# Thursday, 17 April 2008
Pearson the company that owns Penguin will soon start releasing e-book versions of all Penguin, Dorling Kindersley and Travel titles. The e-books will be available from September of this year and will also include Penguin’s back catalogue of over 5,000 titles. The electronic books will cost the same of the printed equivalent which I think is a mistake. Personally I prefer to have a printed copy of a book that I can carry around in my bag to read on the train of when I get a spare five minutes. Probably the only thing that would entice me to purchase an electronic version would be if it cost significantly less than the printed copy, and even then I would probably stick with a real book. Still, it’s a good idea and I can see it would appeal to a lot of people, but not me.

posted on Thursday, 17 April 2008 14:45:11 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
76 years of driving without having an accident is a pretty impressive record. After all that time I guess if you are going to have one it might as well be memorable. Jack Higgs managed to cause £60,000 worth of damage when he lost control of his Fiesta outside a Porsche showroom despite not having an accident for 76 years. Two Porsches were written off in the accident. Jack was found hanging upside down by his seatbelt in the overturned car and luckily was unharmed. Not surprisingly he has now decided to give up driving.

posted on Thursday, 17 April 2008 13:59:17 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 16 April 2008
We have all had that sinking feeling when you get off the train and realise that you have a bag or an umbrella onboard and you know it is likely to be gone for good. It must be slightly worse, however, if the item you have forgotten happens to be a valuable family heirloom. Robert Napier from Wiltshire had just taken his 1698 Venice made Goffriller violin to London to be valued and you can imagine his delight when he found it was worth £180,000. Unfortunately when he got off the train at Taunton on his way home, he forgot all about the family heirloom which was still on the train. Despite a £10,000 reward being offered and an extensive search being carried out there is still no sign of the violin.

posted on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 14:32:16 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 15 April 2008
It appears that your local council could be using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to spy on people. In this example Poole Borough Council used the legislation which was introduced to improve national security to spy on a family to see whether they lived inside the catchment area of their child’s school. The family were watched by an undercover council official for three weeks as he made notes about their daily activities. The council justified their actions by saying "RIPA procedures have been used to investigate potentially fraudulent applications for school places” and "In such circumstances, we have considered it appropriate to treat the matter as a potential criminal matter.” It does seem a little extreme in my opinion, I wonder who else is being watched without their knowledge. I’m not paranoid, they are out to get you.

posted on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 14:13:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 14 April 2008
This article suggests that colour blind gamers are forgotten by game developers. According to the article games often rely on colours to differentiate between characters, for example the good guys might wear green and the bad guys brown. This seems to pose a problem with people who are colour blind and the article quotes one of their readers who says:

"One specific gaming example that always frustrates me is Battlefield 2142. I love the game, but the flags of the two teams are not distinct enough on the HUD, at least to me. I honestly can't tell you what color they are. Red, green, yellow, brown?" he told Ars. "I usually end up trying to distinguish them by brightness because one looks slightly brighter to me, but that is so slight it's still tough."

This was confirmed by my husband who is colour blind and says he has the same problem with several games. The solution according to the article is to use more drastic contrasts between colours and to use patterns and shapes rather than relying on simply making things two different colours.

posted on Monday, 14 April 2008 17:30:01 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
I read this article the other day in which the Deputy Security minster in South Africa aired some rather unusual views. Her advice to the police dealing with criminals included:

 “You must kill the bastards if they threaten you or the community. You must not worry about the regulations - that is my responsibility. Your responsibility is to serve and protect.

"I want no warning shots. You have one shot and it must be a kill shot.

"Criminals are hell-bent on undermining the law and they must now be dealt with. End of story. There are to be no negotiations with criminals."

With 22,000 murders in South Africa a year it’s easy to see why she might give such advice. It makes an interesting contrast with the UK, I wonder how the media would react if a government minister here said something similar.

posted on Monday, 14 April 2008 16:51:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This is an interesting scheme to recycle food waste which is being offered on a trial basis in East Renfrewshire. People are given compostable bags in a sealed container which is then collected by the local council. All food waste can be put into the containers including scrapings from plates, bones and cooked and uncooked waste. East Renfrewshire Council believe that the scheme could cut the amount of waste they send to landfill sites by 35%.

posted on Monday, 14 April 2008 16:42:41 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 13 April 2008
A family of vegetarians got a surprise when they found a frog inside a bag of spinach. They had purchased the spinach from a Morrisons store in Bath. Surprisingly the European tree frog was still alive despite being washed and transported in the spinach and being kept in the fridge for three days. Unfortunately this article doesn’t include a picture of the frog so I have added my own picture of a European tree frog below.

posted on Sunday, 13 April 2008 15:46:17 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
A couple from Weston-super-mare have been sentenced for claiming thousands of pounds in benefits for 16 non existent children. Danny Wilshaw claimed over £75,000 over four years whilst Nancy Stevenson claimed £11,000 in child tax credits over the same period. The couple managed to exploit a loophole in the law after they realised they didn’t have to send children’s birth certificates to tax officials in order to prove their existence. He used the money to fund his gambling habit whilst she used it to buy as many as two bottles of brandy a day. Well, I’m glad my taxes are going to a good cause.

posted on Sunday, 13 April 2008 15:29:40 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Two Muslim men have opened a pub with a difference, it serves no alcohol. The pub is called The Halal Inn and is in Oldham. It has all the usual things you would expect to find in a pub including snooker tables and darts, just no alcohol. It does however have a juice bar. The pub also has a prayer room and a steam room. It seems like an interesting idea, I wonder whether it will prove to be  popular.

