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Perfect Espresso

  • Posted by ruben
  • 21 January 2010

Total obsession!

The Future of Environmentalism

  • Posted by howies
  • 19 January 2010

Stewart Brand TED talk

I don't know about you, but all the complicated talk about climate change and it's potentially terrifying consequences is a bit overwhelming and gets my mind in a pickle.

To remedy this I went to a lecture by Stewart Brand and Brian Eno as part of Bristol's fabulous 'Festival of Ideas.' Stewart Brand has been at the forfront of Environmentalism since the 60's in America. He says that he wants to foster an 'un-idealistic, practical view about how to get things done'.  He was the guy who got NASA to first publish images of Earth from the Apollo Space missions which changed our view of our planet forever. And for the computer nerds, you might like to know that he was there at the inception of the internet, developing a way of linking environmentalists via a system called 'The Wall'. He has faith in human beings to do the right thing when given the opportunities and feels that the appropriate tools are key to this. He optimistically believes that we can create a world we believe in.

Watch his video on TED to judge for yourself. I learnt much from the talk I went, and I would like to share with you the information that is still ringing loud in my ears now, how does this information sit with you?

1. How do we frame a problem in a way that it's solvable? (apparently engineers do this alot!)

2. Instead of refraining from things, we need to do more things.

3. There is a movement for 'open-source genetic engineering' so farmers everywhere can use it to modify their crops as they have done through breeding for generations. This could potentially stop world food sources being controlled by controversial giants such as Monsanto (one of the biggest fears of anti-GM campaigners). There is a book called 'Mendel in the Kitchen' by an American couple who write about combining the best of organic growing principles and GM technology.

4. He believes that there is currently a regular mis-use of the precautionary principle. Many things have un-intended consequences both positive and negative and it is best that we keep an eye out for both.

5. The new 3rd generation of nuclear power generators have the options to be small modular reactors, that can de-centralize power supplies, even a floating barge in Russia. Uranium supplies are from stable countries such as Australia and Canada.  Third generation reactors can use the waste from first and second generation as fuel. Amusingly, 10% of America's nuclear fuel comes from old soviet weapons, how's that for recycling?! New methods of uranium processing are being developed to prevent any waste from the process being used in weapons. 

He didn't have time to talk much about his positive views on mass migration into cities and population growth, which is a shame.

If you went to the talk or have heard him in his video, let me (Amy) know what you think? He made me question my opinions, has he done the same for you?


  • Posted by tim
  • 14 January 2010


Apologies if some of you may have already heard of this.

This is a game you play where every right general knowledge question you answer in the quiz generates free rice that's sent to those in need. It was founded in Oct 2007 and to date has donated 73,466,848,890 grains of rice.

About FreeRice (from their website)

FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Program. Our partner is the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide education to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the generosity of the sponsors who advertise on this site.

Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your education can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide. Thank you.

Back to the Land

  • Posted by howies
  • 10 December 2009

Picture 1

A brilliant essay type blog post by Maria Kalman for the NY Times about Democracy and America's fast food troubles. Well worth a read.

Thanks to cho for the tip off.

P.S. Those muffins look a 1000 times worse (but still mesmerisingly appealing I must admit) than UK ones... I didn't think that was possible!

Obsessive about Soda

  • Posted by howies
  • 7 December 2009

John Nese is the proprietor of Galcos Soda Pop Stop in LA. He stocks hundreds of varieties of independent Sodas (or fizzy drinks to us).

The stuff this guy says are spot on. Watch it through to the end, it's worth it...

(via rubenlightfoot)


and here is a clip from our BioRegional Wee Do!

Save Our Seeds

  • Posted by howies
  • 15 October 2009

seed bank

"We cannot sit back and watch plant species disappear like so many lights going off in the darkness"

- Paul Smith, Millennium Seed Bank

The wild banana seed (Musa itinerans) marks the 10% mark for Kew's Millennium Seed Bank - a project which aims to collect and conserve seeds from 25% of the world's flowering plants by 2020.

The seed bank partnership, which involves more than 120 organisations in 54 countries, stores the seeds under conditions that will allow them to be regrown should the need arise.  All samples are kept at Wakehurst Place, West Sussex, where they are stored in temperature controlled underground vaults. 

Over the next ten years the aim is to secure a further 15% of the world's seeds - with a focus on bio-diversity, food security, and climate change. 

As exciting, and scientifically significant, as I think the project is - I hope that we never get to the point where we have to turn to the seed bank, beyond reinstating what are already seriously endangered species.  However, unless we put a halt to climate change, redress our intensive agricultural methods, and slow the destruction of our natural habitat we may not need to test the longevity of the storage process much beyond fifty years. 

What seed would you want to see saved?  It is hard to decide.  I think that my choice would be an acorn from the English Oak.  Obviously, I would be relying on other people to save seeds from plants that I could actually eat.......

are you the big mac?

  • Posted by howies
  • 8 October 2009

Some friends of mine are in a band called King Porter Stomp.  They are an 8 piece band "with massive horns, heavy bass and deeply socially aware lyrics."

The past two years they have been performing on the UK festival tour, and received great reviews!

They are going to be making their first music video this weekend, and are calling for people to join in.  From their latest album Poison the Beat, they will be filming their track "Big Mac" at the McDonalds on London Road in Brighton.

Their invitation:
OK ALL YOU NON LOVERS OF FAST FOOD PLEASE COME JOIN US IN MAKING OUR BIG MAC VIDEO. WE WILL BE MARCHING FROM THE LEVEL AT 3.30PM TO RONALD McDONALDS HOUSE ON LONDON RD.  Bring ya dancing shoes, video cams and phones, any anti fast food clothes or fancy dress.  Bring one bring all.  SEE YA SUNDAY.
I have heard rumours of Tim dressing up as an angry farmer and there is going to be a pantomime cow in the mix!?

Happy Birthday to us!

today is our 2nd birthday at the shop and to celebrate we have got some free cupcakes for our customers, baked freshly this morning by the lovely people at Crumbs and Doilies.

dont worry, we have done a taste test for you and they passed with flying colours!

cupcakes 005

 we've even got some limited edition customised howies ones so get down here quick smart!


cupcakes 004

also from 5pm onwards we will be serving up glasses of Eco Warrior beer and remember it's thursday so we're open until 8.00pm.

see you later!

ps. kettle's on.

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