Home' Greymouth Star : June 12th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, June 12, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1667 - The first known successful blood
transfusion is carried out by Jean-Baptiste
Denys, personal physician to Louis XIV of
France, on a 15-year-old-boy using sheep blood.
1683 - Plot to assassinate King Charles II of
Britain and his brother James, Duke of York, is
1897 - Swiss cutlery maker Carl Elsener
patents his penknife, later to become known as
the Swiss army knife.
1944 - Germans launch flying-
bomb attacks against Britain.
1953 - Len Hutton becomes the
first professional cricketer to captain
1957 - Death of US band leader
and saxophonist Jimmy Dorsey.
1978 - David Berkowitz is sentenced to 25
years to life in prison for each of the six “Son of
Sam” killings that terrified New Yorkers.
1994 - Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald
Goldman are found stabbed to death in
Brentwood, California; her ex-husband, former
American football star O J Simpson, is later
acquitted of their murder.
1996 - Eighteen Australian ser vicemen die
when two army Blackhawk helicopters collide
and burst into flames during training exercises
near Townsville, Queensland.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Charles Kingsley, English author-social
reformer (1819-1875); George Bush, former
US president (1924-); Anne Frank,
German-born diarist (1929-1945);
Jim Nabors, US actor-singer
(1930-); Chick Corea, US jazz
musician (1941-); Mar v Albert, US
sportscaster (1941-); Reg Presley,
English singer of The Troggs fame
(1943- 2013); Rocky Brunette, US
singer-songwriter (1953-); Terry
Alderman, Australian cricketer (1956-); John
Linnell, US musician of They Might Be Giants
fame (1959-); Grandmaster Dee, US rapper
(1962-); War wick Capper, AFL player (1963-);
Paula Marshall, US actress (1964-); Frances
O’Connor, Australian actress (1967-); Darryl
White, AFL player (1973-); Robyn, Swedish
musician (1979-); Adriana Lima, Brazilian
supermodel (1981-); Abbey Lee Kershaw,
Australian model (1987-).
“ Don’t use the conduct of a fool as a
precedent.” — The Jewish Talmud.
“ But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though
I were writing you a new commandment, but
one we have had from the beginning, let us
love one another.” — 2 John 1.5
The reply of
businessman to the
question: “ What did you think of the Budget?”
sums up both prior feeling and reaction to
Mr Lake’s financial statement of last night.
He said simply: “ The Budget. When did that
come out?” To the mass of the people there is
a growing and evident trend of apathy towards
this major event which at one time both before
and after was on the tip of every tongue.
It is indicative either of social and economic
contentment or a flow of Budgets which do
little to excite or provoke, that one of the
most outspoken reactions in Greymouth
today was from the president of the Westland
branch of the National Party. Mr Dalziel
spoke vigorously on the curbs to the building
industry but saw the Budget only as “quiet and
Mr J E Laing, secretary of the Labour
Representation Committee, left little room
for further criticism, describing the Budget as
Yesterday was a day of mixed blessings for
the Grey Valley Ambulance Association. On
the one hand it took possession of a new
ambulance to replace one wrecked in a crash at
Haupiri, and on the other received news that
the Indian doctor they had hoped would come
to Blackball had returned to Fiji.
Said the secretary of the association, Mr E
Murdoch last night: “ We have an ambulance
and a surgery now, so all we need is a doctor. ”
The doctor approached by the association was
Dr Jaqdish Parmeshwar but he was refused
permission by the Minister of Immigration to
stay in New Zealand.
uFood for thought
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George H W
hey are called yellow crazy
ants — but it is the poor
Pacific Island villagers they
are terrorising who are
being driven around the
Now, a team of New Zealand scientists
are turning exterminators to rid the hated
little pests from islands in Tokelau and
Yellow crazy ants, regarded as one of
the world’s 100 worst invasive species, are
distinguished by their slender, yellow to
brownish body, very long legs and, hence
their name, an erratic walking style.
