Coffee under threat

July 16, 2013

About 20% of South America’s coffee harvest has been killed off by a fungus. We might get away without a massive price increase this year, but next year could be a different story according to USA Today:

Green Mountain Coffee is one of the biggest buyers of coffee in the world, purchasing some 207 million pounds in 2012. [Senior director Lindsey] Bolger said the coffee market hasn’t responded to Central American production dropping by 20% this year because Brazil, the biggest coffee grower in the world, is expected to bring in a good crop.

“I think the situation will be very different next year, because despite a bumper crop from Brazil, if coffee rust continues to be an issue, and plants in Central America are weakened, production will be down even more than 20%,” Bolger said.

Central America produces half of all arabica beans in the world, which makes me edgy for the future of my beloved coffee.




June 23, 2007

Due to a technical error, readers were unable to subscribe to the feed for If you’ve been affected by this, I’ve fixed things. The feed can also be found here.

Thanks for your patience.


On the move

June 15, 2007

Dear reader,

Tinyplanet has packed its bags and its moving to a new domain. Come and visit at

Strange maps

June 12, 2007

Strange Maps is fast becoming one of my favourite blogs, largely because of my love of the unusual.

Check out the most recent post, a map of the US where each state is named for countries with a similar Gross Domestic Product.

Ireland equates with Nevada and is 21st in the list with a GDP of $203bn (E152bn).

Personal Chavez

June 1, 2007

Venezuelan president and 21st century socialist Hugo Chavez apparently wants to launch his own range of PCs, which he would then distribute to his citizens.

Nothing has been finalised, although Venezuela has apparently been in touch with firms in Asia about the scheme.

Well, this is a man who wanted to seize golf courses in order to build homes for the poor

Hero or villain?

May 3, 2007


People will go to any lengths to keep their finances secret and avoid paying taxes — even handing their cash over to a man running a bank out of his house.

According to court records, Robert Arant, from Des Moines, Washington, ran a so-called “warehouse bank” named Olympic Business Systems which had hundreds of customers. The IRS has filed a civil case alleging he promoted abusive tax shelters and unlawfully interfered with revenue laws.

The documents claim he took customers’ cash and pooled it in various accounts with legitimate banks. He would then pay customers’ bills from said accounts, charging $75 annually for the service plus assorted maintenance fees (such as for wire transfers). IRS agent Susan Killingsworth said Arant’s clients could buy debit cards for $30 with which they could access their money.

He apparently advertised his company as being for people “who would rather not deal directly with the banking system”. He doesn’t seem all that put out by the impending civil case.

“It’ll be me against the beast,” he said, before adding the US Government is “a beast with no teeth”.

So I ask you digital reader, is this man a hero or a villain? Should we respect him for defying the state and system, or revile him for transgressing said system?

Read the full story at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Something suspicious this way comes…

April 28, 2007

Does anyone else find the news of Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi’s capture rather suspect? The timing certainly is. Just as the US military faces an almighty shitstorm regarding the Pat Tillmann and Jessica Lynch illusions, BAM! THEY GOT ONE! And a senior one at that.

Having been held in secret by the CIA for several months, he was apparently shipped to Guantanamo Bay this week. A few Associated Press reports state he was captured last autumn while trying to cross back into his native Iraq. He is suspected of all sorts of terror-related crimes, from plotting to kill the president of Pakistan to masterminding the July 7 bombings in London.

Iraqi (a nom de guerre) may have a fearsome reputation, but that reputation is being hyped by the US. That’s not to say he hasn’t been involved in terrorism, but there is an underwhelming amount of concrete data on the guy. Check out the speculative terms in this Guardian article on him.

I can’t be the only person who feels pulling him out now has managed to overshadow the PR damage being done by the lies about Tillmann and Lynch.

If nothing else, it puts a new face on the “war on terror”, and a face behind bars at that.