Farmers should forget about fallible forecasters and simply keep a weather eye on their flocks

August 17, 2011

Swimming weather tomorrow? Baa, humbug!

It is a measure of the fallibility of forecasters that a bunch of the buggers could be seen jumping for joy on MetService’s roof on Monday.

Celebrating what, exactly?

Ha! They were celebrating getting it right.

They had accurately forecast the Wellington snowfall.

If Alf were to celebrate every time he got something right, he would be permanently pissed. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea.

Mind you, the weather forecasters don’t seem to have larruped into any booze, when they did their celebrating, which is a very strange way of celebrating.

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It would be comforting to say there will be no quake in Christchurch today, but Alf is not a prophet

March 20, 2011

The white beard tells us a lot.

A huckster once read some tarot cards and predicted Alf would become Elizabeth Taylor’s umpteenth husband. This was a very grim prediction, because Elizabeth Taylor by then was well past her best-by date.

Joy, oh joy, it never happened, although this may be a consequence of Alf giving Elizabeth Taylor a very wide berth – just in case – and of Mrs Grumble making damned sure Alf gave the fading star a wide berth.

None of the huckster’s other predictions came to anything either, Alf established by checking among those whose futures similarly had been foretold at the time.

This experience prompted Alf to look real hard into the predicting and prophesying business, from horoscopes and tealeaf readings to economic forecasters.

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Do you fancy trying out this wee trick to get yourself a bit of rumpy-pumpy?

February 25, 2011

If he offers you a wee dram, make sure it's not 100% wee.

Male Capuchin monkeys wash in their own pee to try to pull the sheilas.

Or so Alf reads today in his Telegraph.

This is troubling.

It causes Alf to seriously question Darwinian theories that would have splendid blokes like him trace their lineage back to apes.

That no doubt is true of Labour and Green Party supporters.

But it can’t possibly be true of true-blue Nats, who clearly originate from a profoundly superior species.

Mind you, Alf has read about a few blokes who drank or drink their own pee – Gandhi, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Keith Richards and Steve McQueen (who, it is said, in the last stages of cancer, survived solely on a diet of urine and boiled alligator skin prescribed by his Mexican doctors).

We should not be surprised to find that most of them are dead.

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Science Media Centre’s involvement in the fat fight is folly – and it looks like propaganda too

July 13, 2010

Dunno what the bloody Science Media Centre thinks it’s up to, but Alf draws his constituents’ attention to its participation in a Maori Party political stunt.

He was alerted to these antics by a report in the Herald today saying…

A panel of experts will take part in an online seminar this morning to assess whether New Zealand should scrap GST on healthy foods.

The seminar, run by the Science Media Centre, comes ahead of the first reading of a Maori Party bill calling for GST-free healthy foods.

It will hear from a range of nutritional experts on the potential implications for the country’s public health if such a bill were to go through.

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Why James Renwick should stop worrying about who doesn’t want to be a scientist

February 12, 2010

Fascinating, isn’t it, what worries people.

A bloke called James Renwick, is worried that two few Maori are becoming scientists.

Alf is less bothered. If only a few Maori want to be scientists – so what?

The issue has been triggered by a survey by the New Zealand Association of Scientists that found Maori comprise only 1.7% of the science workforce

Waatea News reports the number is double the figure of 15 years ago.

Association president James Renwick says it’s worrying that Maori are not attracted to working in the area and further study is needed into why more Maori are not entering the sciences.

But before we bust ourselves trying to recruit more Maori into science, let’s make sure we don’t recruit those who challenge and impede scientific inquiry.

And if some Maori – like any people – are content to stick to their myths rather than challenge them, so be it. Science is not for everybody (more’s the pity).
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The orgasmic work of the Marsden Fund

October 9, 2009

Alf takes it back. The research into moa and crows he was banging on about yesterday at least is the stuff of what he reckons is proper science.

Some projects being financed by the Marsden Fund have a much stronger whiff of misapplied science money around them.

Example: “Young adults, drinking stories and the cult of celebrity”, the work of one Dr A.C.Lyons at Massey University. Good grief. The Marsden Fund has dished out $864,000 for it.

Then there’s “Beethoven’s middle period string quartets in context: ideology, performance, reception ”. Dr N.R.November, at the University of Auckland, is being given $285,000 for that lot.

Mind you, so far as Alf can see, none of the money this year has gone to lesbian writers for research involving orgasms.

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Bird boffins get their beaks into the trough

October 8, 2009

(no longer dictated to Mrs Grumble – Alf has been judged fit to resume his duties)

Stone the bloody crows. Or more usefully, stone the birdbrains _ or is he being unkind? – who have cough up taxpayers’ money for some boffin to study the New Caledonian crow.

Bigger stones should be thrown at them for approving the funding for a bloke to find out what happened to the moa.

This seems pointless, because the moa has been no moa for some considerable time.

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The daffy ambition of turning gold to blue

September 23, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Tinkering with the colour of flowers is high on Alf’s list of useless activities.

He therefore groaned at the news that –
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No rancour over science appointment

June 2, 2009

Government appointments too often can be a subject of political rancour. Witness the recent fuss over Christine Rankin’s appointment as a family commissioner.

But no fuss was raised – at least, not so far – over the appointment of Bill Falconer to chair the Investment Advisory Panel, part of the structure around the new Primary Growth Partnership.

Falconer’s appointment was raised at Question Time today, after Alf’s mate Shane Ardern had tossed a patsy at Agriculture Minister David Carter.

SHANE ARDERN (National—Taranaki – King Country) to the Minister of Agriculture: What recent major initiatives has the Government announced to support primary sector innovation?
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Getting to grips with beastly burps and farts

June 2, 2009

Alf is among those who reckon a lot of hot air is expended on this climate warming stuff.

That won’t do his ministerial ambitions any good, alas, because his Government has announced it is setting up a greenhouse gas research centre targeting solutions for the country’s agriculture and horticulture emissions.

Agriculture Minister David Carter said the centre will play a key role in encouraging the agriculture and horticulture sectors to contribute to New Zealand’s emissions reduction targets.

“It is clear that agriculture will be part of New Zealand’s emissions reduction efforts, but the sector must have access to effective and affordable technology that doesn’t compromise productivity,” Mr Carter says.

The funding will come through the Primary Growth Partnership, announced in last week’s Budget. It’s likely to be run through a crown research institute or university.

The centre will be established by next year.

It will focus on GHG mitigation research related to the pastoral, arable, horticulture, poultry and pig sectors including:

* methane from ruminant animals and waste systems,

* nitrous oxide from ruminant animals and nitrogen fertiliser, and

* soil carbon from agriculture and horticulture.

Oversight of the centre will come from the PGP Investment Advisory Panel, the Director-General of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Chief Executive of Ministry of Research, Science & Technology, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

At the announcement, Carter mentioned Fonterra’s recent completion of a carbon footprint project, to help that sector reduce emissions on-farm and in the manufacturing process, and an earlier study completed by Zespri, the kiwifruit marketer.