Home' Greymouth Star : July 31st 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, July 31, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1875 - Death of Andrew Johnson, the 17th
president of the United States.
1910 - Dr Hawley Crippen, British murderer,
is arrested on a ship off Canada.
1928 - MGM’s Leo the Lion roars for the
first time, in the company ’s first talking motion
picture, White Shadows in the South Seas.
1941 - In World War Two, Herman Goering
gives a written directive to police
chief Reinhard Heydrich to draft
a plan for the elimination of
European Jews, the “Final Solution”.
1945 - Pierre Laval, prime
minister of Vichy France, is
captured by the allies in Austria.
1962 - Britain agrees to establish
wider Malaysian federation.
1964 - US Ranger 7 spacecraft transmits to
Earth first close-up pictures of the moon; Jim
Reeves, popular US country music singer, dies
in an air crash near Nashville.
1975 - Irish pop group Miami Showband
is ambushed and murdered by Protestant
gunmen near Newry in Northern Ireland.
1993 - King Baudouin of Belgium, Europe’s
longest-ser ving monarch, dies of a heart
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Primo Levi, Italian writer (1919-1987); Don
Murray, US actor (1929-); France Nuyen,
French-born actress (1939-); Geraldine
Chaplin, US actress (1944-); Bob Welch,
US singer and musician (1945-
2012); Russell Morris, Australian
singer (1948-); Evonne Goolagong
Cawley, Australian tennis
champion (1951-); Bill Berry,
US musician with REM (1958-);
Wesley Snipes, US actor (1962-);
Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook,
British musician (1963-); J K Rowling, British
author of Harry Potter books (1965-); Dean
Cain, US actor (1966-).
“ Equal opportunity means everyone will have
a fair chance at being incompetent. ”
— Laurence J Peter, US writer (1919 - 1990).
“ Take delight in the Lord, and He will give
you the desires of your heart. ” — (Psalms 37:4).
A West Coast trade
or tourist mission
to Australia would
have a terrific impact,
according to the Australian Government ’s
Trade Commissioner for the South Island, Mr
M G B Coultas. Inter viewed in Greymouth
today, Mr Coultas said that the best avenue
for publicising the Coast would be by sending
a group of men across the Tasman to tell the
story of the Coast and its potentialities first-
hand to Australians.
Mr Coultas also used the word ‘terrific’ in
describing the tourist possibilities of the little
he had already seen of the Coast. The drive
down the Coast Road he described as the
most magnificent he had ever undertaken. He
believes that the Coast ’s historical background
of goldmining is underplayed. A history
enthusiast himself, he has not seen anything of
the Coasts’ historical association with Australia
used in tourist publicity there.
He emphasised the value of first-hand
information coming from Coasters in person.
Greymouth is still hampered by an acute
shortage of dentists. But some measure of relief
for the current situation will be provided in
the immediate furure. Another member of the
profession is to begin business in the town.
He is Mr Peter Colvin, of Cambridge, near
His arrival will boost the number of dentists
here to four. “ it’s still not enough,” remarked
one of the three at present in business, “ but
we’ll battle through with four.”
Mr Colvin is not young — he is 61. “But
we are very pleased to have him. Even pulling
a few teeth will be of help to us,” remarked
uFood for thought
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It was a bold strategic decision which has
since repaid the courage required to make
it several times over. In the run-up to the
2008 general election John Key could so
easily have cemented-in the extreme right
to his electoral coalition by opposing the
so-called ‘Anti-Smacking Bill’, but he
did not. To the utter consternation and
dismay of Family First ’s Bob McCoskrie,
and many other social conser vatives, the
leader of the National Party opposition
did precisely the opposite.
Instead of fighting the measure, John
Key offered Helen Clark the support of
himself and his socially liberal National
Party colleagues — thereby guaranteeing
the passage of Sue Bradford’s private
member ’s bill by a decisive majority. At a
stroke all the bitter memories from 2005
and Don Brash’s secret alliance with the
Exclusive Brethren Church were wiped
away. Middle-class liberals could now vote
for John Key ’s National Party with a clear
Key ’s decision also secured him some
invaluable “visuals”. Voters watching the
six o’clock news saw the Prime Minister
and the leader of the Opposition striding
in lock-step towards a pair of lecterns,
from which, as equals, they delivered the
good news about the proposed changes to
section 59 of the Crimes Act.
It was a major propaganda triumph for
Key because until that moment the voters
had not been sure that the new leader of
the National Party was for real. Talk is
cheap. But to cut adrift a potentially huge
number of angry voters was potentially
For the first time New Zealanders had
seen the former currency trader’s ruthless
decision-making technique in action.
