British government expires sell-by dates

My wife will never agree, but the British government says sell-by dates on food are useless and confusing… and costly. (They actually said this in September, 2011, but this is from a tab recently culled.) “The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says five million tonnes of edible food is discarded by UK households annually – the equivalent of £680 for a household with children.” But also, “Food writer Rose Prince told Today she doubted the science employed by manufacturers to set use-by dates and said perishables such as eggs and yoghurt could often last much longer.”

British government expires sell-by dates

Two things I didn’t know about the London Olympics

1. Danny Boyle is heading the opening ceremony.
2. McDonald’s, as a sponsor of the Olympics, had a monopoly on serving french fries in and around Olympic venues (unless the french fries were also served with fish). McDonald’s recently agreed to waive this requirement.

Cue frustrated scenes at the lunch counter in the ceremonies catering area where staff were toiling over the staging for Danny Boyle’s 27 July opening extravaganza. “Please understand this is not the decision of the staff who are serving up your meals who, given the choice, would gladly give it to you, however they are not allowed to,” read a notice pinned up by staff. “Please do not give the staff grief, this will only lead to us removing fish and chips completely.”

Two things I didn’t know about the London Olympics

British people used to have American accents

A friend was telling me about this idea a couple weeks ago, but I forgot to follow up or track it down, or look it up or whatever, and then I saw a Tweet from @kolbisneat reminding me about it. I’d always thought that the American accent had evolved out of the British accent, but it seems more likely that the British accent is what evolved after the upperclass started dropping their Rs.

First, let’s be clear: the terms “British accent” and “American accent” are oversimplifications; there were, and still are, innumerable constantly-evolving regional British and American accents. What most Americans think of as “the British accent” is the standardized Received Pronunciation, also known as “BBC English.”

While there are many differences between today’s British accents and today’s American accents, perhaps the most noticeable difference is rhotacism. While most American accents are rhotic, the standard British accent is non-rhotic. (Rhotic speakers pronounce the ‘R’ sound in the word “hard.” Non-rhotic speakers do not.)

So, what happened?

In 1776, both American accents and British accents were largely rhotic. It was around this time that non-rhotic speech took off in southern England, especially among the upper class. This “prestige” non-rhotic speech was standardized, and has been spreading in Britain ever since.

UPDATE:
Cripes, just realized I never linked to the article. That was really dumb. I added a link above and here it is here. Click on it several times. Poor form.

British people used to have American accents

No one ever saw ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ posters during the war

In a long article in the Awl about the copyright fight over the iconic ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ posters, this nugget that very few people actually saw the poster until 2001.

Meanwhile, Sitzkrieg or no, the MoI was lumbering onward. The first two posters produced in 1939 were: "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory" and "Freedom is in Peril: Defend It With All Your Might." Two and a half million of the third were printed. They read, "Keep Calm and Carry On," and these last were held back in anticipation of the rain of bombs that was expected the moment war broke out. They were meant for a crisis that didn’t in the event occur. For that and a few other reasons, the British public never saw them.

No one ever saw ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ posters during the war

Tesco vs the Jedi

“They said: ‘Take it off’, and I said: ‘No, its part of my religion. It’s part of my religious right.’ I gave them a Jedi church business card.”

This article about the founder of the Jedi religion accusing a grocery store of discrimination is full of quotations worth calling out. You take any of these quotations out of context and it’s amazing what you can do with them in your head. Please read the entire article.

Via Title Case

Tesco vs the Jedi