Home' Greymouth Star : January 15th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, January 15, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1535 - King Henry VIII assumes title of
Supreme Head of the Church in England.
1559 - England's Queen Elizabeth I is
crowned at Westminster Abbey.
1778 - Captain James Cook arrives in the
Sandwich Islands (later Hawaii,
where he was killed).
1797 - James Hetherington, a
London haberdasher, is ned for
wearing his newest creation --- the
1922 - Irish Free State is
established under Michael Collins.
1936 - e rst all-glass o ce building opens
in Toledo, Ohio.
1970 - US pop diva Diana Ross quits e
Supremes to go solo.
1971 - Egypt's mighty Aswan Dam is opened
by President Anwar Sadat.
2009 - US Airways Capt Chesley "Sully"
Sullenberger ditches his airliner in the Hudson
River after a ock of birds disables both the
plane's engines. All 155 people aboard survive.
2011 - Large swathes of Queensland are
devastated by the worst ooding in decades.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Jean Baptiste Moliere, French dramatist
(1622-1673); Aristotle Onassis, Greek
shipping magnate (1906-1975); Lloyd Bridges,
US actor (1913-1998); Martin
Luther King, American civil rights
leader (1929-1968); Margaret
O'Brien, US actress (1937-); Don
Van Vliet, aka "Captain Beefheart",
US singer (1941-2010); Mario Van
Peebles, US actor-director (1957-);
James Nesbitt, Irish actor (1965-);
Chad Lowe, US actor (1968-); Mary Pierce,
Canadian-born French tennis player (1975-).
'I refuse to accept the idea that the 'is-ness'
of man's present nature makes him morally
incapable of reaching up for the 'ought-ness'
that forever confronts him."
--- Martin Luther King Jr.
"You also must be ready, for the Son of Man
is coming at an unexpected hour."
--- (Luke 12:40).
which carries out a variety of important
underground jobs, was used for the rst time
at the Kumara Junction oil drilling site last
weekend. Equipped with its mass of electronic
instruments and recording apparatus, the
vehicle went out to the Shell-BP-Todd
Oli Ser vices area on Saturday afternoon to
undertake a routine logging job on Taramakau
A.Drilling of the bore was stopped at 4002ft
late last week to enable this operation and
other work, including the shooting of casing, to
be carried out.
e uranium hunting business on the West
Coast seems likely to remain a "dead pigeon"
for a long time yet. Indications that no early
revival is heralded for this activity have been
given by those in o cial quarters and others
interested in the business.
Buller Uranium Ltd, a subsidiary of Lime and
Marble (Mapua) Ltd, terminated its operation
two years ago when uranium was an economic
"dead duck". ere had been government
support for the investigations but this gradually
Two records went by the board at the points
meeting of the Greymouth Amateur Athletic
Club last evening. Brother and sister Michael
and Sally Flynn both set new shot put marks in
their respective grades, colts and junior women.
Miss Flynn broke the club, West Coast junior
women's and Canterbury under-15 record
when she put the shot 34ft 8¼in. Michael
added 13in to the club colts record with a
heave of 41ft 3in.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Abrief course of brain
older adults hold on
to improvements in
reasoning skills and
processing speed for 10
years after the course ended, according to
results from the largest study ever done
on cognitive training.
Older adults who underwent a
brief course of brain exercises saw
improvements in reasoning skills and
processing speed that could be detected
as long as 10 years after the course ended,
according to results from the largest study
ever on cognitive training.
e ndings, published recently in
the Journal of the American Geriatrics
Society, o er welcome news in the search
for ways to keep the mind sharp as 76
million baby boomers in the United
States advance into old age.
e federally sponsored trial of almost
3000 older adults, called the Advanced
Cognitive Training for Independent and
Vital Elderly study, looked at how three
brain training programmes --- focusing
on processing speed, memory and
reasoning ability --- a ected cognitively
normal adults as they aged.
People in the study had an average age
of 74 when they started the training,
which involved 10 to 12 sessions lasting
60 to 75 minutes each. After ve years,
researchers found, those with the training
performed better than their untrained
counterparts in all three measures.
