# Thursday, 16 April 2009

catdoor1-medium This is interesting its a Tweeting cat door (pictured left) that has been made by a programmer to track his cats. The cats each have a RFID tag attached to their collars. When they go near the cat door the RFID reader reads the tag and if the cat is authorised a servo unlocks the cat door. Each time there is a cat door event a Twitter message is sent as well as a picture of the cat that has activated the flap. You can check out the updates at the following link.

posted on Thursday, 16 April 2009 09:11:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Scientists have warned that the Arctic could be ice free within a decade. The prediction is based upon Nasa figures which show an increase in winter sea ice of just 5.85 million square miles, the fifth lowest on record. Studies also show that the ice is thinner than ever and that the volume of ice is probably the lowest it has ever been. All of these things mean that the sea ice is less likely to survive the summer and that the Arctic Ocean could be free of ice as early as 2013, although it is more likely to happen between 2020 and 2040. Based on this it appears that change is coming to the Arctic much earlier than expected  which is not only bad news for the polar bears and humans that rely on the ice for hunting but also for weather patterns around the world which are likely to be triggered by atmospheric changes.

posted on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 09:21:57 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 14 April 2009

This article suggests that more families have returned to batch cooking in order to try and save money. By batch cooking it means cooking meals such as casseroles, soups or pies that can feed the family throughout the week. The results are based on a survey that found more people are now buying ingredients in bulk and using them to create meals that will go just a little bit further. Supermarkets have also reported that sales of bulk items like large bag of potatoes and mince have gone up. In addition to this sales of freezer bags have also increased. I certainly find that cooking large batches of food makes the shopping budget stretch a little further. I tend to make three or four quiches out of minimal ingredients and freeze the extra ones for another day. Things like shepherds pie and lasagne also work quite well and can easily stretch to three meals. I also tend to add a little more pasta to an evening meal which then creates a lunch for the next day. All of this means we have a smaller grocery bill and also less waste. Have the current economic conditions changed how shop or do you have any money saving tips?

posted on Tuesday, 14 April 2009 10:53:47 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 13 April 2009

According to this article some of the leading fast food chains are going to start displaying the calorie content of their food. Eighteen companies have signed up to a government scheme which is designed to help people make healthy choice when they eat out. The companies taking part include KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway and Pret A Manger. They will start displaying information either in menus or on boards by the end of this month. It an interesting idea, although I think most people are aware that this type of food has a very high calorie content and will probably still choose to eat it. A few examples from this article show a typical meal from some the leading chains and the calorie content (below).

Pizza Hut Mediterranean Meat Deluxe Cheesy Bites Pizza: 4,392 kcal
Harvester Ultimate BBQ Stack Burger: 2,130 kcal
Burger King limited offer Double Texican Whopper burger: 1,239
Wimpy jacket potato with grated cheese: 973 kcal
KFC Tower Zinger Burger: 668 kcal
Pret A Manger cheddar, roast tomatoes and pickle bloomer: 668 kcal

Bearing in mind that the recommended daily intake for men is 2,500 calories and for women it is 2,000 calories some of the food on offer contains double the amount you should consume in a day. I still take the view, however, that most people are unlikely to eat take away food every day. Personally I indulge in take away food around once a fortnight but am fully aware that it is bad for me, I do however, eat quite healthy meals on a daily basis so I think I can afford to pig out once in a while.

posted on Monday, 13 April 2009 11:41:58 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 12 April 2009

This is interesting, its an idea from Bristol City Council to raise their own herd of cattle to provide beef for schools and restaurants. The council intends to buy 200 acres of parkland next to the M32 which they will use to graze a herd of beef cattle. The council’s “British Beef” project will then supply meat to local schools under the healthy schools meals programme. It seems like quite a good idea and I’m all for sourcing produce from the local area, the plan has met with some resistance, however, from local vegetarian groups.

posted on Sunday, 12 April 2009 15:55:57 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-1167975-04514DAD000005DC-632_224x423 With people suffering during the credit crunch some firms are coming up with cut price products. This article highlights a bikini that that costs just 99p. It is made by the budget chain the 99p Store who say it can help you to create the Cheryl Cole look. To complete the look you can also get a cowboy hat, aviator sunglasses and flipflops, all for under a fiver.

posted on Sunday, 12 April 2009 15:52:44 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 11 April 2009

According to this article credit card rates are the highest they have been for two years despite the fact that interest rates are at a historic low. According to the article a borrower now pays £26.40 more in interest on a £3,000 balance than they would have done two years ago. Although the Government has promised to clamp down on credit card companies which have failed to pass on the interest rate cuts it appears that banks are still able to charge their customers high rates and that charges continue to rise. In some ways you can see why in the current economic situation banks are reluctant to lend and with lending becoming more risky might charge a higher rate. However, that isn’t going to work in the long run if their customers simply can’t afford to pay the charges and the bank does not get their money back.

posted on Saturday, 11 April 2009 11:07:18 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-1168222-04556C86000005DC-559_468x501 I came across another big cat story today, a man in East Anglia has found what he claims are claw marks in a tree. Shaun Baxter says that he saw a large animal making the marks whilst he was out shooting rabbits between North Walsham and Edingthorpe. He says “I was standing next to a tree in my camouflage gear and about 70 yards away was a big black panther-like cat.” and “It was scratching on a tree, like a normal household cat would do at its scratching post.”  According to the story the gouges reach about 4ft off the ground and cut half an inch into the wood of the tree. Once again I remain unconvinced. What do you think are there big cats in the UK?

posted on Saturday, 11 April 2009 10:59:49 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 10 April 2009

Like many people I had a punt on the Grand National last weekend without success. My tried and tested method of picking horses with funny names evidently failed again and none of them came anywhere. It appears that some people are more lucky then me, however. James Darmody from Swindon selected three horses to finish in the top four of the race and put down a £30 bet. At odds at 11,848 to one it seems to have little or no chance of coming in but he ended up winning £65,000. Perhaps I need to work on my technique or give up gambling. 

posted on Friday, 10 April 2009 12:35:03 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

In a rather bizarre attempt to sell more pollack Sainsbury’s have renamed it Colin. Apparently people do not want to ask for pollack when they are shopping and many find the name rather ugly. Colin is what the French call the fish once it has been cooked. It is hoped that the name change will make British shoppers choose pollack as an alternative to cod or haddock. Personally I love pollack and often find that it is nicer than cod. It also has the advantage of being slightly cheaper.

posted on Friday, 10 April 2009 12:32:16 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 09 April 2009

This article should serve as a cautionary tale, its about a woman who mistook a bottle of nail glue for eyedrops and glued her eye shut. Luckily the glue simply glued her eyelashes together and doctors were able to cut her lashes off and prise the eye open. I hate to think what would have happened had she squirted the glue into the centre of here eye, I think she is very lucky that she didn’t have any permanent damage but it goes to show you should double check the bottle before putting anything in your eye.

posted on Thursday, 09 April 2009 10:07:27 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

If you have a lot of Easter eggs to buy then it appears you will be able to get them much cheaper this year. According to this article prices are the cheapest they have been in ten years. It appears that the collapse of Woolworths has led to a glut of Easter eggs flooding the market and driving down prices. Some supermarkets are offering full sized eggs for only 68p with even premium ranges cutting as much as a £1 off of their prices. Looking at this I feel I should do my bit to help reduce this mountain and eat as many Easter eggs as possible.

posted on Thursday, 09 April 2009 10:05:32 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback