Monday, June 6, 2011

Good Monday morning, everyone. We are expecting another round of very hot (90+) days. My gardening will be confined to the early morning and late afternoon and our errands to the morning when we can. Hopefully I will have some pictures tomorrow or the day after. The camera needs a new battery which is on our shopping list today.

I heard a news reader utter a thought I have never heard one express before and I was very surprised. The story concerned the growth of 'cloud computing' and cited a service that for $25/year will keep all of the data, information, pictures, etc., on its servers eliminating the customers' need to have large amounts of storage on their own computers. Flicker and similar sites are growing in the internet. And now one computer company (sorry, I forgot which one) is planning to offer a computer with only about 16k of memory because it will link to one of the cloud servers where everything will be kept. It has been 30 years since such a small amount memory. I remember working with them. What really surprised me about the story? Well, it was the reporter questioning the wisdom of keeping data on a system which might just fail. How often have you heard anyone question a new technology?

The news this morning say that officials in Germany are close to identifying the 'real' cause of that deadly e. coli outbreak. I don't know if anyone else had a deja vu moment reading how the suspicion shifted from Spanish cucumbers to salad greens from who-knew-where to, finally, German grown sprouts. This BBC story gives the latest. Why deja vu? Well remember the shifting story of the outbreak here a couple of years ago: Florida tomatoes to Mexican peppers to California salad greens. And they never nailed down the actual source. One aspect of the story is very interesting and has received little attention. The sprouts suspected as a source of the e. coli are industrially grown in steam tanks at 38 degrees C (104 F) which provides an excellent environment for bacterial growth. That is a far cry from individuals growing sprouts in glass jars on their kitchen window sill. Another example of the downside of industrial production of foods? And then there are the economic consequences as detailed by this Guardian story. I wonder if the Florida tomato growers or the Mexican pepper growers ever got adequately compensated for their losses.

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