Thursday, May 27, 2010

How my Bewley's Explore Java Coffee has "Love Irish Food" Sticker

I purchased the Bewley's Explore Java coffee purely because it was the strongest one of the two the local shop had -- both variations of Bewley's coffee. I laughed when I saw the 'Love Irish Food' sticker as I know it's because the product is processed in Ireland so it can use the sticker, but the irony of it is just too funny and points out what many people don't realise. So much of what is called an Irish product is only so because it was processed here -- like processed fish and other meats where the actual meat comes from another country but the product is processed here and gets to be 'Irish'.

From the Love Irish Food website,
"The vision of Love Irish Food is to help you make informed choices about buying Irish manufactured food and drinks. Our overall aim is to safeguard the future of food and drink manufacturing in Ireland."


Love Irish Food Membership Criteria

What is an Irish Brand?

Made in Ireland using local ingredients where available...

Asking what is an Irish Brand is like asking what makes someone Irish, there are legal criteria and there are personal criteria. When making shopping choices, it's personal criteria that count.

It's nice to know when a product is Irish or not - especially for those that really want to support Irish businesses, but I think for many the point is to support local growers and smaller producers and not the bigger companies, Irish or not. So like with eggs, perhaps there should be a bit more information about 'how Irish' the product is. Are the ingredients', or at least main ingredients', origins in Ireland? If not, what is the Irish connection.

There is a debate as to whether this is honourable nationalism, good businesses -- or maybe bad business -- or outright exclusionism.

Does Fyffes put such stickers on the bananas? Like coffee, it's pretty obvious that they don't originate in Ireland -- and we have no choice but to purchase bananas that originate outside this country. I do think it's interesting that many of the bananas eaten in the world come via Ireland, because Fyffes is one the world's largest exporters of bananas. They important them into Ireland and export around the world. Click to see an interesting article on the banana trade and Fyffes involvement with the local unions. Love this article on Wiki Answers that states: "Believe it or not Ireland is the bigest exporter of bananas in the world. "

Explore Java may merit the 'Love Irish Food' sticker technically, but perhaps it is not the best product to use this sticker on because it's so obviously not Irish apart from the Bewley name!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What happens when you gather all the information available in the World in one place?

How many times has it happened to you?

You see a reference to something on the internet and then remember, "Hey, I was just thinking about that last night?" (or yesterday or last week...)

I'm not talking about trending news stories or commonly discussed items -- but something out of the blue, that you probably haven't thought about in ages, popping up coincidentally in two or more places in an unrelated manner.

Is it a coincidence? Or just logic?

Example One:

A.) Drew Barrymore has directed a movie "Whip It" -- the ads for it make it look really good to me. Anyway, I heard a radio review and it noted that it was about roller derby.

B.) Now I haven't heard about roller derby in ages. It made me think about one of my favourite movies as a kid - Kansas City Bomber. That movie starred Raquel Welch as a roller derby star. Jodie Foster is her daughter. It's fantastic 70's movies stuff.

C.) So I was thinking about Raquel Welch and how well she's aged and wondered if she was still acting and what she was up to -- but I didn't have time to look into this and that was that -- BUT...

D.) This morning I checked my daily email from Oprah. Please note I normally trash these WITHOUT reading them because I don't have time, but I noticed this one was about Oprah's favourite books, so I took a peak. At the bottom of the newsletter there's a heading "Celebrity Page Turners" and listed three books by celebs, the third "Bombshell Raquel Welch takes you Beyond the Cleavage"

SPOOKY! Isn't it?! Or is it?

Is it just that there is so much information on the internet and in traditional media that it's all bound to converge at certain points?

Is it because I am a media hound constantly on Twitter, listening to radio talk shows, reading Oprah newsletters, etc. that all this information is going to meet up all over the place?

Is it natural feminine intuition that leads me to follow information to these connections? (or a bit of noisiness and know-it-all-ness?)

Am I just so in tune with the psyches of the universe that I draw this information to come together?

I'd kinda like to think one of the latter two is the case, but as I am such a media hound and constantly juggling work, family and other interests; it is unlikely that I am that in tune with anything!

In the past these coincidences would happen from time to time, but lately it's happening more and more -- and very often related to information I pick up on Twitter.

Is it just that the people and media channels -- and the items posted that capture my interests -- are spot on with my tastes, past history, etc.?

That it's just inevitable that these connections occur?

Example Two:

A. Yesterday, I noticed a tweet from one of my 'friends' on Twitter - someone I've never actually met but chat with online occasionally, as is the case for most of my friends. She notes that she is waiting in the Driver's License office to renew her license. Now this is the kind of information that Twitter haters use to berate Twitter lovers with - inane daily occurrences; but this is what I think makes Twitter great:

Occurrences and activities in life that are common to most of us, interpreted in interesting or meaningful ways. Through sharing this information it brings us together, makes us feel normal and special at the same time.

B. OK, so we're back with my Twitter 'friend' waiting at the Driving License office and I'm thinking, "Poor girl, having to wait in a horrible place like that, for who knows how long. Can't you do that online? Why aren't they good for life? Wonder when my license is due for renewal?"

C. That same day when I return home from the office, the post is waiting inside my door and there's one envelope addressed to me, which is fairly rare - apart from bills and bank statements. Have you guessed it? It was a letter notifying me that my driving license is due for renewal!

Now THAT is spooky!!!

So is it just pure logic?

The internet has gathered data from billions of sources together in one place.

Now with all the social media networks online, it is also gathering all of our personal thoughts together in this one vast space, easy to access from your favourite browser!

Filter that information down to those people and things that you are most interested in and are most like you.

It appears to be a psychic phenomena, but in reality it is just life as it happens.

So join me in line at the Drivers License office via Twitter in the next couple of weeks - cos I don't want to do it all alone!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In Honour of the Woman in Technology I Nearly Am - My Ada Lovelace Pledge

OK, I've been struggling to come up with a subject for my Ada Lovelace Day blog post, but I couldn't get out of my mind that Ada Lovelace Day, today, 24th March, happens to be my mother's birthday. Emma Louise Kaufman Donnelly, known to most as Emmy Lou, is no longer with us, but she still inspires me because she taught me that I could do whatever I wanted to do with my life. I don't think she ever sat in front of a computer - can't even remember if she had a VCR - but she taught me to not be afraid of taking on the world.

Because I had really good grades in Math in high school, including a 100% on my Trig Regents, my mother tried to encourage me, in her very subtle way, to study Math in college. Maybe she could have been a bit more persuasive, but that wasn't her way. It was my life and I needed to decide these things for myself; and I chose a school with more of a focus on liberal arts and I kept changing my concentration but mainly I thought I wanted to be a writer of some sort. I never did make it as a writer (there's still time for me yet), but through the years I've held a number of really interesting and challenging jobs, many with some technical focus and sometimes in traditionally male dominated areas.

I won't recite my resume here, but through my life in making choices about my education and career, I had my mother's words and belief in me in the back of my mind. So maybe it's not the women in technology that we need to honour today, but the mother's of these women who gave them the strength to make choices that weren't always the mainstream way of doing things - in their choices in education, career, lifestyle, etc. In fact in the biography of Ada Lovelace at it says "Ada had been taught mathematics from a very young age by her mother " Lovelace's mother, Anne Isabella Noel Byron, was called "Princess of Parallelograms" by her husband, poet Lord Byron.

So Happy Birthday Mom. I can only hope that I can inspire my daughter as well as you have inspired me!