Although gains in memory seen at
the study's ve-year mark appeared to
drop o over the next ve years, gains in
reasoning ability and processing speed
persisted 10 years after the training.
"What we found was pretty astounding.
Ten years after the training, there was
evidence the e ects were durable for the
reasoning and the speed training," said
George Rebok, an expert on aging and a
professor at Johns Hopkins University in
Baltimore, who led the study.
Participants in all three training
groups also reported that they had an
easier time with daily activities such as
managing their medications, cooking
meals or handling their nances than did
participants who did not get the training.
But standard tests of these activities
showed no di erences between the
" e speed-of-processing results are
very encouraging," said study co-author
Jonathan King, programme director
for cognitive ageing in the Division of
Behavioural and Social Research at the
National Institute on Aging (NIA), part
of the National Institutes of Health,
which helped fund the research.
King said the self-reported
improvements in daily function were
interesting, but added, "We do not yet
know whether they would truly allow
older people to live independently
However, researchers said even a small
gain would be likely to ease the burden
on caregivers and healthcare providers.
"If we delay the onset of di culties in
daily activities even by a small amount,
that can have major public health
implications in terms of helping to curb
healthcare costs, delaying entry into
institutions and hospitals," Rebok said.
e training course was designed to
bolster speci c cognitive abilities that
begin to slip as people age. It does not
aim to prevent dementia caused by
underlying disease such as Alzheimer's.
At the start of the study, all 2832
participants were cognitively normal. e
study included four groups: three training
groups plus a control group of volunteers
who came in for regular testing to see
how they were faring with age.
People were trained in small groups over
a period of several weeks and then were
tested immediately after the training and
again one, two, three, ve and 10 years
About 60% of the volunteers who
underwent training also got booster
training sessions, which enhanced the
initial bene ts.
At the end of the trial, all groups
showed declines compared with their
initial baseline tests in memory, reasoning
and processing speed, but those who
got training in reasoning and processing
speed experienced less decline.
Among those given training in
reasoning strategies, 73.6% were still
performing above their pre-trial baseline
level, compared with 61.7% of those
who received no training and were only
bene ting from practice on the test.
e e ect was even greater in processing
speed. Among the training group, 70.7%
of participants were performing at or
above their baseline level, compared with
48.8% of those in the control group.
ere was no di erence in memory
performance between the memory group
and the control group after 10 years.
Two of the three training programmes
--- the memory and the reasoning
strategies --- were done with paper
and pencil, while the processing speed
training was done on a computer.
e programs, developed by the
researchers, were focused largely on
teaching strategies to improve cognitive
performance. For example, the memory
training taught people how to remember
word lists, sequences and main ideas,
while the reasoning training focused
on things like recognising number
In the processing speed training, people
were asked to focus on the main object
in a computer screen while also trying to
quickly recognize and identify objects on
the periphery of the screen. Such training
can help older drivers with things like
recognising road signs while driving.
A version of the speed training
programme developed for this trial is now
commercially available through the brain
tness company Posit Science, but the
researchers are working on making other
types of training available as well.
Rebok's team just got a grant from the
National Institute on Ageing to make a
computerised version of the memory test,
with the hope that repeated training can
improve the results.
e study was not designed to explain
why cognitive training can have such
a lasting e ect. Rebok said it may be
that people take the strategies they
learn and practise them over time. As
they age, trained individuals can rely on
these strategies to compensate for their
Whether this training actually
strengthened the brain in the way that
exercising builds muscle is not clear, but
the government intends to study this,
too. Last week, NIA put out a request
for proposals that would study whether
cognitive training causes physical changes
in the brain. --- Reuters
Exercise for the brain
To all Grey district ratepayers --- would
you seriously consider joining with me
in refusing to pay the $55 levy that the
council intends to place on us for the cost
of the Banks-council debacle that we had
nothing to do with.
Grey District Council chief executive
Paul Pretorius responds: "While I totally
understand where Mr Richardson is coming
from, his approach is not sustainable.
