Recycled newspapers – Bobo fantasy or true eco-tourism?

On our recent family holidays to Kerala, India, I was struck how several hotels used recycled newspapers. Specifically, I found recycled newspapers being used as bags (for example, for shoes), sanitary bags, envelopes and garbage inserts. The bags were carefully constructed and came with string handles. I can’t evaluate whether these items were playing to the Bobo fantasy* of being ecologically friendly or truly represent a way of saving the planet. In any event, I thought they were effective in their function and provided a nice change from the typical hotel amenities. I didn’t get too much black ink on my fingers either! Have you remarked these types of initiatives elsewhere?

Recycled newspapers India, Minter Dial, The Myndset digital marketing*Bobo = Bohemian Bourgeois

 

Review of the Macally Ecofan bamboo laptop tablette

ECOFAN Laptop Bamboo TabletteI was intrigued the other day to come across a laptop “ventilator” tablette (2300 revs / minute and 23.5 decibels) which is designed to evacuate the heat coming from your portable computer. What grabbed my attention initially, I must admit, was the transparent computer (trick photography of course to show the tablette).

Produced by Macally, the computer accessories company has created Ecofan and Ecofan Pro, which have the additional particularity of being made “eco friendly” by using bamboo and recycled PET in the outer packaging [I am not aware of any other eco-friendly claims though]. Weighing 1.3 kg, the Ecofan Pro allows for three different inclinations (as opposed to one standard inclination for the Ecofan) for better ergonomy. That’s it for the good news it seems to me.

What is the ecological benefit to evacuating the hot air from the laptop? None of the doc I read cites any benefit that speaks to me. What I really would have liked is a way to use my laptop on my lap without it burning a hole in my trousers (or feeling like it!). This Ecofan clearly does not accommodate that market requirement because of its design (it will not lie across your lap) and, more emphatically because it needs to be plugged in (the 1m USB chord means you need to be very close to the wall). Instead, I will continue to use a cushion and save the planet for what, to my view, is a waste of bamboo.

BTW, the Ecofan Pro is priced at 39.95 € in Europe or $39.95 in the US.

Sir James Dyson Airblade: Favourite Hair Dryer Status

Dyson Airblade Hand DryerAs you travel around and visit the various public toilets, you tend to come across an ever growing array of hand dryers. Nothwithstanding the different ecological benefits, which obviously vary between units, some hand dryers are more effective and sleek than others. Not that I have seen any list of top ranked hand dryers, although such much exist somewhere, I thought I’d post about this Dyson Airblade hand dryer, invented by billionaire Sir James Dyson. I found it extremely attractive, sleek and effective. You basically put your hands down into the slot and the thrust of cold air dries your hands in no time flat (officially 10 seconds). When you extract your hands, the machine actually turns off immediately. Here is a write up on gizmodo. The Dyson Airblade apparently uses 80% less energy than normal warm hand dryers and is thus better for the environment. The Airblade is a credit to design and engineering. Check the company’s site for a better animated visual of the product.

Is there Good News in the Swine Flu?

Swine Flue Cartoon
Swine Flu: Some bad news, some profiteers, and perhaps some good new habits!

 

As the world awaits for the onslaught of the swine flu [porcine flu, aka A(H1N1)], there are going to be evident winners and losers. The losers? Basically all of us: consumers, society at large and business (especially with poor cash flow), if the epidemic does come home to roost. There will also be profiteers. While hospitals and pharmacies risk a deluge, the pharmaceutical companies with anti-flu medicine are bound to benefit enormously and, some say, they are behind the summer media frenzy. In the likely panic and fear-mongering that will lead up to the ‘Flu Fall, consumers will surge to buy extra tissues, hygienic towelettes (wet wipes), alcohol-based gels or sanitizers and face masks. BTW I note that Fushi-Protective has bought premium space on Google and advertises in broken English (Chinese company): “specializing in face mask prevent from swine flu.” Frankly, improving people’s personal hygiene — even making acceptable in the Western world the wearing of a face mask as we see in Asia — will be a win for society. Cleaning our hands more regularly would be a good habit to inculcate. Buying internal filtering systems that “clean” up the air inside is another interesting avenue, albeit one that provides also provides a long-term benefit (a player in this area I have come across is called AirSur, which can provide allergy-free air at home).

Distance Learning eLearning

But, beyond the health-related plays, the one area for which the swine flu could be a super boon is distance learning. Imagine the situation: schools being closed down for long stretches, for example 12 weeks, as France’s Education Minister, Luc Chatel, has just announced as a possible measure for the upcoming bout with the potential epidemic. Schools should be getting themselves prepared to turn their courses into proper distance learning or eLearning — not just a rebroadcast of filmed lectures, but up-to-date e-pedagogy based on the exceptional possibilities that internet provides. This is a great opportunity to modernize, if not revolutionize, the education institutions — especially those that have been reluctant to move forward with technologies. The students we know will be willing. The question is whether the schools — and their teachers — will be nimble enough to react.
Distance Learning Mouse & Academic Cap
In the same vein, but only because I happened to be based in Paris this year, I think of distance learning as a great way to get around strikes and scam manifestations such as we experienced in several higher institutions in France (e.g. Sorbonne Paris IV, Toulouse-II Le Mirail, Aix-Marseille-I, Amiens,  Caen, Nancy-II and Reims…). For the teachers and students who were forced to stay at home by a small contingent of indignant ‘revolting’ students, courses should have been available over the ‘net.

Lastly, the trend of reducing business travel (budget cuts under the guise of green fingers) and “congregation” meetings may also continue, since such meetings will only promote further contagion. Another area that is bound to benefit is thus video-conferencing and distance meetings and webinars.

So, the swine flu may be a nightmare about to happen, but I see that there may yet be positive results in the long-term, including improving our hygiene habits, reducing carbon footprints and, possibly, generalising the practice of eLearning.

Your reactions are welcome!

Frightful packaging waste with Canon printer ink cartridges

There are a number of marketing concepts which capture the consumer with a proprietary and branded system that requires regular replenishment of equally proprietary and costly refills. There are two “handcuff” systems with which I am confronted on a regular basis: my Gillette Mach 3 razor and my bluetooth Canon printer. In both cases, the price of the “refill” is absolutely stunning.

Yesterday, for my Canon Pixma MP470 printer, I purchased a replacement black (PG40) and colour (PG41) ink cartridge at the local Ternes FNAC. The price for the two cartridges was 47 euros — and I certainly do not get the feeling that they are long lasting. The challenge that I have with this particular ‘system’ is the incredible amount of packaging that goes along with the cartridges… as if the amount of packaging justified the price? Below, I detail what embalms each ink cartridge.

First stop, the outer packaging. A large plastic container, with some paper inserts for on-shelf communication purposes.

Canon Ink PG Black Outer Packaging

Next step, a cardboard inner box, which is visible from the outside in the open space in the bottom of the outer. This packaging even comes with a slot to “hang” on a rack — proof that it can live alone.

Canon Ink PG40 Packaging

Once you have opened up this cardboard box, you get to packaging layer #3. A plastic tub, with a film over the top, presumably to keep the ink cartridge “fresh”. In addition, you also get paper foldout multilingual instructions. And, of course, before you insert the ink cartridge, you have the final little orange plastic strip to remove (to “enable” the ink).

Canon Ink Cartridge PG40 Packaging

The scale of the waste is quite impressive merely on the micro level. However, in the US alone, according to Ink Guides, “[o]ver 375 million empty toner cartridges and ink cartridges are thrown into the trash every year in the US… [meaning] roughly 11 cartridges being disposed of every second.” In a surprising statement, in the US, apparently 30% of all ink cartridges and 50% of all toner cartridges are being recycled. I am not aware of the circuit for such recycling in France, but I would doubt that Europe reaches those still-low levels.

To this end, I believe it would be fully appropriate for Canon to provide documentation on how to recycle their ink cartridges and all the superfluous waste. There are now a growing number of opportunites and ways to recycle or even refurbish ink cartridges. Here is Cartridge Fundraising, a friendly site with advice and ways to recycle. [And herewith an interesting site for further reading on the topic: Ink Guides.]

As I mentioned at the outset of this post, the prices of these refills is quite outrageous compared to the “hardware” cost. Looking across a few ecommerce sites, the variation in pricing of these ink cartridges would lead me to speculate about how much “profit” is being drawn. The list price for the PG40 black ink cartridge is stated in the US as being $39. Amazon is currently selling them at a massive 50% discount at $18; but you can also buy “new” ones at $14 on Amazon. Incredibly, used ones are also going for $14. Refurbished cartridges are going for $13. Another option is the generic cartridge. Here is one for Canon ink cartridges: Castle Ink — where the generic version is being sold for $18.

Starbucks opens eco-store, 50th in France

Starbucks France celebrated last week (July 1st) the opening of its 50th store in the country, with all the Starbucks high brass in attendance.  Located in the Disney Village at Disneyland outside of Paris, this store is the first “eco-responsible” Starbucks outside of Seattle, where they have already opened two such eco-concept stores. 

The concept and design of this Eco-Responsible Starbucks is “an evolution of the Third Place concept,” whereby, according to the company, Starbucks would be the third “go to” place behind the home and the workplace.

Starbucks Disney Paris Eco Store: Light within a Light Concept
 Light within a light decorations

In keeping with a Sustainable Development approach, the design of the store was conceived by using as many local partners as possible (furnishings were all provided by businesses within a radius of 30 km of the store) and to be strongly ingrained with the local [“Disney”] community.

One of the highlight points was that this Starbucks store is LEED certified.  Now recognized in some 90 countries, LEED has become an international standard for benchmarking energy consumption and CO2 emissions.  Three pillars to the eco-conception: natural ventilation for the air conditioning system (-30% reduction in energy), LED and fluo-compact lighting (-90% in electricity consumption in the public zones of the store), and various water reducing mechanisms (mousser, sensor systems…) which are expected to reduce water consumption by 49%. 

Starbucks Euro Disney Store: Wine Rack Lighting 
Wine rack used for ceiling decoration

This Disney Village Starbucks features a number of recycled materials and objects, including using wine racks for lighting (pictured) and ceiling decorations, wood from wine barrels, airplane carpeting and used leather from jettisoned cars. 

Starbucks Founder CEO Howard Schultz in ParisI spoke with CEO and founder, Howard Schultz who was on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon, and asked about when Starbucks would make it to coffee-paradise Italy?  He said that there were no definitive plans, but that Italy’s day would come some day.  Meanwhile, in another coffee-loving country, Turkey, Schultz was quick to say how well Starbucks has done there. 

Starbucks Community Involvement
Around the store were plaques that made for casual reading and reaffirm Starbucks’ official policy regarding its community involvement (pictured left) and environmental stewardship.  In all, the Starbucks store continues to provide a different way to enjoy coffee and clearly the Starbucks employees (“partners”) were enjoying the new concept.  Starbucks plan to generalize this concept throughout its network for all new stores and any renovations.  Read here for more on their own news wire.

Irony of the opening ceremony was how hard it was to get served a coffee.  A little “pull” and I was served.  After the store opening ceremony, Starbucks “partners” in France were invited to a 5-year anniversary party in a big tent behind the 50th store.  I took a sneak preview and enjoyed a few words with a woman there to teach about Starbucks’ philosophy regarding bean selection and coffee-making.  Kudos to Starbucks France Managing Director and fellow INSEAD grad Philippe Sanchez.

Permanent Changes arising from the Economic Crisis

Changes? What Changes?
Change InvertedThe ongoing worldwide economic crisis has created many obvious changes in behaviour, mostly focused on the effects of reduced funds. Whether it is the fear that makes a salaried person “tighten” his or her budget or someone who actually has less money coming in (for example, an entrepreneur struggling to make ends meet or, worse yet, someone who has been fired), there is less money floating around. However, given human nature, once the world’s economies recover and businesses reignite, with fuller employment, most of these shifts in behaviour will inevitably revert back in pavlovian style to the habits of the past.

The question that interests me most, however, for this post is which of the changes will be permanent. The profound changes in culture and the creation of related new processes are what will cause the change to stick. Many of the changes pre-date the recession, at least in their origin. The recession has also provoked new business models and practices. Among the lingering changes in behaviour, clearly, from a corporate standpoint, managers who have never had to face such difficult times will have plentiful learnings which should augur well for being better prepared in future downturns. A perfect example is how management at internet companies have managed this crisis much better since getting their proverbial fingers burned in bursting of the internet bubble in 2000-2001.

I will present below which four major changes I believe will have staying power, at least in the much of the developed world.

