Home' Greymouth Star : January 21st 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, January 21, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1643 - Abel Tasman discovers Tonga.
1788 - Ships of the First Fleet begin entering
1793 - France’s King Louis XVI is
1924 - Russian revolutionary
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin dies at age 54.
1936 - Edward VIII is proclaimed
Britain’s king following the death of
his father, George V.
1942 - German forces launch new
offensive in western African desert in World
1950 - Death of George Orwell (Eric Arthur
Blair), British author who wrote Animal Farm
1994 - A US court finds Lorena Bobbitt
innocent by reason of insanity of feloniously
cutting off her husband’s penis.
1998 - US President Bill Clinton denies
reports of an affair with former White House
intern Monica Lewinsky; US actor Jack Lord
of Hawaii Five-O fame dies in Honolulu at
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Christian Dior, French fashion designer
(1905-1957); Paul Scofield, British actor
(1922-2008); Telly Savalas, US
actor (1924-1994); Benny Hill,
English comedian (1925-1992);
Clive Churchill, Australian rugby
league footballer (1927-1985); Jack
Nicklaus, US golfer (1940-); Placido
Domingo, Spanish tenor (1941-);
Jill Eikenberry, US actress (1947-);
Geena Davis, US actress (1956-); Charlotte
Ross, US actress (1968-); Emma “Baby Spice”
Bunton, UK singer of The Spice Girls (1976-).
“Common sense is the collection of prejudices
acquired by age 18.” — Albert Einstein,
German-born physicist. (1879-1955).
“For those who want to save their life will lose
it, and for those who lose their life for My sake,
and for the Gospel, will save it.” — (Mark 8:35).
The judges have
made their decision.
The winner of last
night’s Miss West
Coast 1965 contest is Miss Noelene East.
Second place-getter was Miss Lesley Murly
and third was Miss Jacquelyn Mundy.
Eight young women took part in the contest
organised by the Cobden-Kohinoor Rugby
League Club and held in the St Columba Hall
last night. They are: Jacquelyn Mundy, Cynthia
Ryder, Noelene East, Bernadette Seal, Sharon
Madden, Larrie-Anne Heath, Lesley Murly
and Dianne Wootton.
Mr Percival Honey, aged 43, of Aratika, an
employee of Stratford Blair Ltd, was admitted
to the Greymouth Hospital yesterday with
back and chest injuries.
Mr Honey was working in the bush at Maori
Gully in the morning and he suffered the
injuries when a falling tree struck him. His
employees could not confirm the details of the
accident this morning. The hospital reported
today that Mr Honey ’s condition is satisfactory.
The “cancer scare” appears to have held
little fear for Greymouth smokers. This is the
conclusion of Greymouth wholesalers and
tobacconists in a sur vey made this morning
by an Evening Star reporter. All agreed that
sales were now back to normal after a slight
Following the comments of a number of
doctors and the findings of scientists who
attributed a great deal of cancer to cigarette
smoking, reports throughout the world
indicated that there had been a noticeable
trend by people to give up the habit.
But, although the sale of cigarettes is back to
normal here, there has been an increase in pipe
uFood for thought
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he gadget of the moment
is the drone and the
Show in Las Vegas tapped
the zeitgeist. The exotic-
looking collection unveiled
last week focuses on aerial photography.
The Nixie is a lightweight drone
developed by American physics researchers
that wraps around your wrist like a watch.
Unfold it and throw it away from you to
see it hover, snap a photo of you from a
distance and navigate its way back to you.
It’s an elegant alternative to the selfie stick.
The leader of the drones is the company
DJI, which launched the Inspire 1
($3750), a futuristic-looking drone that
shoots smooth, shake-free video in “4K”
quality — four times the resolution of the
high-definition videos we watch.
DJI’s older model, the Phantom 2
Vision+ is on sale in New Zealand
($1900) and set the bar for ease of use. The
camera beams images to your smartphone
screen so you see exactly what the camera
sees, and you can use the drone’s GPS chip
to set a pre-determined flight path.
Most drones still rely on a fairly
conventional handheld controller with a
human pushing the levers. That will have
to change if Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is
to achieve his vision of cross-city courier
deliveries via drone.
The Spiri Drone may be the answer.
It has no controller but flies on a
pre-determined path that relies on it
connecting to GPS satellites to stay on
track. The Spiri Drone also communicates
with the ground and responds to voice
commands so you can tell it what to do.