Most unpleasantly, they have a tendency
to spray formic acid when disturbed and
are capable of mass attacking and killing
larger animals. While the ants are not
known to be established in New Zealand,
the species is found throughout the
Pacific and on Christmas Island, and are
commonly transported inside sea cargo.
They nest at the base of trees and plants
but can occupy houses.
The ants protect sap-sucking insects that
can result in the destruction of trees and
Recognising the threat they pose to the
Pacific region, New Zealand scientists
have recently stepped up efforts to combat
them. About 10 years ago, Professor Phil
Lester of Victoria University was asked
by villagers to help combat infestations on
two of Tokelau’s three atolls.
In 2011, Prof Lester and his colleagues
were told the ants had spread to the
third atoll and were causing damage and
disrupting to the lives and local people.
While doing some separate work in
Kiribati, researchers discovered the yellow
crazy ant there as well.
Victoria University’s Dr Monica
Gruber, who has been researching
invasive ants in the Pacific region since
2008 and is now heading a collaborative
effort targeting them, said the ants
could become “massively abundant and
“People tell us they are unable to sleep
due to ants crawling over them, crop
production is reduced, and pets and
livestock are affected by ants spraying acid
in their eyes.”
Despite the huge impact of these pests,
many communities were unable to do
anything to manage the ant populations
because they could not afford pesticides or
other methods of ant control, she said.
With the assistance of Victoria
University’s commercialisation office,
Viclink, Dr Gruber and Prof Lester
formed a non-profit entity called Pacific
Biosecurity, which has been boosted
by a $1.5 million contract from the
Government-managed New Zealand Aid
Programme to help improve resources for
ant management and biosecurity across
Across the region, Pacific Biosecurity’s
goal is to help prevent the spread of
species like the little fire ant.
“These tiny ants have an extremely
painful sting, and the effects of the ants
can be serious when they are in high
abundance,” Dr Gruber said.
“ In some places, the ants have forced
people off their land as they can’t tend
Because they were found on both sides
of the Pacific, there was an urgent need
to stop their spread into the rest of the
region, and improve the ability to manage
“ Prevention requires less effort and
resources than eradication — which
becomes impossible when these ants cover
a large area.
“That ’s why we need to focus on
biosecurity across the whole Pacific region
to prevent the ants — and other invasive
species — from spreading.”
Dr Gruber encouraged said other
organisations were welcome to join the
— N Z ME-New Zealand Herald
Bug-busting boffins helping to stamp out ‘crazy’ ant
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
The yellow crazy ant, which is spreading across the Pacific.
The dirty truth about wet wipes
A study by Cardiff University found that
the cleaning tissues are helping to spread
deadly superbugs in NHS wards.
Seven commercially available wipes
were tested on the most common hospital
infections, including MRSA and
In “every instance”, the wipes actually
spread potentially deadly infections from
one surface to another, researchers said.
They went on to warn that consumers who
used them in their own homes, especially
the bathroom, might as well go around
spraying raw campylobacter directly into
their children’s eyes. I exaggerate only a
This is the latest in a long line of horror
stories about wipes, which are responsible
for the bulk of Thames Water’s bill to
“It doesn’t matter if they say the wipes
are flushable,” Sarah Sharpe at Thames
said. “ They float along in the sewer until
they find a piece of fat, wrap about that
fat, and then slowly attract more fat. Then
you get fatbergs.”
These are the vilest by-product of a
wasteful consumer society: vast lumps of
congealed cooking fat, held together by
millions of used baby wipes.
Last year, the utility company found
a fatberg the length of a Boeing 747
beneath Shepherd’s Bush in west London.
I apologise if you are reading this while
you eat. Perhaps you might want to refresh
your mouth with a daily dental xylitol
You see, there are wipes for all occasions.
Indeed, for all their downsides — too
numerous to list here — wet wipes have
become one of the most astonishing
commercial success stories of recent years.
