Home' Greymouth Star : January 12th 2019 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, January 12, 2019
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Editor Paul Madgwick
Sports Editor Viv Logie
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
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TODAY IN HISTORY AGATHA CHRISTIE
TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS JOE FRAZIER
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
“For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus
Christ as Lord, and ourselves as Your servants for
Jesus’ sake.” — 2 Corinthians 4:5.
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“Being young is a fault which improves daily.”
— Swedish proverb.
Hermann Goering, German Nazi
leader (1893-1946); Joe Frazier, US
boxer (1944-2011); Kirstie Alley,
US actress (1951-); Howard Stern,
US radio/TV personality (1954-);
Melanie Chisholm (Mel C), English
pop singer (1974-); Andrew Chan,
Australian drug smuggler of the Bali Nine
(1984-2015); Georgia May Jagger, English model
(1992-); Zayn Malik, English pop singer (1993-).
1879 - British-Zulu War begins in
1897 - Death of Sir Isaac Pitman,
British educator and inventor of the
1945 - German forces retreat in
disorder in Battle of the Bulge in
Belgium during World War Two.
1950 - A Swedish tanker strikes the British
submarine Truculent during its trials in the River
Thames. Only 15 men on the submarine survive.
1970 - A Boeing 747 arrives at London’s
Heathrow airport after its first proving flight from
1976 - Death of British crime writer Dame Agatha
1991 - US Congress grants President George
Bush authority to use force to drive Iraq from
1998 - Nineteen European nations sign an
agreement to prohibit cloning of humans beings.
2003 - Death of General Leopoldo Galtieri,
former Argentinian military dictator who led his
country into the disastrous 1982 Falkland Islands
war against Britain.
WEST COAST YESTERYEAR
The Kumara Centennial Committee has an
annual embarrassing problem.
It has a pile of money sitting in the bank left over
from the Kumara Centennial celebrations that it
does not know what to do with.
At first it was decided to build a swimming pool,
but there was not quite enough money to go
A second suggestion to build a play park for
the children of the town was quashed when the
probability of vandals ruining the park was taken
Several other suggestions have been made but
these were not suitable.
Now the committee in an endeavour to spend
the money has called for Kumara residents to
attend a public meeting next Wednesday and put
forward suggestions on how the money should
On and off-course betting at the two day
Reefton Jockey Club’s meeting concluded
yesterday was well down on the same meeting
Off-course turnover this year totalled $77,925
compared with a $125,841 for the two day
meeting last year.
On-course betting for the two days this year
amounted to $37,013 against last year’s figure of
There was an increase in off-course turnover
yesterday compared with the second day last year.
Yesterday’s betting with the TAB totalled $41,466
($20,343 on the double) against $33,457 last year.
On-course betting was well down however,
totaling $18,343 against $27,114 last year.
The NZ Forest Service is at present calling
tenders for the construction of four single men’s
units to be sited on a section in northern Revell
Street, Hokitika. The size of the building will be
about 1188 square metres.
The Conservator of Forests, Westport, Mr J F
Bonisch, said that there was a shortage of good
accommodation in Hokitika for single men and
the provision of good accommodation could
encourage single men in Hokitika when staff
There is no need
bleeding, as the
soldiers say, but
the British government did
not get the message. On
Monday, it paid 89 truck-
drivers £550 each ($1033)
to simulate the immense
traffic jam that will happen
in Kent if Britain crashes
out of the European Union without a deal
at the end of March.
The drivers had to bring their vehicles
to Manston, a disused World War
Two-vintage airfield in Kent, where the
government is planning to park 4000 big
trucks if a no-deal Brexit on March 29
leads to new customs checks on trucks
heading for Europe. Every extra two
minutes’ delay at customs, say the experts,
would mean another 15km of trucks
backed up on the roads leading to the
So the drivers parked their trucks on the
airfield, then drove down to the port in
convoy while the traffic-control experts
measured . . . what? This was not the
10,000-truck gridlock jamming the roads
that might happen in March. It was 89
trucks driving sedately along a largely
empty road. It looked like an exercise in
pure futility, a Potemkin traffic jam.
Yet it did have a rational purpose — a
political purpose. It was being staged to
persuade the British public, and especially
the British parliament, that Prime Minister
Theresa May ’s Conser vative government
really will take the United Kingdom out of
the EU without any deal if parliament does
not accept her deal.
May ’s deal is almost universally disliked.
The remainers hate it because they do not
want to leave the EU at all, and the Brexit
hardliners in her own party hate it because
it keeps Britain too closely tied to the EU.
Never mind the details — they are almost
theological — but the upshot is that May
cannot get parliament to pass the exit deal
she made with the EU, which would at
least keep the trade flowing. She just does
not have the votes. She cannot get the EU
to amend the deal either.
The opposition to her deal in parliament
is so strong that she cancelled a scheduled
vote on it a month ago because she was
bound to lose it. She is now committed
to holding the vote on January 15 — but
she still does not have the votes. So she is
threatening to jump off a bridge, and take
everybody else with her, if they do not back
her deal. It has become a game of chicken.
The charade in Kent is part of a
government show-and-tell campaign to
prove that she really means it. So are the
predictions that the chaos at the Channel
ports will be so bad that Britain will have
to charter planes to bring scarce medicines
in, and that supermarket shelves will be
bare (Britain imports 30% of its food from
the EU), and that zombies will rule the
streets. (I made that one up, but you get the
The problem is that nobody believes her.
May has manipulated the parliamentary
rules and schedules to make it appear that
there are no legal alternatives except her
deal or a catastrophic no-deal Brexit, but
she just does not convince as a suicide
bomber. Indeed, there was a vote in
parliament on Monday night that blocked
the government’s ability to make tax
changes connected with a no-deal Brexit
without parliament ’s “explicit consent ”.
That does not actually mean that it cannot
happen, unfortunately. Parliament can
block her deal, but unless it can agree on
some other course of action Brexit happens
automatically on March 29 — without a
deal. That really would be nasty.
How nasty? William Hague, a former
leader of the Conser vative Party, summed
it up well in the Daily Telegraph: “I don’t
know what will follow a rejection of
(May ’s) deal . . . a constitutional shambles, a
second referendum shambles, a no-deal exit
shambles, a Corbyn (Labour government)
shambles. I just know that it will be an
“People who say that the deal is the worst
of all worlds haven’t understood how bad
things might get,” Hague concluded.
As May herself admits, a no-deal Brexit is
“ uncharted territory.”
So what will really happen when
parliament starts voting later this month?
There will almost certainly be more than
one vote, as the 650 members of the House
of Commons, no longer constrained by
party loyalty — it is too important for
that — swing this way and that. There
may not be a majority for any specific
course of action, in which case parliament
will probably end up voting for a second
May has sworn that she will never allow
that, because it would be a betrayal of
the 52% who voted to leave in the first
referendum in June 2016. But in the end
she probably will allow it, because she is not
a suicide bomber.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
British government playing Brexit chicken
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street.
Piers Steel is one of the world’s leading
thinkers on the science of motivation and
procrastination, and has made a study of
He is a distinguished research chair at
the University of Calgary, and his book,
The Procrastination Equation lays out a
toolkit for “how to stop putting things off
and start getting stuff done.”
He says the oldest reference he can find
is 1400BC on an Egyptian hieroglyph
which says ‘friend do not put off work so
that we can get home in time.
“Apparently, we invented work and the
next thing is we invented is how to put it
He says for each step for ward civilisation
makes; the procrastination problem just
“Its prevalence is in lock-step with every
march for ward in civilisation — never
before in all human history have so many
procrastinated so much as now.”
And why is it so bad now? Too much
tempting tech, he says.
“Many leaders in Silicon Valley won’t
let their kids have phones because
they recognise they are motivationally
He says the world is constructed
perfectly to thwart our best intentions.