" e signi cant cost involved is the
unfortunate result of a legal process which,
given the circumstances and complexities, is
a reality and which has to be paid. Council
bylaw has no option but to recover monies
payable to it. e costs associated with this
process, less any cost allocations made by the
court, become part of council's expenditure
budget and are rated for.
"Mr Richardson and others will have every
opportunity to have input into a proposed
rate as part of the annual plan process. It
is even more unfortunate that the issue is
still ongoing and that the eventual cost to
council may be much higher. On that basis,
the eventual rate input remains unknown.
Council certainly is doing everything in its
power to bring it to a nal conclusion as soon
Reefton GP shortage
After asking Ian Holding what he
intends doing on the weekends while
in Reefton, I was told by him that this
is the last weekend he will be working
in Reefton. He explained to me the
Two doctors o ered to look after the
town on weekends, only to be informed
that nursing sta will be doing that. is
is something all Reefton people should be
(Nursing sta are magic but have not got
the quali cations of a doctor.)
It would be great if the people who come
up with these ideas could have the gall to
ask the public their opinion rst.
No doubt the rst thing is 'look after
your own job'. Reefton comes second.
rough your paper, I hope to get
an answer or an explanation from
management with regards to the outcome
of weekend doctors being turned away, or
e West Coast District Health Board
did not reply to our request for a response.
Kumara Races and
the 'god squad'
e 2014 Kumara Races, with a crowd of
10,000 and a record on-course turnover of
$401,000, was a great social gathering and
represented what our club and community
is all about, with patrons renewing old
acquaintances, celebrating birthdays and
even a wedding party --- everyone having
a good time. e pioneering spirit is still
e race meeting is voluntarily run by
the committee and a large number of
people and community groups, plus the
local police, who do a great job each year.
Race 6 this year was the Alex Hayward-
Noel Wafer POW Memorial in their
honour. ese two soldiers and many
more fought, and others lost lives, for the
democracy and freedom we have today.
However, not so the tactics of the
Christchurch 'god squad' tra c
department in stopping the bus carrying
the majority of the tote operators for
our race meeting near Spring eld for
the second time in two years, knowing
full well they had to be in Kumara well
before the rst race. ey were held up for
approximately 40 minutes, resulting in the
operators arriving shortly before the rst
race and potentially costing the club many
thousands of dollars in turnover once
again. What is their motive?
ese tactics are, in my opinion, Gestapo-
like, and they certainly look the part.
Once again, thanks to everyone who
attended for all their support. eir
behaviour was great and the day will be
remembered for years to come.
L J Guenole
Kumara Racing Club member
I note (Greymouth Star, December 21)
the Christchurch-based West Coast DHB
chairman's response to a matter raised by
a board member was, 'I'm not prepared to
have a debate'. is related to the matter of
Greymouth GPs not wanting to relocate
their surgeries to Grey Base Hospital.
Given this attitude perhaps the
chairman, Paul McCormack, could explain
just how he sees the role of local board
members elected by the West Coast
public, when he evidently does not think
they have the right to have their concerns
Is it, perhaps, that only the government-
appointed board members --- himself and
the deputy chairman (also Christchurch-
based) included --- have the right
to question anything dictated from
somewhere on high?
I also note that the West Coast DHB
programme director Michael Frampton,
after acknowledging that the GPs
concerned would 'have some challenges',
continued, "it is quite important that we
continue to pursue the model of care". In
other words, 'never mind what the GPs
think --- we have spoken and must be
I wonder if any of the luminaries
involved have considered the absurdity
whereby GPs who have long served
New Zealand well as truly independent
doctors are now being compelled to
surrender their independence --- and
this under an umbrella organisation with
the ridiculously inappropriate title of
'Independent Practitioners' Association'.
Independent? Do the powers-that-be
not understand what that word means?
Meanwhile, another board member's
concern over Westport bed numbers was
fobbed o with a reference to 'a grassroots
campaign'. Yeah, right. Keep asking those
questions --- the public may be largely
silent but they are with you in spirit.
