Re: The assholes of tomorrow are the hippies of today*

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At some point in thinking about this I thought I might refer to this article, but obviously I didn't. I mention it now because I know that everyone's been waiting for a reference from the last time I mentioned it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 6:30 PM
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Er, +"time". And I see I've been pwned.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 6:36 PM
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Specifically, let's take a moment to brainstorm methods of enhancing community among folks who aren't conscious.

Okay, I haven't even finished reading this godawfully long thing, benjamin, but this made me laugh. So they can't write, so what, huh? Huh?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 6:40 PM
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Weird, how come all I see is a big blank white space where comment 2 should be?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 6:43 PM
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So they can't write, so what, huh? Huh?

They probably eat well. So there is that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 6:46 PM
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I met the guys behind GOOD magazine before they started it up. Nice enough fellas, but it was hardly a persuasive business plan. I underestimated its longevity. Rather, I underestimated the staying power of "I'm going to throw family money at my vanity project."


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 6:56 PM
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So anyway. Coupla things. I looked into the Slow Food movement a few years ago and yo, it did indeed seem snobby and elitist. No thanks. And you know, before I read the NYT article linked, I thought, "I bet Alice Waters is involved in this." Yep!

Well, so. Yeah, the quoted attitude toward farmers is condescending. Pretty much the whole thing is a mess. It's a drag, and I'm annoyed that they seem to have screwed it up so far.

The best one can say is that it's an attempt along the lines Ogged once promoted: make certain things that are good sound COOL, and people will follow (Ogged raised this in terms of public transportation, I believe). The problem is that the only people who want to emulate the sort of coolness in question here are people who are already on board anyway.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 6:58 PM
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I really like the Slow Foods movement. Sure, it's got some dippy extremists, but the fundamental goals of the organization are right on. Locally grown, well done food, in tune with the environment. What's not to like. The local organization does some pretty neat events (that I'm too busy to attend, but that I like knowing are going on).


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:04 PM
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What's not to like.

Sanctimony and ill manners, unfortunately.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:09 PM
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(I think that Slow Food has supported and achieved many fine things. Good things can come from irritating people.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:11 PM
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8: I'm sure that some local chapters are all well and good; I'm also sure that (as rfts says in 10) they've done some good. But the way this big national thing is being promoted, it comes off as a mostly aesthetic/lifestyle thing, and vain (in both senses).

AFAIK the European wing is pretty different.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:14 PM
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9: Wow. What a prick.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:15 PM
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When Ben goes to bed, let's build a bot that will flood the thread with some word I'm thinking of.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:15 PM
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From the link in 9: For this you get a little pin of a snail, probably made in China and not by "artisan" labor,

There's a lot of stuff running through the slow food nation site about "fair" food, meaning socially just or something: in that regard I wonder how many of the restaurants featured in their extremely expensive "slow dinners" give their kitchen or waitstaff health insurance.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:16 PM
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Certainly the basic principles are right on; their promotion by this organization leaves a lot to be desired, and risks alienating more people than it brings on board.

I mean, there are a number of small groups introducing things like fresh produce from local farms into local school lunch programs -- things like that. Architects and planners work with them to help the schools address their efficiency needs to accommodate the changes. (A salad bar in a public high school changes the pace and flow of students through the lunch room. And middlemen are needed to help pre-cut the vegetables, for example, as the school lunch staff can't possibly prep all that stuff on their schedules.)

I'd like to see Slow Food Nation do more of that sort of thing. Perhaps they do, and I'm being unfair.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:16 PM
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15 to 8 originally.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:18 PM
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it comes off as a mostly aesthetic/lifestyle thing,

Worse: as an aesthetic/lifestyle thing with (mere) delusions of special virtue. "Join us in feeling really superior, won't you?" It's an ecstasy of smug. If it were just a cheerful, honest aesthetic thing, that would be much more palatable.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:18 PM
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9: The writer of the linked blog manages to be even more of a dick than the author of Slow Food Nation, which is quite an achievement.


Posted by: voyou | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:20 PM
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9: Wow. What a prick.

Yeah, it's a bummer.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:21 PM
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9: The writer of the linked blog manages to be even more of a dick than the author of Slow Food Nation, which is quite an achievement.

I don't find it so, but maybe that's because I like his beans.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:23 PM
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Meh. I won't condemn the movement because of the posturing twits who attach themselves to it, but anymore I do feel like I have to distance myself from them. Still, long live slow food and my CSA.

In other, uh, yuppie food-related news, I just bought a coveted kitchen item which appeared on craigslist because some wealthy philistine ordered it from his contractor and then decided he didn't want it. Trickle-down in action!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:31 PM
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Still, long live slow food and my CSA.

Hear, hear. Except ... what do I do with all this frackin' swiss chard that just never ends?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:45 PM
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a coveted kitchen item

Is it a stand mixer? I bet it's a stand mixer.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:53 PM
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22: Caldo Verde. Traditionally it's made with kale, but chard works equally well, and even imparts an attractive reddish tint.

I recently acquired some antique cookbooks from my family, and I was amused by one 19th century volume that instructs the cook, when making chard, to trim the stalks, discard the trimmed leaves, and cook the stalks.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:58 PM
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It's not a stand mixer!

Parsi, there was just a Mark Bittman video on the NYT site showing how to make chard stuffed with risotto. Looked pretty tasty; I'm sure it's still up on the site. Also, here's sautéed chard with cherry ginger gastrique, a vegan recipe.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 7:58 PM
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Ben -- your best post in recent memory. Write angry!


Posted by: Dan | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:03 PM
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24: Interesting, but I'd need to dispense with the sausage (vegetarian), which might change things significantly. I'm aware of some spicy spinach soups, but have been unsure whether they'd translate very well to chard. I sort of doubt it. I may try to adapt the Caldo Verde in some way.

Jesus McQ, I've done sauteed chard in various ways, chard with eggs in various ways, chard as the wilted green with marinated white beans and red onions .... All fine and great. Tomorrow's the weekly CSA pickup and at some point I may just start laughing uncontrollably as I bag up the allotment of chard. I like the stuff, really. Is good for you! At least I like kale raw. Though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:15 PM
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Truly great post. