Hello from New Zealand! After getting some great a...        
Hello from New Zealand! After getting some great advice in my newbie camera suggestion ask me thread, I decided to go with the Nikon D70s and 12-24, 18-70 and 70-200 lenses. Here are some pictures from my trip.
                  



Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana Meditation As Taught By S। N। Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
This is the motivated page created for those who wish to learn and practice Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka and his assistant teachers in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art of Living. For those who are not familiar with Vipassana Meditation, an Introduction to Vipassana by Mr. Goenka and Questions & Answers about Vipassana are available.

The technique of Vipassana Meditation is taught at ten-day residential courses during which participants learn the basics of the method, and practice sufficiently to experience its beneficial results।

There are no charges for the courses - not even to cover the cost of food and accommodation. All expenses are met by donations from people who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the opportunity to also benefit.
Courses are given in numerous Meditation Centers and at non-center course locations at rented sites. Each location has its own schedule of courses. In most cases, an application for admission to each of these courses can be made by clicking on a selected one of the listed course dates that appear in the schedule. There are numerous Centers in India and elsewhere in Asia; ten Centers in North America; three Centers in Latin America; seven Centers in Europe; seven Centers in Australia/New Zealand; one Center in the Middle East and one Center in Africa. Non-center courses frequently hold ten courses at many locations outside of Centers as they are arranged by local students of Vipassana in those areas. An alphabetical list of worldwide course locations is available as well as a graphical interface of course locations worldwide and in India and Nepal.
Vipassana Meditation courses are also being taught in prisons.
A special 10-day Vipassana course especially for business executives and goverment officials is being held periodically at several centers around the world

For additional information visit the Website :http://www.dhamma.org/


          Imperator Fish on Labour and TPP        
Imperator Fish blogs: People have been telling me that they don’t really understand Labour’s position on the Trans Pacific Partnership. … Our opposition to the TPP is principled and based on what we think is best for New Zealand. We don’t want New Zealand to sign up to the TPP, but nor would we pull New […]
          Imperator Fish on TPPA        
Scott at Imperator Fish blogs on the TPPA: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has a lot of people talking, particularly over the fear many people have that New Zealand will agree to an investor-state dispute provision that would allow foreign companies to take legal action in some circumstances, if our government passed legislation those companies didn’t like. Environmental […]
          puncak dunia Gunung Everest        
Gunung Everest merupakan satu gunung tertinggi di Dunia yang terletak di banjaran Himalaya dengan ketinggian 8,850 meter dari aras laut. Di kemuncak gunung adalah membahagikan kepada dua negara iaitu antara Nepal dan Tibet, China

Gunung yang menjanjikan satu cabaran yang boleh dianggap diluar kemampuan manusia untuk mendaki sampai kepuncak, dengan suhu sejuk yang terlampau dan juga angin kencang yang bakal dihadapi oleh pendaki pada ketinggian lebih 6,000 meter ianya telah ramai mengecewakan para pendaki untuk sampai ke puncak.


Gunung ini mempunyai dua laluan ke puncak diantaranya adalah disebelah tenggara (Nepal) dan sebelah Barat laut (tibet), tetapi laluan yang sering digunakan adalah disebelah tenggara kerana laluan ini agak mudah secara teknikalnya. Ia juga merupakan laluan yang digunakan oleh Hillary dan Norgay pada tahun 1953.

Antara bahaya yang menanti para pendaki adalah serangan penyakit altitud,perubahan cuaca yang secara mendadak dan runtuhan ais. Biasanya untuk menangani bahaya yang bakal menanti. Para pendaki perlulah berada di kem pengkalan selama beberapa minggu bagi menyesuiakan diri dengan altitud, kemudiannya untuk pendakian kepuncak perjalanan akan bermula pada waktu subuh kerana waktu ini amat sesuai untuk mendaki ke kem seterusnya iaitu kem I pada ketinggian 6065 meter.

sepanjang laluan ke kem I, pendaki terdedah kepada bahaya ais runtuh serta salji runtuh kerana terdedah dengan cahaya matahari dan disini ramai dikalangan shelpa dan pendaki terbunuh dan merupakan kawasan paling bahaya yang dihadapi oleh pendaki sebelum sampai ke kem I.

Dari kem I, pendaki akan bergerak ke kem II dengan ketinggian 6,500 meter menerusi Western Cym yang agak datar serta lembah glasier bercerun landai dan setiap pendaki terpaksa menyeberangi lembah tersebut yang berhampiran dengan pengkalan Nuptse yang melalui laluan kecil yang dikenali sebagai "sudut Nuptse". Western cym juga dipanggil sebagai "lembah sunyi-Vallay of silance", kerana laluan ini terhalang daripada tiupan angin dan berada dikedudukan terdedah pada cahaya matahari menjadikan ianya amat panas kepada para pendaki.

Dari kem II, pendaki memanjat permukaan Lhotse menggunakan tali kekal pada ketinggian 7,470 meter dan untuk sampai ke Kem IV yang jaraknya 500 meter, dan dari kem III ke kem IV pendaki akan berhadapan dengan cabaran tambahan iaitu Taji Geneva dan Gelang Kuning (Yellow Band). Taji Geneva merupakan rabung batu hitam yang berbentuk Anvil yang dinamakan oleh pendaki Swiss 1952 dan pada masa pendakian tali kekal diperlukan untuk mendaki dikawasan batu yang diliputi dengan salji dan untuk melintasi gelang kuning iaitu batuan mendak tali sepanjang 100 meter digunakan untuk melintasinya.

Dengan jarak kepuncak yang masih berbaki 1,000 meter dari kem IV ia memelukan tempoh 10 hingga 12 jam dan pendakian bermula pada waktu tengah malam dan pendaki akan singgah di "The Balcony" pada ketinggian 8,400 meter dimana sebuah pelantar kecil yang digunakan untuk berehat seketika. Pendakian kepuncak seterusnya diteruskan melalui mendaki rabung dan pendaki akan berhadapan dengan tangga batu yang mengancam yang biasanya memaksa mereka ke timur kedalam salji yang sampai ke tahap pinggang serta ancaman runtuhan salji juga boleh berlaku dikawasan ini.

Pada ketinggian 8,750 meter dom salji dan air batu sebesar meja kecil telah menandakan pendaki berada dipuncak selatan dan pendakian diteruskan dengan mengikuti rabung timur, laluan ini dikenali sebagai mata pisau atau "Cornice Traverse". Disini adalah kawasan paling terdedah dalam pendakian kerana silap langkah boleh mengakibatkan seseorang pendaki akan jatuh terjunam diketinggian 2,400 meter di sebelah barat daya manakala disebelahnya 3,050 meter di permukaan kangshung.

Diakhir laluan pendakian, terdapat sebuah dinding batu setinggi 12 meter yang dikenali "Hillary Step pada ketinggian 8,760 meter dan untuk memanjat dinding ini peralatan yang diperlukan adalah tali kekal dan tali ini telahpun dipasang oleh shelpa, dan melepasi dinding ini adalah mudah untuk pendaki sampai kepuncak melalui tebing salji sederhana curam seterusnya sampai ke puncak. Dipuncak pendaki biasanya mengambil masa kurang dari 30 minit kerana pendaki perlu turut ke kem IV sebelum cuaca menjadi gelap yang mana menjadi masalah besar kepada setiap pendaki.

Kejadian manis dan pahit di puncak dunia

  • 1921 Ekspedisi British pertama meninjau laluan melalui glasier Rongbuk.
  • 1922 Tujuh pendaki Sherpa terbunuh dalam runtuhan salji dan menjadi kematian pertama dilaporkan di Everest.
  • 1922 Ekspedisi kedua British sampai ke 8321 meter.
  • 1924 Ekspedisi ketiga British sampai ke 8500 meter. Pada 6 Jun, George Mallory dan Andrew Irvine cuba mendaki untuk sampai ke puncak tetapi hilang selepas awan tebal menyelitupi mereka. Saksi mendakwa melihat mereka berhampiran puncak.
  • 1933 Lady Houston membiayai formasi kapal terbang untuk melintasi puncak dan meletakkan bendera Union Jack British.
  • 1934 Maurice Wilson (British) mati dalam cubaan mendaki berseorangan.
  • 1950 Nepal membuka sempadannya kepada orang asing.
  • 1952 Ekspedisi dari Swizland, termasuk Sherpa Tenzing Norgay menyerah akibat keletihan, 200 meter dari puncak.
  • 1953 Puncak dicapai buat pertama kali pada 11:30 am 29 May oleh Sir Edmund Hillary New Zealand dan Sherpa Tenzing Norgay dari Nepal mendaki dari arah Laluan Col Selatan (South Col Route).
  • 1960 Pada 25 May, pasukan China menjadi pasukan pertama sampai ke puncak melalui laluan Rabung Utara.
  • 1963 Penyeberangan pertama oleh ekspedisi Amerika Syarikat, bermula dari barat dan turun di barat daya.
  • 1965 Pada 20 May, Nawang Gombu Sherpa menjadi orang pertama sampai ke puncak dua kali.
  • 1975 Pada 16 May, Junko Tabei dari Jepun menjadi wanita pertama sampai dipuncak.
  • 1975 Pada 27 May, wanita Tibet, Phantog, menjadi wanita pertama sampai ke puncak melalui sebelah Tibet.
  • 1978 Reinhold Messner (Selatan Tyrol, Itali) dan Peter Habeler (Austria) sampai ke puncak tanpa tangki oksigen.
  • 1980 Ekspedisi pasukan kali pertama pada musim sejuk oleh pasukan dari Poland.
  • 1980 Reinhold Messner dari South Tyrol, Italy, lelaki pertama mendaki Everest seorang diri tanpa tangki oksigen.
  • 1982 Pada October 5, Laurie Skreslet menjadi rakyat Kanada pertama untuk sampai ke puncak.
  • 1988 Jean-Marc Boivin dari Perancis memulakan dengan paraglider dari puncak gunung.
  • 1993 90 pendaki pada musim luruh sahaja dan menjadi permulaan komersial mendaki pucak Everest.
  • 1993 Ramon Blanco dari Sepanyol menjadi orang tertua untuk sampai ke puncak pada usia 60 tahun, 160 hari. (dikalahkan oleh rekod tahun 2001).
  • 1996 Hans Kammerlander dari South Tyrol, Itali mendaki gunung dan mendaki turun tersebut dari sebelah utara dengan ski dalam tempoh 16 jam 45 minit.
  • 1996 Göran Kropp dari Sweden mejadi orang pertama untuk menaiki basikal pergi dan balik dari rumahnya ke gunung tersebut,pereseorangan tanpa bantuan tangki oksigen.
  • 1997 M.Magendran dan N.Mohandas dari Malaysia menjadi cikgu pertama yang mendaki Gunung Everest
  • 1998 Edward Grylls dari United Kingdom menjadi pendaki termuda untuk sampai ke puncak pada usia 23 tahun.
  • 1998 Tom Whittaker merupakan orang cacat pertama untuk sampai ke puncak.
  • 1999 Sherpa Babu Chiri Sherpa dari Nepal tinggal selama 21 jam di puncak gunung.
  • 2001 Pada Mei 24, Temba Tsheri menjadi pendaki termuda untk mendaki puncak gunung pada usia 15 tahun.
  • 2001 Pada Mei 25, Erik Weihenmayer berusia 32 tahun , dari Boulder, Colorado, menjadi orang buat pertama untuk sampai ke puncak.
  • 2001 Pada hari yang sama,Sherman Bull berusia 64 tahun, dari New Canaan, Connecticut, mejadi pendaki tertua untuk mendaki puncak tersebut.
  • 2003 Pemba Dorjie Sherpa dari Nepal dan berusia 24 tahun menjadi pendaki gunung terpantas dalam masa 12 jam dan 45 minit pada 23 mei.
  • 2003 Tiga hari kemudian,Sherpa Lakpa Gelu memecahkan rekod tersebut dalam tempoh 10 jam dan 56 minit. Setelah sedikit peselisihan dengan Dorjie pihak kementerian pelancongan telah mengiktiraf rekod tersebut pada bulan julai tahun yang sama. [2]
  • 2003 Yuichiro Miura menjadi orang tertua untuk sampai ke puncak pada usia 70 tahun dan 222 hari.
  • 2004 Pemba Dorjie Sherpa memecahkan rekodnya sendiri iaitu dalam masa 8 jam dan 10 minit pada 21 Mei. [3]
 
 
          Sejarah penubuhan 69 komando PDRM        

69sejarah.jpg

Disebalik pencerobohan yang berlaku di Sabah oleh pengikut Sultan Sulu dan marilah kita sama-sama sedekahkan Al-Fatihah kepada 8 anggota Polis yang terkorban demi mempertahankan Agama, Bangsa dan Negara. Antara anggota polis yang terkorban adalah daripada 69 Komando tetapi tahukah anda semua apakah 69 Komando.
 
Nama 69 Komando adalah satu nama yang paling digeruni oleh pihak musuh, ia ditubuhkan pada tahun 1969 sebagai unit tempur khas bagi membanteras sebarang tindakan insurgensi oleh Parti Komunis Malaya dan nama 69 komando itu sendiri diambil semperna tahun ia ditubuhkan.


Semasa ia ditubuhkan buat pertama kalinya pada bulan oktober 1969, unit ini telah dicadangkan penubuhannya oleh Adun Negeri Perak pada masa itu supaya menubuhkan sebuah pasukan elit bagi menentang ancaman komunis pada tahun 1969 terutamanya di kawasan perak dimasa itu teknik yang digunakan oleh pihak komunis  adalah serangan secara gerila.

Atas cadangan yang dikemukakan itu maka lahirnya 69 Komando yang pada masa itu hanya terdiri daripada 60 anggota sahaja daripada 1600 pegawai dan anggota polis Hutan "sekarang Pasukan Gerakan Am" telah terpilih dalam sesi pemilihan dan dihantar untuk menjalani latihan asas komando oleh sepasukan jurulatih dari United Kingdom Special Air Service Regiment di Fort Kemar, Perak.

Diakhir latihan 60 anggota terpilih, setiap anggota diharuskan menjalani pelbagai sesi latihan yang amat mencabar dan sekali lagi setiap daripada 60 anggota perlu ditapis dan hanya 30 anggota sahaja yang berjaya dan merupakan pasukan elit pertama 69 komando.

Pada tahun 1970 bermulalah operasi mereka yang pertama membabitkan kawasan hutan dan diarahkan untuk menghapuskan pihak musuh dengan kepakaran yang mereka miliki seperti penyusupan khas, komunikasi, perubatan perang dan penggunaan bahan letupan. Para pelatih diajar memasang jerangkap samar, mematikan bahan letupan dan pelbagai teknik pertempuran.

Keputusan yang diterima cukup membanggakan apabila ramai musuh dapat dibunuh, dicederakan, ditangkap dan sejumlah senjata berjaya dirampas oleh pasukan ini. Paling manis lagi biarpun usianya baru setahun jagung tapi hasilnya cukup membanggakan semua pihak.

Didorong oleh faktor kejayaan tersebut maka Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) pada masa itu telah bertindak menubuhkan 3 pasukan lain yang terdiri daripada anak watan sendiri serta mendapat latihan oleh New Zealand special Air Service dan Nama 69 Komando mula diketahui umum.

Pada tahun 1980 program ini telah berjaya melahirkan sebuah unit yang cekap dan mempunyai kelengkapan khas dan juga pelbagai keperluan logistiknya yang diuruskan sendiri oleh unit ini. Kini 69 Komando turut dikenali sebagai Pasukan Gerakan Khas (PGK) dikalangan anggota PDRM sendiri.

Terbaru Unit ini turut digerakkan bagi menangani pencerobohan yang berlaku di Sabah oleh pengikut Sultan Sulu, Pasukan 69 Komando nampaknya jelas mempunyai kepakarannya tersendiri biarpun ada yang terkorban tetapi dapat dilihat semangat yang dimiliki oleh setiap anggota 69 Komando amat jelas dapat dilihat semangat juang mereka amatlah tinggi.

Tahniah diucapkan kepada 69 Komando dan anggota-anggota lain terutamanya Atm yang turut sama mengerakkan anggotanya bagi membantu PDRM menangani musuh negara.

Sumber rujukan 
Wikipedia.  

          New Zealand Pep Pills        

New Zealand Pep Pills

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If your feet wanna hit the best party all countries night long period of illegal ones do the nightmare in. It with alcohol. Party high. Experience, to know more horrible after party pill is available in the dancing and poi are created to tweak you alcohol.


          England defeated by New Zealand in final of World Rugby Under-20 Championship         
England reached their fifth World Rugby U20 Championship final in a row, but their New Zealand opponents proved to be too hot to handle.
          Vass bullish as England prepare for title defence        
Head Coach Ian Vass insists the big occasion brings out the best in his England Under-20s side as they get ready for the World Rugby U20 Championship final against New Zealand on Sunday.
          England book Under-20s final showdown with New Zealand        
England captain Zach Mercer admits his side were forced to dig deep after edging past South Africa to set up a World Rugby Under-20s Championship final clash with New Zealand in Georgia.
          Stadium Pant         
Stadium Pant

Stadium Pant

Another Canterbury favourite that proudly bears the CCC logo and Canterbury of New Zealand name on the leg, these stadium track pants come in black or navy. 100% polyester with a polyester/cotton mix lining, they have full-length side zips, an elasticated waistband with drawcord, side pockets and elasticated hem.


          Stadium Pant         
Stadium Pant

Stadium Pant

Another Canterbury favourite that proudly bears the CCC logo and Canterbury of New Zealand name on the leg, these stadium track pants come in black or navy. 100% polyester with a polyester/cotton mix lining, they have full-length side zips, an elasticated waistband with drawcord, side pockets and elasticated hem.


          December 2014 Printed Matter!        


The latest installment of printed matter was mailed out early this month and, thanks to the US postal service (and those in the UK, Iceland, New Zealand and Canada), should be in the hands of the PLL members.


The matter includes the latest PLL anniversary poster (yes, five years!) and a lovely poster of Smithsonite. 


Also included: a letterpress print, Some Quasi-Versions of Pastoral, an homage to Robert Smithson, after Ian Hamilton Finlay's print Some Versions of Pastoral (an homage to William Empson and his book, Some Version of Pastoral).


All members receive packets of printed matter twice a year. If you would like to join the Library and receive this matter too, please contact the Librarian at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com.
          Recovery of heritage software stored on magnetic tape for Commodore microcomputers        

Digital games make up a significant but little known chapter in the history of the moving image in Australia and New Zealand.  Beginning in the early 1980s, the Australasian software industry developed a remarkable record of content creation. The ``Play It Again'' project is conducting research into the largely unknown histories of 1980s game development in Australia and New Zealand, ensuring that local titles make it into national collections and are documented and preserved, enabling the public to once again play these games.

Microcomputers from the 1980s made extensive use of compact audio cassettes to distribute software as an inexpensive alternative to the floppy disk technology available at the time. Media from this era are at risk of degradation and are rapidly approaching the end of their lifespan. As hardware platforms and peripheral devices become obsolete, access to the data for future scholars and other interested parties becomes more difficult. In this article, we present a case study, wherein we investigate the issues involved in making digital copies with a view to the long term preservation of these software artefacts.

A video game title stored on standard compact cassette for Commodore's popular VIC-20 machine, ``Dinky Kong'' by Mark Sibley was recorded using both inexpensive amateur and professional playback equipment. The audio files obtained were processed using freely available software, alongside a customised decoder written in MATLAB and Perl. The resulting image files were found to be playable using an emulator. More importantly, the integrity of the data itself was verified, by making use of error detection features inbuilt to the Commodore tape format, which is described in detail.

Issues influencing the quality of the recovered image files such as the bit rate of the digital recording are discussed. The phenomenon of audio dropout on magnetic tape is shown be of some concern, however there exist signal processing techniques to compensate for such errors.

The end result of the imaging process was a file compatible with a popular Commodore VIC-20 emulator, the integrity of which was verified by using inbuilt checksums.


          DIY Wedding : Making your own Wedding Cake Toppers: Crocheting & Sewing        

Having lived away from Australia, we really wanted to incorporate our love for our country into the wedding. So we added a number of Australian elements. Lammingtons are a cake which originated in Australia.... though it may have come from New Zealand.... no one truly knows, so for the moment I am just going to state that they are apart of my childhood and they are certainly a homely cake. I wanted to make these lamingtons for the wedding, but we were short of time so we had the lamingtons made from a local bakery, Bread Craft. They tasted wonderful and they were a great price.


For the cake toppers I used my Creepy Cute Crochet book as inspiration and used the basic head and body pattern.  


http://www.quirkbooks.com/book/creepy-cute-crochet

Crocheting
I crocheted the four balls and attached the hair for each. It was fun styling the hair. It made me feel like a hair dresser:)



Crocheting and Sewing
I made the glasses out of polyclay and sewed them on the grooms head, along with the eyes and smiling mouths. I used the fabric from my dress and Michael's suit to create the miniature outfits.


The Cake Stand
I wanted to be creative with the stand and most importantly it had to be cost efficient. Mum and dad had recently done some work in the garden and they had some left over wood in the garden. So I collected these pieces and arranged them on this table and finished it off with some doilies.







The Tumbled Lamingtons
I actually did not know how we were going to present the lamintons on the stand. My mothers artist friend, Jane, got to work on the wedding night and it just turned out perfectly! Mum added more Australian quirks to it by adding the eucalyptus to the presentation. I LOVE this cake! It was so bloody aussie!


There we have it! Our Australian Wedding Cake with cute handmade cake toppers!


          10 Things To Do In Tofino, British Columbia        
water sports tofino things to doTofino is a cute little surf town located on Vancouver Island. It’s a popular destination for backpackers, surfers, hippies, and nature lovers. It reminds me a bit of Byron Bay, Australia if it had a baby with Raglan, New Zealand. With long stretching beaches, consistent surf breaks, countless hiking trails, there are tons of things […]
          Apple Recalls Two-Prong Adapter Over Shock Concerns        

Nevermind VR or high-tech PC gear, it seems like power adapters and their cables are the hardest things for companies to do right. This is the case with Apple who has started voluntarily recalling their two prong AC power adapters from Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Argentina and Brazil. According to Apple, the defective Mac […]

The post Apple Recalls Two-Prong Adapter Over Shock Concerns appeared first on eTeknix.


          Beyond holiday - putting a little "community care" in the luggage        
Just as I was putting finishing touches on my personal end-of-2007 vacation itinerary and finalizing SAP TechEd '07 Bangalore plans, I met with James Farrar, who is VP of Corporate Citizenship at SAP and author of the sustainability and CSR blog: Wisdom of Clouds. This coincided with a growing interest of the SAP community members in such matters and plans for the launch of a new area under the Business Process Expert Community called Corporate Social Responsibility.

I was very excited about the inauguration of the website: SAPfeedingknowledge and our SAP Community initiative to help provide "Food for Points".
But here I was ending the 2007 year with personal plans for a full month's break/vacation itinerary and the longest hiatus ever from my engagements with the SAP SDN and BPX community....or was it to be so? Was I to be a voyeur or an emissary in my travels, or a bit of both.
On Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd, 2007, my 16-year old son, Dahn and I set out for Bangalore with further plans for Cochin, Madurai, Vietnam and Cambodia. Upon arriving in Bangalore, we had arranged to link up with my dear friend of (gasp) 35 years, Naomi Tocher. Naomi is a Kiwi who, ever since we met volunteering together on a kibbutz in Israel those many years ago, has dedicated her life to working in social services and of late heads support services for interpreters and translators in New Zealand. Naomi, Dahn and I had been formulating our travel plans together. Naomi had almost apologetically suggested we detour a bit from the usual tourist stuff and get to interface with locals. She had many personal contacts from within the Cambodian and Vietnamese refugee resources she worked with, and so was able to broker some "home stays". She also raised the possibility of our visiting a Children's home outside of Madurai and perhaps a rehabilitation hospital in Cambodia and made the tentative arrangements.

We agreed, never guessing how the worlds of exotic adventure travel and a more humanitarian and human set of experiences would coincide.

What follows are some journal notes from one of the most intriguing, disturbing, inspiring and moving trips I have ever had the privilege of taking. And truly, thanks to all those that contributed to this enriching journey: family, friends, work colleagues and the SAP Community, which in this hyper-connected world of ours is also a combination of all those entities.Especial thanks to the generous, brave, kind and helpful people of all those places we visited. I hope to tell some of your stories.


December 1st, 2007

We call the Illam "Children's Home" (orphanage) in Nilakottai near Madurai and ask if we can visit and what we can bring. School supplies? Books? They modestly say fruit. So armed with the only shopping bag at our disposal we head off for the market to buy 70 kilos, one for each child we visit.

We are greeted by Mr Khader, the head master of the school. We are welcomed and introduced in the most delightful way. You can see more photos of our day with the students here.
Everything resonated goodness. The foundation DHAN associated with the school has a microfinance program at work helping empower women in the community. The school absolutely indoctrinates the children with the goals of professional achievement. And these children, many of whose families, if they have any, are so destitute that they cannot afford to have them schooled, are also imbued with a pay-it-forward education. Each child successfully completing this program has vowed to help another child achieve those goals as well.
And if I understand it correctly, this whole project started through an individual's vision and dream. Her name is Jean Watson, and she is a 74-year-old Wellingtonian (New Zealander) who spends some of her time with her community in India. I've just finished speaking with her by phone in Wellington and thanking her for the gift she unwittingly gave us as well. As I write this, my friend Naomi shares her correspondance with Jean.
Naomi writes to Jean:
"We received a beautiful welcome from the children, Gero, some teachers and Mr.Kadher. After a traditional welcome, the children danced for us, showed us around their home and talked with us. We sang them a song and began to teach it to them. We had a scrumptious lunch - the cook is a real find. We also visited the lush garden at the back of the Ilam and learnt of your future plans for it.
I promised to bring back love to you from everyone at the Illam and let you know about the visit. They talk about you all the time and are looking forward to you being back with them.Jean, you are a real inspiration. I am so impressed by your foresight and your commitment to follow through on your vision. And what a satisfying result it must be to have a houseful of such lively, happy and talented children. I am particularly impressed by the encouragement given to each child to be successful in their life, and even more by the "obligation" that they will help another child."


Genromani volunteers as a teacher and Mr. Khader encourages the students who engage with us, to share with us some of their dreams and aspirations: computer engineers, teachers, health-care givers abound in the breathless and excited gaggle of grins and curiosity about us. These kids have lofty goals. And they make us believe they will attain them. We came to bring gifts. The truth is we received them. Amazing what ordinary people can do....feeding knowledge.
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          [news] Grudge Match: China vs. Europe + "It's Malaysia Time ..."        
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Dateline: China
 
This week marks the debut of my bi-weekly (or so) column for the AlwaysOn Network, Silicon Valley's premier online social networking venue (and unofficially linked to Silicon Valley's premier in person social networking venue, the Churchill Club; I'm a member of both).  I will be sharing "Letter from China" columnist duties with Paul Waide, the head of Pacific Epoch, a Shanghai-based boutique consultancy that advises hedge funds on alternative investments in China.  My first column is on Shanghai and a couple/few forthcoming columns will examine cultural differences between Chinese Nationals, Chinese-Americans and Anglo-Americans, especially within the context of IT and IT marketing.  I will post my AlwaysOn "Letter from China" columns to this blog/e-newsletter, although please be advised that my intended audience are readers based in Silicon Valley.
 
Grudge Match: China vs. Europe
 
Staying on topic, I'd like to make a comment about a recent "Grudge Match" on the AlwaysOn Network.  See the item marked "Grudge Match" for 08.05.04 (5 August 2004) at http://www.alwayson-network.com/polling/index.php .
 
In the referenced "Grudge Match," China was pitted against Europe.  China received 45% of the votes in contrast to Europe's 55%.  Frankly, I'm surprised that China did so well.  I've found that the AO "Grudge Match" results tend to indicate sentiment more so than reality.  For example, a recent match pitted SpaceShipOne against NASA and SSO absolutely clobbered NASA (besides, perhaps most of the votes for NASA came from either Ames or the Blue Cube).  Of course, SSO is a high school science experiment compared to what NASA is doing, but I believe the results accurately reflect sentiment. 
 
But what is amazing (to me, at least) is that China was pitted against Europe in the first place!  Let's face it, this is a rather goofy "grudge match."  For Europe to include First World nations such as Germany, France, the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark (yes, some countries are intentionally left out) -- and to compare the collective whole of First World Europe (a.k.a. "Western Europe") to China is absurd.  If this was First World Europe vs. China circa 2020, okay.  But TODAY?  Yet, the sentiment indicator showed a strong vote in favor of China.  Europe "won," but barely.
 
I propose the following "grudge match":  China vs. "Eastern Europe" (i.e., the former Soviet Bloc).  Look, if China can do so well against Europe as a whole (including First World Europe), I'm sure China would absolutely kick Second World Europe's butt!!  And a China "grudge match" against Eastern Europe more accurately reflects current "history."
 
But even this is a bit misleading.  The real "grudge match" is this:  China + India vs. Second World Europe.  And given this choice, only someone stranded on Mars for the past decade might choose Second World Europe.  Yet, this is the real so-called "grudge match."  First World Europe is in descent, to be sure, but it's descending from a high altitude.  It will take at least a decade or two for China (and/or India) to truly match First World Europe.  But China ALREADY is superior to Second World Europe.  And don't rant about NATO and EU memberships; this is simply window dressing.  Then combine China with India versus Second World Europe, playing into my "Golden Triangle" theme, i.e., it's all about the U.S., India and China.  This is where the action is, ESPECIALLY in IT.
 
"It's Malaysia Time ..."
 
I must be getting punchy since I'm borrowing a theme from a beer commercial, but it seems that Malaysia is experiencing its 15 minutes of fame.  The Philippines has recently been "hot," and several articles of late have been touting Malaysia (see, for example, an article which appeared in Space Daily).  Frankly, I'm getting tired of all this nonsense.  Look, when it comes to ITO (IT outsourcing) in East Asia, there are just two choices, i.e., India and China.  And, it's not really a competition; both have their strengths and weaknesses.  A few crumbs to Singers (Singapore), maybe even a few crumbs to the Kiwis (New Zealand).  The Philippines deserves notice, albeit passing notice, and Malaysia might be okay for some BPO.  But ITO?  Come on, give me a break!!  See my Furl archive for more links.
 
The only thing I recently found interesting regarding Malaysia was an article on Satyam's IT boot camp in Malaysia.  This isn't really unique, after all, IBM has been doing this sort of thing for decades.  So does HP.  Kind of like training plus a bit of brainwashing, but the brainwashing is acceptable since it includes political survival skills -- and said skills are essential, especially in F500 corporations.  But I like the idea of SI (systems integrator)-based training:  This way SIs can focus on "real" versus theoretically perceived needs.
 
IT Tidbits
 
Which certifications have the best ROI (return on investment)?  Playing off the idea of SI-based training, which are the most important certifications?  Well, Cisco leads with three out of the top five, although Microsoft picks up a couple of "wins" when looking at fastest-growing ROI, with RedHat and Oracle getting one win each.  SIs in China may also want to benchmark how much U.S. employees are paid given a certain certification, e.g., Microsoft DBAs receive an annual average salary of US$80,600.  Think about how much SIs in China pay for a certified Microsoft DBA.  For example, what do they get paid in Jinan -- or even in Dalian?  Compare this to US$80,600.  Spot any opportunities?  See http://tinyurl.com/3nvpz and http://tinyurl.com/6r2s5 .
 
ITO in the news.  Two particularly noteworthy items.  First, ITO got Slashdotted.  The Slashdot links are worth a review.  Probably some good insight into what American software engineers are thinking and feeling.  The second is a review of Lou Dobbs' new book on ITO and BPO.  Mr. Dobbs is a well-respected host on CNN; his views shouldn't be taken lightly.  A couple of excerpts from the review:
 
"GE, as Dobbs makes clear in abundant detail, is only one of many companies outsourcing high-tech and professional jobs to India and other parts of the world where wage expectations are lower.  Among the others spotlighted by Dobbs for outsourcing jobs to India, the Philippines, Romania, Ireland, Poland and other countries are IBM, SAS Institute, Intel, Microsoft, Perot Systems, Apple, Computer Associates, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Sun Microsystems."  My comment:  Romania is the Changsha of Third World Europe, i.e., their programmers are about as cheap as programmers come.
 
"'India can provide our software; China can provide our toys; Sri Lanka can make our clothes; Japan make our cars.  But at some point we have to ask, what will we export?  At what will Americans work?  And for what kind of wages?  No one I've asked in government, business or academia has been able to answer those questions,' Dobbs writes."  See the review in the Tallahassee Democrat or my Furl link .
 
So-called infrastructure vendors beat out app vendors in terms of their ability to meet expected ROI and TCO (total cost of ownership) levels.  I don't really like the way infrastructure and application vendors are defined in this article and related survey, but top honors go to IBM and Microsoft.  There's a lot being written between the lines, but in general this plays into my "build-to-a-stack" strategy, albeit Oracle is left behind.  See http://tinyurl.com/3tpjo .
 
Speaking of Microsoft ...  A good, quick review of the various IBUs (independent business units) at Microsoft.  (See http://tinyurl.com/5rjtk .)  For a take on MBS, see http://tinyurl.com/6k4dp .
 
New marketing technologies.  Interesting article from the premier issue of CMO (Chief Marketing Officer).  There are two ways to view this:  1) which marketing technologies can be used by SIs in China for their own marketing endeavors, and 2) which marketing technologies will likely be adopted by retailers, e-commerce sites, financial institutions and numerous other sectors -- and which in house skills does an SI in China need to implement these new technologies (all of which are IT-related)?  See http://tinyurl.com/57wvp .
 
Looking for partners in the utility computing space?  For a start, try the top 25 vendors.  (See http://tinyurl.com/48s9j .)  Yankee gives a quick look at utility computing ROI (see http://tinyurl.com/5fw88 ).  HP chimes in with their take, too (see http://tinyurl.com/58mhg ; it's a PDF).
 
The battle of the SI globals.  Two related articles both based on the same Forrester report.  (See http://tinyurl.com/6tfrn and http://tinyurl.com/5tljq .)  Issues being considered include scalability (i.e., handling US$100+ million accounts), the need for broad offerings (e.g., strategy consulting) and expanding geographical presence (hey, where is EDS in China?).   "(T)he (Forrester) study finds that Infosys and Wipro have melded together a mix of CMMI, P-CMM, Six Sigma and ISO 9000 to create a culture focused on consistent and repeatable processes and value-added tools."  For China's SIs, mostly food for thought -- and a bit of dreaming.
 
... and how to battle the globals.  The article was a bit silly, after all, G2000 firms joining forces to battle Accenture or Infosys doesn't really fit the notion of smaller firms joining forces.  But I believe that they're on the right track and that a myriad of partnerships will be formed to most effectively capture new business and battle the globals.  However, ISVs (independent software vendors) have to walk a very fine line.  SIs need to carefully consider ISV responses and existing alliances.  See http://tinyurl.com/7xj82 .
 
"Infosys to set up second outsourcing facility in China."  The article states that Infosys is running out of space in their Pudong facility and that they're scouting for additional digs.  Come on, guys, running out of space?  There's not enough space in the Shanghai Pudong Software Park?  I don't think so ...  The reality is that Infosys needs to find lower cost developers.  As my column on Shanghai for AO's "Letter from China" notes, developers in Shanghai are a bit pricey compared to other places in China.  Infosys China is primarily servicing their global customers in China and looking for high-end integration within the domestic market.  However, this is a tough nut to crack and Infosys will need another development center to lower their overall costs -- and this is why they are looking for additional space IN ANOTHER CITY.  The idea that they're running out of space in the SPSP is ridiculous.  (I've been to their Shanghai digs ...)  See http://tinyurl.com/6nz8d .
 
Zensar gets broader press coverage.  Kind of like watching a meme, a couple of non-Indian IT trades have picked up the Zensar/Broadengate announcement.  See http://tinyurl.com/65afx and http://tinyurl.com/3jh2r .
 
"Rethinking the business case for Java."  A good article.  Hmmm ... maybe not much of a case, eh?    Hey, I'm still a believer.  See http://tinyurl.com/5hbcn .  Of course, Java programming ain't what it used to be ...
 
"The selling of SOA."  Two-part series in Line56.  SUPERB!!  (I prefer the singular to the plural, i.e., "architecture" versus "architectures"; personal preference.)  Reviews various viewpoints on SOA.  See http://tinyurl.com/6xqdn and http://tinyurl.com/6tw9o .
 
Urls update.  Expect to see lots and lots of stuff on software engineering and development.  Great stuff, too!!  Later this week.
 
Cheers,
 
David Scott Lewis
President & Principal Analyst
IT E-Strategies, Inc.
Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
 
http://www.itestrategies.com (current blog postings optimized for MSIE6.x)
http://tinyurl.com/2r3pa (access to blog content archives in China)
http://tinyurl.com/2azkh (current blog postings for viewing in other browsers and for access to blog content archives in the US & ROW)
http://tinyurl.com/2hg2e (AvantGo channel)
 
 
To automatically subscribe click on http://tinyurl.com/388yf .
 

          The Beckoning of Nuclear War        
SUBHEAD: A glimpse of sanity, or simple pragmatism, is anathema to our "national security" managers.

By John Pilger on 4 August 2017 for JohnPilger.com -
(www.johnpilger.com/articles/on-the-beach-2017-the-beckoning-of-nuclear-war)

[IB Publisher's note: As much as Trump may not wish a nuclear exchange with Russia, he seems quite amenable to turning North Korea into an ashtray. World War III may begin in  Guam and relay to Hawaii on its way  to the US mainland. Here in Hawaii it may mean Duck and Cover!]


Image above: Detail of original paperback cover of Nevil Shute's 1957 novel "On the Beach". From (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/267542034087528868).

In Nevil Shute's book "On the Beach" the US submarine captain says;
"We've all got to die one day, some sooner and some later. The trouble always has been that you're never ready, because you don't know when it's coming. Well, now we do know and there's nothing to be done about it."
He says he will be dead by September. It will take about a week to die, though no one can be sure. Animals live the longest.

The war was over in a month. The United States, Russia and China were the protagonists. It is not clear if it was started by accident or mistake. There was no victor. The northern hemisphere is contaminated and lifeless now.

A curtain of radioactivity is moving south towards Australia and New Zealand, southern Africa and South America. By September, the last cities, towns and villages will succumb. As in the north, most buildings will remain untouched, some illuminated by the last flickers of electric light.
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper

These two lines from T.S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men appear at the beginning of Nevil Shute's novel On the Beach, which left me close to tears. The endorsements on the cover said the same.

Published in 1957 at the height of the Cold War when too many writers were silent or cowed, it is a masterpiece. At first the language suggests a genteel relic; yet nothing I have read on nuclear war is as unyielding in its warning. No book is more urgent.

Some readers will remember the black and white Hollywood film starring Gregory Peck as the US Navy commander who takes his submarine to Australia to await the silent, formless spectre descending on the last of the living world.

I read On the Beach for the first time the other day, finishing it as the US Congress passed a law to wage economic war on Russia, the world's second most lethal nuclear power.  There was no justification for this insane vote, except the promise of plunder.

The "sanctions" are aimed at Europe, too, mainly Germany, which depends on Russian natural gas and on European companies that do legitimate business with Russia. In what passed for debate on Capitol Hill, the more garrulous senators left no doubt that the embargo was designed to force Europe to import expensive American gas.

Their main aim seems to be war - real war. No provocation as extreme can suggest anything else. They seem to crave it, even though Americans have little idea what war is. The Civil War of 1861-5 was the last on their mainland. War is what the United States does to others.

The only nation to have used nuclear weapons against human beings, they have since destroyed scores of governments, many of them democracies, and laid to waste whole societies - the million deaths in Iraq were a fraction of the carnage in Indo-China, which President Reagan called "a noble cause" and President Obama revised as the tragedy of an "exceptional people"He was not referring to the Vietnamese.

Filming last year at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, I overheard a National Parks Service guide lecturing a school party of young teenagers. "Listen up," he said. "We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom."

At a stroke, the truth was inverted. No freedom was defended. Freedom was destroyed. A peasant country was invaded and millions of its people were killed, maimed, dispossessed, poisoned; 60,000 of the invaders took their own lives. Listen up, indeed.

A lobotomy is performed on each generation. Facts are removed. History is excised and replaced by what Time magazine calls "an eternal present".

Harold Pinter described this as "manipulation of power worldwide, while masquerading as a force for universal good, a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis [which meant] that it never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest."

Those who call themselves liberals or tendentiously "the left" are eager participants in this manipulation, and its brainwashing, which today revert to one name: Trump.

Trump is mad, a fascist, a dupe of Russia. He is also a gift for "liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics", wrote Luciana Bohne memorably. The obsession with Trump the man - not Trump as a symptom and caricature of an enduring system - beckons great danger for all of us.

While they pursue their fossilised anti-Russia agendas, narcissistic media such as the Washington Post, the BBC and the Guardian suppress the essence of the most important political story of our time as they warmonger on a scale I cannot remember in my lifetime.

On 3 August, in contrast to the acreage the Guardian has given to drivel that the Russians conspired with Trump (reminiscent of the far-right smearing of John Kennedy as a "Soviet agent"), the paper buried, on page 16, news that the President of the United States was forced to sign a Congressional bill declaring economic war on Russia. Unlike every other Trump signing, this was conducted in virtual secrecy and attached with a caveat from Trump himself that it was "clearly unconstitutional".

A coup against the man in the White House is under way. This is not because he is an odious human being, but because he has consistently made clear he does not want war with Russia.

This glimpse of sanity, or simple pragmatism, is anathema to the "national security" managers who guard a system based on war, surveillance, armaments, threats and extreme capitalism. Martin Luther King called them "the greatest purveyors of violence in the world today".

They have encircled Russia and China with missiles and a nuclear arsenal. They have used neo-Nazis to instal an unstable, aggressive regime on Russia's "borderland" - the way through which Hitler invaded, causing the deaths of 27 million people.  Their goal is to dismember the modern Russian Federation.

In response, "partnership" is a word used incessantly by Vladimir Putin - anything, it seems, that might halt an evangelical drive to war in the United States. Incredulity in Russia may have now turned to fear and perhaps a certain resolution. The Russians almost certainly have war-gamed nuclear counter strikes. Air-raid drills are not uncommon. Their history tells them to get ready.

The threat is simultaneous. Russia is first, China is next. The US has just completed a huge military exercise with Australia known as Talisman Sabre. They rehearsed a blockade of the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea, through which pass China's economic lifelines.

The admiral commanding the US Pacific fleet said that, "if required", he would nuke China. That he would say such a thing publicly in the current perfidious atmosphere begins to make fact of Nevil Shute's fiction.

None of this is considered news. No connection is made as the bloodfest of Passchendaele a century ago is remembered. Honest reporting is no longer welcome in much of the media. Windbags, known as pundits, dominate: editors are infotainment or party line managers. Where there was once sub-editing, there is the liberation of axe-grinding clichés. Those journalists who do not comply are defenestrated.

The urgency has plenty of precedents. In my film, The Coming War on China, John Bordne, a member of a US Air Force missile combat crew based in Okinawa, Japan, describes how in 1962 - during the Cuban missile crisis - he and his colleagues were "told to launch all the missiles" from their silos.

Nuclear armed, the missiles were aimed at both China and Russia. A junior officer questioned this, and the order was eventually rescinded - but only after they were issued with service revolvers and ordered to shoot at others in a missile crew if they did not "stand down".

At the height of the Cold War, the anti-communist hysteria in the United States was such that US officials who were on official business in China were accused of treason and sacked. In 1957 - the year Shute wrote On the Beach - no official in the State Department could speak the language of the world's most populous nation. Mandarin speakers were purged under strictures now echoed in the Congressional bill that has just passed, aimed at Russia.

The bill was bipartisan. There is no fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. The terms "left" and "right" are meaningless. Most of America's modern wars were started not by conservatives, but by liberal Democrats.

When Obama left office, he presided over a record seven wars, including America's longest war and an unprecedented campaign of extrajudicial killings - murder - by drones.

In his last year, according to a Council on Foreign Relations study, Obama, the "reluctant liberal warrior", dropped 26,171 bombs - three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.  Having pledged to help "rid the world" of nuclear weapons, the Nobel Peace Laureate built more nuclear warheads than any president since the Cold War.

Trump is a wimp by comparison. It was Obama - with his secretary of state Hillary Clinton at his side - who destroyed Libya as a modern state and launched the human stampede to Europe. At home, immigration groups knew him as the "deporter-in-chief".

One of Obama's last acts as president was to sign a bill that handed a record $618billion to the Pentagon, reflecting the soaring ascendancy of fascist militarism in the governance of the United States. Trump has endorsed this.

Buried in the detail was the establishment of a "Center for Information Analysis and Response". This is a ministry of truth. It is tasked with providing an "official narrative of facts" that will prepare us for the real possibility of nuclear war - if we allow it.


Video above: "On the Beach" the complete 1959 movie from Nevil Shute's  novel. From (https://youtu.be/Ue8hC5qqMt4).

.

          Standing Rock lawsuit update        
SUBHEAD: Army Corps of Engineers sent back to analyze the environmental justice of the Dakota Access pipeline.

By Yessenia Funes on 3 August 2017 for Yes Magazine -
(http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/standing-rock-lawsuit-started-a-year-ago-heres-where-we-are-now-20170803)


Image above: More than 380 tribes around the world came forward to stand with the water protectors. Photo by Vlad Tchompalov.From original article.

On July 27, 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers for authorizing the construction of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline. Just over a year later, the project has been completed and carries crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to an export terminal in Illinois. The case is still pending, and continues to be the tribe’s last hope to protect its water and land.

The lawsuit alleged that authorization of the pipeline violated the Clean Water Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to adequately conduct an efficient environmental assessment and skipping an environmental impact statement (EIS) altogether.

“If history is to repeat itself, it doesn’t look good for us,” says Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t have hope.”

The lawsuit has now been joined by the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Yankton and Oglala Sioux tribes, but at its heart, the case remains the same since its initial filing, said lead attorney Jan Hasselman, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux on behalf of nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice.

He’s been arguing that the $3.8 billion energy project ignores treaty rights and needs further environmental review. The goal is that U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg will rule in favor of an EIS and pause pipeline operations indefinitely, and, ultimately, stop them completely.

In December, pipeline opponents almost secured the EIS under former President Barack Obama when the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would prepare the statement and not permit the pipeline to cross beneath the Lake Oahe crossing on the Missouri River, an area of cultural, religious, and spiritual significance to the tribe.

It was a near victory. With the EIS secured, the court shelved the lawsuit, but there was more bubbling beneath the surface. Dakota Access launched a counter lawsuit once the Obama administration requested the EIS, and Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration loomed on the horizon. The lawyers, the tribe, and even the court knew the situation could change drastically.

“The court was pretty explicit that this could be undone,” Hasselman said. And it was.

Trump rescinded the EIS and issued the final easement across Lake Oahe in February. Immediately, the attorneys amended their initial complaint to include the final easement. Things moved along quickly from there, Hasselman explained. For the first time, the tribe had something concrete to contest, not something they were asking the courts to prevent.

“We were finally able to put those environmental review issues and treaty issues up front and center,” Hasselman said. Until then, the case was essentially in “pause mode.”

Then in June, Judge Boasberg found that the Corps had not sufficiently considered the pipeline’s environmental effects or environmental justice impacts when issuing its permit, and remanded the case back to the EIS process to reconsider its analysis. This is the first time Earthjustice is aware of such an environmental justice ruling.

Boasberg’s recent decision offers DAPL’s opponents hope, but a favorable outcome is anything but assured. A pipeline has never before been stopped with a lawsuit, Hasselman said. “The legal and regulatory infrastructure is badly broken.

You just don’t have the big overarching federal permits for a crude oil pipeline that you have in a lot of other contexts.” Unlike natural gas pipelines, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates a pipeline’s terms and conditions of transport, but not its actual construction and operation.

Earthjustice didn’t take up the case because it believed the court held the answer but, rather, because it recognized the political power such a case could build. To that end, it has surpassed expectations.

“What I had in mind was substantially more modest than what happened,” Hasselman said. He had hoped that 50 people would show up to court and they’d end up on the evening news. He wasn’t expecting the iconic fight for indigenous sovereignty that Standing Rock has become.

The Dakota Access pipeline is now a matter of global interest. More than 380 tribes around the world—from New Zealand’s Māori to the Ecuadorian Amazon’s Kichwa—came forward to stand with the water protectors. “That’s a very significant time in history: when the tribes come together collectively and unite and say, Enough is enough,” Archambault said.

The tribe’s effort became a movement with the support of spirit and prayer camps outside the reservation—including the Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin camps—and a 1,500-mile run to Washington, D.C., in which about 30 Native American youth delivered a petition with more than 140,000 signatures to the Army Corps headquarters demanding it halt the pipeline’s construction.

Although this attention hasn’t influenced the lawsuit, Hasselman said, it legitimized the movement. Once the world set its eyes on Standing Rock, it could no longer ignore that the historic violent treatment of indigenous people isn’t a thing of the past—it continues today.

Now? Hasselman thinks they have a shot. “We have an uphill struggle in persuading the court to shut down the pipeline while the remand process is underway, and we have an uphill struggle persuading the Army Corps to do a legitimate and appropriate analysis on remand, but we’re all working 24/7 to make that happen,” he said.

Judge Boasberg is set to decide in September whether to pause pipeline operations while the Corps continues its review, and court proceedings are ongoing as both parties make their arguments. Until then, the tribe will see its challengers in court.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL battle not over 6/15/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Defense contractors fought NoDAPL 5/27/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Tribes divest DAPL Bankers 2/13/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Veterans defending NoDAPL 2/11/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps okays DAPL Easement  2/8/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump orders go on DAPL EIS 2/3/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Water Protectors pipeline resistance 2/1/17 
Ea O Ka Aina: Force a full EIS on DAPL 1/27/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Missile launcher at Standing Rock 1/19/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Lockdown at Trans-Pecos Pipeline 1/10/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock has changed us 12/9/16
Ea O Ka Aina: As Standing Rock celebrates... 12/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps denies easement 12/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: My Whole Heart is With You 12/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Loving Containment of Courage 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Beginning is Near 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Feds to shutdown NoDAPL Camp 11/25/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL people are going to die 11/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Hundreds of vets to join NoDAPL 11/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama must support Standing Rock 11/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump's pro oil stance vs NoDaPL 11/15/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai NoDAPL Demonstration 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama to Betray Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump impact on Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Ann Wright on Standing Rock 11/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Turning Point at Standing Rock 11/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jackson Browne vs DAPL owner 11/5/16
Democracy Now: Boycott of DAPL Owner's Music Festival
Ea O Ka Aina: World responds to NoDAPL protests 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL victory that was missed 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL hid discovery of Sioux artifacts 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Dakota Access Pipeline will leak 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sanders calls for stopping DAPL 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama hints at DAPL rerouting 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: New military attack on NODAPL 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How to Support NoDAPL 11/3/16
Unicorn Riot: Tweets from NoDAPL 11/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock & the Ballot Box 10/31/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL reclaim new frontline 10/24/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How far will North Dakota go? 10/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodman "riot" charge dropped 10/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodwin to face "Riot Charge" 10/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Shutdown of all tar sand pipelines 10/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why Standing Rock is test for Oabama 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why we are Singing for Water 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Labor's Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Firm for Standing Rock 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Contact bankers behind DAPL 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL demo at Enbridge Inc 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Militarized Police raid NoDAPL 9/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Stop funding of Dakota Access Pipeline 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: UN experts to US, "Stop DAPL Now!" 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL solidarity grows 9/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: This is how we should be living 9/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: 'Natural Capital' replacing 'Nature' 9/14/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Big Difference at Standing Rock 9/13/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jill Stein joins Standing Rock Sioux 9/10/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Pipeline temporarily halted 9/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Native Americans attacked with dogs 9/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Mni Wiconi! Water is Life! 9/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sioux can stop the Pipeline 8/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Officials cut water to Sioux 8/23/16




.

          Canada’s UN vote against Palestinian statehood only empowers extremists        

 


This article initially appeared in the Toronto Star (December 2, 2012). The original article can be found by clicking on the title below.

Canada’s UN vote against Palestinian statehood only empowers extremists

“This resolution will not advance the cause of peace or spur a return to negotiations. On the contrary, this unilateral step will harden positions and raise unrealistic expectations while doing nothing to improve the lives of the Palestinian people.”
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird delivered this message in a strident speech from the podium of the UN General Assembly before the historic Thursday vote that affirmed Palestine statehood. But in the end his words failed to resonate with the rest of world, quite literally, as Canada found itself stranded in opposition to the resolution with a hodgepodge of Pacific island nations and Israel’s stalwart ally the United States (and, for whatever reason, the Czech Republic). The final vote was 138 countries in favour, 41 abstentions and 9 against, the latter representing only 5 per cent of the world’s population.

It wasn’t always this way. Canada traditionally played a much more even-handed role in the conflict, realizing the need to support both Israel’s security and Palestinian aspirations for statehood. But over the last decade Canadian policy on the Middle East conflict has become increasingly one-sided in its affinity for Israel. At the UN, Baird asserted that the resolution did not serve the interests of peace. Yet rather than promoting peace, the lonely Canadian UN vote only empowered extremists on both sides and could contribute to increased violence.

The push for recognition at the world body was the culmination of an effort that was launched roughly two years ago by the Palestinians, led by President Mahmoud Abbas. In his speech in New York, Abbas reiterated that this initiative was intended not to “delegitimize” Israel but instead to “affirm the legitimacy” of Palestine. The campaign is one of only a few non-violent forms of activism left in the Palestinian arsenal to achieve a two-state solution.

After more than 64 years of dispossession and 45 years of occupation, Abbas and the Palestinian leadership viewed the UN vote as a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. That message resonated not just with countries that Prime Minister Stephen Harper could dismiss but also with democratic nations such as Norway, Spain, France, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Italy — not really a motley crew of rogue states.

It would be easy to ignore the significance of the Canadian vote. After all, it’s hardly news that under Harper Canadian policy has lacked balance. But today the Holy Land finds itself at a seminal inflection point, where there is a greater tolerance for intransigence on both sides. Coming out of the crisis in Gaza, where residents suffered massive casualties and destruction, Abbas was viewed as a weak, irrelevant figure. His invisibility, combined with changes in the wider region, has meant that the profile of Hamas has been raised. During the recent conflict, leading political officials from the Arab world met with senior Hamas figures in Gaza for the first time in five years.

Beyond this, among the Palestinian community, commitment to a two-state solution has been waning. It is no longer viewed as tenable given the growing encroachment of settlements in the West Bank. Leading activists have started to reintroduce the democratic solution that promotes one state in which there is universal suffrage, as in the South Africa model. For them, Abbas’s UN initiative was dead on arrival, regardless of whether it received support.

Against this backdrop, the Canadian government’s message is that this last-gasp support for a two-state solution and a peaceful Palestinian movement toward that end is “utterly regrettable.” Not only that, the government has also intimated it will review its aid to the Palestinian Authority.
There should be no illusions about what this means. Palestinians — after many decades of waiting — are looking for realistic traction toward self-determination. If the peaceful avenues leading to that end are closed, it will leave only the extremist approach. Hamas will point out that Gaza doesn’t have any Israeli settlements, that their kidnapping of Israeli Gilad Shalit led to the release of Palestinian prisoners, and that Arab states are recognizing their leadership. And then they will ask: What has President Abbas done for you lately?

Beyond the question of whether Canada is on the wrong side of history, which hardly seems debatable, it now appears to be empowering violence and extremism. How can you support Palestinian statehood and a two-state solution and inexplicably oppose that very reality, claiming it is not conducive to peace? That cognitive dissonance should stimulate a deep examination of Canadian policy — there is a lot more at stake here than just a UN vote.

 


          New Zealand Party Pills        

New Zealand Party Pills

Using that lasts all the height of rapture every country: in rave party include performers playing rave good stuff? You also the present the obstacles that is safe natural. I'm you a large glass of these muscle tissue. The stimulants have and super safe to taking rave? Tnt pills take for around you consumed with alcohol too.

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          Perth trip – Prologue        
I always wanted to visit the Down Under i.e Australia and New Zealand. Both are colloquially known as Down Under due to their position in the Southern Hemisphere below the equator.

Initially I plan to visit Australia during Chinese New Year but after doing some research, I dropped the plan as it is summer season and February is the hottest month in Australia. I was contemplating booking Qantas as it is offering S$700 return fare to Melbourne but we couldn't find a pair of friend to join us. In the end, hubby and I decided to visit Australia on our own. Scoot promotion came along and return fare to Perth is S$266 which is relatively cheap. I booked 25kg and 40kg for departure and return leg for one pax instead of booking individual baggage as it is slightly cheaper this way.

I make use of the Labour Day holiday in May for this 10 days trip. I have planned to depart on Saturday and return on the following Sunday but there was no cheap tickets so we depart on Friday instead. Scoot flight timing is usually not favourable either on the departure or the return leg. The departure flight is noon timing and reach Perth in the evening while the return flight departs in the evening and reach Singapore at midnight. I would prefer a red eye flight to Perth since the flight duration is 5hrs.
Map of Australia (extracted from Lonely Planet)

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world by land area and it's capital is Canberra. Australia main cities are served by numerous airlines from Singapore which makes it one of the top holiday destination among Singaporeans:
- Sydney: Singapore Airlines, Scoot, British Airways, Qantas
- Melbourne: Singapore Airlines, Scoot, Jetstar, Emirates, Qantas
- Brisbane: Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas
- Gold Coast: Scoot
- Perth: Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Scoot, Jetstar
- Adelaide: Singapore Airlines
- Cairns: Silkair
- Darwin: Silkair

Perth is the capital and largest city in Western Australia and Western Australia is the largest state in Australia. It is the fourth most populous city in Australia after Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. After I have started to do research on Perth, I discovered that everything is expensive in Australia, ranging from accommodation, attraction admission ticket to food. At least, the car rental is reasonable and pertrol is slightly cheaper than Singapore.

All visitor to Australia except Australian and New Zealand citizens requires a visa to visit Australia irregardless of the visit. There are 3 types of visitor visa depending on the nationalities and Singaporean falls under the Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)​. Visa can be applied online and processing time takes less than a day. Although there is no visa application charges, there is a service charge of AUD20 for online application.

Taxi from airport to Perth CBD cost at least A$40 ~ S$44 while the Connect Shuttle cost A$15 ~ S$17 per pax. The cheapest way to get to Perth CBD is taking the free shuttle bus from Perth Airport T1 to T3 and board Transperth bus number 37 or 40 which cost A$4.40  ~ S$5 per pax. The journey time to Perth CBD range from 40 - 60 min. The other option is to rent the car directly at airport itself but since we will be reaching Perth in the evening, it's not advisable to drive to the outskirt at night.

In Perth CBD & Fremantle, it is easy to navigate around public transport as there are reliable and extensive public transport networks. There are free CAT bus services in Perth, Fremantle and Joondalup. In addition to the free CAT bus service, travelling on public transport is free within Perth Free Transit Zone. However it is recommended to rent a car when travelling beyond Perth.

There are many car rental companies in Perth and some allow rent and return at different location. After doing the research, we decided to rent a car from Bayswater which has outlets in both Perth CBD and near Perth Airport but it does not allow rental and return of car at different location. Bayswater offers competitive rate at A$300 for a Toyota Corolla Sedan car for 6 days rental for driving within 500km from Perth. The excess damage is capped at A$400 and can be reduced to A$0 with a top up of A$7 per day. Extra charges such as rental of GPS is A$7 per day and each child booster is A$7 per day (capped at A$70). Petrol price in Australia is currently A$1.40/ litre which is slightly cheaper than the petrol price in Singapore. 

Even though I have travelled to many countries, I have yet to purchase a local SIM card, not even when I travelled to Europe as I relied on the maps which I have printed out. However I will be buying local SIM card in Perth. It's much value for money compared to renting a GPS since we can use the data to surf net on top of the google map which we require. The cheapest prepaid card cost A$1 per day and comes with 30min local calls, unlimited local SMS and 40MB data per day and I have decided to buy the A$2 prepaid plan which includes unlimited local call, unlimited local SMS and 500MB data per day.

As we will first be travelling North and then to the South, we will be staying at 4 different hotels and B&B throughout this trip. In Perth, we will be staying at Ibis Perth Hotel as it is conveniently situated at Perth CBD Murray Street. There was 40% Accor discount for at least 2 consecutive nights booking hence I saved around S$120 for the 4 nights in Perth. Hotels under the Accor brand range from from economy brand (Ibis etc), midscale brands (Mercure, Novotel etc), Upscale brands (Grand Mercure, Pullman etc) to luxury brand (Sofitel) and membership is free. In the outskirt, we will be staying in B&B instead of hotels. It's more intimate since B&B usually have fewer rooms and those B&B which we will be staying includes complimentary breakfast.

For Margaret River Region, I have done intensive research from Margaret River Visitor Centre and I have even request a visitor guide and map which was mailed to me free of charge (Email: welcome@margaretriver.com). In the 2004 visitor guide, there is a list of wineries and breweries in the Margaret River Region and I'm spoilt for choice when selecting which one to visit.

Day 1: Reach Perth at 5.25pm (GMT+8)
Accommodation: Ibis Perth (A$92)
Transport: Bus 37 or 40 from Airport to Perth CBD (A$4.40)

Day 2: Fremantle
Attractions: Fremantle Town Hall, Fremantle Prison, Fremantle Markets, Fremantle Round House & Whalers' Tunnel, Shipwreck Galleries, E Shed Market
Accommodation: Ibis Perth (A$92)
Transport: Train from Perth to Fremantle (A$4.40 each way)

Day 3: Caversham Wildlife Park & Cervantes
Attractions: Caversham Wildlife Park, Hangover Bay, Kangaroo Point, The Pinnacles @ Nambung National Park
Accommodation: Windbreak Bed & Breakfast (A$140)
Transport: Car rental

Day 4: Lancelin & Mandurah
Attractions: Emu Downs Wind Farm & Lancelin Sand Dunes, Mandurah Performing & Arts Centre
Accommodation: Aran Brae Bed & Breakfast (A$130)
Transport: Car rental

Day 5: Bunbury & Busselton & Margaret River
Attractions: Koombana Beach, The Bunbury Tower, Busselton Jetty, Underwater Observatory, Duckstein Brewery, Bettenay's Margaret River Nougat Company, Margaret River Providore, Margaret River Chocolate Company, Margaret River Silk Road, Margaret River Nuts & Cereal, Margaret River Dairy Company
Accommodation: Pinda Lodge (A$200)
Transport: Car rental

Day 6: Margaret River
Attractions: Wine Tourism Showroom @ Margaret River Tourist Information CentreThe Good Olive, Margaret River Fudge Factory, Miller Ice Cream Farm, Candy Cow, Voyager Estate Winery, Leeuwin Estate, Edwards Wines, Vasse Felix, Bootleg Brewery
Accommodation: Pinda Lodge (A$200)
Transport: Car rental

Day 7: Margaret River & Augusta
Attractions: Boranup Karri Forest, Hamelin bay, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Jewel Cave, Blackwood Meadery, Colonial Brewery
Accommodation: Pinda Lodge (A$200)
Transport: Car rental

Day 8: Donnybrook & Perth
Attractions: Spring Valley Orchard, Crawley Edge Boatshed (Blue Boat House)
Accommodation: Ibis Perth (A$92) 
Transport: Car rental

Day 9: Perth
Attractions: King's Park, Parliament House, Barracks Arch, Government House, Kangaroos in the City, The Swan Bells, Ferry from Barrack St Jetty to South Perth
Accommodation: Ibis Perth (A$92)
Transport: Transperth bus & CAT bus

Day 10: Perth, Depart Perth at 6.35pm (GMT+8)
Attractions:  Shopping at London Court & Hay Street
Transport: Bus 37 or 40 from Perth CBD to Airport (A$4.40)

Budget for this trip is S$2,400:
- S$700 for accommodation
- S$30 for transport
- S$400 for car rental & petrol
- S$20 for prepaid card
- S$150 for admission fee
- S$750 for meals (include $150 for a wine pairing meal at Leeuwin Estate)
- S$350 for souvenirs and shopping
>>Day 1: 24 Apr 15

          Independent contractor to blame for Electron rocket failure        

An internal review of Rocket Lab's May 25, 2017, test flight of an Electron rocket from its Mahia, New Zealand, launch site determined the vehicle was terminated due to an issue with an independent contractor’s ground equipment. A statement issued by the company's investigation board announced the incident's root causes and corrective actions.

The post Independent contractor to blame for Electron rocket failure appeared first on SpaceFlight Insider.


          Back home and trying to be frugal!        
I’m back in London for a while. My home city. After being in New Zealand for a year London suddenly feels very cheap, not something I would have ever thought I would feel. I’ll probably only be here for a month so there is a feeling of pressure to get a lot of things done. … Continue reading Back home and trying to be frugal!
          Geography Bits        
Geography was always a subject of disinterest for me. Except for some amount of "Australia - Flora and Fauna" and "The South West Monsoon", I don't remember much from the geography classes of school. But God has been great in working out my travel calendar and has provided a good bit of opportunity to see places. This has increased my interest in the world and the different cultures. Of late this interest has still been increased by.... a game! The Travelers IQ challenge game has been interesting and educating to me. It hasn't thought me too many new things, but has served as a refresher, a sort of catalyst that helped fill the void.

My increased inquisitiveness made me research a bit on things that have confused me for years. Here are few things I learnt in geography recently, but which had known earlier
1) Crotia is a country that came out of the erstwhile Yugoslavia. I had somehow thought that it came from USSR. Frederick Forsyth's "Avenger" helped me understand that Yugoslavia split into Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia
2) West Indies is not a country! It is an ensemble of countries like Jamaica and Barbados that play as a single cricket team
3) If someone had asked me for the countries in the Australian continent, I would have probably said Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania and Papa New Guinea. Well, I am not sure of New Zealand anymore. Wiki says that New Zealand belongs to a continent called Zealandia. I get a bit confused in these kinds of trivia since I studied in school that there were only 7 continents and Zealandia is not one of them.
4) There are several countries that belong to multiple continents. My ex-colleagues from Alcatel who have traveled to Turkey have told me that Turkey is transcontinental. But I got to know of few more countries like Indonesia, Russia (though we all associate it with Europe, it is actually 71% in Asia!) and Egypt. Did you know that a part of Italy, Spain and Portugal are in Africa?

          Oceans Seven Featured As #1 Extreme Adventure        
Courtesy of The Weather Channel on the Oceans Seven.

Darren Miller, one of the seven aquatic adventurers, was featured on The Weather Channel's Top Ten: Extreme Adventures that was broadcast on August 6th throughout America.

Miller was the first individual to go 7-for-7 on the Oceans Seven (i.e., 7 successful crossings in 7 attempts of the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland, the English Channel between France and England, the Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, the Cook Strait between the North and South Islans of New Zealand, the Tsugaru Channel between Honshu and Hokkaido in northern Japan, the Catalina Channel between Santa Catalina Island and Southern California, and the Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai Island).

The Weather Channel selected the Oceans Seven as the most extreme adventure in its Top 10 list that also included the Badwater Ultramarathon, running up Mount Everest, walking across Antarctica and Greenland, marine boot camp, cycling across America, and orienteering in Patagonia - all different journeys of the extreme through some of the worst weather conditions on Earth where adventurers willingly take on the unforgiving power of Mother Nature; trekking and treading through freezing temperatures in the mountains, in the oceans and in the Arctic Circle.

"It is great to see open water swimming, and the Oceans Seven in particular, receive the recognition of being an arduous, difficult, and challenging extreme sport, especially relative to distance running, cycling, mountaineering and all the other dryland sports that receive so much more attention," says Steven Munatones. "But, however demanding open water swimming is, swimming is also forgiving on the body and can be done for decades at a high level and by people in their 50's, 60's, 70's and older. This makes it unique among the most formidable extreme sports."

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

          8月2日(æ°´)のつぶやき        

ヾ(o´∀`o)ノ
おはようございます!
今日が皆さんにとって良い日となりますように☆

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 07:30

宇多田ヒカル - 光
youtu.be/kOSNIIx5u_U

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 08:13

ポルトガル🇵🇹の小さな町アゲダで夏の間に開催されてる傘祭り!!
傘の量が凄すぎて、祭りというより傘の襲来だった。 pic.twitter.com/3xR8R8pdqD

— こんちゃん@世界一周 (@Hiromasa_kondo) 2017年7月31日 - 17:29

うっわ pic.twitter.com/m530Kjff3J

— さ⃝剛 (@StargazerSt) 2017年7月31日 - 11:42

ZKO Rollercoaster // GREAT EMOTIONS on Vimeo
vimeo.com/20462506

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 09:13

東京喰種 Tokyo Ghoul OP 'Unravel' (Solo Guitar cover by Eddie van der Meer) youtu.be/gy5yTfHNeYY

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 10:13

SPYAIR 『RAGE OF DUST』(Short Ver.)
youtube.com/watch?v=iRcbfS…

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 11:13

Wishing you all a pawesome day 🐾😽 pic.twitter.com/kd5yETmmga

— FUNNYREALFACT (@funnyrealfact) 2017年7月31日 - 18:15

ヾ( ^ω^)ノ
お昼になりました!

そろそろ昼食に何を食べるかを
うっすら検討しましょう!!

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 12:06

Ninja Robot Tobikage - Flying Shadow Spotted! Extended
youtube.com/watch?v=6etNWt…

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 12:13

BABYMETAL - Road of Resistance - Live in Japan (OFFICIAL)
youtu.be/zTEYUFgLveY

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 13:13

Monday Michiru (Monday満ちる) - Sands Of Time - YouTube
youtube.com/watch?v=TycBeL…

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 14:13

ヾ(´ω`)ノ
おやつの時間です☆
甘いものでもつまみましょか。

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 15:03

hide with Spread Beaver - ROCKET DIVE
youtu.be/-qoVeoG8XuU

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 15:13

AWAKENING | NEW ZEALAND 4K/UHD - YouTube
youtube.com/watch?v=6D-A6C…

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 16:13

Perfume 「FLASH」
youtube.com/watch?v=q6T0wO…

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 17:13

平安バカップル Peeping Life-World History- #01
youtu.be/OAVLpoIkfio

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 18:13

高橋優 「Mr.Complex Man」MV(フテネコ・スペシャルエディットVer) youtu.be/leddbPki6J4

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 19:13

安室奈美恵 / 「Fighter」Music Video -short ver.-
youtu.be/D9-cLupZSqQ?li…

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 20:13

ポンコツクエスト〜魔王と派遣の魔物たち〜 第一章「初陣」
youtu.be/AL_rd2jfrSY

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 21:13

【PV】Vacancy【Kylee】【亡念のザムド】【Xam'd Lost Memories】
youtube.com/watch?v=ceynZ_…

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 22:13

このクリップの使い方考えた人天才!!
youtu.be/URaev26MTdo

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 23:13

(´‐`)眠い…
もう、そろそろ日が変わります。

体が眠りたがっています…
今日も1日、お疲れ様でした。

おやすみなさい☆

— Hitori Japan (@hitori_japan) 2017年8月2日 - 23:40
          Sperm decline an early warning sign rather than a crisis alert        

University of Newcastle (UON) experts have reacted to a new study which shows a significant decline in sperm count over the last 40 years among men in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America.


          Teacher 101 iPad Sessions        
I have recently been asked to provide a number iPad sessions for teachers. I had one school where they had recently bought a large number of iPads and wanted to start from scratch. Another had a 1:1 Program in a particular year group but wanted their colleagues to get an understanding of the potential of iPads in the classroom. I was able to use this Teacher ToolKit idea for both groups.



Another one of the ideas I have been using was one that I borrowed from a talented friend and inspirational teacher in New Zealand - Allanah King @AllanahK. She published her iPad Bingo idea on her blog a couple of months ago. I have used it numerous times since and it has been a success each time. I make sure that every time I use it I credit her with the concept. Here it is in it's latest incarnation updated for iOS 7. Make sure you visit Allanah's blog for a heap of other great stuff.


Make a copy and put your own school name or crest at the top. It is always good for staff to see resources specifically designed for them.

Schools have also used this as part of Bootcamps for iPad Rollouts with students. They love it as well.





          iPhone 4S arriving in Hong Kong, South Korea and a number of other locales on November 11th        
Apple is getting ready to add a whole slew of new locations to its iPhone 4S world domination plan. Starting November 11th, the company's latest smartphone will be available in Hong Kong, South Korea and 13 additional countries, including Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Portugal, and Romania. Pre-orders for those locations (save for Albania, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malta, Montenegro and Panama) will begin on the 4th. The handset is currently available in 29 countries -- that number will increase to more than 70 by year's end. Press info can be found after the break.
          New Zealand's Soltius Joins AWS MSP Partner Program        
New Zealand's technology solutions provider Soltius has become part of the AWS MSP Partner Program after only 18 months in the market, making it the latest member of the audited group of AWS Managed Service Providers.
          Global macro overview for 10/08/2017        

Global macro overview for 10/08/2017:

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand left the Official Cash Rate (OCR)unchanged at the level of 1.75% as expected. In the official statement, the RBNZ said, that monetary policy is expected to remain accommodative for a long time, in order to support growth and guide inflation towards the RBNZ's target on a sustained basis. Numerous uncertainties remain and policy may need to adjust accordingly as the lower NZD is needed. Longer-term inflation expectations remain well-anchored at around 2% and future headline inflation is projected to reach the midpoint of the target band over medium-term. Headline inflation is likely to decline in coming quarters, but global growth has increased and domestic economic growth is expected to improve.

This dovish tone of the statement was broadly expected given the weaker balance of economic data over the last few months. However, while the RBNZ acknowledged the recent softer data, it held the line on just about every aspect of its forecasts as the projected OCR path was identical to the June statement. The RBNZ is maintaining a relatively positive view on the domestic growth outlook, continues to see the unemployment rate trending lower, and wage growth rising. As such, non-tradable inflation still rises gradually within the forecasts. Moreover, the overall tone of the statement signals clearly that it is going to take a lot of accumulated evidence to warrant a departure from this cautious stance in either direction. For now, the NZD is weakening across the board and further weakness is anticipated.

Let's now take a look at the NZD/USD technical picture at the H4 timeframe. After the interest rate news was released, the price moved lower towards the level of 0.7333 support and broke below it. The market conditions are oversold, but the price action remains sideways. The technical resistance at the level of 0.7333 is the key to the upside for bulls.

analytics598bfd5b0313b.jpg

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company - www.instaforex.com
          Lena Goldfinch's YA Triple Trick-or-Treat Cover Reveal + Giveaway        

In  celebration of Lena Goldfinch’s upcoming release, HAUNTING JOY: BOOK 2, she’s revealing three brand-new book covers! The two HAUNTING JOY books are light paranormal stories, and SONGSTONE is a fantasy romance. All three books are sweet—and slightly spine-tingling—young adult reads, perfect for cozy autumn nights!


HAUNTING JOY: BOOK 1 

“A sweet and charming ghost story that completely won me over.” —Lena Coakley, Witchlanders 

Joy’s new dress has a secret—one with a little supernatural history, one that’s a little more than she expected.

It all starts one ordinary afternoon, when seventeen-year-old Joy tries on some thrift-store clothes. The little white dress fits perfectly. Trouble is, now it won’t leave her alone. Soon Joy is swept up in an extraordinary journey to help a ghost complete some unfinished business.

If only that didn’t involve Joy driving through dangerous intersections...
Or calling up her high-school crush, Nick...
Or getting stuck in a cemetery after dark.

Just how much is Joy willing to risk to uncover the truth?

Purchase:
Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Audible | Paperback


HAUNTING JOY: BOOK 2 

Joy’s story continues with another ghost, this time a boy who seems intent on disrupting her senior year…

Coming soon!


SONGSTONE 

“An original fantasy world inhabited by superstitious tribal nations and intriguingly developed characters.” 
—Serena Chase, USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog 

A dark, twisty tale of sorcery, tummy-tingling romance, and adventure, inspired by the folklore of New Zealand's Māori people.

Kita can meld song into stone—a skill called “storytelling,” which is greatly honored in a world with no written word. But Kita is slave to a sorcerer who practices black magic using drops of her blood. She fears he’ll use her beautiful gift for a killing spell, so she conceals it. Yet each day, his magic tightens around her neck like a rope.

Then Pono, a young journeyman, arrives from the other side of the island. He’s come to fulfill a pact between their villages: to escort a storyteller back to his village. Finally, in Pono, Kita sees her one slim chance at freedom—and she’ll risk her life to take it.

Purchase:
Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Paperback


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LENA GOLDFINCH writes sweet historical western romance / inspirational romance and books for teens. She’s always been a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it’s a novel or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Lena has been a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart and ACFW Genesis contests. She enjoys life in a quiet, small town with her husband, two kids, and two very spoiled Black Labs.

Amazon | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Twitter | Website


GIVEAWAY

No tricks with this giveaway—just a treat for three lucky winners! Each winner will get a copy of one of Lena’s featured books (winner’s choice): Haunting Joy: Book 1; Haunting Joy: Book 2; OR Songstone.

Note: Paperback copies are only available to winners who are US residents. Ebook versions are available to all winners. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
PERSONALITY QUIZ

Discover which hero from Lena’s YA books is your dream hero! Possible results include Nick from Haunting Joy, Pono from Songstone, Rundan from The Language of Souls, Jovanni from Aire, and Troy from Take a Picture.

TAKE THE QUIZ


          The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics: An interview with Bruce Perry        
The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics: An interview with Bruce Perry MacKinnon, L. (2012) The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics: An interview with Bruce Perry. The Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 33:3 pp 210-218 doi:10.1017/aft.2012.26… Read More
          Comment on 1st T20: Pakistan beat New Zealand by 16 runs by Tanveer Bodla        
good pakistan.........
          Comment on Pakistan vs New Zealand 1st T20I at Auckland by Fraz Khan Fraz Khan        
Very nice
          Comment on Pakistan vs New Zealand 1st T20I at Auckland by Sardar Tahir        
GOOD FOAM BY SHAHID AFRIDI
          Comment on Sarfraz Ahmed 76 vs New Zealand in T20 by Khalid Sarwar        
we hope for the best for Amir
          Comment on Umar Gul 5 for 6 vs New Zealand by Qazi Mudasir        
awesome
           Tramea loewii (Odonata: Libellulidae), a dragonfly newly arrived in New Zealand         
Rowe, R.J., Davies, C., Davies, D., Pohe, S.R., and Simpson, E.H. (2011) Tramea loewii (Odonata: Libellulidae), a dragonfly newly arrived in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 38 (2). pp. 189-193.
          Dark Matter - Live, Christchurch 2012-14        

Three live (audience) recordings

Dark Matter - Live, Wunderbar, Christchurch, 23 Jun 2012
Dark Matter - Live, The Darkroom, Christchurch, 11 May 2013 (second half)
Dark Matter - Live, Wunderbar, Christchurch, 7 Feb 2014

Not much attempt to edit them - the 2014 show has 5 minutes preamble and tuning.

This post is to compliment the previous post, some small celebration of Dead C/Terminals playing this Friday.

Also a point worth making loudly: Siltbreeze have just released a Dark Matter LP

Listening to Broken on YouTube the most striking thing is background orchestration (horns/strings) in the recording adding more depth and seething melancholy to the proceedings.  A fine thing.

If at all possible I will communicate with the 'powers' behind http://www.lingering.co.nz/, in which case you'll have the same LP available there for attractive local (=FREE) postage.  If you like the sound of that, say Hell Yeh (in the comments or via the usual social channel).

Label description:
Hold the tidings, reconnoiterers. This is a new set of songs from Stephen Cogle of Vacuum, The Victor Dimisich Band and The Terminals. Dark Matter stands with contemporaries The Renderers and The Puddle in exemplifying a “late” style of New Zealand post-punk—more concrete, more distilled.

Cogle’s vocal flourish stills reminds one of Roxy Music—a band that, recall, is only ten years older than Cogle’s earliest projects. The continued relevance of an ensemble like Dark Matter over Roxy Music can only be attributed to the richness of the musical moment that birthed it. Trusted names like Cogle, John Christoffels, John Billows, Joanne Billesdon, Nicole Moffat and Michael Daly continue into the 21st century in new combinations with new aspects to notice. But more than just an update on the Christchurch Sound, Dark Matter plays with punk nostalgia to craft an overwhelmingly romantic (with a lowercase r) pop record.

Too cat-like to be reflective, totally immersed in the garage rock impetus, their flat, gothic psychedelia is equal parts Chills, Television Personalities and Scientists, with the intimacy of Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos or Small World Experience. With a breadth of material fitting to the subject of “getting older,” Dark Matter is perhaps the most finessed document of Cogle’s vision yet.



          The Dead C - Live, Super 8, Dunedin, 22 Jul 1994        

As a precursor to this event
The Dead C and The Terminals

Here's an old Dead C set.

The Dead C - Live, Super 8, Dunedin, 22 Jul 1994

A lo-fi recording by yours truly of a lo-fi band on a totally shitty lo-er than lo-fi old tape. Managed to put it in my pocket the wrong way round after I flipped the tape for the last track, so you get a metronomic accompaniment of my artery with 'Angel'.  Perhaps seeking redemption, it's an updated digitization with Dolby-S - a raw version (yes, even shittier) from 10yrs+ ago with split 'tracks' is probably floating round in some collections.   Kim Pieters was recording the same night (a track turned up on the God Came Between Us compilation), and it's no doubt far better quality.  But this is what you get.

As this guy wrote:
The year is 1995 and The Dead C are playing at the Super 8 Arts Collective in the basement of a deconsecrated church in Dunedin, on New Zealand's South Island. After eight years together, they have fully developed their improvised free noise strategy: beginning without an end in mind, their 'songs' sometimes bear a vague resemblance to their records - then they lurch abruptly into unfamiliar areas -in a manner utterly alien to rock conventions.

Some Terminals related, here:
Dark Matter - Live, Christchurch 2012-14


          Rare New Zealand abstract/experimental sampler, rec. 1979-1985        

Mrs Blucher likes:
A sampler of rare New Zealand abstract/experimental independent music.
Originally recorded 1979-1985.
Featuring tracks by Graham Sinclair, Coalition Broadcasting Corp., Steve Roach, The Bad Dexters', The Picnic Boys.



And more synth/oddities, more post-punk/DIY perhaps... from the same artists and including Rome



More info and tracklisting:
www.lingering.co.nz/pages/making-airplane-noise

          Global "Ease of Doing Business" Ranking        
Morocco gets the honors for "most improved", while Korea enters the top 10. Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, US and Denmark still rule.

29 Vote(s)
          Bees and Other Bugs: Teaching Natural History with PUPA Education        

PUPA (Preservation & Understanding of Plants and Arthropods)

Today's podcast is a conversation with Duncan Allen and Tarryn Castle of PUPA Education, a UK-based social enterprise dedicated to educating people about the natural world, especially the myriad tiny creatures that are collectively responsible for the quality of the soil, upon which all land-based life ultimately depends.

About Duncan and Tarryn

Duncan Allen

 

Duncan Allen (CRB certified): Has 5 year’s experience of working with the public at both the University of Plymouth and the Plymouth City Museum.  He has been, Science Week co-ordinator and involved with summer school activities, seaside safaris, school visits and bug hunts promoting insect awareness and education; and most recently with the BBC “Live ‘n’ Deadly” road show.  He is the Royal Entomological Societies student representative and is currently employed at Plymouth City Museum Natural History Department where he is the volunteer supervisor.

 

Tarryn Castle

Tarryn Castle (CRB certified):  Has great passion and concern for the environment.  Growing up in New Zealand she assisted children’s after school art classes whilst attending Manukau Institute of Technology.  She has spent a number of years volunteering for the green party and WOOFING (Working On Organic Farms an international volunteer organization) in New Zealand and the Wilderness Society in Australia. Whilst attending University at Aberystwyth she was involved with setting up a local Beach Cleaning Group and helped to organise and co-ordinate student volunteers as well as work with the public and raise general awareness. She is currently working on a number of projects for Buglife: The Invertebrate Conservation Trust.

 

Both Duncan and Tarryn have completed an MSc in Entomology and have practical experience and knowledge of invertebrate conservation in the U.K.

Duncan Allen & Tarryn Castle
PUPA educational Workshops
3 Newnham Road
Plymouth
Devon
PL47AN
PUPA.education@gmail.com
www.pupa-education.co.uk

PUPA Education web site - http://www.pupa-education.co.uk


          Interview with Murray McGregor        

There has been a good deal of controversy over the plans by the Co-Op to import up to 600 colonies of bees from New Zealand. I have myself been critical of introducing 'foreign' bees in such numbers, but I wanted to get the facts on the story, so I arranged with the Co-Op to interview Murray McGregor, the man in charge of the import.

This podcast will give you an opportunity to listen to what Murray has to say and to make up your own mind as to the rights and wrongs of the issue.

A reminder that if you have a question for me, or a subject you would like me to talk about, please send an email to phil@biobees.com.

The voicemail number is no longer operational, as nobody was using it and it was costing me money. If you really want to be able to talk to me, please make contact on Skype, where my username is beesontoast.

I do get a lot of emails and I simply don't have time to answer detailed questions, so if you have a beekeeping question, please remember the natural beekeeping forum at naturalbeekeeping.org, where you will find over 5,000 people willing to help you, some of whom may be in your area.



          Spring at the Nursery, Part 3        
OK, now that "spring" is over, i.e. 80-hour work-weeks, blogging can return to a more regular schedule. While relatively crazy, I always appreciate the lessons learned from the industry's peak-season, and especially the new-plant experiences.

Case in point, is the re-discovery for me personally, of the genus Geum, one that had faded to near obscurity in recent years. New (and improved) introductions however, have turned the tide. Particularly impressive is the sterile selection called Totally Tangerine ('Tim's Tangerine'), pictured below, with very pleasant, re-blooming light orange flowers.
Another one I like is a Piet Oudolf selection called 'Flames of Passion' with slightly nodding flowers (on dark stems) of a very pleasant red-pink colour.
Here's a few other "miscellaneous" shots from the nursery this spring.

Centaurea montana 'Amethyst in Mist':
A new plant we are trying, Dianthus 'Fusion' from Walters Gardens' (Michigan) Kevin Hurd, with very nice bi-colour flowers:
Here's a close-up of the new Geranium 'Sandrine', the new and improved version from France, of the older and somewhat un-vigorous 'Ann Folkard'. The flowers are nearly twice the size.
This is an unidentified (I hate that), single white Peony:
I've long been a fan of the New Zealand 'New Millennium' series of Delphinium, but the 'Guardian' series is also superb:
Finally, a few shots from my "private stock", i.e. various new plants that we are trying this spring, including some plants from this spring that I simply must have. ;)
Heucherella 'Sweet Tea' has been amazing:
While slower, Heucherella 'Golden Zebra' has also been impressive:

Here's to dirt under your nails.

Mark, the coolplantsguy
          Architectural hardware products that look good and feel good        

Halliday + Baillie is a New Zealand company that has been operating for 19 years and has exported hardware worldwide for a decade. Our design encompasses quality, flair, functionality, and longevity. Products are proudly produced in New Zealand where lower volumes enable careful monitoring with a correspondingly high production quality. Handles may be turned a thousand […]

The post Architectural hardware products that look good and feel good appeared first on Australian Design Review.


          Virat Kohli Once Again Proves Why He Is A Match-Winner Guides India To Crushing Win Over Kiwis        

Virat Kohli indeed makes a great batsman of Indian Cricket Team. He was the one who has led the Indian team to many victorious innings and has very effectively handled the Captaincy of the team. He has once again proved his mettle in the match held between India and New Zealand. The first ODI between […]

The post Virat Kohli Once Again Proves Why He Is A Match-Winner Guides India To Crushing Win Over Kiwis appeared first on GoBigNews.com.


          Queensland policy to prioritise local businesses despite trade agreements 'crazy', NZ Government says        
The New Zealand Government issues a public invitation to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to discuss a "crazy" and "possibly illegal" decision to ignore trade agreements, which could threaten up to 30,000 Queensland jobs and $5 billion in state exports.
          BANG BANG: Adam Hartzell        
[BANG BANG is our week-long look back at 20!!, or "Twenty-bang-bang," or 2011, with contributions from all over aiming to cover all sorts of enthusiasms from film to music to words and beyond.]


by Adam Hartzell

I spend most of my time watching movies out of sync with my time and place. Since I prefer cinema from elsewhere, only one U.S. film makes my Top Ten, though it does make the top spot. Work and financial constraints keep me from traveling abroad for film festival premieres, which means I have to wait until they make it here to San Francisco. So my Top Ten lists usually say something about my cosmopolitan dreams that are anchored awake by my restricted finances and mobility. But here are 10 films which were released this year, or made their way to Bay Area festivals in 2011, about which I have found myself still ruminating in a positive way since they shined their light and heat on my eyes.
 
10. Passion (Khusel Shunal) (Byamba Sakhya, 2010, Mongolia) I knew nothing about Mongolian cinema until this documentary about said cinema, told through a lonely road movie, found its way into the program of this year's San Francisco Asian American International Film Festival. Now I want to know more, which is ironic since the film presents a pessimistic view of Mongolian cinema's future. But it's at least caught the fascination of one viewer even more isolated from this nation's cinema than the Mongolian residents portrayed in the documentary.

9. Aurélie Laflamme's Diary (Christian Laurence, 2010, Canada) A French language film from Quebec that was part of the NY/SF International Children's Film Festival that ran from October 21-23 at Viz Cinema, it ended up winning an audience award. I would have voted for it as well, had I seen it in the theater along with that awarding audience rather than on DVD for an sf360.org overview I wrote on the festival. It's a teen film that doesn't have to throw an American-Pie in our faces thinking that will entertain the kids and kidults. Marianne Verville is a refreshing presence in the lead role, allowed to be awkward in what is an awkward time of our lives. Plus, although she gets the boy the genre demands, she isn't swan-ed away from her duckling beginnings.


8. The Trip (Michael Winterbottom, 2011, United Kingdom) I am still laughing about the scene where Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are riffing on announcing the inexact time of an ancient battle. Adding to this comedic pleasure was that I got to laugh at this scene along with a friend I hadn’t seen in some time whom I randomly ran into in the lobby of The Bridge theatre before the screening. It was a nice day in the Richmond neighborhood thanks to the run-ins such local establishments afford.


7. Oki's Movie (Hong Sang-soo, 2010, South Korea) I got to see three of my favorite director’s films for the first time this year. (The others were Ha Ha Ha on DVD because I couldn't make the screenings at the San Francisco International Film Festival and The Day He Arrives on screen at the Starz Denver Film Festival in mid-November with the proprietor of the Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee blog, Peter Nellhaus.) Thanks to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, I was able to watch Oki's Movie in the theatre in late June after having already seen it on DVD to prepare a piece for sf360. I'm biased in that I always find something to ruminate on endlessly in a Hong film (even with my least favorite, Woman Is the Future of Man). But Oki's Movie seems to have won over those who haven't been fans of his work. I think a big reason is the auditioning of men in Oki's movie nested within "Oki's Movie" that Andrew Tracy expertly analyzes in the Fall 2010 issue of Cinema Scope magazine.

6. The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls (Leanne Pooley, 2009, New Zealand) Finally getting the theatre release it deserved, The Topp Twins graced our local screens outside of the film festivals that started the momentum (Frameline in 2010 and Mostly British in 2011). I own the DVD and saw the film in the theatre three times, once each at those festivals and once in Berkeley at Shattuck Cinemas with my cousin when it was released. Even after all these screenings, I'm still moved by how much major moments of the lives of these yodeling, country singing lesbian twins are tied up with major political successes in New Zealand history. I am still giddy about getting to meet them for an interview for sf360, the most nervous I have ever been for an interview.

5. Poetry (Lee Chang-dong, 2010, South Korea) Poetry definitively represents what I have been appreciating lately about South Korean cinema - how much it has opened up cinematic space for its senior actresses. Yun Jung-hee came out of retirement for this virtuoso performance of Lee Chang-dong's as he continues to explore the life of the outsider in South Korea. During my first draft of this brief commentary on Poetry, I went into a rant about how, if there failed to be a Best Actress nom nod to Yun, the Oscars would continue to be irrelevant in my cinematic life. But after writing that draft, I went to talk with Brian Darr of Hell on Frisco Bay blog and he informed me the Los Angeles Critic Circle gave Yun their Best Actress award. As a result, I put my seething rage at the Oscars as a failed institution back into its cage to be unleashed some other day.


4. The Salesman (Sébastian Pilote, 2011, Canada) I am someone upon whom car commercials fail to make the intended impact. I don't desire the products they advertise. And I don't buy into the false sense of freedom the commercials purport to symbolize. (The streets are usually much more crowded than as portrayed in the commercials and buying a car shackles you with debt, high gas prices, and vast acres of asphalt requirements for roads and parking.) That said, I'm primed to appreciate the tragedy in The Salesman, a perfect example of a genre I'm calling 'Post Peak Oil Cinema', where the life of a successful car salesman is turned on its head by the very products he sells so successfully. The Salesman is a sad, sad film that doesn't pummel you but rather slowly piles upon you like the snow that surrounds this little Quebec town.

3. The Life of Fish (Matías Bize, 2010, Chile) My wife and I caught this film during our yearly Caltrain trip to Cinequest in San Jose because it fit with our schedule and it's one of those happy accident, eeny-meeny-miney-mo(e)ments where you select a film with no real sense of what you are getting yourself into and you realize the programmers have made an excellent choice for you. In this film, we travel through a party held in a single house as our main character relives his younger self through his memories and those of others. Simple, poignant, and delightful.


2. Nostalgia for the Light (Patrico Guzmán, 2010, France/Chile/Germany) This was a truly amazing film I saw in the Dolby screening room as part of the press screenings for the San Francisco International Film Festival this year. Guzmán’s pairing of professional astronomers with amateur archaeologists works on so many levels. Even though the archaeologists are searching for the remains of family members killed by their own government, somehow, in spite of all this, Guzmán leaves us with tremendous hope for humanity.

1. Deaf Jam (Judy Lieff, 2011, USA) I have not had the experience with a film for a long time like I had with Lieff’s documentary about high school Deaf poets venturing out into the venues of a (hearing) poetry slam. Cinema transfixed me again at the Mill Valley Film Festival like it did the first time I could not stopping about the impact a film had on me. Lieff captures the vibrancy of American Sign Language through several tactics of translation. Her willingness to mess with the text of subtitling the poems in the opening sequence is mesmerizing. At the same time, she even took the risk not to translate the ASL later in the film and it is just as powerful sans subtitles. Mixed in with this story of the life of young Deaf folk is a story about the struggles of immigrant children whose parents’ citizenship comes after they enter adulthood and a friendship between a young Israeli Jew and Palestinian Muslim. Lieff and the subjects of her documentary show us how ASL is as perfect a language of cinema as any other, leaving you hoping Lieff and the students she films don’t stop here. We need these stories. We need this kind of active, engaged cinema.


________________________________

Adam Hartzell is totally bummed that sf360.org is no longer publishing because he had a blast writing for them for three years. He continues to write for Brian Darr's San Francisco film blog, Hell on Frisco Bay, and the premier English language website on South Korean cinema, Koreanfilm.org. He began this year as a guest on an episode of the VCinema podcast where he discussed the original version and the recent re-visioning of the South Korean classic The Housemaid (MP3). He has had a few magazine pieces in Kyoto Journal, a chapter on The Power of Kangwon Province for The Cinema of Japan and Korea (Wallflower Press), and next year he will have a bunch of essays in the upcoming publication of World Directory of Cinema: Korea (Intellect, Ltd.).

          FOUR MIXED UP CALLING BIRDS        
Have you ever wondered what those "Four Calling Birds" are all about? (Explanation to follow...)  


Are these calling birds?

Definitely not these guys...


Hmmm. [source]

My favorite:
source: Anne Geddes
There's a reason the stanza about "calling birds" doesn't make much sense: the original line in the song The 12 Days of Christmas names four "colly birds", an alternate word for the Common Blackbird. The Blackbird is a common backyard bird in Europe and has a melodious song. It also lives in Asia, North Africa and it has been introduced to Australia and New Zealand. [source: Birdorable.com]

In England a coal mine is called a colliery and colly or collie is a derivation of this and means black like coal. 

For a long time in England, blackbirds have been referred to as both blackbirds (as in the nursery rhyme Sing a Song of Sixpence) and colly birds as in The Twelve Days of Christmas.

As to why the person in the song would give his true love a gift of blackbirds, the answer is that this would have been another gift of food. Blackbirds were plentiful and were a common food. [source: Hubpages.com]


Mystery solved.  

          Jason Books and New Zealand Small Presses        
Auckland's Jason Books stock books from The Holloway Press and a number of other small presses. 
A list of titles currently in stock, images and more detailed entries are available on their website.

          Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2014 - top 10 cities        
1. Paris, France


2. Trinidad, Cuba


3. Cape Town, South Africa


4. Riga, Latvia



5. Zuerich Schwitzerland



6. Shanghai, China




7. Vancouver, Canada



8.Chicago, Illinois, USA



9. Adelaide, Australien



10. Auckland, New Zealand




To see the article click here. 









          Blue Flag Status for 8 of the City of Cape Town's beaches        
Picture: iafrica (source: Tumblr)

The National Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, confirmed that eight of the City of Cape Town’s beaches and two of its marinas have been awarded Blue Flag Status.

The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded annually to over 3650 beaches and marinas in 44 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean. The City has successfully participated in the Blue Flag Beach Programme since its inception in South Africa in 2001.

This year the City applied for Blue Flag status for eight of its beaches across the metropole – all of which have been granted this coveted status. This means that the City has the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in South Africa.

The beaches that have been awarded Blue Flag status for this season, which runs from 1 December 2012 to 31 March 2013, are Bikini, Mnandi, Strandfontein, Muizenberg, Llandudno, Camps Bay, Clifton 4th and Silwerstroomstrand.

Blue Flag beaches are required to meet 32 criteria spanning four aspects of coastal management: water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and safety and services. The status indicates that the beaches are clean, have adequate ablution facilities and parking, are environmentally sound, are safe and secure to visit, and adhere to international safety and tourism standards.

In conclusion, the Blue Flag brand adds value to Cape Town’s Responsible Tourism offerings and supports the implementation of the City’s Responsible Tourism Policy.

Read more: http://business.iafrica.com/property/news/821952.html?p=1


          Western Men Have Declining Sperm Counts, Asian Men Safe, Study Finds        

Men living in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have falling sperm counts, a newly-published study has reported. Dr. Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem led the meta-analysis of 185 studies, which involved 42,935 male participants from 50 different countries who provided semen samples between 1973 and 2011. The analysis included other […]

The post Western Men Have Declining Sperm Counts, Asian Men Safe, Study Finds appeared first on NextShark.


          Feature Winter 2017        
The act of putting brush to canvas continues to be a vital, explorative way of making art. Julian McKinnon speaks to four New Zealand painters about their practice and is told, “There are so many ways to be a painter now.” read more
          Lemon Pavlova         
Lemon Pavlova  Recipe
Lemon Pavlova
This show-stopping dessert is a New Zealand (and Australian) classic reportedly created in honor of the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova when she visited the Southern Hemisphere. Our version delivers a wonderful combination of sweet meringue crunch and velvety tart lemon curd. The meringue is somewhat fragile—expect it to crack and crumble a bit as you slice it into individual servings. For the best results, avoid making the meringue on a humid or rainy day. The extra moisture in the air may prevent it from drying and crisping properly.

          Buy Hi-Octane Legal Higs New Zealand        

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          Buy TNT Legal Higs New Zealand        

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          A Love Letter to Singapore Airlines        
I used to be a Star Alliance Gold card holder from my extensive travel with BMI and other *A carriers. Eventually my travel tailed off a little and I dropped to Silver *just* before BA took over BMI and my *A status was converted to One World. Which was ok, because a BA Silver is in many ways similar to other airlines gold with all the lounge access I could need. The chances of getting or retaining a BA Gold card were about the same as those of me becoming a teetotal vegan, so I settled into my new position in life ;-)

However, it was a little disappointing and strange that I switched over to One World just before I landed a job in Singapore. In my *A days, everyone knew that Singapore Airlines were *the* top *A carrier (honourable mention to Air New Zealand) and so they always cropped up in any forum conversation about how best to use miles. Now I was in the perfect place to earn and redeem miles well, my new employer always uses SQ for travel but I was kind of stuck with my BA Silver and a whole bunch of miles and partner vouchers and the rest. To give you an example, when my new employer was helping me book our business class flights to move out to Singapore, you could tell they were a little confused as to why we weren't choosing SQ. Tier points, of course! ;-)

Don't get me wrong, BA are great and I've had some good rewards over the past few years, but my choice of loyalty program suddenly felt out of step with my life so I was considering a gradual cutover to KrisFlyer. But SQ never do status matches (as far as I know), so it was going to take a while. Making it worse was the fact that I've grown to like Cathay Pacific and so the temptation to stay put in OneWorld is stronger.

Anyway, I've said enough to merely touch on my intense geekery about airline loyalty programs and, for that matter, airlines and air travel in general.

However, the experience of last week has convinced me that Singapore Airlines are unparalleled in their customer service. The fleet and on-board service are already great, even in Economy (really - Europeans should try a dose of Far Eastern mid-haul travel to see the difference), but Customer Service is such a difficult thing to get right and SQ absolutely knocked the ball out of the park!

I'm terrible with names and remembering them but, in any case, there was such a large team of people over the course of 3 and a half days that were almost uniformly excellent, professional and warm that I'm not sure I want to single anyone out. I will pick out a few small examples (in order of the time they happened) but I'm not sure that will communicate just how happy everyone I know was with the customer service.

- I was constantly having struggles getting out of the terminal for a smoke and, on one occasion, I asked one of the senior ground crew how I could get out and he walked me out personally, dealt with security and stood there while I had a smoke, so he could then help me back into the terminal. He was a smoker too, so he understood, but he didn't have one himself. Absolutely not his job, but just caring about different passengers needs.

- At every single turn (and the passengers discussed this several times amongst ourselves), the airline made the right decision, at just the right time and so it always felt like we were ahead of the game. They couldn't change the situation or unblock the blockages but once they realised there was a blockage, they simply found a way around it. They didn't pussy-foot about and there was only very rarely a sense of "what's happening here?". Even in those moments, it was really just about the airline trying to work out for themselves what was happening.

- There were very few changes in team members. Where we went, they went. When we were able to sleep, even if it was on the floor of the terminal, they weren't. When we were able to sit and relax in the hotel, they were still chasing around trying to make plans for us despite having no sleep themselves. Whatever challenges we experienced, they experienced worse because they couldn't have a seat, grab a nap, get a shower or whatever either and not once did I get any sense that it bothered them. They must have been *shattered* with tiredness and they never let it show or gave even a hint of this not being their favourite work experience!

- When the Regional Manager turns up to deliver a short speech to passengers who haven't seen a bed or a shower in over 50 hours and is basically telling them that there's no quick end in sight and they *applaud* you spontaneously during your speech and at the end, you know you're doing this thing right. Embarassing though it is to admit it, and I suspect my extreme tiredness was a factor, I was practically wiping away a tear! In retrospect, I realise that it was because they seemed to genuinely care about our predicament. It's difficult to define the difference between this and fake customer care but it was clear as day if you were there. He then hung around until every single passenger had asked whatever weird and wonderful questions they had and answered them with calm authority and honesty.

- The free food was endless and of great quality, despite my personal preferences. Not your European - here's a voucher for a cup of coffee and a sandwich. Instead - here are three proper meals a day at the right time. I'm guessing this was very important to most people, particularly the large number of families among the passengers and in the end (as you'll see in another blog post), they moved us at one point from one hotel to another, just so people could eat and wash.

- As soon as it became clear that MAA was shut down for days, they made a (heavily caveated) promise that they would try to organise some extra capacity out of Bangalore as the fastest way to get us home. They had to work with the air authorities on this, they were in the midst of every airline trying to do the same, were operating to tight timescales and were honest with us that it was starting to look unlikely and so spent hours trying to rebook people on to other flights to Mumbai and other routes. But they came through. They promised they would try something for us, they worked on it and worked on it until they made it happen and they got people home.

I can't emphasise enough how fantastic SQ were over my 85 hour (read that again - 85 hour) trip home. If it was just me saying this, then it would be personal taste, but a bunch of extremely tired passengers with a wide demographic all seemed to agree whenever we discussed it or I heard others discussing it. The interesting (but really unsurprising thing), is that I also found my fellow passengers understanding and behaviour far above what I've ever experienced in a situation like this. Mmmmm ... maybe when you treat people well, they behave well?

So, Seah Chee Chian and your team ... You should be extremely proud of yourselves! But I mean the whole team, working selflessly over hours and days and showing genuine care for your customers, which is so rare. I'm not a fan of low cost airlines in general - each to their own - so the small difference in fares has never been a question for me and it's at times like this you remember you get what you pay for! However, I can put Singapore's efforts up against any full-fare airline I've ever flown with and I can't think of one that would have handled things as impressively. I just always knew I could count on SQ to take care of me.

You have a fan for life!


P.S. All of this and having the best airport on the planet (SIN) as your hub. What more could I ask for?

P.P.S. I was obviously delighted to get any seat on any plane going back to Singapore to be home again with Mads. So when I was asked whether I was happy to be downgraded to Economy it wasn't a long consideration, but I'll obviously be reclaiming the cost of that upgrade. I mean, the experience hasn't changed me *that* much! ;-)

P.P.P.S. ... and you would think that such a glowing tribute to such an amazing airline might, you know, increase my chances of an upgrade one day. (See? Ever the frequent flyer! LOL)

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此专题所有 19 篇报道 »

          Singapore Stopover        
On our way back from New Zealand we spent a couple of nights in Singapore – for the second time in three years. It was the hot and humid rainy season (34° and 90% humidity) but nonetheless it is a fascinating place to visit and having discovered how cheap the taxis were, we only walked […]
          Land of the Long White Cloud        
Botanically, New Zealand is an extraordinary country. Because it drifted off from the rest of the world so early on, its natural flora is very limited and with the exception of the red flowers of the Metrosideros (New Zealand Christmas Tree), flowers tend to be insignificant, with a natural wooded landscape that is predominantly a […]
          The New Zealand Christmas Tree        
The last time I saw this glorious tree was at Logan Botanic Garden where it flowers in August. Here it is just coming into flower and will be at its peak by Christmas. It’s Maori name is Phutukawa and botanically it is Metrosideros excelsa, but New Zealand Christmas tree is a lot easier to remember. […]
          Ancient Rome in California        
Enroute to New Zealand, we spent a couple of night in Los Angeles and managed to visit the Getty Villa in Malibu – an extraordinary confection filled with priceless treasures in a Hollywood setting. The gardens are planted with plants that would have been familiar to the Romans and although they have struggled with the […]
          Lighting the Way        
The silver-leaved tree fern is New Zealand’s national plant. The undersides of the leaves really glow in low light and in the past they were used by Maoris to light pathways at night.
          Kiwi attacked in Poland before being dumped across border        
A New Zealander visiting Poland has been reportedly beaten and robbed in a daylight attack that ended when he was dumped across the country's border into Slovakia. The incident happened on Sunday, about 1.30pm local time, in the...
          Latin American Wings (LAW) avanza en seguridad operacional mientras anticipa un incremento de flota        
Por Ricardo J. Delpiano

LAW B737-300 mantto (RD)
Foto: Ricardo J. Delpiano
Con la premisa de que la seguridad operacional no se puede ni debe ser transada, Latin American Wings (LAW) ha elegido a Seabury Solutions, líder en soluciones IT de aviación a nivel global para incrementar su eficiencia de su área técnica. Se trata de la adquisición de la solución M&E Alkym para la gestión de mantenimiento de la flota actual y futura de la compañía chilena.

Con más de una década de experiencia en la industria, Seabury Solutions ha desarrollado e implementado software para distintos operadores a nivel mundial. Uno de sus productos es precisamente la solución M&E Alkym, que brinda un control y gestión de mantenimiento de flota sobre una base de máxima funcionalidad, reducción de costos, utilización amigable, tiempos cortos de implementación, capaz de acompañar el crecimiento del operador con un respaldo permanente. Según sus creadores, las ventajas del software permiten incrementar la eficiencia operacional, reducir los costos operativos, mejorar la productividad y favorecer el desarrollo de la organización.

Andrés Dulcinelli, gerente general de LAW, asegura que “la proyección de desarrollo contempló en todo momento, la necesidad de incorporar una herramienta para realizar la gestión del mantenimiento de nuestras aeronaves de manera eficiente. Esto nos llevó a elegir ALKYM, un software de clase mundial que no sólo cubre nuestros requerimientos actuales, sino que además prevemos nos podrá acompañar en el crecimiento de la compañía, al momento de ir incorporando nuevas aeronaves a nuestra flota.”

Manuel Roché, vicepresidente de Ventas LATAM de Seabury Solutions, destaca que la incorporación de LAW a su cartera de clientes “es muy importante ya que el mercado aeronáutico chileno es uno de los más profesionales y eficientes a nivel latinoamericano. En ese sentido, es un orgullo que tomen en cuenta nuestro producto y creemos que puede ser un gran aporte en temas como mantenimiento programado, optimización en el racionamiento y el uso de inventario, entre otros.”

Fortalecer los trabajos de mantenimiento es fundamental para brindar un servicio totalmente seguro a las operaciones actuales, considerando la alta tasa de utilización de las aeronaves y el crecimiento significativo que tendrá la flota en los próximos años.

Actualmente, LAW posee en operación cuatro Boeing 737-300 y por estos días está incorporando un quinto ejemplar. En un plazo de un año y medio a dos años, espera triplicar ese número, incorporando hasta 14 B737-300 que estarán destinados a ampliar gradualmente sus operaciones en Chile y en la región, especialmente tras la adquisición de StarPerú.

“Al comprar StarPerú queremos meternos firme en el mercado doméstico peruano pero también aprovechar todo lo que corresponde a la 5ta libertad desde Lima, por lo que tenemos concentrar mucha fuerza en varios destinos,” dice Dulcinelli al ser consultado sobre las novedades de la flota. En conversación, indica que parte de esos aviones ayudarán a homologar las flotas de StarPeru y LAW con una sola familia de aviones, lo que se traducirá en mayor eficiencia operativa así como en mayor capacidad para mover más pasajeros. “Seis de esos aviones se irán a ese reemplazo”, anticipa.

El ejecutivo destaca que la adquisición de la aerolínea peruana será un salto significativo para el crecimiento de LAW que complementará la expansión que están desarrollando en Chile. “StarPerú nos trae mucho beneficios. Estaba en los GDS algo que no teníamos y por otro lado, es una marca muy respetada con una operación de 20 años, seria y con un muy buen background operativo que queremos impulsar”.

Los planes de LAW son ambiciosos. Con servicio más tradicional (legacy), esperan abrirse camino en el mercado latinoamericano siguiendo un modelo hub-spoke a través de Santiago y Lima. Parte de los proyectos consisten en ingresar al mercado de larga distancia hacia Norteamérica aprovechando una reciente adjudicación de frecuencias que incluyen derechos de 5ta libertad en Lima y en Caracas. Para materializar las nuevas rutas, LAW está próxima a adquirir dos B767-300ER ex Air New Zealand.

Dulcinelli cuenta que la selección del B767 responde a sus prestaciones y a la extraordinaria fiabilidad operacional que posee, agregando que los ejemplares de la aerolínea neozelandesa se encuentran en perfectas condiciones y con la ventaja de haber estado siempre bajo un mismo operador desde su entrega. Agrega que a partir de octubre esperan adquirir también un B757-200 en régimen ACMI. “Vamos a tomar un avión de Icelandair un B757 por un periodo de cinco meses para volar la ruta a Caracas y abrir nuevos destinos en Norteamérica, aprovechando los permisos que tenemos”, señala.

Las inversiones en seguridad como en flota son parte de las carpetas de trabajo que LAW posee para el corto-mediano plazo y que deben ser entendidos como un proceso de transformación integral que toma tiempo e inversiones. Por lo mismo, en la compañía enfatizan en el rol gradual de estos, más todavía cuando uno de los objetivos es brindar un servicio seguro, completo y de alta calidad al pasajero.

          Latin American Wings (LAW) se adjudica nuevas rutas con las que proyecta llegar hasta Miami        
Por Ricardo J. Delpiano

LAW B737-300 CC-ARQ remoto (RD)
Foto: Ricardo J. Delpiano
En un hecho fundamental para continuar avanzando en su plan de expansión, Latin American Wings (LAW) se adjudicó a través de la licitación efectuada por la Junta Aeronáutica Civil (JAC), de una nueva frecuencia entre Santiago y Lima, además de dos frecuencias semanales entre Santiago y Caracas con derechos de 5ta libertad para Miami.

Con esta adjudicación, LAW se ha autoimpuesto cercano en el horizonte temporal para comenzar las operaciones de estas nuevas rutas, las que según declaraciones de la compañía se enmarcan dentro de su objetivo de transformarse en un actor de mediana relevancia en el mercado en un plazo de cinco años.

“Para LAW esta licitación significa un paso más dentro de los muchos que estamos adoptando para incrementar nuestra presencia en Latinoamérica, pero también es una señal de que estamos haciendo las cosas bien, lo que nos llena de orgullo y satisfacción”, precisa Andrés Dulcinelli, gerente general de la compañía.

Las nueva frecuencia semanal Santiago – Lima cuenta con derechos de 3era y 4ta libertad con lo cual, suma 11 frecuencias por semana a la capital peruana. Actualmente, Lima es el principal destino internacional de la compañía por su posición estratégica en el continente que le permite servir de escala técnica para su flota de Boeing 737-300 para las operaciones hacia el Caribe.

En el caso de la ruta Santiago – Caracas, la misma licitación otorga derechos en ese tramo y de 5ta libertad hasta Miami y más allá. LAW expresa que esto abre un abanico de posibilidades de expansión para que la compañía alcance el mercado estadounidense, afirmaciones que se interpretan como un reconocimiento tácito a sus próximos planes.

LAW se encuentra en proceso de adquirir aviones dos o tres Boeing 767-300ER con los cuales proyecta iniciar vuelos de larga distancia, teniendo a Miami como principal destino inicial. Si bien no ha informado de manera oficial sus planes, fuentes desde Venezuela indican que podría atender ese destino a través de Caracas, aprovechando el alto flujo de pasajeros que existe entre la capital venezolana y la ciudad estadounidense, y la reducción de capacidad que existe en la ruta debido a la situación política que afecta al país.

La fórmula que plantea LAW es válida y puede ser una carta interesante que puede abrirle camino ante el incremento de la competencia que vive la región. De manera indirecta, LAW ha conseguido atender el tráfico étnico producto de las migraciones segmento de pasajeros en el cual podría especializarse con un producto adecuado y una ausencia de líneas aéreas que atienden ese segmento en particular.

LAW es una de las pocas líneas aéreas que ha ingresado al mercado aéreo venezolano. De hecho, es el único operador que realiza vuelos entre Santiago y Caracas, ruta que comenzó el pasado mes de marzo. Con una frecuencia por semana los días sábados, es en la actualidad una de las pocas opciones para viajar al país caribeño desde Sudamérica, más aún considerando el reciente retiro de Avianca del país.

Dulcinelli destaca el incremento de operaciones que podrá realizar la empresa con esta nueva licitación y señala que los clientes son los que ganan. “Se nos abren hacia futuro para seguir llegando cada vez más lejos,” asegura.

A pesar de que ofrece pasajes de descuento, LAW no es una compañía de bajo costo. Por el contrario, espera abrirse camino en el mercado apostando por un producto más tradicional (legacy) con un servicio a bordo dedicado como mecanismo de atracción para sus clientes. Entre sus ventajas, destaca su servicio de comidas en rutas domésticas y gran capacidad de equipaje de mano (8 kilos) y en bodega (25 kilos).

LAW inició sus operaciones en enero de 2016, con la apertura de su primera ruta hacia Punta Cana. Actualmente cubre los destinos de Lima, Punta Cana, Caracas, Isla Margarita (en cooperación con Estelar), Puerto Príncipe, Mendoza y en el mercado doméstico, Concepción y Puerto Montt. Posee una flota operativa de cuatro B737-300 y está a la espera de sumar dos equipos adicionales, con los cuales aumentaría operaciones generando mayor eficiencia en sus rutas además de brindar mayor confiabilidad a sus operaciones. Para el mes de septiembre se estima la incorporación de los B767-300ER posiblemente ex Air New Zealand. 

          Scientists on the Margins        
by
David Nobes
2005-01-30

INTRODUCTION

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was convened in Geneva in December of 2003. When the World Summit was announced, many in the scientific community questioned why there was no clear or central role for science and scientists. Scientists at CERN, in particular, expressed their concerns because CERN, one of the premier international collaborative scientific institutions, is regarded by many as the “birthplace” of the Internet.

As a result of the interventions of scientists, the UN and WSIS Secretariat proposed to hold an additional, but separate meeting ahead of the World Summit - the Role of Science in the Information Society (RSIS). The Role of Science meeting was also held in Geneva, at CERN, immediately before the World Summit. Many who attended RSIS also attended the WSIS. (The RSIS website is still active, as of January 2005).

The RSIS was intended to provide a forum whereby scientists and science administrators could contribute to the ongoing discussions on the Information Society. The discussions focussed on information sharing - the mechanisms for such sharing, and the impact on society that information sharing could have, because it became quickly apparent that information sharing is one of the primary elements in what we have come to call the Information Society, which I will abbreviate here as IS. Information technology is abbreviated as IT.

At this point, it should be noted that many of the participants, this author included, wondered what influence we scientists might have on the larger World Summit. Because of its separateness, many attendees doubted, sometimes publicly, that we would have much impact on the main WSIS “event” (the term used on the website and in the printed material). Many felt that the meeting was nonetheless useful, but more for the informal networks and contacts that we made, rather than for the formal proceedings. This reflects the nature of the Internet and modern electronic communications, which was nicely and concisely described by Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the browser-based interface, the “World Wide Web,” now concomitant with the popular conception of the Internet. He portrayed the “essence” of the Web as “decentralized” and “fractal.” It was originally designed to fill a need to share information (“data”) that was different in nature, format, and style.

[ For a much different conception of a global informational network, albeit one that has yet to be put into popular practice, see the Home Page of Ted Nelson, eds. ]

At the end of the RSIS was a “Visionary Panel Discussion: Science and Governance.” Most of the panel members who discussed the future of the Internet used outdated and outmoded terminology and paradigms, and I think they missed some of the inherent anarchic and democratic aspects of the Internet. Many of us felt that the panel, with the exception of Berners-Lee, showed a lack of understanding of the Internet and the Web. Indeed, the character of the Internet and the Web in many ways reflect how human progress is made, whether we are discussing science or broader societal aspects. We take steps that wander up many blind alleys and false trails before hitting upon solutions to previously unsolved problems. The solutions are almost always imperfect and almost always later superseded by some better approach. It is necessarily unstructured and chaotic, as any creative activity will be. However, those involved directly, such as scientists, are often excluded from the decision-making processes, which tend to be dominated by politicians and bureaucrats who are in general sadly ignorant of science and its methods. I hope to expand on this theme in the report that follows. The issues raised are no less relevant and important a year on from the meeting. The most exciting and innovative projects described during the meeting emphasised the lack of centralized control over the Internet and the Web, and that such control is nearly impossible. We cannot control what people do with the Internet; instead the main issue should be about showing people how to use the Internet effectively and sceptically.

The structure of this report is simple. It follows the structure of the meeting, which was built around the central RSIS “themes”: education; economic development; environment; health; and enabling technologies. I summarise some of the main points and observations from each session, highlighting those talks, presentations and sessions that seem to have best captured the atmosphere of the RSIS and future of the Information Society.

OPENING PLENARY SESSION - “SETTING THE SCENE”

The opening plenary session comprised a series of presentations that ranged widely across the IS spectrum. Adolf Ogi, Special Advisor on WSIS to the Swiss Federal Council, officially welcomed the RSIS participants on behalf of Switzerland, the host country, and challenged the participants to promote “science for all, without boundaries.” He touched on the issues of control of technology and the role of infrastructure, and the costs associated with both. When we say “costs”, we mean both the cost to society as a whole and the cost to the individual. This becomes, then, a major concern in developing countries where personal monetary wealth is limited, and thus access to modern computing tools is limited.

Two speakers put the Role of Science in the context of the World Summit on the Information Society. Adama Samassékou, President of the WSIS Preparation Committee, addressed the gulf between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” using the now common phrase “the digital divide.” However, Samassékou went beyond these almost clichéd terms and viewpoints to discuss the traditional forms of knowledge, and how in the IS world oral traditions, and the information they transmit, are being lost, largely because we have not had a means to incorporate them into the technology of the IS. He emphasised the goal of a lack of boundaries for the sharing of information, and the need to promote the IS within an ethical framework. In this framework, he included environmental ethics. This theme arose again in the special session on the Environment in the IS.

Yoshia Utsumi, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, emphasised accessibility of IS, but his emphasis was on scientific access. This was perhaps a reflection of the audience, but was then limited in its scope, especially when considered in the light of some of the presentations that came later in the day. He noted the lack of scientific funding in the developing world, and the “problems” in science policy. My opinion is that “gap” may have been a more appropriate word, because few countries, developing or otherwise, have clear policies for the sharing of information, scientific or otherwise. Many that do have such policies, such as the U.S.A., obstruct information sharing for reasons of “security,” even though open access to data and information is often the best defence. However, as Utsumi noted, this was a beginning of the process of discussion and policy formulation.

After the two RSIS context speakers, we listened to three “keynote” speakers, each of whom gave brief talks: Dr Nitin Desai, Special Advisor to Kofi Annan on WSIS; HRH Princess Maha Chakro Sirindhom of Thailand; and Walter Erdelen, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at UNESCO. These talks touched on issues of citizen-to-citizen communication and the “digital divide” (Desai), the lack of access to IT and concepts of sustainability in the IS (Sirindhom), and the environment (Erdelen).

Dr Esther Dyson, the Founding Chair of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), was listed as speaking on “the promise of the Information Society and the role that science and technology have played.” ICANN is the organisation responsible for mediating domain names. They do not assign names, per se, but monitor the process and the circumstances. They have little power, but unfortunately are often seen, incorrectly, as responsible for the current morass over domain names. Dyson did not speak on the listed topic, but instead talked about the role of scientists themselves, rather than some monolithic “science,” in the future of the IS. She also emphasised that we cannot solve the problems of the Internet in a question and answer session.

Finally, Ismail Serageldin, the Director-General of the Library of Alexandria, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the state of IT use at the Library. It is impossible to cover all of the material he (rapidly yet effectively) presented. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is making use of IT in many ways, and to a large extent (their website is www.bibalex.org). Some of the problems and issues Serageldin identified for the RSIS were, to name a few:

* effective and accessible publication and dissemination of information, specifically research and the results of research;
* peer-review (or lack thereof for online publications);
* copyright and “fair use” of online materials; and
* Internet library loans.

He discussed the rise of anti-science movements, particularly in the context of fundamentalist religious groups, and both here and in his talk he noted that these were not only Islamic but also Christian fundamentalist groups. Some approaches they used to try to counter such movements were:

* the establishment of a BA science “supercourse”;
* reaching children with “My Book”, which placed the child within the book designed and partly written by the child using online resources; and
* the “Hole in the Wall” computer.

This last approach was particularly interesting and revolutionary. The concept is to place a PC secured into a recess in a wall, using a transparent cover to allow visibility and access to the touch screen. Results showed that illiterate people, especially children and young adults, were learning to read by working their way through Internet connections. They would begin by using the symbols to guide their way, but would eventually learn to decipher at least in part the messages that accompanied those symbols.

One unfortunate omission from the programme was the presentation by Tim Berners-Lee, who was delayed by a snowstorm in Boston, and did not arrive until half way through the second day of the symposium.

“THE FUTURE: What the Scientific Information Society Can Offer”

The next session was a bit of a misnomer. It was a mix of topics, ranging from GIS to technological access for urban and rural poor people to sociological aspects. The sociological paper was simply a written paper read aloud, with a singular lack of the use of any of the technology we had been discussing. The sociological presentation simply served to emphasise the growing gap between scientists and some social scientists, and made me uncomfortably aware of why the Sokal hoax had worked so well amongst the social science journals; the presentation was unnecessarily rife with jargon that obscures rather than informs.

As an aside, for those unfamiliar with the Sokal hoax, Allan Sokal is a Professor of Physics at New York University who submitted a hoax article, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” to the journal Social Text. As the Skeptics Dictionary says (http://skepdic.com/sokal.html):

The article was a hoax submitted, according to Sokal, to see “would a leading journal of cultural studies publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions?” It would. Needless to say, the editors of Social Text were not pleased.

What Sokal was attacking was the view amongst some social scientists that “physical reality” is a social construct, whereas the existence of an external “world” is an underlying premise in science. There is insufficient space to explore this issue adequately here, but the reader is referred to the many websites dealing with the Sokal “affair” (especially, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_Affair and http://www.drizzle.com/~jwalsh/sokal/), and Sokal’s own site ( http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/)

[ Amato writes at length of the Sokal Affair in sokal text: another funny thing happened on the way to the forum; and it is discussed in Kilgore’s review of Technoscience and Cyberculture, and Ciccoricco’s Contour of a Contour, eds. ]

In that session, nonetheless, were two presentations that stand out in my mind, those by Lida Brito, the Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology for Mozambique, and Onno Purbo, an engineer from Indonesia. Purbo talked about how to “Facilitate Fast and Self-Propelled Internet Access: Return to Society,” a presentation that was shifted from the second day into the first day’s programme. His presentation was, in many ways, a useful counterpoint to Serageldin’s, in particular the “Hole in the Wall” PC, noted above. Purbo obtains PC’s at low cost, usually sold cheaply or donated by large companies that are upgrading their computing systems. These PC’s are then made available in “classrooms” placed in poor urban and rural areas so that the local people can use the computers. They also learn to use the Internet. Purbo provides access by, as he put it, “stealing” open frequencies. He uses antennas ingeniously constructed from old tin cans; these are sufficient to provide the signal needed. He uses open source software, and emphasised that mass education is the key to providing a basic education to the broad populace.

His presentation also served to emphasise that education is crucial for informed and useful access to the Internet. Too many people, of whatever socio-economic level, “surf” the Net without any thought about the “information” they are obtaining. The websites they access are often a source of disinformation and misinformation. However, this also serves to reinforce the democratic nature of the Internet. We cannot control how people use the Web, and the fact that there are hundreds of sites devoted to Elvis may or may not be a sad commentary on our society, but it nonetheless also serves to show us how uncontrollable the Internet is.

I present the Elvis example, one noted at the meeting, not to denigrate the use of the Internet and the Web for such purposes. What it shows is that new technologies have become new instruments of entertainment, when the hope was that they would become self-directed teaching tools. My main point is that during many of the RSIS sessions, a number of our “elder statesmen” (and they were almost all male) talked about “control.” They seek to control access, information flow, and the development of the Internet. In this way, our “leaders” show their fundamental ignorance of this creature. I emphasise, again, Berners-Lee’s description of the Internet as a fractal and chaotic thing.

