through WINZ.
This will only work if the working parent has a better than average income and the care giving parent can trust him or her to pay the agreed amount when it is due.
If the earning parent is on low wages or can’t be trusted, it would be safer for the caregiver to go through official channels.
The young men in Andrei’s comment obviously aren’t earning much.
However, there is a way out for them too.
If the children’s mother starts working, as they are being encouraged and assisted to do, the benefit abates and so, presumably, does the amount the liable parent has to pay towards it.
The focus for assistance has been on the caregiver, but non-custodial parents, in this case the fathers, matter too.
Andrei’s young men are at least as much in need of encouragement and help to find work as the mothers.
If they are on what were called unemployment benefits, they should be getting assistance to find a job and possibly up skill so they can get a better one which will pay more and ensure they can start getting ahead.
Not only they, but their children, will be better off for having parents in work, and not just in financial terms.
The answer to the difficult situation Andrei describes isn’t a handout.
It’s a hand up so both parents can help themselves and their children and neither will have to worry about any agency concerning itself about their romantic arrangements.
He’s referring to Labour MP David Clark’s suggestion that the government bans Facebook.
Perhaps Andrei is right and Labour is trying to throw the election.
Thursday’s questions were provided by Andrei and Rob:
(1) Who wrote “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”.
And what book is this quote taken from?
(2) The ubiquitous “Wedding March” by Mendelssohn was part of his Op 61 written as incidental music – what was this written for?
(3) It is novia in Spanish, sposa in Italian, mariée in French and Невеста (nevesta) in Russian.
What is it in English?
(4) Who wrote the musical “Kiss Me, Kate” and what earlier work does it reference and mirror?
(5) The author of the quotation in the first question also wrote
“What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility.”
Agree/disagree – do you have your own recipe for marital bliss?
1. What is a ‘brass monkey’ and why are its appendages used as a temperature gauge?
2. What is an ‘oodle’ and where and how did the plural of this word become a term for a lot of things?
3. What is a ‘great wadge’ of something and is this a measurable amount?
4. For the agriculturally minded (and completely unseasonably): hay turner, hay tedder or hay rake?
5. June 22 1982: what did Robert Muldoon do?
(nb: I only know the answer to one of these questions)
They both win an electronic sticky date pudding for stumping us all.
They can be collected by leaving the answers below.
Andrei supplied the questions for Thursday’s quiz:
(1) Who said “What good is the warmth of summer, without the
cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
(2) Which city is known as the coldest city on Earth? And you can
count on it, no matter how cold it gets this winter at your place it will
be positively balmy compared to this town where the temperature in
winter has been known to drop below -60 °C
(3) It is froid in French, freddo in Italian,
frio in Spanish and холодно (holodno) in Russian –
what is it in English?
(4) Who was the leader of the Great Siberian Ice March?
(5) How will you keep your house warm this winter?
He wins an electronic chocolate sponge for stumping us all.
It can be claimed by leaving the answers below.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 300,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 5 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!
The top referring sites were:
The post which got the most comments (51) was water quality concern for all.
The people who made the most comments were:
Robert Guyton # 1 and # 5 is the same person, I think he gets two spots because some comments are linked to his blog and others aren’t.
Thank you all for visiting, those who link and hat tip from their blogs and those who join the conversation.
I appreciate your comments, whether or not I agree with them. A conversation among several is far more interesting than a one-woman diatribe.
I especially appreciate that almost everyone debates the topic and critiques arguments rather than resorting to personal criticism.
I think I had to delete only one comment last year and only rarely had to take a deep breath.
And thanks to WordPress for the blogging platform and excellent service on the very rare occasions I’ve needed help.
Thursday’s questions were up to you, so are the answers.
Update: Congratulations Andrei, you’ve earned the electronic bunch of freesias for stumping us all.
A shortage of people with agricultural skills is good for graduates seeking work.
But it’s not good for the country when the shortage of agriculture skills is reaching crisis point:
Incoming Waikato University agribusiness professor Jacqueline Rowarth is calling on the Government to help solve the problem, saying Prime Minister John Key and other political leaders should use public speaking opportunities to promote agriculture and science as a smart career choice.
