Friday, September 27, 2013

This weeks compost

1.Oil and honey: The education of an unlikely activist
Okay you all know I am totes a schmuk, especially when I have had a coupla chilli infused Bombay Sapphire gins. And I am likely in such frame of mind to link the posted article with my recent reading of Maddaddam, the third nov in Margaret Atwood's lovely specific trilogy (a) cause this article has bees in it and (b) cause it's about the small actions that my 30 odd years of activism tell me leads to change (gees, you can tell I'm more than three sheets to the wind!!!!)
Anyway, digest, contemplate, integrate or reject the following (PS NOOOOO I am not a Liberal Democrat!!!!!!!!!!!!):

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture had just announced a seismic demographic shift: For the first time in 150 years the number of farms in America was no longer falling. In fact, over the past half decade, it had begun inexorably to rise. All the growth was coming at the small end of the business, with people growing food for their neighbours."

22. No need to get browned off – edible films keep fruit fresh 

“A variety of non-browning apple slices trial products, using surface film coating containing vitamin C, have now been rated as attractive to consumers in taste tests. They can provide a food with a safe product lifetime of as long as two weeks. This food innovation is enticing food companies to consider marketing apple slices as a healthy (and longer-living) snack.”
Call me old-fashioned, but I can’t see why we can’t just keep buying an apple and cutting it up at home! 

 3.       Dinner is printed
“Which is how I settled on the idea of creating a 3-D-printed meal. I’d make 3-D-printed plates, forks, place mats, napkin rings, candlesticks — and, of course, 3-D-printed food. Yes, cuisine can be 3-D printed, too. And, in fact, Mr. Lipson thinks food might be this technology’s killer app...I wanted to serve the meal to my wife as the ultimate high-tech romantic dinner date.”

Has anyone told Heston Blumenthal about this! I found it all oddly compelling in a play-doh munching memory kind of way.

4.       Feeding the world: addressing gender divides could help reduce malnutrition

“It may come as a surprise that women comprise 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries and account for two-thirds of the world’s 600 million poor livestock keepers. In sub-Saharan African countries, women provide 60% to 80% of the labour for food production and most of the post-harvest management. But women farmers' yield is usually less than that of men because they are denied access to the same resources such as information, seeds and tools.”

A short report but it packs a big punch. I will be fascinated to hear of the results of the poultry and crop management program being piloted in Tanzania and Zambia and its impact on increasing food security.

5.       Growing disruption: Climate change, food and the fight against hunger

“Food security is achieved ‘when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life’.2

Availability: Both more extreme weather and slow-onset changes in the climate (increasing temperatures and changing rainfall) will hit food production and food distribution systems, reducing the amount, type, and quality of food available for consumption.

Access: By increasing food prices and at the same time undermining people’s means of making a living, climate change threatens people’s access to the required type, quality, and quantity of food.

Utilisation: By affecting human health and jeopardising the quality, variety, and even safety of food produced, climate change affects people’s ability to benefit nutritionally from consumed food.
Stability: By increasing shocks, stresses, and uncertainty around access to, availability, and utilisation of food (as stated above), climate change threatens people’s ability to have access to adequate food at all times.”
Another leftie pinko commie report that we won’t get access to now the Climate Change Commission has been axed. But, like boat turn backs, what you don’t know about isn’t happening. Don’t be alert or alarmed. Nothing to see here, move along.

6.       Barilla Pasta Won’t Feature Gay Families In Ads Says ‘Critics Can Eat Another Brand of Pasta’

“The chairman of Barilla Group says his company will not feature gay families in advertisements for his products because he likes the "traditional" family. If someone disagrees, well, they can go "eat another brand of pasta."

Don’t buy it anyway, but totally happy to tell all my GLBTIQ and non-such friends to totally switch brands, Guido.

7.       Short eats

New Scientist 14th September reports: “The delicious tingle you get from eating Szechuan pepper is not just down to taste buds. The spice stimulates your sense of touch, too. Experiments show people do not feel the tingle if the nerves that sense vibration have been turned off – and the feeling is identical to a gentle vibration of 50hertz. (Proceedings of the Royal Society B,D01:10.1098/rspb.2013.1680)”

New Scientist 21st September reports: “The musty aroma of corked wine was through to stem from the small of chemical contaminant TCA. In fact, a study in newts reveals that TCS actually suppresses mechanisms for odour perception in olfactory cells, thereby reducing sense of smell, together with the flavour of your favourite tipple. (PNAS,