British Chocolates Won’t Cross the Pond

“Have you tried Hershey’s chocolate?” asked Nicky Perry, a longtime British expatriate living in New York.

“I’d never sell it in my store,” she said, using a string of imaginative expletives to describe how the ubiquitous American chocolate tastes to her.

via After a Deal, British Chocolates Won’t Cross the Pond – NYTimes.com.

Even though I’ve never been to the US and haven’t really tried their chocolate, the NYTimes article seems to match my friends’ opinions about American sweets. And it reminds me of living in another country which is very protective of its groceries market, especially dairy products: Norway. If there’s one thing that I like better in Germany than in the beautiful, rich Scandinavian land, it’s the availability of various sweets, yoghurts and other food products. That’s one of the first thing you notice when you move to Norway: regular grocery stores have a very poor selection, and the great majority of products are local, due to enormous taxes imposed on imported food, which serves as protection of Norway’s expensive farming. You can get imported chocolate in some fancy stores, but it’s much more expensive than local stuff.

Coding in Python, cheating in LetterPress

I’ve been trying to hone some web-development skills the last few days, and yesterday evening I read about a particularly elegant Python microframework called Flask. I read the tutorial, did some stackoverflow searches and hacked a very simple (borderline trivial, actually) app for cheating in LetterPress in just a few hours. The code that runs the whole application is merely 50 lines long, and that’s only because I’m adhering to PEP8’s blank lines policies. Karolina contributed some CSS code and a logo, and we deployed it to Heroku in a couple of minutes. As a web-development newbie I have to say I’m amazed by how quickly and easily one can learn writing simple applications from scratch these days. And Heroku deployment can be done (for free!) by just one git push. Amazing stuff, especially if you remember coding PHP in 2004.