Home' Greymouth Star : January 29th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, January 29, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1820 - King George III dies insane at
1845 - Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem The
Raven is first published.
1856 - The Victoria Cross, the
Commonwealth’s highest military
honour, is instituted.
1886 - German motor pioneer
Karl Benz is granted a patent for the
first successful petrol-driven car.
1888 - Death of Edward Lear,
English landscape painter and
writer of nonsense verse.
1896 - US physician Emile Grubbe becomes
the first to use radiation treatment for breast
cancer, on patient Rose Lee of Chicago.
1899 - Death of Alfred Sisley, one of the
founders of French Impressionism.
1949 - Britain grants de facto recognition to
new state of Israel.
1958 - Wedding of Hollywood stars Paul
Newman and Joanne Woodward.
1980 - Death of US comedian Jimmy
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Thomas Paine, American patriot-author
(1737-1809); Germaine Greer, Australian
born feminist, academic and author
(1939-); Katharine Ross, US actress
(1940-); Tom Selleck, US actor
(1945-); Ian “Molly” Meldrum,
Australian tv personality (1946-);
Oprah Winfrey, US tv personality
(1954-); Ed Burns, US actor-
director (1968-); Heather Graham,
US actress (1970-); Andrew Keegan, US
actor of Party of Five fame (1979-); Athina
Onassis, French heiress and equestrian (1985-);
Stephanie Gilmore, Australian surfer, (1988-).
“ Misquotations are the only quotations that
are never misquoted.” — Hesketh Pearson,
British biographer (1887-1964).
“ Worship the Lord your God, and ser ve only
Him.” — (Luke 4:8).
Members of the
library have not
shown a great deal of
interest in securing Lady Chatterley ’s Lover, the
unexpurgated version of which is now off the
Indecent Publications Tribunal’s banned list.
Miss J C Heaphy, the head librarian, said this
morning that there had been no requests for
the book by D H Lawrence. This is in complete
contrast to the many requests which followed
the lifting of bans on L olita and Another
Miss Heaphy felt that the absense of
requests could be attributed to the fact that the
expurgated version had been in New Zealand
for some time. The unexpurgated version should
be released in New Zealand about March.
The 45ft ketch Ngatahi, skippered by former
Westport newsagent Mr Jack Parkhouse,
arrived in Westport early today after crossing
the Tasman from Sydney in eight days. Mr
Parkhouse said he had set course for Whangarei
after leaving the New South Wales coast but
the direction of the winds encountered made a
Westport landfall more convenient.
Accompanying Mr Parkhouse was another
former Westport man, Mr A Phillips, and two
Sydney university engineering graduates.
Mr Parkhouse built the Ngatahi at Thursday
Island where he conducted a hotel for a number
Mr R P Turnbull, who has been a driver in
the fleet of Greymouth Taxis for several years,
after resigning from the Post and Telegraph
Department, has disposed of his business to
former West Coast representative cricketer Mr
Mr Turnbull was president of the Greymouth
Taxi Operators’ Society.
uFood for thought
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Greece, the birthplace of democracy,
is now the test of whether democratic
governments still possess the power to
effect meaningful change. If it passes the
test, then the election of the left-wing
Syriza Party, on January 26, will mark
the beginning of the end of the 30-year
neo-liberal experiment. But, if it fails, then
the growing perception that democracy
has become an empty shell, incapable of
delivering anything more than more of the
same, will harden — not only in Greece,
but across the whole world.
There are those who suggest that, when
it comes to democracy, the neo-liberal
doctrines of the political class have acted
like a neutron bomb. For those unfamiliar
with the term, the neutron bomb was
one of the Cold War’s most abhorrent
creations. Its great “selling point ” was
that its detonation, while killing human
beings by the million, would leave
key infrastructure intact. Ready and
waiting, following a suitable inter val, for
occupation and use by the “ victors”.
According to the neutron bomb
metaphor, neo-liberalism has eliminated
the vital human elements of our
democratic system. The mass participation
in political life for which New Zealand
was justly famous (roughly a 10th of
our adult population once belonged to a
political party and the numbers voting
frequently exceeded 90% of registered
electors) has dwindled dramatically,
reducing our democratic institutions
to empty, echoing shells. The awful
uniformity, both in terms of the political
choices on offer, and the politicians
offering them, is thus explained.
The Syriza Party’s stunning victory in
the Greek general election is significant
precisely because it has allowed the
Greek people to re-occupy their country’s
democratic infrastructure. The resulting
surge of hope that has swept through
the Greek population — evident in the
highly emotional responses of ordinary
Greek citizens inter viewed on the streets
of Athens by the world’s bemused media
— is at once new Prime Minister Alexis
Tsipras’s greatest asset and the source of
his greatest vulnerability.
The neo-liberal financiers of the
European Union are adamant that the
Greek people will not be released from
the debt obligations imposed upon them
by the profligate borrowings of corrupt
politicians more than a decade ago. The
devastating austerity programme overseen
by the so-called “Troika” (the European
Central Bank, the European Commission
and the International Monetary Fund)
which has seen unemployment soar
to 1 in 4 of the workforce, and the
incomes of those lucky enough to still
have a job slashed by as much as 40%,
must, according to Greece’s unyielding
European creditors, remain in force.
The neo-liberal elites’ assumption
has always been that by forcing savage
reductions in the size and scope of
Greece’s public sector, the confidence of
her private sector would soar, investment
would surge, and before you could say
“ long live the eurozone!” the Greek
economy would have grown its way back
In the real world, however, events have
unfolded very differently. Health cuts left
the chronically ill without medicine. Wage
cuts led to mortgage defaults and homeless
families. Confidence collapsed. Investment
dried up. Emigration soared. When the
desperate victims of austerity protested,
their political representatives, pledged to
defend the almighty euro, called out the
When the Greeks voted out the
politicians responsible, they discovered
to their horror that the replacements
were just as committed to implementing
the troika’s austerity programme as their
predecessors. When tested, political parties
nominally of the left turned out to be
practically indistinguishable from their
supposed ideological rivals on the right.
In the end, politicians from the traditional
parties felt obliged to join forces against
what they saw as the unrealistic and
unreasonable demands of the electors.
Isolated and vilified as traitors, the Greek
political class would have struggled to
detect the irony in Berthold Brecht’s
famous suggestion that it might be easier
for the government “to dissolve the people
and elect another. ”
Greece’s electors have now delivered
their emphatic reply to the brutal
economic absolutism of successive
neo-liberal governments. The halls of
the democratic Greek republic, for long
the exclusive preser ve of neo-liberal
technocrats and their local political
collaborators, are now ringing with the
excited voices of the Greek People.
The people of the European Union,
themselves no strangers to the brutalities
of austerity, are listening. If Syriza is to
succeed, it is to this audience that it must
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
Can democracy save the Greeks?
Shopping vouchers and on-line social
networks may be powerful, modern
tools to help people quit smoking and
lose weight, two unusual experiments
Pregnant women promised vouchers
were much likelier than non-rewarded
peers to kick the smoking habit, a
study in Scotland showed.
American researchers found that
people shed more kilos the more
on-line friendships they formed with
Both projects sought to find
innovative and cost-effective ways of
tackling lifestyle behaviours that are
inflicting an ever-heavier toll in lives
lost and healthcare costs around the
In the Scottish study, published in
The BMJ, researchers offered 612
pregnant smokers in Glasgow free
nicotine replacement therapy and
professional quitting aid.
Half the volunteers were also
promised $815 in shopping vouchers.
A first voucher of $101 was earned
for showing up for a meeting with a
professional and setting a quit date,
another $101 for not smoking for four
weeks, another $203 for 12 weeks and
$407 at 34-38 weeks.
Saliva or urine tests were used to
confirm abstinence from cigarettes.
“Significantly more” of the voucher
recipients stopped smoking — 69 out
of the first group of 306, compared to
26 from the non-rewarded half, said
the study — 23% and 9% respectively.
“After 12 months, 15% of women
who were offered financial incentives
remained off cigarettes compared to
only 4%” of the other group, said a
In the other study, published in
the journal Proceedings of the Royal
Society B, researchers in the US
looked at more than 2000 people who
joined an on-line weight management
(OWM) social networking site.