Durable Sustainable Development Effects

Instant Sustainable Development

As the need to green has invaded mass media, I have three thoughts here about the more lasting cultural shifts: (1) There is clearly a move away from heavy consumption of fossil fuels (SUVs and cars in general), creating new habits such as walking to work or taking public transport which may, in turn, help justify and finance more public transport development. (2) Purchasing “green” for the long term should have, by definition, a long tail. An example is the purchase of long lasting LED lights whose benefits of durability and low energy consumption are slowly gaining traction, even if they present a higher upfront cost. (3) Attention to reducing water consumption has meant walking away from bottled water (at restaurants as well as at home) and perhaps showering a little quicker and, perhaps, less frequently… On average, every minute under the shower represents 2 gallons or 7 1/2 litres. (Find out how much water you use daily with this handy USGS calculator here). There’s a continuing business opportunity for the water filter companies, although it is not so good for the shower gel business.

ChangeGoods that are good for you and the end of consumerism
I would argue that, for an ever growing part of the population, there is going to be a true and lasting trend away from hyper consumerism. Ownership is not all it is be cracked up to be. Beyond the worry of reduced finances, the issue of buying and owning goods is one of quality of life: people will come to the realisation that owning too much is actually a burden, a headache, often times actually creating additional embedded costs and hassles; and, it certainly does not lead to greater happiness.

Someone who owns more than two homes knows what I am talking about: each home creates multiples of paperwork, presumably having to adjust to different rules and regulations. Just making sure that each house is stocked with the basics, much less complete dinner settings, etc. is quite the ongoing exercise. If you are someone who owns a super expensive car, you know that investing in spare parts and getting little scratch marks fixed is a hassle — especially as you roam away from the local dealership. Finding “protected” parking when you decide to take your jazzy car for a ride in town is an extra constraint. Of course, having too much of anything means that you need to have the space to store it… extra hassle and expenses. One of the more potent trends that plays to avoiding owning yet another holiday house: swapping homes (whether for the holidays or not). Here’s a plug for a friend’s initiative, Geenee, which allows for a swap with the “world’s best.”

Slow FoodOn another level, eating at home as opposed to going out to the restaurant will create a new culture of homecooking, with a sharper attention to the ingredients (not just their cost). There has apparently been tremendous growth in cooking school enrollments. And, in a similar vein, there is also the notion of SLOW FOOD*, as promoted diligently and valiantly in the US by Alice Waters (check out her restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley CA where they serve only in-season fruit and vegetables).

So, the lasting trend here is a move away from amassing goods that crimp my space, burden my mind and waste resources. Instead, people w
ill focus on goods that bring mental freedom, physical health and, hopefully, a smile to the face. As the literature and media coverage latches on to this trend, I see this trend going mainstream even in the rich circles. Recommended reading: The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard and The Art of Simpe Food by Alice Waters.

Buy Local
Buy Fresh Buy Local LabelThere are two driving forces to buy local: “sustainable development” and latent protectionism. If you buy locally produced goods, the concept is that the items didn’t use as many resources travelling from faraway lands, and at the same time that you are supporting your local community. There are two sBuy Local Posterubplots to this trend: the potential revival of the feelgood effect of buying from a local shopkeeper who knows you (even by name!), and greater attention to the content (“made in” labels) and ingredients (“made of”). In economic tough times, this may be a counter-intuitive trend in that mom & pop stores have a hard time competing on price. Nonetheless, I would look for this “Buy Local” trend to prosper on the other side of the recession.

How Well do You ShareSharing, renting and leasing versus buying

There are certainly economic reasons for not being able to buy something and, to the extent the item you are looking to buy is for limited use (e.g. a new dress for a party, a bigger car for a 2 week family holiday…), the option of sharing, renting or leasing becomes more inviting. Sharing & renting may also be collateral plays on the reduced need/desire to buy and own (point 2 above) as the need to preserve and store the item(s) is less onerous. Sharing & renting also pander well to the green conscience. With this burgeoning trend, there are many new offers that have cropped up. I cite a few of the more interesting ones that I have come across:
  • Zipcar: a for-profit, membership-based carsharing company providing automobile rental to its members, billable by the hour or day.
  • ArtRentandlease.com: providing “rotating monthly rental packages, Fine Art Leases and direct sales… Individual prices start at just $20 per month, including eco-friendly Green Art.”
  • Avelle, or BagBorrowSteal: Rent by the week, the month or for as long as you’d like top fashion brand names for jewelry, handbags, sunglasses, watches, etc. “There’s never a late fee.” You don’t have to be a member, but if you are, the prices are better.
  • Babyplays: A membership-based online toy rental site. About time kids’ closets stopped bursting with just-opened, barely used toys, no?
Craigslist, Olx and eBay are the leading internet plays on the circulation of second-hand goods (and services). With Craigslist and Olx, there is the local play as well.