Its Canadian developers plan to have it on
sale by mid-year.
The whole “internet of things” revolution
started with a blast of hot air. Two years
ago, the smart thermostat company
Nest wowed crowds at the Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas with
its hockey puck-shaped networked
gadget, which lets you crank up the air
conditioning at home — from your phone
on the bus.
Nest is now owned by Google after last
year’s $4 billion acquisition and the $320
gadget is being given away to millions of
Irish households which expect to cut their
electricity bills by up to 20% using the
But Nest ’s plan to dominate the
connected home hinges on its ability to
“talk” to the other internet-enable devices
in our lives, such as Kevo, a smart deadbolt
for your front door you can unlock with a
tap on your phone screen.
Talking wirelessly to Kevo ($450), Nest
knows who is entering the home and
will set the thermostat at a pre-selected
temperature. Networked lightbulbs are all
the rage, too.
Philips’ Hue LED bulbs ($300 for a
three-bulb pack) change colour to match
the tone of a movie or mood.
Other bulbs debuted this year that let
you extend wireless internet through
your house and Nest crops up again
— its smoke detectors talk to the Hue
lightblubs, flashing lights if a wisp of
smoke is detected.
Kitchen gadgets are also smartening up.
Take Smarter’s wi-fi coffee maker ($166).
You can order a coffee from bed and get
an alert on your phone when it is brewed.
And beds are getting an overhaul. The
ReST (responsive surface technology) bed
monitors your sleeping patterns and body
position using 18 sensors, changing the
firmness and position of the mattress for
your comfort. It will set you back
All these items are expected to arrive in
New Zealand this year but decking out
your entire house with networked gadgets
will cost thousands.
A decade out, the cost will be radically
reduced, but there is another problem —
an emerging standards war reminiscent
of the early 80s VHS versus Betamax
battle. Everyone wants to be the one that
networks all the gadgets together, from
Apple with its Homekit, to Samsung and
its SmartThings system to Honeywell,
which is pushing yet another standard
Not all of these systems speak the same
language, a situation that will need to
change for the connected home to become
Wireless charging is the much-touted
answer when it comes to powering up.
Don’t worry, you won’t fry yourself in
the process, the technology is safe and
already in use for charging some models of
smartphones over short distances.
On the road
Bid farewell to the bog standard car
stereo. New cars will increasingly come
with a display that runs applications for
Car Play, Apple’s in-car operating system,
or Android Auto, its Google-developed
That ushers in the prospect of having all
the apps available on your smartphone also
appear on your dashboard. You could play
your iTunes collection or check Gmail
while stopped at the lights. Volkswagen
will offer owners of new Golf cars the
option of going Apple or Android this
year with the ability to import their music
collections, navigation and entertainment
With Apple and Google in the smart
watch game, the watch also has the
potential to become your car key, offering
remote start, door unlocking and flashing
the headlights so you can find your car in
a dark carpark.
Google’s driverless cars have already
racked up millions of miles on Californian
roads with barely a single fender-bender
to tarnish their driving record. Robots
make better drivers than humans and the
technology could save thousands of lives
But the high cost of autonomous
navigation systems and the regulatory
changes required to unleash driverless cars
on our roads puts their debut a decade
away. In the meantime, cars are becoming
smarter, helping you park and avoid
crashes if not seeking to replace you at the
steering wheel entirely.
BMW has unveiled its i3 luxury auto,
equipped with Active Assist. Several cars
already on the market in New Zealand
will parallel park for you but BMW takes
it a step further. Step out of the car at
the entrance to a parking bay and the i3,
using four laser sensors at the front, back
and sides of the car and virtual mapping
software, will park the car for you, without
hitting anything on the way. BMW hopes
to have i3s on the road with Active Assist
within five years and, as they will do the
parking off main roads, the legal barriers
will be greatly reduced.
Mercedes stole the show at the
Consumer Electronics Show with its
concept car, the F015 Luxury in Motion.
A driverless car, it throws out most of the
conventional design features. For example,
if a robot is driving you, why have all the
seats facing for ward — they could instead
face inwards, like in a train compartment.
The silvery Merc is powered by a plug-in
hydrogen fuel cell, which is competing
with electric batteries as the future
alternative to gas engines.
From the outside, virtual reality has not
changed much — the chunky goggles are
essential in recreating a 3D world view.
