Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Symbiosis and win-win: aquaculture watercress under way!

Our modest living room aquarium has just acquired a watercress bed.

A plastic tray with a gravel layer intercepts the flow from the filter pump, channeling the water through the gravel where watercress is rooted. This way, waste from the goldfish becomes manure for the plants, and all are happy:

- the aquarium water is cleaned of nitrates and ammonia: the fish are happier and we don't need to change the water so often;

- the plants are fed and will provide us with a constant supply of fresh watercress.

This is just the very first experiment. I'd like to try growing edible fish instead of merely ornamental goldfish (you can just about see them in the picture) and scale it up: for all the optimism I doubt we'd get frequent harvests of watercress from such a small bed.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Netflix and Lovefilm - false claims about content

Started a free trial for the new UK Netflix, having been frustrated by Lovefilm's exaggerated claims about their content.

Films that have been on my Lovefilm waiting list for years have still not been delivered in spite of their availability being clearly declared in their catalogue. Plus my suspicion is reinforced by the fact that they keep urging me to increase the number of films on the list to assure frequent deliveries. It seems to me that if a film is not available for more than a few months it is not available full stop, and should be removed from their advertised catalogue.

Having signed up for a month's trial with Netflix, I searched for a few well-known films. Apart from the glaring absence of Ghibli titles, the database search seems unhelpful: search term "Totoro" for example, apart from revealing that this very popular film is unknown to Netflix, also shows that the search results comprise all films with "to" in the title (and some with no discernable connection at all with the search term). Of what use is such a stupid search algorithm to anybody except to a business that is trying to create a false impression of breadth of content? Offering utterly unrelated titles in the search results only succeeds in irritating the user even more.

A very bad start. Can anybody recoomend a film rental or streaming service available in the UK that delivers on its content promises?