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It’s clear to me that a staple diet in the future of PC gamers will be F2P games. Clearly, with the shift of TF2, it’s now a much more respected model of business and thus feasible. Perhaps this was Valves plan for years, perhaps it was a last minute thing. The success of League of Legends also cannot be ignored.

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Recently people have have noticed me going on about the advantage to the consumption of insects. This may seem rather trivial due to the proliferation of reality TV, however, I see it as an exciting opportunity to introduce a new source of food in our diet, while being sustainable and ultimately practical source of feeding our ever expanding population.

There are two articles really that sparked my interest in this idea. It may seem odd at first, but hopefully can neutralise the idea from the portrayed wackiness for entertainment sake that we’ve become used to.

Firstly however, I’d like to briefly describe the benefits of insects as a food source:

  • Sustainability – Insects are much smaller than cows to farm. They produce less methane too, meaning less green houses emitted but also more consumed due to space for trees and no deforestation
  • Efficiency – Much larger quantities can be produced quicker, cheaper and in less space. Also harbour all the nutrients that meat does.
  • Already used in food – “The US Food and Drug Administration allows, for example, up to 75 pieces of insect in 55mm of hot chocolate and up to 60 aphids in a portion of frozen broccoli.
  • High class restaurants often use them in exotic dishes already
  • Lower health risks – Due to insects being different to us so much, co-infection is much less likely. “less than 0.5% of all known insect species are harmful to people”
  • Morals – I dare say vegetarians are more likely to eat them due to a lack of morality attached with insects like there are with mammals. Stress to livestock is caused through enclosed environments – something insects naturally dwell in.

Insects are plentiful, multiply and grow to adulthood rapidly and require little food to sustain them. They are the perfect source of protein. As countries in the west and developing world wake up to the looming threat of food shortages, it’s time that governments seriously considered an alternative source of protein.

My passion for this subject is not to say that I wish to see every restaurant dealing in only-insect food sources. Rather, I think that it is an appropriate time to approach the topic with a more serious attitude, a realistic application of entmophagy that is beyond the merely surreal. It provides a pragmatic solution to the food issues currently facing the world, and increasing populations in the west are set to only further this. It is time for us to adjust to the idea of entomphagy as a real solution, a real idea, a real meal. If we become more willing to the idea as a culture, were we faced with a more prominent scenario of being required to eat insects, we are in a much better position to adapt and survive. They can be introduced slowly through increasing amounts of pastes and nut-replacements they are used for. Once this is successful and more importantly, widely known and accepted, then direct consumption is a possibility. However, it is still possible that huge benefits can be gained from using them as increasing amounts of substitutes (which they already are) which people are probably blissfully unaware of.

Efficiency and Sustainability

The main issue currently with livestock farming is that it’s both wasteful and dangerous to the environment. With much of the rainforest being cut down to provide room for livestock farming, we are perilously close to loosing the ‘lungs of the world’ – the Amazon rain forest. With livestock contributing up to 18% of greenhouse gases, cutting down the rainforest to replace it with a contributor is vastly counterproductive. With insects being much smaller, we can grow them in much larger quantities in much smaller spaces. There’s also the fact that we can easily stack farms on top of each other rather than being restricted to one plane. It’s not exactly common to see cattle navigating stairs.

Equally, being cold blooded, insects require much less food input for what we gain as energy is not wasted on body heat.

Ten pounds of feed yields one pound of beef, three pounds of pork, five pounds of chicken and up to six pounds of insect meat.

This is a 60% yield compared to 10% of beef. Equally, more of the insect can be consumed. 20% of a cricket is inedible, compared to 30% for pork or 65% for lamb. So all around, they are much more efficient and thus more sustainable in an age where the green credentials are vital to judgement.

There’s not much more I can say really. It’s a fairly simple idea, with many benefits to be gained. It’s simply a case of changing and accepting the mindset to increase insects in our diet. We are already someway there with using insects instead of livestock and other less sustainable sources of food in using them as dyes or substitutes. But we have a long way to go before it is widely accepted within western culture. In South Asia it is already widely accepted and a necessity as livestock cannot fulfill all of the needs in such a densely populated region. It is time for us to begin to change the way we think and become more comfortable with the idea of entomophagy, for one day we may have to do the same.

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I recently purchased a Kindle. It was pretty much an impulse purchase. I’ve seen them in London and what not, but saw a customer at work the other day with one which confirmed it for me. It was only a glance, but the screen impressed me enough for me to go home and get one.

The other day, thankfully (after much amazon tracking) it arrived. Here are my thoughts on it.

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In the OU course I’m currently studying it briefly touched upon the NHS and the effects that introducing business practices had on it. This made me think briefly about whether or not it is truely worthwhile.

I do not wish to delve too far into the ins and outs of the NHS, as it seems that the outcomes are clear. In the article it describes how attempts to modernise the NHS via business methods have been ineffective due to staff being ‘homegrown’ and thus lacking external experience – making them change their ways is much more difficult and not something a passing meeting with a business guru can solve. It also mentions that adopted IT systems are too little – in that electronic appraisal systems are common in the private sector but rare and in dire need for a NHS that is keen to be run as a business to turn patients into customers.

This however, begs one major question. Is that what we want? While I’m sure updated IT systems will help, and that resistance against such a thing is not useful, it boils down to private vs public. It is clear within this case study that a public sector organisation is difficult to run with private ideals and systems in place. It removes all of the advantages being a public sector organisation the first place. So the question is this, which do you want? Public or Private health service?

Clearly my answer is public. Not a half attempt at public-sector, but full on investment and organised to take full advantage of localised organisation that only a public sector organisation can afford to do. It is this that makes it so wonderful and able to respond directly to people. If not, then we need a fully privatised system, one that can take full advantage of :

“…customer needs, ruthless competition, blindingly good information technology systems, a passion for quality and excellence and flexible staff”

For many reasons I do not support this. America being the main reason. But in my view, attempting to define a middle ground is pointless in such a valuable and necessary organisation in our society. Acknowledging and supporting it’s public status means that it can focus on improving itself in its own way without external, inappropriate systems being forced upon it. It is not there to be tweaked, prodded and fiddled with. It is there to be supported, and be left to get on with a bloody vital job.

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I’ve become slightly more aware of something recently. While I may hold a bias view due to my plans to start my own cafe anyway, I still think them valid. While I agree with the attacks on tax dodging large corporations, and the issues that such large monopolistic organisations yield, I think that the focus should be diverted elsewhere. While it is important to highlight the issues, it is equally as important to support alternatives. And it is this reason, that the ignorance of small business by the media, protesters, and pretty much everyone who isn’t a niche news source.

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I agree with a broad range of these issues, these are just some of the ones that stand out and I wish to comment on briefly. I’m going through the entire manifesto so it may not be that brief but these are the key issues that I could see as positives. I’ve highlighted them all here in an attempt of cherry picking for both my own and for your sakes. They’re all reasons that you should take the Green party as a serious party, but most of all a good choice with a wide range of political beliefs, no longer just the environmental.

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The Open University


When deciding and planning my future, I always had the OU in mind for studies. I was never really sure what I wanted to study as a subject and the OU gave me the flexibility to move and change with this. However, when openly discussing this with friends and family I received mixed reactions to it as both an institution and as a choice.

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