Underpinning virtually all these structural changes in behaviour are (1) the internet and (2) sustainable development.

I wrote a while back about how inter-related I felt web 2.0 and sustainable development are (read here), and when you overlay the evident economic benefits, I can only reinforce how this crisis will accelerate the changes and how, coming out on the other end, we will all be that much more on the web, taking advantage of new behaviours and goods & services, indeed creating a kind of new ‘unpop’ eco-culture.

*Slow Food, a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization, was borne out of the anti-fast food movement in France in 1989 and is headquartered in Bra, Italy. Slow Food stands against “the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. To do that, Slow Food brings together pleasure and responsibility, and makes them inseparable.” The organisation boasts over 100,000 members in 132 countries.

Henri Meiresonne Presents the State of Recycling in Europe

Henri Meiresonne Eco Emballage ParisHenrie Meiresonne, CEO of Fost Plus Belgium and newly appointed President of PRO Europe, gave a speech in Paris on June 22, 2009, regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of the Green Dot (“Grüne Punkt” or “point vert“) in France.  Here are some of the interesting points and facts raised by Mr Meiresonne:

1. There are 22 million tonnes of recycled materials in Europe each year.  This represents 27 million tonnes of CO2, or the equivalent of 8 million middle sized cars, or 11 million passengers going round-trip Paris-New York.

Point Vert / Grune Punkt / Green Dot

2.  Mr Meiresonne explained that the success of a recycling programme is measured along two criteria: the penetration of recycling as well as the cost of doing so.  Since 1994, recycling has tripled in France and the cost of recycling is lower today than it was in 1994.  In France, 95% of all packaging have the Green Dot and Eco-Emballage (the organisation in France responsible for recycling all household refuse) manages to cover 95% of the French territory in terms of recuperating recyclable waste.  The cost of the Eco-Emballage recycling system is evaluated at less than 7 euros per year per inhabitant.  In Belgium, the cost is closer to 5,50 euros per person, whereas in Germany the price is closer to 17 euros.  In Holland, the tax is 21 euros/pp, while at the bottom of the proverbial barrel, Denmark, the cost is 26 euros per inhabitant.

3. Mr Meiresonne is completely opposed to the system of “returnable” cans for a small coin (which exists, for example, in the USA).   He underscored the expense and the negative CO2 footprint of such a “consignment” system.  And, one can certainly see his point if each consumer has to drive back to recuperate the nickels and dimes.

4. In terms of penetration of household recycling, France manages to recuperate 70% of the packaging for recycling.  Belgium is at 90%!  One could say that it is time for some healthy competition between recycling organizations.  Chief among the reasons for the Belgian success, according to Meiresonne, is that there are only 39 inter-municipal offices in Belgium (for a population of 10 million) as opposed to 1,300 communes in France (62 million pop).  This might provide another justification for Sarkozy to rationalise the number of local bureaucracies.

Meiresonne’s final comments were to encourage eco-conception to diminish the amount of plastic used in packaging (i.e. at the source), to find solutions for more a cost efficient recuperation of waste, and also to avoid price wars on recycled materials (I inferred here he was refering to the dramatic price drop of PCR paper, aluminum, etc., which has occured since the recession settled in).

Parking Meter Cards in Paris – Way to recycle?

Another Idea for the Environment:
Eco-Conscious Parking Cards

Parking Machine in ParisI have long enjoyed the card machines that you use in Paris to pay for your street parking. Originally, you used coins to pay, then they introduced the prepaid cards (e.g. 10€ or 30€ option). Naturally, it took some getting used to because you had to know to buy the prepaid card from the tabac.
Now, most machines only accept the prepaid cards (or a system called Moneo where you top up a bank card for instant payment). Now, the thing that has come to irk me is the waste inherent in these cards.

Once the card’s credit is used up, there is no way to re-use (top up) or recycle it. My suggestion for the collection would be to add a little compartment on the side of the machines in which to deposit the used cards. Afterwards, I have no idea if there is truly a way to recuperate and/or reconfigure the cards. But, at least there seems like there would be an easy gesture to gather the used cards. Anyone know of any organization that could figure out how to make a business out of this opportunity?
Herewith some tips on parking in Paris, courtesy of parisinfo.com.

State of the Spam Business: Spam Pollution

State of the Spam Business

How many legitimate (non junk or spam) emails do you receive in your inbox?

Stop Spam Sign

It may come as a surprise to you that only 3% of the world’s supply of emails are legitimate, at least that’s what a recent Microsoft survey says. On a personal level, I know that I have a spam-to-legit ratio that is more like 1:6, aided by (a) the never ending screening and hunting down of phoney addresses and cyber pirates by the various governing bodies; (b) the individual mail filters (I use hotmail mostly) which appear to direct with about 80% accuracy true junk into the junk folder; and (c) my attempting not to leave my email address in public spaces that are too easy for email bots to trawl and discover. In any event, in a recent BBC article regarding a recent Microsoft security report, “[m]ore than 97% of all e-mails sent over the net are unwanted… The e-mails are dominated by spam adverts for drugs [nearly 50%], and general product pitches and often have malicious attachments.” Other industry reports have the volume of junk mail somewhere between 75% and 90%, so this latest number takes the morass of spam to even higher levels.

A second source for spam information is the monthly Symantec State of Spam report (PDF – April 2009). According to the Symantec report, in March, the spam coming from the US accounted for 28% of the world’s supply (up from 25% in February and 23% in January). Coming in second, Brazil accounts for 9%, while India at 3rd fell back to 4%. South Korea leads the Far Eastern countries at 4%, ahead of Turkey, Russia and China (all 3%). Below is the chart courtesy of Symantec. Latin America is responsible for a quite surprising 15% of the total. As far as I was concerned, it seems that half of my spam relates to winning the jackpot and inheriting some African fortune, so I was surprised not find Nigeria up in there in the top 10.

Top Countries sending Spam

“The [Microsoft] report found that the global ratio of infected machines was 8.6 for every 1,000 uninfected machines.” I would suspect that Mac gets a less than market share representation…fortunately for us Mac users.

The only good news, if you read on in the BBC report, is that malicious software (aka malware) must increasingly be adapted country to country (see world map of malware levels), which diminishes the odds of an Armageddon style worldwide malware. The article states, “[a]s the malware ecosystem becomes more reliant on social engineering, threats worldwide have become more dependent on language and cultural factors,” [the Microsoft study] reported. In China, several malicious web browser modifiers are common, while in Brazil, malware that targets users of online banks is more widespread.”

In terms of where the malicious software is most prevalent, “the [Microsoft] report, which looked at online activity during the second half of 2008, also pinpoints…[that] Russia and Brazil top the global chart of infections, followed by Turkey and Serbia and Montenegro.”

On another level, from a report out in March 2009, I read about how much spam is said to pollute our world… A Carbon Footprint study from McAfee says that spam generates greenhouse gas (GHG — aka Carbon Dioxide or CO2) equivalent to 3.1 million passenger cars. This report says that “the energy [33 billion KWh] consumed in transmitting and deleting spam is equivalent to the electricity used in 2.4 million U.S. homes.” I love the notion of the life cycle of spam! If you want to download the McAfee PDF report, do so here. Another feature in the McAfee report is the estimated loss in productivity caused by spam: “If you have 1,000 workers earning $30 per hour, your company will suffer $182,500 per year in lost productivity.” It is very crafty to propose an ROI on their anti-spam software.

In any event, as I indicated in a prior post TV5 from Québec, Canada, there are also the unwanted communications from companies where you can no longer unsubscribe to their newsletters, as is the case with TV5. Another one on my can’t-get-rid-of-them list is www.seek-blog.com.  No way to unsubscribe.  I suspect such mail should be considered spam along with the other 97%! On the other end of the scale, kudos to Nick @ NickOnWine for sending out regular subscriber updates.

Like mosquitoes, I can think of absolutely nothing beneficial from spam. After the ERACE ‘EM Campaign (the Eternal Radical and Complete Extermination of Every Mosquito), comes the EAT SPAM Campaign, Eradicate All Toxic Spam. Sign up here!