English comprehension testing in Japan

One of the joys of publishing under a Creative Commons license is finding your work picked up in unexpected places. This week saw an article on Equitrade chocolate used in an English comprehension test for a Japanese university entrance exam.

Ask not what bees can do for you…

As you may be aware, bee populations across the world have been in freefall over the last couple of years. The West Coast of the US has lost 70% of its bees, the East Coast 60%. British bees succumbed a little later, and last year 1 in 3 bees vanished.

The disappearances are known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and it is a mysterious phenomenon – bees just disappear, sometimes overnight, leaving the queen bee and the larvae alone. The worker bees are gone, and nobody is sure where they go or why.

Read on at Make Wealth History

Waking from the consumer dream

It’s 07:49am and I’m standing on an escalator, flanked on both sides by streaming commuters and flashing LCD screens. Easyjet suggest I go skiing. Armani want me to know that their new mobile phone has ‘night effect’, whatever that might be. I deserve more TV channels, and Virgin would love to supply them to me. I am barely an hour into my day, and already I have seen dozens of these visions of commodified happiness. Where, in all this buzz of hype, is the promise of real life?

The consumer dream is, in essence, the promise that happiness will come to us through our consumer choices. I will be a more fulfilled person if I have a larger house, a faster car, and newer clothes. I will feel better about myself, and others will like me more.

Read the rest of my article for Slipstream here.


I am a freelance writer and project developer based in Luton. I specialise in news and features on consumerism, development, poverty, the environment, climate change and conservation. I use this website as a personal scrapbook of projects. I don’t update it very often, so if you want to get in touch try Twitter or LinkedIn.