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I got myself a bag of rice - Shinode Japanese rice - which calls itself "Premium Japanese rice". When you turn the pack over, grown in Italy.
This is not terribly surprising because between the mountains and the sea and the urban sprawl, there isn't as much as much room for the Japanese to grow rice as you might think. This meaning exports will be less, so a lot of rice is grown in... Italy.

That said, there is actually a technical difference between the products, for rice of east Asian origin (esp. pure Japanese) is grown in flooded paddies, while Western treatment is drier. Two fields, one east one west, given the exact same seed, could produce a rice with very different characteristics. As for taste? I'll let you know when I manage to track down some real Japanese rice.

Now, you might be thinking: What's the big deal? You paid how much? Just get a box of Uncle Ben's, dumbass!
The big deal is that products such as Uncle Ben's concentrate to great lengths to make a rice that even the world's crappiest cook would manage to turn out a nice bowl of rice, as opposed to the horrid sticky mess it could otherwise become. This isn't so helpful when you want to make Onigiri (wiki explanation) which rather depends upon the rice being sticky!



Cute girls and wussy blokes, please click the back button on your browser and read something else.


This is a type of wolf spider, and was large enough it could perch quite happily around the rim of a beer glass. Keep in mind this photo was taken using a standard €80 3x zoom digital camera with a magnifying glass held in front of the lens (to fake it into a sort of macro mode). The quality of the image was helped a fair bit by the spider's size.

You can see at the front all eight eyes. Some of these are only capable of detecting light, while the larger front two are not only image forming, but may be capable of forming quite detailed images.
Unlike most insects, spiders differ in having only two main body parts for the head and thorax have fused into one part, as can be clearly seen. As the spider's legs are mostly pneumatic operation, one might surmise a fair bit of the thorax is taken with this. The nervous system does not extend much into the abdomen. The abdomen contains a large part of the circulatory system, the digestive process, the reproductive system, the lungs (underside), and the all-important silk-spinner. The actual internal layout of a spider depends upon its type and its environment, for a European house spider will be quite different from something living in the Amazonian jungle.
The hairs on the ends of the legs (not visible) greatly increase surface contact area, so the spider is as happy walking across the ceiling as the floor. The larger bristle-like hairs on the legs respond to vibrations, air currents, etc and help the spider detect its next source of food. The remaining hairs are there to make the spider look really scary. Grrr-argh!
Finally, the fifth pair of legs, up front. Not les, but a more developed set of pincers. While most spiders have fangs, the wolf spider takes it a step further with reasonably agile 'arms'.


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Rob, 27th October 2010, 17:48
So, did you still drink the beer after removing the spider from the glass?
Rick, 28th October 2010, 04:29
Can't drink beer (allergic/sensitivity) to alcohol. :-( 
The beer glass reference was given only to describe how large the spider was.
Rick, 29th October 2010, 04:43
Just happened by and saw the GeoLoc on the right panel said "b.log last read at 04:18 on 2010/10/29 by somebody in Armed Forces Europe, Middle East, & Canada (United States).". Gee, that narrows it down. :-)
Rick, 29th October 2010, 04:43
It also gave a smile to see "Canada (United States)". Is that like "Scotland (England)" or "Belgium (France)"? :-)

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