Online Insights with Steve Davis on FIVEaa, Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19, 2009

Beer Wars Movie

I talk a lot about wine so I thought I would balance the books here by mentioning this novel event that took place in America last week. A documentary about the US beer market and the battle between small breweries and the big breweries was released and screened in cinemas for one night only.

They actually beamed it in to 440 cinemas live and then held a live panel discussion with the movie maker, Anat Baron, and representatives from the different sides.

According to the publicity, ” n America, size matters. The bigger you are, the more power you have, especially in the business world. Director Anat Baron takes you on a no holds barred exploration of the U.S. beer industry that ultimately reveals the truth behind the label of your favorite beer. Told from an insiders perspective, the film goes behind the scenes of the daily battles and all out wars that dominate one of Americas favorite industries.”

A lot of the battle seems to come down to retail outlet space with the big players creating a range of products to squash local competition. But locals fight back as locals always do.

Sounds like an interesting flick, even for a wine buff. I never realised people took beer this seriously. I appreciated a comment by one person in the film who said words to the effect that saying you know beer from your tasting of the Budweiser range is like saying you learned all you know about food from McDonalds!

There are enough clips to keep a beer lover occupied for half an hour or so on Beerwars Movie’s Youtube page or listen to this segment in the player below.

Time machine cheat sheet

Imagine the unthinkable. You have gone back in time, either on purpose or accidentally, and you need to survive. How do you seize the opportunity to reinvent important things like electricity, lighting, telecommunications, etc?

Simple! You just make sure you have packed your Time machine cheat sheet in your time machine, or are wearing your Time machine cheat sheet tshirt.

The Time machine cheat sheet is a summary of the key scientific and technological milestones that make modern society what it is today.

The dense body of text that can fit on an A4 sheet of paper begins with some units of measurement such as the speed of light which is 299,792,458 metres per second. And if you have no ruler, you can play with a pendulum, and adjust its length until it takes one second to swing from side to side. One second can be measured by saying “one Mississippi”.

The sheet also covers the principles of flight, and then a score of technological insights like pasteurisation (heating milk to just below boiling), electricity, radio, radar, and the compass.

Perhaps the most easy-to-use information relates to health. It reminds us that germs spread easily but they can be fought with hygiene and antibiotics. It even guides you on how to make your own penicillin. There is a particular mould in penicillin called Penicillium Notatum but if you can’t tell it from other mould on your food, the advice is to look at the mould under a microscope and it should look like “crazy hands on a long stalk”. Then it goes on to teach how to make a vaccine by growing a culture and heating it. It kills the virus but their dead shells are supposedly enough to teach the body to fight. I won’t go in to how to get insulin from dog and pig pancreas – you can look at that yourself!

To arm yourself for the future, visit the Time machine cheat sheet or listen to this segment in the player below.


Steve Davis sipping some of his Baristador Coffee - picture from GLAMzine
Steve Davis sipping some of his Baristador Coffee - picture from GLAMzine

GLAMzine is the online magazine of GLAM Adelaide, a site created and run by Kelly Noble. She does an amazing job keeping up with what’s happening in Adelaide and I must say I had NO IDEA just HOW MUCH actually does go on in Adelaide. Kelly keeps a live site running with a regular “what’s on” newsletter, and she is constantly updating photo galleries of Adelaideans out and about at concerts and events and any other type of social gathering you can imagine.

Her magazine is worth a flick through for insights into our city’s “fun” culture – lots of high end art and photography and fashion, with some health stories and occasional feature stories. Kelly even approached me to do a story about Baristador Coffee for this issue so if you want to find out why I am a crazed, coffee fanatic, so much so that I started my own brand, then make sure you read the magazine and flick through to pages 14-15. The picture here or yours truly is from the magazine article.

If this is your first, real, online magazine, you are in for a treat because when the page loads, you only have to click the bottom left or right of the magazine to flick pages back and forth.

What I like most about GLAM Adelaide is that even if you don’t hobnob around our chic cocktail bars in the wee small hours of the morning, you get a real sense of the energy that lurks in this city and the spark of creativity that is on par with larger cities.

You can read the magazine at GLAMzine or you can visit the GLAM Adelaide website or listen to this segment in the player below.

World Book Day

It’s World Book Day next Thursday, (April 23, 2009) and there is a Facebook group that is trying to encourage it to become a recognised and significant day on the Australian calendar.

The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Catalonia, Spain as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes who died on that day. This became a part of the celebrations of Saint George’s Day (also 23 April) in the region, where it has been traditional since the medieval era for men to give roses to their lovers and since 1925 for the woman to give a book in exchange. Half the yearly sales of books in Catalonia take place around World Book Day, with over 400,000 sold (and about 4 million roses). In 1996 the United Nations (UNESCO) declared April 23 World Book and Copyright Day, and in 1998 Tony Blair launched World Book day in the UK, where there have been strong programs each year since, involving booksellers, schools, publishers, parents, writers and readers.

I am not sure Australia is ready for this yet, even though we need it. And the main reason I wonder if we are ready is because what Schopenhauer (German philosopher who died in the mid-1800s) said many years ago still rings true: “Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in: but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.”

But one of the best things about books is this simple fact from Samuel Butler (English novelist and essayist from the late 19th century): The oldest books are only just out to those who have not read them.

The thing I love most about books is how they lay roots deep into your imagination as you move deeper into the story. Books that have affected me the most, and are hence my favourites, inlcude Crime and Punishment by Fyodor M. Dostoevsky (took me three starts but was then totally absorbing), The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (so moving and drenched in pathos, the title alone captures the essence of our experience as humans), and the Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien (I got so lost in this one that when I was walking over the cobblestones in Bratislava one night in my long black coat, I felt like I was living in story).

Tara Moss is the woman behind the Facebook group which you can visit here. (You might need to be logged in to Facebook for this one).

Or you can visit the UNESCO site for World Book and Copyright Day or listen to this segment in the player below.