Tag Archives: benefits

GM Apple going on sale in the US

Apples used to be a symbol of health, and healthy eating. Not any more. To give sliced apples a longer shelf life, the Artic Apple has had a gene removed so it doesn’t go brown…perhaps ever:

Is this a case of Nature getting it wrong and man getting it right?

Fruit that is cut or bruised goes brown through a process of oxidisation. According to the dictionary, this means:

‘To combine or cause an element or radical to combine with oxygen or to lose electrons.

Okay, so what’s the big deal?

To be honest, I don’t know. All I know is that most [? all ?] fruit and vegetables exposed to air – i.e. oxygen – do go brown thanks to millions of years worth of natural selection. Natural selection is not the survival of the strongest, it’s the survival of the fittest. So something about the browning of fruit and vegetables when exposed to oxygen is a good thing, because it’s lasted through countless mutations during which a better gene could have taken over. But didn’t. Because it wasn’t a better fit for the environment.

Of course, the browning of all fruit and vegetables when cut or bruised could, possibly, be one of those genes that are simply ‘neutral’ – i.e. it doesn’t have much of an effect either way so it just hangs around. That is a possibility, but then why has it hung around in all of these fruits and vegetables? Surely at least one of them would have done better without this gene?

I mean, think about it. The whole purpose of fruit is to be eaten…so the seeds inside can be carried somewhere else and pooped out. Then, those seeds have a chance of starting a new plant in a new place. That makes sense. So wouldn’t it also make sense to stop the bruised fruit from going brown? Wouldn’t fresh-looking fruit be more appetising to the fruit-eating poopers?

What I know about genetics could fit into a thimble, but commonsense tells me two things:

  1. the fact that natural selection didn’t get rid of the turn-fruit-brown gene means that there was no advantage to doing so,
  2. being able to sell sliced fruit is a terrible reason to genetically modify anything.

Who gains by being able to have apple slices sitting on a shelf for god knows how long?

And why would you even want to have sliced apples for sale?

I mean, seriously, the apple is the original convenience food. All you need to do is bite into it.

Have these Artic Apples been developed for people who have no teeth and have to gum their food?

Or has our obsession with convenience deprived us of all good sense?

Are we truly that lazy??

What’s next? Apple sauce that grows on trees? Don’t even need to chew….

This whole thing would be almost funny if it were not so real. I truly don’t like the future I’m starting to see.

Meeks

p.s. and to add insult to injury, guess who developed this ridiculous apple – our own, Australian C.S.I.R.O. I am so ashamed.

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Volunteering to get a job

No, sorry, I don’t have a paying job, yet. I am doing work though, as a volunteer, and that means I have my foot in a couple of doors.

How so? Well, it harks back to that old saying – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

When you send out a CV, or a written application, you are showcasing what you know. You, as a person, however, remain a blank slate. From an employer’s persepctive, you could be a hard worker, pleasant to get on with, funny, kind, generous, a real asset to the organization. Or you could be an absolute ratbag who just knows how to play the application game.

A job interview can help cross this personal barrier, but only a little because at interviews you have to be on your best behaviour. And let’s face it, how much of yourself can you truly express in half an hour? Sometimes even getting that interview is an uphill struggle. Trust me, I know. I’ve been trying for three months!

So this is where volunteering can help. You get to meet and interact with people in the industry you would like to join. They get to know you, and you get to know them… and all without obligation. If you don’t like the place, or the people, or the work, you can walk away, offer your services somewhere else.

Of course, the flip side is that the potential employer can also decide they don’t like you. That is why volunteering is a gamble of sorts. Nonetheless, I’m convinced it’s the very best way of finding the work, and the work environment that is going to make you happy.

Sure, money is important! Every time I get another bill in the mail, I’m reminded of just how important money truly is. But! I’ve worked at enough jobs I hated to know that enjoying your time at work is vital. So for me, volunteering is the perfect way to ease back into paid employment.

There is also another benefit to volunteering – confidence.

You see, no matter how much faith you may have in yourself, the longer you go without some kind of positive feedback, the harder it is to maintain that confidence. Self doubt creeps in. Pretty soon you begin to actively fear being put to the test. Then avoidance creeps in…

The emotions I’ve described are all my own, but I believe they can apply to anyone who has been out of the workforce for an extended period of time. They can also apply to most other endeavours in life. -mumble- writing -mumble-

Moving on. Over the last two weeks I’ve had volunteer gigs at Park Orchards and Greensborough, and next week I may get to help out at Panton Hill. I’ve also joined a tutoring agency. I’m not too sure about that last one, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my volunteer gigs, and they have boosted my confidence tremendously – I know I can teach, and teach well.

I’ve also enjoy the people. They are what makes or breaks a job in the long term.

I’ve often referred to myself as a bit of a hermit, and that is still true – I enjoy my own company and the freedom to pursue my own projects at my own pace. But as with everything else in life, balance is vital, and over the last two weeks I’ve realised that I need to interact with real life people as well as you lot. 😀 Why? Because I do like people, especially the nice ones, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet nothing but nice ones through my volunteering!

So me lovelies, the moral of this post is that reaching out to people is always a good thing. If, like me, you are looking for a job and not having much success with those CVs, reach out and volunteer. You may not get a paying job out of it, but the non-tangible benefits are very real, and well worth the effort!

cheers from a very happy Meeks 😀

 

 

 


If I could change the world [of MMOs]…

I’ve been too busy to spend much time gaming lately, but to be honest, I haven’t really wanted to play all that much either. Many nights I spend my precious gaming time searching the net for new MMOs instead.