But a revolution in 3D graphics rendering
is powering a new generation of video
games and movies that will be available
Samsung will soon release the Gear VR,
a virtual reality headset ($260) that works
with its Galaxy Note 4 ($1100) to ser ve
high-definition movies such as Mar vel
superhero flick Avengers: Age of Ultron.
You do vnot need a big-screen tv if VR
goggles can mimic a massive screen in
front of your eyes.
VR also allow a bit of perspective in
gaming, letting you move your head to
see around you or lean for ward to study
things. The master of VR is Oculus, which
helped develop the Gear VR for Samsung
and played a starring role at the Consumer
Electronics Show with a prototype of
the Oculus Rift, VR goggles that have
won rave reviews for their stunning
image quality. They will debut this year, at
between $260 and $500.
The $120b video games market is the
natural home for virtual reality but movies
may well prove the technology ’s killer app.
Film-maker Jaunt VR is using 3D cameras
to record in 360 degrees to create movies
tailored to VR goggles — it demoed some
VR scenes from Peter Jackson’s Hobbit
movies last week.
You can see why Facebook last year spent
more than $2b buying Oculus. It too sees
VR as the future of the social network.
But big ideas can swiftly come crashing
down. Augmented reality glasses such as
Google Glass were talking points last year
but the company announced yesterday it
was halting sales until it could develop a
VR applications may seem frivolous, but
the technology being perfected in games
and movies is tipped to play a wider role
in the next decade in medicine, design and
On the shelves now
Samsung gear S smart watch: It has a
SIM card so can replace your phone, if you
don’t mind speaking into your wrist, Get
Smart style. $499
Parrot Jumping Sumo: Forget faddish
drones — the Sumo zips around the floor
at up to 7kph and can leap 80cm into the
air. A little camera records all your stunts
and beams the video to your smartphone.
Jabra Sport Pulse: The wireless headset
allows you to listen to music while you jog
and features a pulse sensor in the earbuds
to track your pace and steps taken. $245
Alienware Alpha: Some of your
favourite PC games delivered on the tv
just like a PlayStation or Xbox console.
Huge variety of downloadable games
available on the Steam platform. $799
Chrome Cast: Do not have a smart
tv? That ’s fine, Chrome Cast will beam
content from a laptop, smartphone or
tablet to any tv equipped with a HDMI
My 21st century invention wishlist
Personalised flight: I have wanted
to fly since I was five, watching the Los
Angeles Olympics and that jetpack-
wearing pilot cruise in and touch down
on the stadium floor. Between the Martin
Jetpack and the Hover Bike, Kiwis are
having a decent crack at making it a
reality. I remain convinced I will be able to
jetpack my way to work within 30 years,
just in time for retirement.
Limitless energy: A visit to MIT’s
nuclear fusion reactor a couple of years ago
gave me a taste of what could be achieved
if scientists figure out how to sustain a
fusion reaction on an ongoing basis. We
would be talking about vast amounts of
clean, cheap energy - an end to smoke-
belching coal power plants and our
addiction to oil. Lockheed Martin claims
to have a prototype of a truck-sized fusion
reactor in the works that it aims to have
the military using within 10 years, and
power stations 20 years out.
The productivity machine: Despite
all the advances technology has gifted
us since the rise of computers, we are
working harder and longer than ever.
Much of the menial work we undertake
could be done by robots, which is why
the likes of Google and Amazon are
pouring billions into robotics acquisitions.
Advances in artificial intelligence in the
coming decades could take care of many
of the tasks that require a more personal
touch. The real answer is a human machine
interface that gives you a back-up brain
you can devote to the tasks you would
rather not do. Say hello to your more
productive self. — New Zealand Herald
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Drones fly at the Autel booth during the International Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.
Boko Haram says it is building an
Islamic state that will revive the glory days
of northern Nigeria’s medieval Muslim
empires, but for those in its territory life
is a litany of killings, kidnappings, hunger
and economic collapse.
