Food colouring

This article on food colouring on the BBC website is interesting for the fact that some colourings allowed in the UK are banned elsewhere, but the most bemusing thing is that so many colours come from coal. I’d always thought coal was black, but apparently not:

  • TARTRAZINE (E102): A yellow food colouring made from coal tar.
  • BRILLIANT BLUE FCF (E133): A blue colouring made from coal tar
  • BRILLIANT BLACK BN (E151): Another coal tar derivative to give a black colouring. (Okay, this one makes sense.)
  • BROWN HT (E155): A brown, coal-derived colouring. Dark brown/black – close enough to coal to believe this one
  • GREEN S (E142): What is it? Green colouring from coal

Where does all this yellow, blue and green coal come from? Why are we not having more interesting fires?

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Colour by numbers

Royal Mail loses postal monopoly

Given that Royal Mail currently delivers post at a loss I can only see that the addition of more overheads which other firms will be incurring to provide a similar service will increase the cost of posting letters dramatically over the next few years. This seems very similar to the path that directory enquiries has gone down which has changed from a free service over the years to a very expensive one with a high level of customer dissatisfaction.

Royal Mail loses postal monopoly

News of IE 7 release causes Xbox to catch fire

Okay, maybe the events aren’t directly related. But I do find it entertaining that a Microsoft product in the physical world has bugs in it the same way that their software does. Maybe there’s more truth in the (I presume) apocryphal “If GM Produced Cars like Microsoft Produces Software” story than I previously thought.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Fire fear prompts Xbox cable swap

IE 7 to be released

London’s 2012 Olympic bid

I’m not sure whether Tony Blair popping across to Singapore for the Olympic bid (I reckon
he’s just after picking up some cheap gadgets) is going to make a huge
difference to our chances. After all, as far as I can tell most of the world
hates us for following America into every war they feel like starting.

According to Radio 4 this morning, London is in second place to Paris.
Well, according to Googlefight this morning,
London is way ahead

Blair eyes Olympics 2012 mission
London beats Paris to 2012 Olympics

London 2012

The DIY revolution gone mad

“Crush chaos at Ikea store opening”

It’s amazing what people will do to get their hands on some flat-packed furniture ahead of everyone else. Except, of course, it’s the same stock in every store… It must be all those Viking sounding cabinet names that have turned the crowd into warring barbarians. I think there will be a few very confused Ikea bosses in Sweden right now.

Crush chaos at Ikea store opening

Pizzas causing trouble

Two apparently unrelated stories:

Army pilot rap over
pizza flight

“A lieutenant has been disciplined after using an Army helicopter to deliver
a pizza to his girlfriend.”

over fireman’s ‘pizza trip’

“Sydney firemen were reportedly unable to answer a call-out because their
fire engine was being used by a firefighter to collect a pizza.”

Is this the start of an unarmed uprising by pizzas? It seems very suspicious
to me…

Toyota demonstrates robot personal vehicles

I found the pictures of Toyota’s robot cars/personal vehicles very interesting. (‘Those whacky Japanese do it again’ was going to be my alternative headline, but that doesn’t give a great deal away about the content.) Okay, they may only travel at less than 1mph and look like a 1960’s sci-fi view of the future, but aren’t they great anyway?

I was less pleased to see all the negativity which always seems to come from our British academics as soon as anything tries anything different:

Dr Erel Avineri, of the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of the West of England in Bristol said: “The design of the introduced mobility devices is not completely adjusted to the specific needs of the elderly and the disabled.”

And at what point did Toyota say ‘This is a finished product. isn’t it great!’ It’s just a show, for christ’s sake…

“In general, introducing a new technology requires the passenger to change behaviour patterns that have served the older passenger for decades. Elderly users might not necessarily accept such innovation.

“This may be another barrier to the commercial success of such a vehicle.”

Call me cynical, but I have a feeling that Toyota may know slightly more about the commercial realities of selling vehicles than an academic from Bristol, so perhaps they’ve got that area covered?

“The concept of personal mobility behind these sorts of innovations is great but they beg a huge number of questions”: Dr David Gillingwater, Loughborough University

Yes, and that’s the point. IT’S AN EXPO!

BBC NEWS | Technology | Robotic pods take on car design

BBC NEWS | Technology | Britons growing ‘digitally obese’

“Attention grabbing pseudo-science headline”. It’s not so dramatic as it sounds – apparently we’re all carrying loads of data round on our PDA’s. So nothing to do with obesity at all.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Britons growing ‘digitally obese’: “Britons growing ‘digitally obese'”