The world is an awful, war torn place, full of dead children and Ebola, but sometimes, something comes along that restores your faith in humanity – like ICE CREAM THAT CHANGES COLOUR.
This Wonka-tastic invention is now a reality, thanks to science!
Crazy physicist, engineer and ice cream crackpot Manuel Linares has created this amazing chameleon-like dessert which he calls Xamaleon.
(Er, maybe get a more catchy name that kids could actually pronounce?).
Anyway, Manuel puts the colour changing ice cream – which apparently tastes like a mixture of different fruit flavours – down to the fun central tenets of chemistry: temperature and oxidization.
Oh, and also the use of a VERY inappropriate sounding spray called ‘Love Elixir’ which turns it pink. Then, when you eat it, the colour changes begin.
Manuel’s invention is patent pending, and probably needs a bit of rebranding before it hits the shops. At the moment, it sounds like something you might get in Ann Summers.
But even so, it sounds pretty amazing.
The phone, which has a 5 megapixel forward-facing camera, was shown off during a meeting this week.
Stephen Elop, the former Nokia CEO who now runs Microsoft’s devices business, flashed the phone in front of thousands at the company’s annual employee meeting in Seattle on Monday.
The 4.7 inch (11.9 cm) screen ‘selfie’ phone, plus another high-end Windows Phone have been in the pipeline a while and are expected to be launched soon.
The 5 megapixel camera pisses all over Apple’s iPhone 5, what with its measly 1.2 megapixel camera. Also, the Microsoft screen is larger, and ideal for narcissists.
This is said to be Microsoft’s attempt to bump rival Samsung, after they launched the Galaxy K Zoom earlier this year.
Apparently you can speak to people on this device too, almost like a phone!
Oh hang on, it is a bloody phone.
The poor old Co-operative Group has been beleaguered of late, with tales of drug-taking bosses, funds mismanagement and shock exits just some of the recent events that may have tarnished the Co-op’s wholesome reputation. Now, however, the trusty old supermarket arm has come to the group’s rescue, with innovative new hi-tech shopping trolleys to help improve customer service.
So how exactly will these new computer trolleys help improve the customer experience? If you scan your shopping list will it whizz you round the store in the most time efficient manner? Will you be able to use it like a mobile self-checkout system? Can you at least keep a running total of what’s in your trolley? Er, no. The ‘high-tech’ trolleys have a tablet bolted on to the handlebar which can ask you searching customer survey questions as you are grappling with your spuds.
That’s right, selected Co-op stores are trialling the new scheme, which prompts shoppers at various points in-store to answer questions about the layout, the ranges and products on offer. And it doesn’t stop there, as if letting Co-op know what you think about their store, and their whizzy new trolleys wasn’t enough, you can now answer wider social impact questions on issues such as sustainable food, youth unemployment and localism as well. Bet you can’t wait.
The Co-operative group will “use the data accrued to inform its customer offering, both in terms of the store experience and the impact of its business beyond its shops and into the broader community,” and has also set up an online version of the questionnaire for those customers sadly unable to get their hands on one of the tablet-enabled trolleys. You can also tweet the Co-op with your views on @CooperativeFood. #lame.
Andrew Mann, The Co-operative Food’s customer director, said: “If we are to fulfil our ambition to be the UK’s best local food retailer, it is really important that we know what our members think about our stores and act upon their feedback.
“The hi-tech trolleys not only make it easy for customers to tell us about their shopping experience, but because the information is collated digitally, we can access what they say almost instantly.
“Our new stated purpose emphasises the importance we place on communities and so this feedback will also enable us to find out what our members and customers think about our community engagement.”
Co-op customers, when asked what they thought about the new trolleys were too busy trying to drive a trolley, do their shopping and answer inane questions about whether the carrots should be on a higher shelf or not, or whether faggots would solve the social housing crisis to answer.
Let’s hope those tablets are securely bolted on.
The Co-op have decided to play music from unsigned bands in their shops in a bid to make everyone think they’re the lovely, kind supermarket on the High Street. They want to improve their image after all manner of drugs and sex-work was associated with them.
The Co-op signed a deal with licensing agency Emerge, which doles out music from unsigned bands and musicians to shops like Argos and Sports Direct. Crucially, deals with Emerge cost half a much as playing music by signed-artists.
“Shops normally have to pay a public performance licence to play well-known music, but the artists we represent are emerging artists and we create a direct licence between the business and the artist,” Gideon Chain of Emerge told The Telegraph.
“We then supply their music to the businesses, which is about 50 per cent cheaper than if they wanted to pay mainstream artists,” added Chain.
However, the supermarket’s employees are not happy about the unsigned bands being played in their stores and have started griping about it online, saying that they want rid of this ”terrible” music, which they have to endure all day. The Grocer reports that staff are demanding an immediate return to recognisable artists.
“The new cooperative radio unsigned artists initiative is absolutely diabolical,” one employee posted to The Co-Op Employees’ page. “More so for staff than customers. People want familiarity and songs they know, not to mention the staff who are subjected to these songs on a loop on a daily basis.”