“ We’re all trying to diet in a candy store,
it ’s an inescapable candy store, it’s one that
covers the entire world no matter where
you are it ’s easier and easier and more
enjoyable to delay.”
And despite the monumental human
achievements of the last several millennia,
parts of our brains have not changed much
since we were living in caves.
The pre-frontal cortex handles the clever,
abstract stuff, he says.
“But there’s another part of the brain, it ’s
called the limbic system, it ’s evolutionarily
older, it ’s simpler, we share it with
common animals, it responds to the here
and now, senses, smell, taste touch and
if something is immediately available, it
becomes hyper-activated. ”
And this primitive part of our brain is
surrounded by limbic stimuli, he says.
“ We haven’t really evolved so much in
the last few thousand years, we still are the
same human beings but what has changed
is the easy access to temptations and how
well they ’re designed. ”
We’ve made the world “motivationally
toxic,” he says and a “ limbic system
So how do we tilt the scales back in
our favour? While we might make plans
for the future with the prefrontal cortex,
abstract stuff about going to the gym, we
have to engage the limbic system to make
“The limbic system and pre-frontal
cortex really do speak different languages,
so you have to translate your abstract goals
that your pre-frontal cortex loves to create
into a series of short term specific tasks
â€¦ almost like you’re telling somebody
else what to do. ”
The tasks must be very specific, he says
— what, where and when — and broken
down into smaller achievable goals.
“Effective goal setting is one of the key
elements of fighting procrastination and
elephant? Breaking large tasks that seem
impossible into a series of ‘I can do that ’
“From that you also take advantage of
your impulsiveness, because it is a short-
term step and we tend to like things that
are short term.”
This approach is proven to work, Steel
“ You’ ll see that the likelihood of them
being executed goes up, we’ve tested and
in some places by 800% and you get 800%
because the original chance of you doing it
was 5% â€¦ so now you’re an almost 50%
“ We homo sapiens have beautiful
intellect, but we have built this world
to sabotage our will at every nook and
Procrastination is something self-help
books seldom address, he says. And when
they do, they often get it wrong,
Seven Habits of Highly Effective
People, good example, he says.
“It says things like do first things
first, it’s almost saying that the cure for
depression is being happy, you should
be happy if you’re depressed, if you
procrastinate you should do things first
â€¦ that ’s not a solution, it’s just an
An effective tactic is to simply take
yourself away from distractions — the
phone, browsing and gaming are the
biggest time stealers, he says.
“Anything that is easily available and
obvious you’ ll make more use of, so you’re
trying to make your temptations less
obvious and less available.”
He suggests having a personal, play, log
in and a work one to keep work and play
separate, and there are also products that
limit the availability of the internet.
If you intend to go to the gym after
work, go there directly, he says.
“ You don’t want to stop by home before
getting there, you want to pack your bag
and leave it in the car because once you
get home, your home is a playground for
There is also a concentration sweet spot
for we humans, Steel says.
“ You probably only have four or five
hours a day of good quality concentration
time â€¦. what are you doing with those
five hours? I find if I work hard for those
five hours, when I’m at my top, I can goof
off for the rest of the day.”
Make the most of that time, he says.
“People come in to work and do the low
level, the e-mails, the cleaning and you’re
wasting your power hours.”
And be realistic about what is
achievable, Mr Steel says.
“I’m realistic about the weakness of my
will, I don’t have infinite stores of energy,
I really only can provide my A game for a
limited amount of time .”
Tapping into those golden power hours
is therefore essential, he says.
“ We should recognise there’s a closing
window of productivity every day and you
have to make best use of it because after
that, your efforts are going to be feeble
and probably guilt-ridden, but it’s only
because you didn’t follow the operating
instructions for your own brain and your
own self — but to be fair they were never
given to you in the first place.”
Procras na ng — forever
Procrastination is the thief of time, or so they say, but is there anything we can do to tackle this
human frailty? Piers Steel, an American academic, first we must accept that the odds are stacked
against us and we have been putting things off since time immemorial.
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