“The minute John Key starts saying agriculture is our most important industry, we will see a shift back to students training in these vital subjects. All political leaders should be saying it. It should be apolitical,” she says.
A shortage of young people training in agriculture at university level is reaching crisis levels, with not enough graduates available to fill jobs, Rowarth says. With more farmers reaching retirement age, the situation will only get worse if New Zealand does not focus on this important area, given that agriculture is the backbone of our economy.
It’s not only politicians, teachers should be encouraging pupils into the subjects which prepare them for careers in agriculture.
Rowarth says the trend away from agricultural studies started with Prime Minister Helen Clark’s high-profile promotion of the creative and performing arts as a career choice in the 1990s.
“We had scholarships, the Peter Jackson effect and the knowledge wave, so we had a whole lot of young people going into the creative and performing arts.
“The problem is that only 100 tertiary students graduated in agriculture last year, compared with more than 2000 creative and performing arts students.”
How many of those 2000 creative and performing arts students got jobs in the field they were trained for and how many got any job at all?
Not having enough agriculture graduates to fill available jobs has seen the Government add agricultural science to the skilled migrant list, while graduates from other degrees struggle to find employment related to their studies.
Competition for our relatively few graduates won’t just come from employers here, Australia is also facing a skills shortage.
The Australians are going bananas, saying their agriculture skills shortage needs to be treated seriously. They need 4000 people for jobs in agriculture but are producing only 300 graduates, so guess where they’re going to get them from?
“The New Zealand Government needs to drop the fees for agriculture study and introduce scholarships, like Helen Clark did for the performing arts,” Rowarth says.
“If you have 50 to 100 of our best and brightest getting government agriculture scholarships, we will get the cohort effect – if the head boy gets the starry scholarship, his mates will follow him.”
I’m not sure about dropping fees but would support a bonding system similar to that National introduced for health professionals and vets under which a proportion of student loans is written off each year a new graduate works here.
Rowarth said agriculture must be promoted as a career choice to young children.
“The importance of the science of food production should be right throughout the school curriculum, not called `agriculture’ but using agricultural examples so it becomes second nature thinking for our young people.
“In studying history, we could consider the green revolution; in science we could consider grains and the action of chlorophyll; in economics we could discuss the economics of the potato famine.
“We have bred a whole generation of people who want to save the world, but right now it’s easier to teach pollution than production. We could rename the study of agriculture `natural resource management’ or `sustainable food production’.
“We should also be teaching our young people to consider where the jobs are. One of the greatest problems facing the world in the future is feeding the world. If you want to save the world and make a difference to your country, you should be studying agriculture.” That’s the way our politicians should be talking, Rowarth says.
It’s not just agriculture which doesn’t get the promotion it should as a career choice. Most science-based careers and trades are also facing a lack of new entrants while school pupils are diverted to other more popular but less useful subjects.
Andrei makes this point in what are we educating our children to be?
Hat tip: Quote Unquote
One of the services WordPress supplies for its bloggers is an annual report at year’s end.
London Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people. This blog was viewed about 330,000times in 2011. If it were competing at London Olympic Stadium, it would take about 4 sold-out events for that many people to see it.
In 2011, there were 2,419 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 8,791 posts. There were 93 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was October 20th with 1,947 views . . .
The top referring sites were:
asianinvasian.blogspot.com (Cactus Kate).
Thank you WordPress and all readers and commenters.
UPDATE: Open Parachute has December’s sitemeter rankings and Whaleoil is now #1 with 260294 unique visitors last month.
A genetic scientist has won the inaugural Women in Science Entrepreneurship Award, receiving $50,000 of venture development advice and access to an international advisory board with experience in science commercialisation.
Dr Dianne Gleeson, a director of DNA diagnostic facility EcoGene, says the award will encourage more women at top levels of the industry, where they are underrepresented.
“There is growing commercial demand for scientific services and women can make a valuable contribution to the development of the industry in New Zealand and overseas,” she said . . .
