“An astonishing 400 tons of dumplings a day”

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 02:48 pm
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Posted by Marc Abrahams

Nicola Twilley explores many aspects of the history of food refrigeration in China. Twilley’s report “What Do Chinese Dumplings Have to Do With Global Warming?” in the New York Times, ends with a visit to someone who is not thrilled at the culinary prospects of widespread, organized food refrigeration:

Still, not all Chinese people are ready to embrace the refrigeration revolution. Dai Jianjun is the 45-year-old chain-smoking chef of Longjin Caotan, a restaurant on the outskirts of Hangzhou, the scenic capital of Zhejiang province, which serves an entirely locally sourced, anti-industrial cuisine. When I asked him how he liked frozen dumplings, he took off his corduroy cap, rubbed his shaved head with both hands and finally, in a calm voice that carried a distinct undercurrent of anger, said, “If I may speak without reserve, they’re not food.

Twilley assembled ten related, brief documentary videos, on her Edible Geography web site, under the general heading “Ten Landmarks of the Chinese Cryosphere“. Here’s one of those videos, from a factory that makes approx 100,000 dumplings an hour. The video is called “Quick-frozen glutinous rice balls being bagged at the Sanquan factory:

“The first machines could only produce one ball at a time,” factory owner Chen Zemin told Twilley, “whereas today, our machines make it look like it’s raining balls.”

Chen’s company has seven factories, the largest of which, writes Twilley, “employs 5,000 workers and produces an astonishing 400 tons of dumplings a day.”

BONUS [unrelated]: “Dumpling fog in China

BONUS: [unrelated]: The Taiwanese machine that wraps up a robber like a dumpling

A broad look at clownfish radiation

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 02:08 pm
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Posted by Marc Abrahams

The clamoring for information about clownfish radiation may never be fully satisfied. This report, though, attempts to supply some of what’s desired:

The radiation of the clownfishes has two geographical replicates,” Glenn Litsios, Peter B. Pearman, Déborah Lanterbecq, Nathalie Tolou and Nicolas Salamin, Journal of Biogeography, epub July 7, 2014. (Thanks to investigator Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Lausanne, the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, the University of the Basque Country, the Basque Foundation for Science, the Université de Mons, and l’Université de Perpignan, report:

“we investigated the biogeographical history of the clownfishes, a clade of coral reef fish with ranges that now span most of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, in order to explore the geographical structure of an unusual adaptive radiation…. We generated DNA sequence data comprising seven nuclear markers for 27 of the 30 clownfish species. We then inferred a Bayesian phylogeny and reconstructed the biogeographical history of the group using three different methods. Finally, we applied a biogeographical model of diversification to assess whether diversification patterns differ between the Indian and Pacific Oceans…. While most species arose in the IAA, one clade colonized the eastern shores of Africa and diversified there. We found that the diversification rate of clownfishes does not differ between the main radiation and the African clade.”

Here’s further detail from the study:

clownfish-info

almostwitty: (monkey)
[personal profile] almostwitty

Red clip on a lanyardI was idly browsing through the website for the forthcoming Nine Worlds convention (no idea – I only know four of the guests listed!), when I came across their Communications Preferences System.

This basically means you can opt to wear a different coloured clip on your convention lanyard if you don’t want anyone to start a conversation with you (red), or if you want only people you know to start a conversation with you (yellow). Which would make sense for some people with particular social issues.

However, there’s a different colour for those who want to indicate that they’re happy for other people to initiate a conversation with them. Logically, I’d have thought that colour would be green for go – after all, cars move on green, pedestrians move on green, green is the logical action colour for most human endeavours.

But nope, it’s blue. I wonder why that is?

Mirrored from almost witty.

Interesting Links for 26-07-2014

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 12:00 pm

Lost on the Tyne

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 09:38 am
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The Times reports that David Cameron has added to his membership of a growing list of politicians who have commited geographically based gaffes whilst being interviewed on local radio.

The paper says that after praising the thriving economy on Tyneside, the prime minister was corrected on his regional geography by BBC Radio Tees presenter Lisa McCormick, who asked if he was neglecting Teeside, 40 miles south:

Mr Cameron told listeners: “I was up on the Tyne recently and there are oil rigs being fabricated on the Tyne again, which is a great sign of manufacturing in our country; you see with investments like Hitachi, like Nissan, with the Tyne crossing and things like that, these will make a difference…

Ms McCormick interrupted. “You keep mentioning the River Tyne; that’s not our region Prime Minister,” she said. “I’m sorry, we’re the River Tees, does that mean you forget about us?”

A flustered Mr Cameron replied: “I’m sorry, I thought I was doing…” before telling listeners that the government was pumping £90 million into the Tees Valley.

Ms McCormick said that that “seems like a drop in the ocean” compared with the £470 million going into Greater Manchester and £440 million into the South East.

Previously, the Prime Minister has gaffed in a BBC Essex interview in Colchester, when he apologised for appearing to suggest he was in neighbouring Chelmsford.

In addition, Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary made a reference to Wichita, in the US state of Kansas, when he had meant to say Worcester, whilst Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, was caught out during the May election campaign when he hailed the leader of Swindon council - which is Conservative-led, but could not name the authority’s Labour leader.

There but for the grace of God go us all I suppose.
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Posted by Mark Valladares

Every year, the European Union Select Committee in the Lords reports back on its activities. And oddly, given the huge fuss made about the influence of the European Union on our day to day lives, very little attention is given to its work, and that of its six sub-committees - even by members of the House of Lords. As Chair of one of those sub-committees, responsible for agriculture, fisheries, environment and energy, Ros was keen to tell of the work of her colleagues and staff...

Baroness Scott of Needham Market (LD): My Lords, I wish to focus my remarks on the work of Sub-Committee D, which I have had the honour to chair since May last year. This is not in any way to downplay the important work undertaken by the Select Committee itself. Our report into the role of national Parliaments is a timely and valuable contribution to a growing debate across Europe and reflects the leadership shown by my noble friend Lord Boswell, whom I thank for his personal support for my work. In my work on the sub-committee, I try very hard to reflect the principles outlined in the report on the role of national parliaments —namely, that of engagement with counterparts and officials from across the EU and looking at policy before it reaches its final legislative form.

Our work this year was dominated by the topic of food waste, to which I shall return in a moment. Some of our scrutiny work followed up on the excellent work undertaken by my predecessors, the noble Lords, Lord Carter of Coles and Lord Sewel, and it shows, I believe, the value of well considered inquiries undertaken early in the policy-making process. This is a hallmark of much of the work across the sub-committees and it is something that we do well.

In 2008, the committee published a report on reform of the common fisheries policy. Five years down the line, I am delighted to say that the work came to fruition. Regulations to reform the CFP were adopted that strongly reflected the key themes of our committee’s 2008 report, including the decentralisation of decision-making and the introduction of a discard ban. Last summer, when the deal was done, the committee turned to the practical implementation of these policies, particularly the discard ban. It remains one that we should be watching.

The second major dossier that reached its end point last year was the reform of the common agricultural policy—although, of course, it never reaches an end; it is like painting the Forth Bridge. Under the chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Carter of Coles, the sub-committee had undertaken an inquiry into innovation in EU agriculture. Redirecting the juggernaut of the CAP is no small task, but incremental steps have been taken along the lines proposed by the committee in its report, and I am pleased to say that the committee continues to press the important themes of research and knowledge transfer as the process of implementation returns. It has also clearly become more of a priority for the Government because this week they have announced new investment in agricultural research.

One way in which we pressed those themes was through our recent report into the prevention of food waste in the EU. On-farm innovation is a very important element of tackling food waste at the initial stages of the food chain. The press and public interest that our report drew surprised even us; the press office tells me that it received more coverage than any House of Lords report it could ever remember. I want to trade anecdotes with my noble friend Lady O’Cathain and the noble Lord, Lord Boswell. The Independent described our committee as a “true adornment” of your Lordships’ House.

It is very important now for us to follow up this work. The European Commission recently produced amendments to its waste legislation that very strongly reflect the recommendations that we made in our report to have an aspirational food waste reduction target — not legislatively binding — and to work on standard definitions across the EU. We are awaiting more information from the Commission and a non-legislative communication from it in the autumn. We will also hold a seminar to look at the practical barriers to redistribution of surplus food. I am now constantly being briefed by organisations and businesses across the country and, indeed, Europe on the work that it is doing to reduce food waste. I think that demonstrates that we are regarded as leaders in this thinking.

I turn briefly to some other work. We are currently in the midst of a very intensive period of work, within the EU and internationally, on future approaches to energy and climate policy. It was very pleasing that messages in our report last year with regard to EU energy policy have been reflected in the Commission's proposed policy for energy and climate change through to 2030. This relates particularly to the importance of creating a stable environment to support long-term investment. I am also very pleased that, as the Energy Bill was making its way through this House, noble Lords made a number of references to the work that we had done in our committee. This shows that there is a crossover between the work that we do in the European scrutiny context and in the wider work of the House. Work on energy and climate change will be at the headlines of our next inquiry, into EU regional marine co-operation, which we launched at the beginning of this week. We are trying to bring a number of these things together, such as fisheries, energy interconnectivity and knowledge transfer. I hope that what I have said gives a sense of the work that we have been doing and that we plan to do, and demonstrates that we continue to seek to build and follow up on previous work.

There is a further point that I wish to make. It is a matter not for the Government but for this House. The new rotation rules that have now been introduced for the European committees will result in a two-thirds change of membership of my committee and that of a number of others next year. I suggest that a two-thirds change really runs completely counter to the principles of gathering experience and ensuring the effective running of the committee. As if that were not bad enough, after I had thought about it, I realised that the changes will mean that, every third year, two-thirds of the committee will disappear. I hope that the House will rethink that because it will make our work very difficult indeed.

I am grateful to all members of my committee, who are a joy to work with. They contribute a huge amount of their time, their experience, their expertise and, above all, their enthusiasm to make us successful. I should like to pay particular tribute this evening to Lord Lewis of Newnham, who died earlier this month after a long illness. His interest in all aspects of our work, coupled with his immense knowledge of chemistry, made his contribution invaluable. We miss his deceptively gentle, incisive questioning and his kindness.

Finally, we would not be so effective if it were not for the work of our staff. I put on record my thanks to our committee assistant Mark Gladwell, our clerk Patrick Milner, his predecessor Aaron Speer and our policy analyst Alistair Dillon, whose encyclopaedic knowledge of the range of work we cover is always truly astonishing.

For anyone interested in finding out more about the work of the European Union Committee, here's a link to the rest of the debate...

Challenge #512: irregular

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 07:01 pm
redwolf: (dw100)
[personal profile] redwolf posting in [community profile] dw100
Welcome to [community profile] dw100! Challenges are posted approximately once a week.

Challenge #512 is irregular.

The rules:
  • All stories must be 100 words long
  • Please place your story behind a cut if it contains spoilers for the current season
  • You don't have to use the challenge word or phrase in your story; it's just there for inspiration
  • Please include the challenge word or phrase in the subject line of your post
  • Please use the challenge tag 512: irregular on any story posted to this challenge
Good luck!

The Blood is The Life 26-07-2014

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 10:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

Austria, Serbia and George W Bush

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 12:39 am
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Posted by David Herdson

first world war posters   Google Search (2)

The descent into WWI is a 21st Century story

Sepia-toned silent images of black-coated or feather-hatted diplomats lend a reassuring distance to the events that plunged the world into war a hundred years ago this week.  It looks like a world long since vanished and in one sense, it is.  However, like much of that story, it is an illusion; all the more dangerous for the complacency that false reassurance breeds.

    Far from being a different age, the threats posed by rogue governments, state-sponsored (or at least, state-cloaked) terrorism and extremist violence are more relevant now than at just about any time since 1914. 

Indeed, when George W Bush had to respond to the Twin Towers attacks, he was placed in a very similar position to the Austrians after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand.

Both outrages were direct attacks against not just the soil and people of the respective great power but represented a symbolic attack too.  Equally, both were carried out by terrorist organisations that enjoyed the tacit patronage of their host governments to the extent that the line dividing them was distinctly porous: they shared objectives and beliefs, and not infrequently, personnel.

Understanding that is crucial to understanding both why the Austrian government sent such a harsh ultimatum, demanding that Serbia allow Austria to conduct its own inquiry.  Quite simply, there was no way a Serbian inquiry could be trusted to investigate properly as if it did, it would implicate itself.  Refusing the Austrian demand that Sebia cede its sovereignty might have given the Serbs a little cover under international law but as the initial act could easily be regarded as a casus belli of itself, only a little.

Here, the parallel switches to Iraq.  Most would now agree that the Iraq War was a monumental blunder on any number of levels.  Many thought it would be at the time, though we should distinguish between those who believed in managing the risk Saddam presented and the views of those who would bury their heads in the sand and try to wish the situation away.  Bush’s problem, like the Austrians’, was that the weapons inspectors were being given the run around in exactly the same way that Pasic’s Serbian government would have given the Austrians had they allowed them in.  Just as Saddam was trying to strike a balance between providing no evidence to the West that he had WMD’s and retaining the belief among his local opponents that he had, so Pasic could not afford to give an outright no to Austria but nor could he allow them to find anything incriminating.  Both countries could sustain the contradictory policies only until the terrorism of 1914 and 2001 changed the game.  A that point, both the Austrian and American administrations decided that a government that couldn’t be trusted on such matters was by definition a sufficient threat to justify war.

Of course, one principal difference between Serbia in 1914 and either Iraq or Afghanistan this century is that neither of those two had any meaningful international support whereas Serbia could rely on Russia, and by extension, France and probably Britain.  That, however, is more a distinction of detail than consequence given the breadth of international sympathy and strength of US feeling in the days following 11 September 2001.  Unlike Nicholas II (or more accurately, his ministers), no modern leader is likely to commit to the suicide of their regime and country on behalf of a bunch of fanatics (not that the tsar meant to either, but foresight of the consequences of a major war is clearer now than then).

Where do these lessons leave policy today?  That’s a much more difficult question.  It’s worth noting that after all the slaughter, it was the Serb nationalists who achieved their aim in 1918-9, not the Austrians; that after years of occupation, Afghanistan is by no means free of extremists even if Al Qaida is much reduced; that the downfall of Saddam has merely replaced one uncertainty with others in the Middle East; that Israel’s policy towards Hamas veers between scratching the sore and sticking a plaster on it but that the sore remains all the same.

Even so, it’s only when the fanaticism of terrorists is allied with the resources and prerogatives of a state that there develops a really serious threat.  The ideal solution is to prevent that alliance in the first place but even that asks difficult questions about external interference in sovereign states, ones that can only really be answered if there’s agreement on both principles and practices among the major powers.  If that fails, it follows that regime change should be a legitimate reason for military action in certain circumstance, even before a threat is made real.  Yet that too is dangerous: many initially extreme governments mellow with power, while war brings the chaos and pain in which extremism thrives.

It’s said that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.  The problem is knowing which lessons to learn and heed.

David Herdson

David will not be able to respond to comments today as he’s getting married.

Shelagh Delaney's Salford (1960)

Friday, July 25th, 2014 10:36 pm
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After I posted a clip from A Taste of Honey as a tribute to Dora Bryan, a reader kindly tweeted me the link to this short film.

Shelagh Delaney's Salford was made by Ken Russell and broadcast on 25 September 1960, when I was precisely six months old. She comes over as a striking and attractive figure.

The story of A Taste of Honey is worth retelling. Michael Billngton did so after Delaney died in 2011:
Shelagh Delaney ... was almost as important for what she symbolised as for what she wrote. She was, as Jeanette Winterson wrote in the Guardian last year, "the first working-class woman playwright". And even if nothing she later wrote achieved the success of her first play, A Taste of Honey, Delaney proved that an 18-year-old Salford girl could breach the walls of what, even in 1958, was still a mainly middle-class, male-dominated British theatre. ...
Delaney had been taken to see Terence Rattigan's Variations on a Theme at Manchester's Opera House and came away convinced she could do better. So, in little more than a fortnight, she banged out a play about a feisty Salford girl, Jo, who is left alone by her flighty mum one Christmas, goes to bed with a transient Nigerian sailor, gets pregnant and is lovingly tended by an effeminate art student. Having written the piece, Delaney had the nous to send it to Joan Littlewood, who had turned the Theatre Royal, Stratford East into a vibrant home of new drama. 
In her autobiography, Littlewood made no bones about the fact that a lot of work was needed to knock Delaney's play into shape. She liked the sparky dialogue but felt many of the scenes were undeveloped and the plot anecdotal. So she got Avis Bunnage, as Jo's mum, to use her talent for direct address and brought in a jazz quartet, consisting of trumpet, drums, guitar and sax, to set the mood. Delaney's slightly artless script quickly became a critical success.
Her career never reached these heights again. In some ways she was a female version of Leicester's Colin Wilson, who was taken up by the critics for his first book The Outsider and butchered by them for his second.

And I do like the comment in the original theatre programme for A Taste of Honey, as quoted by Rachel Cooke:
She is the antithesis of London's 'angry young men'. She knows what she is angry about.

"Forbidden Fruit"

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 09:33 am
michaelchance: (Default)
[personal profile] michaelchance posting in [community profile] doctorwho
"Forbidden Fruit" by angstytimelord
PAIRING: past Jack/Doctor
RATING: PG-13
SUMMARY: Based upon prompt 25: Forbidden.

Has just been added to Doctor Who gen stories page of the Doctor Who Slash page.

Crossposted to Chance's Archive.

Free Kindle Books.
[syndicated profile] liberal_england_feed
From the Guardian website - and tomorrow's newspaper:
The Liberal Democrats have apologised to Lord Rennard for mishandling part of his disciplinary process and dropped their investigation into whether he brought the party into disrepute by refusing to say sorry to female activists who accused him of inappropriate sexual behaviour. 
The peer and former chief executive is now under investigation only over the issue of whether his "criticisms of party processes" on social media and in the press have harmed the reputation of the Lib Dems, which means he continues to be suspended from the party in the House of Lords.

Local By-Election Results: July 24th 2014

Friday, July 25th, 2014 07:58 pm
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Posted by Harry Hayfield

Clifton on Blackpool (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 501 (41%), UKIP 362 (30%), Conservatives 283 (23%), Liberal Democrats 33 (3%), Greens 25 (2%), TUSC 10 (1%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 139 (11%)
Turnout: 23%

(Grateful thanks to Blackpool Council for their publication of the result and vote shares)

Edenthorpe, Kirk Sandall and Barnby Dun on Doncaster (Lab Defence)
Result: UKIP 1,203 (41%), Labour 1,109 (38% unchanged), Conservatives 479 (16% +2%), Greens 160 (5%)
UKIP GAIN from Labour with a majority of 94 (3%) on a swing of 20.5% from Labour to UKIP since 2012
Turnout: 28%

Staplehurst on Maidstone (Con Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 609 (36% +24%), Conservatives 603 (36% -21%), UKIP 311 (19%), Labour 117 (7% -8%), Greens 41 (2% -6%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 6 (0%) on a swing of 22.5% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Longhougton on Northumberland (Ind Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 742 (50%), Conservatives 352 (24% +9%), Independents 206 (14%), UKIP 146 (10% +2%), Labour 48 (3%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Independent with a majority of 390 (26%) on a swing of 20.5% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Southcote on Reading (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 1,019 (59% +3), Conservative 340 (20% -11%), UKIP 226 (13%), Greens 69 (4% -2%), Liberal Democrats 49 (3% -4%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 679 (39%) on a swing of 7% from Conservative to Labour since 2011
Turnout: 26%

Aberaman North on Rhondda, Cynon, Taff (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 356 (39% -42%), Independent 276 (31%), Plaid Cymru 228 (25% +6%), TUSC 23 (3%), Conservatives 20 (2%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 80 (8%) on a swing of 36.5% from Labour to Independent

Birchills, Leamore on Walsall (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 1,075 (48% -7%), Conservative 710 (32% -2%), UKIP 445 (20%), Eng Dem 20 (1%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 365 (16%) on a swing of 2.5% from Labour to Conservative

Clewer North on Windsor and Maidenhead Royal (Ind Defence)
Result: Independent 878 (58%), Conservatives 486 (32%), Labour 158 (10%)
Independent HOLD with a majority of 392 (26%)
Turnout: 26%

I can get the goatee though!

Friday, July 25th, 2014 09:12 pm
[personal profile] strangecharm
Since [personal profile] magister seems to have nicked my costume idea for the BiCon ball (theme: favorite fictional character) of "future Doctor Who," today [livejournal.com profile] tartful_dodger suggested I should be the future Master.

But the explanatory name badge is going to get me in trouble: "Hello I'm the Doctor" would've been fun, but I don't want to encourage the misinterpretation that'd be inevitable at BiCon if I called myself the Master.

About This Blog

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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