Monday, November 16, 2020

Bytes and Pieces . . .


Where things don’t go better with Coke: 

Although it is popularly believed that only Cuba and North Korea don’t permit the sale of Coca Cola, thgis is not correct according to one trip adviser site. 


Coca-Cola tends not to be sold or served at the state or private restaurants in Ciuba but is available at the many dollar stores. What is more common, and possibly accounting for the myth that it is not sold in Cuba, is that Cuba makes its own version of Coke called “TuCola”. 

The US placed an embargo on the sale of arms to Cuba in 1958, extended it to all exports other than food and medicine in 1960 after Cuba nationalised American-owned Cuban oil refineries without compensation. In 1962 the embargo was extended to include almost all exprts. The embargo does not prohibit the trade of food and humanitarian supplies. Since 1992, the UN General Assembly has passed a resolution every year condemning the ongoing impact of the embargo and declaring it in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law. The US has holds $6 billion worth of financial claims against the Cuban government. Its position is that whilst the claims remain unsatisfied, the embargo stays. 

It remains the most enduring trade embargo in modern history. 

As a result of the embargo and the Coco-Cola factory in Cuba being nationalised, American soft drinkl disappeared in Cuba. The Cubans therefore marketed their own cola. 

Unofficially, Coca-Cola imported from Mexico can still be bought at much higher prices but TuCola, made according to the Coca-Cola recipe, is the seller. 

North Korea:

North Korea has also been the subject of sanctions since the 1950s which have been tightened, relaxed and tightened according to North Korea’s political stance, its actions in regards to nuclear weapons, its bombing of Korean Air Flight 858 and its addition tin 1988 to the list of state sponsors of terrorism. 

Coca-Cola can be purchased in North Korea, imported from China. Like Cuba,North Korea makes its own version of Coke but which is reported to taste terrible. 

It’s called “Ryongjin Cola” and Ryongin Cocoa".  It comes with two labels, one in Korean and one in English, where it is described as a “Crabonated Drink”. Its labelling is a clear Coca-Cola knock-off: 


Red Hot Chili Peppers . . . 

Dragon's Breath is a chili pepper unofficially tested at 2.48 million Scoville units, a claim that would make it the second-hottest chili on record after Pepper X. 

Guinness World Records has different accredited results on the matter, showing the Carolina Reaper as the hottest in the world. 

One chili site states: 

Dragon’s Breath weighs in over a whopping 2.48 million units on the Scoville scale. For reference, the now-second hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, clocks in at around 2.2 million units. Pepper spray, which also uses capsaicin, gets close to the variety at just around 2 million. 

The Dragon’s Breath plant was developed in a collaboration between chili farmer Neal Price, NPK Technology, and Nottingham Trent University during a test of a special plant food and for its essential oil having potential as a skin anaesthetic. The Dragon's Breath plant was later cultivated by breeder Mike Smith of St. Asaph, Denbighshire, Wales, who said that he had not planned to breed the chili for record heat, but rather was trying to grow an attractive pepper plant. Due to the nationality of the farmer who cultivated the pepper in Wales, it was named Dragon's Breath after the Welsh dragon. 

Experts at the university warned that swallowing one might cause death by choking or anaphylactic shock. 

Pepper X was bred by Ed Currie, creator of the Carolina Reaper. Pepper X resulted from several cross breedings, the exceptional pungency of the chili being developed over 10 years of cultivation. According to Currie, he started developing Pepper X as he found his favourite chili peppers too mild and wanted to have a pepper that had more heat whilst retaining the flavour. Currie stated that it is "two times as hot as the Carolina Reaper", which would make it the hottest pepper in the world with a Scoville scale of 3.18 million units, but this remains unconfirmed by Guinness World Records as of 2020. 

Pepper X 

By the way . . .


A trifle crowded. . . 

Santa Cruz del Islote (Spanish for: Santa Cruz Islet or Holy Cross Islet) is an artificial island located off the coast of Colombia and, because of its small size, is the most densely populated island in the world. 

Some facts . . . 

The island is of artificial origin, started by locals who used materials such as coral, debris or stones to later gain land to the sea in a part of the coast of low tide. It is believed that this first establishment dates from 1870. 

The island has a total area of 12,140.57 m2, or almost 1.25 hectares. By way of comparison, a US football field (including the end zones has an area of 5,350 m2 or 57,600 square feet. The island is therefore slightly larger than 2 football fields. 

The artificial island has four main streets and 10 neighbourhoods. Five hundred people live on the island in around 155 houses. 

The inhabitants have to use neighbouring islands as cemetery and recreation grounds, and they work on the mainland rather than on the island. There is one school, with one teacher. 


Imperial v Metric 

Running on from the above metric v imperial area calculations . . . 

Most of the more than 200 countries in the world use the metric system when describing things such as area, length or mass. 

There are only three countries in the world that don't use the metric system: 
United States. 

Soon, that number might be down to two. In 2018, Liberia commerce and industry minister Wilson Tarpeh said the government plans to adopt the metric system in order to promote accountability and transparency in trade, according to the Liberian Observer. 

By the way . . . 

NASA lost an unmanned mission owing to a mix-up between metric and imperial units. In September 1999, its $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter probe was destroyed because its attitude-control system used imperial units but its navigation software used metric units. As a result, it was 100 kilometres too close to Mars when it tried to enter orbit around the planet. 

Also, in 2006, the guidance system on NASA’s DART spacecraft went awry and caused it to ram into a military satellite it was merely meant to dock with. Before DART’s launch, NASA found that GPS data on its position was mistakenly being read by its computer in feet. Ironically, correcting this to metres in a simulator resulted in an incorrect change to another parameter that was programmed into the spacecraft – a problem that led to the collision.

On the other hand . . . 


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