Saturday, November 7, 2009
A massive iceberg spotted southwest of New Zealand could be moving closer.
The iceberg was seen by Australian scientists working on Macquarie Island, who estimated it to be 500m wide and 50m high.
NIWA oceanographer Mike Williams said it was unusual to see icebergs in that part of the Southern Ocean.
"The only precedent for icebergs being seen that far north is the one that came through in November 2006," he said.
The 2006 iceberg, which broke off the Ronne Ice Shelf, came within 90km of the Otago coast. Sightseeing flights were arranged to view the iceberg.
Williams said, depending on ocean currents, the new iceberg could be pushed south to the Campbell plateau, southeast of New Zealand.
"But if it's far enough north, it'll come into the current that feeds up into the Auckland Islands and New Zealand."
Moving at 2km/h to 3km/h, the iceberg could take two weeks to come within sight.
Williams said it wasn't clear whether climate change was to blame.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Mental Health Foundation appalled by patient's detention...
The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) is "shocked and appalled" after hearing a patient was kept restrained in solitary confinement for nearly six years.
That case, and several others, came to light during a year-long investigation of detention facilities by the Ombudsmen's Office and was reported today in the New Zealand Herald.
Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem said the mentally ill patient at an unnamed district health board was often held in restraints in a bare room.
It was one of several disturbing cases of possibly inhumane treatment in facilities stretching from youth facilities to prisons in the Ombudsmen's annual report.
MHF chief executive Judi Clements said the foundation had long argued for an end to seclusion in mental health units.
"There is nothing that entrenches a sense of rejection and degradation more than being forcibly removed and isolated from other people. It is the very opposite to being valued and included."
She said cases like this showed the tendency for abuse to occur when vulnerable people were placed in certain environments.
"With resources only allowing for focused investigation of 15 mental health sites over the last year, we need to ask how many more cases like this are yet to be uncovered."
The health board in question had claimed the patient was secured because he was a danger to staff and other patients, but since the Ombudsmen's Office became involved he had been moved to somewhere more suitable.
"Why nobody thought to look at that and make that assessment before we arrived on the scene is a cause for concern," Ms Wakem said.
Health Ministry director of mental health David Chaplow said he was concerned to learn about the cases last night and would order an urgent report.
Dr Chaplow said there was now a "sinking lid" policy on seclusion, but it had a place in mental health care.
The report also outlined concerns about a lack of ventilation in some prison cells and said excessive temperatures could amount to "cruel" or "inhumane" treatment.
Monday, November 2, 2009
An award for a rising sportsman...
First published at Qondio: Awards writing challenge
I read this mornings Dominion Post newspaper here in Lower Hutt, Wellington.
There was a pull-out supplement for local regional secondary school elite sports achievers in the various summer and winter code categories.
I was sitting in the waiting room at the local tyre shop waiting for a replacement tyre to be put on our car to get a new warrant of fitness. I was thumbing through the paper at the shop when I came to the athletics section and surprisingly saw one of my grandsons nominated for the awards.
If he is successful it would be a great achievement considering he is only 14 years old and competes against older boys.
He competed this summer in javelin and shot-putting; winning the former event against older boys in the Under 16 years grade. His nomination is a feather in his cap even if he fails to be selected this year. An award is waiting around the corner if he sticks with his sports. A champion in the making if he persists in his chosen field.
Two Christchurch, NZ, men have been ordered to pay $150,000 between them after sending two million spam emails
Two Christchurch men must pay substantial fines after admitting being part of a major international spamming operation.
A High Court judge has ordered Shane Atkinson pay $100,000 and Ronald Smits $50,000.
The men were part of a Christchurch business which sent over two million unsolicited emails over four months in 2007, to New Zealand addresses marketing Herbal King branded pharmaceuticals manufactured in India.
Internal Affairs says the New Zealanders were part of the largest pharmaceutical spamming operation in the history of the internet.
Atkinson's brother Lance, who lives in Queensland, has also had to pay $100,000 and is facing court action in the United States.