Brito’s presentation was, in contrast, a passionate “wish” list of what she would like to do and see happen, both in Mozambique and beyond. Her list was focussed around the themes of wider literacy and ” relevant ” knowledge.

The session ended with a panel discussion, ostensibly “Reflections on the Role of Science in the Information Society.” The participants each gave a short presentation, with a very brief period at the end for discussion. Most were much as expected, and a number were largely political in nature. One exception was Juergen Renn, of the Max Planck History of Science Institute and ECHO (European Cultural Heritage On-Line), who was concerned that the “core of cultural heritage is largely excluded from information technology” and noted how ECHO was formed to address this. He also briefly talked about the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. (The full declaration can be found at: www.zim.mpg.de/openaccess-berlin/berlindeclaration.html). While the goals of the declaration are laudable, a number of participants were concerned about the lack of copyright protection, citing cases where work done by researchers in developing countries was plagiarised by researchers in developed countries.

So concluded the first day of the conference. A number of us noted a general lack of self-criticism in most of the presentations. There was a lot of vague language and abundant use of clichés, much “looking to the future” and long wish lists. The most exciting presentations, for me, were the ones that discussed concrete examples of taking IT to the broader populace, often in quite revolutionary ways, in all of the meanings of that phrase.

PARALLEL SESSIONS

I attended the session on “Contributions to Environment.” Other sessions were on Education, Economic Development, Health, and Enabling Technologies. All of these sessions had quite active online forums for discussion in the months leading up to the RSIS and WSIS symposiums, and the forums can be reviewed at the RSIS website. Most of us contributed to more than one online discussion group, but attended only one parallel session.

In the Environment session, most of the presentations focussed on technical and management issues. David Williams of EUMETSAT talked about the Global Earth Observation Systems and Strategies, focussing on data management and the move toward an Integrated Global Observation Strategy (IGOS), which seeks a comprehensive integrated effort. Such a move needs a “shared strategy,” and involves the participation of the UN, international scientific and research programmes, space agencies, etc. They seek to develop a common approach to surface and satellite observations. The international weather observation and forecasting network is one successful example where a common strategy and approach has been developed. Williams had many interesting and pithy quotes: “The world is full of data and short on information” is probably my favourite.

Patricio Bernal, of UNESCO and the IOC, talked about the Global Ocean Observation System (GOOS). There are regional GOOS “alliances.” New Zealand, where I am based, is a member of one such regional alliance. Bernal noted, however, that there needs to be an adaptation of international norms for data sharing to facilitate the further development of GOOS. This was a common theme that arose a number of times during the Environment parallel session, specifically, and the RSIS more generally. There are often conflicting protocols for sharing data and information and, as Williams’ quote illustrates, a set of data is not always usable information.

Josef Arbacher of the ESA talked about Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), a programme for monitoring of regional development, management of risk, and the guidance of crisis management and humanitarian aid. The ESA aims to have full capacity by 2012-2015. The EU will be spending 628 million euros in the 2004-2006 fiscal period, rising to 5005 million euros by the 2007-2015 period. Again, the issue of data sharing and accessibility arose, in addition to questions of data verification and transparency of the process.

Stuart Marsh, of the British Geological Survey Remote Sensing Group, talked about Geohazards and the IS. He noted that citizens are the ultimate beneficiaries, and suggested that there are three main user groups of geohazards information: “responsible authorities”, scientists in monitoring and government agencies, and research scientists. They have different needs, e.g., baseline inventory of hazards, monitoring, rapid dissemination of information during a crisis, etc. He noted, as did the others in the session, the need for an integrated approach from surface to space, and the need for but difficulty in bringing together the different types of data. Again, this raised the issue of data management. Marsh’s presentation also highlighted, however, the gap in our knowledge about the scientific literacy of our public “authorities.” Those responsible may well be local or regional officials who are far removed from those who gather and use the data/information. These officials may have no understanding of the processes involved, and their concerns may in fact run counter to the actions that should be taken to avert a crisis. The current crisis in South Asia in the wake of the tsunami illustrates many of these concerns. An early warning system was not in place because of the cost (both for the infrastructure development and for ongoing support) and because of the lack of technical expertise to staff such an enterprise.

This illustrates a major gap in the entire RSIS - there was little or no consideration of how we get technical information to the public officials and to the wider population. The entire issue of scientific literacy was glossed over, and instead most presenters focussed on those who were trained to use the data, when, as I noted earlier, most people are using the Internet in an undirected and uninformed way, so that they are unable or unwilling to distinguish “good” reliable information from poor quality “information” or even from reports that were consciously devised to misinform the “public.”

After Marsh, Stuart Salter, who leads the Species Information Service (SIS) of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), gave probably the most thoughtful of the Environmental presentations. He discussed “appropriate technologies.” As an example to start off his talk, he mentioned an emergency in Belize where large volumes of vaccine were required, but which went bad because of a lack of refrigeration. Those providing the vaccine were unaware of such a lack; it never occurred to them that large parts of the world still lack refrigeration. He used this to highlight the problem when a network of scientists (who he described as “free spirited individuals”), give “information” that needs to be organised in a common format and then propagated up and out into the community. His premise was that complex ICT systems could allow a simple “front end” and often can be configured by users to suit their purposes. He noted the need to change the “paradigm” whereby scientists visit a country, do their research, then leave and publish the results, leaving no net results in the visited country. He emphasised the need for using scientists in regional networks, working in existing well-functioning scientific and conservation networks. Then the data are vertically integrated in a relational database, using a GIS format. This is the mode of operation used successfully by the SIS for decades. The data are controlled by the scientific community, and the quality of the data is overseen by Specialist Groups, of which there are 128 in the SIS. The data are continuously updated. The SIS has thus grown from existing networks, rather than imposed from outside, which explains why it has worked so well.

Finally, Luigi Fusco of the ESA talked about “Emerging Technologies for Earth Observation and Environmental Applications.” He used as his example the wreck of the tanker “Prestige” off the northwest coast of Portugal and Spain. He noted that the satellite data were insufficient to be used alone, and that a wide range of technologies and their associated data, from surface through to satellite observations, needed to be integrated in a complex information management system. This theme of the need for integration of different types of data and information from a range of technologies and scales of observation arose again and again throughout the session.

CLOSING SESSIONS

The closing sessions were in two parts: a series of summaries of the thematic parallel sessions were presented, followed by a “panel discussion,” closing remarks from the Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and then the “Key Message” from the RSIS, presented by the Director-General of CERN. Given that the “Key Message” did not differ at all from the text circulated before the RSIS meeting, many of us wondered why we had spent two days talking about the various issues. We concluded that the greatest benefit may well arise from the creation of a network of individuals interested in the issues raised by the RSIS symposium.

The session summaries raised some common themes and issues. One of the primary issues is the integration and sharing of data within complex structures, and the desire to get IT into rural and poor urban communities. The goal to fight illiteracy, generally, and scientific illiteracy, more specifically, is a major obstacle in the building of an Information Society, which requires the wider availability and use of IT, from tertiary institutions everywhere, not just in developing countries, to remote communities.

Finally, the panel discussion amounted to little more than prepared statements from “elder statesmen” (men without exception, all elderly except for Tim Berners-Lee), and was perhaps symbolic of much of the meeting. Berners-Lee spoke for two minutes and encapsulated the essence of the Internet and the Information Society better and more succinctly than any other speaker. It is decentralized and “fractal” in its nature, and inherently uncontrollable and ungovernable. Yet so many of the politicians on the panel, for most were politicians, used outmoded and outdated paradigms and language in their politically motivated speeches. They kept talking about “governance” of the Internet and IT. I can only conclude that our political “leaders” have little or no idea about the Internet tiger they have by the tail. It is fundamentally an anarchic, often revolutionary creature, one that will refuse to be confined and controlled.


          Jobs New Zealand - NZ Job Search        
Search NZ Job listings by industry and area for all New Zealand jobs or self employment opportunities available in New Zealand. Buy businesses or franchises advertised for sale in the self employment sales pages. Advertise New Zealand job vacancies or sell your business or franchise in the simple to use forms. Advertising NZ jobs or selling businesses or franchises is easy at a user friendly NZ industry job search and self employment opportunities site.
          Engineering Jobs Australia        
Engineering Jobs Australia gives you access to the best jobs , faster career progression and the ability to explore opportunities in your field all over Australia and New Zealand. Part of the ExpatJob.net Group, Engineering Jobs Australia is the place for Australian Engineering Jobs, Australian Mining Jobs, Australian Oil & Gas Jobs, Australian Construction Jobs, Australian Civil Jobs and much, much more. Part of the ExpatJob.net Group of online employment and recruitment websites.
          Neil Cross        

Neil Cross, the creator of Luther and Crossbones talks about his beginnings as a novelist, banging his head against the wall, working from Wellington, New Zealand (where this interview was recorded!), learning TV from his first job on BBC's Spooks/MI-5, the fun of writing Doctor Who, and lots more, including comic books, Fox's Luther remake, and how great Idris Elba and Matt Smith are.

 


          Tech at Night: Kim Dotcom in trouble? Let’s bar anarchists from the country. Net Neutrality vs the Bill of Rights.        
Apparently Kim Dotcom is already tired of living as a fugitive in New Zealand. Tired of laying about, risking capsizing an island, he’s quitting the new Mega to focus on his defense. Meanwhile, it’s unfortunate that this anarchist was allowed in the country. Let’s just bar him from the United States, please? The latest problem […]
          My Current Skin Condition        
Halo! Sebelum saya me-review atau berbagi cerita tentang skincare di blog, di post ini saya akan bercerita dulu tentang kondisi kulit saya.
Overall, kulit wajah dan tubuh saya termasuk tipe kulit kering. Sangat amat butuh pelembab dan perawatan ekstra untuk hidrasi lebih. Untuk kulit tubuh, saya harus pakai body lotion atau body butter setiap hari nya. Belakangan ini saya mulai memakai body oil sebelum memakai body lotion. Kalau sehari saja saya lupa atau malas pakai body lotion, kulit saya langsung terasa kasar, dan kalau sudah parah bisa jadi gatal. Jadi body lotion adalah skincare yang wajib saya pakai untuk kulit tubuh saya.

Kulit wajah tentunya membutuhkan perawatan ekstra lagi. Kulit saya memang bukan tipe kulit acne prone atau yang sering breakout, tapi keringnya parah sekali. Tapi alhamdulillah, setelah merawat kulit, kadar keringnya sudah berkurang tapi tentunya masih harus dirawat dan dijaga. Saya ingat sekali, saya mulai merawat kulit (sadar bahwa tipe kulit saya butuh hidrasi lebih) baru setelah menikah. Waktu itu setelah saya dan suami pulang dari bulan madu di New Zealand yang udaranya dingin sekali, kulit wajah saya kering sekali sampai perih rasanya. Dulu saya belum tahu apa-apa tentang skincare (bayangkan saja, saya pakai facial wash dan facial cream nya Pond's!). Sampai akhirnya, suami saya (iya suami saya!) menyarankan saya memakai produk dari Kiehl's. Dia sudah satu tahun lebih memakai produk Kiehl's dan produk Kiehl's sangat menolong kondisi kulitnya yang saat itu jerawatan parah. Akhirnya ketika kami menemukan counter Kiehl's di bandara, saya langsung berkonsultasi dengan customer representative nya dan saya disarankan memakai sabun dan pelembab dari line Ultra Facial yang memang ditujukan untuk tipe kulit kering.

And they changed my life!

Baru dari satu kali pemakaian sabun dan pelembab nya, kulit saya langsung membaik. Saya berterima kasih sekali sama Kiehl's, dan tentunya sama suami saya yang merekomendasikannya. Setelah itu saya mulai menggunakan produk mereka yang lainnya dan memang hasilnya sangat memuaskan. Dari situ juga ketertarikan saya dengan skincare pun dimulai. Kurang lebih sudah 3 tahun saya merawat kulit dan memang kondisi kulit saya membaik dari sebelumnya. Seharusnya merawat kulit sudah dimulai ketika masuk ke usia 20 tahun, tapi ya tidak ada kata terlambat kan. Kuncinya adalah disiplin dan sabar. Ada kalanya juga saya malas (pernah beberapa hari tidak pakai skincare apapun!) dan kulit langsung kembali ke kondisi sebenarnya. Jadi memang harus rajin dan disiplin.

Permasalahan kulit saya yang utama adalah kering dan langsung terlihat dari teksturnya. Kasar dan sering timbul white heads. Kulit kering cenderung lebih cepat memacu timbulnya keriput, makanya saya juga mulai memakai produk-produk anti aging. Kulit impian saya adalah kulit yang mulus dan licin. Jujur saja kulit wajah saya belum semulus yang diinginkan. Semoga dengan rutinitas skincare yang saya lakukan, tujuan kulit saya akan tercapai.

Okay, semoga sharing tentang kondisi kulit saya ini akan membantu postingan-postingan saya selanjutnya supaya yang membaca akan lebih mengerti dan bisa membantu kalian dengan permasalahan kulit yang sama. See you in my next post! :)


          Stargazer Holds Free Mini-Concert        
The wrath of Typhoon Ondoy that sank hundreds of houses and killed countless Filipinos, the devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, the recent floodings in countries all over the world that seem to indicate a dramatic change in Mother Nature's course, somehow, these occurrences tell us one definite thing -- it's payback time.

Yes, we all had something to do with the current series of disasters, whether we admit it or not. And we ought to make an effort to heal our sole humble abode sooner that we think.

Stargazer is a well-known psychic who hosts a radio show on DZMM called Pinoy Vibes which airs Sundays at 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. When I say 'Psychic,' I don't mean your typical manghuhula or fortune-teller, because she simply is not. She's a life reader who uses the aura and vibrations, and a very good one at that. Her clairvoyance has helped a lot of people lead better lives, solve crimes, and tackle the mysterious and unexplained.

Famous for predictions that actually took place and got her featured in newspapers and on television, Stargazer makes it a point to remind her followers about the importance of having faith in God. She also believes (and so do I) that we can reverse the negative effects of man's way of living on our beloved nature through positivity and meditation.

If you happen to be in Manila on March 12, 2011, Saturday, check out the free mini-concert that she's holding at the Ever-Gotesco CinemaCaintaRizal at 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. There will be song and dance numbers from surprise guests and freebies!


Here is Stargazer's letter of invitation to the public (click to enlarge):


Everybody's welcome. If you're an avid believer and supporter, or just plain curious, come and join us in this selfless endeavor to heal the earth! E-mail LLC_events@yahoo.com for free tickets.

          Changes: Volunteering Globally, Nationally and Locally        
Volunteering is a gift. For the past year, I have been part of the CrisisCommons – Global Core Team as the co-lead of the Community Working Group. We grew the community from US, Canada, UK and New Zealand to other events and volunteers in Australia, France, Thailand, Belgium and others. I volunteered on efforts for ...
          Swine Flu Dangers - Are There Reasons to Panic?        
In the early month of 2009, a new type of strain from the well known virus H1N1 began to spread. Even though one should be aware of such a virus, it is not really the time to start to panic.. It is important to know the facts and make good decisions. The virus responsible was clinically identified as a new strain on April 24, 2009. Following the identification, its presence was soon confirmed in various Mexican states and in Mexico City. Within days, isolated cases were identified elsewhere in Mexico, the U.S., Spain, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Israel.



Find More About The Swine Flu Dangers Now



Despite the scale of the alert, WHO officials noted on April 29 the majority of people infected with the virus have made a full recovery without need of medical attention or antiviral drugs.

A pandemic is the spread of a disease over a large area such as an entire country, continent or the entire world. Due to the newness of the influenza strain, its transmission from human to human, and the unusually high mortality rate in Mexico the WHO formally determined the situation to be a "public health emergency of international concern.



Find More About The Swine Flu Dangers Now



Unlike other diseases like chicken pox, humans cannot get complete immunity to influenza because the virus is constantly mutating and producing new strains that change from year to year. Even though humans cannot get complete immunity from the strains of the flu viruse, usually our immune systems can respond strongly enough to beat off the virus. At this point it is a good idea for people everywhere to exercise caution--wash your hands, stay home from work or school if you feel sick, go to the doctor if you have flu symptoms--etc. but do not panic.

Time magazine recently reported that researchers at Northwestern University "estimated that even if nothing were done to slow the spread of the disease from now on, by the end of May the U.S. would have only about 1,700 cases." Furthermore, the good news is the H1N1 flu virus is hitting North America at the end of flu season; it may very well phase itself out and re-appear in the fall, but that gives health officials months to prepare.

Find More About The Swine Flu Dangers Now


          Ingenuity        
Type I Outlet (mainly used in Australia, New Zealand, China & Argentina) defeated with two nail clippers.
          By: Sir Leslie Bottocks        
Tags: Taste, New Zealanders.
          UNDP's Human Development Index: Top 10 countries        

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday declared its report on the Human Development Index (HDI) which ranked India at 130, an improvement of 5 positions from its previous ranking.

The report, compiled on the basis of estimates for 2014, ranked Norway at the top.

ALSO READ: India ranks 130th in Human Development Index: UNDP

So, which countries are in the top 10? Check out the list below.

  • Norway (1)
  • Australia (2)
  • Switzerland (4)
  • Netherlands (4)
  • United States (5)
  • Germany (6)
  • New Zealand (7)
  • Canada (8)
  • Singapore (9)
  • Denmark (10)
  • India (130)
News Source: 
Home Title: 

UNDP's Human Development Index: Top 10 countries

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          373: Monkey Business        
When a monkey takes a photo, who owns it? Adam Carolla won't let a podcast patent troll drop their suit against him. A New Zealand newspaper uses a Facebook photo without permission...and it's the wrong photo!
          James Haught        

In a new book entitled Fading Faith – The Rise of the Secular Age, (1)James A. Haught proposes that there is a significant decline in religion in the developed nations. (2) In France, for instance, less than 7% of adults attend church regularly. In Denmark and Sweden the figure drops to 5%. Across Europe only 15% of adults attend church. In England, the percentage of children attending Sunday School dropped from 50% in 1900 to 4% in 2000. In a recent poll in England which asked people to identify the most inspirational figures in history, only 1% named Jesus; 65% named Nelson Mandela. In Ireland, the Archdiocese of Dublin ordained only one priest in 2004 and none in 2005. The pattern is much the same in Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Israel. (3)

At first glance it would seem that the United States is an exception to this trend. After all, faith-based programs continue in the White House. Few seculars win elections. (4) Mega-churches proliferate. Religion-driven referenda, such as prohibitions against gay marriage, pass by huge margins. Religious schools get thumbs up from the U.S. Supreme Court on vouchers and tax credits. Contributions to religious groups continue to increase. (5) Sectarian prayers begin the meetings of countless public bodies and we have a National Day of Prayer. Faith-healers who deny traditional medical care to their sick children are immune from prosecution by law in dozens of states. Finally, 45% of Americans reject evolution in favor of divine creation. (6)

According to Haught, however, America is not an exception to the secular trend. He cites the following:

  • NONES, those who have no religious affiliation, have grown to 45 million and are the second largest segment of the adult population in America after Catholics;
  • NONES make up 30% to 40% of young Americans;
  • Since 1990, 20 million Catholics left the church. Today, 10% of American adults are lapsed Catholics;
  • In the past fifty years in the United States, 20,000 Catholic priests left the priesthood and the number of Catholic seminarians dropped from 10,000 in 1965 to 3,400 in 2002;
  • One out of four Americans say that "religion has no place in their lives" and one-half report that they seldom or never attend church (7);
  • In the past fifty years the seven main Protestant sects in America lost 10 million members. The Methodist Church, in fact, lost an average of 1,000 members per week for nearly fifty years; and
  • The percentage of Christians in the U.S. population has declined by 10% since 1990. (8)

Is Haught right about rising secularism in America? In my judgment, he is. Although the decline in religion in America is less severe than in Europe, the trend is clear. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that it will continue. In 1965 Harvard theologian Harvey Cox predicted the demise of traditional religion in America in a book entitled The Secular City. Soon after its release, there was a dramatic religious resurgence. Perhaps another one is around the corner.


 

  1. Gustav Broukal Press, 2010. Haught is editor of The Charleston Gazette, West Virginia's largest newspaper. Fading Faith is his ninth book. He has won twenty national journalism awards.
  2. Haught acknowledges that religion remains strong in the Third World, in Muslim nations, and in immigrant communities in Europe and North America.
  3. Haught, pp. 11-16. In Canada from 1990 to 2000, the Anglican Church lost half its members, the United Church of Christ lost 39%, and the Presbyterian Church lost 35%.
  4. Some secular candidates camouflage their views lest they incite opposition from believers. One Ohio legislator that I knew, an agnostic, gave the invocation at the legislative prayer breakfasts.
  5. In 2004 Americans contributed some $88 billion to religious groups.
  6. One can add to this list. For instance, the Ten Commandments grace many public buildings, including City Hall in Youngstown, Ohio, crosses and Christmas nativity scenes are found on public property in many communities, and creationist literature is sold in some national parks.
  7. This is from a 2009 survey by Parade magazine. See Haught, p. 25.
  8. Yet it remains high. Around 76% self-identify as Christian, even though many of these have no official connection to a Christian sect or attend church regularly. Haught draws most of the points reported here mainly from reports by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and Trinity College's American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), two highly respected sources.

© 2012 Tom Shipka


          Comment on Pawn Plaza Grand Opening Tonight at 8pm! by Warren Bell        
Never miss your show, enjoy it very much,the humour the experts, the knowlege,given the thrill of a great buy, this game is in my blood too,thanks again for making these series a hit, All the best all involved, Warren, Tauranga, New Zealand
          Nabi SAW Suruh Berkahwin Banyak Untuk Tambahkan Rezeki?        
copy and paste dari blog asal http://bin-sahak.blogspot.co.nz/2014/08/benarkah-nabi-saw-suruh-berkahwin.html Benarkah Nabi SAW Suruh Berkahwin Banyak Untuk Tambahkan Rezeki? Soalan: Mohon kepastian daripada Ustaz. APakah kisah ini benar dari Rasulullah SAW?: Pada suatu hari, Rasulullah S.A.W. didatangi oleh seorang lelaki. Lelaki ini mengaku dirinya seorang yg miskin. Kemudian, ia meminta jalan keluar agar terlepas daripada belenggu kemiskinan. Rasulullah S.A.W. menyuruh lelaki itu berkahwin. Lelaki itu sangat senang dengan saranan yg diberikan Rasulullah S.A.W. Setelah sekian lama berkahwin, lelaki itu datang lagi kepada Rasulullah dan mengadu nasibnya yang tetap miskin. Rasulullah menyuruh dia berkahwin lagi, Si lelaki terlalu yakin tidak mungkin Rasulullah mahu menipu umatnya. Akhirnya lelaki itu berkahwin lagi. Namun beberapa waktu kemudian, lelaki itu datang lagi kepada Rasulullah S.A.W. "Kahwin lagi," jawab Rasulullah S.A.W. singkat. Kemudian dia berkahwin buat kali ketiga. Namun setelah beberapa lama, keadaan tetap juga belum berubah. Mulanya dia malu untuk mengaku lagi kepada Rasulullah S.A.W., tapi apakan daya dia masih tetap miskin. Dengan berat hati, beliau mendatangi Rasulullah dan menyampaikan masalahnya. "Ya Rasulullah, engkau telah menyuruhku menikah untuk ketiga kalinya, tapi aku tetap miskin. Sekarang apa yg harus aku lakukan?," adu lelaki itu. Rasulullah tetap menyuruh berkahwin lagi. Sabda Rasulullah S.A.W. "Carilah rezeki dengan menikah," (Riwayat Ibn Abbas) Jawapan: Wallau a'lam, riwayat yang paling hampir ialah yang diriwayatkan oleh al-Khatib al-Baghdadi daripada Jabir bin ‘Abdillah RA yang berkata: جاء رجل إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يشكو إليه الفاقة ، فأمره أن يتزوج Maksudnya: “Seorang lelaki datang kepada Nabi SAW mengadu tentang kefakirannya. Lalu baginda mengarahkan dia berkahwin.” (HR al-Khatib al-Baghdadi di dalam Tarikh Baghdad 1/365) Namun hadis ini sanadnya tidak sahih seperti yang dinyatakan oleh al-Zahabi di dalam al-Mizan dan Ibn Hajar di dalam al-Lisan disebabkan ada seorang periwayat bernama Ibrahim bin al-Munzir. Kata Ibn Hibban: “Tidak boleh berhujjah dengannya.” Sekalipun demikian riwayat ini mengandungi maksud yang benar berdasarkan beberapa athar dari sebahagian sahabat seperti ‘Umar, ‘Aisyah, Ibn Mas’ud, Ibn ‘Abbas dan lain-lain yang sebahagiannya sahih secara mauquf atau sanadnya sahih sehingga sahabat. Demikian juga maksudnya terkandung di dalam firman Allah SWT: وَأَنْكِحُوا الْأَيَامَى[1] مِنْكُمْ وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْ إِنْ يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاءَ يُغْنِهِمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ Maksudnya: “Dan kahwinilah orang-orang yang bujang lelaki dan perempuan diantara kamu dan orang-orang yang layak dari kalangan hamba sahaya lelaki mahupun perempuan. Jika mereka miskin Allah akan cukupkan mereka dengan kurniaanNya. Dan Allah Maha Luas (pemberiannNya) lagi Maha Mengetahui.” (al-Nur: 32) Ketika menafsirkan ayat ini al-Imam Ibn Kahir berkata: “ Dan firman Allah Taala: “Jika mereka miskin, Allah akan cukupkan mereka dengan kurniaanNya. Dan Allah Maha Luas (pemberiannNya) lagi Maha Mengetahui” ‘Ali bin Abi Tolhah berkata: “daripada Ibn ‘Abbas: “Allah menggalakkan berkahwin, dan DIa mengarahkannya kepada yang merdeka mahupun yang hamba. Dan DIa juga berjanji kepada mereka semua dengan kekayaan dengan firmannya: “Jika mereka miskin Allah akan cukupkan mereka dengan kurniaanNya”. Ibn Abi Hatim berkata: “Menceritakan kepada kami Mahmud bin Khalid al-Azraq, menceritakan kepada kami ‘Umar bin ‘ABd al-Wahid, daripada Sa'ied iaitulah Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz katanya: “Telah sampai kepadaku bahawa Abu Bakr al-Siddiq RA berkata: “Taatilah Allah dalam apa yang diperintahkanNya kepada kamu semua dalam urusan perkahwinan. Dia akan kurniakan kepada kamu semua apa-apa yang dijanjikanNya dari kekayaan. DIa berfirman: Jika mereka miskin Allah akan cukupkan mereka dengan kurniaanNya.” Daripada Ibn Mas’ud yang berkata: الْتَمِسُوا الْغِنَى فِي النِّكَاحِ “Carilah kekayaan pada perkahwinan, Allah SWT berfirman: "Jika mereka miskin Allah akan cukupkan mereka dengan kurniaanNya.” Diriwayatkan oleh Ibn Jarir, dan disebut oleh al-Baghawi daripada ‘Umar riwayat yang seumpama ini.” Wallahu a’lam. [1] Al-Ayama ialah kalimah plural untuk al-Ayyim الأيِّم. Dikatakan ia memaksudkan kepada wanita yang tiada suami dan lelaki yang tiada isteri sama ada yang bujang mahupun anak dara, duda mahupun janda. Lihat Tafsir Ibn Kathir.
          The Girl from the Coast 2.        
Gadis Pantai - Pramoedya Anantha Toer; I have been referring to this literary work a couple of times, but i have never had a chance of reading it. Not even once. I really like the title and the story. So I am reusing this title to tell the story of my late grandmother, Mariam binti Joyowarso, a 7 year old girl, whose mother died, and her father remarried. Shen then was adopted by her cousin and her sisters. They then migrated to Selangor fron Pekalongan. http://nooryahaya.blogspot.co.nz/2005/11/girl-fron-coast.html In the past week, my bother Basiron has set up a group through Whatsapp chat of the grandchildren and great grandchildren of our ancestor Haji Daud Marhakim/ Mat Karmin and Mariam Joyowarso. I am surprised that the extended family lives all over the country. Seeing names that are familiar from those old days, and new names of nieces and second and third cousins is overwhelming. Some of the asked, what was my grandfather Haji Daud look like. Well, he was tallish, even when he was ld as I remember him. He look like Uncle Rukimin Haji Daud. I was about 10 yrs old whe he died. One or two months before he died, me and my older sister visited him and grandmother Mariam. I remember him telling my sister Kak Salmiah to take care of herself, be good etc. That was basically his last sermon to my sister. A year or so before that my grandfather was hit my a car while crossing the road to the masjid at Batu Enam. He was hospitalised for a few days at Tg Karang. I remember this because I also visited him after school. He has never been healthy after that accident. As for my grandmother, Mariam, she was shortish, about 4.5 foot tall, dark complexion. She look like Auntie Nik, Rukinem Haji Daud. Last week, my brother met our cousin Asbiran bin Sarbini who lives in Kg Pandan, Kuala Lumpur. He is one of those whom we have heard of his name, but has never met in real life family cousin. When I was 6 years old, my parents took me on a bus trip to Parit Tiga, Sungai Burung Tanjong Karang. That was the first bus trip that I remember. My mother told me that Kang Yan (Asbiran) get married. It was an exciting trip, my uncle Rukimin, Auntie Normah, grandmother, Nasir and Saring, Kak Sal, Kak Salmah also came along. Uncle Sisar (Sarbini) house was a cute malay style house, painted pastel green within view from the main road. To this day I dont remember what Uncle Sisar look like, I probably have met him, but then I probably not, So I dont remember. I probably didnt pay much attention to the elders. The marriage reception was conducted that mid morning. I remember Kang Yan 'bersanding' in the front yard, close to the front stair of the house. He wore white tunic military style uniforn, just like you see one of the officer's uniform of the British Navy. Kang Yan was a robust size man, and by todays estimation about 80-90kg size, about 6 foot tall. His bride was skinnish, with skin complexion like a Chinese girl. The bride and groom also 'bersanding' inside the house, and peek through the open window. We were serve food afterward, rice and chicken curry, which was a luxury in those days. While we were eating, there was a bit of ruckus, a local boy had stepped on chicken shit (tahi lencong). I think I remember that local boy face, he was speaking Malay, skinny. Years later he was my friend in high school, Sekolah Dato Harun and Sekolah Teknik Kuala Lumpur. His name is Abdul Mutalib Ismail. Here it is, excerpt from "The Girl from the Coast" Title: The Girl from the Coast Sorry Bapak Pramoedya Anantha Toer, this is just the title, as you wrote about your grandmother. I also want to write stories told by my late maternal grandmother Mariam, and yes I don’t even remember my great grandfather’s name. She didn’t know how old she was, maybe about 6 year old, maybe older. She couldn’t tell me much about her family, only that she and my paternal grandmother, Rosni binti Mustapha are cousins. She told me that she came from town called Kalengan, by the coast of Jawa Tengah. (Later talking to Indonesian friends, they said its Pekalongan, a town on the northern coast of Jawa Tengah, I cross checked with her Ponorogo dialect, spoken by people in the vicinity). Her village was about 7 miles from town, in her own words, “from here (Batu 7) to Parit Tiga (Batu 12)”. In those days, probably circa 1925, there was weekly market in town, so her parents used to bring village produce to town. She used to tag along her parents on foot to town, starting at 1am; her parents sold village produce like tapioca etc. to buy rice and other stuff. Poverty was rife in those times, parents married off their young daughters, simply because they couldn’t afford to feed them. That year my paternal grandmother was about 16, she was married off to my paternal grandfather Kusni. (I do not know my great grandfather’s name). Another one of her cousins, Suci was married off as well. Mariam was given off to her cousin Rosni, to be taken care off by her two cousins who just got married. The bridegrooms and their young brides sailed to Port Klang on a kapal layar, sailing ship maybe about 20metres. During the voyage the two cousins, my grandmothers resign to the fact that they were leaving their homeland for good. Suci cried day and night, ruing the fact that she will never see her parents, family or her homeland ever again. It took about a week to arrive in Singapore, where they stopped for a day or so for provisions before continuing to Port Klang. From Port Klang to Tanjong Karang might have taken 2 days on kereta lembu. In those times, the government opened tracts of land in Tanjong Karang for padi and coconut. When Mariam was old enough, about 13, she was married off to my maternal grandfather, Daud bin Marhakim. Life couldn’t be better in Selangor, padi land to grow rice and coconut land for cash crop of coconut and bananas. The river also teemed with freshwater fish like sepat, keli, puyu, haruan and udang galah in those days, replenished with annual monsoon floods. According to Auntie Mariah, my grandfather used to grow tapioca and keladi on road reserve land near their house. There were a few fruit trees around their house, jambu, breadfruit and ciku among them, some of them survived until my childhood in the seventies. My paternal grandfather Kusni died when my father was 2 years old, leaving grandmother Rosni with two young children to feed, my father and Auntie Mariah, relying on the goodwill of her fellow immigrant neighbours. Presumably they were just 5 years in Selangor back then. If I could turn back time, I could have taken my grand mother Mariam on a tour back to her homeland. THE ORAL STORY kata mak, embah mariem di ambil adik angkat olih tiga beradik embah esti. embah suchi dan embah rosni. dia kecik lagi, telah ditinggal mati olih ibunya. bapaknya kawin lain. sebab itu dia merantau ikut embah esti tiga beradik. kata pakgendu bapaknya bernama joyowarso. emak kata, embah mariem tak tau nama bapaknya sendiri sebab tu masa nak buat kad pengenalan di ambil nama mustafa sebagai nama bapanya. kata pakmin embah daud bapanya matkarmin , ibunya taktau sebab neneknya mati dia masih kecil. embah daud ada empat beradik. abangnya bernama samsi. duduk di batu 9. kahwin dengan mbah esti. embah mariem tolong jaga anak embah esti. lepas tu dijodohkan dengan embah daud.lepas tu emak dan bapak dijodohkan sebab embah rosni tu adik embah esti. embah daud adik embah samsi. adik embah daud namanya embah sarmi. dulu duduk dekat rumah arbangi/ sidek/rahman. bolih jadi kalau di korek siapa joyowarso tu bolih dapat info dari sana. juga matkarmin, mustafa . bolih jadi kampung dia orang berdekatan di pekalongan. kalau ada tugu kerana ternama di pekalongan , maka bolih di selidik. tapi kalau cuma rakyat biasa . susah le. dulu pernah terdengar cerita, embah daud yang pengkor kena gigit ular tu , dan abangnya, katanya lari ke tanah melayu setelah membunuh penyamun yangmenceroboh rumah mereka. penyamun tu cuba naik ikut lubang di lantai yang bila terjongol saja kepala , arwah embah tu cekik dengan menolak tampah pada batang leher penyamun tu. sampai mati. lepas tu dia orang takut ada orang balas dendam , dia orang cabut lari. Hj Basiron says: anak embah daud. rukiah.rukimin. rukinem. kamsaton.kembarnya. lupa tanya.rukinah. saringah. supingat. abd razak. misilah. pak sarbini kawin dengan rukiah dan rukinah . yang pertama dpt kasbiran dan asmuni. yg kedua dpt asraf dan rahimah. one day i nak cari kang kasbiran. duk kg pandan.. taktau alamat.i pun tak dapat imagine rupa dia. rukinah adalah adik mak. kembar mak taktau nama. kalau taksilap dia mati kena timpa buah kelapa masa umurnya 12 tahun . atau sembilan tahun. itu pun i tak tanya dengan wak min, lupa.rukinah mati kena langgar lori masa ambil jemuran pandan kat tepi jalan besar.
          Cerita dari Hujung Dunia 1         
(mungkin tajuk ni tak sesuai, nanti lah akan saya tukar pada yang lebih sedap di baca) Hari Jumaat. Ahmad biasa datang awal ke masjid untuk solat Jumaat. Jumaat hari yang sibuk baginya. Bangun seawal 3 pagi, solat tahajud dan witir, juga solat hajat. selalunya dia akan berbasikal ke masjid untuk solat subuh. Tetapi pagi itu tidak. Hujan sepanjang malam, kadangkala lebat pula. Dia kalah dengan hujan, tak sanggup berbasah lencun. Selalunya solat subuh imam akan membaca Surah Sajdah dan Surah Al-Insan. Selepas solat subuh, dia jerang lagi air untuk buat teh halia. Kemudian diambilnya naskhah Quran yang besar dari almari. Hari Jumaat kena baca Surah AlKahfi, juga Surah Yasin dan doa untuk arwah. Begitulah rutinnya setiap Jumaat, mungkin pada waktu yang berbeza, tapi target kena buat. Jumaat itu dia duduk di tempat biasa, baris depan sebelah kiri. baca Quran sementara menunggu masuk waktu. Tiba tiba kawan lamanya Din duduk disebelahnya, setelah bersalaman dan bertanya khabar, Din tanya, "kau ingat tak Rashid,orang Malaysia kawan kita dulu?" "Rashid yang mana satu ye?" Berkeriut otak Ahmad memikirkan Rashid yang mana satu. Satu Rashid orang Kota Singa. Lalu Din menunjukkan gambar Rashid dalam phone nya. "Oh aku kenal yang tu, kawan satu kelas zaman dulu." kata Ahmad. "Dia dah seminggu di hospital, brain aneurysm kata nya, pembuluh darah kat otak pecah." kata Din. Stroke. Fikir Ahmad. Dalam istilah Islam sakit angin ahmar. Baru dua hari lepas kenalannya Mitch bercerita padanya tentang pengalamannya diserang stroke dan terlantar di hospital selama 6 minggu. Dalam seminggu ini sudah dua kali Tuhan mengingatkan Ahmad tentang stroke.
"Penyakit angin ahmar (stroke) ialah penyakit mati sebahagian badan yang biasanya datang secara tiba-tiba dan sukar pula diubati. Walau bagaimana pun dengan rahmat Allah SWT kepada hamba-hambanya maka melalui Nabi Muhammad SAW, umat Islam dikurniakan doa yang sangat mustajab dan besar faedahnya bagi menjauhi penyakit tersebut. Penyakit angin ahmar ini mempunyai sejarahnya tersendiri yang telah ada semenjak zaman Nabi Sulaiman AS. Semasa baginda mengadap segala rakyatnya termasuk segala jin, manusia dan binatang, semuanya tunduk kepada Nabi Sulaiman AS. Tiba-tiba terlintas di dalam hatinya berkata siapakan makhluk Allah yang tidak mahu tunduk kepadanya. Seketika itu juga menjelma satu makhluk seperti lembaga manusia yang besar, gagah, hebat serta garang. Badannya sebesar pokok dan dikelilingi api lalu merenung tajam ke arah Nabi Sulaiman AS. Nabi Sulaiman AS terkejut dan mengeletar lalu bertanya kepada lembaga itu siapakah dia dan mengapa ia datang. Lembaga itu menjawab bahawa aku adalah Ar-Rihul Ahmar(Angin Ahmar) iaitu penyakit yang amat berbahaya dari lain-lain penyakit. Ia di beri kuasa untuk mendatangkan kesakitan kepada anak cucu Adam, termasuk boleh meresap ke dalam urat saraf, darah dan otak seseorang dan mampu merosakkan segala urat saraf sehingga menjadi hilang akal. Nabi Sulaiman AS segera mengarahkan segala jin-jin dan panglima-panglimanya agar menangkap dan membunuh Ar-Rihul Ahmar itu. Apabila jin-jin dan panglima-panglimanya berjaya menangkap Ar-Rihul Ahmar dan cuba menghapuskannya dengan sambil gelak ketawa Ar-Rihul Ahmar itu menjawab bahawa tiada suatu makhluk dan kaedah pun yang boleh membunuh dan menghapuskannya serta ia akan kekal hidup, lalu dengan segera ia menghilangkan diri. Ar-Rihul Ahmar muncul semula pada zaman Nabi Muhammad SAW, cucu baginda iaitu Saidina Hassan bin Ali pernah terkena penyakit rongga dan keluar darah. Ketika itu, turun Malaikat Jibril memberitahu bahawa Hassan terkena penyakit Angin Ahmar. Lalu baginda bertanya adakah ubat penawarnya. Jibril menjawab 'ada' lalu ghaib. Sebentar kemudian kembali memberitahu Rasulullah bahawa Allah SWT telah mengurniakan doa mustajab bagi sesiapa yang membacakannya walaupun sekali seumur hidup akan dilindungi dari penyakit angin ahmar. Baginda pun membaca doa ini, lalu Saidina Hassan pun sembuh Baginda menganjurkan kepada para sahabat agar mengajarkan doa ini kepada seluruh umat Islam.
Inilah doa yang Baginda Nabi Muhammad SAW tinggalkan untuk kita
Dah lewatlah nak kena tidur ni...nanti aku sambung balik esok.
          It has been Years....        
It has been years since I wrote anything on these pages. Almost 3 years, my last post was in December 2013. A lot has happened in my life since then. One of them was that my last laptop crap out back then, and i couldnt afford to buy another one. (good excuse ha?) Well today is my birthday, and yesterday evening my wife and kids presented me with this new HP laptop. Let me keep you an update of whats happened, a wee bit. After the earthquake, our landlord told us to move out of the house that we were renting. Housing was in severe shortage back then, thousands of houses were damaged and unliveable. And we became homeless. Eventually a friend let us stay in their compound/backyard. We rented a caravan and parked it there. Aafter 3 months or so we found a house to rent again, move in there but later we found out that the landlord is a bitch.... So we had to move out again. And losing more money in the process. Thats life, deal with it. Three years later, I am still paying off the debt that we incurred during those days, and we still not even paying off a quarter of it. Our car broke down some 2 years back. We havent been able afford one since. As they say, when you are at the bottom of the hole, the only thing left for you to do is to look up.
          Rezeki Atau Hasil Usaha?        
Petikan dari Ustadz Asraff Ayob; Ada RATUSAN RIBU rakyat di luar sana yg memang setiap hari fikir positif, always try very hard utk baiki ekonomi keluarga & cari solution everyday. Mereka ini ada yg bangun 3 pagi prepare nasi lemak & kuih utk dijual paginya just nak dpt duit yg cukup2 utk byr sewa rumah aje. Ada yg kerja 20 jam sehari tp gajinya just cukup makan aje, belum dpt pun bayar hutang. Ramai yg kasi pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang. Mereka bukannya tak positif, bukannya tak rajin. bukannya duduk kosong sj. Tp MEMANG DITENTUKAN TUHAN, tak semua manusia bernasib baik spt kita. Ingat, rezeki melimpah yg kita nikmati bukan bermakna ia adalah dari usaha kita, tp sebab Tuhan yg nak bagi. Dan ada org yg luarbiasa berusaha di luar sana, tp Tuhan masih belum limpahkan rezekiNya kpd mereka atas hikmah yg PASTI Tuhan sendiri ketahui. Maka kita selaku manusia jgn cepat menyalahkan mereka. Kita perlu ada hati yg merasai penderitaan golongan ini yg amat terkesan bila gula naik walaupun seposen. Sebab bagi mereka sepuluh sen itu sama nilainya dgn RM100 pada perkiraan kita. MORAL : Bagi kita yg selalu berjaya & berada diatas, kita perlu sedari kejayaan itu bukan atas usaha kita tp SEBAB ALLAH YG NAK BANTU. Dlm masa sama, ada org yg AMAT KUAT BERUSAHA everyday, cuma nasib mereka belum spt kita. Ada juga org yg tak berjaya sbb salah diri mereka sendiri, iaitu tak mahu berubah & berfikiran negatif. - Bagi yg berjaya, bersyukurlah dan banyak beristighfar jikalau ada terlintas utk diskredit org lain yg belum berjaya - Surah Nasr ada kongsi tips ini. - Bagi yg belum berjaya kerana bermentaliti negatif, belajarlah tuding jari pd diri sendiri, sbb Allah pun pesan begitu : Allah takkan ubah nasib sehingga kita yg start ubah diri sendiri dlu - Surah Rakd, 11 - bagi yg belum berjaya walaupun usahanya maksimum, sy doakan Allah berkati hidup & limpahkan rezekiNya kpd anda. Allah akan gantikan syurga atas segala kesabaran & ketabahan anda.
          Di Bawah Lindungan Pohon Epal II        
Quran terjemahan Abdullah Yusuf Ali dalam bahasa Inggeris itu terbiar di atas meja di tepi katil. Sudah 4 bulan Ahmad tidak membacanya, biar pun selembar. Dia terlalu sibuk, sejak tuan rumah tempat dia menyewa memberinya notis keluar. Dia lebih menumpukan masanya untuk sembahyang tahajud dan hajat setiap malam, dan membaca Surah Al-Waqiah dan Surah Al-Rahman setiap hari. Hatinya selalu risau dan gundah, tetapi setelah habis membaca Surah Al-Waqiah, hatinya kembali tenang, dan dia dapat melalui harinya seperti biasa. Ahmad membaca Surah Al-Rahman untuk mengingatkan dirinya akan nikmat nikmat Tuhan yang selama ini dikecapinya. “Nikmat Tuhanmu yang mana satu kah yang kau dustakan?” Entah mengapa petang itu hatinya tergerak untuk menyambung bacaan terjemahan Abdullah Yusuf Ali itu. Lalu dicapainya mushaf itu dan di bukanya pada lembaran yang ada penanda dari reben merah jingga. Ayat 178 Surah Ali Imran Let not the Unbelievers think that Our respite to them is good for themselves: We grant them respite that they may grow in their iniquity: But they may have a shameful punishment.(That the cup of their iniquity may be full. The appetite for sin grows with what it feeds on. The natural result is that the sinner sinks deeper into sin. If there is any freedom of will, this naturally follows, though God’s Grace is always ready for the repentant. If the Grace is rejected, the increase of iniquity makes the nature of iniquity plainer to those who might otherwise be attracted by its glitter. The working of God’s Law is therefore both just and merciful.) Ayat 179 Surah Ali Imran God will not leave the Believers in the state in which ye are now, until He separates what is evil from what is good.(The testing of good men by calamities and evil men by leaving them in the enjoyment of good things is part of Universal Plan, in which some freedom of choice is left to man. The psychological and subjective test is unfailing and the separation is effected partly by the operation of human wills, in which some freedom is allowed. But it must be effected, if only in the interests of the good.) Nor will He disclose to you the secrets of the Unseen.(Man in his weak state would be most miserable if he could see the secrets of the Future or the secrets of the Unseen. But things are revealed to him from time to time as may be expedient for him, by Apostle chosen for the purpose. Our duty is to hold fast by faith and lead a good life.) But He chooses of His Apostles (for the purpose) whom He pleases. So believe in God and His Apostles: And if ye believe and do right, Ye have a reward without measure.Ayat 180 Surah Ali Imran And let not those who covetously withhold of the gifts which God hath given them of His Grace,(The gifts are of all kinds: material gifts, such as wealth, property, strength of limbs, etc. Or intangible gifts, such as influence, birth in a given set, intellect, skill, insight, etc. Or spiritual gifts of the highest kind. The spending of all these things (apart from what is necessary for ourselves) for those who need them, is charity, and purifies our own character. The withholding of them (apart from our needs) is similarly greed and selfishness, and is strongly condemned.) Think that it is good for them: Nay, it will be worse for them: soon shall the things which they covetously withheld be tied to their necks like a twisted collar,(By an apt metaphor the miser is told that his wealth or the other gifts which he hoarded will cling round his neck and do him no good. He will wish he could not get rid of them, but he will not be able to do so. According to Biblical phrase in another connection, they will hang like a millstone round his neck (Matt. xviii 6). The metaphor here is fuller. He hugged his wealth or his gifts about him. They will become like a heavy collar, the badge of slavery, round his neck. They will be tied tight and twisted, and they will give him pain and anguish instead of pleasure.) On the Day of Judgement to God belongs the heritage(Another metaphor is now introduced. Material wealth or property is only called ours during our short life here: it then descends to heirs and heirs until it goes to the ultimate heir, the State. So all gifts are ours in trust only; they ultimately, to Whom belongs all that is in the heaven or on earth.) Of the heavens and the earth; and God is well-acquainted with all ye do. Termenung Ahmad seketika. Maha Bijaksana Tuhan, yang memberikan petunjuk dan pengetahuan. Biarpun Ahmad tahu selama ini bahawa kesusahan yang dihadapinya hanya ujian dari Tuhan, namun dia tidak tahu apakah pelajaran dan pengajaran untuk dirinya. Sekarang barulah difahami, dan pengalaman yang dilalui membuatkan pelajaran itu lebih berkesan dihati. Setiap manusia memilih jalan yang ditempuhinya sendiri, samada ke Syurga atau ke Neraka. Maha Adil Tuhan yang memberikan pilihan, dan setiap langkah yang kita lalui walaupun langkah yang silap, masih ada peluang untuk kita bermuhasabah dan bertaubat, serta kembali kejalan yang benar, jalan yang lurus. Suatu masa dulu, rakannya Husin selalu berseloroh tentang kegemarannya mengambil jalan jalan pintas yang kurang dilalui oleh pengguna pengguna kereta lain jika mahu ke sesuatu destinasi. “Apalah kau ni Ahmad, kenapalah kau ni selalu mengambil jalan jalan yang berliku, yang selok kiri, selok kanan, kenapalah kau tak memilih jalan yang lurus” sambil ketawa. Ahmad faham seloroh Husin itu ada dua makna. Memang benar hidupnya penuh liku liku, dan liku liku itulah yang dipilihnya. Dalam memandu kereta dan juga kehidupan harian, dia tidak sabar menunggu dibelakang orang lain maka selalulah Ahmad memilih jalan jalan yang kurang di lalui oleh orang lain. Lebih cepat sampai kedestinasi, asalkan tidak melanggar undang undang. Dulu waktu dia bekerja di Semenanjung dia memilih jalan cepat untuk kemajuan kerjayanya. Dia tidak menetap dalam sesebuah syarikat dan mengambil masa yang ditetapkan untuk belajar dan naik pangkat. Dia berpindah dari satu syarikat ke satu syarikat yang lain dengan kenaikan pangkat dan pendapatan yang cepat. Selain dari melakukan kerjanya sendiri, Ahmad belajar apa yang penyelianya buat, dan modal itulah yang digunakan untuk mohon jawatan yang lebih tinggi. Sedarlah Ahmad sekarang, bahawa Tuhan telah memberi gambaran yang jelas tentang golongan yang lupa tentang taubat dan keampunan Tuhan. Makin jauh terperosok kedalam kancah kedurjanaan kerana mengikut nafsu adrenalin yang membuak bernikmat seketika. Sepertinya nikmat adrenalin semasa mengambil jalan pintas ketika menuju sesuatu destinasi, nikmatnya bila sampai kedestinasi itu lebih dulu dari orang lain. Begitulah juga kita bila melakukan sesuatu yang dilarang Tuhan, adrenalin membuak, feeling high. Tetapi selepas itu diikuti oleh penyesalan, withdrawal. Kesusahan yang dialami Ahmad, dan kesempitan hidup beberapa bulan ini pernah membuatkan Ahmad merasa cemburu pada orang orang yang punya kemudahan kehidupan harian. Mereka punya tempat tinggal, dan wang yang cukup, malah berlebih untuk menyara kehidupan, sedangkan dia kadang tidak punya apa apa untuk santapan anak anaknya malam itu. Namun Tuhan mengingatkan bahawa kekayaan dan harta benda mereka itu akan jadi rantai yang menjerut dileher mereka diHari Pengadilan nanti. Maha Suci Tuhan yang memberi kenikmatan dan memberi jalan keluar pada setiap kesusahan dan ujian dari Tuhan. Tidaklah Tuhan itu memberi ujian pada kita jika kita tidak dapat melaluinya. Tidaklah Tuhan itu memberi beban pada kita jika kita tidak mampu menggalasnya. Yakinlah bahawa Tuhan sentiasa membimbing kita, dan pada ujian itu, ada peluang untuk kita untuk memperbaiki diri.
          Harta Untuk Michael        

SATU – Anak Papa Aotearoa

DI satu masa, di sebuah daerah perkampungan ghetto di pinggir kota ada seorang anak kecil lelaki bernama Michael. Michael ada empat orang adik beradik seibu. Dia bersekolah rendah di kampungnya, sebuah sekolah serba kekurangan yang di klasifikasikan sebagai sekolah ‘Decile 1’ oleh jabatan pelajaran negeri. Kadang kadang Michael pergi sekolah, kadang tidak, kerana dia perlu menolong ibunya menjaga adik adiknya sementara ibunya keluar rumah. Ibu Michael tidak bekerja, dia seorang solo mother. Kerajaan negeri memberi bantuan sara hidup sekadar cukup untuk makan dan sewa rumah. Michael tidak kenal siapa bapanya. Malah ibunya pun tidak tahu. Dari adik beradiknya, kakaknya yang sulung tahu siapa bapanya, seorang pemain ragbi yang kini tinggal di Gold Coast.

 Ibu Michael, Marama tidak pernah berkahwin. Masa mudanya Marama seorang yang cantik, punya bentuk badan yang menggiurkan pada lelaki. Marama tidak punya kebolehan lain yang boleh menjamin masa depan. Dan dia pun tidak pernah memikirkan tentang masa depan, yang penting adalah masa kini, keseronokan, keindahan dan ‘kuasa’nya keatas lelaki lelaki yang mengidamkan dirinya. Seluruh usahanya semasa muda ditumpukan untuk menarik perhatian lelaki yang paling ganteng, tampan dan berjaya. Maka lelaki lelaki ganteng dan tampan itu pun meraikan Marama dengan wang, kekayaan dan kesenangan. Sehinggalah Marama termengandung. Entah mengapa pada masa itu dia sangat cinta pada pemain ragbi itu. Dan bila saja Marama memberi tahunya yang dia mengandung, ahli sukan ragbi itu pun terus menghilangkan diri, pergi ke negeri lain untuk bermain dengan kelab yang lebih ulung. Untunglah zaman ini dengan adanya internet dan google. Maka bila kakak sulung Michael bertanya siapa bapanya, Marama boleh menuliskan namanya dengan betul.

Lain pula pada Michael, ibunya tidak tahu, dia tidak boleh menjawab bila ditanya. Selepas kelahiran kakaknya, ibunya sudah tidak boleh keluar berpoya poya seperti dulu. Masa dia mengandung Marama terpaksa bertungkus lumus bekerja di sebuah pasaraya untuk menanggung dirinya dan mengumpul duit untuk keperluan bayinya yang akan lahir. Kemudian bila dia sudah jadi ibu, dia sudah layak mendapat bantuan kerajaan sebagai solo mum. Duit yang sekadar cukup untuk sewa rumah dan makanan asas. Kalau dia perlukan lebih dia perlu berusaha. Bila sudah ada anak kecil, tambahan pula dengan kekangan kewangan, masa dan tiada kelulusan yang boleh diperagakan tiadalah kerjaya yang boleh didapati selain memperagakan diri. Dari situlah hasilnya Michael, juga adik adiknya yang lain hasil hubungan ibunya dengan lelaki lelaki yang kasihan pada nasib mereka.

Kesimpulannya, keturunan zuriat golongan ini mengikut rumusan Darwin “The Theory of Natural Selection of Species”. Biar pun begitu, semua makhluk Tuhan di mukabumi ini punya hak untuk hidup, menikmati keindahan dan limpah kurniaNya. Punya hak untuk sesuap roti dan seteguk susu, juga rumah untuk berlindung dari sejuk dan hujan. Tidak kira samada makhluk itu manusia, burung ataupun ulat didalam batu. Telah Allah sediakan untuk mereka rezeki dan tempat tinggal selama masih ada nyawa mereka.


DUA – Anak Emas Semenanjung

Fuad bin Hassan seorang yang terpelajar. Dia ada isteri dan dua orang anak. Anak anaknya cerdas dan pandai. Isterinya sedang menghabiskan thesis untuk PhD dalam bidang mikrobiologi. Mereka datang keAotearoa dengan biasiswa pemerintah negeri Semenanjung. Dahulu isterinya mengajar di universiti di Semenanjung, sementara Fuad menjalankan perniagaannya sendiri dalam bidang IT.  Ayah Fuad seorang pegawai tinggi di negeri Semenanjung, pengarah satu jabatan kerajaan, layak mendapat elaun itu dan ini. Mereka punya dua buah rumah di Bukit Damansara, daerah mewah di kota Lumpur. Puluhan tahun dulu, di awal kemerdekaan Semenanjung, nenda Fuad, Tuan Haji Husin adalah seorang ulama pejuang kemerdekaan yang disegani masyarakat. 
Sudah lima tahun Fuad menetap di kota Gempa. Sementara isterinya berusaha menghabiskan thesis di makmal unversiti, dan anak anaknya bersekolah, Fuad bekerja sepenuh masa di sebuah kilang di kawasan industri di pinggir kota.  Gajinya sebagai pekerja kilang setelah di tolak cukai ialah 450 dolar seminggu. Selain dari itu pemerintah negeri member bantuan untuk subsidi sewa rumah sebanyak 100 dolar, juga bantuan sara hidup untuk dua orang anaknya sebanyak 95 dolar seminggu.  Jadi pendapatan mingguannya 645 seminggu. Dia perlu membayar sewa rumah 350 dolar seminggu. Sementara itu gaji bulanan isterinya semasa bekerja di universiti Semenanjung masih berjalan. Sebenarnya dia tidak perlukan bantuan sara hidup untuk anak anaknya yang 95 dolar itu, tapi di ambil juga sebab dia layak menerimanya, lalu di simpannya dalam akaun ASB anak anaknya. Untuk masa depan anak anaknya, katanya. Sekarang, setelah lima tahun, angka dalam akaun itu sudah mencecah dua puluh ribu. Gaji isterinya dari university yang masih berjalan itu di gunakan untuk membayar rumah dan kereta mereka di Semenanjung. Sementara biasiswa dari kerajaan semenanjung pula digunakan untuk sara hidup tambahan selain gajinya. Fuad tidak pernah memberitahu Jabatan Hasil Negeri Aotearoa bahawa dia menerima biasiswa dan juga gaji university. Sudah pasti dia tidak layak menerima bantuan subsidi sewa rumah dan juga sara hidup anak anak jika hal ini di ketahui Jabatan Hasil Negeri  Aotearoa.

TIGA

Dari Surah AlKahfi
Satu masa di zaman yang lampau, Nabi Musa dan Nabi Khidr sampai di sebuah perkampungan. Mereka dapati orang orang kampung di situ kedekut dan tidak mahu melayang mereka. Secebis makanan pun tidak diberi bila mereka minta. Apalagi bila mereka mahu menumpang bermalam. Di kampung itu mereka menemui sebuah tembok yang condong hampir runtuh. Lalu Nabi Khidr pun membina semula tembok itu, membetulkan semula seperti sediakala. Nabi Musa pelik, kenapa mereka perlu membina tembok itu, sedangkan penduduk kampung itu kedekut dan sombong, dan tidak memberi  mereka makanan, sedangkan mereka penat dan lapar. Lalu Nabi Musa pun bertanya akan hal itu kepada Nabi Khidr.
“Bukankah sudah aku katakana, kau tidak punya kesabaran.” Jawab Nabi Khidr.
Disaat perpisahan, Nabi Khidr menerangkan kepada Nabi Musa bahawa di bawah tembok itu ada harta yang di simpan oleh ayah kepada dua orang anak yatim yang tinggal di rumah itu. Jika tembok itu runtuh, maka harta itu akan terdedah. Ayah kepada anak anak yatim itu adalah seorang yang saleh, dan bila anak anak yatim itu sudah besar, mereka akan mendapat harta itu sebagai Rahmat dari Tuhan dan menggunakannya kearah kebaikan.
Begitu Tuhan menjaga hak anak anak yatim dan miskin. Besarkan keburukan dan dosa pada sesiapa yang memakan hak dan harta anak anak yatim dan miskin.

Kisah Khalifah Umar AlKhattab
Satu masa dizaman pemerintahan Khalifah Umar AlKhattab. Seorang ibu miskin, suaminya mati syahid dalam satu peperangan. Mereka hidup miskin, tiada suami yang menanggung mereka anak beranak; solo mother. Anak anak menangis kelaparan, lalu si ibu menjerang air dan memasukkan beberapa biji batu kedalam periuk.  Buat menghiburkan anak anak, biar mereka tertidur menunggu makanan masak dalam periuk, sedangkan sebenarnya tiada makanan dalam periuk, hanya batu. Ibu itu merintih, andainya suaminya masih hidup, tidaklah keadaan jadi sebegitu buruk. Akan di tuntut nanti di hari pengadilan di Padang Mahsyar nanti pada Khalifah Umar, pemerintah negeri. Kebetulan Khalifah Umar selalu keluar malam hari, mengintip keadaan sebenar rakyatnya, lalu mendengar rintihan ibu tunggal itu. Khalifah Umar lalu pulang ke Baitul Mal, gudang simpanan harta kerajaan negeri masa itu. Lalu di pikulnya sendiri seguni gandum, dan dihantarkannya sendiri kerumah ibu tunggal itu. Apabila hamba Umar meminta untuk memikul guni gandum itu, Umar menjawab, “Bukan kau yang akan dibawa kepengadilan nanti, tapi Umar”.

Tiadalah bezanya antara harta pemerintah Aotearoa dan cara pembahagian hak untuk golongan miskin dan kurang upaya dengan mana mana pemerintahan berteras Islami. Pemerintahan Aotearoa mendapat hasil dari cukai dan jualan asset lalu di gunakan untuk belanja pemerintahan negeri, pertahanan, pendidikan dan sara hidup golongan miskin dan kurang upaya yang berhak mendapat bantuan kerajaan. Maka apabila golongan kaya, walaupun layak, mengambil harta dari hasil cukai, maka berkuranglah budget untuk golongan yang benar benar layak dan memerlukan, seperti Michael.
Apalah bezanya orang kaya yang mengambil bantuan sara hidup kerajaan Aotearoa itu dengan golongan yang memakan harta anak yatim.