After six months, people with a
single contact reported having lost on
average 4.1% of initial body weight,
rising to 5.2% for those with two to
It rose further to 6.8% for those
with a bigger group of contacts, and
a whopping 8.3% for those with the
“ It is essential to continue exploring
and optimising this important new
tool in the arsenal of public health
inter ventions.” — AFP
hen John Surtees
was a boy, his
father came home
one evening with
news that would
change his life.
“It was just after the war and he said:
‘Lad, I’ve sorted out those spanners
for you. That ’s your set. And there’s a
tea chest and if you can put together
what ’s inside it you can ride it,” the 1964
Formula One champion recalled in an
inter view with Reuters.
Inside the crate was a motorcycle
waiting to be assembled and the
youngster, who remains the only man to
win world championships on two wheels
and four, needed no more encouragement.
“Before that I’d been playing lots of
football and doing sports at school, but
I’m afraid my evenings rather got taken
up by putting that together,” grinned the
80-year-old as he surveyed a room full
of school children engaged in their own
Surtees may have been a born racer but
he was also fascinated by the engineering
side and managed his own Formula One
team after retirement.
‘F1 in Schools’, a global competition
whose London and south-east England
regional finals Surtees was attending at
Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge soccer ground,
puts a gleam in his eyes.
“The technology they are having to
use in developing these cars, and the
knowledge they are gaining, is something
which will stand them in good stead
throughout their lives,” said the Briton.
“Formula One bridges out into so
many areas. The technology is not just
purely Formula One technology ... so
the opportunities there are immense.
Engineering provides a fantastic
Now in its 12th season and featuring 42
countries, F1 in Schools offers budding
boffins a genuine taste of the sport as well
as the practical application of science,
technology, engineering and maths
(STEM) related subjects.
The teams must raise sponsorship,
draw up a business plan, design and
make the tiny model cars and hold
presentations before going racing
on a 24m two-laned straight.
The stress, sleepless nights and euphoria
that Lewis Hamilton felt when he won
the Formula One title in Abu Dhabi
last November were also familiar to the
British ‘Colossus’ team who won the
schools’ title there.
“For ner ves it was an absolute
nightmare,” recalled 17-year-old Charlie
Flynn. “Going to sleep in the early hours
because we were working so hard, not
knowing what is going to happen the
next day... it’s horrendous for nerves.
“ With F1 in schools you are always
being judged. It is relentless,” he added
as the next crop of would-be finalists
competed around him.
The championship, whose 2015 finals
will be at the Singapore Grand Prix, is
aimed at school children from nine to 19
and past winners have found placements
with teams such as champions Mercedes,
Red Bull, Lotus and McLaren.
Adrian Newey, designer of title-winning
cars for McLaren, Williams and Red
Bull, is a patron as is former Ferrari
technical director and ex-Mercedes
principal Ross Brawn. Former Jordan
designer Gary Anderson is the top
“ We are the miniature version of F1,”
founder Andrew Denford told Reuters as
teams put their cars through a speed test.
“ Where there’s 600 in a factory, there’s
six in a (Formula One in Schools) team
and you’ve got every area in that factory
covered by the six different people —
from the business and sponsorship and
marketing plan to aerodynamics and
manufacturing, wheel design, CFD and
While the cars are cut from a block
of balsa wood and powered by a gas
canister, the technology applied to them
In 2013 the winning car had a coating
of vaporised metal while Colossus used
front and rear aerofoils of laser sintered
nylon and acetal resin wheels accurate to
There have also been controversies on
a par with those in Formula One, with
Flynn coming up with an aerodynamic
device that nobody else had thought of in
11 years of competition.
The resulting record times had rivals
scrambling to make something similar
with 3D printers before the team from
Robert May ’s school in Hampshire,
southern England, made a sporting
gesture and withdrew it.
“I think we had eight teams appealing
against our little device,” said team
member Emma Baldry, 16. “A lot of
people didn’t like it, especially as we were
able to break the world record.
“But we still won without it because
the whole competition takes in lots of
aspects, it’s not just the racing. You have
presentations and portfolios, and pressure
challenges. So it all comes together.”
F1 in schools
The Colossus team from England which won the world championship last year. Inset: One of the cars.
key to kicking
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