Why? Because I’m bored. Timezones and restricted gaming time make it impossible to do typical MMO endgame stuff – such as raids – and I’ve never enjoyed pvp, so now I’m leveling up another character on GW2 [Guild Wars 2] and feeling nostalgic about FFXI [Final Fantasy 11 online].

There were very good, and compelling reasons for leaving FFXI, but player housing was not one of them. In fact I probably kept on playing the game for far longer simply because player housing gave me an alternate reason to keep playing.

You see in FFXI, player housing was a bit like having a real life house of your own. You could furnish it with all sorts of things from antique tea sets to various styles of furniture. Think of it as having a very sophisticated and elaborate doll’s house in which you could move around.

And no, FFXI player housing didn’t look anything like this… but wouldn’t it be fun if it did?

Beyond the fun of redecorating though, player housing had other functions as well. Most of the items in our houses aided crafting in some way, and I always loved crafting so I could spend hours just messing around ‘at home’.

I have always loved ‘gardening’ as well, and in FFXI you could grow crystals in garden pots. I don’t want to go into what crystals were used for – just accept that they were valuable in-game commodities. Caring for my ‘garden’ took yet more time, time I was happy to spend.  And of course, finding the materials to feed my crafting and gardening took many more hours.

-sigh- I really miss that aspect of gaming. Not only did it give me something to do beyond upgrading my weapons and armour, it also made the game feel more life-like. After all, isn’t that pretty much what we all do in real life? We work to make life comfortable, and that includes buying clothes and shoes, cars or motorbikes, the latest gadgets, furniture, apartments or houses, vacations, entertainment etc.

In modern MMOs however, we can only really spend our in-game money on three related things – more powerful weapons, better armour, and mounts [personal transportation]. Sadly, GW2 doesn’t even have mounts so the incentive to keep playing is reduced by 1/3.

Now I know an awful lot of players will disagree with me on the question of incentives – most are young and are only really interested in the battling aspect of MMOs. But as those players get older, they too will begin to face the same life constraints that I do, and when that happens they will either stop playing altogether, or they will demand ‘more’ from their games.

In my not so humble opinion, MMO developers who want longevity for their products would do well to bring player housing back into the equation – as a standard part of the game dynamic. The MMOs that retain player housing also seem to retain their playerbase. Just saying.

Another thing I’d do, if I were a developer, is rethink the whole question of armour. At the moment, most Western MMOs combine the look of armour with its function. So for example, the Warrior class wears plate armour while Mages wear cloth, and you cannot mix and match to customize your appearance. This has the net result of making characters look alike, apart from a few small differences.

By contrast, A Perfect World International and Aion both split form from function. This allows for a great deal more individuality in appearance.

I would go one step further. I would make all armour neutral, and stats [functions such as defence] would become slot items.  This is not so very different to what we have now. It would merely formalize  upgrades into standard components. The difference would be that appearance would be completely separate to function.

In my ideal MMO, a Warrior could wear flowing robes, and a Mage could wear plate. 🙂

Well, the clock is ticking and this little detour into daydreams must end.  À bientôt mes amis!

Meeks


20 Kindle power

Ok, I admit it – the title was me trying to be clever but if you stick with me all will be revealed!

Candlepower or candela is a way of measuring luminosity and dates back to the days when we used candles. So 20 candlepower would be the equivalent of the light provided by 20 candles [all lit of course]. And then along came Edison with his electric light bulb. Now candles are relegated to the utility draw where they wait, unused and unloved until a birthday cake comes along or a blackout or a romantic dinner for two.

Sadly, the advent of e-readers like the Kindle  is going to do to books what the light bulb did to candles. Books may not become collectors’ items for a generation or two yet, but we can see the demise of the mass market paperback already in the sales figures coming out of Amazon. Ebook sales are soaring as more and more people like me discover how convenient and cheap ebooks are. In the past I would only buy books written by my favourite authors because here in Australia books can cost up to $30 AUD. Each. That is an investment not an impulse buy. With my Kindle though I can buy an ebook by an unknown author for as little as 0.99c.

And this brings me to the meaning of my title – I have downloaded 20 ebooks in the last month thanks to Kindle power.  Of that first 20  I have read 19. I will probably never finish that last unread book because it was not well written and annoyed me. In the past I would have agonized over wasting the price of a book but now I can happily move on to the next promising story because none of them cost more than the price of one decent latte.

Cost is not the only benefit of ebooks though;  freedom to explore is just as important. In the last month I have discovered some wonderful new writers – Mary Robinette Kowal, Candy Korman, Lord David Prosser, Stephen Faulds –  many of whom are self-published indie authors whose books never appear on the shelves of traditional bookshops. Without ebooks I would never have discovered them. For that alone my Kindle has been worth the investment but it has other, less obvious benefits as well. I’m getting horribly short-sighted so the ability to adjust the font is a god send. Now I can read in comfort without having to wear those horrible reading glasses that make the world swim whenever you look up from the page.  Another benefit is that I can sling my Kindle in my bag and take it with me wherever I go  – without feeling as if I’m carrying a brick in my bag!

I still love the look and feel of real books and I always will but in the future I will be choosing the ones I want to own and keep in a very  different way.  Instead of browsing the shelves of bookshops and taking a punt on a book that ‘looks interesting’ I will be reading the ebook version first. If it lives up to expectations and is a ‘keeper’ then I will buy the hard copy version and give it a home on my own bookshelves. That is the power of the ebook. That is the power of my Kindle.

Something is always lost when new technology comes along so I feel sad to think that my great, great, grandchildren may only see paper books in museums but it’s always better to swim with the tide than to drown trying to swim against it.  Vive le livrel!


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