There was no disputing the fact that
the forces of social conser vatism were
expecting National’s new leader to throw
them a bone. But what would be the
political benefit of doing so? The far right
was desperate to be rid of Helen Clark’s
government and the surest way of doing
that was by giving National its party
vote. That meant that its support was
already safely banked in National’s
But what about the votes of those who
saw themselves as occupying the centre
of the political spectrum? If he threw the
far right a bone how would they react?
Centrists were nowhere near as hostile to
Helen Clark as the social conser vatives.
Should they become convinced that
behind this new fellow’s pleasant
smile and friendly wave there lurked a
dangerous extremist they might conclude
that it was not time for a change after all.
In the end Key ’s cost-benefit calculation
was a simple one. The centre was
much more important to National’s
election chances than the far right. Bob
McCoskrie and his ilk would just have to
live with it.
On Monday evening Key did it again.
This time the cost-benefit calculation
involved the electoral utility of Colin
Craig’s Conser vative Party.
Were National to withdraw its candidate
from East Coast Bays in expectation of
Mr Craig taking the seat, then socially
conser vative voters would be reassured
that thanks to MMP ’s coat-tail provisions
every vote cast for the Conser vative
Party would count. The resulting surge
in their party vote would, post-election,
assist National in mustering the numbers
needed to govern. Would that not be a
But at what cost? Among those crucially
important centrist voters, the prospect of
Colin Craig coming anywhere close to
Government was deeply worrying. Not
the least of their concerns was his policy
of deciding highly complex and deeply
emotive issues by referendum. How long
would it be before capital punishment
and abortion were placed on the ballot
paper? If John Key threw Colin Craig a
bone of such dangerous dimensions, then
they might just decide to hold their nose
and cast their votes for David Cunliffe or
It was 2008 all over again. Where
was the benefit in taking on a swag of
passengers from the starboard side of
the good ship National, if the cost was
to see an even larger number hurriedly
disembarking to port?
Chris Trotter is a left-wing media
Cost-benefit analysis of Key’s approach
Your smartphone is not only your best
friend, it has also become your personal
trainer, coach, medical lab and maybe even
Digital health has become a key focus
for the technology industry, from modest
startups’ focus on apps to the biggest
companies in the sector seeking to find
ways to address key issues of health and
Apps that measure heart rate, blood
pressure, glucose and other bodily functions
are multiplying, while Google, Apple and
Samsung have launched platforms that
make it easier to integrate medical and
health ser vices.
“ We’ve gotten to a point where sensors,
either in the phone or in wearables, gather
information that we couldn’t do in the
past without going to a medical centre,”
says Gerry Purdy, analyst at Compass
“ You can do the heart rate, mobile EKGs
(electrocardiograms). Costs are coming
down, and these sensors are becoming more
The consultancy Rock Health estimates
143 digital health companies raised
$2.49 billion in the first six months of 2014,
already topping last year’s amount.
An analysis by the global consultancy
Deloitte suggests that smart glasses, fitness
bands and watches should sell about 10
million units in 2014, generating more than
$3b and that the number of devices will hit
170m by 2017.
“Many health-and fitness-related
technologies have multiple applications and
encourage wearers to be more engaged in
their own fitness, help modify behaviour
by reminding wearers to exercise or take
medication,” Deloitte’s Karen Taylor says in
a July report.
The California startup MD Revolution
has created a system adapted from a
concierge medicine practice, which allows
participants to track a variety of health
indicators using mobile or wearable devices.
The company uses fitness and other
tracking devices to address “imminently
preventable conditions such as diabetes
or hypertension,” says spokeswoman Lisa
“ We are creating a new specialty in digital
health in which people can interact with
nutritionists, exercise physiologists to
receive a plan and coaching, to prevent or
reverse chronic diseases,” she said.
Peterson said the company is using
existing commercial devices from makers
such as Fitbit or Jawbone and plans to
launch its own app for its users.
She noted that the launching of health
platforms by Google and Apple “will make
it easier for us to integrate more devices
Recent studies suggest that people
who use connected devices to monitor
health and fitness often do a better job of
managing and preventing health problems.
A study led by the Centre for Connected
Health said that people who use mobile
devices did a better job of lowering
dangerous blood pressure and blood sugar
A separate study published in the July
2014 issue of Health Affairs said that data
collected by devices is not only useful for
patients but can help doctors find better
“ When linked to the rest of the available
electronic data, patient-generated health
data completes the big data picture of real
people’s needs, life beyond the health care
system,” said Amy Abernethy, a D uke
University professor of medicine lead
author of the study.