Managing irrigation compliance – Sally Rae:
For the North Otago Irrigation Company, environmental management is a “fundamental part” of its business.
“We need to embrace our environmental requirements and push towards full compliance. There’s no other option,” the company’s environmental co-ordinator, Jodi Leckie, said . . .
Quick call sees woman go country for long haul – Sally Rae:
When Nicole Amery returns to the bright lights of Auckland, she feels like a “possum in the headlights”.
The city no longer has any appeal for the young woman, who was brought up in a non-rural family on Waiheke Island.
A split-second decision to head south to Telford to undertake an equine course, rather than study design, turned out to be life-changing . . .
Better lamb crop this year – Gerald Piddock:
Signs are looking good for a bumper lamb crop in Central Canterbury as the first of the new season’s arrivals hit the ground on coastal farms and lifestyle blocks.
South Canterbury scanner Brian Bell has been scanning ewes every day for the past month. He is just over halfway through his assignments and, with about another six weeks to go.
Results were 5-10 per cent up on last year and farmers were reasonably happy, he said . . .
Cropping farmers expect strong global commodity prices and increasing demand for dairy support to underpin a significant increase in returns over the coming year.
Many arable farmers had a profitable season last year, but there is increasing interest in converting some of their land to dairy which is still performing more strongly. . .
Meat supplies ready for World Cup – Hugh Stringleman:
Concerns that hungry Rugby World Cup visitors and rabid All Blacks fans will run short of good New Zealand red meat have eased, according to local market operators.
An extraordinary autumn and winter of grass growth have brought forward finished cattle, lambs and deer, while the high NZ dollar has helped the local market compete with export returns.
Because of the pick-up in the flow of prime cattle, the local market price has “come off the peak” and now sits at $4.25/kg, said Fred Hellaby, principal of the largest Auckland meat processor, Wilson Hellabys.
It is unusual for that indicator to go down heading into the seasonal period of shortest prime beef supply, not including the added Rugby World Cup demand . . .
Merinos go multi-purpose – Hugh Stringleman:
Substantial increases in prices are being offered to farmers by New Zealand Merino in two and three-year contracts for fine wool, soon to be followed by Merino meat contracts at attractive prices. The higher contract terms flowed on from the extraordinary increases in market prices for wool and lamb during the past 12 months, said NZ Merino chief executive John Brakenridge.
For him, after 15 years of unrelenting effort to create premium markets for Merino products, the latest surge repositions the sheep as a multi-purpose animal.
It was also a wonderful springboard for the $36 million Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) with the government, which was the first of its kind, signed in May 2010 . . .
Climate debate pits farmers against science – Jon Morgan:
Despite the best efforts of the Government and its officials, the opposition among farmers to the emissions trading scheme refuses to fade away.
Many would like to see the debate ended with the acceptance that the legislation – and the belief behind it that climate change is man-made – is indisputable.
But in the farming media the debate rages on. There, it is one- sided, with only the rare brave person willing to stand against an overwhelming opposition.
And, on the surface, the farmers have a point. Their animals’ burps and farts are to be taxed. Put like that, it is laughable . . .
Caring pasture based dairy farmers encourage biodiversity – Pasture to Profit:
Biodiversity on pasture based dairy farms is seriously important. If dairyfarmers are seen by the public to be caring for the environment & making a special effort to protect the biodiversity, this too is a major PR with our consumers. There are very strong arguments for farmers to protect biodiversity as well as enjoying it for its own sake. The farms are both our homes & our work places.
Ben & Jerry the ice cream makers have established the “Caring Dairy” Program with Sustainable Indicators. Most pasture based dairyfarmers would embrace this program & agree fully with the targets . . .
Many orchardists and winegrowers are feeling the pressure of lack of profitability or threat of disease.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has released the kiwifruit, pipfruit and winegrowing analyses as part of its annual Farm Monitoring Report series. The reports provide models and an overview of the financial performance of typical orchards and vineyards, based on information gathered from a sample of growers and industry stakeholders. . .
