May 15, 2006

Organic Meat Scam

Writing about web page,,200-2181206,00.html

Re: Front page article - Times 15.5.2006

Worryingly apparently Trading Standards have been alerted to cases of non–organic meats being illegally sold as organic. A problem that was bound to occur you might think when the same piece of meat is worth 2 or 3 times as much with an organic label on it and with a market for Organic produce that is currently worth £1.2Billion in the UK and is rising by 12% per year.. As a result of some recent cases enforcement agencies are to begin a nation wide enquiry at butchers shops and farmers markets across the country.

Unfortunately the problem is this…..... for the produce to be labelled as organic the farmer/ producer must become a member of "the Soil Association" also to sell organic produce you must be a member of the soil association. Who are the Soil Association you ask? You might presume that they are a branch of DEFRA or Trading standards… some kind of government funded regulatory body. link Infact they are an NGO (non government organisation) a registered charity and more significantly a business and not one that conducts any research or has any scientific credibility; they do however have the ear of a sensationalist media. So the Organic Meat Scam is for the most part a result of certain growers or sellers growing or selling produce that is technically organic but failing to pay their annual soil association membership fees of nearly £1000 to do so.
A quote in the article from David Pickering of the Trading Standards Institute remarks "the problem is that when meat is sold unwrapped it is extremely difficult to see any physical difference between organic and conventional meat." The obvious point being David that there is no obvious difference between organic and regular meat, assuming that they are the same species/ variety the product is exactly the same and simply the production method is different. To suggest that organic food taste better is I'm afriad the best marketing ploy since chocolate cigarettes for children, to suggest to the public that your product is better than another is ok but surely lying about it should be illegal?

To quote a subdivision of their website called on 10 reasons to eat organic:
"1. It's healthy. On average, organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium as well as cancer–fighting antioxidants." Can I ask – did the fairies put it there or did I miss something during my cell biology lectures?

As a biologist and a farmers son – I can honestly say the combination of ignorance and lies with respect to first the popular media and then the soil association makes me sick.


May 14, 2006

The Heat Exchanger Engineering/ Physics Challenge

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Heat Exchanger problemo

Hi - I thought I'd put this up here as Warwick blogs scores pretty high on Google these days with then promise that somebody better informed than I might be able to lend some technical advice.

Here's the problem– I'm building a heat exchanger based on a system that is used in small scale breweries such as this – link
although his design is fairly rubbish.

I need to work out the length of coil that I should need to facilitate efficient heat exchange so that in one pass through the system I can heat the flowing liquid to at least 75o centigrade?

I've been studying the engineering equations on this site–>
and I have retraced my old Chemistry as far as Specific Heat Capacity and the like but I'm fairly nay you might reveal to me that I am completely lost.

What approach or equations are relevant that I should I embark upon to work out the length of the coil?

It's clear that variables include the material that the pipe is constructed from, its thickness and it's fair to assume that the liquids on both sides of the exchanger are water. So its simply a matter of being able to work out at what rate the heat can be transferred from the hot side to the cold side of the exchanger?? and with this in mind and by knowing or varying the flow rate of the liquid it should be possible to work out the length of the pipe needed to get near enough 100% exchange with regard to equalizing the temperatures???

Here's a basic diagram of the prospective system:

many thanks

April 20, 2006

Warning – Repetitive Strain Injury – Exams

Congratulations to me - I got RSI

6 weeks of scribbling revision notes in the learning grid combined with frantic scribbling for 3 hours in the first exam of my finals yesterday has resulted in RSI. Repetitive Strain Injury – I heard it could happen at exam times and isn't uncommon but never expected it would happen to a work shy lazy bones like me although I did write 21pages in 3 hours during the exam. There is a lot to be said for being able to learn your lecture notes by reading them – but if I could do that I'd be at Cambridge by now.

-> so if like me you develop hugely stressful aches in your writing hand and begin to find it difficult to write, whilst you have a whole load more exams still to go and to do final last minute revision for – here are a few tips –

Treat RSI
a) ice pack, frozen peas – anything cold for a long period of time at regular intervals throughout the day to calm those tendons down
b) Rest it – whatever you do don't use what little mobility you have unnecessarily
c) Ibuprofen gel and regular massaging. The ibuprofen is a potent antiinflammatory.

Avoiding RSI in the first place
a) if it startss to hurt – stop writing and take a break – try reading your notes instead
b) limbre up/ warm up that hand before starting revision

If you have it really badly and can't write at all – speak to your head of studies and they will be able to arrange a "scribe," a person to write your exams for you. For which you also get extra time I am told but which is a bit of a bummer if you have lots of exams.

December 12, 2005


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