Another angry employee spat that “even hipsters” would not listen to the “rubbish” music being played in their branch.
Mitchells & Butlers, Britain’s largest managed pubs group, had a disappointing World Cup as football fans spent less per head on food and no more on drink during the tournament.
The company, behind the Harvester, Toby Carvery, All Bar One and Country Pubs chains, had flat sales in the 14 weeks to July 19 with food marginally up (0.6%) and drink slightly down (0.5%). That is against overall growth of 1.1% in the first half.
M&B, which added 173 pubs to its roster last month when it paid £266m for the Orchid estate, said overall sales grew 3.8 per cent in the third quarter.
Chief executive Alistair Darby said: “Despite the slowdown in eating and drinking during May and June we remain confident in our well-established strategy.”
Their rivals Marston’s had a similar tale of woe when it came to their 1800 pubs, with sales stabilising, but had strong growth in supermarket and offy sales of its own brews – including Marston’s Pedigree, Hobgoblin and Banks’s, which grew 10% during the World Cup, as customers stocked up in supermarkets to watch the tournament at home.
Barclays analysts have said the slowdown at both pub groups was linked to a slight softening in consumer spending, but they were also faced with tough comparatives from last year.
It’s also clear that people would rather shout at Adrian Chiles from their own sofa, than join a chorus of abuse down at the local.
*calls Daily Mail, faints*
What’s more, these super ants, also known as Fire ants, will eat through your home’s electricity cables and live in your plug sockets, causing potential fires.
They love a bit of electricity, because they’re EVIL, and they don’t even care if they get killed – it just makes their army stronger.
Fire ants aren’t usually found on these shores, but the species first made an appearance back in 2009, when 35,000 were found crawling all over a National Trust property in Gloucestershire. (Who counted them all?).
Now, a colony have taken over a house in Hendon, North West London, and they’ve been spotted in Buckinghamshire, too.
Jo Hodgkins from the National Trust said: “The problems with them are they seem to get attracted to electricity and they can take up residence in plug sockets and power sources, creating a fire hazard. They can easily establish themselves in somewhere like Britain and I would not be surprised if they colonised other areas. They are pretty tough little creatures.”
RUN! RUN from your new ant overlords!
A security breach has lead to a host of email addresses and other contact info being stolen from a European Central Bank database.
The ECB have told everyone to calm it, as the information leaked is related to those who had registered to attend its events, such as conferences or visits, and was not encrypted.
Although, you know, you wouldn’t necessarily be on their database for the lols, but the ECB reaffirm their fans that no sensitive stuff was compromised.
The ECB said the matter first came to its attention after it received an anonymous email seeking money in return for the stolen data.
They also said it was in the process of contacting those who may have had their contact information stolen, while all passwords on its website have been changed as a precautionary measure.
Now, let’s try and do this whole anonymous threat thing again. Demanding money in exchange for a thing you’ve done, but failing to say who you are seems a bit daft.
Modern times, ladies and gentlemen.
Once upon a time, back in the last decade, Crocs became a thing, as the comfy waterproof clog-styled footwear-eyesores were bloody everywhere.
Today, they are looking at laying off 180 staff and closing 100 stores worldwide.
And no wonder. Look at them. Completely vile.
The company’s profits slumped more than 40% last year, with outlets in America and Asia noticing a big slump, whereas over in Europe there’s been a mild growth.
The company plans to simplify its range to save $10 million, although one would motion that they could simplify it easily enough by destroying every trace of Crocs in the universe.
Six months ago, Blackstone, the private equity firm, invested £117m in a 13.5% stake in the company, which has about 600 stores around the world, including three in the UK. They won’t be happy.
Andrew Rees, the Croc president, said: ”We have a clear, well-defined strategy for addressing these issues and improving performance. Work is under way already to drive significant change throughout our company.”
Originally conceived as a sort-of boat shoe, Crocs came to attention when the likes of Jack Nicholson and George Bush started hoofing about in a pair.
By 2009, profits took a dive, as everyone saw sense and went “URGH GET THEM AWAY FROM ME”.
Anyone whose connections are believed to have been used to hawk copyrighted material, could receive up to four letters a year, although there are no sanctions as yet for those who continue to ignore the warnings.
The aim of the letters is to boost consumer awareness of the wide array of legitimate online content services and help reduce online copyright infringement, or in other words, stop people nicking stuff.
The warning system, known as the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP), is the result of years of negotiations between ISPs and industry bodies representing the UK’s creative industries, including the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry).
There had been the original enforcement regime, which was outlined in the Digital Economy Act, which was rushed through parliament under the previous Labour government in 2010.
That Act called for an escalating series of sanctions on persistent file-sharers, starting with sending letters to illegal downloaders and culminating in slowing down the connection speed of offenders or temporarily suspending their connections.
Yet no one really gave much of monkeys, as it was heavily opposed by ISPs, who argued that the anti-piracy measures were inconsistent with European law and would breach the privacy of their customers, as well as driving up costs for providers and consumers.