Tough times for pip fruit growers – Jon Morgan:
The pipfruit industry is in serious financial strife, according to a senior industry figure.
John McCliskie, a Nelson grower and exporter and former chairman of the Apple and Pear Board and past chairman of the World Apple and Pear Association, told the Pipfruit NZ conference that bankers and international customers were starting to question the industry’s viability.
He told the growers, who were meeting in Havelock North yesterday, that they must change the industry’s strategy and alter the way they marketed their fruit . . .
Let’s give farming another kick – RivettingKate taylor:
So now’s it’s dangerous for me to bring my kids up on a farm? FOR GOODNESS SAKE (picture half a dozen strong words combined with a slow shake of the head and a grim mouth to match).
This story was on the radio this morning and it has now caught my attention on stuff.co.nz. According to the story, children raised on livestock farms have a greater risk of developing blood cancers later in life . . .
Reacting to the same story: Breaking news: farmers’ children don’t live forever – Andrei:
The true nature of nature – Bruce Wills:
Some 80 years ago, pioneers started experimenting with artificial insemination to improve our livestock. A big challenge they faced was how to get this time sensitive ‘product’ out to farms before couriers were commonplace. Someone suggested carrier pigeons, but there were some obvious flaws. Not every pigeon makes it to the right place on time and to our native hawk or Kahu, a pigeon is ‘meals on wings’.
While times have moved on, the end result of this breeding refinement is now appearing on the nation’s farms. It’s the first sign of spring and some 150 days after the rams were let out in April, I’m now counting down the final four weeks. Since calving comes around 283 days after last December’s mating, September is shaping up to be a busy month at my Hawke’s Bay farm, Trelinnoe. . .
LIC set to pay record dividend – Owen Hembry:
NZAX-listed animal and farm improvement company LIC will pay a record dividend in a result chairman Stuart Bay says reflects the vibrancy of the farming industry.
Revenue at the dairy farmer co-operative for the year to May was up 21.4 per cent on the previous year at $165.6 million, with record underlying net earnings of $17.1 million, up 87.9 per cent.
The result would give farmer shareholders a record net dividend of $13.6 million, the company said . .
Ballance shareholders receive bumper rebate – Owen Hembry:
Fertiliser company Ballance Agri-Nutrients will pay a record rebate to it shareholders.
Operating profit for the year ended May 31 was $85.9 million, compared to $20.7 million the previous year. A record total average payment to shareholders of $50.29 a tonne included a rebate of $46 a tonne on fertiliser purchased and an imputed dividend of 10 cents a share, resulting in a total distribution of $49 million, the company said. . .
Federated farmers Waikato provincial president James Houghton takes issue with that in playing fast and loose with co-operation:
The news that fertiliser cooperative Ballance Agri-Nutrients is planning to pay a record rebate back to its shareholder farmers such as myself, was met with a few expletives around my area last week.
In the corporate world an $85.9 million operating profit, especially when up from $20.7 million the previous year would be great news.
In a co-operative though, it looks plain greedy. . .
Andrei at NZ Conservative is finding that yesterday’s problem accessing WordPress blogs is still going on.
The cause of the problem is DDoS attacks (which is beyond my limited understanding of technology to explain).
I can’t get my own or any other WordPress blogs on my phone but haven’t found any problems accessing any of them on my home computer of my farmer’s and my laptops.
I can also read updated RSS feeds of posts from WordPress blogs on Google Reader.
Not everyone is having access problems. There haven’t been many comments this weekend but the number of visitors is slightly ahead of the number last Saturday and Sunday.
Chinese Communism – Offsetting Behaviour on attitdues to trade.
“I’m going to kill him,” she shouts – Private Secret Diary spells out signwriting flaws.
Metropolitan police still ‘discriminating against clowns’ – from News Biscuit- a recent find and very, very funny.
Analysis of a knee jerk with example – Andrei at NZ Conservative on the biology of politics.
Moose at sunrise – Robert Guyton finds art on the beach.
Lauraine Jacobs on restaurant reviews – Quote Unquote worries that chaos and confusion will follow.