The Islamist group’s five-year-old
campaign has become one of the deadliest
in the world, with around 10,000
people killed last year, according to the
Council on Foreign Relations. Hundreds,
mostly women and children, have been
It remains the biggest threat to the
stability of Africa’s biggest economy ahead
of an election on Febrary 14 in which
President Goodluck Jonathan will seek
But while it has matched Islamic State in
Syria and Iraq in its brutality — it beheads
its enemies on camera — it has seriously
lagged in the more mundane business of
“The Islamic state is a figment of their
imagination. They are just going into
your house and saying they have taken
over,” said Phineas Elisha, government
spokesman for Adamawa State, one of
three states under emergency rule to fight
Unlike its Middle East counterparts
wooing locals with a semblance of
administration, villagers trapped by Boko
Haram face food shortages, slavery, killing
and a lock down on economic activity,
those who escaped say.
“They have no form of government,”
Elisha, who saw the devastation caused
by Boko Haram after government
forces recaptured the town of Mubi in
Boko Haram, which never talks to
media except to deliver jihadist videos to
local journalists, could not be reached for
Boko Haram’s leaders talk about reviving
one of the West African Islamic empires
that for centuries prospered off the
Saharan trade in slaves, ivory and gold, but
they demonstrate little evidence of state
In August a man saying he was Boko
Haram leader Abubakar Shekau — the
military says it killed Shekau — issued a
video declaring a “Muslim territory” in
Gwoza, by the Cameroon border.
There were echoes of Islamic State’s
proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria
two months earlier. Boko Haram controls
an area just over 30,000 square kilometres
of territory, about the size of Belgium,
according to a Reuters calculation based
on security sources and government data.
But while in Syria, after initially brutal
takeovers, Islamic State has tried to win
over communities, those who escaped
Boko Haram say the rebels do little for
them beyond forcing them to adopt their
brand of Islam on pain of death.
“They provide raw rice to cook, the
rice that they stole from the shops. They
provide a kettle and ... scar ves to cover
up the women,” said Maryam Peter from
“People are going hungry. They are only
feeding on corn and squash. No meat,
nothing like that. The insurgents are not
providing anything else,” she added.
Maryam said most daily interactions
with the militants involved them
questioning villagers on their movements
and forbidding them from trying to escape
— a rule she managed to flout when she
fled a week ago.
A government-run camp in a former
school is now her home, along with 1000
others, where mothers cook on outdoor
fires while children run around. Some
1.5 million people have been rendered
homeless by the war, O xfam says.
And those the militants kill, they often
fail to bury. The first thing the Nigerian
Red Cross has to do when a town falls
back into government hands is clear the
corpses, Aliyu Maikano, a Red Cross
official, told Reuters.
After the army recaptured Mubi in
November, Maikano had to cover his nose
to avoid the stench of rotting corpses.
Those still alive “were star ved for food,
water, almost everything there. There’s
no drinking water because in most of
the wells there you’ll find dead bodies,”
Many residents looked tattered and
malnourished, and some were unable to
“They are heartless. ISIS (Islamic State)
is a kind of organised group, it’s a business.
These guys are not.”
A former resident of Mubi said the
rebels had renamed the town “Madinatul
Islam” or “City of Islam”.
But when government spokesman
Phineas Elisha walked into the Emir’s
palace after its recapture, everything had
been looted, even the windows and doors.
“Mubi was a ghost town ... Virtually all
the shops were looted.” he said. It took
him hours to find a bottle of water.
Sometimes the rebels simply loot the
unprotected villages and hide out in
bush camps, security sources say. Murna
Philip, who escaped the occupied town of
Michika five months ago, said a few dozen
fighters had occupied an abattoir, a school
and a lodge, but little else.
To sur vive under their watch you have
to pretend to support them, said Andrew
Miyanda, who escaped the rebels last
week, walking for days to the Benue river.
“They would write Jama’atu Ahlis
Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad (Boko
Haram’s full name) on their trouser legs
in marker or the back of their shirts,” he
said. “ You had to turn up your trousers
with the marker on to show that you are a
Buildings were torched and boys were
abducted for “training”, he said, a practice
reminiscent of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance
Slowly, with the help of traditional
hunters armed with home made guns and
a reputation for magic powers, government
forces have pushed Boko Haram out of
some of its southern possessions.
Morris Enoch, a leader of the hunters,
says they found an arsenal of military
weapons: rocket launchers, machine guns,
dynamite, anti-aircraft guns and grenades.
The rebels rarely leave behind much else.
Boko Haram offers little to villagers
Women displaced as a result of Boko Haram attacks in the north-east region of
Nigeria, sit together at a camp for internally displaced people in Yola, Adamawa State.
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