          Dibawah Lindungan Pohon Epal        
Di bawah lindungan pohon epal Dingin sekali dinihari itu. Southern Cross masih terang di sepertiga langit sebelah barat. Tiga bintang sejajar lurus menunjuk kearah barat-timur, dan satu bintang terang sebaris bintang yang tengah lantas menunjuk kearah selatan. Ahmad sudah sedar sejak setengah jam tadi, pukul empat pagi. Lalu dia bangun perlahan, keluar dari caravan menuju kebilik air dan berwuduk. Kemudian dia pergi kebawah pokok epal, lalu melembarkan plastic tarpaulin yang dia gunakan untuk alas bersembahyang di atas simen kasar. Sejak dua minggu lepas dia senang untuk bangun malam mengerjakan tahajud. Malam yang sejuk, tidur di luar rumah membuatkannya terasa mahu buang air di duapertiga malam. Maka bila sudah terbangun dia gunakan sebaiknya untuk bertahajud. Selesai tahajud dia bangun lagi untuk sembahyang hajat, membaca Surah AlKafirun dan Surah Ikhlas sepuluh kali pada rakaat pertama dan kedua. Lalu dia berdoa, “Ya Allah, ampunilah dosa dosa ku, tunjukkanlah daku jalan yang benar dan yang Kau redhai, berikanlah anak anak dan isteriku hidayah dan keampunan, ampunilah kedua ibubapaku, aku ingin menjaga ibuku ya Allah, aku ingin berbakti pada ibuku. Ya Allah berilah aku kehidupan yang baik, pengakhiran yang baik dan kesihatan yang baik. Ya Allah berikah daku rezeki yang besar untuk memudahkan jalan hidupku. Ya Allah, berilah daku rumah yang baik. Rabbana atina fiddunya hasanah, wa fil akhirati hasanah, wakina azabannar. Allah hummaghfirli waliwali dayya walilmukminin wal muslimat al ahya wal amwat birhmatika Ya arhamar Rahimin. Innama amruhu idza arodasyaian ayyakulu lahu kun fayakun. Allahummasalli ala Muhammad waala ali sayyidina Muhammad.” Lalu dia pun bangkit berjalan balik ke caravan untuk tidur lagi sementara menunggu subuh. Sejak dua bulan ini hidupnya amat berubah. Dia rasa kesusahan menimpanya satu persatu. Dan kesusahan itulah yang makin mendekatkan dirinya pada Tuhan. Lalu dia bersungguh-sungguh mendekatkan dirinya pada Yang Esa. Sejak enam bulan lalu dia mula baca Surah AlKahfi setiap Jumaat, biarpun kadang tak habis atau terlepas, tapi dia tetap mencuba, dan sejak tiga bulan ini dia boleh habis surah itu setiap jumaat. Ahmad pernah terbaca satu hadith yang mengatakan sesiapa yang membaca Surah Alkahfi pada hari jumaat, maka diampunkan dan dilindungi hingga ke jumaat selepasnya. Dalam Surah AlKahfi itu, pada ayat 10, pemuda pemuda AlKahfi itu berdoa pada Tuhan, bahawa mereka tidak dapak menyelesaikan masalah yang mereka hadapi, "Tuhan kami, kami tidak dapat menghadapinya, kami serahkan kepadaMu Ya Allah" Perubahan mendadak dalam hidupnya bermula tiga bulan lalu. Masa itu Ahmad menyewa rumah di daerah Northcote. Satu hari, dia menerima surat dari tuan punya rumah yang di sewanya. Notis keluar rumah dalam masa enam minggu lagi. Ahmad mula berusaha mencari rumah sewa baru, disamping itu dia mula menjual stok alat alat ganti basikalnya dengan harga murah. Dia perlu mengumpulkan wang. Pindah rumah bererti banyak wang habis. Stok perniagaannya dihabiskan dengan lelongan murah di internet. Begitu juga perkakas komputernya dan buku bukunya. Asal habis, tak susah nak angkut bila pindah rumah. Malangnya selepas 3 bulan masih juga dia tidak dapat rumah untuk disewa. Dia terpaksa menyewa stor simpanan barang untuk menyimpan pakaian dan perkakas rumahnya. Kesusahan hidupnya membuatkan Ahmad makin mendekatkan diri pada Tuhan. DIa sudah jarang meninggalkan sembahyang tahajud, begitu juga sembahyang dhuha. Dan dia selalu membaca Surah AlWaki’ah pagi dan petang. Rakannya memberitahu, kalau selalu baca Surah AlWaki’ah, murah rezeki, namun Ahmad dapat mengurangkan kerisauan dihatinya dengan membaca Surah AlWaki’ah. Dia meneliti makna ayat ayat dalam Surah itu. Bila Kiamat berlaku, manusia akan terbahagi kepada tiga golongan; golongan kanan, kiri dan satu lagi golongan yang maju kedepan. Di pertengahan Surah itu Allah menceritakan tentang keindahan syurga, dan juga keindahan bidadari syurga yang bermata bulat. Hatinya senang, kesusahan yang dialaminya hanyalah ujian Tuhan terhadap hambaNya. Dan Tuhan tidak menguji hambaNya dengan ujian yang berat, yang tidak boleh dihadapi, dan dilalui. Bila sampai pada ayat yang menerangkan tentang azab neraka yang akan di lalui oleh golongan kiri, hatinya berkata semoga Tuhan menjauhkannya dari termasuk dalam golongan itu. “la aqiluna min sajarim min zaqqum” , mereka minum zaqqum, air panas yang menggelegak, dan air kotor dari nanah yang busuk. Hatinya berkata, tak apalah, biarlah tuan punya rumah yang disewanya memberinya notis keluar rumah, dan menyusahkannya dengan tidak memulangkan wang cagaran sewa rumah, serta tidak memulangkan nilai seminggu sewa yang dia terlebih dan tersilap bayar. Dia itu nanti akan terpaksa meminum zaqqum. Sedikit demi sedikit Tuhan bukakan rahsia disebalik kesusahannya. Ahmad berjiran dengan sekeluarga orang Rusia, suami isteri berumur lingkungan lewat enam puluhan dan anak bujang tuanya berumur lingkungan empat puluhan. Lelaki bujang tua itu seorang yang eccentric, tidak bekerja dan sengaja mencari salah orang dan melaporkan kepada pihak berkuasa tempatan. Telah berkali kali lelaki bujang tua itu lapor kepada polis tentang anak anak Ahmad yang bermain di depan rumah dan tepi jalan, hingga polis tidak peduli lagi. Kemudian dia lapor kepada pihak berkuasa tempatan tentang rumput yang agak panjang di halaman depan rumah Ahmad. Begitu pun seorang pekerja tempatan hanya datang dan setakat melihat, rumput panjang bukanlah masalah besar. Tak lama kemudian Ahmad mendapat tahu rahsia kenapa dia si beri notis. Bahawa lelaki itu pergi kerumah tuan rumah yang disewanya lalu meminta Ahmad di beri notis keluar. Apa boleh buat, Ahmad hanya boleh berishtigfar. Dia masih tidak punya cukup wang untuk wang cagaran rumah sewa baru. Masa itu Ahmad berazam untuk berusaha lebih membaiki alat alat ganti basikal dan komputer. Namun setelah dua bulan, dia masih belum dapat menyimpan jumlah yang cukup. Pernah dia bercerita tentang masalah yang dihadapinya itu pada rakannya, Wak Melan. “Banyak-banyaklah kau sembahyang hajat, rezeki kau tu ada, InsyaAllah, cuma belum sampai masanya” nasihat Wak Melan. Setiap insan didunia ini Allah telah tentukan rezeki untuknya. Masa terus berlalu, Ahmad masih gagal untuk mendapatkan rumah sewa. Sementara itu harga sewa rumah terus melambung. Bandar Gempa itu menghadapi masalah perumahan yang meruncing. 5000 lebih rumah mula dirobohkan kerana berada di red zone, kawasan yang terjejas teruk akibat gempa bumi setahun lalu. Tanahnya mendap, melorot kearah sungai, berlaku tanah runtuh atau menghadapi masalah liquefaction setiap kali berlaku gempa bumi. Sementara itu, penghuni rumah rumah yang di baiki juga terpaksa mencari rumah sewa untuk tempat tinggal sementara. Pekerja pekerja binaan dari daerah lain pula mula sampai untuk kerja kerja meroboh dan pembinaan. Mereka juga perlukan tempat tinggal. Disitulah berpuncanya masalah perumahan yang meruncing. Harga sewa rumah naik dengan mendadak. Ahmad termasuk dalam golongan yang tidak berkemampuan untuk membeli rumah, juga tidak mampu untuk membayar harga sewa yang tinggi. Dulunya masyarakat negeri itu mengamalkan sikap egalitarian. Tidak jauh jurang antara golongan yang kaya dengan yang miskin. Pemerintah negeri menetapkan kadar cukai yang tinggi pada yang berpendapatan tinggi. Hasil cukai di bahagikan kepada golongan yang di bawah paras kemiskinan, agar semua lapisan masyarakat mengecapi kehidupan yang normal, ada rumah untuk tempat berteduh, kemudahan pelajaran hingga ketahap tertinggi dan sara hidup untuk keperluan seharian. Hasil negeri, samada dari cukai pendapatan rakyatnya, cukai perniagaan dan dividen perniagaan kerajaan digunakan untuk melaksanakan khidmat kerajaan kepada rakyatnya dan menampung sara hidup rakyat yang perlu ditanggung oleh masyarakat, iaitu golongan kurang upaya dan tidak berpendapatan. Begitu juga golongan tua dan fakir miskin. Setiap rakyat punya hak untuk sesuap roti dan seteguk susu, rumah untuk berteduh dari hujan dan salji musim sejuk, juga pelajaran yang asas untuk kanak kanak. Untuk menampung semua itu, cukai pendapatan dan cukai servis ditetapkan pada kadar yang tinggi. Keuntungan dividen dari hasil perniagaan syarikat syarikat kerajaan yang berniaga secara monopoli dalam bidang telekomunikasi, perkapalan, pengangkutan dan elektrik banyak menyumbang kepada hasil negara. Namun sekitar tahun 80an dasar Thatcherism banyak mempengaruhi pemerintahan waktu itu. Harta harta awam, yang terkumpul hasil titik peluh dan cukai rakyat terdahulu di ‘bundle’kan dalam bentuk syarikat syarikat besar, lalu saham sahamnya dijual. Hasilnya digunakan untuk mengurangkan cukai pendapatan yang tinggi pada waktu itu. Dengan kebolehan menurunkan cukai, maka Parti Buruh yang memerintah waktu itu dapat memenangi pilihanraya berulangkali. Bila ekonomi merudum, hasil cukai pun menurun, akibatnya kerajaan tidak dapat menampung perbelanjaan harian. Bukan sahaja perbelanjaan kerajaan mesti dikekang, malah bantuan untuk golongan yang kurang upaya dan miskin terpaksa dihentikan. Dibawah lindungan pohon epal Daun daun kuning layu berguguran Dingin dan basah hujan turun lembut di musim luruh Langit cerah warna kuning dan ungu aurora australis Seterang bintang bintang Southern Cross Bagai mengingatkan manusia; bahawa kehidupan ini hanya menuju satu arah Selatan, kebawah, six feet under. Harta, kekayaan itu semuanya hanya pinjaman Kesenangan, keindahan hanyalah bayang bayang dan mirage Ilmu dan pengetahuan akan berguna selagi masih ada otak untuk memanfaatkan Maka manfaatkanlah nikmat yang telah dipinjamkan, diberikan Kerana semuanya akan di tarik balik, samada kita sedar atau pun tidak. Samada kita rela ataupun tidak. Redhalah, semoga Tuhan meredhaimu. Ahmad masih ingat kata kata Wak Melan satu hari ketika mereka berbual tentang harta. “Harta dan duit itu hanya pinjaman, kalau Tuhan nak tarik balik, Dia tarik balik melalui anak anak kita, kadang kita mengalami kemalangan yang perlukan banyak duit. Jadi kalau nak cara yang paling selamat untuk simpan duit, pinjamkan saja pada Tuhan. Pasti Tuhan akan pulangkan balik dengan berganda.” *sila baca nota dibawah. Sejak akhir akhir ini Ahmad didatangi kawan kawannya meminta bantuan. Alhamdulillah Tuhan menghantarkan mereka kepadaku, bisik hatinya. Hinggalah dia tidak punya apa apa. Semoga Tuhan menggantikan dengan yang lebih baik. Dan dia yakin tentang itu. Maha Suci Tuhan, yang Maha Kaya dan Maha Adil, jauh dari sifat sifat manusia, yang tidak berhutang mahu pun memberi hutang. Kata kata di atas adalah kiasan semata mata. Hendaklah kita fahamkan bahawa janji Tuhan itu benar, Tuhan telah berjanji jika kita bersedekah di jalan Nya, beramal ibadah harta benda, maka akan di ganti olehNya dengan berkali kali ganda.
For those who give in Charity, men and women, and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credit), and they shall have (besides) a liberal reward.
          Like Father Like Son..well almost.        
Three years ago, on 22nd December 2008, my father passed away. Please recite AlFatihah for his benefit. http://nooryahaya.blogspot.com/2010/12/in-memory-of-my-father-hamzah-kusni.html
My earliest memory of my father was when I was about 3 years old. I was a bit of a naughty boy back then, always having arguments and fights with my older brother and sister. Whatever the issue was then, i ended up crying loudly, and that day my father came home from his work or errand, and was going to town to buy groceries. So my late father placated me by offering to take me for a ride on the bike to town. I do remember being dressed in short and shirt by my mother and given a ride on the front of the bike, holding the handlebar, and sitting on the steel frame. We went through Batu 7, and passed by the hospital. My father bought his groceries at an Indian Muslim shop near the rice factory. The shopkeeper, asked my father if I was his son. The trip was long, (hey kids get tired easily) and by the time we got home, I was tired. Oh that picture of me..well my father used to wear hat like that, normally green colour, and in that design.
          Nostalgia Pokok Saga        
Hari masih panas, sudah berhari hari tidak hujan, pertengahan September, musim kering. Ahmad selau berkumpul dengan kawan kawannya di bawah pokok saga sebesar dua pemeluk dewasa depan kantin lama sekolah. Setiap petang Sekolah Seri Permai mengadakan kelas tambahan untuk pelajar pelajar darjah lima yang akan menduduki Ujian Penilaian Oktober nanti. Di bawah pokok saga itulah Ahmad menunggu Husin, Hasan, Masdar, Khalid, Azlan dan Anuar sebelum sama sama ke kelas petang. Husin dan Hasan adik beradik kembar, anak anak keluarga petani, yang menolong ayah ibu mereka menuai selepas sekolah dan menanam padi berkuku kambing. Di zaman sebelum combine harvester. Mereka tidak pernah mengenal erti makan nasi berlauk daging lembu batang pinang, kecuali kalau ada kenduri di kampung, itupun entah setahun sekali dua. Nasi berlauk kari ayam hanya mungkin di hari raya, atau ada jiran buat kenduri arwah. Seperti nama mereka sempena cucu cucu Nabi, Husin, seorang yang confident dan berani, tidak takut untuk berkata apa yang tersirat dihati walau di usia yang masih muda. Hasan seorang yang agak pendiam dan tidak kedekut dengan senyuman. Dari wataknya, dapat dibayangkan dia seorang yang sabar, dan lebih suka mengalah dalam perbalahan. Masdar datang dari keluarga yang besar, adik beradiknya sembilan. Ayahnya seorang pesawah yang alim, dan berpegang teguh pada tiang dan tali agama. Dia sudah biasa hidup berdikari dan confident pada diri sendiri sejak kecil. Rumahnya di tengah sawah dipenuhi rimbunan pokok pokok mempelam dan kedondong. Ayahnya mengajar Quran setiap malam, dan bagai kuah tumpah ke nasi, kepandaiannya mengaji terserlah sejak dari kecil. Begitu juga Khalid, yang berjiran dengan Masdar, hanya sepelaung jaraknya. Ahmad dan Azlan tinggal berjiran di kampung. Ayah Ahmad seorang pengait kelapa, ada tanah kampung warisan, walau tak seluas mana, dipenuhi pokok pokok kelapa dan pisang untuk menyara hidup mereka sekeluarga. Tanah rizab jalan dekat rumah mereka ditanam ubi kayu, keledek dan jagung. Ayam itik ternakan ayah ibunya berpuluh ekor, cukup untuk keperluan telur buat lauk sarapan pagi dan tengahari. Ayam itik itu jugalah yang dijual untuk membeli baju dan kasut sekolah saban tahun. Walaupun mereka tidak hidup mewah, tidak pula mereka pernah berlapar. Ahmad dan Azlan berkawan sejak mereka mula tahu berlari. Azlan lebih pandai berdikari, sejak kecil sudah pandai bertanam sayuran, memancing dan menolong ibu ayahnya bersawah. Anuar tinggal dekat pekan. Diantara mereka, dialah yang paling smart, baju, seluar dan kasutnya bersih dan di seterika. Berbadan tegap sasa, menumpukan sepenuh perhatian pada pelajaran di kelas, selalu mendapat nombor teratas, cukup protein dan karbohidrat. Pagi semalam Cikgu Hashim, guru kelas mereka memanggil beberapa nama dan disuruh mereka berjumpa Cikgu Khadijah. Rubiah, Siti Nurhaliza, Anuar, Maznah, Jaidah, Khalid dan Ahmad. Rubiah, Siti Nurhaliza, Anuar, Khalid dan Maznah selalu menduduki tempat teratas dalam ujian pertengahan dan akhir tahun. Merekalah harapan sekolah untuk mendapat keputusan cemerlang dalam Peperiksaan Penilaian nanti. Jaidah dan Ahmad juga ada talent untuk mencapai yang baik, apatah lagi ada sejarah dalam keluarga mereka yang melonjakkan nama sekolah itu. Sebenarnya Cikgu Hashim hanya memanggil nama Ahmad setelah beberapa minit kawan kawannya yang lain pergi berjumpa Cikgu Khadijah, mungkin setelah afterthought. Entah Ahmad boleh mencapai bintang entah tidak. Jadi Ahmad hanya dapat mendengar sebahagian akhir taklimat Cikgu Khadijah pagi semalam. Dalam peperiksaan minggu depan, Cikgu Khadijah akan menukar kertas soalan mereka dengan kertas soalan yang telah bertanda dengan jawapan yang betul. Guru Besar mahu sekolah kita mendapat keputusan yang cemerlang tahun ini. Semoga kamu semua dapat masuk ke sekolah asrama penuh, katanya. Cikgu Khadijah mengarahkan mereka merahsiakan hal ini. Mereka semua diam, Ahmad nampak Rubiah mengesat kelopak matanya. Sementara itu di dalam darjah 5A, pelajar pelajar lain mula tertanya tanya mengapa beberapa kawan kawan mereka di arahkan berjumpa Cikgu Khadijah. Salah seorang mereka bertanya kepada Cikgu Hashim. Lalu Cikgu Hashim pun beritahu mereka hal sebenar, merekalah harapan sekolah, maka dalam peperiksaan nanti, jawapan kepada soalan soalan peperiksaan akan di tunjukkan. Kenalah pilih mereka yang kita tahu pandai, supaya nanti tidak menimbulkan keraguan Kementerian Pelajaran. Petang itu Husin, Hasan dan Masdar telah sedia menunggu di bawah pokok saga waktu Ahmad sampai. Ahmad membawa beberapa kerat batang tebu. Semalam Masdar dan Husin berpesan pada Ahmad, "kalau ada tebu bawalah esok, kita orang teringin nak makan tebu". Setelah Ahmad duduk, Masdar bertanya pada Ahmad tentang kebenaran bahawa Ahmad dan beberapa rakan yang lain akan di tunjukkan jawapan peperiksaan. Ahmad terdiam, dia tak terkata apa apa. "Mana dia orang tahu perkara ini, Semalam Cikgu Khadijah minta rahsiakan perkara ini." Itu sajalah yang dapat Ahmad fikirkan. Husin mencelah, "Kalau masa periksa nanti di tunjukkan jawapan, itu sesuatu yang tak betul?". Ya benar Ahmad termasuk dalam group yang akan di beri kertas soalan yang akan bertanda, dan dia mesti menyimpan rahsia itu. "Siapa yang beritahu?" soal Ahmad balik pada Masdar dan Husin, buat buat bodoh. "Cikgu Hashim lah. Guru Besar nak lebih ramai dapat 5A tahun ni, jadi korang akan di tunjukkan jawapan nanti supaya nama sekolah naik." kata Masdar. Ahmad tak dapat berkata apa apa. Dia memandang muka muka marah kawan kawan nya. Dia menawarkan tebu yang di bawanya. Masdar dan Husin menolak. Hasan menggelengkan kepala. Dalam kemelut itu Ahmad masih dapat melihat muka Hasan yang kesian pada kemelut yang Ahmad lalui. Khalid dan Anuar sedang berjalan kearah pokok saga, masih jauh untuk mendengar atau mengagak sesuatu sedang berlaku dibawah pokok saga petang itu. " Kau beri lah tebu tu pada kawan kawan kau itu." kata Husin sambil memuncung kearah Khalid dan Anuar. Sejak hari itu Ahmad sudah tidak berapa rapat dengan Masdar, Husin dan Hasan. Peristiwa di bawah pokok saga....peri matlamat menghalalkan cara. Demi memajukan bangsa. Mungkin kita mahu mencapai matlamat 100% bangsa kita dalam bidang komersil, profesional dan perkhidmatan awam, melahirkan bangsa Melayu Islam yang maju dan berjaya, mampu bersaing dan berdiri sama tinggi seperti bangsa bangsa lain di dunia. Tidakkah kita menipu diri dan bangsa sendiri, dengan cara kita tweaking the system dan ukuran pencapaian. 36 tahun berlalu... Suatu petang di musim raya. Pelan perjumpaan telah di buat beberapa minggu sebelumnya. Siti Nurhaliza, Masdar, Khalid, dan Azlan mengadakan pertemuan dirumah Jaidah. Rumah cantik ditengah sawah, tak jauh dari sekolah tempat mereka mula mula berkenalan sebagai anak anak sekolah tahun tujuh puluhan. Setelah tiga puluh enam tahun tidak bertemu, mereka masih mengenali satu sama lain. Siti Nurhaliza, Jaidah, Siti Hawa, Masdar, Khalid, Azlan, Asmadi dan Ahmad bergelak ketawa sampai maghrib mengingatkan zaman kanak kanak dahulu.
          Story of Pak Pandi        
I am sorry if the name Pak Pandi rhyme with Pak Pandir. His real name is Affandi. Last week an uncle from Johor, (Parit Imam, Batu Pahat) came for a visit. His name is Affandi, and we called his Pak Pandi. Pak Pandi married Auntie Sarengah back in the sixties, and their first born, Saadon is the same age as me. Pak Pandi was originally from Johor, he was brought to Tanjong Karang by his father after his parent divorced. His mother stayed in Johor with the other children, but he followed his father to Tanjong Karang and lived in Sungai Burung. Back in the sixties he married Auntie Sarengah, my mother's younger sister. In the beginning they set up house at my grandfather's sawah land at Sawah Sempadan, but later they moved to Sungai Burung when new land was opened for rice plantation. Pak Pandi has 3 acres of rice field in Sungai Burung, next to his father's. In the beginning the land didnt have a good yield, but after 4-5 seasons, the rice yield get better. I remember the times back in the early seventies when Pak Pandi would come over visit us. One day back in the early seventies Pak Pandi to us that they were moving to Perak, to a newly opened land. My mother's version; The land was on an island, Pulau Kerang. About two years passed, maybe less, came the news that Auntie Sarengah had passed away. My father, Uncle Rukimin and Nenek Mariam went north to see Auntie Sarengah buried. Pulau Kerang was a bit far from the mainland, the boat ride took ages. The coconut trees that Pak Pandi planted was still young, about 3 feet high. It was gambut land. Pak Pandi and Auntie Sarengah hadnt even built their own hut, but living with an old couple who are childless. Their children, Saadon and Saadiah (remind me if they have any other children) didnt go to school, because school was on the mainland. The old woman told my father thus; "Reti yo le, bocah iki nthino2 kerja ne turut tepi sungi golek ipah, di gawe atep. Atep e di dhol, duit e di ngge tuku beras. De ingi kae de'e balik ngomong barange dhi leboni pacat. Arep dhi gowo nyeberang banyu ne ijek surut, dhadi ngenteni pasang sesuk bar luhur. Urong sempet de'e wes ninggal. Meh sethino sewengi nek kenek kuwi. Mboso uwonge wes mati, pacat kuwi metu, gedi ne wes rong theriji." Translation:Son, let it be known to you that this woman work hard every day collecting nipah leaves along the river to make attap. She sold the attap and used the money to buy rice. Yesterday she came home saying that a leech got into her vagina (leech sucks blood). We wanted to take her across to hospital but the tide was low. so we had to wait until the tide is high after zuhr (about 1pm). She died before we had time to take her across. She had been suffering almost a day. After she died, the leech got out, and it was the size of two fingers. There was not many people on the island, the mosque was one mile away and her grave was the first one on the island. Auntie Normah's version; In the beginning, when they just got married, Pak Pandi and Auntie Sarengah set up a hut at my grandfather's sawah land at Sawah Sempadan. Later Pak Pandi got a three acre plot of sawah at Sungai Burung, next to Pak Pandi's father. It took 4-5 seasons before the rice yield get better. Back around 1972, Pak Pandi's friend encourage him to sell his rice field to make a new beginning in Sungai Kerang, Perak. The land was peat, on top of clay soil. Keladi (yam) or taro in Samoan grew well. But there was alot of leeches who would chase you if you go into water for a bath. Sometimes these leeches get into your private parts. Auntie Sarengah got stomach ache, probably from burst appendix, appendicitis. It took less than 24 hours before she died. After Auntie Sarengah died Pak Pandi came back to Tanjong Karang. Saadiah was adopted by Uncle Husin and Auntie Rukinem. He went to Puchong with Pak Kijat and opened a new land over there. But that didnt last long, coconut took a long time to grow and they didnt have anything to eat. Pak Pandi's mother asked him to go back to Johor. She has a piece of land over where she was living, at Parit Imam, Batu Pahat. Pak Pandi was living in the same house with his mother, but after a while his mother was not happy having kids in the house. so Pak Pandi built a hut under the mangosteen tree. It was small and very basic. The hut was not far from the village mosque according to Auntie Normah. Lately an UMNO big shot man took notice of his deplorable living condition and gave him RM10000 towards building a better house, Pak Pandi has to fork out another RM5000 for the house. I have searched google map, yes there is a place called Sungai Kerang in Perak, but not Pulau Kerang. Looking at this map, its probably on the peninsula across the river, and yes its technically an island, being surrounded by rivers. http://maps.google.co.nz/maps?q=sungai+kerang&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&sa=N&tab=wl Anyone want to add anything more?
          Himpunan Doa-doa munajad Assajjad        
Doa Minta Ampun bagi orang yang berbuat Zalim atau Tertimpa Kezaliman


Tuhanku, limpahkanlah shalawatMu atas Muhammad dan keluarga Muhammad……

Patahkanlah syahwatku dari segala yang diharamkan. Dan singkirkanlah keinginanku dari segala yang mendatangkan dosa. Dan cegahlah aku dari perbuatan mengganggu setiap mukmin dan mukminah, muslim dan muslimah.



Tuhanku…., siapa saja diantara hambaMu yang memperlakukan diriku dengan sesuatu yang Kau larang baginya, atau melanggar Hakku yang telah Kau tutup baginya ……, maka ampunilah ia bagi apa yang menimpa diriku darinya…..Jadikanlah maaf yang kuberikan baginya dan sedekah yang kurelakan untuknya sebagai salah satu diantara sedekah-sedekah suci para pemberi sedekah, dan pemberian-pemberian luhur orang-orang yang mendekatkan diri kepadaMu… dan gantikanlah maafku bagi mereka itu dengan maafMu bagiku, sehingga masing-masing kami beroleh kebahagiaan dari anugerahMu dan keselamatan yang berasal dariMu………….



Tuhanku……, jika ada diantara hamba-hambamu tertimpa akibat buruk karenaku, atau terkena gangguanku; atau sampai kepadanya dariku atau karenaku, sesuatu perbuatan aniaya sehingga ia terlanggar haknya atau menderita karenanya…….., maka limpahkanlah padanya karuniaMu, dan sempurnakanlah haknya dengan pemberianMu dan buatlah ia kembali ridha padaku. Kemudian, peliharalah aku dari apa yang diwajibkan oleh hukumMu, dan selamatkanlah diriku dari hukuman yang ditentukan oleh keadilanMu…….., sebab kekuatanku tak mampu menahan pembalasanMu, dan dayaku tak kuat menerima kemurkaanMu. Bila engkau hukum diriku dengan yang seharusnya, niscaya aku binasa, dan bila tak Kau masukkan aku dalam rahmatMu, niscaya aku ' kan tersesat ………..



Doa Memohon ampun atas kelalaian dalam memenuhi kewajiban


Tuhanku, ku mohon ampunanMu atas setiap kelalaianku, yaitu ketika seseorang yang tak bersalah dizalimi di hadapanku sedang aku tak membelanya ……….; atau sesuatu kebaikan dilakukan untukku, lalu aku tak mensyukurinya …….; atau ketika seseorang yang telah berbuat kesalahan meminta maaf dariku, lalu aku tak memaafkannya …….; atau seseorang yang membutuhkan meminta dariku, tapi aku tak mengutamakannya atas diriku ……; atau ada sesuatu hak bagi seorang mukmin atas diriku, tapi aku tak memenuhinya …..; atau tersingkapnnya aib seorang mukmin dalam penglihatanku, lalu aku tak menutupinya ……..; atau sesuatu dosa melintas di hadapanku, lalu aku tak menjahuinya ……..



Aku mohon ampunMu, ya Allah, dari itu semua dan yang sejenisnya, diiringi penyesalan mendalam yang mudah-mudahan bisa menghalangiku dari segala sesuatu seperti itu ……….

Limpahkanlah shalawatMu atas Muhammad dan keluarga Muhammad. Dan jadikanlah penyesalanku – atas kesalahan-kesalahan yang pernah kulakukan ………., serta tekadku untuk meninggalkan segala kejahatan yang akan melintas dihadapanku – sebagai taubat yang tulus dan mendatangkan kasih sayangMu atas diriku, ya Allah yang menyukai orang-orang yang bertaubat…….





Doa di kala menyaksikan kemewahan hidup para hartawan


Segala puji bagi Allah, dan aku rela dengan segala ketentuan yang telah ditetapkanNya. Aku bersaksi bahwa Allah swt telah membagi-bagi sumber kehidupan hamba-hambaNya dengan seadil-adilnya, dan menetapkan atas mereka semua limpahan karuniaNya.

Allahumma, ya Tuhanku, limpahkanlah shalawatMu atas Muhammad dan keluarga Muhammad.



Janganlah Kau buat aku tergoda dengan kemewahan yang Kau berikan pada sebagian orang, dan jangan pula membuat mereka tergoda dengan apa yang Kau cegah diriku memperolehnya……… sehingga aku tak merasa iri kepada maklukMu dan tak mencela ketetapanMu……….



Tentramkanlah jiwaku dalam menerima ketentuanMu. Lapangkanlah dadaku dalam menerima ketetapanMu. Dan berilah aku iman yang teguh agar aku dapat mengakui dengan setulusnya bahwa ketentuanMu pasti terlaksana dengan kebaikan selalu …………



Dan jadikanlah rasa syukurku atas apa yang Kau sisihkan dariku lebih besar dari rasa syukurku atas apa yang Kau berikan padaku ……………

Dan peliharalah diriku agar tidak memiliki sikap meremehkan orang tak berpunya, ataupun menyampaikan sanjungan bagi orang yang berharta ……., sebab orang yang benar-benar mulia adalah orang yang dimuliakan oleh ketaatanya padaMu……, dan yang benar-benar kuat kedudukanya ialah orang yang tumbuh kuat karena pengabdianya padaMu………

Dan berikanlah kami nikmat dengan kekayaan yang tak ada habisnya serta kekuatan yang takkan pernah hilang ……………



Doa di Akhir Malam


Tuhanku…… berilah aku kelapangan rizki, keamanan negeri, puncak kebahagiaan hidup kekeluargaan, putra-putri dan harta, kesehatan jasmani, kekuatan tubuh dan keselamatan dalam agama………

Tuhanku …….., demi keperkasaan dan keagunganMu, bila Kau tuntut aku lantaran dosa-dosaku, akupun menuntut ampunanMu, dan bila Kau tuntut aku lantaran kesalahanku, akupun menuntut kedermawananMu, dan bila kau masukkan daku kedalam nerakaMu, niscaya ‘kan kuberitahu penghuninya tentang cintaku padaMu…………

Tuhanku ……., jika tak Kau ampuni selain wali-walimu1) dan pada orang-orang yang taat padaMu….kemanakah orang-orang yang berdosa akan berlindung? dan jika tiada Kau muliakan selain orang-orang yang tulus dan setia padaMu……. Kepada siapakah orang-orang yang tergelincir akan minta tolong ……..?



Tuhanku ……., jika Kau masukan daku dalam nerakaMu, niscaya hal itu akan menggembirakan musuh-musuhMu. Dan jika Kau masukkan daku ke SorgaMu….., niscaya hal itu akan menggembirakan NabiMu ……..! dan aku tahu, ya Allah kegembiraan NabiMu lebih Kau sukai dari pada kegembiraan musuhMu………

Tuhanku ………,karuniailah daku kebijakan dalam agamaMu, kearifan mengenai ketetapanMu, pengetahuan tentang ilmuMu …… ………………....sikap hati-hati pencegah maksiatku terhadapMu………., dan putihkanlah wajahku 2), serta arahkanlah keinginanku kepada apa yang berada di sisiMu.



Tuhanku ……., aku berlindung padaMu dari kemalasan, kegagalan, kegundahan, kepengecutan, kebakhilan, kelengahan, kekejaman, kehinaan, kemiskinan kepapaan dan segala bala 3) serta perbuatan keji, yang tampak dan yang tersembunyi ….



Dan aku berlindung kepadaMu dari memiliki jiwa yang selalu tak puas, perut yang tak pernah kenyang, hati yang tidak khusyu’, doa yang tak terdengar, amal yang tak berguna dan shalat yang tak diterima ……..



TuhanKu……, telah Kauperintah kami melalui kitabMu agar mengampuni siapa yang berbuat aniaya kepada kami……., sedangkan kami telah berbuat aniaya pada diri kami sendiri……Maka ampunilah kami………, sebab Engkaulah yang lebih utama memberi pengampunan daripada kami. Dan Engkau telah memerintahkan kami agar jangan menolak siapa yang datang meminta dari kami….., maka janganlah Kau kembalikan kami kecuali setelah Kaupenuhi hajat kami…….Dan Engkau telah memerintahkan kami agar berbuat ikhsan 4) kepada hamba sahaya kami, padahal sesungguhnya kami adalah hamba sahayaMu……., maka bebaskanlah kami dari api nerakaMu………



1) Wali Allah, maksudnya orang yang benar-benar beriman dan bertaqwa, yang sungguh-sungguh mencintai Allah sehingga Allahpun mencintainya.

2) “Putihkan wajahku”, maksudnya bersihkan aku dari dosa

3) Bala' artinya : Musibah yang datang sebagai ujian atau hukuman

4) ikhsan artinya: kebajikan




Dikutib dari buku Ash-Shahifah As-Sajjadiyah (Himpunan Doa-doa munajad Assajjad) karya Imam Ali bin Husain bin Ali bin Abi Thalib.

Oleh masyarakat dizamannya beliau digelari As-Sajjad (orang yang banyak bersujud) dan digelari Zainal Abidin (pemuka para ahli ibadah).

Beliau seorang Tabi’in yaitu orang yang tidak berjumpa dengan Nabi Muhammad s a w akan tapi hidup dan berjumpa dengan para sahabat-sahabat Nabi Muhammad s a w. Beliau lahir tahun 38 H dan wafat tahun 95 H.
          AlFatihah to Rukinem binti Daud, circa 1938-2011        
I got a message today from my sister Maslina, that my auntie, Rukinem binti Daud had passed away this morning about 4am Malaysian Time. Today being the 17th day of Ramadan.

We have always known her by her nickname, Mbokde Nik. She is older than my mother, ie my mother's immediate elder sister. She was married to Pakcik Husin, and lives at Blok O Sawah Sempadan, Tanjong Karang. As far as I remember, She has always been kind woman to us and always soft spoken and full of patience. Unlike her siblings, she never bore any children, but she has 3 adopted children. The first is Din, (hmm I dont remember my cousin's name, someone remind me pls :)) who is one year older than me, 2nd is Zaharah and the 3rd is Saadiah. Din and Saadiah are blood relation to Auntie Rukinem. Din is a son from Pakcik Husin's brother, while Saadiah is a daughter from the late Auntie Sarengah and Uncle Affandi, which is her younger sister.

My earliest memory of Auntie Rukinem (I suppose this is from the far recesses of my memory..) was when I was about 6 years old. Pakcik Husin and Mbokde Nik had a kenduri kesyukuran at their place. They had just adopted a baby girl, and named her Zaharah. I remember the baby cried alot, and being fed bottled milk. That was the first time I had seen such thing as milk powder, baby formula. I remember Mbokde Nik was trying to feed the baby with a bottle, filled with milk. Yet the baby was still crying. At that time their house was a bit far from the road. It was a wooden house with zinc roof. There was a few coconut trees around the house.
Pakcik Husin was working for DID in those days, whereby his job was looking after those water gate that control the flow of water at Sawah Sempadan. His job was opening or closing the water gate. Hence the Malay word, kunci air. Apparently, while doing his duties in those days near Bund Canal area, he got a bit thirsty. There was no tap water anywhere in those days, but water from a well in tanah gambut land is not salty, so he went to one house, asking to get water from their well. There were young couple living at the house, estimated in the late teen, a small basic house, built on 6 poles. Pakcik Husin heard the husband and wife were arguing while a baby was heard crying. After getting the water from the well, Pakcik Husin asked them why they were fighting; apparently the husband doesnt want to be burdened with a baby. So Pakcik Husin offered to adopt the baby.

Forward a couple of years, there was another rewang and kenduri at Mokde Nik's place, they were building another house, this time closer to the road.

I remember visiting Mbokde Nik in her then new house a few times. They were among the first to own a television in the early 70's. One time we stayed overnight at her place to watch cerita melayu on a Friday night (malam Sabtu). Her neighbours also watch the cerita melayu at her place.
In those days, Pakcik Husin and Mbokde Nik were caring for Pakcik Husin elderly mother, who was senile.

Last time I saw Mbokde Nik was 2 years ago, in January 2009. She was healthy back then, and I remember my late grandmother Mariam. Oh my, she looked like my late grandmother.

Please recite Alfatihah for her.

          Surat Rezeki        

Surat Rezeki
Satu
Azlan berasal dari Taiping. Ayahnya meninggal ketika dia masih kecil. Sejak itu ibunya menjanda, mereka tinggal sebilik di rumah keluarga ibunya. Keluarga ibunya tidak punya harta yang banyak atau tanah untuk bercucuk tanam. Ibunya bekerja di kilang untuk menanggung mereka anak beranak, dengan gaji $80 sebulan. Masa itu tahun tujuhpuluhan. Setiap hari makan nasi dengan mee segera.
Masa berlalu, Azlan seorang yang rajin dan pandai. Dia mendapat keputusan cemerlang dalam SPM dan berpeluang melanjutkan pelajaran ke New Zealand. Habis belajar dia pulang ke tanahair, lalu bekerja di beberapa syarikat swasta sebelum mendapat tawaran bekerja di ITM sebagai seorang pensyarah.
“Boring” kata Azlan. “Dua bulan pertama tu mungkinlah kena prepare, lepas tu ulang balik macam kaset player.”
Azlan berpindah kerja beberapa kali, akhirnya berhijrah ke kota Gempa mengikut isterinya yang melanjutkan pelajaran di peringkat sarjana. Beberapa tahun kemudian pulang ke tanahair, dan memilih untuk bekerja sendiri sebagai penasihat kewangan, setelah puas mencuba mendapatkan kerjaya yang setimpal dengan kelulusan dan pengalamannya.
Dua
Ahmad anak kampung, ayahnya ada sebidang tanah. Disitulah rezeki mereka, kelapa dijual untuk membiayai persekolahan adik beradiknya. Ayahnya mengambil upah mengait kelapa untuk menampung keperluan seharian. Ahmad seorang budak pendiam, dia ada masalah self confidence, dan tidak pandai bergaul dengan orang, tetapi dia rajin dan sabar serta menpunyai ingatan visual yang kuat. Kekuatan otaknya menyebelah kekiri, pandai matematik, fizik dan memahami yang abstrak, tetapi lemah dalam berkomunikasi dan pergaulan. Dia hidup dalam dunianya sendiri.
Berkat doa orang tuanya, Ahmad berjaya melanjutkan pelajaran ke luar negara, lalu tinggal bertahun tahun bermastautin di kota Gempa. Asyik bertukar tukar kerja tanpa ada satu kerjaya yang kekal.
“Boring dan hambar, semua dah tahu. Tak ada challenge” kata Ahmad.
Masalah orang pandai, mereka perlu stimulasi otak, perlu challenge dalam kehidupan. Perlu kembara dan mencari pengalaman baru setiap waktu.
Tiga
Satu tengahari Jumaat di bulan Januari.
Ahmad habis kerja awal pagi itu. Lalu bergegas pulang kerumah, mandi dan terus ke masjid. Dia memang semestinya datang awal ke masjid setiap Jumaat. Ada masa untuk duduk di dinding tepi, baca Yasin dan Kahfi. Tapi tengahari itu dia nampak kawan lamanya yang sudah bertahun tidak bertemu. Rambutnya sudah mula beruban, masih bermisai lebat, tapi misainya ada uban. Masa telah lama berlalu, sudah 30 tahun Ahmad mengenali Azlan, sejak mereka sama sama memasuki ITM sebagai anak anak muda harapan negara.
“Assalamualaikum, kau bila sampai”
“Walaikumsalam, heh baru seminggu ni. Memang aku agak mesti jumpa hang kat masjid ni”
Ahmad sejak beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini sudah mula keep in touch dengan kawan kawan lama melalui laman fesbuk. Manakala Azlan meminggir diri dan hanya berkomunikasi dengan beberapa kawan rapat melalui emel atau talipon. Ahmad dan Azlan mempunyai masalah yang sama, inferiority complex.
Hari itu Ahmad bercerita tentang perkembangan kawan kawan lama mereka di tanahair. Kawan kawan mereka ramai yang telah mula menerajui dan mengemudi ekonomi dan pentadbiran negara. Ada yang telah kaya raya dan punya syarikat besar.
“Kita ni masih macam ni ye.”
“Rezeki tu masing masing.” kata Ahmad.
Petang itu mereka mula bercerita tentang rezeki.
“Sebenarnya kita semua ni ada bahagian masing masing. Dan tidak akan luak bahagian kita kalau kita berikan sebahagian dari rezeki kita pada orang lain sebagai sedekah.” kata Ahmad.
Bagi orang kafir, cara mereka mudah, mereka dapat apa yang mereka usahakan. Kerja kuat, usaha kuat dan smart, maka banyaklah yang mereka dapat. Tambah lagi kalau mereka berbuat kebaikan, maka Tuhan akan beri mereka kebaikan dan rezeki dengan setimpal. Semuanya mereka dapat di dunia ini. Allah yang Maha Adil. Bila sampai Hari Pengadilan nanti, tidak ada alasan untuk orang kafir untuk menuntuk syurga dari Allah kerana masih ada lagi kebaikan yang mereka buat di dunia yang Allah masih belum beri balasan. Begitulah adilnya Allah terhadap hamba hambanya.
Bagi kita orang yang Islam dan beriman, di sisi Allah ada taraf kita. Allah beri kita peluang untuk mencapai taraf itu, kesusahan dan musibah yang kita hadapi di dunia itu adalah peluang yang Allah berikan kepada kita untuk menebus dosa, dan naiknya taraf hambanya di sisi Allah. Allah limpahkan rezeki dalam berbagai bentuk; kesihatan, harta benda, kelapangan, bersilaturahim. Setiap keperluan kita Allah telah sediakan, cuma kita hanya perlu mengambilnya. Kita pun perlu tahu apa itu rezeki dan apa itu dugaan.
Masa kita di dunia inilah peluang kita untuk berbuat amal dan kebaikan untuk bekalan kita nanti di alam satu lagi. Lepas kita mati, buku kita dah tutup, kecuali tiga perkara yang pernah kita buat di dunia;
1. Ilmu agama dan/atau ilmu dunia yang kita ajarkan yang memberi manfaat.
2. Harta benda yang kita wakafkan kejalan agama.
3. Anak anak yang soleh dan solehah yang mendoakan untuk kita.
Selalunya orang tak dapat peluang semua tiga ini. Kecuali kalau seseorang itu buat sesuatu yang extra dalam hidupnya, seperti berbakti kepada kedua ibubapanya.
“Aku pun selama berbelas tahun ini jaga emak aku” kata Azlan. “tapi iyalah, kan rezeki tu masing masing.”
“Sebenarnya ada cara untuk menambah rezeki.” terang Ahmad.
Kalau kita nak murah rezeki, selalulah buat sembahyang Dhuha.
http://www.brunet.bn/gov/mufti/alhadaf/mac99/h_dhuha.htmDan doanya: " Ya Allah, bahawasanya waktu Dhuha itu waktu DhuhaMu, kecantikan itu ialah kecantikanMu, keindahan itu keindahanMu, kekuatan itu kekuatanMu, kekuasaan itu kekuasaanMu dan perlindungan itu perlindungan Mu. Ya Allah jika rezekiku masih diatas langit, turunkanlah dan jika ada di dalam bumi, keluarkanlah, jika sukar mudahkanlah, jika ia (dari yang) haram maka sucikanlah, jika masih jauh dekatkanlah, berkat waktu Dhuha, Keagungan, Keindahan, Kekuatan dan Kekuasaan Mu, limpahkanlah kepada hamba-hamba Mu yang saleh ."
Amalkanlah membaca Ayat Seribu Dinar setiap kali lepas sembahyang.

Dengan nama Allah Yang Maha Pemurah Lagi Maha Mengasihani. Dan sesiapa yang bertaqwa kepada Allah (dengan mengerjakan suruhanNya dan meninggalkan laranganNya), nescaya akan dijadikan baginya jalan keluar (dari segala perkara yang menyusahkannya).
Serta memberinya rezeki dari jalan yang tidak terlintas hatinya. Dan (ingatlah), sesiapa berserah diri bulat-bulat kepada Allah, maka Allah cukupkan baginya (untuk menolong dan menyelamatkannya). Sesungguhnya Allah tetap melakukan segala perkara yang di kehendakiNya. Allah telahpun menentukan kadar dan masa bagi berlakunya tiap-tiap sesuatu.
(Ayat 2 & 3 Surah At-Talaq)

Selain itu berbanyak banyak bersedekah dan beramal jariah, kerana Allah akan membalas amal baik kita berganda ganda.
Allah akan datangkan rezeki kepada kita dari arah yang tidak di sangka sangka. Allah akan beri kita idea dan usaha kita nanti akan menjadi. Rezeki kita itu nanti tak semestinya dalam bentuk harta benda. Mungkin dalam bentuk kelapangan dan kesenangan hati, anak anak dan isteri isteri yang menyenangkan hati dan menggembirakan, kesihatan tubuh badan dan kemampuan untuk berbuat amal ibadat dan amal jariah. Juga kebolehan dan skill untuk berbuat sesuatu yang boleh member manfaat kepada manusia. Allah beri peluang untuk beribadah itu adalah nikmat yang amat besar.
Epilog
Azlan pulang ke tanahair, untuk menyambung tugasnya berbakti kepada ibunya. Dua hari sebelum itu Allah beri dia peluang untuk merasai gempa bumi berukuran 5.1 pada skala Richter. Rezeki Azlan, Allah peringatkan bahawa dunia ini adalah sementara.
Ahmad masih menetap di kota Gempa. Allah berinya peluang lagi untuk merasai beberapa gempa bumi antaranya sebesar 6.3 yang mengorbankan banyak jiwa.
          Pasir hitam dari Perut Bumi        



Pasir hitam dari Perut Bumi
SATU
Beberapa hari lalu Ahmad pergi ke pasaraya. Lalu di sapa oleh seorang anak muda lewat belasan tahun. “Apa khabar mu?”
“Baik, aku selamat dari gempa dan masih sihat.”
Sebelum ini jarang sekali dapat ketemu anak muda keturunan Kiwi yang mahu bertegur sapa. Masing masing dengan urusan kehidupan sendiri, sudah hilang perasaan prihatin terhadap manusia sekeliling. Mungkin satu kebaikan dari gempa ini ialah kembalinya semangat keprihatinan terhadap manusia sekeliling, semangat tolong menolong sesama manusia. Kesedaran bahawa nyawa itu berharga, tidak ternilai oleh harta benda.
“Apa pendapat mu tentang gempa bumi ini?” soal anak muda itu.
“Apa maksud mu?” soal Ahmad balik.
“Adakah kau seorang yang religious? Kalau kau percayakan Tuhan, bahawa Tuhan akan menyelamatkan semua kita yang percaya kepada Tuhan. God will save us.” sambung anak muda itu lagi, sambil meneguk air tin guarana.
“Ya aku seorang yang religious. Aku percaya Tuhan. Gempa bumi berlaku bila dua tectonic plates bertembung, lama kelamaan stress akan memuncak. Gempa bumi itu boleh diibaratkan sebagai kayu yang dilentur. Sampai satu ketika, kayu yang di lentur akan patah.”
Manusia di Barat berfahaman kebanyakannya berfahaman sekular, membezakan kepercayaan diri, dan urusan kehidupan harian. Mereka tidak faham bahawa sains adalah explanation, penerangan cara Allah melakukan sesuatu kejadian dengan kehendakNya. Sunnatullah.
DUA
2006, lima tahun lalu. Ahmad bekerja waktu malam di sebuah hotel 4 bintang di tengah kota. Tugasnya menjaga keselamatan hotel waktu lewat malam dan melayan keperluan penghuni hotel. Selalunya dia menyediakan makanan dan menghidang arak, selain memunggah beg beg pakaian. Di tengah kota terdapat berpuluh bar dan disko. Muda mudi mengunjungi bar dan disko dari petang sampai kepagi. Selalunya lepas tengah malam kebanyakan mereka sudah terlalu mabuk, lalu keluar ke jalan dan kaki lima melalak dan muntah. Kelakuan yang menjelekkan, apalagi kebanyakan yang melalak dan menyanyi perempuan muda belasan tahun yang berpakaian menjolok mata. Pada tahun tahun 2006 dan 2007, kebanyakan muda mudi yang mengunjungi bar dan disko itu adalah Kiwi dan segelintir keturunan Samoa dan Maori. Pernah sekali Ahmad terserempak dengan seorang pemudi Melayu di depan hotel, pemudi itu berseluar jeans dan T-shirt, dan bertudung. Agaknya dia keluar berjalan jalan dengan kawan kawan, pukul 1 pagi.
Suasana tengah kota pukul satu pagi seperti satu pesta arak. Muda mudi berpeleseran dalam keadaan mabuk. Kupu kupu malam berdiri di persimpangan jalan. Botol botol bir ditepi longkang. Pasangan bercumbuan di perosok tepi kedai, muda mudi kencing di lorong gelap tepi jalan.
Selepas 2007, salah sebuah negara Timur Tengah mula menghantar anak anak muda mereka ke Christchurch untuk belajar di institusi institusi pengajian tinggi. Anak anak muda ini masih awal dua puluhan tahun, mungkin baru pertama kali keluar kepompong keluarga. Mereka belajar Bahasa Inggeris, university foundation studies dan kemudian masuk ke university di Christchurch.
Waktu malam, terutama malam minggu, loghat Arab Timur Tengah banyak kedengaran di tengah kota. Ahmad selalu keluar ke perkarangan hotel, ramai pemuda pemuda Arab berjalan jalan, ada juga yang berpasangan dengan pemudi Kiwi. Disko dan bar menjadi tempat berkunjung pemuda pemuda Arab itu.
Pernah Ahmad melihat seorang pemuda Arab berpegang tangan dengan pemudi Kiwi di depan masjid pada satu tengahari Jumaat.
Semakin ramai pelajar dari Timur Tengah datang belajar di Christchurch. Beberapa peniaga Arab mula membuka kedai kedai kebab di kota. Imigran Hindi pula berniaga nasi basmati dan kari ayam butter chicken. Pelarian dari Afghanistan dan Somalia menjadi pengusaha teksi, mencari rezeki larut malam, menghantar pulang pemabuk waktu dinihari.
Hisham Al Zeiny dalam khutbah Jumaatnya pada minggu berlakunya gempa bumi itu berkata gempa dan musibah adalah peringatan Allah pada hambanya yang beriman. Jika musibah berlaku pada diri kita, itu adalah peringatan Allah pada kita seorang diri, tanda Allah sayang pada kita. Biarpun hanya tertusuk duri, itu adalah rahmat Tuhan, mungkin itu untuk menebus dosa kita. Setiap diri orang yang beriman itu ada tarafnya disisi Tuhan. Ingatlah, Tuhan hanya beri ujian pada hambaNya yang disayangi, dan tidak di beri ujian itu kalau kita tidak mampu melaluinya.
Tetapi apabila bencana dan musibah itu melanda sebuah kota, daerah atau negeri, itu tanda ada sesuatu kesalahan yang dilakukan oleh orang orang yang beriman di kota/negeri itu. Hisham Al Zeiny pernah berkhutbah selepas gempa September lalu, Tuhan mengingatkan kita di bulan Ramadan. Waktu itu hanya beberapa hari sebelum Eid ul Fitr. Belum pun enam bulan gempa berlaku lagi, kali ini banyak mengorbankan nyawa. Kata Hisham Al Zeiny, kalau ini amaran Tuhan yang lebih keras, amat buruklah padah kita bila hukuman Tuhan nanti sampai. Semoga inilah hukuman Tuhan pada kita.
Kita umat Islam di Christchurch lupa pada tugas kita, iaitu amal makruf nahi mungkar. Malah kita sama sama mencari rezeki dari kemungkaran orang kafir di sekeliling kita. Ada antara kita sama sama melakukan kemungkaran, dan mengikut ikut orang kafir. Biarlah orang kafir, jangan kita berkelakuan seperti mereka.
TIGA
Waktu gempa berlaku air dan pasir memancut keluar dari dalam tanah. Fenomena ini dipanggil liquefaction. Lagi lama dan besar gempa itu diukur dengan skala Richter lebih banyaklah air dan pasir akan memancut keluar dari tanah. Tetapi ini bergantung juga pada paras air bawah tanah, water table. Effect gempa bumi seperti hujan lebat seharian. Pasir itu bila kering dan ditiup angin kering musim panas akan berterbangan, alam sekeliling seperti dilanda ribut pasir, memedihkan mata dan mengganggu pernafasan. Kalau kita masukkan pasir, batu, tanah kedalam gelas atau baldi, kemudian penuhkan dengan air, kemudian goncang baldi itu seperti berlakunya gempa bumi, nescaya batu dan tanah akan bergerak dan memerlukan ruang yang lebih besar di dalam baldi itu. Maka air dan pasir pun menggelegak keatas. Liquefaction.
          Pictures From The Earthquake Zone        









          JANE DENTON : simply complex        

Beautiful colors, clean designs, and perfect stitching. On this episode I'm calling embroidery artist Jane Denton in summery New Zealand, from wintery Canada.


          Pictures From The Earthquake Zone        






http://news.msn.co.nz/slideshowajax/149281/6-3-earthquake-hits-christchurch.slideshow

HERE
          February 22, 2011, 1.51pm Story From the Earthquake Zone II        





Photos credit to Nick Maley

February 22, 2011, 1.51pm.
I was just getting out of the house and felt the earth shook. Looking around I saw the power lines and the power poles shook violently. The trees were shaking, deep in the ground, a rumbling sound, loud and scary. I walked a few more feet before falling on all four. Oh that was a huge earthquake I thought.
I immediately ran back inside the house, checking everything is okay. Then there was another earthquake of a lesser magnitude. I have to tell the world, power still on, so I turn on my computer and updated my status. That was at least a 6+ on the Richter scale. In the meantime, my wife went down to school down the road to check on our kids. Apparently the school was sending the children home, no more class for the day. Checking on the neighbours looks like our neighbourhood not badly affected.
Ambulance and fire rescue sirens were heard everywhere. I grabbed my camera, and got on my bike to check on my neighbourhood. The road was jammed, made worse by dead traffic light. People are leaving the city centre in their cars. Papanui was quiet, the mall already closed, well at least it is still intact. All businesses, banks and offices already evacuated and closed. The road to Merivale is badly damaged, by liquefaction and flooding. Grey fine sand oozed out of the ground by the roadsides and in the middle of the road. Some part of the road was heaved up while lower sections were flooded. Liquifaction brings out a lot of ground water and sand from underground. It’s like a few inches of rain in a few seconds. Fields flooded like a lake, streams and drains are deep in water.
Few older houses lost their heavy walls and chimneys. I saw an old house next to St Andrews College that has its entire roof collapsed, heavy tile roof. If the last earthquake the top section of chimney fallen to the ground, this time I saw the whole section of chimney fallen to the ground. Signs of liquefaction was everywhere, car parks was flooded, with mounds of white sand all over the place. In the middle of Merivale a section of concrete facade has fallen down blocking the main road. Citizens and bank workers donned orange vests and directing traffic. At Merivale I saw hordes of people walking from the centre of town, looking sombre, on twos or threes, carrying their handbags and luggage. Like scene from Sept 11, a lifetime ago.
I went as far as Bealey Avenue, and as I expected the city block is cordoned off. I was at the roadside near Southern Cross Hospital when I felt the ground rolled and saw dust billowing from a building 100 meters away. Another big earthquake! That was 2.50pm, two hours after the first one, with countless of smaller ones in between. Bealey Ave was gridlocked, and still hundreds of people are leaving on foot from the central business district.
I cycled back home, my battery gone flat. Cranford St was flooded. I have seen more citizens donning reflective jacket and directing the traffic at intersections.
An old gentleman shouted at me, “Sir, what do you think of shaky Christchurch?” Poignant moments. At the end of Cranford St I met Steven MacDonald, a colleague from years back at Hotel Grand Chancellor. He walked home from the hotel, still in uniform.
“Good to be alive!” he said. “The hotel was shaking so bad it almost falling down. Some housekeepers didn’t make it out of the hotel. “ he continued.
          That Witch, Inflation Eats Our Earnings Away        
Title: That Witch, Inflation Eats Our Earnings Away
Raj Patel of guardian.co.uk wrote this article about inflation. Yes we can blame external shocks, mainly high fuel and commodities prices, oil, coal, grains etc. Natural disasters that affect production of food and commodities are also to blame. Increased affluence in some countries also stokes the demand for food, hence stoking inflation.
China, India, ASEAN countries and Brazil have become more affluent lately, and the first thing people spend more when they are richer, is more quality food, clothing and housing, which translates to more demand on commodities.
I agree with Mr Patel and the World Bank that freer market helps lower prices in urban areas, whatever that cannot be produced locally at a competitive and cheap price, can be imported. But that would kill off local production, contributing to a higher price of the said produce in the future. Well designed public feeding and public works programmes gives people jobs, but this requires government spending which is inflationary.
In the short term, government and policy makers has to accept that commodity prices will stay high. Hence government must handle this issue of feeding the people and fair distribution of food. Hence well designed programme that feed the poor and hungry is necessary, even if that will mean higher government spending. Food grant and welfare payment for the poor and also public works programmes that will provide jobs. A content population would less likely to stir unrest. Yes it is inflationary.
In the medium term, investment must be made in food and commodity production, food doesn’t grow in an instant, land must be plough first before seeds planted. Infrastructure for farming has to be built. Without these new investments in food production, food production cannot increase and cannot meet increased demand.
What is more important, the country’s economic structure must be rearranged, more focus on food and commodity production as a larger portion in GNP. It is all well that the country has been steadily increasing industrial and service sector production to earn higher and higher incomes, but this has been at the expense of agricultural production which feeds the populace. So it’s no surprise that food prices have been steadily increasing. This call for new government policies that encourage food production, as well as incentives that encourage food production.
Look at Tunisia lately, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/28/tunisia-ben-ali,
1. High youth unemployment, and high unemployment overall.
2. 1 in 40 adult male is a policeman, which translate to high proportion government servant.
3. The economy has high proportion in service sector, ie resorts, hotels that cater for European tourists.
So the seeds of Tunisian discontent can be summarised in high food prices, unemployment and envy of wealth. What are worse the ruling elite displays their wealth, ill-gotten or not.
If we learn anything from this, we must handle these issues of unemployment, inflation, high food prices and unfair distribution of income immediately.
          Story for My Mother: Lindu        
When I was young, growing up in a village we did experience earthquake, very rarely. Even then it was normally Indonesian earthquake that we felt. My late father explained to me that deep underground, there is a big animal kind of being, it is asleep all the time, waiting for the day at the end of time, when it will get up and move about. That will be the end of time, Qiamat. When this animal moves, the earth surface will also move, the mountains and hills will fly like cloud. Earthquake or lindu (earthquake in Javanese language) happened because the animal moves a little bit in its sleep. You see, before the end of time, God forbids this animal from moving even a little bit, and God assigned angels to take care of this animal, ie the angel’s duty is to forbid this animal from moving one bit.
But from time to time, this animal sneezed and move in its sleep. Hence the earthquakes. If you think this earthquakes are bad and terrifying, wait until the day of Qiamat, the End of Time. That day the mountains, hills, and trees will fly like dust and feather. You will regret that never believe in the End of Days. Your repentance that day will be useless. Your regret of your past misdeeds and mischief will not be accepted by God Almighty.
Now before you start jumping up and down and say that the continents of the earth is floating on molten hot rocks, continental drift and the subduction of the edge of tectonic plates that cause earthquakes, yeah I know that.
I suppose if you think of it, we wouldn’t know how the earth would behave, and as we know that the continents are moving like cloud, creating pressure at the subduction zone. What if there is an increased activity at the centre of the earth? The molten part flow faster, which would cause the continents drift faster. And then earthquakes occur frequently to release the build up pressure. Can we predict earthquakes? No.
Everything that has happened and will happen is already written in the Loh Mahfuz.
75. And there is nothing hidden in the heaven and the earth, but is in a Clear Book (i.e. Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz).
          In Memory of My Father; Hamzah Kusni 1933-2008        





In Memory of My Father; Hamzah Kusni 1933-2008
As far as I remember, from the old days, my late father never had much clothing to his name. One pair of old work trousers and shirt, which were of rag quality and had patches, and about two pairs of normal trousers and shirts which he normally wore to market or kenduris. He didn’t have much in line of clothing, when his normal clothes wore out, he would wear it to work. No, my father didn’t need to wear fancy clothes for work. His work was mainly plucking down coconut from coconut tree, using 2-3 long stick of bamboo tied together, with a curved knife at the top end. Coconut tree is usually 20-40 feet high, thus a specialized job.
What else in the line of clothing that my father had? One or two kain pelikat, a songkok and a hat. Songkok is a kind of headwear that he normally wore for prayers, and to the mosque. He wore the hat at work, and to the market. Considering the type of job he did, a pith helmet was more appropriate, I think.
The late Ustadz Ashaari once told us that those people who had nothing much will have easier time during the Counting Time. For each and every thing that we ever owned, we will be asked....
Allah knows, I have way, way too many belongings.

Thanking you in advance for reciting AlFatihah for the benefit of my late father..
          pictures from my garden        

lettuce for salad anyone? come over..


Amaranth, Mekong Red..or bayam merah.

this one will ripe soon, yum.


pegaga...dulu kat kampung punyalah banyak..
          Story from the Earthquake Zone        





It was Saturday morning at 4.35am. I was half awake, since the beginning of Ramadan, it has been my almost daily routine to wake up early at least half an hour before dawn. Normally I would wake at that time, to eat my breakfast before dawn, sahur and then perform solat tahajud before fajr or after dawn prayer. That morning was a bit different; I was contemplating of getting another wink of sleep.
Then the shaking start, and I knew then it was earthquake. I thought it was just a small one, but it goes on and on for almost a minute, the house swayed, and the swing of the pendulum, if you put pendulum on a string, getting longer. The light bulb above the bed swayed violently, and my wife yell earthquake and starts finding her way to the kitchen. The children also got up; they cowered under the bed for safety. We walked in the dark to the kitchen during the earthquake, my wife insisted on protecting her crystals and china in the display cabinet in the lounge. By the time we made our way to the lounge, the crystals and china were falling from the shelves...and then it stops.
We turned on the light, plates, glasses were all over the floor, broken. Our TV was face down on the floor too. I turned on the kettle to make tea and breakfast. Fifteen minutes later the light was out. Then there is an aftershock, another earthquake, strong enough but not as big as the first one. We told the children to go back to sleep. No point staying awake, we are not badly affected and our house is still standing in one piece.
People in our neighbourhood start to get out of their houses and start their cars, some were driving around surveying the damages and came back. A few walked around in our street. I sent a sms to Husin, and called Kak Julie checking if they are okay. Alhamdulillah they are okay. Husin sent a sms saying that he tried to call me but couldn’t get through. After fajr prayer, I went back to sleep.
Sulaiman, a friend from Malaysia who arrived the previous night were staying at a motel in Riccarton. I rang him up that morning and he was okay, he told me that was a surreal experience. He said that he drove around the city that early morning, and told me that a few old buildings have collapsed. One new building near Victoria Square has visible crack on it.
We got our electricity back about 10am, and sent a message to my sister telling her that about the earthquake and we were okay. Then we found out it was a 7.1 earthquake on the Richter scale.