NZ Democrats for Social Credit
Hand-wringing and hysteria galore
seems to be the issue de jour response to
the nine-year-old boy found drunk in a
Look, it is not rocket science. An
unsupervised Maori child under a Family
Court parenting order to live with his
mother gains access to alcohol in a public
place, and gets wasted. e local MPs and
handful of 'useful idiot' commentators,
not wishing to o end cultural sensibilities,
despite everyone being slapped into reality
by the on-line footage, instead shoot the
messenger, citing 'privacy concerns' for the
e police do nothing, and CYF
'support' the mother. We live in a political
age where the goal is not to x problems,
but simply to observe them, nod sagely,
re-direct attention away from cause and
on to distraction, and then go about ones
is child did not stand a chance for any
meaningful intervention within such a
disengaged and cowardly environment
--- and neither will the next one.
War history lesson
Recently there was an interesting
opinion article in this paper by Chris
Trotter about if World War One could
have been avoided ( January 9).
In the rst overseas war New Zealand
was involved in, the Boer War, imperial
Germany backed the Boers, plus Germany
has overseas possessions in Africa, Paci c
(Samoa) and other places.
World War One was like an accident
waiting to happen, it was just a matter of
'when'. e three rst cousins (George,
Willy, Nicky) were not going to back
down, and France wanted payback.
New Zealand per size of population had
more personnel wounded or killed than
any other country ghting in both World
War One as well as later in World War
Two. New Zealand shipping lost in both
wars was horrendous, it never recovered.
Regarding the recent article ( January 10)
about the Brits not interested in including
New Zealand/Anzacs in their World War
One commemorations --- typical.
J Von Hooker
Google's new internet glasses may be
getting all the news, but rival on-line
eyewear products are making headway.
United States-based Vuzix showed o
what it billed as the rst commercially
available "smart glasses", an Android-
powered, monocle-style device with a
high-resolution camera, at last week's
Consumer Electronics Show.
It can be connected to smartphones or
wireless internet hot spots and display
internet date directly in front of a user's
"We are targeting it toward the industrial
space, like people in a warehouse who
need to pick up packages," Mike Hallett of
" e camera on the front could scan bar
codes, then tell the person where to nd
the packages," he continued. "We are in
the airline and medical industries with a
lot of applications."
Vuzix wants to cross into the consumer
market with applications to enable the
devices to check e-mail or translate
"If you are in Japan and don't speak or
read Japanese, it can translate the signs
for you and help you get around based on
GPS co-ordinates, right in front of your
eye instead of having to look down at the
phone," Hallett said of the eyepiece, which
is priced at $1192.
Vuzix also showed o a new model,
which was basically a set of over-the-ear
headphones with a visor-like video display
that tilted up or down as desired.
"It's a huge, immersive experience,"
Hallett said. "People on the go who want
a big screen on trains or planes, gamers, or
even in the o ce instead of a monitor on
e eyewear was expected to be priced
in the $596 to $954 range when Vuzix
releases them later in 2014.
"Check out 2002. It looks like you
have a buzz-saw on your head," quipped
Rhys Filmer of Or Cam, an Israel-based
company behind the display and a device
to provide sight to the visually impaired.
"A lot of it back then was for the army."
In 2007, eyewear looking like upside-
down sunglasses made their debut and
were used on ights to give rst-class
passengers immersive movie viewing,
according to the timeline on display.
"Our device is more remedial, speci cally
for people with low vision or legally blind,"
e Or Cam mini-camera clips to
eyeglass frames and has a bone-conduction
speaker that presses against a wearer's
It lets a person point to what they want
read, whether in a book or newspaper or
on a street sign or approaching bus, and
then treats that as a starting point to begin
speaking the words.
e Or Cam device should hit the
market in about six months at a price of
$2500, according to Filmer.
In December, Google announced
updates to the software in its internet-
linked Glass eyewear to allow users to
snap pictures by winking.
e new feature, which promises to
escalate privacy concerns already being
voiced about the high-tech gadget, came
as one of an array of improvements.
Updates included letting owners lock
eyewear so it could not be used unless a
person knows the right "handshake" of
swipes and taps.
Google has not announced a public
release date for Google Glass but
speculation suggests it will be early in
2014. --- AFP
Internet eyewear takes off
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