posted on Sunday, 13 April 2008 13:29:20 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 12 April 2008
Barney the parrot is not unique for the fact that he can talk; he is however unique in that he has taught two other birds to talk. Unfortunately the phrases he uses are rather rude. Barney’s favourite words include f*** off and b******* and he has told the local mayoress to f*** off during a civic visit. He also told two police officers and a vicar  "You can f*** off too, w******!" His new friends Sam and Charlie now also use these rather choice phrases and the three happily swear at each other for hours.

posted on Saturday, 12 April 2008 20:02:36 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 11 April 2008
It sounds rather strange but the coffee is not actually made from animal dung. The beans however, have been collected from the dung of a civet cat. The Asian palm civet lives among the plantations of south east Asia and eats only the best coffee berries. Their digestive process breaks down the flesh of fruit and the beans are then collected from the dung before being washed and roasted. The resulting coffee sells for a rather expensive £50 a cup. I’m not sure whether I would fancy it.

posted on Friday, 11 April 2008 16:05:27 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This is an interesting idea, a restaurant with no waiters. The idea comes from Germany and includes a touch screen TV for customers to browse the menu and choose what they want to order. Once you have placed the order you just wait for your food to come out of the kitchen along the rails that go around the restaurant. Perhaps the best bit is you don’t have to leave a tip.

posted on Friday, 11 April 2008 15:50:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This article is interesting about a man named John Perry who suffers from an illness that means he can’t get fat. The condition called lipodystrophy means that his body rapidly burns fat because his body produces six times the normal level of insulin. Despite living on a diet of takeaways, chips, burgers and desserts his weight always remains the same and he cannot gain weight. It must be nice to able to eat whatever you want, however, the article doesn’t say whether John suffers any other symptoms as a result of his condition.

posted on Friday, 11 April 2008 15:24:40 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This is quite interesting, it’s a way to keep food cool that doesn’t require electricity. It involves taking a small clay pot and putting it inside a larger one. The space between the two pots is then filled with wet sand the food is placed inside the smaller pot and the top is covered with a wet cloth. As the water evaporates it draws the heat out keeping the inside cold and the food fresh for up to three weeks. The system is now being used by farmers in northern Nigeria who previously has problems storing fruit and vegetables because they had no electricity in their villages. They can now store an eggplant for 27 days instead of it spoiling after 3 and spinach lasts 12 days rather than 1 meaning that farmers no longer have to sell their produce in a hurry. In addition the revival of the pot industry is helping to reduce unemployment in the region. It’s amazing how sometimes very simple ideas can make a real difference.

posted on Friday, 11 April 2008 11:21:10 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This huge cat called Orazi has got be one of the biggest I have come across so far. Other fat cats include my own cat Oscar (pictured below with his friend Willow) who is small in comparison, Oscar (not my Oscar) and Sooty who also looks small compared to Orazi who weighs 16kg, that’s 13kg more than the average kitty.

posted on Friday, 11 April 2008 10:39:48 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Thursday, 10 April 2008
This is an interesting initiative from Brazil. Faced with an Aids epidemic the country has come up with an idea to use rubber from trees in the Amazon rainforest to produce condoms. The health ministry says that the idea will not only help the fight against Aids but will also help to preserve the rainforest. It should also cut the country’s reliance on imported contraceptives which are currently given away free as part of a government programme to try and fight Aids. The scheme will produce 100 million “Natex” condoms every year and will generate income for at least 500 families. It will also create 150 in the small town of Xapuri. It seems like a really interesting idea although it has been condemned by Catholic bishops who say it will encourage promiscuity. Somehow I think they are missing the whole point of the exercise, condoms are an important measure in stopping the spread of Aids.

posted on Thursday, 10 April 2008 16:56:19 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
I was sent a link to this website the other day that offers a cashback reward scheme called WePromiseTo Cashback. It covers a number of retailers both on the high street and online and gives you a range of offers on which you can earn some money back. To use it you sign up for an account online and when you purchase anything from the links on the site you receive the cashback amount indicated. It works by the retailer paying WePromiseTo a commission for driving new customers to their services. They then pass that commission on to you in the form of a BACS payment or Amazon vouchers. Among the offers that caught my eye were 5% cashback from Majestic wine and 7% cashback from Drink Stuff. The only problem I think I would have is remembering to go to the WePromiseTo website to order things rather then the to the individual retailers website that are already saved in my favourites  list, still it seems like quite an interesting idea.

posted on Thursday, 10 April 2008 16:52:52 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This is rather strange, an elephant in a bubble. Fan Yang who is the star of New York’s Gazzillion Bubble Show now holds the World Record of capturing the largest land mammal in a bubble after he created the giant bubble around Tai the elephant. Not something you see every day.

posted on Thursday, 10 April 2008 13:17:18 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Heinz is launching a new version of their tomato ketchup to appeal to customers who want something a little more sophisticated. The product called The Special Blend Tomato Sauce will be available in shop from the middle of April. It contains a mix of twelve tomatoes, spices, sea salt, Demerara sugar, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. The product will be available in a glass bottle to give it a more luxurious feel and will be priced at £1.75 around three times the cost of standard tomato ketchup. Check back later for the review.

posted on Thursday, 10 April 2008 13:09:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

huge-lobster-2 This huge lobster was reportedly caught off the south coast of England. It is five times the size of a normal lobster and weighs over 4 kilograms. He certainly looks tasty.




posted on Thursday, 10 April 2008 12:48:53 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback