Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Perfectly imperfect

Supermarket companies can be problematic in many ways when they become too big and powerful – see Tescopoly campaign, for example.

On the other hand, credit is due when they "do the right thing", as exemplified by Tesco's "Perfectly imperfect" apples – see product labels below – which they sell as part of their apparent commitment to reduce food waste, and at a very reasonable price.

Classic case of: "what's not to like?"

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday, December 05, 2016

Dean's cookies policy

Can you see the funny side of Dean's cookies policy note?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Bethink yourselves

Image "borrowed" from A. Christoyannopoulos' Conversation article

In a recent article at The Conversation, Alexandre Christoyannopoulos suggests four things you can do to make a difference, if you think the world is in a mess:

1. Be a reflective "producer" (this is about one's work choices)
2. Be an ethical consumer
3. Be an active citizen
4. Be a principled person

In conclusion, the author refers to Tolstoy, who wanted us to “bethink ourselves”. It turns out that Tolstoy's essay with the title Bethink Yourselves was written against the background of the Russo-Japanese War and contains this noteworthy statement (not least in the context of Remembrance):
Strange as this may seem, the surest and most certain deliverance for men from all their self-inflicted calamities, even the most dreadful of them – war – is attainable not by any external general measures but by that simple appeal to the consciousness of each individual man which was presented by Jesus nineteen hundred years ago: that every man should bethink himself and ask himself who he is, why he lives, and what he should and should not do.
The word "bethink" is interesting from a linguistic perspective. The Oxford English Dictionary confirms the "suspicion" that it is etymologically related to the German word "bedenken". It seems a shame that it is "obsolete". Perhaps it will make a comeback.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Weekend reading

Paul Mason in the Guardian, also Guardian Weekly 11 November:
The battle over Uber and driverless cars is really a debate about the future of humanity

  • "Uber drivers were right to claim employment rights. But in a world where driverless cars may soon make them redundant, we face long-term dilemmas about the systems we choose". 
  • If we accept – as Oxford researchers Carl Frey and Michael Osborne stated in 2013 – that 47% of jobs are susceptible to automation, the most obvious problem is: how are people going to live?
  • "In a way, Uber has done us a favour by making concrete the kind of rightwing libertarian dystopia that would come about if we allowed Silicon Valley to design the future. Instead, we should begin by recognising that, as machines plus artificial intelligence begin to replace human beings, the entire social, political and moral dilemma for humanity becomes a question of systems".

Guardian Weekly 11 November reader letter under the heading Time to get rid of elections, with reference to George Monbiot's article under the heading Lies, fearmongering and fables: that’s our democracy and the Sortition Foundation.

Guardian 25 October: 'Nobody calls it Czechia': Czech Republic's new name fails to catch on


Guardian Weekly 4 November: The prime minister of pretence – Theresa May told lies to win her job and now she is doing the same to make people believe she is acting in their interest.


Owen Jones, Guardian Weekly 4 November: "We all possess a natural empathy for other human beings. But once we Lose that, it is easy for injustice to flourish. The solution? Tell humanising stories".


Guardian Weekly 21 October: Liquid assets: how the business of bottled water went mad.  This article was heavily criticised in a reader letter under the heading The great water folly in GW 11 November for "totally ignoring the many real issues surrounding the bottled water industry".

Wednesday, November 09, 2016