Bug bread

The Guardian reports that a Finnish bakery has launched world’s first insect-based bread.

The bread, made using flour ground from dried crickets as well as wheat flour and seeds, has more protein than normal wheat bread. Each loaf contains about 70 crickets and costs €3.99 (£3.55), compared with €2-3 for a regular wheat loaf.

“It offers consumers a good protein source and also gives them an easy way to familiarise themselves with insect based food,” said Juhani Sibakov, the head of innovation at the bakery firm Fazer.

I have previously mentioned insects as a food source, and have even eaten several inset burgers. So it should come as no surprise that I think the idea of making bread out of bugs is a very good idea indeed.

I do think that innovations like this are the way to encourage Europeans to become more comfortable with the idea of insects as food. This is a good thing for a number of reasons, not least of which is that insects are a much less environmentally damaging source of protein than the large mammals we currently eat.

It seems to have gone down quite well as well:

“I don’t taste the difference … It tastes like bread,” said Sara Koivisto, a student from Helsinki, after trying the product.

Now, where’s my Marmite?

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Joke of the day

Via All Things Linguistic

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Bleeding Steel, Jackie Chan’s upcoming SF action film, looks spectacular

Even at 63, there really is no stopping Jackie Chan. In Bleeding Steel:

Chan stars as a hardened special forces agent who fights to protect a young woman from a sinister criminal gang. At the same time he with feels a special connection to the young woman, like they met in a different life.

The action takes place in China and Sydney and, from the trailer, looks spectacular. According to Budomate, this is both the biggest budget Chinese production to have been shot in Australia and the first film to shoot scenes on top of the Sydney Opera House.

It’s all worth it.

The film is due to be released on 22nd December in China, and elsewhere, and I will be watching out for this.

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Quote of the Day: The medium is not the message

Too often we focus on technology and forget the structures of law, ownership and power that technology operates within. Dazzled by the astonishing pace of technological advance we can easily think that information technology is itself the solution. Instead we must think about the purpose, power and politics of information technology, and not presume some in-built positive aim.

Rufus Pollock

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AZERTY Keyboards: A Rant

[Note: I have deliberately not checked any of the spellings on this post so that you can feel some of my pain.]

Even though I have been in Belgium for the best part of thirteen years and, even though the Belgians qre as fond of their biwarre keyboard layouts as the French, I have managed to avoid using an AZERTY keyboard for any significant period of time. Until noz.

Not all of the keys are in the wrong place, but there are enough of them to keep catching me out. I am not a touch-typist by any stretch of the imagination, but I knoz which keys should be where qnd am (usually) able to type reasonably quickly and reasonably accurately. Now I need to take a great deql more care with the spell checker.

This is all mildly annoying (for me) and mildly amusing (for everyone else) but when I started trying to use Vim with an AZERTY keyboard, things really became painful.

Take the movement keys (H, J, K and L), for exqmple. These are qll correctly positioned relative to each other, but some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to put the M key to the right of the L. Since I instinctively reqch for the rightmost letters on the middle row to navigate around a file, I keep using the J, K, L and M keys to go in randoml directions, or none.

(And who thought it would be a good idea to make you press shift to get at the number keys?)

But the fun really begins when I want to switch from one window to another. This is something I do quite often.

The key sequence to move one zindoz to the right used to be:
CTRL-W L

Noz it’s more like this:

  • CTRL-Z
  • exit the new shell I’ve accidentally started
  • CTRL-W M
  • curse
  • ESCESC
  • CTRL-Z
  • swear
  • exit the new shell I’ve accidentally started
  • CTRL-Z
  • Leave the office in order to fill the corridor with obscenities.

It takes about eight hours to get used to typing in AZERTY (as far as is possible — what bright spark thought it would be a good idea to press shift to get at the forward slash?), at which point I climb into my car, drive home and boot up my QWERTY keyboarded laptop.

If there is anyone out there successfully using Vim on an AZERTY keyboard, how on earth do you manage?

:zq

Footnote

While searching for the image at the top of this post, I stumbled across this article from 2016. It appears that the AZERTY keyboard is so ergonomically disastrous, that even the French want to get rid of it.

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On referendums

Nick Tyrone on the 350 million pound problem:

And that’s the main problem with referenda: anyone can promise anything because there is no political cost to making promises that won’t come good.

I’m not sure about this being the “main problem” but it’s certainly one of the many significant problems with referendums.

Fundamentally, referendums are not democratic. In a democracy, no decision is truly set in stone — we elect a parliament and that parliament enacts laws. There is nothing to stop the next parliament from repealing every one of those laws if the electorate decides they were a bad idea. The problem with referendums is that they do fix a decision in stone and provide no mechanism for amending, adjusting or reversing a decision.

And, of course, referendum decisions are always binary — yes or no; leave or remain; stay or go. But reality doesn’t fit into neat little mutually exclusive boxes, so no referendum can ever fully reflect the range of opinions that people want to express.

For any democracy to function properly, we should be having fewer referendums — preferably none.

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Facepalmbook

What could possibly go wrong?

Facebook has begun conducting a pilot where it solicits intimate photographs of women – and it will soon offer the service in the United Kingdom. Anxious exes who fear their former partner is set on revenge porn will be urged to upload photographs of themselves nude.

There are already plenty of candidates for worst idea of 2017. It’s nice to see that the Zuck doesn’t want to be left out.

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