Some firms have even more ambitious
plans for health technology.
Google, for example, is developing a
connecting contract lens which can help
monitor diabetics and has set up a new
company called Calico to focus on health
and well-being, hinting at co-operation
with rivals such as Apple.
And IBM is using its Watson
supercomputer for medical purposes
including finding the right cancer
Joseph Kvedar, a physician and founder
and director of the Boston-based nonprofit
Center for Connected Health, said mobile
technology has the potential to keep people
engaged in their own care, and lessen the
burden on the health care system.
“One of our goals is to do away with the
vast majority of offices,” Kvedar said.
“That ’s not because office visits are a bad
thing but you should think about care as a
continuous function and mobile technology
allows you to do this in a way you could
never do before.”
Kvedar said some health platforms that
required patients to upload data had a
mixed record but that mobile is growing
because “people are addicted to their
Doctors should not fear this technology,
he said, because patients who use it often
“For the vast majority of things, you the
patient are in charge and we are just the
sherpas,” he said.
“Engaged patients get better.” — AFP
Lights out in London
Reshaping the health sector
n the eve of World War One,
Britain’s foreign minister,
Edward Grey, obser ved: “ The
lamps are going out all over
Europe. We shall not see them
lit again in our lifetime. ”
As Britain and Commonwealth countries
mark the centenary of the declaration of war on
Germany on Monday, London will switch off the
lights at landmarks such as Trafalgar Square, the
Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral
for an hour in the evening in tribute. Other cities
around Britain will do the same.
More than one million soldiers from Britain
and its former empire died in the conflict. New
Zealand lost 2% of its total wartime population.
“Most of us will have ancestors who fought,
many from what is now the Commonwealth ...
and every single one of us is indebted to that
generation because their legacy is our liberty,”
said Prime Minister David Cameron at London’s
Imperial War Museum last month.
“It wasn’t just Britons who secured Allied victory.
It was Indians, Canadians — even a Chinese
Labour Corps,” added Cameron, who said six of
his own relatives died in the fighting.
Soldiers from the former British empire
including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India
and troops in the Middle East and North Africa
all fought in the war under the banner of the
Of the roughly 9 million who ser ved, 1.1 million
died, according to the Commonwealth War
Graves Commission. About 74,000 were from
India, 65,000 from Canada and 62,000 from
But most casualties were from the United
Kingdom, including Ireland and small dominions
with 888,230 men, many of them still teenagers,
killed — more than double the number of its
casualties in World War Two.
Britain’s royal family and senior politicians
from Britain, Ireland, Germany, Belgium and the
Commonwealth will attend remembrance ser vices
in London and Glasgow and an event in Belgium
to commemorate the centenary on Monday.
Candles at an official ser vice in London’s
Westminster Abbey will go out one by one until
only a burning oil lamp remains at the Grave of
the Unknown Warrior. At 2200 GMT, the lamp
will be extinguished, marking the exact time
the British Empire joined the war. In Trafalgar
Square, one single light will shine from an old
Hundreds of organisations, companies,
landmarks and local authorities will also
participate in the ‘Lights O ut ’ campaign —
organised by 14-18 NOW, the official cultural
programme for the centenary, by leaving a single
light on for shared reflection. — Reuters
For centuries they have faced
suspicion, hostility and even death
as a result of the bad luck they are
said to carry with them.
But now black cats are apparently
facing a new existential challenge
— the rise of the “selfie” in the age
of social media.
Hundreds of the animals are
being abandoned as their owners
complain that black animals do
not photograph as well as their
lighter and brighter-coloured
counterparts, making them less
popular with those who enjoy
posting self-portraits with their
pets on sites such as Facebook.
The RSPCA in Britain said that
70% of more than 1000 cats in its
care are black or black and white.
The Millwood Cat Rescue Centre
in Edwalton, Nottinghamshire,
which has been running for
20 years, is “full to bursting”,
according to its
71, the centre’s
founder, said: “ We
have had a lot of
black cats in this
year — people don’t
like black at the
look at the black
cats and then just
say ‘Oh, have you
got anything else?’
Ginger male cats are
the most popular
but I think the black
cats are beautiful and
The RSPCA said
it was struggling to
black cats, partly
because of the difficulty of
capturing the cats in pictures,
making owners less likely to
“engage” with them in on-line
profiles. — AP
Black cats savaged
in ‘selfie’ era
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