One in five of us carry around — at all
times — some form of wipe, according
to Mintel. Not just parents with a sticky
toddler in tow, but adults who can not
bear to be “unfresh” for more than a few
Back in the 1980s, the only time you
spotted a lemon-scented wipette was
alongside the salt and pepper sachets in
your aeroplane cutlery set — in an era
when passengers were allowed metal
knives and forks to eat their reheated
Babies’ bottoms, meanwhile, were
wiped with cotton wool and water,
and their mouths with anything to
hand. Usually a handkerchief and some
Though my mother still takes a clean,
wet J-cloth sealed in a plastic sandwich
bag on picnic, according to Euromonitor,
the market research company, the global
“ wipe industry” is now worth about
$7 billion a year. That equates to an
astonishing 578 billion wipes — or about
80 for every man, woman and child on the
planet. Crucially, the market has rocketed
by 30% in the last five years.
Now, there are nail polish remover pads,
pain relief towelettes, wipes for “freshening
intimate areas” and, most disturbing of all,
Dude Wipes, created by a bunch of men
from Chicago “specifically for the adult
male market ”.
Growing fastest, is the antibacterial
“surface wipe” market. They are the
Japanese knotweed of cleaning products,
now found under at least half the kitchen
sinks in the country.
These are the ones under fire in the
Cardiff University report. But it’s worth
pointing out that the wipes themselves
are not to blame, rather our use of them.
If you wipe the same cloth on many
surfaces, you will, of course, spread germs.
The same is true of an old-fashioned mop
and bucket. If you do not change the
water, bugs will just be sloshed from one
corner of the room to another.
I am moderately convinced that nearly
all wipes are utterly unnecessary to the
functioning of civilisation. Worse, they
breed an unhealthy paranoia about
bacteria, which of course is a brilliant
marketing tactic to sell more product.
But mock all you like, and rail against
the terrible effect on the environment,
the wipe — in all its forms — has only
succeeded because it is astonishingly
convenient. Find me a family that can
sur vive a day trip without a pack of
We are, unlike our grandparents, a
society on the move. Being able to wash
hands, mouths and other areas without
running water and a stack of flannels is
an improvement on what went before.
Clearing up the results of a child and their
stomach bug is easier, quicker and less
messy with a few antibacterial wipes than
a bucket and mop.
Just do not flush them down the loo.
— PA-New Zealand Herald
Another day, another piece of evidence that proves wet wipes are the work of the devil,
writes HARRY WALLOP.
New species of tiny frogs at researchers’ fingertips
Researchers have found seven new species
of the miniature frog genus Brachycephalus
on seven different mountains in the
Atlantic rainforest of Brazil.
Living separately from each other and
forced by several factors to keep to their
own mountain tops, the members of this
genus have evolved into many varied —
but hard to find — species. Most members
of the genus are tiny — less than 15mm
The main difference among the frogs,
many of which have fewer fingers and
toes than most in order to optimise for
their size, is skin colour and texture. They
produce varying levels of a neurotoxin
called tetrodoxin, and their bright skin
colours are a warning to predators.
To fi nd the frogs, researcher Marcio Pie
of Brazil’s Federal University of Parana
and colleagues had to trek up small but
rugged mountains, many of which lack
well-marked trails. Since the area is so rich
with members of the genus — and since
the mountains clearly separate one species
from another — it is pretty much assumed
that each mountain searched for the first
time will yield a new species.
But the frogs are pretty hard to spot.
“ It takes a lot of practice and sometimes
it’s very frustrating, to go up the mountain
for many hours and come back empty-
handed,” Pie told the BBC.
“ You can hear them singing and there’s
probably hundreds of them, but you
simply can’t catch them. Because, once
you get closer, just from the vibration in
the ground, they keep silent for, say, 20
minutes or half an hour. Then you have
to go through the leaf litter very carefully
with your hands,” he said.
Because their habitats are unique, Pie
and his colleagues warn that the frogs are
in danger. Logging and climate change
pose huge threats, especially because
the frogs appear to be quite sensitive to
temperature — that ’s what keeps them
on their mountain tops. To ensure the
sur vival of the various species of the genus,
the researchers say, we may need to start
raising them in captivity — and race to
find the rest of them.
— New Zealand Herald
This little frog is one of seven new species of miniature frogs found in Brazil.
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