Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reading between Tesco's lines

Here's a quote from Tesco's website:

"When we became aware that two of our products had been contaminated with more than 1% horse meat, we immediately withdrew them from sale - our frozen Everyday Value beef burgers on the 15th of January and our frozen Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese on the 5th of February."

What a very cleverly worded statement. The implication being that 1% horsemeat had been found in these products. The reality is a little different. According to the BBC the Everyday Value beef burgers contained more than 29% horsemeat and the Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese more that 60% horsemeat! That is certainly MORE than 1%.

I'm also a little concerned that the implication is that up to 1% of horsemeat in a product is acceptable. 

Here's another quote from Tesco:

"So far, we have completed tests on 149 products as part of our new DNA testing programme.
149 products came back with negative results for horse meat. 
This is the start of our testing programme to support our promise that what’s on the label is in the pack. We are now extending our use of DNA testing to look at those products where we think that there is a greater risk of rogue ingredients being used."

Hang on a minute! What about the two products known to contain horsemeat? Shouldn't that be '151 products with 149 free of horsemeat.' You sell a lot more than 149 products are you going to test ALL the rest? What about lamb, pork and chicken products? Are you testing those to see if they contain substances other than what they should contain? I don't find that 'where we think there is a greater risk of rogue ingredients being used' at all reassuring. Does this mean you were aware of this risk before and did nothing?

Sorry Tesco but this damage control statement isn't going to cut it. The only thing that will restore confidence in your 'Everyday' products is complete honesty and openness. You've been selling products labelled 'Beef' which were not 'beef' and my understanding is that that's against the law. Granted you may have been mislead by your suppliers but we trusted you to check that your suppliers supplied genuine products and you appear to have let us down.

We recognise that you are not the only supplier at fault Iceland, Aldi, Findus and others share your blame. Just don't try to fob us off with talk of 1% and giving those who have bought 'beef' products that were not 'beef' money back would have been a better gesture

Update 26 Feb 2013

Iceland have now sent out emails about their food. Unlike Tesco they didn't try to be evasive:

    some good news from Iceland.
    All Iceland own brand products containing beef have been tested by an independent scientific laboratory to ensure that they are completely free of horse meat. I am very pleased to tell you that they found no evidence at all of any such contamination in any Iceland beef product.
    We aren't at all complacent, and will be testing a wider range of other meat products in the weeks ahead; as we constantly check to ensure that everything we sell under the Iceland brand is made to the recipe we specified and is correctly labelled.
    I am sorry for any worry you have been caused by the publicity around this issue.
They also took the opportunity to tell me that Iceland did not use MSG, mechanically recovered meat or GM foods in their own brand products - something I didn't know.

Tesco - you left me doubting your meat products still.
Iceland - I'm happy to buy from you again.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

15 screen wallpapers

Over the years I've collected a number of images which I have set as screen wallpapers. Most of these I collected from the Internet. I don't own them. Please do not assume they are public domain. Since they are publicly available though, you should be safe to download them for personal use. Where I have details I've credited the original author or website. A few are pictures I took myself. Since my laptop computer has a 1920 x 1200 screen they are all quite large images.

I have no idea where this image came from. Original filename: 4c66e3eb0f678b561
Size: 2048 x 1365
Download link
 This appears to be what is called  a HDR image (High Dynamic Range). I first came across this image on an HTC Desire phone and looked for a higher resolution image which I found at http://
Original filename: Beautiful-Land.jpg
Size: 2560 x 1712
Download link
At first I assumed this was the Norfolk Broads in England but then I noticed the Canadian flag on the boat.
The picture was taken by Janine DeBaise in Canada and shows her Father's boat. In the background is the US I believe. Janine uses this as her Twitter page background (@writingasjoe) and that's probably where I got the image. You can also find it at her blog at
Size: 1511 x 977

This image was created by Rogerio Stefanuto of Brazil. It featured on his page at the Computer Graphic Society where he describes how it was created.

Size 1600 x 1200
Download link
This image of a very pretty garden in Japan I found at

Sorry - no details of exactly where in Japan it is.
Size 1920 x 1200
Download link
I found this lake picture at - a site which has many other attractive images
Again there are no details of the actual location.
Size 1920 x 1080
Download link
This image of hot air balloons at Cappadocia, Turkey is a National Geographic 'Best image of the Day'. It was taken by  Kani Polat,
Size: 1600 x 1200
Download link
An amazing picture - Myst - Point Reyes National Seashore, California taken by Patrick Smith through a row of trees on the way to the Point Reyes Lighthouse.
Size: 1920 x 1200
Download link

This one is quite a small image but it still makes an excellent screen wallpaper. It's of Bambrough Castle in Northumberland and was taken by Dave Hudspeth. I got the copy I have from Visit Northumberland's Facebook page. You can get this image at

An image of the Space Shuttle on it's launch pad from NASA. Look carefully and you'll find some people in the picture which give you an idea of the scale.
Size: 3872 x 2592
Download link
Another National Geographic Photo of the day by  David DoubiletDavid took this underwater picture of a river Bushman in a canoe in the Okavango River in Botswana.
Size 1600 x 1200
Download link
Yet another Photo of the Day from National Geographic. This one is of a oceanic whitetip shark in the Bahamas. The picture was taken by  Brian Skerry. Now the question is - is that shark in front or behind the diver?
One of my pictures now and no prizes for guessing it's of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. I took this picture in August 2006. If you would like to see a 360° panorama of Stonehenge try here. You'll need to have Java installed
Size: 1600 x 1200
Download link
This image is from Microsoft's Erie Autumn Theme for Windows 7 Download the theme from They describe it as 'spooky park fog in Copou Park Iasi, Romania'
Size: 1920 x 1200
Finally this image was constructed for our book 'Stones, Stars and Solutions'.
It's not a real place unless you know of a pyramid in the Arizona desert near Death Valley.
Image size: 3643 x 2482
Download link