The consortium of companies that make up Creative Content UK, said it will play an important role in educating consumers about the huge range of entertainment content that is available from legal and licensed sources.
It will also operate within the wider context of programmes aimed at combating copyright infringement, such as the blocking of illegal sites and working with advertisers and payment processors to cut off revenues to such sites.
Let’s tolerate some words from Business Secretary Vince Cable: “The creative industries in the UK are one of our brilliant global success stories. Yet too often that content is open to abuse by some who don’t play by the rules.”
“That is why we are working with industry to ensure that intellectual property rights are understood and respected. Education is at the heart of this drive so people understand that piracy isn’t a victimless crime – but actually causes business to fail, harms the industry and costs jobs.”
Everyone involved seems quite into it, as Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI described it as “a real step forward for digital entertainment in the UK”, and Dido Harding, chief executive of TalkTalk, said it would help consumers “make the right choices about how they access content”.
Figures published by communications watchdog Ofcom last year revealed that more than 1.5 billion files were downloaded illegally in the UK in 2012, accounting for almost a quarter (22 per cent) of all content consumed online.
Only a quarter of the people who consumed the most illegal content said they would stop if they thought they might be sued, according to Ofcom, and one in five said they would stop if they received a letter from their ISP telling them that their account had been used for copyright infringement.
Although one would imagine you’d have to shifting some serious amounts of unpaid-for and effectively stolen goods for the ISPs to take notice.
Four strikes and you’re… well… nothing will happen.
The Cannock branch of the supermarket chain is being powered by food waste alone, and is working together with recycling company Biffa on new technology, allowing them to run solely generated from anaerobic digestion.
As of today, the store will run solely from outta date food and stuff that would otherwise end up in landfill.
The supermarket has stressed that they still donate any food to charity and also animal feed and items that simply cannot be re-sold on to the customer. Fr’instance Waste bananas from its Prescot Road store in Liverpool go to Knowsley safari park to feed the monkeys.
Sainsbury’s is already the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion, generating enough energy to power 2,500 homes each year. Food waste from the chain’s supermarkets around the UK is delivered by lorry to Biffa’s plant in Cannock, and turned into bio-methane gas which is then used to generate electricity that is directly supplied to the supermarket via a newly constructed 1.5km-long electricity cable.
This is all amazing news, although anyone fancying diving into the skips at closing may be advised to be careful and stay sharp in case they end up becoming electricity.
The plan is to allow unlimited access for e-books, which is going to put the cat among the book pigeons for sure.
The $9.99 per month Kindle Unlimited offers access to 600,000 titles in the Kindle format.
Subscribers will be able to access the books on Amazon’s Kindle tablets, as well as other devices with a Kindle app, including iPads and iPhones, Windows devices and Android-powered mobile gadgets.
Amazon is using a model made popular by Netflix for films and television programs, but also by services such as Spotify for music.
This all sounds a bit like rum news ahead for the world of publishing, but Colin Gillis at BGC Partners reckons the move to subscriptions is part of a trend toward ”a ‘rent, not own’ society. We see it with music, with movies. It makes sense that they would do that with books.”
Understandably not everything will be available immediately on the service, but future releases could come as part of a deal to lure people into the service.
Publishers meanwhile are resisting the subscription model because it effectively cuts the price of books and royalties paid.
Despite this, Amazon knows that some of its readers will be up for it, said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research: ”Amazon knows its customers,” the analyst said. “They know if you read a mystery every week, they know whether they are in a position to make you an offer you can’t refuse.”
“If you’re a one book a month reader and a best seller person, this isn’t going to work for you,” McQuivey said.
The Kindle Unlimited service will also include audio books available through the Audible service. The service is initially being launched for US customers, with other countries likely to follow.
Previous years have seen the likes of Asda and Tesco get into the cheap school uniform market, offering them at next to nothing.
Now Aldi have waded in for the second year running, offering the cheapest deal yet, in the shape of the £4 school uniform.
The German supermarket is selling a round neck sweater, two plain polo shirts and either a pair of trousers or a skirt for £4.
Asda are offering the same deal, but for £7.50, making it now one of the most expensive options for supermarket school uniforms. Tesco and Sainsbury’s currently charge £6.75 and £7.33 respectively.
Noticeably, Aldi had been selling school kit since last year, but as the chain has had something of a magnificent 12 months, and as shoppers are less brand-conscious and more thrifty, their offering this year poses a real threat to the competition.
Just in case you feared the uniforms were being knocked up by some orphans in a toilet, a spokesman for Aldi said: ”As a responsible business, we are committed to respecting the human rights of workers in our supply chains and we continue to work with our suppliers towards continuous improvement in ethical standards.”
“We promote workplace practices and conditions that are safe, fair and legal for all those involved in making our products.”
It makes sense. Kids seem to go through school uniforms like they were made of paper, and they’re not that bothered about brands and the like until they hit the 9/10 age. Then you’ll be doing six jobs to buy them some trainers that some bully will rob off them at knifepoint.