Orchardists have been cautious about celebrating the news that the World Trade Organisation ruled in New Zealand’s favour in the dispute over access to Australia for our apples.
The caution is because Australia could appeal the ruling.
However Trans Tasman reports that a government to government initiative might ensure the ruling is upheld.
The Trans Tasman Political Letter says NZ is looking for a way to
settle the apple export row at Government level, after NZ’s WTO
victory. It notes NZ may have won its case in the WTO court
against Australia’s barriers on the sale of NZ apples in the
Australian market, but no-one on this side of the Tasman believes
the battle has been finally won.
As Trans-Tasman reported earlier this week, The WTO panel has
comprehensively rejected the Aust argument, and its use of
quarantine regulation as a de facto trade barrier. Clearly the
issue should now be settled at the political level, and both
Govts may have thought it a good idea to keep the WTO report
under wraps until after the Federal election.
Trans Tasman says each Govt received the interim report at the
end of last month, and Canberra could be wary of unleashing the
fury of Aust. Apple growers in the run-up to the election.
However with a Labor Govt in power, the influence of the apple
growers mainly in seats held by Liberal or National MPs may be
less dominant. Theoretically,the Rudd Govt should be swayed more
by the interests of consumers. The NZ Govt has been looking at
how to negotiate a settlement, based on the WTO’s panel interim
TransTasman says Trade Minister Tim Groser is expected to explore
what shape a fair and final resolution could take when he talks
with his counterpart Simon Crean on the sidelines of the Cairns
Group meeting in Punta del Este early next week.
However Trans Tasman adds NZ knows from past experience, even
when the science has been overwhelmingly conclusive, the Aust
bureaucracy has always found a way to frustrate an outcome in
NZ’s favour. With the full weight of the WTO swinging behind NZ,
Aust will risk making itself a laughing stock preaching free
trade out of one corner of its mouth while it practises
protectionism out of the other.
The observation that the Rudd government may be swayed by the interests of consumers reinforces that the ban on New Zealand apples doesn’t just handicap our apple producers, it adds to the costs and limits choice for Australian consumers.
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean had earlier welcomed the WTO decision.
“This is a great day for Central Otago growers who have pinned their hopes on gaining access to markets across the Tasman.
“It has been a complicated and sometimes frustrating journey to get to this point, but now that we’re here I know that apple growers will be relieved and delighted.
“I see this decision as a vindication for Central Otago growers who have argued long and hard that the Australian ban should be lifted.
“It will be a major shot in the arm for Central apple growers, giving the industry new hope, and new markets for the future.
“Access to Australia could be worth millions to apple growers in this country and has the potential to turn the industry around.”
The Australian market could take up to 5 percent of the national crop and be worth $20 million a year.
Deep down my real concern is that it won’t take them long to claim our apples as there own. As New Zealanders we are constantly being ripped off by our neighbours as year after year they take our best and claim it for themselves. From racehorses to food to bands to celebrities they have raped and pillaged the best of our little country and the next thing on their list will be our apples. . .
My other concern is that soon we will have nothing left in New Zealand at all. . . They say that Auckland is the capital city of Samoa. Within a few years Sydney will be the capital city of New Zealand and Wellington the capital of nothing more than a strong breeze. I hadn’t been too worried about this trend, clinging to the words of former PM Muldoon that “when a New Zealander leaves for Australia they improve the IQ of both nations”. However, I never envisaged that they would move from importing people to importing our most valuable asset, apples. I wonder if Muldoon’s quote still holds true with apples??
He may say – and believe – it’s better to know you’re loved every day than just once a year – but Valentines Day is also my birthday and my farmer gave me a beautiful bunch of flowers.
Over at In A Strange Land, Deborah writes about doing it right.
Busted Blonde’s Rock rocks.
Cactus Kate had computer problems but got flowers from a mystery man.
Andrei makes up for the lack of a duet in my list of top 10 (11) love songs with My Kind of Woman My Kind of Man.
And Quote Unquote has a bitter-sweet Valentine’s Day.