Our water was still cut off until after 1pm, and that late morning I got on my bike and went to the city. Most part of the city was blocked off. Central business district was cordoned off, the police were guarding at every intersection. I cycled around and took some pictures, which I posted on facebook.
">http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/photo.php?pid=6937510&id=739829656&ref=fbx_album
That night I went to tarawih prayer with Sulaiman at Masjid An Nur, we were reminded that Allah has the power of over our lives, that we were on the jaws of death less than 24 hour ago.
The aftershock kept on coming. There was another big one that Monday morning, registering at 5.4, but life has to go on as usual. Snippets of reports from delivery drivers that I met range from the closure of Lyttelton Tunnel, Westfield Mall Riccarton and pungent smell of sulphur around Lyttelton.
What worries me is that recent epicentres of the earthquake are closer to Lyttelton Harbour. We all know that Lyttelton Harbour is an extinct volcano. We also know that New Zealand was formed by the meeting of Pacific Plate and Indo-Australian Plate, where the boundaries make up the Southern Alps in the South Island. What if these recent earthquake activity open up old fissures that was an extinct volcano Lyttelton Harbour and its sister Akaroa Harbour? I read this Tectonic Plates theory in Geology class more than 20 years ago. Little did I know that it is written in the Quran. Thanks to Uztadz Asraff Ayob (http://www.asraffayob.com/love-the-live-u-live/gempa-petanda-lailatul-qadar-kah-atau/#more-214) in his article about the earthquake.

And you see the mountains, thinking them rigid, while they will pass as the passing of clouds. [It is] the work of Allah, who perfected all things. Indeed, He is Acquainted with that which you do.
Muhsin Khan
And you will see the mountains and think them solid, but they shall pass away as the passing away of the clouds. The Work of Allah, Who perfected all things, verily! He is Well-Acquainted with what you do.

On Wednesday I was invited to attend a function at CIC Lincoln Road. Datuk Hasnudin Hamzah, the Malaysian High Commissioner to New Zealand, and Mark Stewart, Honorary Malaysian Consul in Christchurch was there answering questions from those who attended. What shocked me was the level of trauma among Christchurch Malaysian community.
I went home after the first two questions. I was disappointed and embarrassed at the same time
          Some friends keep in touch thru Blog, some friend keep in touch thru Facebook.        
A few minutes ago, an old friend from the primary school days sent me a message thru facebook, asking me to delete comment sent anonymously on my blog.

He said he has been reading my blog once in a while. I knew him back in primary school, Sekolah Dato' Manan, aeons ago, in 1976. Havent been in contact nor seen him since.
My apologies to you, that those damaging comment appeared on my blog. I have since deleted them, after googling about how to delete comment.
Please do keep in contact, after all we are from the same town, same primary school, same village. Only that we havent met nor seen each other for 34 years. Facebook is a good medium for people to catch up with each other, and I regret that you also disable yours.
          Story for My Mother XIV: Tafsir Mimpi, The Meaning of Dreams        

Say (O Muhammad (SAW) to these Mushrikûn and Kâfirûn): “O Al-Kâfirûn (disbelievers in Allâh, in His Oneness, in His Angels, in His Books, in His Messengers, in the Day of Resurrection, and in Al-Qadar)! (1) “I worship not that which you worship, (2) “Nor will you worship that which I worship. (3) “And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping. (4) “Nor will you worship that which I worship. (5) “To you be your religion, and to me my religion (Islâmic Monotheism).” (6)



Story for My Mother XIV: Tafsir Mimpi, The Meaning of Dreams
No this isnt my mother’s story, but rather a story for my mother. Not that there is any likelyhood that my mother would read this, she does not do internet, nor read English. I just hope that one of my brother or sister would read this and relate to my mother.
In early years, my parents, especially my mother always tell me stories of her dreams, and tried to figure out what it means. Once up on a time, not long after my grandfather Haji Daud Marhakim passed away in 1974ish, my late father related to me his dream of meeting my grandfather at a banquet with lots of food. One particular fruit that my father remembers was grapes. My father said that he had been reciting zikr for the benefit of my grandfather. My grandmother Maryam in 1978ish had also distributed items of clothing that once belonged to my late grandfather, one kain pelikat among them. I had taken the kain pelikat to school for prayer a couple of times myself, but it was used mostly by my father for prayers.
Three nights ago I had a dream, in my dream I was arguing about something with my wife. In my dream I was reciting a Surah from Quran, the meaning of the Surah is about ‘my deen, my way, these people lifestyle, not ours’ and the other Surah is about ‘There is only One God, no other’. In my dream I recited the Surahs clearly and my eyes waters. My wife went quiet and the argument ended. Later in the morning as I remember it was Surah AlKafiruun and Surah Ikhlas. All morning I did gardening job around the house, while trying to remember again and figuring out the meaning. That afternoon Syed Husin Heykal ring up and come over, we went to SuperShed to look for secondhand bike. I related my dream to him in the car.
Husin told me that in Islam, dream has meaning, regardless of what Western philosopher or what Freud said about dream, but we have to be careful interpreting dream. Some dream are from Iblis, which would encourage us to do bad deed and perform sihir. Then if we do Iblis bidding and encouragement, we will surely go to hellfire. If the dream ask us to read some Surah back to front, then surely its wrong and from Iblis. Husin said that my dream is about reciting Surah AlKafiruun and Surah Ikhlas, which examining the meaning of the Surahs, can relate to my life.
“Kalau kau nak tanya samada mimpi kau itu sebagai satu petunjuk supaya kau amalkan baca Surah AlKafiruun dan Surah Ikhlas, rasanya iya, sebab sebab ianya tidak salah dari segi agama.”
Husin then related a story. There was an army personnel friend from Kedah whom he knows, who was stationed in Sabah. “Orang Sabah ni angker”he said. I heard that statement before. He disappeared and didn’t contact his parent and family for a long time, about 9 years. So his family were looking for him, and prayed to Allah that he come back. Then one day he came back. Apparently he had married a Sabah girl, and forgotten about his parent and family in Semenanjung. Coming back to Semenanjung, he had divorced his Sabahan wife. His parent find a suitable wife for him from his village and he got married again.
“Tapi bila dia nak guna anu dia tak hidup, tak boleh pakai. Enam tahun dia cuba berubat sana sini jumpa bomoh jumpa ustadz namun tak ada kesan. Isteri dia minta cerai, tak tahan.”
“Satu masa dia jumpa sorang ustadz, dan ustadz tu kata bahawa masalah kau tu aku tak ada jalan penyelesaiannya, tapi kau amalkanlah Tiga Qul, ie Surah Ikhlas, Surah AlFalaq and Surah AnNas. Amalkanlah setiap hari, semoga Tuhan berikan jalan penyelesaian kepada masalah kau.”
When Prophet Muhammad SAW was sick on his bed after being affected by sihir, black magic, Jibril came to him and confirmed that The Prophet SAW was affected by sihir, black magic. The Prophet was taught to recite these three Surahs and he was free from sihir.
“ Jadi dia bacalah setiap hari, setiap lepas sembahyang, 33kali, 133 kali, etc dah jadi wirid sampai dekat 2 tahun. Tiba tiba isteri dia yang dari Sabah itu datang jumpa dia, dan di berikannya satu loket. Dalam loket itu ada satu keladi kecik yang hidup subur.”
From what I understand, his manhood is in that locket. How is that so, don’t ask me, thats black magic. So he can use his manhood again...
Husin told me that Allah particularly likes odd numbers, so when we recite zikr, or recite Surah, do recite in odd numbers, 3, 7, 11, 33 or 133 times.
          What Kemley Did Next......        
Well after New Zealand I returned to my new found home Melbourne to say goodbye to the Greenhouse and the last remnants of the gang. Off on a non-stop eating tour of Singapore, stuffing my face with chinese, indian and McDonald's (strictly singaporean macca's obviously). Then off to Dubai where i was stupidly low on cash to enjoy the 40 degree heat! Then i got home and the reality of the rea...
          Interview of Albert L. Raithel by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of Albert L. Raithel by Brian Shoemaker Raithel, Albert L. Capt. Raithel had a very short career with VX-6 during Deep Freeze II (1956-57). However, he flew one of the first P2V’s there and his narrative gives a good understanding of the development of P2V operations in Antarctica. After only one year flying with the squadron, he was transferred to the Naval Academy as an instructor. The following is pertinent: 1. Read about Byrd Expeditions in 1930’s 2. Was member of the first Air Scout Troop in Miami, Florida in 1943, attended Naval Academy and then flight training in 1953. 3. In 1954 Bernt Balchen invited him to fly in the Arctic with the USAF 10th Rescue Squadron – fell through because of the aircraft demands of the Korean War Airlift. 4. Volunteered for Deep Freeze in 1955 when the volunteer notice came out, but due to Administrative error was not selected. 5. In 1956 he appealed to Admiral Richard Black for orders to Antarctica. Black told Admiral Dufek and Dufek personally picked Raithel. In March 1956 he reported to VX-6. 6. He explains how Lockheed converted P2V’s to skis and explains how the skis operated in the field. 7. Al flew as co-pilot to Charlie Otti. Other P2V pilots were Jack Torbert, Stan Antos (USMC) and Jack Coley who had been on Ski Jump in the Arctic. 8. Briefly discusses the P2V crash at McMurdo that killed four people. 9. Relates story of Jack Otti and him picking up P2V at Lockheed Los Angeles and flying to New Zealand and thence McMurdo arriving on 3 January 1957. 10. Describes the first P2V flights to the South Pole. First was flown by Jack Torbert and Stan Antos. Raithel and Otti followed. 11. Planes were very overgrossed. Used 16 JATO for take-off at McMurdo and carried 16 more internally for take-off from South Pole. Landed at South Pole on 8 January. Mentions crew were Don Thomas ADR-1 (plane captain), Buzz Hudson (radioman) Ed Silberman (Navigator – USMC). 12. Discusses operation of the jets and reciprocating engines – jets burned av-gas. Had an integral heaters in each nacelle to warm the engines at low temperatures. 13. Returned to New Zealand on 13 January after only 10 day in Antarctica, due to failures of the attaching fittings in the aircraft ski system. Never returned. 14. Commented that Dufek was “sort-of” the Commanding Officer of VX-6. “Capt Cordinier and CDR Ward were more-or-less relegated to gofers.” 15. Ordered to Naval Academy shortly after returning to the United States due to completion of four continuous years of sea duty. 16. In 1957 he was ordered as advisor for air operations to work with Xavier deMaere of the Belgian Antarctic Program. Later in 1974 while he was assigned to NATO Staff in Brussels he again worked closely with Admiral deMaere.
          Interview of Frank G. Stokes by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of Frank G. Stokes by Brian Shoemaker Stokes, Frank G. Capt Stokes became interested in Admiral Byrd after listening to the Admiral’s broadcasts during his expeditions. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1953 and after his first tour of duty volunteered for Operation Deep Freeze. He was assigned to Little America in the fall of 1957 as the Communications Officer. He sailed from Seattle aboard the USS Atka via Christchurch to Little America at Kainan Bay. He gives good descriptions about life “On the Ice”. Mentions that Gus Shinn was their station pilot and that he spent the summer at Little America. Give a thorough accounting of the incident of Bert Crary falling into Kainan Bay when the ice front collapsed. Mentions “Little America College” and the regular lecture series that was involved. Little America was officially closed as a science base at the end of IGY (Dec 31, 1958), but Stokes was left behind with a close-out crew. He closed out the station on January 19, 1959 – he was the last to leave. He never had duty again in the Antarctic, but returned twice as a tourist in 1994 and 1995. The following is pertinent: 1. Listened to Admiral Byrd on radio as a young man. 2. While at Naval Academy wrote thesis on Admiral Byrd. 3. Volunteered for Deep Freeze after his first tour in fleet in 1957. 4. Was sent to Thule Greenland for survival school. 5. Was assigned as the Communications Officer to Antarctic Support Activities headed by Capt Pat Mayer. 6. He flew to Christchurch and boarded the USS Atka and headed for Kainan Bay. 7. He describes crashing two helicopters at Little America. 8. Slept in sleeping bag at first until previous winter crew left. 9. CDR Tommy Thompson was CO of Little America – Stokes boss. 10. Stokes was also Postal Officer requiring him to fly to Byrd Station and McMurdo. 11. Describes “Goober Beer”. 12. Discusses “All Hands” Club and fraternization with enlisted. 13. Discusses Antarctic Weather Central. 14. Describes the effect of sun-spots on communications. 15. States that there were four pilots assigned during the winter – they flew all winter. 16. He was duty officer when Bert Crary, the chief scientist in Antarctica, fell into Kainan Bay and was rescued by helicopter. He describes the incident in detail since he coordinated the rescue. 17. He discusses HAM Radio and its importance to morale. 18. Talks about the routine of steam-baths with others of the staff. 19. Frank and the scientists started “Little America College” which had lectures and movies every night. 20. He discusses the closing of Little America V. Stokes was the last man to leave. 21. Traveled to New Zealand on the USS Arneb 22. Returned to Ross Sea with Fuch and Hillary in 1994 as a tourist and again in 1995. 23. In 2001 Stokes joined a group from the Planetary Studies Foundation and Harper College to collect meteorites in Antarctica.
          Interview of Stephen L. DenHartog by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of Stephen L. DenHartog by Brian Shoemaker DenHartog, Stephen L. Summary of Contents: Stephen DenHartog (Denny) first went to Antarctica in late 1957. He and Buck Wilson sailed from San Diego aboard the USS Burton Island and rode the vessel all the way to McMurdo with a short stop in New Zealand. From McMurdo they rode the USNS Nespelen a tanker to Little America V (LAV). In January 1958. From LAV he flew out and joined the Ross Ice Shelf Traverse under Bert Crary, senior scientist for the Antarctic IGY program, and relieved Bill Cromie as glaciologist. Later he conducted glaciological observations out to Mile 160 along the “Byrd Station Highway.” He was with Bert Crary when the ice front by Little America crumbled taking Bert with it. He ran back and alerted the camp – eventually saving Crary’s life. During the winter he and Crary conducted oceanographic research from the sea-ice on Kainan Bay. After the winter of 1958 he participated in the Victoria Land Traverse from LAV across the Ross Ice Shelf, up the Skeleton Glacier to the Antarctic Plateau to 81degrees South and 132 degrees East and thence to McMurdo Station. In 1961 Denny traveled to Barrow Alaska and thence to Arctic Research Lab Ice Station II (ARLIS II) on a tabular iceberg in the Arctic Ocean. In 1962 he returned to McMurdo for gravity survey work. In the spring months of 1962 thru 65 he completed gravity surveys from Cessna 180 aircraft flying from Point Barrow, AK. In 1969 Denny rode the SS Manhattan from Point Barrow to Halifax to assess its icebreaking capability. In 1970 he returned on the ship to the Arctic, again to test the icebreaking ability. The purpose of these tests was to gain data for building large icebreaking tankers as an alternative to the proposed Alyeska Pipeline. From 1970 to 1992 he worked for the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, NH. His specialty was to study river and lake ice. While there he also worked on the blue ice runway project with Charles Swithenbank and Malcom Mellor.
          Interview of David Welch by Laura J. Kissel        
Interview of David Welch by Laura J. Kissel Welch, David, 1918- David “Kelly” Welch went to Franklin College in Indiana and graduated in 1940. He then went to the Naval Academy for the “V7” officer training and after three months, became a naval officer. He took a position in Antarctica as Commander of Task Force 43 Operation Deep Freeze. His duty there was to escort various VIPs through the ice. He would spend three out of four weeks on the ice and the other week he would be in New Zealand getting ready for the next group of VIPs. At the time he would also take guest to the South Pole and Byrd Station for visits. During the boreal summer, it was light twenty-four hours. This made keeping a schedule tough but they would put blankets over the windows to create some darkness and the cooks kept a regular schedule which helped also. During his command in Antarctica, Welch had many accomplishments. While there, he was selected by the United States Ambassador to Australia to represent the U.S. in the Coral Sea Celebration in 1971. He was sent to Tonga to convince the King of Tonga not to visit Antarctica, and he accompanied the first women scientists in Antarctica. He was also responsible for establishing a flag for each of the signatory nations in the Antarctic Treaty around the South Pole. He retired from the Navy but then took a job with the Association of Universities for Research and Astronomy in Tucson, Arizona. After five years, AURA moved back to D.C. so he retired again and stayed in Tucson. Major Topics 1. Became Commander of Task Force 43 Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica. 2. Life there; tough keeping a schedule due to boreal summer (24 hours of daylight). 3. Occasionally took VIP guests to South Pole or Byrd Station. 4. In 1971, U.S. Ambassador to Australia selected him to represent U.S. in Coral Sea Celebration. 5. Accompanied the first women scientists in Antarctica. 6. Established a flag for each of the nations that were a signatory to the Antarctic Treaty. 1. Dr. Tom Jones-pp.2 2. David Elliot-pp.4-6 3. Dr, Peter Barrett-pp.4 4. Dr. Ned Colbert-pp.5 5. Dr. Jim Kitchen-pp.5 6. Larry Gould–pp.5-6 7. Yar Patrisian-pp.7 8. Louie Nizer-pp.11 9. Mary-pp.11-14,17,23 10. Lord Casey-pp.13 11. King of Tonga-pp.13 12. Dr. Rich Penny-pp.13 13. Hiley Solozi-pp.14 14. Dr. Lois Jones-pp.14-15 15. Pete Anderson-pp.14 16. Dr. Mahooney-pp.15 17. Douglas Mawson-pp.16 18. Max Conrad-pp.16 19. General Wes Morland-pp.19 20. Admiral Fotte-pp.19
          Interview of John Weihaupt by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of John Weihaupt by Brian Shoemaker Weihaupt, John Dr. Weihaupt was born in Wisconsin and enjoyed the river valley and bluffs around home. His ancestors were also explorers, including George Roger Clark. Dr. Weihaupt majored in geology at the University of Wisconsin. After college, he was sent to Korea with the 24th Infantry Division, and advanced to Assistant Division Engineer. Upon returning, he accepted a position as exploration geologist and mining geologist in Chile. Returning to the United States, he did seismic and gravity for the United Geophysical Corporation. In 1958, Dr. Weihaupt joined the University of Wisconsin Geophysical and Polar Research Center. He went to Antarctica as a geophysicist. He was a member of the Albert Crary team to make a traverse from the Pole down the Ross Ice Shelf, up the Skelton Glacier, cross the Victoria Land Plateau to the station of the French Traverse. The Sno-Cats had specialized equipment. The ordeals, including resupplying, are described in some detail. Ice samples included dust from Australia and radio active dust from atomic bomb tests. A psychologist was a member of the team and observed the other members. The gravity data provided a good profile of the entire traverse. Returning to the U.S., he became Chair of the Science Department of the U.S. Armed Forces Institute in Madison. He completed the work for the PH.D degree at the University of Wisconsin. He accepted a position as Assistant Dean of Science at I.U-P.U. University in Indianapolis. He advanced to being Dean of Graduate School at Purdue University. More administrative positions were in his future; Dean of the Graduate School at San José State University in California, Associate Vice Chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver, and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. In 1986, he returned to teaching oceanography, astrology, and geophysics. His experiences in the military and leading a research group in the Antarctic provided background to be an outstanding administrator. Major Topics • Dr. Weihaupt was born in Wisconsin and obtained most of his education in Wisconsin. • After service in the Korean War, became an exploration geologist and a mining geologist in Chile • 1957-58, joined the University of Wisconsin Geophysical an Polar Research Center • After training in the U.S. and New Zealand, flew to Antarctica • Data collected on a traverse across the Ross Ice Shelf to Skelton Glacier was integrated to the French data of the previous year • Made seismic reflection shots across the Victoria Land Plateau • He made the first successful seismic reflection to measure the thickness of the ice at the South Pole • Military experience and conducting research in the Antarctic prepared him for university administration • He studied maps of the Antarctic, dated from 1538 to present • His description of the traverse focused on people and not on the traverse • George Farrance, pp.4 • Ed Thail, pp.5 • Charlie Bantley, pp.5,29 • Alfred Stuart, pp.6,8,18,21,38 • Frank Chang, pp.6 • Dr. Franz Van der Hoeven, pp.6,8,9,12,21,38 • Albert P. Crary, pp.7 • Bert Cary, pp.7 • Buck Wilson, pp.7 • Arnold Heine, pp,8,18,19,38 • Claude Lorius, pp.8,12,16,18,19 • Al Taylor, pp.8,12,14,19 • Louis Roberts, pp.8,12 • Bill Smith, pp.8,12,38 • Warren Jackman, pp.8,12,38 • Tommy Baldwin, pp.8,12,38 • Admiral Dufek, pp.11 • George Tony, pp.11 • Barnie Gunn, pp.13 • Jim Lowery, pp.13 • Tom Cousins, pp.13,14 • Joji Tomeri, pp.22 • Dr, Alan Rize, pp.27 • Norbert Untersteiner, pp.28 • Davis Elliot, pp.28 • Ed Thornton, pp.28 • Lawson Brigham, pp.29 • General Keith Greenaway, pp.29 • Orontius Fineaus, pp.31 • Ernie Angino, pp.33 • Dirk Geritz, pp.35 • Edmund Hillary, pp.37
          Interview of Howard O. Wessbecher by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of Howard O. Wessbecher by Brian Shoemaker Wessbecher, Howard O. Howard Wessbecher served at the Alert and Resolute sites in the Arctic region, as well as McMurdo in Antarctica. He wintered over in all three places. Earlier in his career, he served in WWII, completed a degree in forestry, and accepted a position with the Weather Bureau. His first major assignment (April 1952 until March 1953) was as storekeeper in Resolute Bay, in remote northern Canada. The small base had only 12 persons, six Americans and six Canadians. Four smaller satellite stations, with eight people each, were in outlaying regions. Resolute was re-supplied twice a year by the Air Force, once in the spring and once in the fall. Wessbecher adjusted well to the isolation and harsh conditions. At Resolute, and the other stations as well, there was a radiosonde program that involved launching weather balloons twice a day into the upper atmosphere. The radiosonde was a small box with a radio transmitter, and a pressure gauge. Using radio signals it gave readings for humidity, temperature, air pressure, wind speed and direction. At first the men made their own hydrogen gas for launching the balloons. Later the Weather Bureau supplied much safer helium gas. There was also a glaciological study program at Resolute which involved measuring the thickness of sea ice, and analyzing the depth, gradations, and composition of snow layers. Once a day, Wessbecher ventured out on the sea ice in the bay to measure its thickness. He always carried a rifle as a defense against polar bears. Several Eskimo families also lived at Resolute Bay. There was also a Mountie at the Canadian base; his main task at Resolute seemed to be to keep the Eskimos from raiding the garbage dumps. Twice a year the US Navy refilled the main 15,000 gallon oil tanks at Resolute. One of Wessbecher’s responsibilities was to fill from these larger tanks all of the 55 gallon oil drums that were to be flown to the satellite stations. Once there, he had to transfer the oil yet again, this time from the 55-gallon drums to 500-1000 gallon storage tanks. All of the men at the base were involved in routine maintenance, such as, cleaning, painting, clearing the airstrip of snow, etc. Their main task was weather studies. After a two-week leave at home in March 1953, Wessbecher returned to the Arctic as the Executive Officer at Camp Alert, a remote base just 400 miles from the North Pole on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island. One could see Greenland off in the distance. No natives lived on the island. Only eight people were stationed at Camp Alert, four Americans and four Canadians. All eight men were busy with various tasks most of the time. Two radiosondes were launched by balloon each day, and the surface weather had to be studied, coded, and recorded every four hours. Data was transmitted by radio. The men made their own hydrogen gas the dangerous way using caustic soda, aluminum chips, and water. The small air strip had to be plowed using tractors. Electricity was produced using three diesel generators. Fortunately, the cook was excellent and the food was delicious after all of this hard work. Despite the cold and long periods of darkness, there were certain compensations. The air was so clear it seemed one could reach out and touch the moon. They were too far north, however, to see auroras. During the summer they might get an occasional outside visitor, but basically there was nothing at Camp Alert except the weather station. After one year at Camp Alert during 1953-54, Wessbecher returned to Camp Resolute without taking any vacation. It was very difficult to go home for two weeks, and then readjust to the darkness and isolation. Some changes had occurred at the Camp since his earlier stay there. The Canadian government had resettled several volunteer Eskimo families in the area, and encouraged them to continue their traditional ways of igloos, hunting, and fishing. They killed polar bears, walrus, and seals, and according to Wessbecher, the Eskimo women and children would scoop out the raw blubber from seals and eat it quickly with both hands. “It was just like eating candy.” In January 1955, Wessbecher’s assignment at Camp Resolute ended suddenly. He was recalled to Washington D.C., to serve on the Antarctic Planning Staff, a new initiative of the U.S. Weather Bureau. Later it became the Polar Operations Project. The assignment was to advise on living and surviving in polar regions, in both the Arctic and Antarctic areas, including food, buildings, clothing, supplies, sleeping gear, etc. Wessbecher was named contracting officer, and purchased supplies that would be needed in Antarctica. When Ken Molton, already there as part of Operation Deepfreeze, declined to overwinter, Wessbecher was drafted (“volunteered”) as his replacement. Once in Antarctica, Wessbecher became one of the two civilian representatives to the US Navy, and the International Geophysical Year (IGY). Among his duties was to organize and inventory the tremendous number of boxes of scientific weather equipment intended for the upcoming South Pole project, headed by Paul Siple. Much of it had to be “palletized,” equipped with parachutes, so that it could be delivered next season. Dick Bowers handled the delivery of building materials for the South Pole base. Although Wessbecher still worked for the Weather Bureau he reported to the US National Committee of the IGY. He was the Senior Science Representative in McMurdo to IGY. In addition to taking weather observations at McMurdo, he helped plan research in other areas, including Aurora study, geomagnetism, glaciology, and geomorphology. Admiral George Dufek and his pilot made the first landing at the South Pole, but before long many others followed. Contrary to inaccurate press reports, there was no real conflict between the Navy, who provided the transportation, and the scientists who were anxious to get to the Pole as soon as possible. Dufek promised to start the flights to the Pole as soon as the weather allowed. Wessbecher, and the only other civilian at McMurdo, Elmo Jones, a photographer, spent the winter at the base. This meant that he spent almost four straight years, including four winters, in the Arctic and Antarctic. Wessbecher first arrived in Antarctica in March 1955, aboard the icebreaker, the US Glacier. The trip from Littleton, New Zealand, was quite rough, but fascinating. In order to make it all the way to McMurdo it was necessary to break some ice. All the way the Glacier was also towing a fuel tanker. Wessbecher recalls the names of several of the military personnel who wintered over, including helicopter pilots, electricians, and others. Father Condit, a Catholic priest, also wintered over. Wessbecher was asked to make a pole that could be mounted and left at the South Pole, and he designed a bamboo one 12 feet long. Evidently it is still there, buried deep in the snow. In 1959 he was honored with a “Special Award” certificate from the National Academy of Sciences honoring his various accomplishments in Antarctica. Major Themes Wessbecher’s almost continuous four years of duty in the Arctic and Antarctica The International Geophysical Year, and Deepfreeze I Challenges, tasks, and equipment used, in weather observations in polar areas Service at Camps Resolute and Alert in Arctic region, and McMurdo in Antarctica Relations between Navy and civilian personnel in polar regions Baker, Dave, p. 60 Bergstrum, Jim, pp. 59-60 Bowers, Dick, pp. 51-53, 58-59 Condit, Father (priest), p. 70 Dufek, Admiral George, pp. 53, 55-56, 69, 72-73 Glendyer, Jay, pp. 3, 42-43 Goodale, Edward L., pp. 3, 42-43, 62 Haglan, Mel, pp. 7-8 Harrison, Richard, p. 6 Jones, Elmo, pp. 57-58 Molton, Ken, pp. 3, 42-46 Nash, Jack, p. 49 Siple, Paul, pp. 50, 72 Wilkins, Sir Hubert, pp. 43-44 Woods, Ernest, p. 43
          Interview of Robert C. Newcomb by Raimund E. Goerler        
Interview of Robert C. Newcomb by Raimund E. Goerler Newcomb, Robert C. Robert Newcomb served as Navigation Officer on the icebreaker USS Glacier during both Operation Deepfreeze I and II to Antarctica. In 1947 he was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy, and while assigned to the aircraft carrier, the USS Kearsarge, was introduced to the science of navigation, an interest he pursued for his entire career. After one year he was named executive officer and navigator, and later commanding officer, of the minesweeper, the USS Pigeon, during which time he mastered dead reckoning, as well as celestial and electronic navigation. In 1955 Newcomb was named navigator of the USS Glacier, one of the largest and most powerful icebreakers built at the time. Its first assignment was to proceed to McMurdo Sound in Antarctica, with earlier stops en route at Panama and New Zealand. The voyage was very rough in the far southern waters; the ship would roll 65 to 70 degrees, but it performed splendidly. Patrick Maher was the Commanding Officer and was an experienced and effective skipper, well liked by his entire crew. Apart from Captain Maher, few of the crew had had any previous experience in Antarctica. The Glacier also transported several important scientists who planned to study flora and fauna in the oceans and on ocean bottoms. By and large the military and civilian personnel worked well together, although Newcomb noticed occasional minor tension between Admirals Dufek and Byrd. As the ship approached Antarctica, navigation through the ice fields was a great challenge. Celestial navigation was useless in an environment of near or total day light, as were magnetic compasses that far south. Dead reckoning had to be used. This too was challenging due to the need for constantly changing directions as the ship plowed through the ice. Another difficulty was that during Deepfreeze I and II most of the nautical charts were made from aerial photographs that did not show the depth of water. At times the ship had to break through ice ten to twelve feet thick. On Deepfreeze I the icebreaker initially could not get within six miles of McMurdo Station, and the cargo had to be offloaded onto the ice for transport to the base. This too could be risky; once the driver of a D8 tractor fell through the ice to his death. The buildings for the base were pre-fabricated, and were assembled by Navy Seabees. No serious construction problems were reported. As for the scientists, they got busy immediately on their research projects. Once the ship was unloaded, the Glacier moved about and broke ice for others as a need arose. It was called upon to free a New Zealand ship, the Endeavor from the ice. Much work was also done on taking soundings and updating navigational charts. Similar tasks were undertaken during Deepfreeze II. As a result of his excellent service in Antarctica, a small bay there was named in his honor. In the years since his service in Antarctica, Newcomb has maintained contacts and friendships with many of his colleagues from the two expeditions. He does not recall, however, that his service there had any great impact on his subsequent naval career. He regards the greatest accomplishments of his navy career as commanding a minesweeper at age 27, serving as commanding officer of a destroyer, and being the navigator of the Glacier. Major Topics Service aboard the icebreaker USS Glacier during Operations Deepfreeze I & II Typical icebreaker challenges: Unloading cargo, navigation, moving through ice Anecdotes from his days in Antarctica Newcomb’s long career as a naval officer AGB, Icebreaker, US Coast Guard, p. 4 Byrd, Richard, Admiral, pp. 7-9, 15 CIC, Combat Information Center Dufek, George, Admiral, pp. 7-9, 15 Kalb, Bernard, reporter, pp. 6, 10 Maher, Patrick, Commander of USS Glacier, pp. 3, 6-7, 9 Shoemaker, Brian, pp. 10, 20 Siple, Paul, p. 8 Tressler, Willis, oceanographer, p. 6
          Interview of Edward M. Ward by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of Edward M. Ward by Brian Shoemaker Ward, Edward M., 1918-2004 Commander Edward Ward was the first Commanding Officer of VXE-6, the naval aviation group that was involved in exploration of Antarctica in the 1950s. Ward had been interested in aviation from his early youth. In 1938 he joined the Marine Corps Reserve, but two years later entered the Navy to attend flight school, his primary interest. He graduated from flight school in May 1941. In September 1941, he married Marilyn Hesser Ward, though at the time officers in his program were forbidden to marry, so he kept the arrangement secret. Initially he expected to be assigned to a carrier, but instead he was sent to Pensacola to attend Instructor’s School. After graduation, as the war began, he was assigned to a PBY squadron, and flew many anti-submarine flights. Later he served on Okinawa, and as the war ended, briefly in Japan. Ward applied for, and was granted, a regular navy commission. His first assignment in the regular navy was to Point Barrow, Alaska, where in May 1946, he began to fly a PBY as part of an aerial magnetometer survey, the Special Alaskan Magnetic Survey (SPAM). He made magnetometer flights with scientists from the US Coast and Geodetic Survey team to Kodiak, Umiak, and to Petroleum Reserve No. 4, which then included the entire north coast of Alaska. From the air they were seeking indications of oil deposits. Their major discovery was Prudhoe Bay, recognized, in later years, as the largest oil field in North America. Ward also had some close contacts with the local Eskimo community, despite the fact such contacts were discouraged because of the high incidence of tuberculosis among the natives. His SPAM assignment ended in August 1946, but it would prove to be the start of a lifetime of involvement with the polar regions. In early 1947 Ward made other magnetometer aerial surveys of the Aleutian Trench, including dormant volcanoes, such as Great Sitkin, that dominated the entrance to Adak. He also flew from Adak to Midway and Wake Islands, to do aerial surveys of Bikini and Enewetak atolls. In September 1947, he flew home to Alameda aboard the huge Mars seaplane, the world’s largest commercial seaplane. In early 1949 Ward was sent to GCA (Ground Control Approach) School, but soon received different orders to Military Air Transport Service (MATS) with the Air Force. This was excellent duty, but temporary, and in October 1950, he returned to Alaska to participate in Ski Jump I, which among other things, involved landing an R4D on skis on sea ice on the Arctic Ice Cap to do oceanographic research. Except for Sir Hubert Wilkins, who had earlier crash landed on the sea ice, no one had ever done this before. Ward and his crew stayed at the Naval Arctic Research Lab (NARL) at Barrow. There were three officers and several high ranking enlisted men in his crew, and included photographers and radiomen. They transported civilian oceanographers from Wood’s Hole. Their challenge was to find suitable, safe landing sites on smooth sea ice. These were provided by the “leads,” or areas of open seas that had recently refrozen. Their first landing was successful, and Ward and scientists from Wood’s Hole started immediately to set up Oceanographic Station No. 1. The location was approximately 280 miles due north of Barrow. Using an ordinary chain saw, the scientists drilled a square hole in the ice, through which a 10,000 foot cable could be lowered to the bottom of the ocean to measure temperature and salinity, take depth soundings, and collect bottom samples. The men set up a tent, but slept aboard the plane. Ideally the ice should be three feet thick for a safe landing. All landings were made on wheels, not skis. During their first year of operation, Ward and his colleagues established twelve ice stations between March and June 1951, as part of Operation Ski Jump I. About a year later Ward returned to the Arctic in February 1952, as part of Ski Jump II. It was a larger, more ambitious enterprise, using three planes rather than one, two P2V’s, and an R4D. Twice the P2V’s had engine failure, and multiple oil leaks. The men were cautioned to look out for polar bears, and carried carbines in case of an attack. None ever occurred. Typically Ward and his colleagues could make two ice landings on a single day, but occasionally they would remain at a site for a day or longer. Large bladders filled with fuel were deposited at several locations, but it was found that direct refueling from another plane worked best. On a planned trip to the North Pole Ward’s R4D, running low on fuel, landed on a less than ideal ice cap. Another pilot, carrying fuel, landed a P2V, but his plane was damaged in the landing. Fortunately repairs were made, the R4D refueled, and the P2V returned safely to base. Unfortunately, Ward’s plane was damaged in takeoff, lost a prop, and the men found themselves in a survival situation 800 miles north of Barrow in one of the most remote places in the world. Nobody knew where they were, and radio communication did not work. After two days the radio man established contact with an amateur ham radio operator who notified the Navy of the location and plight of the damaged aircraft. After nearly a week Jack Cooley, a pilot, found the downed plane and returned the nine men safely to Barrow. But plans for a flight to the North Pole were scrapped. The R4D plane was abandoned. Soon Operation Ski Jump II was concluded. It had led to the creation of six additional oceanographic ice stations, making a total of 18 for both Ski Jump I and II. After two brief postings, in July 1953 Ward was assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington, D.C. The next year a chance encounter with Admiral Byrd gave Ward an opportunity to indicate his interest in an Antarctic assignment. Thanks to a timely intervention by President Eisenhower, funding was found for another expedition. Captain (soon to be Admiral) George Dufek, USN, brought back from retirement, was placed in charge, and Ward volunteered to accompany him to Antarctica. This was the beginning of Operation Deep Freeze I. Ward was named as the Air Operations officer. Dufek provided strong leadership, and Admiral Byrd, also recalled from retirement, was named Officer in Charge of Antarctic Programs, a glorified title for his role as a consultant. Herb “Trigger” Hawkes was named Chief of Air Operations by Dufek for Deep Freeze I, and he recruited various other team members. As it happened, the Secretary of the Navy rejected Hawkes as Chief of Air Operations. Ward replaced him temporarily as Commander, but four months later Gordon Ebbe became the Skipper of the Squadron. Commander Ward, stationed at the time at the Naval Air Station in Patuxent, Maryland, conferred frequently with Admiral Dufek, and worked to recruit additional members of Deep Freeze I. Harry Hedblom, Commander, USN, was recruited as Senior Flight Surgeon. Hal Kolp, Marine Lt. Colonel, was named Executive Officer of VX-6. As it happened, Ward was not able to participate in Deep Freeze I in Antarctica. Shortly before his planned departure his wife, Marilyn, faced a dangerous medical situation caused by a caesarian birth. Consequently, Ward was named Officer in Charge of the Patuxent Detachment so that he could remain at home close to his wife. Those who participated in Deep Freeze I recorded many significant accomplishments, including some of the first long-range reconnaissance flights in the R5D. Joe Entrigen piloted the first airplane to land at McMurdo after a long international flight. Later he made a long flight toward the magnetic South Pole. Hank Jorda and Jack Donavan, accompanied by Gordon Ebbe, flew Admiral Byrd to the South Pole, his last visit there. Back home, one of Ward’s responsibilities at Patuxent was to line up planes for the expedition. Two planes connected to Deep Freeze I crashed; an Otter in Antarctica, and a P2V in the Brazilian jungle not far from Manaus. Fortunately, all crew members from both flights were rescued. Ward was able to participate in Deep Freeze II. He flew to McMurdo via Hawaii, Fiji, and New Zealand. The final leg of the flight, on October 17, 1955, from Christchurch to McMurdo, was the “worst flight” he ever made in his entire career. On part of the trip they flew through blizzard conditions. Minutes before they landed, a second plane, a P2V, crashed on the runway. Four crewmen were killed on that flight. Virtually out of fuel Ward successfully landed his own plane. The next day Ward was named to write the formal accident report on the crashed P2V. Soon he was busy making various flights, including three long-range R4D flights over the South Pole and beyond, to do trimetrogon photography. His flights were the first ever made to these locations. Hank Hanson was his co-pilot, Dick Swadener his navigator. He also flew an Otter several times to Marble Point although he never landed there. Admiral Dufek had some interest in possibly constructing a permanent base there. Gus Shinn, pilot, and “Trigger” Hawkes, co-pilot, made the first landing at the South Pole on October 30, 1956. Admiral Dufek and Doug Cordiner sat in the back as passengers. Ward himself landed at the Pole on November 30, 1956. Construction started soon thereafter by the Seabees on the first base at the South Pole. The Air Force used C-124’s to drop supplies. In February, 1957, Ward, and others, including Shinn and Cordiner, were flown out to the sea plane tender, USS Glacier, for the trip back to New Zealand; from there they flew home to Quonset Point aboard an R5D. He did not participate in Deep Freeze III. Instead he was named Commanding Officer of VU4, a utility squadron based at Chincoteague, Virginia. He managed various kinds of aircraft including drones. Later he had several different commands. For his polar achievements Ward was named an Honorary Member of the American Polar Society. Major Topics Aerial surveys in late 1940’s for oil sites on north coast of Alaska Operations Ski Jump I (1950) and Ski Jump II in Alaska (1952) Construction of 18 research stations on ice floes in early 1950’s Capability and features of various military aircraft in 1950’s Operation Deep Freeze II in Antarctica (1955-56) Recollections about numerous Navy pilots and personnel from 1950’s and 1960’s Key Names Bower, Dick, Seabee who built South Pole station, p. 148 Bower, Paul, p. 103 Brewer, Max, pp. 65-66 Brower, Tom, pp. 30-31 Butler, Smedley D., Marine Corps General, p. 5 Byrd, Richard, Admiral, pp. 1, 42, 44, 90-91, 116-117, 161 Canham, Dave, Lt. Commander, USN, Seabees, p. 138 Carey, Dave, USN pilot, p. 137 Cooley, Jack, pp. 69-70, 70-80, 86-88 Cordiner, Doug, USN pilot, pp. 118, 129-130, 149, 153 Crary, Bert, pp. 66-67 Dietrich, Henry, USN Captain, pp. 93, 95 Disney, Walt, pp. 99-100 Donovan, Jack, USN pilot, p. 116 Dufek, George, USN Captain (and later Admiral), pp. 93-104, 109-110, 121, 127, 142-44, 149, 153 Ebbe, Gordon, pp. 16-17, 52-53, 64-5, 106-108, 112-113, 116, 121, 129, 137, 144, 154 Eielson, Ben, Navy pilot, p. 43 Eisenhower, Dwight, pp. 91-92 Entrigen, Joe, USN pilot, pp. 114-116 Fletcher, Joe, pp. 77-78, 86 Frankiewicz, Eddie, USN pilot, pp. 122, 148 GCA, Ground Control Approach, Navy radar landing system, pp. 40-41 Gould, Larry, pp. 91, 97, 101 Hanson, Hank, USN pilot, pp. 139-142 Hawkes, Herb “Trigger”, Chief of Air Operations for Deepfreeze I, pp. 19, 104, 111, 114, 137-139, 149 Hedblom, Harry, Commander, USN, p. 109 Holmes, John, Senior scientist from Wood’s Hole, pp. 59, 63, 67, 71 Jorda, Hank, USN pilot, p. 116 Keller, Fred, scientist, pp. 12-13, 19, 24, 34 Kielhorn, Bill, Coast Guard reserve officer, p. 66 Kolp, Hal, Marine Lt. Col., pp. 103, 113-114 McHale, [?], Navy Chief, pilot, pp. 63, 82, 88 Mirabito, John, pp. 129-130 Morehead, Dave, Lt. JG, Navy navigator, pp. 49-50 Ogle, John, Navy Commander at Attu, pp. 35-36 Otti, Charlie, USN pilot, pp. 120, 124 Pendergraff, Penny, pp. 104-05 Sabolik, Pete, Eskimo friend of Ward, p. 28 Shinn, Gus, pp. 103-04, 118, 146, 149-150, 153 Siple, Paul, pp. 2, 91, 138, 148 Sterling, Stu, Navy officer, pp. 41-41 Swadener, Dick, USN navigator, pp. 131, 142, 149 Torbert, Jack, USN pilot, pp. 111, 120, 124 Ward, Marilyn Hester, wife of Edward Ward, pp. 8-10, 112-113 Weigand, Rudy, p. 103 Wein, Sig, Eskimo bush pilot, pp. 29-30 Wilkins, Sir Hubert, Arctic explorer, pp 43, 66 Winkler, Tom, USN navigator, p. 120 Woodward, Edward, Navy pilot, pp. 45, 49-50, 88 Worthington, Val, pilot, pp. 67, 71
          Interview of Alan H. Shapley by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of Alan H. Shapley by Brian Shoemaker Shapley, Alan H. Dr. Alan Shapley began his long polar career in Alaska, where he worked for several years during the late 1940’s on ionospheric and radio research at the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory (CRPL) in Anchorage. He also spent time in Washington, D.C. with the newly created Geophysical Institute. His duties required various trips by C-46’s in Alaska, including Fairbanks, Barrow, Anchorage, and the Aleutian Islands. In 1949 Lloyd Berkner, James Van Allen, and others advocated establishment of another Polar Geophysical Year in 1957-58. The First Polar Year was in 1882-83; the Second Polar Year in 1932-33. Given the major scientific advances of more recent years, especially during WWII, it seemed reasonable to begin soliciting support from various international scientific organizations for a Third Polar Year. But soon the plans expanded from a primarily Polar emphasis to a much more broadly conceived global scientific enterprise. Thus the International Geophysical Year (IGY) was born. Among the disciplines included were geomagnetism, cosmic rays, solar activity, the ionosphere, seismology, gravity, and satellites. Certain days, called World Days, were designated for special emphasis on specific topics, such as geomagnetic storms and northern lights. Shapley was named Reporter for World Days. Much of the preliminary planning and organization for the IGY was done by the US Committee for the International Geophysical Year. Shapley was appointed Vice Chairman of this committee; Joseph Kaplan, Professor of Physics at UCLA, was the Chairman. Various senior people from other disciplines were also named. Among the innovations created for IGY was creation of the World Data Centers for sharing results of scientific findings from the various projects. Shapley recalls some of the details of planning for the Antarctic phase of IGY. Lloyd Berkner was a strong advocate for a new program there. Other important advocates were Larry Gould, President of Carleton College, and Harry Wexler. An early decision to establish the Byrd Station in Marie Byrd Land proved to have been based on faulty scientific observations. Shapley suggested establishing another research Station at the South Pole. After initially refusing, the Navy agreed that when the time came, it would transport at its own expense the scientists and their equipment as far as McMurdo Sound, a logistics base, and an area that was then claimed by New Zealand. Political sensitivities later caused problems and limited certain research endeavors. Much of the funding for the Antarctic project came from the newly created National Science Foundation. Hugh Audeshaw and Shapley prepared most of the detailed budget requests. Annual meetings of CSAGI, known as plenary sessions, were held for several years. There was a large one in Rome in 1954; the last one was in Moscow in 1958. In addition, special Antarctic conferences were held. There was also a special Antarctic Committee; Larry Gould was the Chair. Shapley was a member from the beginning. He also chaired the working group on communications. An essential component of an Antarctic program was a sound radio communication network, especially for collecting and transmitting weather data. Unfortunately there were various political sensibilities that complicated, but did not ultimately prevent, such communications. The Chileans refused to transmit any data through Argentine stations and vice versa. The British would not cooperate with the Argentines and vice versa. Nobody trusted the Russians. Shapley devised a system that mainly allowed scientists to work around these problems. Ultimately, “Weather Central” was created, and the weather data flowed openly. Shapley offers miscellaneous, incidental, personal comments about various people who had some connection to the Antarctic program. Among those mentioned were Tom Jones, Mort Turner, George Toney, Bert Crary, Gordon McHugh Robbin, and Phil Smith. Some of the many international conferences are also mentioned in passing. Shapley went to Antarctica in December 1958 and visited several bases. He made a brief second trip to Antarctica in 1969 and a final trip, including the South Pole, in 1970. Shapley believes the various programs were successful, in particular, the post-IGY creation of the World Data Centers. Major Topics The International Geophysical Year, 1957-58 (IGY) Planning for the Third Polar Year (IGY) at various levels Contributions of key personnel to Antarctic research International frictions that complicated scientific projects Assessment of IGY and Third Polar Year, 1957-1958 Shapley’s pre and post-Antarctica career in Alaska and elsewhere Key Names Appleton, Sir Edward, Nobel prize winner for ionospheric discoveries, p. 5 Audeshaw, Hugh, major leader of IGY in Antarctica, pp. 15-18, 24-25 Crary, Bert, pp. 27-28 Berkner, Lloyd, major leader of IGY and Antarctic expedition, pp. 4-6, 10-11, 27 CRPL, Central Radio Propagation Laboratory, pp. 1-2 Dufek, Admiral George, pp. 19, 24 Gould, Larry, pp. 11-12, 18-19 Kaplan, Joseph, Chair of the US Committee for the IGY, pp. 8 Seaton, Stewart, first Director of Geophysical Institute, Fairbanks, Alaska, p. 2 Van Allen, James, physicist, p. 4 Waterman, Allan, Director of the National Science Foundation, pp. 16-17 Wexler, Harry, Chief Scientist for the Antarctic Program, pp. 12-13, 30
          Interview of Walter R. Jones by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of Walter R. Jones by Brian Shoemaker Jones, Walter R., 1919- Walter Jones served in the U.S. Navy for twenty-five years, from 1943 to 1968. He was a mechanic (a “SeaBee”) in WWII, and also served in the Korean War, and achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer. In 1956, Jones, an experienced EO, or Equipment Operator, volunteered for Operation Deep Freeze II. He was placed in charge of maintaining all of the heavy equipment, including the LGPD8’s, or Low Ground Pressure D8 Caterpillars, usually referred to as Cats. These indispensable tractors could pull 20-ton sleds, and yet because of their wide tread did not sink into the snow. En route to Antarctica, Jones flew to Christchurch, New Zealand, and from there he traveled to the base at McMurdo Sound aboard the USS Glacier, the Navy’s newest icebreaker at the time. After a one-day stop for unloading fuel, Jones proceeded to the base at Little America. The Cats were unloaded first, as they were needed to haul loads from the ship to the base. It was November when Jones arrived at Little America, and there was 24-hour daylight. Thus, there was no such thing as a regular working day for the men, who usually worked 12-hour shifts and sometimes longer. Among the highlights of Jones’ year in Antarctica were the two tractor train trips, or traverses, he made overland to Byrd Station. The first trip was made in November 1956. The traverse party consisted of seven Cats, each of which pulled two 20 tons sleds. In addition, one of the Cats also pulled a generator on skis for welding. The original plan was to proceed single file, but soon it was discovered that the last Cat in the train was exposed to very bumpy terrain caused by the tracks of the lead tractors. It was decided that each Cat would make it own path traveling in virgin snow, with three in width in the front of the train, and four in the back. One Cat pulled the sleeping and messing (food service) wanigan. The crew had two shifts of 9 men each, and the shifts rotated in sleeping and eating. On Jones’ first traverse, a sled broke through the ice. Two Army experts, using controlled charges, blew up portions of the ice encasing the trapped sled. The Cats then filled in the crevasse sufficiently with snow to allow the sled to be freed. It was very dangerous work, despite the use of crevasse detectors. It took 7 days to travel from Little America to Byrd Station. Immediately after arrival at Byrd Station, Jones and his party, with hardly a break from their arduous trip, were asked by Paul Siple, the senior civilian official, to help construct the base. Once the Cats were refueled Jones and his men returned to Little America. They were greeted by a party, but because of a supply mix-up the only meat available was hamburger, and there were no alcoholic drinks. Still the party was a lot of fun. Once back in camp, Jones and his men worked to transfer fuel from the 50-gallon drums, dropped by the Air Force, to storage bladders further inland. The drums were dropped on the Barrier, a term used to describe the edge of the glacier, or the place where the ocean meets the land. More precisely it was where the Ross Ice Shelf met the glacier coming off Marie Byrd Land. Transferring fuel off the Barrier was difficult and potentially dangerous, especially when the return of winter brought bitter cold and 24-hour darkness. In places, the Barrier could be 700 feet high, and there was the constant danger of crevasses. Other tasks included hauling snow for the snow-melter, the source of fresh water for the camp. Jones reports that he had excellent relations with the civilian scientists. He also praised Matt Orendorf, head of the SeaBees. Carl Lyman, and others, including Jones, operated ham radio, an important morale booster. Given favorable weather, and the necessary phone patch (not always available), a man could call home anywhere in the states, and sometimes free of charge. His call sign was KC4USA. He was written up for his ham radio work in the New York Times. An unforgettable memory was the first sunrise at the end of winter. Jones took pictures, although on the first day it lasted only a few minutes. On the second day it lasted 10 minutes. He also enjoyed seeing the Aurora Australis, the southern equivalent of the northern Aurora Borealis. He reports that morale was good among the men despite the cold temperatures and the seasonal darkness. After one full year in Antarctica, Jones flew home. He rejoined his wife and three children in time for Christmas. His home stay was short, and he was ordered back to Antarctica for Deep Freeze II. Once again he stayed for a full year. His chief responsibility was to oversee the operation of the ham radio system. He made about 1500 ham patches during the year. Jones was amused because frequently the first question the men would ask during a call home was “How is the car?” Once he put in a call to the North Pole. Jones listened in to all calls to ensure that no sensitive data was mentioned. He had high praise for his superior officer, Commander Marvel, who made certain Jones and his men got everything they needed. Jones’s Navy rank at the time was EORM-1, or Equipment Operator, Radioman, First Class. No other person in the Navy had this precise rank. One of his best radiomen was Billy Baker, a “good man,” who in later years would contribute many articles to The Polar Times. In November, 1964, Jones returned home, and never visited Antarctica again. In later years he has had few contacts with people he met in Antarctica. He looks back on his time there as one of the highlights of his military career. Major Topics: Brief comments about Operations Deep Freeze I and II Role of ham radio operator Challenges and personal interactions of living in Antarctica Operating heavy equipment, including CATS Traverses from Little America to McMurdo Baker, Billy H., radioman, pp. 52-53 Keel, Max, lost his life in a crevasse, p. 14 Lyman, Carl, ham radio operator, p. 29 Marvel, [?], Commander, p. 50 Orendorf, Max, Head of the SeaBees, p. 28 Siple, Paul, Head Scientist at Byrd Station during Deep Freeze II, p. 19
          Interview of Alan F. Neidle by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of Alan F. Neidle by Brian Shoemaker Neidle, Alan F. Alan Neidle is best remembered as a principal negotiator of the Antarctic Treaty. Soon after graduating from Yale in 1950, he served three years in the Army during the Korean War. This enhanced his interest in international questions, and as a law student at the University of Michigan he focused on international law. In January 1957, he was hired by the State Department, and developed an interest in negotiation. By age 29 he had already negotiated on two treaties, including extradition treaties with Brazil and Sweden. Although still very junior in rank, he was given the Antarctic assignment by Marjorie Whiteman, his boss, a distinguished international lawyer. Ambassador Paul Daniels, with years of experience in Latin America, was named by John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, to join a team of Antarctic negotiators. Neidle was chosen to be the legal representative. These were the years of the Cold War, and there was rising concern about the role of the Russians in Antarctica. The National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., a non-political venue, was the site of some 60 meetings that were held over the next nine months. For some months the Russians were uncooperative, but the other participants developed a whole catalog of new ideas and refinements. Some voices in the State Department called for abandoning the project on grounds the Russians would never cooperate. Some feared that they might launch missiles from Antarctica, or use it as a submarine base. Daniels persisted, and in time the Russians reversed course, and chose to cooperate. Work on the Antarctic Treaty then proceeded fairly quickly. Daniels asked Neidle to draft a full text of the proposed treaty. In the end this would prove to be the most important, multi-lateral treaty with the Russians since World War II. Neidle’s initial sentence, the first that he wrote, “Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only,” made it to the final, signed draft. Soon after the Outer Space Treaty was adopted, and Neidle’s sentence was again the lead sentence, “Outer space shall be used for peaceful purposes only.” Article One stated that “research shall continue as before,” a tacit acknowledgement that the multi-national scientific cooperation during the International Geophysical Year (IGY), 1957-58, had been successful. The claims issue, however, was more contentious, especially for the South Americans. The British, New Zealanders, Australians, and French were more open to internationalizing Antarctica, but both the Brazilians and Chileans asserted specific territorial claims. It was agreed that no new post-treaty territorial claims would be recognized. The United States, which had invested more effort in Antarctic research than any other nation, asserted no territorial claims and never recognized those of other nations. For the United States, free access to the entire continent was essential. The Treaty banned nuclear testing and nuclear storage of radioactive waste in Antarctica. The Treaty does not impose any quotas or restrictions on nuclear inspections. Several other articles of the Treaty were mostly administrative and not controversial, including a provision that it must be written in Russian, Spanish, and French, as well as English. It was agreed in an important provision that after 30 years the Treaty must be reviewed, and might even be terminated. In the meantime, any nation withdrawing from the Treaty must give one-year notice. By and large the Treaty has been well received. Herman Flager was the chief negotiator, and signed the treaty for the United States. Neidle was his legal assistant, and worked closely with him at all stages. Without the effective guidance of Flager, a close personal friend of John Foster Dulles, the Treaty might never have happened. Neidle also spoke highly of the essential work of Ambassador Paul Daniels. Various nuclear inspections ensued as a result of the Treaty, including visits to Russian territory as well as Antarctica. Neidle takes pride in his own participation in Treaty preparations, and looking back, said he personally would have done nothing differently. Major Themes Negotiations leading to adoption of the Antarctic Treaty Neidle’s role in legal advising and in negotiations on the Treaty Roles of Herman Flager and Paul Daniels Impact over time of the Antarctic Treaty Negotiations with the Russians over the Treaty Key Names Acheson, Dean, Secretary of State, p. 2 Daniels, Paul, pp. 4-7, 9-11, 25-26, 28, 31, 38-39 Dulles, John Foster, pp. 3-5, 26, 33 Eisenhower, Dwight, pp. 19, 27, 32-33 Flager, Herman, pp. 2-3, 8, 25-26 Kennedy, John, p. 31 Khrushchev, Nikita, pp. 11-12, 27 Powers, Gary, p. 20 Reagan, Ronald, p. 37 Ruina, Jack, pp. 29-30 Whiteman, Marjorie, p. 3
          Interview of Robert H. Rutford by Raimund E. Goerler        
Interview of Robert H. Rutford by Raimund E. Goerler Rutford, Robert H. (Robert Hoxie), 1933- Robert Rutford, prominent geologist and geographer, acquired an interest in the outdoor life from his parents and grandfather, and from certain outstanding professors at the University of Minnesota. He developed a strong interest in both geography and geology, and as a graduate student spent a year in Greenland. He also conducted research in Northern Ontario and Antarctica. In addition, he lettered in both track and football at the University of Minnesota, and learned many valuable lessons from his coaches. Rutford’s first trip to Antarctica was in 1959-1960. He spent one season studying volcanic rocks at the Jones Mountains. He returned to Antarctica in 1963-64. He was part of a six-man crew which mapped the entire range of the Ellsworth Mountains. Much of his work at the time was incorporated into his doctoral dissertation. He returned once again to Antarctica in 1967-1968 where his field work in the Jones Mountains helped prove that glaciations had occurred in Antarctica much earlier than previously believed. In 1969, Rutford got his Ph.D. in geology with an emphasis on the research he had conducted on the three trips to Antarctica. His dissertation postulated a history of glaciations in the Ellsworth Mountains. In 1970, Rutford agreed to return to Antarctica, initially as co-director with James Zumberg of the Ross Ice Shelf Project. However, after one year he became the sole director. A major goal of the research was to drill through the Ross Ice Shelf to ascertain if the ice shelf was melting on the bottom, or whether ice was freezing on the bottom. Many special precautions had to be taken to ensure there would be no pollution of the pristine water below the ice shelf. Initially the drill got stuck, and it had to be replaced by a jet drill used for drilling holes in rock. When finally they reached below the ice shelf, fish were found to be living there, and many other interesting facts were discovered. The project led to a much better understanding of the Ross Ice Shelf. Initially Rutford went to Antarctica out of economic necessity as a graduate student, but once there, he realized the enormous potential for significant scientific research. Little was known at the time about the frozen continent; most of it had not yet been accurately mapped. Although a successful scientist, Rutford was perhaps better known as an Antarctic administrator. He went directly from the Ross Ice Shelf Project to become Director of the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) in Washington, D.C. It was a period of major budgetary stress since the Navy was withdrawing from total support of the Antarctic program. He hired Dwayne Anderson as the new chief scientist, and retained Al Fowler as the Deputy Director. One way he saved significant funds for the OPP was to recover three C-130’s that had crashed on the ice cap. Despite such successes he left OPP after two years to become Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. In 1982 he became President of the University of Texas at Dallas. Rutford had not seen much potential for upward mobility at OPP, and so he returned to academic life. Yet he continued his interest in Antarctica, primarily as a consultant to various scientific agencies and groups. Rutford was associated for many years with the National Science Foundation (NSF). Initially he went there in his capacity as the Director of the Office of Polar Programs. In Rutford’s early years at NSF in the 1970s its budget was tiny. Over time its role became more political, and it became more and more isolated from the scientific community. Even so, the leadership at NSF was usually good. He also had regular contact with the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Research Council. The Polar Research Board was well supported by these various agencies during the period of Rutford’s involvement, from the 1960s through the early 1980s. The PRB sponsored research projects in both the Antarctic and Arctic regions. It also brought out a steady stream of publications. Since the mid 1980s financial support for the PRB has decreased, and its fund raising has “become an annual begging event.” Membership has also declined on the PRB. What was once a Board of 20 members has declined to 12 or 14. Some disciplines are no longer represented. It is now a “very, very different” sort of Board than it used to be in the past. Rutford has found the relationship in recent years between the NSF and the PRB to be “very, very discouraging.” Since 1970, Rutford has been involved with the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). He was appointed U.S. delegate in 1986, and in 1998 was elected President. SCAR was established under the aegis of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), a huge scientific umbrella. Over the years, membership of SCAR has grown from 12 to some 50 members. The number of member countries has grown to 26. There are now eight different SCAR disciplinary working groups, including geophysics, Atmospheric Physics, Upper Atmosphere, and Biology, among others. At any one SCAR meeting you will have a minimum of about 350 people. The host country provides most of the funding. The annual budget approximates $300,000. All meetings are conducted in English. There are certain informal subgroups within SCAR, such as a coalition of Spanish-speaking countries from South America, and a group of English-speaking nations from the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. In choosing a President it was necessary to rotate the office among various regional coalitions. In his long career as a scientific consultant, Rutford also worked with the Department of State in matters concerning the Antarctic Treaty. Once Rutford was elected President of SCAR he continued in the treaty venue, but no longer as an advisor to the State Department. In closing, Rutford offers observations about the interactions of various Antarctic participants, including the Navy, the National Science Foundation, SCAR, CAMLR, and other professional organizations. The Navy was very helpful in the early days, but today the military is almost completely out of Antarctica. The relationship between the Navy and the NSF was a “love-hate” relationship, although individual Navy personnel, all the way from pilots to Admiral Stockdale were very helpful. Rutford was honored for his years of service to Antarctica by designation of the Rutford Ice Stream, a major geologic feature. Major Topics: Long career of Rutford as a scientist and administrator Interactions between military and civilian personnel in Antarctica SCAR, Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research USARP, United States Antarctic Research Program COMNAP, Committee of Managers of National Antarctic Programs Creation and role of the Antarctic Treaty convention Environmental issues in Antarctic exploration and exploitation Anderson, Dwayne, Chief Scientist, OPP, p. 17 Borchert, John, geographer, pp. 2-3 Borheim, Orla, Chairman of the CEP, p. 48 Clarkson, Peter, Executive Secretary, SCAR, p. 39 Fesler, Wesley, football coach, Ohio State & Univ. of Minnesota, p. 4 Fletcher, Joe, Director, Office of Polar Programs, p. 16 Kelley, Jim, track coach, Univ. of Minnesota, pp. 3-4 Craddock, J. Campbell “Cam”, geologist, Antarctic explorer, pp. 3-6, 14, Elliot, David, geologist, Ohio State University, pp. 14, 58 Fowler, Al, Deputy Director, OPP, p. 17 Holgate, Martin, p. 50 Nash, Butch, football coach, University of Minnesota, pp. 3-4 Pewe, Troy L., geologist, p. 8 Wilkness, Peter, Director of the Office of Polar Programs, 1984-1993, pp. 25-26, 44 Wright, Herb, Professor, University of Minnesota, p. 3 Zumberg, James H. Antarctic explorer, pp. 9, 50
          Interview of Clifford Lewis Bekkedahl by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of Clifford Lewis Bekkedahl by Brian Shoemaker Bekkedahl, Clifford Lewis Cliff Bekkedahl was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from the public school system in Cleveland, and later graduated from Miami University of Ohio. At Miami he joined the Navy ROTC, and, upon graduation, was assigned to a training voyage on board the USS Arneb, a deep-draft, amphibious cargo assault ship assigned to Operation Deep Freeze I in Antarctica. Many features of the ship had been modified for cold weather duty, including armor plating along the hull and a reinforced bow, although this training voyage was to the Caribbean and not to Antarctica. The inexperienced crew trained for two years and emerged as outstanding seamen. In 1955 the Arneb was designated as the flagship for Operation Deep Freeze I in Antarctica. The Operation was to be commanded by Admiral George Dufek. Bekkedahl, a Lt. JG at the time, extended his enlistment for one year in order to make the trip. He was the navigator of the ship. In preparation for the nine months in Antarctica, in the summer of 1955 the Navy ordered the ship first to take cargo to the Baffin Bay area in northern Canada far north of the Arctic Circle. It was a three-week training trip, and successful in every way. The Sperry Gyro and the mike boats both worked perfectly. The crew learned how to break ice, and never clipped the ship’s prop. The trip was a success, despite the unfortunate fact that the commanding officer, Captain Lawrence Smythe, seemed not to understand the simplest elements of navigation, nor did he get along with the Executive Officer (XO), Joseph Hulings. Soon after returning to home base in Davisville, Rhode Island, the Arneb loaded cargo, including planes and vehicles, for use in Antarctica. The ship departed for Antarctica in October, 1955 for what would turn out to be a trip around the world. On board was Rochus Vogt, a young, brilliant, German student from the University of Chicago, an expert on cosmic rays. There was also aboard a contingent of Seabees. Once the Arneb reached Christchurch, New Zealand, the ship and crew were welcomed warmly by the locals. More than a thousand locals toured the ship each day. Admiral Dufek and his staff had arrived earlier, and were on hand for all the accolades. The Arneb was the first ship from Deep Freeze to anchor in New Zealand. The ice breakers had sailed directly to Antarctica to scout out the ice pack. Before reaching Antarctica the Arneb joined other ships in the Task Force, including the Nesplenen the fleet tanker, the Greenville Victory, a USNS ship, the Wyandot, an AKA, and two ice breakers, the Eastwind and the Glacier. But soon after leaving New Zealand, a remarkable event occurred. Bekkedahl was summoned to Captain Smythe’s quarters to be told that he, the Captain, had gone blind. Bekkedahl was told to inform only the officers including the XO, Joseph Hulings, and that apart from the Captain’s steward, he was the only person who was to enter the Captain’s cabin. The other officers could communicate with the Captain through the voice tube next to the wheel on the bridge. The XO was still banned from the bridge. The next senior Lieutenant after the XO was Lt. Wheeler, but he had little proclivity for ship handling or deck watch. The reality was that four junior officers were responsible for the ship, and none had more than six weeks experience in a polar region. Soon every man on the ship was aware of the problem. Occasionally non crew members came aboard, including scientists from the Geodetic Survey, and Paul Siple, who was working on cosmic rays. The Arneb followed an ice breaker to the landing site on the Ross Ice Shelf, and suffered no damage at all in a dangerous maneuver. The inexperienced Junior Officers rose to the occasion. After three days the other ships, except for the Wyandot, broke away and headed for McMurdo Sound. The core of the Arneb’s mission was to establish Little America V. The Ross Ice Shelf rose some 400 to 500 feet above sea level, and the Base was established at its summit. The Seabees found the best path to the summit, and did much of the construction work on the Base. They also installed “deadmen,” made of railroad ties, which securely anchored the mooring lines for the Arneb and the Wyandot. An extra long gangway, brought from the states, connected the ships to the Ice Shelf. The crew was now in a 24 hour daylight environment. The first day the crew worked 18 hours. They off-loaded the sleds and other supplies and equipment. Bekkedahl and Spencer Irving, the communications officer, maintained the bridge watch, and became the permanent in-port officers of the deck. One problem was that the ice alongside the ship was deteriorating from unusually warm weather and the warmth of the ship. In order to reach the solid ice required to support a new pier it was necessary to employ an icebreaker. It was two days away, and in the meantime all off-loading operations had to cease. Furthermore, the gangway had to be returned to the ship, a difficult operation. Once the icebreaker drew near the Arneb cast off its lines and lay offshore. Unexpectedly the weather suddenly turned dangerous. In less than an hour a severe storm caused a total whiteout. One could not see a top, a bottom, or the horizon, and the ship was adrift. Some men were adrift in small boats, the “mike” boats (fifty-foot long LCM’s), and the Seabees were stranded ashore on the ice. After 7 or 8 hours the storm blew over, and the icebreaker carved out the decayed ice. Within 10 hours the gangway was installed, and the new pier constructed. No lives were lost and the mission proceeded. As the rest of the cargo was offloaded the men enjoyed occasional recreational moments. Some explored ice caves, or did some skiing. Once the offloading was completed CTF-43, the Command Center for Operation Deep Freeze, was notified that the mission of the Arneb had been completed. The ship stopped at McMurdo Sound for two days. The amphibious mike boats, or LCM’s, could run up on the beach, and unload men and cargo on solid footing. Admiral George Dufek, the actual Commander of Operation Deep Freeze, spent much of his time at McMurdo, but he also visited the Arneb, the flagship of the fleet, on several occasions. The Admiral and other ranking officers were fully aware of the problems with the XO and the Captain and chose to take no action. It was clear that the ship was performing its mission well under the leadership of the junior officers. At Christchurch, New Zealand, en route home, Admiral Dufek sent word to the young officers, “Well done, young men.” Admiral Richard Byrd, nominally the Commander of Deep Freeze, but whose role was limited because of his age and health, also visited the Arneb on one occasion. Byrd and Dufek raised the National Geographic Flag at Little America. Byrd greeted each officer of the ship personally, and left a most favorable impression. Once the ship cleared the ice pack headed for New Zealand Bekkedahl was on the bridge when unexpectedly Captain Symthe appeared. He announced that he seemed to be regaining his eyesight. The further the ship got from Antarctica the better his eyesight. Bekkedahl believed that the Captain had clearly been unsuited for this assignment. He was highly distrustful of people, and a manipulator in many ways. Perhaps his lack of confidence and experience had brought on his temporary blindness. Still led by the junior officers the Arneb continued on a journey that would take it around the world. It visited Australia, traversed the Indian Ocean, proceeded through the Suez Canal, and stopped at Naples, Italy. After sailing to Barcelona, Spain, the ship passed through the Straits of Gibraltar, and back to Norfolk, Virginia. Once they arrived home, over half the crew, including Bekkedahl, re-enlisted. He was offered a regular Navy commission. Looking back, his navy career has been very successful and satisfying. He soon married, had four daughters, and as a Lt. received his first command of a ship, a salvage tug. He later served aboard several ships, and was deployed to Vietnam. His first destroyer command was on the John R. Craig in 1967. In 1969 he became the first non-Naval Academy graduate to be named Executive Assistant to the Superintendent of the US Naval Academy. He worked also with Korean and Japanese naval officers. His last naval assignment was as Aide and Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower Reserve Affairs and Logistics, Ed Hidalgo. He retired in 1979 after 26 years of service. He retained a life-long interest in Antarctica and became editor of the Polar Times. Bryant, Jim, Engineer, pp. 18 Byrd, Admiral Richard E, pp. 2, 30 Calvert, Jim, 53-54 Dufek, Admiral George, Commander of Deep Freeze I, pp. 6, 23-24 Hidalgo, Ed, p. 57 Irving, III, Spencer, Ensign, Communications Officer, pp. 18, 36 Johnson, Ralph C., Admiral, USN, p. 13 Miller, Henry, Navigator, USS ARNEB, p. 7 Ott, Eric, Second Division Officer, pp. 18, 36 Owens, Archibald, Chief Engineer, pp. 19 Renz, Don, Asst. First Lt. and Gunnery Officer, pp. 17-19, 36 Rodin, Bill, pp. 56-57 Siple, Paul, p. 30 Smythe, Lawrence, Capt. USN, Captain of Arneb, pp. 12-14, 27-30, 47-49 Steele, George, p. 54 Vogt, Rochus, young German expert on cosmic rays, pp. 20, 30 Wheeler, Robert, First Lt., Head of the deck department, pp. 19, 29, 36 Wiley, III, Joseph C., Admiral, USN, pp. 11-12, 53-54
          Interview of John P. Strider by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of John P. Strider by Brian Shoemaker Strider, John P. Chief Petty Officer, John Strider, USN, served as a member of Operations Deep Freeze I and II in Antarctica in 1955-1957. Among other accomplishments, he made the first landing since 1912 at the South Pole on 30 October, 1956. He was accompanied on this historic flight by Gus Shinn, Admiral George Dufek and several others. Strider had enlisted in the Navy in 1948, and became qualified as a mechanic on several types of aircraft. He had volunteered for Deep Freeze I because he wanted “a chance to go somewhere. And Lord, it was.” He was assigned as an Assistant Engineer on a flight crew aboard an R5D. He and his crew flew to Christchurch, New Zealand, and from there they reached Antarctica aboard the icebreaker Wyandot. Strider arrived with his crew at McMurdo Station about mid-October, 1955. There was little equipment on hand at the base to service the aircraft. The men had “fly away” kits on the planes, and tool boxes. Engines required some pre-heating; once Strider had to improvise the means for changing the engine on an aircraft. The squadron had only two R5Ds; the four R4Ds were unable to fly from New Zealand. All of the helicopters were assigned to the icebreakers. Strider participated in the first flight to the Pole of Inaccessibility, accompanied by Lt. Colonel Kolp, the Executive Officer of the base, and Lt. Commander Hank Hanson, the Commanding Officer, who served respectively as the pilot and co-pilot for this flight. Admiral Byrd was also on the flight. The flight continued on to make a couple of passes over the South Pole. Gordon Ebbe served as the regular Skipper of the flight crew. As it turned out the crew made fewer flights during Deep Freeze I than first planned. They had been scheduled to make photographic flights, but the R5D planes could not reach the necessary altitude. In mid-January, 1956, Strider and his crew left Antarctica. Before long the crew was assigned to the Naval Air Station at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. By early September the crew made ready to return to Antarctica for Deep Freeze II. Strider had recently re-enlisted for another six years, and was named the plane captain for the R4D. With this added responsibility he had to absorb new information on using jet skis, and the specifics of the fuel system. Another feature new to Strider was the use of the Jet Assisted Take-Off (JATO), 150 pound devices that were suspended from under the aircraft. The JATO was something like a jet engine, but is really a small rocket. Four of these devices could be fired at the same time to assist in take offs. Once spent, the shells could be jettisoned. The JATO’s were used on the flight to Hawaii, and the crew continued on to New Zealand. The pilot was Gus Shinn; the co-pilot was Captain Douglas Cordiner. Strider’s plane was one of four R4Ds that flew to McMurdo in Antarctica from New Zealand. The planes were overloaded with 1100 gallons of fuel. Overloading was not unusual. The flight to McMurdo was on a nice clear day in late September or early October, 1956. They landed on the sea ice with no need of skis. Strider soon learned that he would be part of the crew for the flight to the South Pole. In preparation for this historic flight, a refueling station first had to be set up at the Liv Glacier, near the Beardmore Glacier Station. Strider’s flight to Liv was the first ever made to that location. There was a sense of urgency about completing the flight since it was feared the Russians might get to the Pole first. Gus Shinn was plane commander and pilot for the flight to the South Pole. He was one of the best and most experienced pilots in the Navy. The Chief of Staff for Task Force 43, Captain Trigger Hawks, was named co-pilot by Admiral George Dufek. Bill Cumbie was the radioman. The aircraft for the flight to the South Pole, an R4D, was the Kora II, so named by Gus Shinn, the pilot. The plane was described as “grossly overweight.” The flight from McMurdo to over Beardmore Glacier took 6 hours, and reached an elevation of 14,000 feet. Excess fuel, some 800 gallons, was jettisoned enroute; only enough was saved to allow for the return flight from the Pole to Beardmore where the plane could refuel. A smoke flare was dropped to determine wind condition, and Gus Shinn gave the order to land. The landing was uneven, but otherwise uneventful, although the unsafe gear lights were on, and some of the low oil pressure lights were blinking. The outside temperature according to the cockpit gauge was 58 degrees below zero, but the outside slipstream wind speed was close to minus 80 degrees. Strider left the plane to set the pins in the landing gear, and installed a short ladder so that the “old guys” could safely exit. It had been planned to take pictures but the camera froze, and the few pictures obtained came from a cheap Brownie camera of Gus Shinn’s. A radar detector and an American flag were left in place, and after some of the men walked around just a bit they were ready to head home. Fortunately the JATOs were already rigged, and without them the plane could not have left the Pole. All fifteen JATOs had to be fired before the plane took off. The plane refueled at Beardmore Glacier, where a small refueling station was maintained by a crew of 4 or 5 men. The flight back to the home base at McMurdo was uneventful. There was an impressive reception at the base. Admiral Dufek wrote a book in which he claimed to have been the first off the plane, and so the first to set foot at the South Pole since 1912. Later he was awarded the Legion of Merit, and Strider got an Air Medal. Yet Strider, not Dufek, was the first person since Scott and Amundsen to set foot at the Pole. Later, after 19 years of service, he was promoted to Chief Petty Officer. After returning to McMurdo Strider and Shinn made several other flights to Little America and to the Pole. He left Antarctica in January 1957 for New Zealand aboard the USN John R. Towle. His colleagues all departed about the same time. Strider never returned to Antarctica. In July, 1957, Strider was transferred at his request to the Naval Air Station at Anacostia. It was a large base with a variety of aircraft, including Beechcraft, T-28, R5D, C-131, R4Y, and T-1. While there he was awarded his Air Medal and also a Navy Commendation Medal. Strider, still a second class petty officer, was assigned as a second mechanic to work on maintenance on the R5D. He made several flights to the Arctic regions, including Churchill, Thule, and Barrow. He believes he may have made a flight over the North Pole; if so, he flew over both Poles in the same year. After two years at Anacostia, Strider was transferred to the VP-28 squadron at Barber’s Point. It was a preferred assignment, and was arranged by his former associate in Antarctica, Capt. Douglas Cordiner. He served six months at Iwakuni Marine Air Facility in Japan. At this time he was awarded air crew wings, and checked out as a P2V plane captain. He also was married about this time. He visited Johnson and Christmas Islands for the A-bomb tests. He made Chief Petty Officer in 1969. After 26 years of service he retired from the Navy. He had various jobs after retirement. Major Topics John Strider’s 26 year Navy career Operations Deep Freeze I and II in Antarctica Historic flight to the South Pole in 1956 Details on various types of Navy aircra Key Names Bevilaqua, Charlie, p. 12 Byrd, Admiral Richard, pp. 17-19, 43, 103-04 Condit, Father John, Catholic chaplain, p. 74 Cordiner, Capt. Douglas A., pp. 29-30, 42-43, 45-46, 87, 90-92 Cumbie, William, radioman, pp. 30, 43, 47 Dufek, Admiral George, pp. 1, 42-47, 72-76 Ebbe, Gordon, pp. 17-18, 20-21 Eller, Major, pp. 51, 65 Hardigan, Bill, p. 72 Hawks, Trigger, Chief of Staff for Admiral Dufek, pp. 42-45, 58 Kinnear, Gus, p. 101 Kolp, Colonel, pp. 18, 21 Pomerantz, Martin, Chief Scientist, pp. 83-86 Shinn, Ed, pilot, pp. 1, 29, 42-44, 53, 56, 72, 75-78, 81 Siple, Paul, pp. 78-79 Smittle, Burt, Hospital Corpsman, p. 73 Swadener, John, navigator, pp. 43, 46-47, 58 Threse, Pat, p. 72 Ward, Ed, p. 5
          Interview of Colin Bull by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of Colin Bull by Brian Shoemaker Bull, Colin Dr. Bull was born in Birmingham, England, grew up in Herefordshire, and became a U.S. citizen in mid-1970s. When he was young, Dr. Bull read books regarding on Antarctic expeditions such as “South with Scott,” by Evans and “Mid-Ice” by Georgi on Wegener Greenland Expedition, which impressed him deeply. Dr. Bull attributes his interest in the polar regions to his association with Scott Expedition members – Fritz Loewe, Georgi and Sorge. Dr. Bull received his PhD at Birmingham University in Condensed Matter Physics in 1951. Dr. Bull went on his first polar expedition to Spitsbergen in 1951 under Sir Raymond Priestley’s patronage. He also volunteered for the British North Greenland Expedition led by Commander C. J. W. Simpson between 1952 and 1954. During this period, he, Mike Banks and Taffy Oakley attempted to measure the thickness of the ice by gravity in the areas of St. John’s Fjord in Prince Charles Foreland. They traversed North Greenland for their magnetic recording, and he calls it “the slowest traverse of Greenland on record.” When he came back to England, he lectured about the expedition and edited a book on the subject, which eventually became Venture to the Arctic, published by Penguin. A couple of books about the expedition were written by the members: North Ice by the leader Simpson and High Arctic by Mike Banks. He also went on the expedition to Norway to the Austerdalsbrae Glacier in 1955, and then 1958-1959, South Victoria Land, and 1960-1961, Sukkertoppen. In 1963-64, he went to Byrd Station and participated on the traverse out to the Whitmore Mountains. In 1956 he married. Shortly afterward, he departed for New Zealand in order to take a lecturer position at Wellington University. Upon his arrival, Dr. Bull organized the Victoria University of Wellington Antarctica Expedition. The members of the first New Zealand Antarctica expedition of 1958-1959 led by Dr. Bull included Peter Webb, Barrie McKelvey, and Dick Barwick. Their research was conducted in the Dry Valleys near McMurdo. Dr. Bull named the Wright Valley after Sir Charles Seymour Wright of the Scott Expedition. Bull Pass, the McKelvey Valley, Webb Glacier and the Barwick Valley were named by this expedition. While in New Zealand he made a concerted effort to take women researchers to Antarctica, but without success. Dr. Bull organized a follow-on expedition for the 1959-60 season that included a woman research member named Dawn Rodley. The U.S. Navy refused to fly her to the Dry Valleys, however. This was probably the first effort to include a woman researcher in a modern Antarctic Expedition. In March 1961 Dr. Bull took a position as visiting professor at the Institute of Polar Studies, The Ohio State University. The position became permanent and he worked at OSU for the following 25 years. He was Director of the Institute from 1965 to 1969. He then became Chairman of the Department of Geology, and then in 1972, he became Dean of Mathematics and Physical Sciences and served on many polar boards and study groups since that time. Dr. Bull helped write the proposal to the family of Richard E. Byrd in 1972 requesting that they archive his papers at Ohio State. He promised to change the name of the Institute of Polar Studies to the Byrd Polar Research Center if they did. The family accepted and BPRC is today an established national institution. Dr. Bull sponsored many scientific expeditions to the Antarctic and the Arctic during this period. He is especially proud that he sponsored 14 researchers for their doctorates and imported many other high quality researchers to Ohio State. In 1969 he sponsored the first female field expedition to the Antarctic led by Dr. Lois Jones and including Kay Lindsay, Eileen McSaveney and Terry Tickhill. He has been on most polar boards including the Polar Research board, and was also Chairman of the SCAR Working Group on Glaciology. He retired in 1986 moved to Bainbridge Island Washington where he is active in the polar tourist business and collecting and selling books from the Polar Regions. He has since made eight trips to Antarctica with tourist groups. Major Topics 1. British North Greenland Expedition led by Commander C. J. W. Simpson between 1952 and 1954 2. Wright Valley and Sukkertoppen Ice Cap 3. The first female field expedition to the Antarctic 4. SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) 5. INSTAAR 6. IAATO — International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators Key Individuals Mentioned 1. Frank Debenham, physiographer on Scott’s Last Expedition and first Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, p.1 2. Herbert Ponting, photographer on Scott’s Last Expedition, p.2 3. Wilson, zoologist and artist on Scott’s Last Expedition, p.2 4. Stan Paterson, surveyor in Greenland, p.2 5. Hal Lister p.2, 15 6. Fritz Loewe, p.3, 4, 28, 29 7. Georgi, p.3, 4 8. Sorge, p.3, 4 9. Raymond Priestley, vice-chancellor of Birmingham University, p.5, 6, 19 10. Lancelot Fleming, p.8 11. Commander C. J. W. Simpson, p.8, 13 12. Taffy (Jack) Oakley, p.10 13. Roy Homard, went on Bunny Fuchs’s Transantarctic Expedition, p.11 14. Gillian Bull (Dr. Bull’s wife), p.14, 26, 27, 54 15. Bunny Fuchs, p.11. 14 16. Barrie McKelvey, p.15, 16 17. Peter Webb, p.15, 16 18. Dick Barwick, p.16, 20 19. Bob Nichols, p.21, 22 20. Bob Dawson, p.22 21. Ron Balham, p. 22 22. Ralph Wheeler, p.23 23. Ted Thorne, p.23 24. Bob Clark, p.23 25. Dufek, p.24, 25. 26. Tyree, p.24, 25 27. Dawn Rodley, later became Dawn Beck, p. 23, 24, 25, 26 28. Dick Goldthwait, p.26, 27, 30, 49, 52, 54 29. David Elliot, p.30, 49, 50, 51 30. John Mercer, p.31, 49 31. Kaye Everett, p.31, 49, 54 32. Mainly Mort, p.31, 32, 38, 40, 51 33. Tom Jones, p.31 34. Lois Jones, p. 38, 39, 41 35. George Llano, p.31, 32 36. Lonnie Thompson, p.32, 37 37. Ian Whillans, p.33 38. Gerry Holdsworth, p.33, 34 39. Cedo Marangunic, Chilean who came from Santiago to work with Dr. Bull on the Sherman Glacier, p.33, 36 40. Wayne Hamilton, p.35, 36 41. Olav Orheim, Head of the Norwegian Polar Institute, p.36, 37, 42 42. Ann Davey, p.37, 38 43. Almut Iken, p.38 44. Kay Lindsey, p.39, 41 45. Eileen McSavenney, p.39, 41 46. Terry Tickhill, p.39 47. Paul Dalrymple, p.40, 41 48. Kelly Welsh, p.41 49. Jim Zumberge, p.43 50. Larry Gould, p.43, 52, 57 51. John Heap, p.49
          Interview of John David Reimer by Raimund E. Goerler        
Interview of John David Reimer by Raimund E. Goerler Reimer, John David Mr. Reimer developed an interest in nautical things while he was a Boy Scout. After graduating from high school, he joined the Navy and completed over 26 years of service. He became interested in photography at the Aviation Fundamental School. As a member of VX6, he was assigned to an ice breaker. He produced a pictorial history of life on the ship. After arriving in Antarctica in 1956, he assisted in construction of a base. He photographed the items that the marine biologists removed from Weddell Sea. During the 1957 trip, he did aerial mapping of the mountain ranges around McMurdo. The cameras were not designed for cold weather. The cameras operated satisfactorily after the lubricants were removed. A seismologist had him photograph seismology tests at the South Pole to determine the thickness of the ice cap. Another mission involved aerial mapping of crevasses on tractor trains routes. The equipment used in aerial mapping and the procedures are described. During the 1958-59 season, he photographed the opening of the season—supplies and people arriving and winter crew leaving. The delivery of a new bulldozer to Byrd station resulted in some nice still photographs. The plane’s crew identified another mountain range while aerial mapping the Sentinel Mountains in 1959-1960. While at Byrd Station, he was advanced to chief photographer’s mate. During the 1960-61 seasons, he did more aerial mapping. On one trip, a large deposit of coal was identified. In summary, Mr. Reimer comments on the interactions between scientists and the Navy personnel. After 3 years at NAS Norfolk, he was assigned chief in charge of the photo lab on USS America CVA66. After being made chief in charge of VDX6 photo division, he returned to Antarctica during Operation Deep Freeze 66. He had a similar assignment with Deep Freeze 68. Major Topics 1. Mr. Reimer’s Boy Scouts led him eventually to join the Navy. 2. In 1956, he was assigned to the photo group on the Icebreaker Staten Island, to make a pictorial history of the crew. 3. The building of Ellsworth Station is described. 4. His assignment included both still and motion photography, and aerial photography. 5. On the trip to Antarctica, he photographed sea organisms collected by the marine biologist. 6. In 1957, John did aerial mappings of the mountain range around McMurdo. 7. Mr. Reimer listed operational problems with photographic equipment in a cold climate in 1957-1958. 8. Another project included aerial mapping of crevasse fields. 9. The equipment and flight procedures for aerial mapping are described in detail. 10. In 1958-59, his work included photographing the aerial drops of bulldozers. 11. In 1959-60, while photographing the Sentinel Mountains, they identified another group of mountains. 12. In November 1961, he was advanced to chief photographer’s mate and describes the initiation ceremony. 13. During Deepfreeze 61, he helped geologists photograph a coal deposit. Later, he married a New Zealand girl. 14. The interactions between civilian scientists and the navy personnel are described. 15. John returned to Antarctica during Operation Deepfreeze 66, and again in Deepfreeze 68. 16. Highlights of his career included making chief petty officer, and having a mountain named for him. 1. Captain Finn Ronne p. 4, 5, 6 2. Dr. Vivian Fuchs p. 5, 6, 20 3. Admiral Dufek p. 11, 15, 18, 19, 20, 30 4. Reverend Doctor Lanahan p. 13 5. Sir Edmond Hillary p. 20 6. Admiral Tyree p. 24 7. Admiral Bupers p. 26 8. Lieutenant Riley p. 26 9. Werner Von Braun p. 29
          Interview of Stephen Riley by Raimund E. Goerler        
Interview of Stephen Riley by Raimund E. Goerler Riley, Stephen, 1929- Mr. Stephen Riley entered the Navy in 1947, hoping to attend college on the G.I. Bill. He became interested in photography. After the Korean War started his tour was extended another year. This extension prevented him from returning to Rochester, N.Y. and obtaining a job at Eastman Kodak. In Korea, he specialized in aerial photography and mapping. In 1960, he became a navigator on the Navy’s photographic reconnaissance jets, sky warrior. He and four others were commissioned as officers in heavy photographic, Squadron 62. At the start of the Vietnam War, he was sent to Guam and joined the Photographic Squadron 61. They did aerial mapping of Laos and Vietnam. While at Guam, he received orders to go to Antarctica. The National Science Foundation had a higher priority for aerial photographers than Vietnam. He describes his first impressions of Antarctica and the extreme cold. The aerial mapping was done with a C-130 Hercules plane. For some of the mapping, they were based in Chile. He was impressed by the cooperation among the scientists from many countries. Mr. Riley stays in contact with colleagues through the Old Antarctica Explorers Association. A highlight of his Antarctic experience was the high rating of his photographs by the National Geodesic Group. The magnetic field in Antarctica played havoc with their magnetic navigation devices. He summarized the training of pilots and navigators to Arctic conditions. Communication with family often involved ham radio. Major Topics 1. Reasons for joining the Navy in 1947 and making it a career. 2. Mr. Riley specialized in aerial photography and became a Navy photo navigator. 3. After doing aerial mapping over South Vietnam, he was assigned to Antarctica. 4. Mr. Riley describes his experience of going from Guam to the first steps at McMurdo. 5. He was assigned as a photographer to the National Geodesic Survey of Antarctica. 6. During the three years, he used a trimetric set-up with the cameras. 7. Mt. Riley was named after him. 8. For some mapping, the base was in Chile. 9. He was impressed by the dedication among scientists of different countries. 10. As an early visitor to the Russian station at Vostok, he had a pleasant experience with the Russians. 11. The National Science Foundation took over the Antarctic Project from the Navy. 12. The Old Antarctic Explorers Association provides persons the opportunities to relive times in Antarctica. 13. Mr. Riley describes some highlights and some disappointments during his 3 years in Antarctica. 14. The problems of navigation with magnetic devices and of landing planes with the skies are discussed. 15. For Mr. Riley and others, the Antarctic experience usually leads to advancements in the profession. 16. Water for processing film was often in short supply. 17. The cameras were stored in special rooms, to prevent fogging. 18. The food was usually good and in the summer, fresh vegetables, fruit, and milk were flown in from New Zealand. 19. Ham radio was used to call home. “If you have never been to Antarctica and have the opportunity to go, don’t ever pass it up.” Key Individuals Mentioned 1. President Harry Truman p.1 2. William McDonald p.5 3. Jean Van Reef p.8 4. Commander Morris P.8 5. Dan Bailey p.8 6. Fred Schneider p.8 7. Lt. Brian Shoemaker p.8 8. Dr. Werner von Braun p.9 9. John Reimer p.16, 23 10. Ed Feeney p.19 11. Virgil Klein p.20 12. Pierre Gernan p.20 13. Barry Goldwater p.24
          Interview of John Hobbie Roscoe by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of John Hobbie Roscoe by Brian Shoemaker Roscoe, John Hobbie, 1919- John Roscoe, born in 1919, received an excellent education at Flushing High School in Syracuse, New York. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1940, and in 1941 earned a Master’s Degree there in Geography under George Cressy. His plans for pursuing a Ph.D. at UCLA in the field of cartography, with an emphasis on aerial photogrammetry and photo interpretation, were interrupted when he was urgently recruited to join the Intelligence Office for the Army Air Corps. He remained there until the spring of 1943 working as an interpreter of aerial photographs. He also wrote the manual for aerial photo interpretation, and was one of the very first persons to see the aerial photographs of damage to Pearl Harbor and Wake Island. In 1943 he was called to active military service as a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He continued his work as a photo interpreter at the Naval Photo Intelligence School. Later he was assigned to the European theatre of operations. He interpreted through aerial photographs the success of bombing raids in Germany, and he believed his team achieved a 99% success rate in interpretation. Soon after the war ended, Roscoe accepted an Associate Professorship in the Department of Geography at the University of Georgia, but before the first semester ended he was recalled to active duty. He was ordered to join Task Force 68 already on its way to Antarctica. He joined up with Admirals Byrd and Quackenbush in Panama. Roscoe was the only qualified photo interpreter on the expedition, named Operation Highjump. Byrd hoped to photomap as much of Antarctica as he could. Roscoe traveled aboard the command ship, the Mount Olympus, one of thirteen ships in the 5,000 man expedition. As they approached Antarctica they discovered that several hundred miles of the Ross Sea were completely blocked with solid floe ice. The submarine, the USS Stennet, was so badly damaged by ice that it had to return to Panama for repairs. The only two icebreakers on the expedition left temporarily to free the Stennet, and several ships, including the Mount Olympus were locked fast in the ice. Eventually all ships made it safely to an area of open water in the Ross Sea. Admiral Byrd flew into the base at Little America on the first plane. At the time, Byrd was at an advanced age, not well, retired from active service, and had no command. The two icebreakers, the USS Northwind, and the USS Edisto, had rejoined the expedition. Roscoe was a member of the initial landing party, a reconnaissance team, as it entered the abandoned base at Little America, established earlier by Byrd in 1939. The Seabees came next and carved a road through the ice ridges. Soon a tent camp was built, with five rows of ten four-man tents each. Each had a small pot bellied stove in the center. The mess hall was off to one side, and the airfield one-half mile away. Roscoe’s tent mates were Major Weir and Richard Byrd, Jr. Weir was head of the Marines that were flying. The Marines had two R4D aircraft; the Navy had four. One of the great difficulties in getting aerial films was because of the magnetic situation so close to the Pole it was difficult to interpret flight directions accurately. The compasses were off on the planes. For safety reasons two R4D aircraft flew together on photographic flights so that if one of them went down, the other could radio for a search team. All of the R4Ds and the American Mariners, flying boats, had trimetrigon film and camera settings. Another plane used to photograph wildlife and glacial formations was the OY-1, a small, single-engine aircraft. Admiral Byrd consulted Colonel Roscoe about planning photographic flights, and interpreting the films later on. Some twelve correspondents, representing radio networks and national newspapers, were on the mission. Although the relationship between Byrd and Roscoe was tumultuous at times, on the trip home at the end of the expedition, Byrd named Roscoe his envoy to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Roscoe,along with the twelve correspondents, were all given an extensive tour of New Zealand. The expedition continued on to the United States. After the conclusion of Operation Highjump, Roscoe left the service, and worked in Navy Intelligence as a civilian. He worked for a time as the Navy representative to a military working group, the genesis of what in 1949 would become the Joint Staff of the military branches. Later he agreed to work as the Air Force representative on this committee. Roscoe returned to Antarctica the following year as a member of Operation Windmill, to map “control points.” These were needed to make accurate maps, and were points for which the exact latitude, longitude, and elevation had been determined. Two icebreakers, the Burton Island and the Edisto made the trip. Roscoe represented Naval Intelligence, but he went as a civilian. His principal responsibility was to interpret aerial photographs. He also constructed cairns holding metal claims markers (claiming certain territories for the United States) at various points along the coast, including Haswell Island, a penguin rookery, McMurdo Sound, and Victoria Land. He also landed on virtually inaccessible Peter the First Island. Here he collected a skua, and a Chinstrap penguin, both of which he later had stuffed. He also took home a female sled dog, who back in Washington gave birth to 16 pups. As a result of his work with aerial photographs he named several glacial ice floes. Roscoe also visited Little America, now covered with ice since the previous expedition, Operation Highjump. The rows of tents and the R4D aircraft were all buried in ice. One aircraft engine was dug out and it worked fine. Also a Weasel vehicle was chipped out of the ice and it also ran well. Once Operation Windmill concluded, Roscoe returned to duty with the Navy in Washington, D.C., and worked to assemble a bibliography on Antarctica that later was published. It categorized every expedition separately, including the old ones. As Operation Deepfreeze was being planned by Byrd and others, Roscoe, a civilian, was assigned by the Navy to work with Byrd. By then Roscoe and Byrd had developed a close working relationship. Byrd was a principal advisor in planning for the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1956-57. He returned to Antarctica in Deepfreeze I, but Roscoe did not, although he served as Byrd’s scientific and international affairs advisor. He made all the arrangements for the interchanges of people to send to foreign expeditions. In Washington he worked closely with Harry Dater, and Vi Malcolm, the last Commanders of the WAVES. Their office in Washington was in the Executive Office Building, next to the Blair House, and across the street from the White House. On his final trip to Antarctica, Operation Deepfreeze I, Byrd was accompanied to Antarctica by Paul Siple. Roscoe remained in Washington to run the office. Byrd became ill while there, cut short his trip, and after his return home he died in April, 1957. Shortly before the death of Admiral Byrd, Roscoe resigned from Civil Service and accepted an attractive position with the Lockheed Corporation. He designed the photographic system for the first American satellite. The Russians had just launched their Sputnik satellite. Roscoe never returned to the polar regions. He recalled various ways his polar experiences had affected his life. He found the Antarctic continent absolutely beautiful. It went beyond “black and white” colors since there were many shades of white, all of which Roscoe had learned to interpret as he studied aerial photographs. He also had become acutely aware of the dangers of the continent. He used the data he gathered there to earn his doctorate from the University of Maryland in 1952. His six-volume dissertation was on the morphology of the Antarctic continent. He used Operation Highjump photographs plus some others. He also edited a 5000-entry bibliography on the Antarctic in 16 languages. Roscoe also served as Vice President of the American Polar Society from 1957 until (at least) 2002 (the date of this interview). Roscoe continued to add to his impressive polar library, and suggested that he might be willing to donate it to the Byrd Polar Research Center. He suggested names from time to time for Antarctic features. He cooperated with publishers of such projects as Burrell’s Board of Place Names and Geographic Names of the Antarctic. He served on the Board of the Polar Times, and occasionally contributed to an article. A glacier was named for Roscoe. Since his retirement from Lockheed in 1982, Roscoe has developed an interest in history, and has done much reading and some research on the Crusades and the Knights Templar. He has also been an active member of the Masons. Major Topics Details about Operations Highjump, Windmill, and Deepfreeze in Antarctica Role of Admiral Richard Byrd in Antarctic explorations Pioneering role of Roscoe in interpreting aerial photography in Antarctica Personal and professional challenges in Antarctic exploration Contributions of various participants in Antarctic exploration Roscoe’s post-polar career at Lockheed and elsewhere Apfel, Earl, geologist, p. 51 Behrendt, John, member of IGY expedition, p. 55 Butters, [?], Captain USMC, pp. 63-64 Byrd, Admiral Richard, mentioned throughout Byrd, Richard, Jr. pp. 86-87 Chaney, [?], Admiral Byrd’s Chief of Staff, p. 36 Cox, Charles, p. 18 Cruzen, Richard, Admiral USN, p. 12 Darlington, Jenny, pp. 55-56 Dater, Henry “Harry”, pp. 74, 76-77, 91-92 Dufek, Admiral George, p. 88 Frazier, [?], deputy commander on the Burton Island, pp. 51, 53 Fuchs, Bunny, p. 110 Gooderham, pp. 12-13 Gould, Lawrence, Antarctic explorer, p. 65 Hillary, Sir Edmund, p. 111 Howard, August “Art”, founder of the American Polar Society, pp. 28, 112-14 Ketchum, Hank, commander of the icebreaker Burton Island, pp. 51, 53 Law, Phil, pp. 102-03 Lyon, Waldo, pp. 18-19 Mawson, Douglas, Australian polar explorer, pp. 101-02 Pearson, Drew, Newspaper columnist, pp. 45, 64 Peterson, Pete, physicist, pp. 55-56, 68-69 Quackenbush, Robert, Rear Admiral USN, p. 12 Ronne, Finn, explorer, pp. 54, 68 Ronne, Edith “Jackie,” wife of Finn, pp. 54-55 Shinn, Gus, pilot, pp 41-42 Shirley, Charles, chief photographer, p. 15 Siple, Paul, geographer, pp. 26, 36-37, 74, 76-77, 88, 112 Siple, Ruth, pp. 26-27 Sullivan, Walter, science writer, pp. 23, 25 Victor, Paul Emile, French pilot and explorer, pp. 75-76 Weir, [?], Major, pilot, pp. 35, 37, 64 Wilkins, Sir Hubert, polar explorer, pp. 19, 102
          Aukland New Zealand City Urban Buildings        
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          Honey, the miracle alternative dressing        
By : M. Aminuddin, S.Kep,Ns, WOCN

Pendahuluan
Perawatan luka saat ini berkembang sangat pesat. Konsep-konsep baru bermunculan seiring dengan ragam penelitian yang membahas faktor-faktor yang dapat mempercepat penyembuhan luka. Sejak ditemukannya konsep moisture oleh George Winter pada tahun 1962 productpun mengembangkan balutan dengan konsep lembab seperti hidrokoloid, hidrogel, hidrocelulosa, alginate dan lain-lain yang disebut dengan modern atau advanced dressing. Hal ini sangat membantu pasien-pasien luka dengan memperpendek hari rawat atau mempercepat penyembuhan.
Menurut Carvile K (1998) tujuan utama pemberian balutan pada luka adalah menciptakan lingkungan yang kondusif bagi penyembuhan. Tidak ada satu jenis balutan yang cocok untuk semua tipe luka atau semua orang . Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa pemilihan balutan luka ditentukan berdasarkan kebutuhan pasien dan jenis lukanya. Penggunaan balutan untuk perawatan luka sudah mengarah pada satu gerakan yang didasarkan pada pengukuran biaya untuk penggunaan dressing . Hal ini dapat ditunjukkan bahwa tidak semua pasien dapat menggunakan advandce dressing karena harga setiap produk yang cukup tinggi. Hal ini menuntut kita untuk dapat menentukan balutan yang bena dan tepat bagi klien serta perlu diketahui permasalahan klien dalam penyembuhan luka tersebut, termasuk masalah ekonomi.
Beberapa tahun terakhir telah banyak penelitian dilakukan untuk mencari bahan alamiah lain yang dapat digunakan sebagai alternative dressing luka antara lain madu, pepaya dan aloe vera. Bahan-bahan ini murah dan mudah didapatkan di daerah atau dipelosok Indonesia. Namun pada kesempatan ini akan diuraikan salah satu alternative dressing yaitu madu dan mengapa madu dapat menjadi balutan yang menakjubkan.
Penanganan luka infeksi dengan madu sudah digunakan sejak 2000 tahun sebelum bakteri penyebab infeksi diketahui. Baru-baru ini, dilaporkan bahwa madu memiliki efek inhibitor terhadap 60 jenis bakteri termasuk aerob dan anaerob, gram positif dan gram negative, anti jamur; aspergillum dan penicilium termasuk bakteri yang resisten terhadap antibiotik . Manfaat madu juga telah di firmankan Allah SWT dalam Al Qur’an Surah An Nahl ayat 69 yang artinya “dari perut lebah itu keluar minuman (madu) yang bermacam-macam warnanya, didalamnya terdapat obat yang menyembuhkan bagi manusia. Sesungguhnya pada yang demikian itu benar-benar terdapat tanda (kebesaran Rabb) bagi orang-orang yang memikirkan” . Dari data diatas menunjukkan bahwa madu dapat dijadikan salah satu pilihan balutan luka.
Apakah madu itu?
Madu adalah larutan gula dengan saturasi tinggi yang dihasilkan oleh lebah. Lebah madu (Apis melifera) mengumpulkan cairan dari sari bunga yang disebut nectar dan di bawa ke sarang lebah. Di dalam sarang, lebah madu menambahkan enzim ke nectar dan menempatkannya dalam wadah hexagonal yang mematangkan menjadi madu. Selama pematangan enzim merubah sucrose menjadi glukosa dan fruktosa . Madu mengandung glukosa 40%, air 20% dan asam amino .
Madu tersusun atas beberapa molekul gula seperti glukosa dan fruktosa serta sejumlah mineral seperti magnesium, kalium, potasium, sodium, klorin, sulfur, besi dan fosfat. Madu juga mengandung vitamin B1, B2, C, B6 dan B3 yang komposisinya berubah-ubah sesuai dengan kualitas madu bunga dan serbuk sari yang dikonsumsi lebah. Di samping itu di dalam madu terdapat pula tembaga, yodium dan seng dalam jumlah yang kecil, juga beberapa jenis hormon .
Mengapa Madu ?
Madu yang mengandung berbagai macam zat yang dapat membantu penyembuhan luka. Menurut Molan PC (2001) dalam artikelnya yang berjudul Honey as a tropical antibacterial agent for treatment of infected wounds menguraikan kandungan madu antara lain: osmotic effect, hydrogen peroxide, phytocemical component, lymphocyte & phagocytic activity dan anti microbial potency .
1. Osmotic effect
Madu meliliki efek osmotic yaitu memiliki osmolaritas yang cukup untuk menghambat pertumbuhan bakteri. Madu merupakan cairan yang mengandung glukosa dengan saturasi yang tinggi yang mempunyai interaksi yang kuat terhadap molekul air. Kekurangan kadar air dapat menghambat pertumbuhan bakteri. Dari penelitian telah dtemukan bahwa luka yang terinfeksi dengan staphylococcus aureus dan diberi madu luka menjadi steril.
Kandungan anti bakterial madu pertama kali dikenalkan oleh Van Ketel tahun 1982. Hal ini diasumsikan bahwa efek osmotic dihasilkan oleh kandungan gula yang tinggi di dalam madu. Madu, seperti larutan gula lainnya; syrup, memiliki osmolaritas yang cukup untuk menghambat bakteri. Madu juga telah menunjukkan pada luka yang terinfeksi staphylococcus aureus dapat dengan cepat diubah menjadi steril.
Bukti kandungan anti bakteri pada madu meningkat bila diencerkan setelah di teliti dan dilaporkan pada tahun 1919. Penjelasan ini berasal dari penelitian bahwa madu mengandung enzim yang memproduksi hydrogen peroksida ketika diencerkan.
2. Hydrogen peroxide activity

Ketika madu diencerkan oleh cairan eksudat luka, hydrogen peroksida di keluarkan melalui rekasi enzim glucose oxidase. Cairan ini dikeluarkan secara perlahan untuk menyediakan aktivitas antibacterial namun tidak merusak jaringan.
Seperti yang kita ketahui bersama bahwa hydrogen peroxide mempunyai efek kurang baik untuk jaringan, akan tetapi hydrogen peroxide yang terkandung dalam madu adalah berkisar 1 mmol/l atau 1000 kali lebih rendah dari 3% cairan yang umum dipakai sebagai antiseptic dan masih efektif sebagai antibacterial dan tidak merusak sel fibroblast. Efek dari hydrogen peroxide yang bersifat merusak dapat dikurangi karena madu mempunyai anti oksidan yang dapat membersihkan radikal oksigen bebas. Selain itu madu juga menonaktifkan zat besi sebagai katalisator.
Penelitian pada binatang didapatkan bahwa madu dapat menurunkan inflamasi dibandingkan jenis lain pada luka bakar dalam dan luka bakar superfial dan luka derajat full thickness.
Meskipun kadar hydrogen peroksida sangat rendah namum masih efektif sebagai antimikroba. Hal ini telah dilaporkan bahwa hydrogen peroksida lebih efektif bila diberikan secara terus menerus. Sebuah penelitian pada E. Coli untuk mengetahui aliran hydrogen peroksida yang ditambahkan secara constan, menunjukkan bahwa pertumbuhan bakteri dapat dihambat oleh 0,02 – 0,05 mmol/l hydrogen peroksida, konsentrasi tersebut tidak merusak sel fibroblast pada kulit manusia .
3. Phytochemical component
Pada beberapa pengobatan madu dengan katalis untuk mengeluarkan aktivitas hydrogen peroksida, selain itu factor antibacterial nonperoksida juga diidentifikasi. Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey juga telah ditemukan substansi dari aktivias antibacterial non perioksida. Penemuan ini terjadi karena masih banyaknya komponen phytocemical yang tidak teridentifikasi, sehingga penyelidikan terhadap kandungan phytocemical madu akan tetap dilanjutkan.
Penelitian yang serupa telah ditemukan madu yang mengandung spesies leptospermum yang tidak teridentifikasi di Australia, 'jellybush' [C. Davis, Queensland Department of Primary Industries: personal communication].
4. Increased lymphocyte and phagocytic activity
Dalam kultur sel ditemukan adanya proliferasi limposit B dan limposit T pada darah perifer yang distimulasi oleh madu dengan konsentrasi 0,1%; pagosit diaktifkan oleh madu pada konsentrasi 0,1%. Pada konsentrasi 1 % madu juga menstimulasi monocyte dalam kultur sel untuk mengeluarkan cytokine, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin(IL)-1 dan IL-6, dimana mengaktifkan aktifitas respon imun terhadap infeksi.
Sebagai tambahan, madu juga mengandung glukosa dan PH asam (antara PH 3 dan PH 4) yang dapat membantu membunuh bakteri oleh macrophage, madu sebagai terapi untuk luka mempunyai beberapa segi kebaikan ; memudahkan pengangkatan balutan ; mempertahankan kelembaban sekitar luka.
5. Anti-bacterial potency
Madu dihasilkan dari berbagai sumber sari bunga berbeda dan menjadi antimikroba yang asli dan olahan. Dioscorides (c.50 AD) menyatakan bahwa madu berwarna kuning pucat dari Africa yang terbaik; Aristotle (384-322 BC), ketika mendiskusikan perbedaan madu, menunjukkan bahwa madu yang berwarna pucat baik untuk salep mata dan luka.
Kemudian sebuah survey terhadap 345 samples madu New Zealand dari 26 sumber bunga yang berbeda ditemukan jumlah yang besar dengan aktivitas rendah (36 % sampel mempunyai aktivitas mendekati atau dibawah kadar). Selain itu hasil survey yang tidak dipublikasikan, 340 sampel madu Australia dari 78 sumber bunga yang berbeda ditemukan 68,5% memiliki dibawah kadar yang dibutuhkan.
Pada percobaan acak ditemukan pada luka eksisi dan skin graft menjadi baik dengan madu pada pengontrolan infeksi pada pasien luka bakar sedang.
Uji Klinis dan Laboratorium
Molan dalam artikelnya berjudul Honey as a tropical antibacterial agent for treatment of infected wounds dalam World Wide Wounds, (2001) menguraikan beberapa uji klinis tentang madu antara lain :
1. Pada suatu studi yang menggunakan madu pada Sembilan bayi dengan luka bedah infeksi yang luas yang gagal dengan antibiotic IV, dicuci dengan cairan 0,05% chlorhrxidine dan di balut dengan asam fusidic ointment. Secara klinis memperlihatkan peningkatan setelah 5 hari menggunakan madu, dan seluruh luka tertutup, bersih dan bebas dari infeksi setelah hari ke 21 penggunaan madu.
2. Pada percobaan acak dengan kelompok kontrol, 26 pasien dengan luka infeksi post operasi diterapi dengan madu dan 24 pasien lukanya di cuci dengan 70% etanol dan povidone iodine. Kelompok yang diterapi dengan madu dapat menghilangkan infeksi dan mencapai penyembuhan memerlukan ½ waktu yang dibutuhkan kelompok yang menggunakan antiseptic.
3. Percobaan kllinis yang membandingkan madu dengan silver sulfadiazine ointment pada luka bakar derajat II. Dari keduanya menunjukkan bahwa madu memberikan control infeksi yang lebih baik.
4. Luka infeksi oleh Pseudomonas, tidak ada respon dengan terapi lain, terjadi pembersihan infeksi cepat dengan menggunakan madu.
5. Pada pasien dengan luka infeksi yang bakteri yang resistant, tidak ada respon terapi antibiotic, hasil baik dicapai setelah 5 minggu perawatan dengan madu. Bakteri yang mengenfeksi luka yang ditemukan resisten terhadap ampicilin, oxytetracycline, gentamicin, chloramphenicol dan cephadine. Luka yang terinfeksi MRSA juga dapat diatasi infeksinya dan sembuh menggunakan balutan madu termasuk leg ulcer, luka berongga akibat haenatom dan luka operasi.
Kondisi luka bagaimana madu digunakan?
Madu biasanya digunakan sebagai topical antibacteri untuk penanganan infeksi pada tipe luka yang luas seperti : Leg Ulcers, Pressure ulcers, Diabetic foot ulcers, Luka infeksi akibat kecelakaan atau pembedahan dan luka bakar . Madu lebih efektif digunakan bila kondisi luka yang sesuai dengan kemampuan madu itu sendiri. Pada leg ulcer lebih efektif digunakan bila luka sudah kronis, atau dengan eksudat yang banyak khususnya venous ulcer. Untuk pressure ulcers, madu efektif bila luka dalam kondisi eksudat banyak, slough namun kurang efektif untuk luka nekrotik, demikian pula untuk luka diabetic. Luka infeksi akibat pembedahan atau kecelakaan sangat baik diberi madu karena madu mempunyai efek osmolaritas, antimikrobia dan pythocemical yang dapat menghambat kuman. Jenis bakteri yang terbukti dapat dihambat oleh madu antara lain Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus faecium, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloacae, Klebsiella oxytoca dan MRSA Sedangkan luka bakar yang dapat didukung proses penyembuhannya oleh madu adalah luka bakar suferficial dan full thickness karena dapat menurunkan proses inflamasi.

Berikut beberapa jenis luka yang dapat direkomendasikan menggunakan madu pada perawatannya antara lain :





















Sumber Gambar : Coloplast, Principles of wound management. Educational Series. 2000



Bagaimana Cara Penggunaan madu pada luka?
Tips umum penggunaan madu pada luka antara lain :
1. Jumlah madu yang digunakan tergantung dengan jumlah cairan exudates luka. Eksudat yang banyak memerlukan jumlah substansi madu untuk dipakai.
2. Frekuensi penggantian balutan tergantung seberapa cepat madu diencerkan oleh eksudate. Sebaiknya tidak sering diganti untuk memungkinkan madu memulai bekerja dalam proses penyembuhan luka.
3. Balutan tertutup membantu untuk mencegah keluarnya ozon madu keluar dari luka
4. Sebaiknya madu di ratakan pada balutan (impregnated) lalu ditempelkan pada luka daripada madu ditempelkan langsung ke luka.
5. Untuk luka dengan eksudate yang banyak, secondary dressing dibutuhkan untuk menampung rembesan madu yang encer dari primary dressing.
6. Madu aman dimasukkan kedalam luka yang berongga dan bersinus, karena madu merupakan cairan yang dapat larut dan mudah dibilas keluar; beberapa endapannya tidak menjadi benda asing bagi tubuh (bio degradable)
7. Madu dapat di impregnated dengan alginate.
8. Balutan madu yang digunakan melebihi pinggir luka
Kesimpulan
Pemilihan balutan sebaiknya menggunakan berbagai pertimbangan sebelumnya. Perawat harus mampu mengetahui balutan apa yang cocok bagi pasien dan persoalam apa yang dihadapi pasien (termasuk masalah ekonomi). Penggunaan madu dapat dijadikan pillihan, selain madu lebih murah, juga mempunyai efek yang baik bagi luka karena dapat memfasilitasi luka sehingga lingkungan di sekitar luka menjadi kondusif bagi penyembuhan luka. Kandungan madu yang dapat menjaga lingkungan kondusif bagi luka antara lain high osmolarity, dapat mengeluarkan hydrogen peroxide, anti bakteri, komponen phytocemical, dan dapat meningkatkan limposit T, limposit B serta meningkatkan kerja pagosit.
Balutan madu dapat memberikan suasana lembab, mengabsorb cairan, menghambat pertumbuhan kuman, meningkatkan system imun dan lain sebagainya seperti di uraikan sebelumnya. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa madu mempunyai fungsi sama bila dibandingkan dengan advanced dressing seperti hydrocoloid yang dapat menjaga kelembaban dan menyerap cairan atau balutan anti microbial yang bertujuan menghambat pertumbuhan bakteri. Dengan demikian madu dapat dijadikan salah satu alternative pilihan balutan dalam perawatan luka.
Madu dapat di aplikasikan pada banyak jenis luka, namun perlu dipertimbangkan fungsi madu dan bagaimana efek kerjanya pada luka. Misalnya luka derajat I tidak akan efektif oleh madu, madu juga tidak memiliki efek langsung terhadap luka necrotic.
Banyak manfaat yan terkandung dalam madu bagi penyembuhan luka, namun tidak semua jenis madu dapat memiliki kandungan yang sama tergantung jenis dan sumber makanan yang dimakannya. Dan menurut penelitian madu yang berwarna kuning pucat atau pucat yang terbaik. Madu yang sudah terstandarisasi adalah madu Manuka dan jellybush yang mengandung leptospermum. Indonesia memiliki banyak varietas madu berkualitas namun belum dilakukan uji klinis dan laboratorium, sehingga perlu dikembangkan dan dapat dipatenkan oleh bangsa Indonesia.



Referensi
1. Carvile K. Wound care manual. 3rd ed. St. Osborne Park: The Silver Chain Foundation ; 1998
2. Coloplast. Principles of wound management. Educational Series. 2000
3. Molan PC. Honey as a tropical antibacterial agent for treatment of infected wounds. World Wide Wounds. 2001
4. Molan PC. The antibacterial activity of honey. 1.The nature of the antibacterial activity. Bee World 1992; 73(1): 5-28.
5. Ngan V. Honey.Waikato Honey Research Unit
6. Suriadi. Manajemen luka. Pontianak: Stikep Muhammadiyah; 2007
7. Qur’an Tajwid dan terjemahannya. Departement Agama RI; 2006
8. Yahya H. Keajaiban lebah madu.
          Negara Paling Korup 2016        
Kita semua tidak sukakan korupsi, satu perbuatan sampah yang kita mahu hapuskan daripada kalangan masyarakat kita. Dalam satu kajian yang dijalankan oleh Transparency International, mereka telah mengeluarkan senarai Corruption Perceptions Indes (CPI).

Berapakah CPI negara kita Malaysia? Nanti kita lihat sama-sama.






Dalam index yang dikeluarkan untuk tahun 2016, negara paling korup adalah Somalia, malah ia mememang rekod ini selama 10 tahun berturut-turut. CPI yang diberikan kepada Somalia hanyalah 10 point sahaja.

Makin rendah point CPI maka makin teruk tahap korupsi di sesebuah negara tersebut. Ranking top 5 negara yang paling bersih pula didahuli oleh negara New Zealand (90 CPI), Denmark (90 CPI), Finland (89 CPI), Sweden (88 CPI) dan Switzerland (86 CPI).

Bagi negara kita pula, Malaysia diberikan 49 CPI dan berada di ranking ke 55 dunia. Mata CPI diberikan turun 1 mata berbanding tahun lalu dengan 50 CPI.




Dalam kalangan negara serantau pula Singapura dianggap paling bersih di Asia Tenggara dengan 84 CPI berada di ranking ke 7 dunia. Dan negara paling kurop di Asia Tenggara pula adalah Kemboja dengan 21 mata sahaja diberikan.

Country CPI World Rank
1. Singapura 84 7
2. Brunei 58 41
3. Malaysia 40 55
4. Indonesia 37 90
5. Philines 35 101
6. Thailand 35 101
7. Timor-Leste 35 101
8. Vietnam 33 113
9. Loas 30 123
10. Myanmar 28 136
11. Cambodia 21 156


Negara besar seperti U.S.A pula dibeirkan 74 mata CPI, dan berada di ranking 18 dunia. Manakal negara China hanya diberikan sebanyak 40 mata dan berada di tangga 79. Russia lagi bawah dengan hanya 29 CPI, berada ditangga ke 131 dunia.

Berikut adalah senarai penuh ranking yang dikelaurkan oleh Corruption International bagi negara paling kurop 2016.



          African immigrants and refugees        
Most of the controversy is about the Somalis who might bring in terror.



AlJ laments man made famine in Somalia. Want to fix it? Kill the bad guys who are intimidating aid workers and stealing food.

Somalia has been policed since the early 1990's by the UN (as is the Congo civil war). Including well trained soldiers from Kenya trying to keep the peace. The trouble is that peacekeepers keep the peace, they don't kill bad guys.

on the other hand, this explains the little noticed phone call Trumpieboy made to Kenya's president a couple days ago.

Kenya is having trouble with these "refugees" from Somalia, and deporting a lot of them

so the question is, of course, why they can't be settled in these nearby countries, where there are already a lot of Somalian workers. The answer: these countries don't want them because they cause crime and terrorism.

from my main blog. I think refugees need to be helped, and the best way to do this is pacify their countries.

But who will risk invading and doing this (as Britain did in India and was the excuse for colonialism in Africa).

Resettling refugees is good, but does have problems, the main one being you can't resettle all of them, the second is that the problem of assimilation takes three generations. (at least it did for the Irish, Italians, and Jewish immigrants into the  USA).

about ten perdcent of Zimbabwean population has emigrated to find jobs, mostly to South Africa or the UK. Wikipedia article.

There are various conflicting unofficial figures about the number of Zimbabweans in the US. The RAND Corporation estimated in 2000 that there were 100,000 in the state of New York alone.[12] 
it's hard to find later statistics.  Indeed it is hard to find exactly how many Zimbabweans are working or emigrating abroad.

Rough estimates vary from place to place:

However, tacit agreement among nongovernmental organisations is that the Zimbabwe diaspora is spread out mainly in South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia. South Africa is estimated to have the bulk of Zimbabwe’s diaspora community, with an estimated two million to three million Zimbabwean nationals living in that country.
Second to South Africa as a destination of permanent settlement for Zimbabweans is the UK. Community-based organisations estimate the total number of Zimbabweans living legally in the UK to be 200 000, but say it is about 500 000 if one includes undocumented immigrants. 

not many go to the USA: Only 45,000 is the estimate in this article. (2008).

this article states that since 1980 immigrants from Sub Sahara Africa number 1.8 million. into the USA. But few are from Zimbabwe.

and this video frrom the US Library of Congress discusses recent African immigration into the USA.




          Scotland racing towards second sell-out this autumn        

The Scotland team is on course to play in front of two sell-out Autumn Tests crowds for the first time in history.

Last week the New Zealand game sold out, becoming the fastest-selling autumn test ever, and now tickets for the game against Australia the following week (Saturday 25 November, kick-off 2.30pm) are down to single seats only.


          Lion Laidlaw the sole Scot against the Blues        

Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw is the sole Scot in the British & Irish Lions team to play the Blues this Wednesday.

Wales hooker Ken Owens will captain the side as one of 11 players making their British & Irish Lions debut at Eden Park, after Head Coach Warren Gatland made 15 changes to the side that kicked off the 2017 Tour with a victory over New Zealand Provincial Barbarians on Saturday.


          Scots trio to start Lions opener        
Scotland trio Stuart Hogg, Greig Laidlaw and Tommy Seymour will all start the British & Irish Lions' tour opener this Saturday against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians.
 
The starting XV includes six 2013 Lions and a further three on the bench, with the side captained by Sam Warburton.

Commenting


          Hogg and Seymour named in British & Irish Lions squad for NZ tour        

Scotland and Glasgow Warriors backs Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seyour were today named in the 41-man British & Irish Lions touring squad bound for New Zealand this summer.

Sam Warburton of Cardiff Blues and Wales will lead the Lions for a second consecutive Tour, an honour only ever achieved once before by Martin Johnson in 1997 and 2001.


          Birds and Money in New Zealand — Russell, New Zealand        
Moving to Australia
          Hokianga Harbour - look at those sanddunes. — Russell, New Zealand        
Moving to Australia
          Hector dolphins, Yellow Eyed Penguins for NY 2010 — Curio Bay, New Zealand        
Moving to Australia
          Arriving at the Great Southern Ocean — Invercargill, New Zealand        
Moving to Australia
          New Zealand Scaup yet anothere rare endemic bird — Milford Sound, New Zealand        
Moving to Australia
          The amazingly wet and beautiful Milford Sound — Milford Sound, New Zealand        
Moving to Australia
          The remarkable remarkables and the amazing Milford — Milford Sound, New Zealand        
Moving to Australia
          Mt Cook- clouds clear for Christmas Day! — Fox Glacier, New Zealand        
Moving to Australia
          Lake Matheson, Reflection Island and rain — Fox Glacier, New Zealand        
Moving to Australia
          The long drive to Okarito via Punakaiki Rocks — Okarito, New Zealand        
Moving to Australia
          Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter - No. 82        

Cause & Effect is the biweekly newsletter of the Center for Inquiry community, covering the wide range of work that you help make possible. Become a member today!

The Main Events


schedule-joust logo.jpgAll Evidence Points to an Amazing CSICon 2017 

Have you registered for CSICon 2017 in Las Vegas, taking place October 26–29? It’s shaping up to be the biggest and best skeptics’ event of the year. That’s a pretty bold prediction, but the evidence is overwhelming.

First, there’s the incredible lineup of speakers. Rarely have so many leading lights of science and reason been part of the same event. A veritable constellation of skeptic luminaries will be presenting at CSICon 2017, representing the sciences, grassroots activism, journalism and media, the arts, and more. James Randi, Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott, Richard Wiseman, Cara Santa Maria, Lawrence Krauss, and Lindsay Beyerstein are just a small sampling of the dozens of skeptic leaders coming to CSICon.

Then there’s the entertainment and social events, because it wouldn’t be CSICon Las Vegas without plenty of fun. Taking place in the fantastical Excalibur Hotel, get ready for the Tournament of Kings Joust Dinner, a magic show by Banachek, special lunch events with skeptic stars, a Halloween 70’s Disco Party, and more. Plus, all of CSICon’s ceremonies will be mastered by comic-musician George Hrab. The full schedule has now been posted online.

aacarousel-konnikova.jpgThat’s not all. It was just announced that New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova will receive the 2016 Balles Prize in Critical Thinking for her book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It…Every Time, a book that exposes the tricks of the con artists’ trade and explains why all of us are vulnerable to being taken in, including skeptics. Konnikova will be at CSICon to accept her prize and to deliver yet another fascinating presentation.

Need more? To give you an idea of what’s in store for CSICon 2017, take a look back at CSICon 2016 on CFI’s web series Reasonable Talk. The current season is featuring some of the best presentations from CSICon 2016, with Maria Konnikova’s talk and Jamy Ian Swiss’s conversation with Richard Dawkins available to watch right now, with more on the way.

We think we’ve made our case. But to make it all come together, we need you! Register now, come together with the skeptic community, get inspired, and have a blast at CSICon 2017. See you in Vegas.

 


20170524191212-Dawkins-Coyne.jpgThousands Inspired by Richard Dawkins and Friends 

Richard Dawkins has just completed a successful tour of four U.S. cities, delighting, challenging, and inspiring the minds of the thousands who came out to see him in conversation with truly special guests—and all to support the work that you help make possible with the Center for Inquiry.

In Los Angeles, Dawkins took the stage with satirist Adam Felber, best known for appearances on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and as a writer for shows such as Real Time with Bill Maher. Nearly 900 people filled the Alex Theatre, aided by the great team at CFI Los Angeles.

DAm59iFWAAAkCpW.jpgNext up was Boulder, Colorado, where the audience was charmed by the conversation between Dawkins and special guest Annabelle Gurwitch, a bestselling author, TV personality, and the latest celebrity to tell her story for the Openly Secular campaign. You can see from the picture on the right, there was one young lady who was particularly excited to see Richard Dawkins in person. Gurwitch took the picture and tweeted, “Hope for the future!”

Then it was off to the nation’s capital, where CFI DC hosted Dawkins and fellow evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, bestselling author of Why Evolution Is True. CFI board member Brian Engler performed his valuable service, taking a set of excellent photos of this meeting of two great scientific minds.

While in Washington, DC, Dawkins was invited to have a conversation on NPR’s Weekend Edition with host Scott Simon, in which the two discussed recent news, perceptions of atheism, and even CFI’s crucial Secular Rescue program, which works to bring secular writers and activists to safety when their lives are threatened in countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The last stop was Miami, where attendees were presented with a pairing that almost no one could have predicted: Richard Dawkins and the Pulitzer Prize–winning humorist Dave Barry. What a treat it must have been to be in the room for this exchange of insights and observations.

Thanks so much to all who came out to see Richard Dawkins this fall. He’ll be back for CSICon 2017 in Las Vegas.

 

News from HQ and the CFI Community


1a495722305699-IMG_2016-Winter-close-up.jpgAmanda Knox, Nick Little, and Religious Privilege 

You probably know Amanda Knox as the woman imprisoned for years in Italy for murder, for which she was exonerated by the Italian Supreme Court. Today, she is a journalist and activist for the wrongfully convicted, and she recently wrote a major report for VICE in which she exposes the use of religion in prisons as the only available path to rehabilitation, which manipulates inmates into indoctrination.

For a legal perspective, Knox sought the insight of CFI’s General Counsel Nick Little. Nick describes how prisons are predisposed to allow access to prisoners by all manner of faith-based figures but frequently put up barriers when it comes to secular influences. “[Prison officials] know that they have to allow all prisoners access to a Bible and to the Quran. But they never consider that prisoners who aren’t religious may want access to a non-religious book in the same way,” Nick tells her. “It’s a problem that a Catholic who wants someone to talk to never faces. They always have access to somebody of their faith background. And that’s not available to humanist prisoners.”

nicholaslittlelittleheadshot2.jpgMeanwhile, wholly by coincidence, Nick’s commentary was also featured by another writer at VICE, Gabby Bess, who reports on a case in which doctors in Michigan who performed female genital mutilation procedures on seven-year-olds are using religious liberty as a defense.

Nick explains that there exists no constitutional right to be exempt from generally applicable laws because of one’s religious beliefs, but that the Hobby Lobby case and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act have blurred the lines. “However,” adds Nick, “this would be a major step further, to allow direct harm to a child.”

 


Michigan Secular Celebrant Class--May 2017 (1).JPGSecular Celebrants Trained in Michigan

A group of nine enthusiastic and community-minded freethinkers successfully completed their training as Secular Celebrants on May 13, when CFI Michigan hosted Reba Boyd Wooden, director of CFI Indiana and head of the CFI Secular Celebrant program.

The trainees will now be expected to complete some additional requirements, and once they do, they will be officially certified to represent the Center for Inquiry as Secular Celebrants, authorized to perform marriages and officiate at many other milestone events in which it is desired that the secular humanist life stance be represented.

After two recent groundbreaking court victories, CFI Secular Celebrants are now able to solemnize marriages in Indiana and Illinois, and earlier this month, the state of Oregon enacted a new law authorizing the same. You can listen to CFI Portland’s Dani Tofte discuss this issue on Jefferson Public Radio.

CFI continues to seek out opportunities to change state laws that prevent those who wish to be married by an officiant who shares their secular worldview from having that opportunity. For example, CFI Northeast Ohio is supporting legislation in that state, introduced by State Sen. Michael Skindell.

Eight of the class were Michigan natives, and one came all the way from Ohio. Congratulations to all. Click here if you’re interested in becoming a CFI Secular Celebrant yourself!

 

CFI Highlights on the Web and in the Media


  • whale whale.jpgIn a special report for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Benjamin Radford looks into the “moral panic” over what seems to be a wholly fictional phenomenon: The “Blue Whale Game,” which is alleged to instruct teenagers to commit suicide.
  • Major advancements in life-enhancing and life-extending biotechnology bring with them difficult ethical questions we are obligated to address. In a new essay at HuffPost, CFI’s Ronald Lindsay says religious morality is not equipped for this task.
  • In the Sun-Sentinel, Rabbi Barry Silver discusses his opposition to the National Day of Prayer and support of the National Day of Reason as an alternative, noting CFI’s role in its creation.
  • What the heck is a “globster”? Joe Nickell explains what’s behind “great decaying masses” that wash up on shores and seem to be horrible sea monsters.
  • Joe also discusses his investigations about sightings of moa, an extinct New Zealand creature that resembles a kind of monster-ostrich.
  • Bertha Vazquez updates us on the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES) program, with new workshops coming in Nebraska and North Carolina, new teacher corps members, and more.
  • For Skeptical Briefs, Ben Radford provides a rumination on the desire to unearth something truly paranormal in a piece about his investigation of an old “haunted” hotel.
  • Ben is also the guest on The Folklore Podcast, discussing the mythical chupacabra.
  • Mick West looks at the usefulness and pitfalls of crowdsourced UFO investigation.

And of course, you can keep up with news relevant to skeptics and seculars every weekday with The Morning Heresy.

 

Upcoming CFI Events


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July 14–16:

 

Thank you!


Everything we do at CFI is made possible by you and your support. Let’s keep working together for science, reason, and secular values.  Donate today!


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Cause & Effect: The Center for Inquiry Newsletter is edited by Paul Fidalgo, Center for Inquiry communications director.

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at www.centerforinquiry.net. 



 


          Comment on A responsive agenda for New Zealand’s international development efforts by Garth Luke        
I'll vote for you Jo.
          Tongariro Alpine Crossing        

Tongariro Crossing - This was one of the highlights from my recent stay in New Zealand. Tongariro Crossing is rated one of best one-day treks in the world. The trek basically cuts across two active volcanoes - Mt Ngaurohoe and Mt Tongariro, located in central north island of New Zealand. The trek is 19.4kms long (one way), it took us a little over 6 hours to complete it. I've done a few treks in Queensland's rainforests but Tongariro Crossing easily beats them in all aspects like scenery, terrain, weather conditions and difficulty. It is the most scenic walk I've done so far.

The best parts of the trek for me are:

a. The breathtaking view from Red Crater. The Red crater is reached by climbing a steep section of Volcanic ridge aptly named Devil's staircase. It took us about 90 arduous minutes to reach the top. Hard work. But boy, wattey view!

b. Sliding, falling...sliding, falling on scoria and damp pebble-filled sand. Sore bums...but it was fun!

c. Emerald Lakes and Blue Lake - stunning colour of the lakes! The lakes, we were told, are small volcanic craters. The lake water is obviously unsuitable for drinking due to high mineral content.

d. Soda Springs

Also,

e. Opportunity to take great photographs. Mum Nature overwhelms you with her beauty. The camera, even if its a DSLR, does not do full justice.

f. Hot spa and a cold drink after a hard days work :D Ahh.

Here are some photos of my photos:

The zero km mark.

The green of Mangatepopo Valley

Are you sure? Signboard at the start of Devil's staircase. They did warn us! :) Photo Credit: Lars



Couple. The gentleman had a Canon 7D.
Track to the base of Mt Ngauruhoe
Mt Ngauruhoe. That's a neat cloud cover, isn't it? :)
Some hikers planned to stay overnight. Look, they even brought their kettle!
Green lake. Check out the steam coming from the vents. It smelled soo....sulphury.
I didn't do the Tongariro Summit climb. It's a 1hr and 20mins of 45-50 degree climbing and back. Too much for this slugger. Next time, may be.

It was great. Tongariro Crossing is a must-do if you like hiking and are visiting NZ.


          Comment on Around the World: Gina’s Travel Diaries by Around the World: Gina’s Travel Diaries        
[...] Part 1: New Zealand Part 2: Hong Kong Part 3: Vietnam Part 4: Dubai [...]
          Comment on Around the World: Gina’s Travel Diaries by Around the World: Gina’s Travel Diaries        
[...] 1: New Zealand Part 2: Hong Kong Part 3: Vietnam Part 4: [...]
          Comment on Around the World: Gina’s Travel Diaries by Around the World: Gina’s Travel Diaries        
[...] Part 1: New Zealand Part 2: Hong Kong Part 3: Vietnam Part 4: Dubai [...]
          Comment on Gina & Brad’s Boho Inspired New Zealand Wedding by ArtyJ Photography        
Oh this is just gorgeous!!!
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           Hotmail Support - Get help through Remote and dial +64-04-8879107 (Auckland New Zealand)        
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          Don Brash wants to decriminalise smack        

Act leader Don Brash is calling for the decriminalisation of smacking.

He says prohibition of smacking hasn't worked, and policing it costs tax payer dollars and clogs up the court system.

He told Big News there are other ways to restrict the use of smacking.

"It's estimated thousands of New Zealanders smack on a fairly regular basis, many are persecuted every year, and thousands of tax payer dollars is spent to police this law," says Mr Brash.

More here.Full speech here.
          Nearly half those who come off the dole don’t get jobs        
Last month the Minster of Social Development announced that more than 6,700 New Zealanders went off welfare and into work in July 2011.

I was curious, so I asked the minister’s office if that meant that everyone who went off the unemployment benefit in July went to work. I was told that was correct.

I have now found out -via the OIA - that this is now incorrect and have also been told that the Government has no idea as to whether the work was full time or not. Paula Bennett says, “Some of the trends we’re seeing are more full-time jobs, more women in work, increasing wages and more hours for workers.”

Yet she has no idea whether how many full time jobs are secured by those off benefits. Many may well be on short term or part time contracts (like doing work associated with the Rugby World Cup) and end up back on the benefit shortly after.

What Bennett didn’t say was that in July, 7496 left the unemployment benefit but only 4213 went to work. So 44 per cent of those who came off the unemployment benefit in July did so for reasons other than work. Most started full time study, probably because they couldn’t find a job.

I also sought to find out why benefits were being paid to those who were not supposed to be getting benefits after 7400 benefits were cancelled after beneficiaries failed to reapply for their benefit after 12 months.

According to media reports
Half of the people who were now off it did not reapply. Of the other half, 2000 were already in work, 1400 had left the county, were in study or failed the work test.

Prime Minister John Key said it could be assumed those people were in work. But 300 of them had failed a work test and were on a stand down period, 365 had entered study as they could not get a job. A third of the 1400 had left the benefit for reasons other than stated. Around 230 had left New Zealand, but WINZ was not prepared to tell me how long each had received a benefit before leaving without charging me. Nearly 400 were cancelled for “other” reasons which WINZ simply could not tell me.

Of the 7400 benefits cancelled, WINZ does not know why half (3698) didn’t reapply – nor could they tell me how long they paid benefits before cancelling. Some may have simply left the country.

But there is a pattern. Just half those who leave an unemployment benefit get work. Meaning that when the workforce increases, a good proportion of the increase is from those who were not previously receiving the unemployment benefit.
          Key pushes the minor party vote at the expense of National candidates        
Last week there was a rumour that Phil Goff asked his front bench if he should resign as leader. Goff has denied this and said today ”I think you`ll find that that spin has its origins in the National Party”.

Earlier today John Key emphatically denied that this came from the National Party, saying that National has “no interest in the Labour leadership”.

However, while Key is interested in speaking at conferences of minor parties – fronting to Maori Party and Act conferences, and, today, the United Future conference, he has no interest in debating their leaders on TV, but wants at least two of them to win their seats - in Ohariu-Belmont and Epsom - and is therefore encouraging supporters to list vote National – but split their vote.

While some New Zealanders what to be informed on minor party policies, Key thinks that this should not happen while he shares the TV screen, saying today “it wouldn’t do a lot about informing New Zealanders”.

So informing New Zealanders about minor parties is somewhat pointless to Key. Does he expect National to govern alone? The TV3 poll came out today showing the Greens on their highest ever polling of 9.3 percent - in fact their polling is way higher than NZ First, United Future, Act, Mana and Maori parties combined. The Greens would have nearly a third of the number of seats that Labour would have, and Labour just under half what National would have. Labour would likely lose six seats if the election were held today. Mana would get two seats if they win an electorate seat. National could govern alone – but may choose to include Peter Dunne as part of the government, if he wins his seat, as is likely.

          New Mix: Lorde, Zola Jesus, Chelsea Wolfe, More        
We follow Father's Day weekend with a mix of powerful new pop and rock from a lot of incredible women, including "Exhumed," a raging, cathartic song from Zola Jesus , and roaring doom metal from Chelsea Wolfe . First we kick things off with the singer Katie Von Schleicher , who got her start as an intern at Ba Da Bing! Records, where owner Ben Goldberg encouraged her to make her own music. (Side note: Singer Sharon Van Etten also got her start working at Ba Da Bing! Records.) Now Von Schleicher is about to release her full-length debut album, S***** Hits , a hazy, ethereal mix of songs filled with lots of sonic wonders. Also on the show: New Zealand pop singer Lorde returns with her long-awaited follow-up to her breakout 2013 album Pure Heroine, with more reflections on the melodrama and magic of youth; the artist known as Bernice has a new EP of deeply textured, largely experimental songs; and singer-guitarist Thomas Patrick Maguire meditates on defeat and withdrawal in a post-truth
          Reading Comprenhension        
“Assault”
    Around 1515 hours on 27 November 2008 James Davis, aged 38years was driving a USAid vehicle with registration number 1263GH along the road from Airport to Dili.  There was one passenger in the vehicle, Michael Young, an American national aged 42years who was also employed by USAid. 
    The vehicle was approximately 300 meters from the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp when it collided with a motorcycle rider who pulled from the left side of the road without first checking for traffic.  The motorcycle rider Joseph Brown, aged 32 years sustained some minor bruising and scratches to his left hand and arm.
Michael Young wanted to drive Joseph to the local hospital for treatment however a crowd of angry locals totaling approximately 15 had formed around the accident scene and were yelling and pushing at Michael.  Someone from the crowd hit Michael with a large stick and several males threw large rocks at him hitting him in the face and arms.  The blow from the stick hit Michael on the right side of his head causing a large cut above his eye.  He removed his white shirt and wrapped it around his head to stop the flow of blood.  While this was occurring, the driver James Davis ran into the IDP camp to seek assistance.
Around 1530 hours a patrol from Airport Police Station arrived at the scene.  The patrol consisted of 2 UNPOL’s and 1 local police officer.  The UNPOL in charge was the OIC of Airport Station, a New Zealand UNPOL by the name of Daniel Lee.  UNPOL Lee approached Michael Young and inspected his wound.  He saw that the cut above his eye was about 7 centimeters long and was very deep.  In order to stop the angry crowd attacking again, UNPOL Lee placed Michael in his patrol vehicle and called for the assistance of another patrol.  UNPOL Lee then drove into the IDP camp with the local police officer in order to locate the driver of the vehicle.
A short time later a Dili Traffic Unit attended the scene and took over the investigation.  They identified an eyewitness by the name of Christopher Adam who stated that he knew the male who struck Michael in the head.  He said the male operated a shop inside the IDP camp and was wearing a red t-shirt with ‘Coca-Cola’ written on the front in large white letters.
This description was relayed to the National Operations Center by the Traffic unit.  UNPOL Lee heard the message and subsequently walked towards the shop inside the camp.  As he did so, he noticed a male about 19 years old, wearing black shorts and a red ‘Coca-Cola’ t-shirt walking towards the shop carrying a large stick.  He approached the male who identified himself as Anthony Smith.  Smith admitted that he struck the American on the head because it was his vehicle that caused the accident with his brother, Joseph.
Members from the Traffic Unit took Smith to Dili Police Station to continue with enquiries.  The large stick, which had blood on one end was taken and placed in the evidence room.  The USAid vehicle, a white Toyota Prado was driven to Dili Station by a member from the Traffic Unit.  The vehicle had sustained minor damage to the front bumper and left front door.  The motorcycle had major damage and was not repairable. 
Michael Young was conveyed by ambulance to Dili hospital where he received 15 stitches to the cut on his head.  He was kept in hospital overnight for observation.
Enquiries in relation to this matter are continuing.
Q1.      What injuries did Michael Young sustain?

Q2.      What injuries did the motorcycle rider receive?
   
Q3.      Approximately how many people were in the crowd that formed at the accident scene?

Q4.      Why did the suspect hit Michael Young?

Q5.      What was the name and age of the driver of the Prado?

Q6.      How many nights did Michael Young spend in hospital?

Q7.      What was the description of the suspect?

Q8.      Where did UNPOL Daniel Lee work and what was his position/title?

Q9.      What item was placed in the evidence room?

Q10.    Where did the accident occur?


          Future Olympic Event: Synchronized Shelving        
Librarians in New Zealand were so inspired by the Rio Olympics, they invented a new sport: synchronized shelving. They put together this adorable video as a petition to get their tongue-in-cheek sport into the Tokyo 2020 games!



          Biologists Still Searching For Answers In Bald Eagle Deaths and other wildlife health news stories        
TOP STORIES

Fish-Eating Ducks Hard Hit By Severe Winter, Ice

The Niagara River corridor from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario is renowned as a spectacular winter haven for hundreds of thousands of water birds. But this year's bitterly cold season has made it notable for something else: dead ducks.

Biologists say carcasses began piling up by the hundreds in early January after the plunging temperatures started icing over nearly the entire Great Lakes, preventing the ducks from getting to the minnows that are their main source of food. Necropsies on dozens of birds have confirmed the cause: starvation. "All have empty stomachs. They're half the weight they should be," said Connie Adams, a biologist in the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Buffalo office who has personally seen 950 dead birds.

"This is unprecedented. Biologists who've worked here for 35 years have never seen anything like this," she said. "We've seen a decline in tens of thousands in our weekly waterfowl counts." It's a phenomenon that has been seen elsewhere along the Great Lakes, with news reports of diving ducks and other waterfowl turning up dead by the hundreds along the southern part of Lake Michigan. They've also been found in Lake St. Clair between Lakes Erie and Huron.

... Necropsies and toxicity analyses showed many of the Michigan ducks were subsisting on invasive zebra mussels, which caused the birds to have potentially toxic levels of selenium in their bodies, Mason said. Zebra mussels filter toxins from the water and pass them up the food chain.

Most of the dead ducks seen in the upstate New York are red-breasted mergansers, which breed in northern Canada and Alaska and come south for the winter to the Great Lakes region. In most years, there are periods of freezing and thawing, providing enough breaks in the ice for them to dive for minnows.

Monroe News
15 Mar 2014
Location: Canada

>>> FULL ARTICLE


Experimental infection of house sparrows (Passer domesticus) with West Nile virus isolates of Euro-Mediterranean and North American origins


...North American WNV outbreaks are often accompanied by high mortality in wild birds, a feature that is uncommon in Europe. The reason for this difference is unknown, but the intrinsic virulence of the viruses circulating in each continent and/or the susceptibility to the disease of Palearctic as opposed to Nearctic wild bird species could play a role.

To assess this question, experimental inoculations with four lineage 1 WNV strains, three from southern Europe (Italy/2008, Italy/2009 and Spain/2007) and one from North America (NY99) were performed on house sparrows (Passer domesticus), a wild passerine common in both continents. Non-significant differences which ranged from 0% to 25% were observed in mortality for the different WNV strains.

... Consequently, albeit being pathogenic for house sparrows, some Euro-Mediterranean strains had reduced capacity for replication in -and transmission from- this host, as compared to the NY99 strain. If applicable also to other wild bird host species, this relatively reduced transmission capacity of the Euro-Mediterranean strains could explain the lower incidence of this disease in wild birds in the Euro-Mediterranean area.

7th Space
19 Mar 2014
>>> FULL ARTICLE

Cited Journal Article
Javier Del Amo et al. Experimental infection of house sparrows (Passer domesticus) with West Nile virus isolates of Euro-Mediterranean and North American origins. Veterinary Research. 2014; 45:33. doi:10.1186/1297-9716-45-33


OTHER WILDLIFE HEALTH RELATED NEWS
Avian Botulism

Deer Health News
One Health News Corner
Huh?! That's Interesting!

          Wildlife Disease Journal Digest        

Browse complete Digest publication library here

New alphacoronavirus in Mystacina tuberculata bats, New Zealand
Emerg Infect Dis. 2014 Apr; [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.3201/eid2004.131441
Hall RJ, Wang J, Peacey M, Moore NE, McInnes K, Tompkins DM.
[Thank your fellow Digest reader for sharing!]

Novel Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Virus in Tree Sparrow, Shanghai, China, 2013
Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2014 May; [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.3201/eid2005.131707
B. Zhao et al.

Mercury Exposure Associated with Altered Plasma Thyroid Hormones in the Declining Western Pond Turtle (Emys marmorata) from California Mountain Streams
Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Feb 21. [Epub ahead of print]
Meyer E1, Eagles-Smith CA, Sparling D, Blumenshine S.

Survey of antibiotic-resistant bacteria isolated from bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus in the southeastern USA
Dis Aquat Organ. 2014 Feb 19;108(2):91-102. doi: 10.3354/dao02705.
Stewart JR et al.

Potential impact of antimicrobial resistance in wildlife, environment and human health
Front Microbiol. 2014 Feb 5;5:23. eCollection 2014.
Radhouani H et al.

Polar Bear Encephalitis: Establishment of a Comprehensive Next-generation Pathogen Analysis Pipeline for Captive and Free-living Wildlife
J Comp Pathol. 2013 Dec 19. pii: S0021-9975(13)00385-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jcpa.2013.12.005. [Epub ahead of print]
Szentiks CA et al.

International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife - December 2013

Neglected wild life: Parasitic biodiversity as a conservation target
Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl. 2013 Aug 2;2:222-227. eCollection 2013.
Gómez A and Nichols E

Haemogregarine infections of three species of aquatic freshwater turtles from two sites in Costa Rica
Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl. 2013 Mar 5;2:131-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijppaw.2013.02.003. eCollection 2013.
Rossow JA et al.

Wildlife disease ecology in changing landscapes: Mesopredator release and toxoplasmosis
Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl. 2013 Mar 5;2:110-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijppaw.2013.02.002. eCollection 2013
Hollings T et al.

Parasites and the conservation of small populations: The case of Baylisascaris procyonis
Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl. 2013 Dec; 2: 203–210
L. Kristen et al

Predictors of malaria infection in a wild bird population: Landscape level analyses reveal climatic and anthropogenic factors
J Anim Ecol. 2014 Feb 16. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12214. [Epub ahead of print]
Gonzalez-Quevedo C et al.

Lectins stain cells differentially in the coral, Montipora capitata
J Invertebr Pathol. 2014 Feb 8. pii: S0022-2011(14)00017-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2014.01.008. [Epub ahead of print]
Work TM and Farah Y.

Veterinary Pathology - March 2014
Special Issue: Infectious Diseases of Domestic Animals
Volume 51, Number 2

Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation - January 2014
Volume 26, Number 1

Emerging Infectious Diseases - March 2014
Volume 20, Number 3



          Honeybee trade is hotbed for carrying disease into wild and other wildlife health news stories        
Top Stories

Study reveals new ways deadly squirrelpox is transmitted to red squirrels

Native red squirrels have declined throughout Britain and Ireland for the last century due to a combination of habitat loss and the introduction of the North American eastern grey squirrel. But more recently its few remaining populations have been devastated by an insidious pox virus passed to them by the alien invaders.

A study by the biodiversity and conservation research centre Quercus at Queen's University Belfast (QUB), and published in the journal PLOS ONE, found the situation may be worse than previously thought as the disease appears to have multiple modes of potential transmission. The project was part-funded by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) through the Natural Heritage Research Partnership (NHRP) with Quercus, Queen's University Belfast and part-funded by the People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES).

Invading grey squirrels, which harbour the disease but typically do not suffer symptoms, may pass the virus in their urine. The research team conducted experiments to examine the survival of the virus outside the body in the wider environment, showing that it persists best in warm dry conditions. This raises the possibility that infected grey squirrels could pass on the disease by uninfected squirrels coming into contact with their dried urine during spring and summer.

The virus was also found in the parasites of pox positive squirrels including fleas, mites and ticks, which are capable of carrying the disease between individuals or between the species.

Eurekalert
24 Feb 2014

>>> FULL ARTICLE


Honeybee trade is hotbed for carrying disease into wild

HONEYBEES have been busy – spreading diseases to insects that pollinate crops. It seems imported honeybees are an important reservoir for viruses that kill wild pollinators, which could lead to a meltdown in the planet's pollination services.

World trade in honeybee colonies contributes to honey production and also plays a vital role in agriculture – in some cases there would be no crop without the pollinators.

Honeybee colonies in Europe and North America have suffered recent mysterious declines. But now it seems the colonies could be just as much of a threat to wild pollinators such as bumblebees and the many species of "solitary" bees.

Matthias Fürst of Royal Holloway, University of London tracked the geographical prevalence in the UK of a non-native parasite called deformed wing virus (DWV) that is often found in both honeybees and bumblebees. The virus is spread by a mite and typically kills bees within 48 hours. The pattern of spread showed that imported honeybees are the major source of infection for the wild pollinators, and that emerging diseases spread by those colonies could be a major cause of mortality in the wild

New Scientist
19 February 2014
Fred Pearce

>>> FULL ARTICLE

Cited Journal Article
MA Furst et al. Disease associations between honeybees and bumblebees as a threat to wild pollinators. Nature. 2014 Feb 20; 506: 364–366


Coral off WA suffers shocking damage from marine heatwaves, scientists say

Study reveals that remote reef with coral hundreds of years old has undergone severe bleaching and ‘decimation’

Marine heatwaves have wreaked “almost unprecedented” damage to ancient coral off Western Australia’s Pilbara coast, scientists say.

Preliminary results from a five-year year study of the coastline revealed that a remote section of reef south of Barrow Island has suffered severe “bleaching and decimation”, according to the CSIRO, which is running the study with the University of Western Australia.

An extreme “bleaching event” in 2011 was known to have caused significant damage to the reef. But the study found another marine heatwave, in the summer of 2012-13, also caused trauma to the reef, including to its massive, 400-year old porites corals.

The Guardian
13 Feb 2013
Michael Safi
Location: Western Australia

>>> FULL ARTICLE


Other Wildlife Health Related News
Chronic Wasting Disease
One Health News Corner
It Ain't All Bad




          Eagle and grebe bird kills spur worry about West Nile mutation and more wildlife health news stories        
TOP STORIES

Bat-killing fungus lurks in the Kansas City area

A deadly fungus that has wiped out hibernating bats by the millions in its eight-year march west from a New York cave has finally crept into Jackson County.

The discovery of “white-nose syndrome” in three tri-colored (or Eastern pipistrelle) bats in a limestone mine marks the nation’s westernmost spread, federal officials said last week. Afflicted mammals were found last winter in east-central Missouri; before that it was seen in the cave colonies of Pike County near the Mississippi River.

22 Jan 2014
Kansas City Star
D Levings

>>> FULL ARTICLE


Reassortment patterns of avian influenza virus internal segments among different subtypes

The segmented RNA genome of avian Influenza viruses (AIV) allows genetic reassortment between co-infecting viruses, providing an evolutionary pathway to generate genetic innovation. The genetic diversity (16 haemagglutinin and 9 neuraminidase subtypes) of AIV indicates an extensive reservoir of influenza viruses exists in bird populations, but how frequently subtypes reassort with each other is still unknown.

Here we quantify the reassortment patterns among subtypes in the Eurasian avian viral pool by reconstructing the ancestral states of the subtypes as discrete states on time-scaled phylogenies with respect to the internal protein coding segments. We further analyzed how host species, the inferred evolutionary rates and the dN/dS ratio varied among segments and between discrete subtypes, and whether these factors may be associated with inter-subtype reassortment rate.

7th Space
24 Jan 2014

>>> FULL ARTICLE


Cited Journal Article
Lu LuSamantha J LycettAndrew J Leigh Brown. (2014). Reassortment patterns of avian influenza virus internal segments among different subtypes. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 14:16. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-14-16


Eagle and grebe bird kills spur worry about West Nile mutation

The mystery surrounding the deaths of 20,000 eared grebes along the Great Salt Lake shoreline has Davis County Mosquito Abatement District officials concerned, as a test is being conducted to determine if it is an existing West Nile virus strain or a mutated strain that killed the birds. Mosquito Abatement District Director Gary Hatch appeared before the Davis County Commission Tuesday expressing his concern. Hatch said he is not certain what effect the grebes infected with the West Nile virus may have on next summer's mosquito season, but there is the possibility the district could be facing a new strain of the virus in its effort to protect the public through its abatement sprayings.

Testing has confirmed that more than 50 bald eagles died in Utah after scavenging on dead grebes that had the West Nile virus, the National Wildlife Health Center said.... But now district officials are concerned about where the grebes initially contracted the virus, and how it spread so quickly among that bird population.

"We know what killed the eagles," Hatch said. "But what happened with the grebes is the concern." Local officials suspect based on the evidence of positive test results that the grebes likely contacted the virus somewhere else along their migratory route.

Standard-Examiner
22 Jan 2014
B Saxton

>>> FULL ARTICLE


Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds statement on: H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in poultry and wild birds in Republic of Korea January 2014

Current situation
The Republic of Korea reported its first of a number of outbreaks of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian
influenza (HPAI) at a duck farm in Gochang, Jeolla Province, 300 kilometers southwest of Seoul, on
16 January, 2014. Following these outbreaks a number of wild birds have been reported as having died from the infection. Dozens of Baikal teal (Anas formosa) and a smaller number of bean geese
(Anser fabilis) have died to date, some of which have tested positive for the virus. The H5N8 strain of influenza has since been identified on at least 17 other farms, with tests currently under way
for many other suspected cases. Over 640,000 poultry have already been slaughtered, with many
hundreds of thousands more set to be destroyed....


The Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds

The United Nations Environment Programme/Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS)and Food and Agriculture Organization Co-convened Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds was established in 2005 and works as a communication and coordination network and continues to review the role of wild birds in the epidemiology of AI and the impact of the disease on wild birds, promoting a balanced opinion based on currently available evidence. Task Force members and/or observers include WHO, OIE, FAO, CMS, Ramsar Convention, AEWA, Wetlands International, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Birdlife International, Royal Veterinary College, Ecohealth Alliance and International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation.

>>> FULL STATEMENT 


Related News Stories
>>> Migratory birds confirmed to be source of bird flu outbreak



OTHER WILDLIFE HEALTH RELATED NEWS

A koala joey hangs on his mother Eola after a weighing procedure at the zoo
in the western German city of Duisburg. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/Reuters

One Health News Corner

Huh?! That's Interesting!

          Waterfowl poisoning halved by lead shot prohibition and more wildlife health news stories        
TOP STORIES

Micropredators dictate occurrence of deadly amphibian disease

An international team of researchers has made important progress in understanding the distribution of the deadly amphibian chytrid pathogen. In some regions, the deadly impact of the pathogen appears to be hampered by small predators, naturally occurring in freshwater bodies. These micropredators may efficiently reduce the number of free-swimming infectious stages (zoospores) by consuming them.

This natural behavior will reduce the infection pressure on potential amphibian hosts and a goes a long way towards explaining the occurrence of chytridiomycosis, at least in temporal climatic regions. These results were published in the renowned scientific journal Current Biology. The team of researchers state that their results raise the hope of successfully fighting chytridiomycosis, nowadays one of the most deadly wildlife diseases.

Phys.org
21 Jan 2014

>>> FULL ARTICLE

Cited Journal Article
Dirk S. Schmeller et al. Microscopic Aquatic Predators Strongly Affect Infection Dynamics of a Globally Emerged Pathogen. Current Biology 2014. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2013.11.032


Waterfowl poisoning halved by lead shot prohibition

Lead shot was forbidden in 2001 in Spanish wetlands on the Ramsar List of these areas of international importance. Ten years later, this prohibition -and the consequent use of steel shot by hunters- has started to bear fruit, according to a report in the journal 'Environment International'.

"The most important part of our work is that it shows that, despite it's still covering a partial area, the change of material from lead to steel shot has reduced waterfowl poisoning and the contamination of hunted meat," Rafael Mateo Soria of the Hunting Resources Research Institute (IREC) and co-author of the study, told SINC.

EurekaAlert
16 Jan 2014

>>> FULL ARTICLE

Cited Journal Article
Mateo, R., Vallverdú-Coll, N., López-Antia, A., Taggart, M.A., Martínez-Haro, M., Guitart, R., Ortiz-Santaliestra, M.E. 2014. "Reducing Pb poisoning in birds and Pb exposure in game meat consumers: The dual benefit of effective Pb shot regulation". Environment International 63: 163. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2013.11.006


OTHER WILDLIFE HEALTH RELATED NEWS
White-Nose Syndrome News
One Health News Corner

          PCB accepts Moin casino explanation        
Moin Khan has apologised for visiting a casino in New Zealand while with the Pakistan team at the World Cup but there will be no action taken against him, according to the PCB chairman, Shaharyar Khan
          Styris leads New Zealand to thrilling win        
Scott Styris scored a magnificent 101 not out as New Zealand squeaked through to a four-wicket win against Pakistan at Auckland to go 1-0 up in the five-match series
          Moin Khan saves Pakistan's blushes        
Moin Khan produced a Test-best 137 at a time when Pakistan needed it, and took his team out of the woods in the first Test against New Zealand, after Daryl Tuffey had scalped five wickets
          Moin recall represents slap in the face for Sohail        
The ongoing dispute over the selection of the Pakistan squad for the forthcoming series against New Zealand took another turn when Moin Khan was recalled after what was officially described as a 'rethink'
          Moin recall represents slap in the face for Sohail        
The ongoing dispute over the selection of the Pakistan squad for the forthcoming series against New Zealand took another turn when Moin Khan was recalled after what was officially described as a 'rethink'
          The end of the road for Moin and Rashid?        
Pakistan announced their 22-man list of probables for the ODI series against New Zealand, with Kamran Akmal preferred to Moin Khan and Rashid Latif behind the stumps
          Someone like her: memorable moments from Adele's world tour – video        

Adele is almost at the end of her 15-month world tour, which took in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Some of the 28-year-old singer’s most memorable moments include getting fans to propose on stage, twerking and bugging out over a beetle

Continue reading...
          Sonny Schmidt        

Name: Sonny Schmidt
Name on the birth record: Edmond Alten Schmidt
Born: Sept 19, 1953, New Zealand. Passed away Jan 25, 2004

Schmidt grew up on the small South Pacific island of Western Samoa. Eventually, he found his way to Australia, where he earned his pro card in 1989. He quickly distinguished himself on the IFBB circuit with his thick powerfully built musculature. The 5'10" 240-pound bodybuilder would compete in nearly 50 pro contests, his final appearance being the 1999 Masters Olympia, where he finished third. The highlight of his career was winning the '95 Masters O.
1999 Masters Olympia 3rd
1998 Arnold Masters 2nd
1997 Masters Olympia 2nd (40+)
1996 Masters Olympia 2nd
1995 Grand Prix Spain 7th
1995 Grand Prix Russia 7th
1995 Grand Prix Germany 5th
1995 Grand Prix France 7th
1995 Grand Prix Ukraine 7th
1995 Grand Prix England 7th
1995 Masters Olympia 1st
1995 Mr. Olympia 13th
1994 Grand Prix Italy 8th
1994 Mr. Olympia 10th
1994 Arnold Classic 10th
1994 Ironman Pro 6th
1994 Grand Prix France 10th
1994 Grand Prix England 11th
1994 Grand Prix Germany 8th
1994 Grand Prix Spain 7th
1993 Mr. Olympia 8th
1992 Pittsburgh Pro 2nd
1991 Finnish Grand Prix 6th
1991 Swiss Grand Prix 5th
1991 English Grand Prix 5th
1991 Spanish Grand Prix 3rd
1991 Italian Grand Prix 3rd
1991 Danish Grand Prix 2nd
1991 Night of Champions 2nd
1991 Niagara Falls Pro 2nd
1991 San Jose Pro 2nd


Click on the image to enlarge ...


.
          Lorde: ‘I want to be Leonard Cohen. I want to be Joni Mitchell’        

She was a star at 16, and David Bowie called her the sound of tomorrow. Four years on, the singer-songwriter is aiming even higher

Lorde talks the way she dances, with the full and free use of all limbs. Sitting outside a hotel in California – where the New Zealand-born musician, real name Ella Yelich-O’Connor, has come to perform at the Coachella festival – she flails, fidgets, and flings out her fingertips for emphasis. She runs her hands into her great mane of hair (Pixar-springy and the colour of burnt toast) and talks with her palms pressed into her head. Discussing her imminent second album, Melodrama, Lorde waggles her legs excitedly. And to help illustrate what it felt like, five or six years ago, to be an ambitious kid in far-flung Auckland, making music that she hoped would one day be heard by a wider world, she stretches out her arms. “There was an element of reaching out. Do you see me? Do you hear me? I’m over here.”

There was a time back there – in 2013 and 2014 especially – when she was everywhere. Her debut single Royals, released when Lorde was still some months shy of 17, propelled her to the top of the charts on three continents (her name, she has said, comes of being “obssessed with aristocracy”). A subsequent album, Pure Heroine, sold over three million copies. She was fast-tracked on to the cover of Rolling Stone, endorsed by an array of musical elders, taken up as a pal by Taylor Swift, and subjected pretty well immediately to weighty predictions about her great and glittering future. David Bowie described Lorde’s warbled, flinty outsider-pop as “like listening to tomorrow”. Lily Allen wrote a lyric that summed up the awe (the terror, no doubt) that Lorde’s super-youth inspired in her peers. “Lorde smells blood,” went Allen’s line. “Kid ain’t one to fuck with.”

Continue reading...
          Airbus further extends channel partner programme for military satellite communications in Asia        
Singapore -  Airbus has added Planet Communications Asia Public Co., Ltd. (PlanetComm) to its channel partner programme for Skynet 5 military satellite communication services and expanded the partnership with Speedcast. Under this channel partner agreement, both PlanetComm and Speedcast will be offering Skynet X-band and UHF services as part of their extensive satellite communications portfolios. Speedcast has been delivering tactical secure communications services to the Australian and New Zealand gove...
          New Zealand 2014 Game Bird Habitat        
Each year on 2 February, the Game Bird Habitat Collection is issued to celebrate World Wetlands Day. The 2014 issue is NZ Post 21st in the series and features the P?keko.
          NZ On Air Case Study        
Allanah Kalafatelis is the Communications Manager at New Zealand On Air, the government broadcast funding agency. She’s in charge of the full range of comms functions; media releases and media liaison, website publishing, social media, publications and stakeholder events. NZ On Air has worked with us since September 2015 – having moved to Fuseworks from a well known ( some might ... Read More
          NZME print newspapers now in Fuseworks        
We’re out of the gates. The first phase of our big project to add print newspaper content to Fuseworks is now live. This week we officially launched NZME (New Zealand Media and Entertainment) print newspaper monitoring – and have been bowled over by the enthusiastic response. Most news is online these days, but not all small community or regional newspapers ... Read More
                  

Open Show, the global organization that organizes live events worldwide, is pleased to announce their first event in Hong Kong. The public will get a chance to see compelling works and interact directly with seven international photographers, each of whom who will be presenting projects featuring 20 images. The headlining presenter is renowned New Zealand street […]

The post appeared first on Spike's Photos.


          Keputusan Liga Hoki Dunia 2017 Separuh Akhir         
Jadual Dan Keputusan Liga Hoki Dunia 2017 Pusingan Separuh Akhir. Mampukah pasukan Hoki Malaysia melayakan diri ke pusingan akhir Liga Hoki Dunia? Semuanya akan terjawab apabila skuad Malaysia kendalian jurulatih Stephen Van Huizen akan beraksi pada Kejohanan Liga Hoki Dunia Pusingan separuh Akhir di London bermula dari 15 Jun sehingga 25 Jun 2017. 

Sebanyak 20 pasukan akan bersaing untuk merebut 7 slot ke Pusingan Akhir Liga Hoki Dunia. Pusingan separuh akhir juga dianggap sebagai pusingan kelayakan ke kejohanan Hoki Piala Dunia 2018 di mana pasukan tangga ke 10/11 akan layak selain tuan rumah dan pasukan dari juara benua. 

Perlawanan melibatkan Malaysia akan disiarkan secara langsung ke kaca TV anda melalui saluran Astro Arena 801/ 802 HD.

jadual dan keputusan Keputusan Liga Hoki Dunia Separuh Akhir

Jadual Dan Keputusan Liga Hoki Dunia 2017 Pusingan Separuh Akhir 

Berikut dikongsikan maklumat kejohanan Liga Hoki Dunia 2017 Pusingan Separuh Akhir melibatkan pasukan negara. Malaysia diletakkan dalam kumpulan A dan beraksi di London. Pasukan lain adalah pasukan tuan rumah, England, Argentina, Korea Selatan dan China. 4 pasukan teratas akan layak ke peringkat suku akhir. Kumpulan B pula mengandungi pasukan Belanda, India, Kanada, Scotland dan Pakistan

Satu lagi siri kejohanan separuh akhir melibatkan 10 lagi pasukan akan diadakan di Johannesburg, Afrika Selatan dari 9 hingga 23 Julai 2017. Pasukan yang bersaing adalah Australia, New Zealand, Sepanyol, Jepun dan Perancis di Kumpulan A. Jerman, Belgium, Afrika Selatan, Ireland dan Mesir melengkapkan pasukan di Kumpulan B.

Berikut adalah jadual dan keputusan perlawanan melibatkan Malaysia di Kejohanan Liga Hoki Dunia 2017 London pusingan separuh akhir. Jadual mengandungi masa dan tarikh perlawanan (waktu Malaysia) beserta keputusan penuh perlawanan.

17 Jun 2017 (300 pagi)

  • Argentina vs Malaysia : 5 - 2 (ARG : Peillat 4, 11, 40, 47 & Callioni 49 dan MAS : Shahril Saabah 7 & Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin 18)

17 Jun 2017 (1100 malam)

  • England vs Malaysia : 7 - 3
  • ENG : Middleton min 5 & 34, Griffiths min 8, Ward min 32 & 51, Gleghorne min 39 & 55. MAS : Faizal Saari min 19 & min 57, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin min 28

20 Jun 2017 (100 pagi)

  • Korea Selatan vs Malaysia : 0 - 1 (Razie Rahim min 35)

21 Jun 2017 (100 pagi)

  • China vs Malaysia : 1 - 5 
  • MAS : Faizal Saari min 2, Najmi Jazlan min 12, Razie Rahim min 19, min 27 & Fitri Saari min 51
  • CHN : DU Talake min 43

Suku Akhir

22 Jun 2017 8:15 malam
  • Argentina vs Pakistan : 3 - 1
10:30 malam (Live Astro Arena)
  • India vs Malaysia : 2 - 3. Malaysia layak ke separuh akhir bertemu Argentina
  • IND : Ramandeep Singh min 24 & 26 dan MAS : Razie Rahim min 19 & 48, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin min 20
23 Jun 2017 00:45 pagi
  • England vs Kanada : 4 - 2
03:00 pagi
  • Belanda vs China : 7 - 0

Klasifikasi Tempat Ke 9 dan 10

22 Jun 2017 (6:00 petang) 
Korea Selatan vs Scotland : 6 - 3

Klasifikasi Tempat Ke 5 dan 8

24 Jun 2017 (04:30 petang) : Pakistan vs India : 1 - 6
6:45 petang : Kanada vs China : 7 - 3

Klasifikasi Tempat Ke 7 dan 8

25 Jun 2017
09:30

Pakistan vs China : 3 - 1

Klasifikasi Tempat Ke 5 dan 6

25 Jun 2017
11:45
India vs Kanada : 2 - 3

Klasifikasi Tempat Ke 1 dan 4

Semifinal

24 June 2017 (9:00 malam)
Argentina vs Malaysia : 2 - 1

24 Jun 2017 (11:15 malam)
England vs Belanda : 0 - 2

Klasifikasi Tempat Ke 3 dan 4

25 June 2017
9:00 malam
Malaysia vs England : 1 - 4

Final

25 June 2017
11:15 malam
Argentina vs Belanda : 1 - 6

Untuk maklumat lanjut jadual dan keputusan penuh kejohanan Liga Hoki Dunia 2017, sila klik FIH Hockey World League.
  
Adalah menjadi harapan agar pasukan Malaysia dapat beraksi dengan baik pada kejohanan Liga Hoki Dunia 2017 pusingan Separuh Akhir sekaligus menempah tiket ke Pusingan Akhir nanti.
           Does openness and democracy reduce corruption: results for South Asian nations and India         
Gounder, Rukmani and Saha, Shrabani (2013) Does openness and democracy reduce corruption: results for South Asian nations and India. In: New Zealand Research Institute conference, Changing India: from Decolonization to Globalization, 28-29 August, 2013, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
                  
From Jenna Orkin

          New ideas to get on track for Smokefree 2025 — In The News        

Public health experts say we are falling short of our Smokefree 2025 goal and unless there is urgent action by Government, we won’t be Smokefree until 2065.   Tobacco control and health researchers from the University of Otago and Hāpai te Hauora launched a new action plan at Parliament this morning to guide New Zealand to […]

The post New ideas to get on track for Smokefree 2025 — In The News appeared first on Science Media Centre.


          Deaths from air pollution expected to increase with climate change – In the News        

An international study has estimated deaths from air pollution will rise by about 60,000 globally by 2030 because of climate change. Published this week in Nature Climate Change, the study combined global climate models – including data from New Zealand – to examine how warmer temperatures will speed up the creation of air pollutants. The […]

The post Deaths from air pollution expected to increase with climate change – In the News appeared first on Science Media Centre.


          PCE report on climate change law — In The News        

The environment watchdog has proposed that New Zealand should follow the UK by putting climate change action into law. In her report Stepping stones to Paris and beyond, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright advises the Government to start thinking decades ahead to tackle climate change, and to put specific plans for how we […]

The post PCE report on climate change law — In The News appeared first on Science Media Centre.


          Cattle disease found in NZ – Expert Q&A        

MPI is responding to the discovery of a cattle disease on a South Canterbury farm. Mycoplasma bovis is common internationally but this is the first time it has been found in New Zealand. The SMC prepared a Q&A with an expert who has studied the disease overseas. Feel free to use these comments in your reporting. Dr Fernanda Castillo […]

The post Cattle disease found in NZ – Expert Q&A appeared first on Science Media Centre.


          Chief Science Advisor reports on youth suicide – In the News        

The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman, has released a discussion paper on New Zealand’s youth suicide rate. Prepared in conjunction with departmental science advisors from Health, Education, Social Development and Justice, the paper reported on the multiple factors involved in youth suicide and discussed evidence-based approaches to prevention. “What’s different about this […]

The post Chief Science Advisor reports on youth suicide – In the News appeared first on Science Media Centre.


          The supposed benefits of the EU - part 2        
Some time ago I posted on the effect that EU membership has had on intellectual property, my specialist field.  That post focussed on effect the EU's interventions had had on costs and timescales.  I promised a second post, looking at the detail.  Here it is...

First, let's rewind the clock and look at the original British system of registering trade marks, as set out in the Trade Marks Act 1938 and as in the early days of the Trade Marks Act 1994.  When you filed an application to register a new trade mark, the Registry looks through its records of earlier pending and registered marks.  If it finds any that are similar, it cites them against you as an objection.  Your application cannot proceed while that objection is there.  You must then either convince the Registry that there is no actual conflict in practice, or approach the earlier proprietor to seek their consent, or apply to revoke the earlier registration, or some combination of these.  Only when the Registry was happy that your proposed trade mark registration did not conflict with anyone else's would your application proceed.

Incidentally, a request for consent was always accompanied by an offer to pay the associated professional fees in advising the earlier proprietor (even if they subsequently refused consent). 

After the application was accepted by the Registry, it was published to let third parties "oppose" the application if they thought it whouldn't have been allowed.  As the Registry had already examined the application, this opposition process was only needed where the Registry had made a mistake or where the opponent had been using their mark but had never bothered to register it.

This system worked well from 1875 until 1996 (although I can only personally vouch for it after 1991…).  It is still the approach that is current in the US, Japanese, Chinese, Canadian, Brazilian, Australian, New Zealand, Indian and other Trade Marks Registries.  In other words, it is the accepted system among the non-EU developed economies of the world.

1996 brought us the EU Trade Marks Registry, which was originally going to work to the French/Italian model of allowing anyone to register anything and leaving it to the Courts to sort everything out afterwards.  We and the Germans resisted this and insisted on an opposition process and an examination for earlier marks; we succeeded in getting an opposition process but the examination as to earlier marks was limited to merely doing a search, telling the applicant what they had found, and telling the owners of the earlier marks that their mark had been cited.  The theory was that when shown an earlier registration of a similar mark, the later applicant would realise that proceeding with the application was pointless and would withdraw it.  In practice, most applicationts carry on anyway.  Faced with a steady stream of EU registrations that were effective in the UK and had not been examined for prior rights, the UK Registry eventually gave up examining and has now adopted the same process as the EU office. 

The EU IPO is currently trying to drop even this step of the process as (in its view) it just gets in the way of registering things quickly.

For the owner of the earlier mark, receiving one of these 'notice letters' is a warning that someone may be trying to adopt the same trade mark as they already own.  They need to look up the details of the later application, come to a view as to whether that is a problem, and (if so) contact the application to persuade them to withdraw.  If they do not withdraw, then an opposition will be needed.  The result has been an approximately tenfold increase in the rate at which applications are opposed, and (for some owners) a need to send a steady stream of opposition threats. Previously, this work was done for them, funded by the application fees charged to new applicants.

This was a deliberate decision at the political level to shift the burden of keeping the register 'clean' off the IP offices and new applicants, and onto the proprietors of the earlier marks.  The intention was that faster and cheaper application processes via a single EU Registry would outweigh the additional cost of forever having to defend the registration.  I would characterise the results against that criterion as “mixed” at best, and the level of understanding of IP application processes among the politicians who made this decision as “non-existent”.

This decision by the EU has had two effects, both of which were entirely predictable.  First, the owners of registered marks have to keep on defending them, incurring costs in the process.  They see the EU IPO taking hefty application fees off new applicants and running large surpluses, and frankly they (and I) do not understand why the EU IPO cannot therefore examine new applications properly instead of just passing the problem on to others.  Second, happy clients who have just been granted a registration ask whether that means they are the owners of the trade mark, free to use it in the EU?  I have to tell them that no, they are not - there could easily be a prior national right which both invalidates their EU registration and also means they cannot use the mark in that state.

The EU's involvement in the trade mark registration process has therefore been to devalue a registration and to place a new burden on trade mark owners, while raking in the cash (see my previous post).  They could have helped businesses, for example by creating a central registry holding searchable details of all the marks in all the EU countries, allowing us to clear new trade marks easily, cheaply and quickly; that would have been a genuinely valuable resource (but would not have been as profitable for the EU).  But instead, they just created another level of complexity for the system. 

And I haven't even got onto the real minutiae of class fee structures and specification drafting - two more areas where the EU's influence has again made life more difficult for businesses.

Suffice to say that I shall be disagreeing with the assumption by my professional institutes that we should vote to stay in.
           Addiction by design: the spread of air-conditioning in New Zealand buildings         
Budin, H. and Byrd, Hugh (2013) Addiction by design: the spread of air-conditioning in New Zealand buildings. In: Engaging values for a sustainable future. Victoria University, Wellington, NZ. ISBN 9780475124074
          Embarrassing Hammer Throw by Olympic Athlete [Video]        
Okay, this didn't go as planned. An Olympic track athlete from New Zealand, who will be at the games in Rio, will hopefully make a better hammer throw when in competition. Continue reading…
           Malaysia, urbanization and de-industrialization: will there be a reversal migration from city to kampong?         
Hussain, Nur Huzeima Mohd and Byrd, Hugh (2013) Malaysia, urbanization and de-industrialization: will there be a reversal migration from city to kampong? In: Advancing innovative knowledge towards a resilient future. Victoria University, Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. ISBN 9780475124111
          2017 RITA Best First Book Finalist        

 

Today we are sharing an incredible giveaway hosted by the 2017 'Best First Book' RITA Nominated Authors! They are giving away 2 prize packs! The grand prize winner will receive a paperback copy of each of the 6 nominated books. A second winner will receive an ebook copy of each of the titles. Be sure to sign up below and check out the authors who are participating and their incredible novels!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


PARTICIPATING AUTHORS

ALTERATIONS by Stephanie Scott

Book Blurb: If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they'd think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn't know that all the plans she's made for them are just dreams, and that she's the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family. When Amelia's abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can't imagine leaving Miami--and Ethan--for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan's awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app. As Liam and Amelia get closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The "new and improved" Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she'd have to make.

PURCHASE HERE

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FIND THE AUTHOR

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter

 

THE DISTANCE FROM A TO Z by Natalie Blitt

Book Blurb: This full-length novel by debut author Natalie Blitt is a pitch-perfect blend of Stephanie Perkins and Miranda Kenneally that proves the age-old adage: opposites attract. Seventeen-year-old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight. That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to wear baseball caps and jerseys every day. But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between who she is and who he is is worth the risk. Epic Reads Impulse is a digital imprint with new releases each month.

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BEFORE GOODBYE by Mimi Cross

Book Blurb: Music means more than anything to high school student Cate Reese; it’s also what unites her with Cal Woods. Devoted classical guitar players, Cate and Cal are childhood friends newly smitten by love—until a devastating car accident rips Cal out of Cate’s life forever. Blaming herself for the horrific tragedy and struggling to surface from her despair, Cate spirals downhill in a desperate attempt to ease her pain. Fellow student David Bennet might look like the school’s golden boy, but underneath the surface the popular athlete battles demons of his own. Racked with survivor’s guilt after his brother’s suicide, things get worse when tragedy darkens his world again—but connecting with Cate, his sister’s longtime babysitter, starts bringing the light back in. As Cate and David grow closer, the two shattered teenagers learn to examine the pieces of their lives…and, together, find a way to be whole again.
Before Goodbye Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7rSFs19LKQ

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ONCE AND FOR ALL: AN AMERICAN VALOR NOVEL by Cheryl Etchison

Book Blurb: The Rangers of the 1st/75th fight hard, train hard and play hard. They are physically strong and mentally tough, disciplined and courageous. But all their military training hasn't prepared them for falling in love. Rule #1: Military and matrimony don't mix. But if there's one person Staff Sergeant Danny MacGregor would break all his rules for, it's Bree--his first friend, first love, first everything. Maybe he likes playing the hero. Maybe he's trying to ease ten years of guilt. Either way, he'll do whatever he can to help her. Wish #1: A little bit of normal. Bree Dunbar has battled cancer, twice. What she wants most is a fresh start in a place where she can find a new job, and where people aren't constantly treating her like she's sick. By some miracle her wish is granted, but it comes with one major string attached-- the man who broke her heart ten years before. The rules for this marriage of convenience are simple: when she's ready to stand on her own two feet, she'll walk away and he'll let her go. Only, as they both know all too well, things don't always go according to plan...

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CLOSE TO YOU by Kara Isaac

Book Blurb: A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand. Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face. Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane. When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?

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SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods

Book Blurb: Fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Jenny Han will fall in love with this heartfelt and humor-laced debut following one zodiac-obsessed teen as she struggles to find the guy of her cosmic dreams. As the daughter of an expert astrologer, Wilamena Carlisle knows that truth lies within the stars. So when she discovers a planetary alignment that won’t repeat for a decade, she’s forced to tackle her greatest astrological fear: The Fifth House—relationships and love. But Wil must decide whether to trust her heart or her chart when she falls for a sensitive guitar player whose zodiac sign points to cosmic disaster. If Wil’s fate is truly written in the stars, then this summer is about to go supernova. . . .

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          Topdeck Travel – Epic trips for young adventurers to Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand & More        

Topdeck Travel is a tour operator providing trips for people aged 18 to 39 throughout Europe, North America, Africa, Egypt and the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. Topdeck offers 330 different tours in 65 countries. Each Topdeck trip is designed with you in mind! Our 40 years of experience and thousands of satisfied […]

The post Topdeck Travel – Epic trips for young adventurers to Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand & More appeared first on Gnarks.


           Renewable energy in New Zealand: the reluctance for resilience         
Byrd, Hugh and Matthewman, Steve (2013) Renewable energy in New Zealand: the reluctance for resilience. In: Renewable energy governance: complexities and challenges. Lecture Notes in Energy (57). Springer, pp. 137-153. ISBN 9781447155942, 9781447155959
          Re: Update: Fred CHENEY 1856-1901        
Source: Card Index File, "Mine Accidents", Stephen Hart Library, Colorado Historical Society - Denver "Index to Accidents May 12, 1895 to May 31, 1900", Colorado Dept. of Natural Resources, Bureau of Mines, Colorado State Archives (Basis of data for annual reports for Bureau of Mines), page 484

Fred J. Cheney, 1897Dec21, nonfatal accident, Bachelor mine, Ouray county, falling down manway

This is all the information that I have on this accident.

From Jerry,
http://www.genealogy.com/users/s/h/e/Jerry-Sherard/ “Mining Accidents U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia”

           Rasa theory and neural mechanism         
Nair, Sreenath (2013) Rasa theory and neural mechanism. New Zealand Online Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 1 (2). pp. 1-27. ISSN 2253-1998
          Comment on What is wrong with Paypal? by Karen Pitchford        
My acct has been charged with a recurring charge of 65.00 by someone in New Zealand....what the.....?
          Video Review: Patient, A Surgeon’s Journey        

Patient, A Surgeon’s Journey, a moving 72-minute documentary, is a thought- and conversation-provoking film that can help families wrap their hearts and minds around mortality issues. During 2017, we’ve seen news reports of coffin building clubs in New Zealand and of family and friends building a casket for a contractor who died unexpectedly.  But Dr. […]

The post Video Review: Patient, A Surgeon’s Journey appeared first on American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.


          Hired Guns Creative Has Designed Another Beautiful Beer Label        

Hired Guns Creative has kept up with their tradition of designing amazing labels for Driftwood Brewery. This brew, the Arcus Pilsner, is inspired by a sun goddess and archery.

Read More Packaging & Articles at TheDieline.com

         

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          This Wine Comes With a Quirky Illustration        

Nudge Studio designed the packaging for The Farmer’s Wife Wine. The design features an elaborate illustration that highlights the process that goes into winemaking.

Read More Packaging & Articles at TheDieline.com

         

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          Tohora Ma is the White Wine From New Zealand With a Classy Look        

Stansfield Design Studio designed the packaging for Tohorā Ma, a New Zealand based winery. The packaging is simple but classy, allowing the typography to be the center of attention.

...

Click to read full post... »

Read More Packaging & Articles at TheDieline.com

         

Related Posts:

 

          Long distance volunteers!        

It has been a delight to welcome some volunteers from New Zealand to Letton Hall recently! Calvyn and Alice Jonker, together with their daughter Claire have joined the team for two months, staying until the end of June.  It has been a joy to see how well the family have integrated with us – serving with such enthusiasm and generosity. Calvyn is ...

Read More

The post Long distance volunteers! appeared first on Lettonhall.


          Heartland Institute        

The Heartland Institute

Background

The Heartland Institute is a Chicago-based free market think tank and 501(c)(3) charity that has been at the forefront of denying the scientific evidence for man-made climate change. The Heartland Institute has received at least $676,500 from ExxonMobil since 1998 but no longer discloses its funding sources. The Union of Concerned Scientists found (PDF) that “Nearly 40% of the total funds that the Heartland Institute has received from ExxonMobil since 1998 were specifically designated for climate change projects.” [1]

David Padden founded The Heartland Institute in 1984 and served as its Chairman between 1984 and 1995, co-chairing with Joseph Bast. Padden was also one of the original members of the Board of Directors of the Cato Institute. Padden, a Chicago, IL-based investment banker and then owner of Padden & Company, passed away in October 2011. [13]

Padden also served on the original Board of Directors of another organization founded that year, Citizens for a Sound Economy, which later split into two groups, FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity (AFP). The Cato Institute and both of these organizations received their initial seed money from Koch Industries. [14]

According to a July 2011 Nature editorial,

“Despite criticizing climate scientists for being overconfident about their data, models and theories, the Heartland Institute proclaims a conspicuous confidence in single studies and grand interpretations… . makes many bold assertions that are often questionable or misleading. … Many climate skeptics seem to review scientific data and studies not as scientists but as attorneys, magnifying doubts and treating incomplete explanations as falsehoods rather than signs of progress towards the truth. … The Heartland Institute and its ilk are not trying to build a theory of anything. They have set the bar much lower, and are happy muddying the waters.” [15]

2012 Heartland Document Leak

In 2012, leaked documents revealed some of the Heartland Institute's initiatives and climate change strategy including a tailored high school curriculum. As reported at the New York Times, (“Leak Offers Glimpse of Campaign Against Climate Science”) the Heartland Institute would have help from the Charles G. Koch Foundation to “cast doubt on the scientific finding that fossil fuel emissions endanger the long-term welfare of the planet.”  

The documents also discussed “Operation Angry Badger,” which the New York Times described as “a plan to spend $612,000 to influence the outcome of recall elections and related fights … in Wisconsin over the role of public-sector unions.” [2], [3]

Heartland has promoted itself using a partial quote from The Economist that describes Heartland as “the world's most prominent think-tank promoting scepticism about man-made climate change.” However, the full paragraph in The Economist's 2012 article provides a more complete picture: “The Heartland Institute, the world's most prominent think-tank promoting scepticism about man-made climate change, is getting a lot of heat.”

Heartland lost an estimated $825,000 in expected donations, a number of directors and almost its entire branch in Washington, DC shortly after putting up a billboard comparing those who believed in man-made global warming to the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. At its annual meeting in Chicago, the institute's president, Joseph Bast, said Heartland had 'discovered who our real friends are.' The 100-odd guests who failed to show up for the '7th Climate Conference' were not among them.” [4], [5]

Heartland Institute and Tobacco

In the 1990s, the Heartland Institute worked with the tobacco company Philip Morris to question the science linking second-hand smoke to health risks, and lobbied against government public health reforms. Heartland continues to maintain a “Smoker's Lounge” section of their website which brings together their policy studies, Op-Eds, essays, and other documents that purport to “[cut] through the propaganda and exaggeration of anti-smoking groups.” [6]

In a 1998 op-ed, former Heartland president Joe Bast claimed that “moderate” smoking doesn't raise lung cancer risks, and that there were  “few, if any, adverse health effects” associated with smoking. In a fundraising letter to Phillip Morris, Bast wrote to a Phillip Morris executive  that “Heartland does many things that benefit Philip Morris’s bottom line, things that no other organization does.” Later, in 2014 Bast denied that he had claimed cigarettes were not harmful, until confronted with his own op-ed. [7], [182], [8]

Roy Marden, past Corporate Affairs Policy Analyst and Manager of Industry Affairs at Philip Morris, served as a board member at the Heartland Institute from 1996 until 2008. According to Heartland, “The public health community's campaign to demonize smokers and all forms of tobacco is based on junk science.” Joseph Bast, current President and CEO, was a strong defender of RJ Reynolds brand Camel's “Joe Camel” campaign, which some have argued (here, and here, for example)  targeted younger children. [9], [10], [11], [12]

Incoming President Tim Huelskamp

In June, 2017, The Heartland Institute announced Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp would be replacing Joe Bast as president, to begin working starting July, 2017. Bast said he would remain with Heartland as CEO until some time in 2018. [182]

Huelskamp is former chairman of the Tea Party Caucus and a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus. Huelskamp maintains a lifetime score of 5% with the League of Conservation Voters, with a score of 0% in 2016. A full list of legislation sponsored or cosponsored by Huelskamp is available at Congress.gov. According to his voting record tracked at OnTheIssues, Huelskamp has consistently voted against any legislation that would combat fossil fuel emissions or climate change. [183], [184], [185], [186]

According to data from OpenSecrets, Huelskamp's top donor is Koch Industries and he has received the highest lifetime campaign contributions from the Oil and Gas industry, totally over one-quarter of a million dollars. Below are career totals added up by OpenSecrets. [187], [188]

Industry Total Contributor Total Indivs PACs
Oil & Gas $252,393 Koch Industries $40,900 $3,400 $37,500
Retired $209,441 Watco Companies $36,200 $36,200 $0
Crop Production & Basic Processing $196,178 American Bankers Assn $35,000 $0 $35,000
Republican/Conservative $167,254 B&G Production $34,400 $34,400 $0
Leadership PACs $152,163 House Freedom Fund $34,025 $250 $33,775
Health Professionals $124,755 National Assn of Home Builders $32,500 $0 $32,500
Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $102,850 Russell Stover Candies $32,200 $32,200 $0
Commercial Banks $93,600 Vess Oil Corp $30,000 $30,000 $0
Real Estate $75,310 Hodgdon Powder $28,700 $28,700 $0
Railroads $67,848 Onyx Collection $25,500 $25,500 $0
Agricultural Services/Products $65,700 KMG Tool $24,400 $24,400 $0
General Contractors $59,647 Berexco Inc $23,700 $23,700 $0
Food & Beverage $59,550 National Auto Dealers Assn $22,500 $0 $22,500
Home Builders $58,900 Citizens United $22,000 $0 $22,000
Securities & Investment $55,286 Every Republican is Crucial PAC $20,000 $0 $20,000
Misc Finance $53,250 AT&T Inc $19,500 $500 $19,000
Livestock $51,025 American Medical Assn $19,000 $1,000 $18,000
Insurance $50,613 National Assn of Realtors $19,000 $0 $19,000
Retail Sales $44,700 Ariel Corp $18,900 $18,900 $0
Lawyers/Law Firms $42,422 Ag Services $18,250 $18,250 $0

Tim Huelskamp also a signatory to Americans for Prosperity's “No Climate Tax” pledge. The pledge reads as follows:[189]

“I, ________________, pledge to the American people that I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue”

He also told HuffPost that he didn't believe that climate change was “settled “science.” [190]

“I don’t think there’s a scientific consensus on that,” Huelskamp said. “If you want to print that life begins at conception, that’s settled science.”

Stance on Climate Change

“Probably two-thirds of the warming in the 1990s was due to natural causes; the warming trend already has stopped and forecasts of future warming are unreliable; and the benefits of a moderate warming are likely to outweigh the costs.

“Global warming, in other words, is not a crisis.” [16]

“You may also know us from our work exposing the shoddy science and missing economics behind the global warming delusion. Our videos, books, studies, and international conferences changed the debate and led to the defeat of 'cap and trade.'” [17]

“Some environmentalists call for a 'save-the-day' strategy to 'stop global warming,' saying it is better to be safe than sorry. Such a position seems logical until we stop to think: Immediate action wouldn't make us any safer, but it would surely make us poorer. And being poorer would make us less safe.” [18]
“Unfortunately, global warming is an issue that is well suited to political demagoguery, which can be defined as pandering to misinformed voters and promising unrealistic solutions. Since opinion polls indicate a majority of the public believes warming is happening, politicians might think the safe strategy is to say 'I believe global warming is a serious problem and I support measures to reduce global warming pollution by supporting renewable fuels and energy efficiency.' Such politicians should be 'outed' for claiming to be smarter than scientists who have studied climate for many years and for using scare tactics to win elections.” [19]
“There is no consensus about the causes, effects, or future rate of global warming.” [20]

Funding

501(c)(3) Charitable Status

According to Heartland in 2011, “Approximately 1,800 supporters support an annual budget of $6 million. Heartland does not accept government funding. Contributions are tax-deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.” As of June 2015, that number has increased to 8,300 supporters, (budget remains listed at $6 million). [21], [22]

Computer scientist John Mashey filed a complaint in 2012 with the IRS questioning Heartland's charitable status: 

“I believe there was a massive abuse of 501c(3),” Mashey said. “My extensive study of these think tanks showed numerous specific actions that violated the rules – such as that their work is supposed to be factually based. Such as there was a whole lot of behavior that sure looked like lobbying and sending money to foreign organizations that are not charities.” [23]

Mashey's 2012 report on the Heartland Institute (see PDF) also examines the finances and actions of other organizations including the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), and the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CDCDGC).

According to his report (p. 39), the Heartland Institute has received roughly $395,000 from the tobacco company Philip Morris.

Heartland no longer reveals their individual donors, they explain, because “listing our donors in this way allowed people who disagree with our views to accuse us of being 'paid' by specific donors to take positions in public policy debates, something we never do. After much deliberation and with some regret, we now keep confidential the identities of all our donors.” [24]

Greenpeace's ExxonSecrets reports that the Heartland Institute has received $676,500 from ExxonMobil since 1998. Greenpeace also reports that Heartland received at least $55,000 from Koch Industries. [25], [26]

990 Forms

Heartland Institute as Recipient

The following is based on data from the Conservative Transparency project and from publicly available 990 forms. Not all funding values have been verified by DeSmogBlog. [27]

See the attached spreadsheet for additional information on Heartland Institute funding by year (.xlsx).  [27]

Donor Total Contributions
Donors Capital Fund $19,310,544
Mercer Family Foundation $5,088,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $1,215,500
Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation $1,037,977
Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking $830,000
DonorsTrust $632,000
Exxon Mobil $531,500
Walton Family Foundation $400,000
Chase Foundation of Virginia $364,500
Sarah Scaife Foundation $325,000
Searle Freedom Trust $300,000
American Action Network $300,000
Barney Family Foundation1 $280,000
Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice $205,100
Jaquelin Hume Foundation $201,000
The Rodney Fund $194,000
Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust $190,500
Stuart Family Foundation $175,000
Ed Uihlein Family Foundation $150,000
The McWethy Foundation $125,000
Castle Rock Foundation $110,000
PhRMA $90,000
JM Foundation $82,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $62,578
Armstrong Foundation $60,000
National Association of Manufacturers $52,500
John William Pope Foundation $50,000
Windway Foundation $47,000
Arthur N. Rupe Foundation $44,000
Robert P. Rotella Foundation $42,500
The Roe Foundation $41,500
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $40,000
John M. Olin Foundation $40,000
American Petroleum Institute $25,000
Hickory Foundation $23,000
The Robertson-Finley Foundation $18,000
Woodhouse Family Foundation $12,500
The Carthage Foundation $10,000
Deramus Foundation2 $10,000
The Challenge Foundation $6,000
Foundation for Economic Education $255
Grand Total $32,722,454

1Has funded to DonorsTrust, a group that has distributed over $80 million to conservative causes, many of which deny man-made climate change.

2Has funded Philanthropy Roundtable, a spinoff of DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund. They all operate in a similar way to cloak the identity of donors by having donations under the name of DonorsTrust, Donors Capital Fund, or Philanthropy Roundtable.

Heartland Institute as Donor

Heartland Institute donations are listed on their 990 forms up to the year 2010. Current values are not available. [27], [28]

Recipient Total
Shimer College $500,000
Moving Picture Institute $250,000
Texas Public Policy Foundation $100,000
Americans for Prosperity Foundation $50,000
Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy $50,000
Evergreen Freedom Foundation $50,000
Maine Heritage Policy Center $50,000
James Madison Institute $50,000
International Climate Science Coalition $45,000
Galen Institute $43,000
Alabama Policy Institute $40,000
Free Enterprise Education Institute $25,000
Africa Fighting Malaria $25,000
Frontier Centre for Public Policy $25,000
Kansas Taxpayers Network $25,000
New Zealand Climate Science Coalition $25,000
Natural Resources Stewardship Project $25,000
Council for Affordable Health Insurance $20,000
Science & Environmental Policy Project $15,000
South Carolina Policy Council $10,000
Grand Total $1,423,000

Koch Funding

According to Greenpeace USA, Koch Foundations contributed $55,000 to the Heartland Institute between 1997 and 2011. [26]

*Original tax forms prior to 1997 are no longer available for verification. If you include these values, the grand total jumps to $100,000 in Koch funding from 1987 to 2011. [26]

Year Charles Koch Foundation Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation Grand Total
*1987 $5,000 $5,000
*1988 $5,000 $5,000
*1989 $5,000 $5,000
*1992 $10,000 $10,000
*1995 $10,000 $10,000
*1996 $10,000 $10,000
1997 $10,000 $10,000
1998 $10,000 $10,000
1999 $10,000 $10,000
2011 $25,000 $25,000
Grand Total $60,000 $40,000 $100,000

The Heartland Institute's leaked 2012 Fundraising Plan states that “The Charles G. Koch Foundation returned as a Heartland Donor in 2011. We expect to ramp up their level of support in 2012 and gain access to the network of philanthropists they work with.”

However, the Foundation since released the following statement: “… the Charles Koch Foundation provided $25,000 to the Heartland Institute in 2011 for research in healthcare, not climate change, and this was the first and only donation the Foundation made to the institute in more than a decade. The Foundation has made no further commitments of funding to Heartland.” [29]

Donors Capital Fund/DonorsTrust

Donors Capital Fund (DCF) and its partner organization DonorsTrust allow donors to fund organizations anonymously. They appear to be a spinoff of the Philanthropy Roundtable, a group run by Whitney Ball, who also launched DonorsTrust.

The Heartland Institute has received large anonymous donations through DCF and DonorsTrust, with a combined total of at least $15,391,794.

See p. 58 of the 2012 Mashey Report for more details.John Mashey also covers DCF on page 65 of his 2012 report. According to DCF's website, “Donors Capital Fund is an IRS-approved, 501(c)(3), 509(a)(3) supporting organization that is associated with DonorsTrust, a public charity and donor-advised fund formed to safeguard the charitable intent of donors who are dedicated to the ideals of limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise.”


DonorsTrust refers clients to Donors Capital Fund if they expect to open donor-advised funds of over $1,000,000. [30]

DonorsTrust

DonorsTrust contributed at least $631,250 between 2008 and 2012 to the Heartland Institute: [31]

Source 990 forms:

Year Project
2008 general operations $11,750
2009 general operations $1,000
general operations $1,000
general operations $3,000
general operations $5,000
“advertising in response to organization's emphasis on marketing of research.” $6,500
general operations $500,000
Total $516,500
2010 general operations $250
general operations $1,000
general operations $1,000
Total $2,250
2012 Seventh International Conference on Climate Change $100,000
general operations $250
general operations $500
Total $100,750
Grand Total $631,250

Donors Capital Fund

From 2005 to 2013, DCF contributed at least $14,760,544 to the Heartland Institute (possibly more, as some details are missing from 2006's 990): [32]

Source 990 forms:

Year Project
2005 Individual projects not listed. $550,427
2007 Individual projects not listed. $2,955,437
2008 general operations $2,000,000
“the global warming research project” $900,000
“media materials” $100,000
“staff directed research” $126,000
“final installment of three-year general ops support” $1,300,000
“global warming research projects” $184,000
Total $4,610,000
2009 “CORE” $10,590
“G.W. reporting for one year” $150,000
“health care project” $190,000
“Ranthum, Australia and Old projects” $300,000
general operations $400,000
$620,940 for “GW-end” and $500,000 for annual support $1,120,940
Total $2,171,530
2010 for the organization's India Meeting Project $14,150
general operations $1,650,000
Total $1,664,150
2011 $49,000 for the NIPCC/Climate Change Project and $80,000 for School Choice in TX $129,000
2012 general operations $1,000,000
2013 for Climatism books & DVD projects $100,000
for the Sri Fi Project ($60,000) and the  New Zealand Project ($20,000) $80,000
general operations $1,500,000
Total $1,680,000
Grand Total $14,760,544

Anonymous Donor

One Anonymous Donor has contributed a large percentage of Heartland's budget in past years, with a focus on their global warming projects.

According to the Heartland 2012 Fundraising Plan, the Anonymous Donor made the following contributions from 2007-2011:

Project 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
General Operating $500,000 $500,000 $500,000 $700,000 $350,000
Ramp Up Program $800,000 $800,000 $400,000 $0 $0
Global Warming Projects $1,976,937 $3,300,000 $1,732,180 $964,150 $629,000
Health Care $0 $0 $190,000 $0 $0
School Reform $0 $0 $0 $0 $80,000
Total $3,276,937 $4,600,000 $2,822,180 $1,664,150 $979,000

Illinois auditor reports for 2003-2009 reveal that a single donor (possibly the same individual as the “Anonymous Donor”) contributed the following percentages of outstanding accounts receivable in those years (also see p. 56 of John Mashey's report):

2004 (PDF — See p. 27) — 74% contributed by two donors.

2005 (PDF — See p. 32) — 74% from one donor.

2006 (PDF — See p. 33) — 25% from one individual.

2007 (PDF — See p. 32) — 38% fr

          Main trunk electrification was always a dud        
The usual howls and wails of emotive knee-jerk reaction have come from Kiwirail's announcement to stop operating electric locomotives on the Main Trunk line.

It would cost NZ$1b to extend electrification to the Auckland network, and to Wellington.  However, Wellington's network is electrified to a different voltage and on DC not AC, so dual-voltage locomotives would need to be bought.  Even then, many of the trains on the line, going to and from branch lines (such as to the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Hawke's Bay) would still be operated by diesel.

However, the North Island Main Trunk electrification has always been a dud project since Rob Muldoon made the NZ Railways Department (NZR) embark on it as part of his Think Big central planning programme.

Main Trunk electrification was considered in the 1950s, after the line north of Wellington was electrified when it was deviated from what is now the Johnsonville line and placed in two double-track tunnels, so that trains were already operating electric from Wellington to Paekakariki (as steam locomotives couldn't run through the over 4km long Tawa Flat Number Two tunnel).  A set of electric locomotives were bought that could have served on the main trunk (and were the most powerful locomotives in NZ until 1972), but spent their lives almost entirely dedicated to operating the Wellington to Paekakariki trains (until tunnels on the line north of Pukerua Bay were lowered to enable diesel to run all the way through).

However it was rejected and the decision was made to go diesel, not least because the government owned railways was conservative technically, and was not keen to adopt what it thought then was the "risky" AC electrification system (being widely rolled out in Europe, but not yet used in New Zealand).  The DC system used in Wellington, Christchurch and Arthurs Pass was going to be too expensive, so diesel locomotives were bought to phase out steam.

The Think Big project came from an age when NZR had a general statutory monopoly on moving freight further than 150km.   NZR was facing delays on the main trunk line because of growing export traffic.  The problem, as it saw it, was a lack of capacity.  Its solution was to upgrade the line, bypassing several bottlenecks with shorter deviations, new viaducts able to take heavier trains and some steep winding sections avoided, but also to electrify the line between Palmerston North and Hamilton.  Why not to Auckland and Wellington?  Because the bottleneck was in the middle, and the way NZR operated meant that many trains were broken up and shunted along the route at Hamilton and Palmerston North.  

This was also an age with guards vans, with lots of small stations and sidings, as NZR's monopoly on long haul freight meant it handled small consignments of single wagons or even box loads.  Towns like Paraparaumu, Otaki, Hunterville, Otorohanga and Huntly had shunting locomotives to handle freight, like they always had.

In short, NZR ran an old fashioned, inefficient railway, handling consignments better suited to trucks, and its solution to its congestion was not to propose competition (naturally), but an expensive grandiose engineering based solution.   

Yet the Muldoon Government wasn't completely economically illiterate.  Main trunk electrification was committed, and would end up costing $350m in 1990 prices, but in 1982 NZR was converted into a corporation, effectively becoming the first SOE.  It would be required to make a profit, was no longer subject to political direction (except a Ministerial veto on closing lines) and would be subsidised directly for services that were unprofitable that the government required it to operate.

In 1983, Minister of Transport George Gair opened up domestic freight transport to competition, abolishing the 150km limit on road freight competition.  In 1984, a major consultancy report by Booz Allen Hamilton for the Railways Corporation made major recommendations for it to be competitive and profitable with competition from road freight.  This included closing two workshops, removing guards vans, closing small stations, moving from handling small lots of freight to trying to handle multiple wagon and train loads of freight.  

The Railways Corporation reformed, but it still lost freight to road competitors over many years.  In 1987, it commissioned Coopers & Lybrand to assess whether the main trunk electrification (that it was required to complete) could be an asset.  The report concluded that even if electricity were free it would still be a net loss to the Railways Corporation annually.  The only part of the project that made sense were all of the deviations.

As a result, when the Railways Corporation was restructured into a full SOE, it received $350m from taxpayers to bail it out of its Think Big project (after all the others were).  Officially, the Main Trunk Electrification had no net value that could ever be recovered from users of the line.

In short, the main trunk electrification has ALWAYS been a dud.  

After 30 years, the locomotives have become unreliable, many of the trains that now operate on the line have little operational need to be stopped at Hamilton and Palmerston North to change locomotives, wasting time, labour and fuel.  

A project that was inspired by technocrats running a monopoly, decided by politicians engaging in Soviet style central planning, has come to its natural conclusion.

It's not worth spending NZ$1b to incrementally reduce CO2 emissions, which will make no more difference to climate change than stopping a child urinating in a lake will stop it being toxic.  

Yet that wont stop the hyper-emotive railevangelist central planners making every hyperbole about this being some giant leap backward.   The Otira-Arthurs Pass electrification was closed in 1997 once technology enabled diesel locomotives to run all the way through from the West Coast to Canterbury, the Christchurch-Lyttelton electrification was closed in 1970, as equipment was due for replacement and with the age of steam coming to an end, it could be dieselised.  

Is it a shame that such a large project has proven to be not worthwhile? Absolutely, but it wasn't Kiwirail's fault, but the fault of the central planners of the Muldoon era - those the Labour Party and the Greens now ache to emulate, who chose to waste hundreds of millions of taxpayers money solving a problem that existed because of their regulation and archaic business practices it protected.

Kiwirail is a marginal operation at best, it doesn't need to have around its neck the vanity proposals of politicians who think they know best, and who think that saving every tonne of CO2 is worth unlimited amounts of taxpayers money.   

Note though how odd it is, that the Greens, who all claim to care about CO2 emissions, continue to oppose foreign ships on international trips carrying domestic cargo as they travel between NZ ports. This has next to no impact on CO2 emissions, as the ships are sailing anyway, by using spare capacity on the ships to carry freight within New Zealand.

Why?  Because the Seafarers Union doesn't like the competition.  The bottomline is that the Greens prefer even socialism to reducing CO2 emissions. 


          So why is China upset about Taiwan?        
Because Taiwan is, de facto, a separate country, but the mainland wants to keep up the pretence that it is entitled to do violence to it at any time if it so wishes.

It is the only a part of China that is not governed by the Communist Party of China (the People's Republic of China (PRC) because the Communists didn't manage to take over Taiwan and a handful of islands off of the mainland coast at the end of the Chinese Civil War.  The effect was that the previous government of China, the Republic of China (ROC), "temporarily relocated" its capital from Nanking to Taipei, with the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) putting Taiwan and other islands (Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu Islands and some others) under its control in a state of emergency for over forty years.

The effect was not dissimilar to that of the two Koreas, except the two Koreas are of roughly equal geographical size and at one time similar GDPs (indeed the Republic of Korea "south" was poorer than the Democratic People's Republic of Korea "north" until the late 1960s). 

So as mainland China suffered under the jackboot of Chairman Mao for nearly thirty years, and lost tens of millions to executions and starvation, and stagnated, Taiwan was under the less brutal jackboot of Chiang Kai Shek for a similar period and became a rapidly developing industrial country. Of course since Mao died, China embraced corporatist capitalism and its economy has grown much like Taiwan did since the 1950s, but Taiwan also reformed although spent many years under tough authoritarian rule. In 1969 the first legislative elections were held to have representatives of Taiwan elected (all others were legislators who were elected before the end of the civil war representing Chinese provinces under "occupation" by the communists).  As those legislators passed away they were not replaced so by the 1990s, the entire legislative assembly was subject to competitive elections.  Martial law was ended in 1987 by Chiang Kai Shek's successor and son Chiang Ching-kuo, as Taiwan moved to being a fully fledged liberal democracy.  By 1992, remaining mainland representatives were removed so the entire legislative assembly was subject to competitive elections.  
Taiwan, as such, is a role model for China as an open, relatively free, liberal democracy, with rule of law, capitalism and political power tempered by the separation of powers.  This, of course, is a complete anathema to the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Republic of China.

Of course, Taiwan (or rather the Republic of China in Taiwan - remember Made in R.O.C. labels on goods made a few decades ago?) has had an interesting history of international relations.   With the exception of the UK (primarily out of concern of Hong Kong), most Western countries did not recognise the Communist takeover of China immediately.  Australia and New Zealand did not until 1972, and even the United Nations seat for China was held by the Republic of China until 1971, as the United States vetoed the Chinese Communist regime (as it was called) from taking its seat despite strong efforts by friendly communist countries and developing countries lobbying on behalf of the PRC.  Albania became Beijing's biggest champion.  Both Beijing and Taipei regimes rejected each other being represented on the UN, but the US pushed for the PRC to be represented, not least because it seemed absurd that the world's most populous country (and a nuclear power) were not represented.  So the PRC was admitted, and the ROC expelled.   In 1979, the US switched recognition from the ROC to the PRC, but gave Taiwan a military security guarantee, as the PRC had always (and still does) reserve the right to reunify Taiwan by force.  

Both Chinese regimes refused to have diplomatic relations with any country that recognised the other, but the ROC on Taiwan dropped this in the 1990s, as it had lost recognition and embassies with almost all countries as few could refuse the commercial, diplomatic and strategic benefits of having good relations with mainland China.  Once Saudi Arabia (which had resisted the PRC because of its atheism) and South Africa (which shifted recognition not long after the end of apartheid) had dropped Taiwan, the ROC would only retain diplomatic relations with small Pacific Island, African or Latin American states, mostly through aid programmes (although this ended in 2000 as the PRC was able to outbid the ROC).

So Taiwan remains an oddity.  In every de facto sense, it is an independent country, with a military, government and informal diplomatic relations with many countries.  However, the PRC stops it from having formal diplomatic relations because it doesn't like the only part of China it didn't win in the civil war having a parallel status to it in international organisations or bilateral relations.  It claims that to do so would imply there are "two Chinas", which of course there are as there are two Koreas, and were two Germanys and two Yemens (and even two Cypruses) regardless of claims of legitimacy.

So Donald Trump accepting a phone call from the democratically elected President of the ROC should not be a big deal, except for Beijing, it ruffles their sensitivities over reality.  The US has a defence treaty with Taiwan, and should make it clear than any attack on Taiwan will be rebuffed by the US.  The ROC on Taiwan shares the values of the United States and other Western democracies, the values of freedom, individual rights and government that is determined by the consent of the governed.  The fact that this concerns the Chinese Communist Party is good, for it could do much worse than look at Taiwan and see an example of transition from one-party authoritarian rule to vibrant vigorous liberal democracy.   Peace between Taiwan and the mainland is critical for both, so I think there is little real risk of any aggression from the PRC, but it should be clearer than that.  A renewed US commitment to Taiwan because of its values.  

          NZ Herald wrong about EU referendum        
The NZ Herald has decided that it thinks the UK should stay in the EU, but its editorial on the issue is  woeful, it misses the point and is dotted with errors.  There is nothing in the editorial about the key problems with EU membership, around how EU laws are developed undemocratically (introduced by the European Council, MEPs can't introduce legislation), how the EU is inordinately wasteful including on policies that harm New Zealand's economy (including the Common Agricultural Policy) and harm developing countries.  Nothing about the protectionism of the EU slowing the ability of the UK to trade freely with growing economies in Asia and Latin America.  

New Zealand has full control over its trade policy, its domestic regulations and immigration policy, but the UK does not have the same at all.

It's not true that no country has ever left the EU, Greenland did.  Now that's not anything remotely on the scale of the UK.  Of course, neither did the NZ Herald point out that Switzerland, Norway and Iceland all have thrived outside the EU.  The EU is not Europe as much as it likes to think that it is.  

It's true that Brexit could encourage a break up of the EU, but is that necessarily a bad thing? An unwieldy arrogant technocratic organisation that failed miserably to deal with the refugee crisis, was paralysed by the breakup of Yugoslavia, unable to agree on acting until the US intervened to stop Serbia deporting Kosovan Albanians.  The spectre that European countries will wage war on each other when they have functioning liberal democracies with extensive trade and travel with each other. 

Yet the Herald editorial paints the picture that Brexit somehow increases the chance of Russia invading the EU? Why?  NATO provides the security guarantee for its members, it isn't weakened by the UK leaving the EU - at all.  Why would it matter?

The claim that Scotland will leave the UK after a Brexit vote is also rather fatuous.  Polls on Scottish independence still say 55% would vote to stay in the UK, and there is little reason why the UK Government would hold another referendum on Scottish independence.  It's highly presumptive to think Brexit means Scottish independence.

Finally, yes it is immigration that is motivating many voters to want to leave the EU, but not immigration from outside the EU, it is concern that free movement will overcrowd the country, keep down wages and overwhelm government provided services. 

However, for me, it is because the EU is a sclerotic unaccountable project that keeps the UK in chains, it also subsidises unfair competition to New Zealand producers in world markets and restricts sales of many NZ products into the EU.




          Libertarian position on the EU Referendum        
On 23rd June, the UK will vote on whether to remain in or leave the EU.  I'm voting to leave the EU, and believe that, on balance, those who believe in individual liberty including free trade should strongly support leaving the EU.

Bizarrely, Prime Minister David Cameron, having campaigned for a referendum, is now claiming that a vote for the UK to leave would trigger recession, economic catastrophe and even risk future war.  He’s been asked why he bothered putting the UK through such a risk, particularly since only months ago he said the UK would “do ok”.    Now both the Tory Government, most of the Labour Party and virtually all Liberal Democrats, Scottish and Welsh Nationalists and the Greens are all campaigning to remain in the EU, whereas the campaign to leave is led by Boris Johnson,  Michael Gove, nearly half of Conservative MPs, a handful of Labour MPs and UKIP.

The two main planks of the Remain camp are first that leaving the EU Single Market would damage the economy, and they cite many economists, the IMF, World Bank and OECD who all support this, along with some major business leaders and companies.  The second claim is that leaving the EU “lessens Britain” and isolates it, and means the UK loses influence. 

The Leave campaign has a few key messages.  One is that it will save £350m a week from not contributing to the EU (although that excludes receipts from EU programmes to the UK and Thatcher’s rebate, which could be removed at any time).  Secondly, is that leaving the EU will return sovereignty to the British Government, rather than the EU, which passes laws, even if all British MEPs oppose them, imposing them on the UK.  Thirdly, is concern that immigration cannot be effectively controlled whilst there is free movement and full rights for all EU citizens to reside in the UK.

For a libertarian, the EU referendum does mean a trade off.   Indeed, the only two elements of the EU that are pro-freedom are the single market and free movement of people.

EU Membership does provide a single market of over 550 million people, for goods if not for services.  However, it is a customs union that is highly protectionist, and has for decades been one of the biggest objectors to global free trade in agriculture and in many services at the WTO, particularly because France is consistently resistant to trade liberalisation.   Much is made of the EU signing “trade deals” with other countries, but it rarely includes services and never includes agriculture.   Nick Clegg likes to describe the many years and reams of paper needed for the EU to reach trade agreements with the likes of Canada, as if this is the norm (and a burden the UK would have to bear with other countries if outside the EU).  Yet this is quite unnecessary.  New Zealand and Australia agreed on free trade (CER) in less than four years, with a relatively simple agreement.  The only reason free trade agreements become complex is when one of the parties wants exemptions – not actually wanting free trade. 

The second libertarian element of the EU is the free movement of people.  The ability to cross borders virtually unimpeded is of significant value, but it is unconditional.  No EU Member states have the ability to shut out other EU citizens if they have been convicted of any serious offences.   I am not from the camp that believes that free movement within the EU is inherently bad, but I do believe countries should be able to exclude foreign nationals who are proven violent criminals.  The UK's immigration problems are in part, its own fault.  Its health system is the world's biggest civilian bureaucracy that makes feeble attempts to restrict non-national usage and asks nothing of users in terms of financial contributions.  Anyone with legal residency in the UK has access to the welfare state (including generous tax credits for low income workers and child benefits), to taxpayer funded education for their children and access to publicly subsidised housing (indeed there is a "legal right" to housing in the UK, paid for by others).   

In short, the UK has a welfare state edifice that is attractive to migrants with low skills, especially coming from much poorer countries with inferior health, education and housing provision.   If it wants to reduce immigration, it ought to look in the mirror.

Furthermore, as journalist Rod Liddle said at a Spectator hosted event on June 13th, eastern Europeans don't pose an existential threat to western civilisation or to the values of individual freedom that give cause to be concerned about Islamism.  As much as some are concerned about Polish migration to Britain, they integrate, they embrace the values of a developed Western liberal democracy, they set up businesses, they are not demanding media not offend them with threats of violence. Notwithstanding the distortions caused by the UK's wider welfare state, I am not concerned about migration from eastern European, as long as prudent measures are made to exclude convicted violent criminals.

However, the freedom of movement and freedom of trade within the single market do not, for me, outweigh what's wrong with the EU:

- It is a massive exercise in regulation and legal control on almost all areas of the economy.  The EU has over 10,000 Directives on anything from standards for fruit and vegetables, to blowtorches, to light bulbs, to employment.  It is a huge corporatist system that imposes major compliance costs on businesses, restricting new entry and restraining innovation.  Most explicitly, the EU has prohibited the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture, ensuring that research and development of GM technology outside laboratories is based in the US and Asia, not Europe.

- Its budget is dominated by the protectionist racket known as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).  The CAP inflates the price of food for Europeans by heavily restricting imports from more efficient producers from many countries, including New Zealand, and subsidises overproduction in Europe which is then exported undermining market prices in other countries including poor producers in developing countries.  The CAP impoverishes farmers in poor countries, whilst the EU engages in pious virtue signalling about how much it cares about inequality.  The CAP itself isn't even equal in Europe, as it would have gone bankrupt had eastern European producers been subsidised at the same rates as those in western Europe, so perversely farmers in the EU's poorest countries (e.g. Bulgaria) receive subsidies one-third lower than those in its richest countries (e.g. Luxembourg).

- The EU takes £10 billion a year of British taxpayers' money more than it returns (and most of what it returns is to prop up farmers, to fund research projects or pious regional development projects).  That is money currently borrowed from future taxpayers.  It should end to help balance the budget.  The ludicrous idea that this is the "price for accessing the single market" is absurd.  Free trade does not need to be accompanied by massive subsidy schemes for small parts of the EU economy or politically motivated infrastructure, research or vanity projects (such as Galileo - the EU's complete duplication of the US GPS system, under the nonsensical basis that the US might "shut it down one day").  Furthermore, the majority of EU Member States are not net contributors, and until the past three years neither was France (primarily because it takes so much back in subsidies to prop up its 19th century farming sector).

- The EU is fundamentally authoritarian in instinct, having contempt for the democratically expressed choices of EU Member State voters (the EU President recently said that certain political parties would "not be allowed" to have power if they won elections in EU Member States, such as the Freedom Party in Austria).  The EU's utter failure to provide any discipline on spending in some Euro-member states and contempt for popular revolt at the resulting economic collapse reflects its distance from the concerns of Europeans.  Notably, it has taken few steps to address Hungary's creeping authoritarianism as its government subverts much of its media to support its own propaganda.

- Members of the European Parliament have no powers at all to introduce new legislation including legislation to abolish existing Directives.  Only the European Council can introduce draft legislation into the European Parliament, and the Council is comprised of people appointed by Member State Governments.  The closest the EU gets to accountability is that MEPs can vote to oppose the passage of draft directives, but none can propose their own new legislation.

- The European Commission budget has been found to be materially in error every year for the past 18 years, most recently by 3.9%, or around €5 billion.  This is in part because of the complexities of its spending programs there is considerable scope for fraud and mistake.  Never mind, the EU just keeps asking for more money.

- The EU never cuts its budget, ever.  Every year it asks for more and more, it never ceases to undertake any functions, it never seeks to hand back powers to Member States.  It grows inexorably.  Ten years ago it didn't have a common Foreign Policy, it is now discussing haviuniong an EU Army.  Bear in mind this growth continues in spite of it telling the likes of Greece and Spain that they need to cut spending to balance their budgets.

- The EU falsely claims it is responsible for peace in Europe amongst its Member States, ignoring not only the role of NATO in deterring war with the Soviet Union, but also the more fundamental principle that liberal democracies don't go to war with each other.  The EU got in the way of addressing the war in the Balkans in the 1990s as it opposed letting the Bosnian Muslims arm themselves to respond to the Serbian ultra-nationalist genocide being led by Radovan Karadzic, it has been divided over Ukraine.

- The EU attracts mediocre political appointees to have considerable power over us all.  The UK supplied the second Foreign Minister, Catherine Ashton, a Labour Party member, unionist and former peer (i.e. never elected) who had no foreign policy background.  Failed UK Labour Leader Neil Kinnock built a long career for himself and his family in the EU.  

- The EU has attacked free speech by requiring Google to remove content from searches that EU citizens specifically request as being the "right to be forgotten" .  More recently it has sought to have a common approach to "hate speech", including a call to restrict "disrespectful public discourse".  Fuck off you arseholes.

- The EU project's ultimate end game is a European superstate with power over taxation, national budgets and a massive programme to "harmonise" the regulation of all industries and sectors as one.  This superstate will not be interested in reducing what it does, granting more freedoms to its citizens and reducing its burden on taxpayers, rather the contrary.

Supporters of the Vote Leave campaign have produced this movie below, which is being freely distributed.




I have already cast my postal vote to leave and no, I don't take the views of President Obama, John Key, the IMF, World Bank,  UN Secretary General or others into account.  I don't expect any government or any international organisation to risk their own trade and relationships with the world's largest economy (the EU) by supporting the UK leaving.   Most bizarrely, it is odd that President Obama would ask the UK to stay in a political union that the US itself would never bind itself to even if it could, given the US itself refuses to sign up to many international treaties because it doesn't want its sovereignty restrained.

However, let's be very clear what leaving the UK does not mean:

The campaign to leave the EU is not led by those who want the UK to be isolated and protectionist: Unlike the opposition to the UK's original EEC Membership in 1975, those who lead the campaign to leave the EU now are not primarily socialists who feel threatened by foreign competition.  They are advocates of free and open trade with the rest of the world.   They are dominated by concerns that UK's national sovereignty is eroded by the EU and that the EU is wasteful, sclerotic, inefficient and dismissive of individual freedoms and people's concerns about it.

Leaving the EU is not "ending co-operation": Over 160 countries in the world co-operate on a vast number of matters.   Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are not in the EU, all trade freely with it and work with it and each other and other states, without being tied to the EU project.

Leaving the EU is not racist:  By illiberal-leftwing standards, the EU itself may be deemed racist with its trade policy that harnesses protectionism and European taxpayers' money to harm producers in developing countries.  Those advocating for Brexit want an immigration policy that does not favour EU citizens from non-EU citizens, which would appear to be anything but racist.

Leaving the EU is not "leaving" or "turning our back on Europe":  The EU is not Europe, it is a political-customs union project.  The UK has been at the heart of advocating values of freedom, civil liberties, liberal democracy, rule of law and separation of powers in Europe for much longer than any other countries in Europe.  It is understandable why some countries with recent totalitarian pasts would see the EU as a project that may enable them to move on from unspeakable horrors and oppression, but the UK does not have such a path.  UK outside the EU would trade, travel and work closely with European countries, with continued migration and investment, it simply wouldn't be shackled to how the EU wants Europeans to interact.

Leaving the EU is not seeking a return to a "golden age": Far from it, it is seeking to regain full sovereignty over UK laws to create a more dynamic, outward looking Britain that isn't dependent on the EU for freer trade with the rest of the world.  No one harks back to Empire, some say Brexit will enable trading relationship with the Commonwealth to be revitalised, but few see a future of self-sufficiency and exclusion.

So I have voted to Leave.  I know if it happens, the pound will drop, the FTSE100 will drop and there will be panic.  I also know that there are strong calls for Brexit to mean a significant toughening of immigration policy, which I largely oppose.  I also know there is chance the UK will be blocked from the single market for some time, as the EU and major EU Member States seek to punish the UK for leaving, rather than look at themselves as to why that might be.

However, I am also hopeful and optimistic that the world's 5th largest economy can be more outward looking, can liberalise its economy, can reprioritise its net contribution to the EU by cutting its budget deficit and replacing the subsidy programmes it receives now and phase them out.  I am hopeful that the UK can show the EU that it should be more dynamic, open and prosperous, stimulating the sort of reforms EU Member States desperately need.  I am also hopeful that the charlatan, the PR spin doctor Prime Minister, David Cameron, can finally retire, and the UK can have a government that doesn't look like the Labour Party stayed in power after 2010.

          Student Unions in the UK explicitly appeasing fascism        
It's entirely logical.  The natural conclusion of the philosophy of post-modernist moral relativism, that refuses to apply moral judgment to those who engage in genocide, slavery and rape of women and children, incinerates prisoners of war, beheads those it simply dislikes (including children who do not submit to its religion) and kills men for being gay.  

For that is what University College London (student) Union has done, following on from the National Union of Students last year.  Brendan O'Neill in The Spectator writes more on what happened.  Basically, the Activities and Events Officer of UCLU (Asad Khan) said that a former student, who has fought with the Kurds in Syria to repel ISIS, could not talk about his experiences because "there are two sides and UCLU wants to avoid taking sides".

Moral relativism has hit its epitome in this act by Asad Khan.  I wonder if Mr Khan takes the same approach when confronted with any crimes.  Would he stop women talking about rape because "there are two sides"? Would someone talking about racist abuse be told that she couldn't talk without the alleged abuser being there because "there are two sides"?  I doubt it.  Asad Khan is a selective moral relativist, he only wants to appease mass murdering fascist religious fundamentalists who are explicitly sexist, racist, homophobic and touters of violence as the solution to any infringement.

NUS last year refused to approve a motion condemning ISIS because that would be "Islamophobic" and offensive.   As if this doesn't feed the belief of some that all Muslims are deep down supporters of the ideology and tactics of ISIS.

What this tells you is that student unions in the UK, which long have had remarkably selective morality about foreign affairs.  It goes without saying that for decades it rightly condemned apartheid, but never had anything to say about the slaughters of opponents by African dictatorships such as Robert Mugabe.  It's always been a friend of the Palestinians and opponent of Israel, but not so much the friend of the Iranian opposition to the regime.   In short, it has always been vehement against dictatorships and perceived oppression caused by the UK Government, the US, NATO member states or other Western regimes, but curiously quiet over any regimes that take on any of the above.   Standard far-left moral relativism which fits in perfectly with the current leader of the UK Labour Party.

Yet now, it should be abundantly clear to any students with a conscience, libertarian or even those who identify themselves as left-liberal (with the beliefs in secularism, free speech, feminism, LGBT rights), that the student union movement in the UK has now aligned itself with a far-left movement that is, at its core, fascist.

It's not that the student unions are completely amoral and relativist, demanding equal weight and time be given to all opinions on everything.   Like I said above, they would never take a stance on anything at that point, as all opinions are equally valid and it would be "disempowering" to take a stand which explicitly repudiates the views of others.  

No, they have views, it's just that the perspective that wins out, over everything, is fundamentally illiberal, intolerant and appeasing of fascism.  

A man who fought to protect civilians from violence, including murder, enslavement and women and children from rape, was not allowed to speak because those who would murder, enslave and rape deserve a hearing too.  What's that if not appeasement of fascism?

For that's what ISIS is, it is what the more "moderate" forms of Islamism (as seen in Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States) are.  Islamofascism.  This is what the mainstream of the British left now tolerates because it is what the Labour Party leader (and his acolytes) now express as their standard view

It is what journalist and former Labour Party member Nick Cohen described in The New Statesman:

the fact remains that the Labour party has just endorsed an apologist for Putin’s imperial aggression; a man who did not just appear on the propaganda channel of Russia, which invades its neighbours and persecutes gays, but also of Iran, whose hangmen actually execute gays. Labour’s new leader sees a moral equivalence between 9/11 and the assassination of bin Laden, and associates with every variety of women-hating, queer-bashing, Jew-baiting jihadi, holocaust denier and 9/11 truther. His supporters know it, but they don’t care.

For those of us who are libertarians, we are used to the far-left appeasing soft communist regimes like Venezuela, which harasses the opposition media, stacks the courts, wrecks the economy and blames it all on US imperialism.  We are used to the far-left demanding civil liberties, but seeking to take the majority of some people's income, and some of their assets, to control their entrepreneurial activities and even more lately, curtail their freedom of speech because it might cause "offence".

However, now the mainstream left appeases the very people who would impose a tyranny that would take all that it claims to care for back to the dark ages.

Even when some of them oppose ISIS, they are willing to appease a lesser tyranny (Bashar Assad) that drops chemical weapons and barrel bombs civilians, presumably because Assad is ideologically aligned to the left.  After all, the Assad hereditary dictatorship has long been aligned to the USSR (and now Russia), been anti-Western, has repeatedly occupied Lebanon, waged war against Israel and backed Hezbollah, and is now backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.  

This video from the BBC programme Daily Politics below reveals how Syrian opposition activists claim the self-styled (far left) "Stop The War Coalition" (which Jeremy Corbyn has long belonged to) has rallies against war in Syria to back the Assad dictatorship.  With a meeting chaired by Shadow International Aid Secretary Diane Abbott (a long standing hard-left Labour MP), "Stop the War"  refused to let any Syrians talk at a public meeting about "opposing war in Syria".



In essence, "Stop the War" coalition isn't opposed to war in Syria at all, simply opposed to Western intervention in the war.  As far as it is concerned, it doesn't want to know about the Assad regime bombing civilians and using chemical weapons, killing over 100,000, for it backs that side against both the small liberal opposition, and the wide swathe of Islamist opposition groups, including ISIS (but it doesn't support Western bombing of ISIS because the West can't do any good anywhere).

Hardly surprising, since mourner for the USSR and sycophant of multiple dictatorships, George Galloway, praised Bashar Assad:

 
I wouldn't be surprised if Galloway didn't seek to rejoin the Labour Party and become a candidate, presuming he loses his bid to be Mayor of London next year under his Islamofascist appeasing/Marxist RESPECT Party banner.

You'll find the same appeasement of Islamofascism in universities and increasingly the mainstream left all over the Western world, including the USA, Australia and New Zealand.  It is the banal end-result of combining identity politics (which deems all Muslims as "victims" deserving of special kid gloves treatment and tolerance, regardless of their own views) with the vacuous moral relativism of post-modernists philosophy (there being no such thing as objective reality or morality rooted in reason and values, just different cultural/identity perspectives).

In this environment, actual Islamofascists can shield themselves as being protected by those whose other values they despise.  Meanwhile, Muslims who seek to move towards more liberal values or apostate Muslims (who have converted to other religions or rejected religion) are largely ignored.  After all if you reject Islam, you're no longer a member of the oppressed identity.

In the 1930s, the far-left ignored and appeased Stalin, in the 1960s and 1970s it appeased Mao, today it appeases Islamofascism.  However today, the far-left IS the mainstream left.  In between patrolling language it considers racist, sexist and homophobic, it is providing succour for the most racist, sexist, homophobic band of terrorists seen in modern history.

It's time to call them out for what they are - appeasers and facilitators of fascism.

          Wellington Airport Runway Extension: Definition of a Cargo Cult: Part One        
For those unfamiliar with the term "cargo cult" it is a description of what might best be called as a naive practice of some cultures with low levels of scientific understanding and a high belief in animist religions that certain rituals will result in untold riches arriving from the skies.  Nowadays it is often shortened into "built it and they will come".

Such is the hype around the planned extension to the runway of Wellington Airport - a proposal that completely lacks pure commercial merit and has no net wider economic benefit - but is being promoted by the opportunistic, encouraged by the naive and to be paid for, largely, by those will get no benefit from it at all.



I say this as someone who grew up 1.5kms from the airport and knows a bit about the aviation sector, having recently been part of the team that reviewed over 50 proposals for expanding airport capacity in London.  I know Wellington Airport very well, and the likelihood that there will be long haul flights into that airport that will generate net benefits to Wellington ratepayers to recover the costs of subsidising the runway extension is very low indeed.

Let's remember the airport is a commercial concern, two-thirds owned by Infratil, which itself is not willing to contribute two-thirds of the capital costs of the project.  It's the owner of the other third - Wellington City Council - that is the problem, because it is willing to force ratepayers (along with other Wellington councils) to cough up half of the liability to boost the value of Infratil's investment. This in itself should cause both believers in the free market and socialists to baulk at public subsidy for a predominantly private entity, but no - they have cargo cult syndrome.

They believe that magically if an airport extension is built, there will be long haul flights from Wellington to Asia and the Middle East, making the city more attractive for business.  However, it is far from clear exactly:

- Why airlines will fly long haul to Wellington;
- Are the assumptions about the the benefits claimed valid?




Who would fly to Wellington?

Let's kill off one idea quickly.  

Air New Zealand will not fly long-haul from Wellington. Its international hub is Auckland, the reason being that it is the business hub for the country, and also enables it to attract traffic between Australian cities and the Americas/South Pacific (which it does rather successfully).   Given its location it can generate high yielding (i.e. not economy class travelling) passengers with enough of an economy of scale to be just profitable enough to sustain a business, in a very volatile sector.  It once flew long-haul out of Christchurch (to LA, Singapore and Tokyo), but has recently dropped the last of these services.  Even the Trans Tasman services from Wellington are no great money spinners, as the decision about the Air NZ-Virgin Australia Alliance revealed.

Wellington Airport and two Wellington Councils (and associated bodies) all demanded that in exchange for approving the Alliance, Air NZ and Virgin Australia be forced to maintain a minimum flight frequency on their routes between Wellington and Australia.  This hardly indicates confidence in the commercial attractiveness of flying to Wellington Airport.  The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in its approval of the Alliance required the two airlines to maintain a minimum level of service between Wellington and Brisbane.  

Hardly great confidence that Wellington is a lucrative destination.  Air NZ has made it clear it has no plans to fly long-haul from Wellington and that a runway extension would not change this.

Beyond that, there have been claims that the latest generation of longhaul aircraft - Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s - will suddenly make it viable to fly to Wellington.   However, a useful guide to who this might be is to look at Christchurch, which with both a wider pool of air cargo and as a gateway to the main tourism destinations of the country, has some long haul flights.

By some I mean actually 2 non-stop from Christchurch.  One is Singapore Airlines and the other is China Southern to Guangzhou.  Singapore Airlines has been decidedly lukewarm on flying to Wellington, and China Southern is driven mostly by outbound Chinese tourism traffic, which has limited interest in visiting Wellington.  Emirates flies from Christchurch to Dubai via Sydney and Bangkok, which of course is not at all better than flying to Dubai via Sydney from Wellington, except it is a larger aircraft.  China Airlines flies from Taipei to Christchurch, but only via Australia.  Same issue again.  This isn't a long haul flight, and isn't substantially different from flying Air NZ or Qantas into Sydney or Melbourne to connect to a long haul flight to Asia or Europe.

If Christchurch can only attract one flight from Singapore and one from China, what's all the hype about Gulf airlines flying to Wellington (when the other two big Gulf airlines, Etihad and Qatar Airways don't even fly to Auckland)?  

China Southern (which is going through a rapid growth phase) has indicated it might consider Wellington, but given it is Chinese Government owned airline, it is operating not to grow profit but to find markets it can grow.  Quite how many business people or tourists wish to hub through Guangzhou to and from Europe or elsewhere in Asia, on an airline with a mixed reputation for service when things go wrong, is unclear.   I wouldn't want to base the decision to spend millions of taxpayers' dollars on giving one airline the chance to start a flight it might cancel a year later.   Neither does the major owner of the airport, who is happy to let taxpayers cough up the money to subsidise its ambitions (bear in mind Infratil recently offloaded completely failed airport investments in the UK for token amounts).

Why would there be benefits from long haul flights to Wellington?

The whole premise of the Wellington runway cargo cult is that Wellington is less attractive for business because it doesn't have long haul flights.  The same arguments are made for Canberra, which even struggles to get Trans-Tasman flights, because airlines simply aren't interested.  However, the benefits of direct flights come from reduced travel time and assumptions about lower airfares, yet these are wanting.

Ernst and Young authored the study into the benefits of the project, but some of its assumptions demonstrate a paucity of understanding of the airline industry and some heroic assumptions about benefits that airline passengers are willing to pay for.

In the next installment, I review the report and find it full of assumptions and assertions that don't bear close scrutiny.

          Farewell Air NZ 737s - the noisy revolutionaries        
On the 6th of September, NZ557 from Christchurch to Auckland marked the end of Boeing 737 service for Air New Zealand.  This was barely mentioned by the press, but there is history behind Air NZ (and its predecessor NAC) flying Boeing 737s, because they truly revolutionised travel within the country in the 1960s and in just over 10 years or so they had seen off the end of the Wellington-Lyttelton overnight ferry, the Christchurch-Dunedin-Invercargill overnight train and one of the two Auckland-Wellington overnight train services - despite best efforts by politicians to prop the latter three up with subsidies.



Before aviation enthusiasts jump on me, yes, I know the Boeing 737-300s that have been flying the last decade and a half are not the ones that started flying in 1968.  These were the 3rd generation of the type NAC first flew on the "main trunk" Auckland-Wellington-Christchurch Dunedin", and yes there is now a 4th generation (which are the types flown by the likes of Qantas and Virgin Australia to NZ today), but the basic design retain a lot of commonality.  Besides, I like an excuse for a bit of history, and this one contains a political element that demonstrates, once again, how "democratic control" of a business can so easily sow the seeds of failure.

NAC was wholly owned by the Government and had virtually a statutory monopoly on domestic air services.  Other airlines did provide services, but they had to prove to the bureaucracy that there was demand for the service (heaven forbid a business start up service risking it might not have customers!) and prove it would not interfere with the services provided by existing operators.  So NAC had a legal veto over competition.  Nevertheless, it almost always operated profitably overall, although the reality was that the "main trunk" was gouging passengers and making high profits, whereas services to provincial airports like Kaitaia, Gisborne, Oamaru and Westport were unprofitable, but considered politically important (unlike today, with Air NZ which is profit focused across the network).   Still, NAC, as government businesses were at the time, was run by aviation professionals and as the jet age started in the 1950s, by the early 1960s it was becoming clear that the next revolution in air travel would be pure jet travel.  It gained Government permission to go to tender for jet aircraft to fly domestic services in 1965.

The three main manufacturers at the time, Boeing, Douglas and British Aircraft Corporation all were shortlisted.  Boeing with its, as yet unflown, 737. Douglas with the DC-9, and BAC with its BAC 1-11.  NAC's criteria for the aircraft to choose included speed of turnaround, fuel efficiency and ability to manoeuvre safely and reliably at Wellington Airport (which had a runway even shorter than it has today).  Herein comes the "democratic control" element.  The then Holyoake National Government wasn't impressed by the conclusion of NAC's analysis, that the Boeing 737 was the best aircraft for the job.  It was more interested in international trade diplomacy and winning the support of the British Government in securing favourable trade access when it would eventually enter the EEC.  It insisted that NAC "look again" at its business case, delaying approval for its capital investment in the 737.

NAC did, and once again made it clear that the 737 was the right plane for the job, and so it proved to be.  Over 8,600 Boeing 737s have been built (and are still being built), of the four generations of the original design (and a fifth generation is being developed).  The BAC 1-11? 244 and production ended in 1982, although Romania's Ceausescu regime was licensed by the Callaghan government to produce 22 it struggled to complete 9 by the time the vile regime was overthrown in 1989.  It was not the last attempt by a New Zealand Government to intervene commercially in the decisions of its airlines, but fortunately the airline won and so NAC was one the earliest operators of the Boeing 737 (Lufthansa was the first), the plane that (after some slow years) would be Boeing's biggest selling variant ever.



So what was the result? It cut travel time on the routes it serviced by nearly half, and it was 50% faster than the Vickers Viscounts it was replacing, so one Boeing 737 could fly around twice as many services a day with 50% more passengers, saving them a considerable amount of time, but also enabling airfares to be more affordable, particular for growing business traffic between the main centres.   As a result, the competing modes were increasingly hit hard.



Take the train, what else are you going to do?

Between Auckland and Wellington, driving was a long and by today's standards, much harder trip, with few passing lanes, many sharp bends in the road meant it could take a good 8-9 hours.

The preferred option was by overnight train, and at the time there were two such trains each way.  The Night Limited and the North Island Limited.  However, New Zealand Railways didn't exactly make a lot of effort to make those trips comfortable in the 1960s.   By the late 1960s steam was giving way to diesel, but NZR didn't bother putting electric heating in to replace the steam heating piped through from the locomotives.  It built steam heating cars which had boilers on board, to pipe steam through the cars.  The result was that all cars were equally heated.  If it got hot, you had to open the window with the resulting noise of railway crossings, train horns, tunnels.  There were three classes of travel. Sleeper cars had two bunks, so if you were travelling alone you'd have to share with a stranger. There was cold water sink in the cabin, but if you needed to go to the loo, you'd have to toddle down to the end of the car to the toilet.  About the only bit of luxury was that each car had a cabin attendant, who besides making up the linen and folding up and down the bunks, would offer a cup of tea or coffee in the morning as the train trundled through the environs of Auckland or Wellington.  What if you wanted to eat? Well, NZR got rid of dining cars during World War 1 as an economy measure, and never thought it was worthwhile to bring them back (after all, there was little competition for long journeys).  So the trains would stop at various stations on the way for refreshments, the classic "pie and a cuppa" with a slab of fruit cake.  Taihape, Taumarunui, Frankton Junction, Paekakariki, Palmerston North all had this role.  So, eating involved rushing into a random queue at a station to grab whatever was on offer and bring it on board, of course these stops added a good hour and a half to the total journey.

Quick get something to eat to break up your journey

Had work been willing to pay for the sleeper or you could afford it, at least you could guarantee some sleep.  However, only a few cars were sleepers, the rest were first class or second class.  First Class offered large leather recliners, a little like lazee-boy chairs, you could lay back at a 45 degree angle, and with 2-1 seating there was plenty of space.  Second Class, well think about old local bus bench seats, because that was exactly what they were like.  My Mum was on a train just like that after arriving from the UK on a ship at Wellington, and it wasn't a welcoming trip, especially when all of the catering (there wasn't even a shop) was only at stations (the sleeper tea or coffee wasn't available to the egalitarian masses).

Second Class on NZR long distance passenger services from the 1940s to the 1970s was basically this.  Cozy for 13 hours +

So you can hardly be surprised when business travellers and more and more leisure travellers said "bugger that" and didn't bother with the trains.  The same with the Christchurch-Dunedin-Invercargill overnight train, which of course conveniently arrived in Dunedin in the wee small hours from Christchurch, or left Dunedin near midnight in the other direction.

You can't accuse NZR of not responding to the competition, but you can accuse it of doing it too late. It's first response was to upgrade its daylight service between Wellington and Auckland to a faster railcar, the Blue Streak, in 1968 and then with new railcars in 1972, the SilverFern.  This offered air conditioning, light refreshments at your seat, but still stopped for lunch at Taihape at a sit down railway restaurant (for an extra price).  For leisure travellers it was definitely an improvement and proved to be a great success for some years (indeed it remains as the Northern Explorer, barely breaking even).  However, for business travellers it was a day lost.

In 1970, the South Island saw the arrival of the Southerner.  Old first class cars built in the 1930s and 40s, were spruced up with luxuries like carpet, electric heating and, lo and behold, a buffet car was introduced offering full meal service, and many intermediate stops were removed, so the service would approach being competitive with driving.  It was a success for some years, but only because the distances between the main centres were shorter than the North Island Main Trunk.  Yet it too would fall by the wayside because of economics.  Cars that weighed three times as much as a bus and carry 30% fewer passengers, buffet cars lost a fortune.  Ultimately, the Southerner ended in 2002 because a combination of widespread car ownership and low cost efficient shuttle bus services saw it seen as a slow, lumbering and expensive way to get around.

In 1970, it became possible to buy a meal on a train again.  The Southerner Buffet Car


Silverstar-Northerner

Then in 1971 the ill-fated Silverstar came into service.  Too late, but not too little.  This brand new, air conditioned (the first in New Zealand), Japanese made overnight train ran between Auckland and Wellington. It was all sleeper, with double glazing and had a buffet car with full meal service, including alcohol.  Half the train was single birth sleepers, each with their own fold down toilet and hot and cold sink, the other half two birth sleeper with separate bathroom, including shower.  It was described by one international travel critic as the "third most luxurious train in the world" (after South Africa's Blue Train and Australia's Indian Pacific), and was a hit, for a short while.

A vain attempt by the Silverstar to target a demographic that was already flying
The problem was simple.  It didn't really matter how good a train it was, business travellers mostly preferred to hop on a jet at the end of the day and go home, or get up in the morning get on a jet and go to their meetings.  Spending a night on a train was always going to be less desirable than flying. In 1975, the second overnight Auckland-Wellington train was refurbished (again with cars from the 30s and 40s), called the Northerner, with all the seats now refurbished version of the old first class with a couple of old style sleepers, and a buffet car introduced.   The Northerner did gain around a third of its passengers from stopping at points along the route, but it still meant leaving at 7.30pm and arriving at 8.30am, and without a shower compared to the Silverstar.

None of this was going to be enough to woo people off of planes, so by 1979 the legacy overnight trains (on Friday and Sunday evenings only by now) between Christchurch and Invercargill were discontinued, and the Silverstar was withdrawn, the intention being that half of its sleepers be gutted and have seats installed, so the Northerner could be replaced with a relatively new, air conditioned single overnight train.  However, the discovery of blue asbestos as insulation saw the railway unions refuse to work on the train, and for around 10 years debate was had about whether it was worth it to pay the much higher cost to undertake the work.  Ultimately, the Silverstar cars were sold to a Malaysian company, which completely refurbished them and it now runs as the Eastern Oriental Express.

Farewell Lyttelton Ferry

As this was all happening, the seas saw the end of another service.  The Wellington-Lyttelton ferry had long been the standard service between Wellington and Christchurch, offering overnight cabins for passengers, and roll-on roll-off service for cars, between the cities.  It had already lost freight traffic with the arrival of the NZR Cook Strait Ferries between Wellington and Picton, particularly as the law at the time gave NZR a monopoly on almost all freight traffic consigned for distances over 40 miles, so much freight that had once gone by road on the Lyttelton ferry, was legally required to go by rail via the Picton ferries.

TEV Rangatira at Wellington


However, it was hit with two blows in 1968.  The first was the tragic sinking of the TEV Wahine on 10 April 1968, which not only shook confidence in the service, but saw its frequency half, as with only one ship (the aging TEV Maori), it was impossible to operate a nightly service in both directions.  With the arrival of Boeing 737 services on the route later that year, by 1972 the replacement ship - the TEV Rangatira - had already seen big drops in patronage.  As always, a range of accommodation had been available.  Single berth cabins would get well used, but four and eight berth cabins (which could be booked for individual travellers to share with strangers) were increasingly difficult to fill, as people weren't keen on sleeping with strangers.  With a large number of two berth cabins many prospective passengers either would have to pay for a whole cabin, or risk sharing with a stranger.  Of course backpacking was virtually unknown in those days.  Having a restaurant, cafeteria, cocktail bar and cinema weren't enough to make up

Instead of retaining both ships, the Rangatira replaced the TEV Maori, and maintained a service every second day, but was already losing money.  In 1974 the Union Steam Ship Company announced the service would be cancelled, as it was losing NZ$4m a year.  This wasn't helped by the militant Seafarer's Union demanding increased pay well above inflation, essentially pricing themselves out of jobs.  Both the Rowling and the Muldoon Government that succeeded it, subsidised its operation for the following two years, but it ceased in 1976 having averaged patronage of little more than 50% and vehicle numbers of around a third of capacity.   Although the removal of the railways' monopoly on long distance freight did see the revival of vehicle ferries for trucks on the route, it was never again to be for an overnight passenger trip.

Competition and cars

Of course, since then, NAC and Air New Zealand (then only an international airline) merged in 1978, the Muldoon Government deregulated the airline industry in 1983 and the Lange Government lowered in 1987 and eventually removed foreign investment restrictions on domestic airlines, resulting in Ansett New Zealand - flying secondhand Boeing 737s at first - providing competition for major domestic air services.  With that, fares dropped, and as subsequent governments allowed second hand car imports, and removed tariffs on imported new vehicle, intercity rail travel dropped. It became "normal" for people on average incomes to fly domestically, and car ownership increased, along with the quality and safety of the cars people owned.  In addition, in response to the number of major accident blackspots, spending on roads through the 70s to the 90s focused on fixing problem intersections, bends and other parts of the network which disproportionately saw lives being taken.  A simple measure, installing median barriers on all motorways, saved dozens of lives every year. Driving was becoming safer and cheaper, and flying was cheaper too.   Of course, the Northerner is gone too, as not even backpackers were willing in sufficient numbers to sit on an overnight train (the sleepers were withdrawn in 1987 following the Lange Government's decision to end subsidies). Eventually, the 737 had opponents, as the professional whinger Sue Kedgley, as Wellington City Councillor demanded the Council boycott Air New Zealand (it had been privatised by then), because its second generation 737s (which arrived in the 1980s to replace the original set) were noisier than the BAe 146 so-called "whisperjets" Ansett was flying in the 1990s.  This came to nothing, as "hush-kits" were put on the planes, and they were replaced by the 3rd generation 737-300s in the late 1990s, of course by then Kedgley had found a new "anti-technology, pro-tell people how to get around", cause to be a hypocrite about.

Although railway enthusiasts, including myself, may be saddened by the end of many rail services on nostalgia grounds, there is little doubt that those small jets transformed business travel and eventually leisure travel in the country.  A weekend away following a flight of no more than an hour and a half, is affordable and feasible.  Business meetings in different parts of the country entirely possible, with frequencies on the busiest Auckland-Wellington and Christchurch routes more than hourly at peaks. NAC took a chance on a very new design, and took on a government less interested in what was good for the business (and passenger), and more interested in how it looked diplomatically.  In the 1960s, thinking about having conferences that attract people from across the country, seemed fanciful and indeed business meetings at the "drop of a hat" were much rarer than today.

Yes, the same services are now continuing with the Airbus A320, a design originating from the 1980s, not the 1960s.  Yes, Boeing 737s will be in our skies for some years as foreign airlines use the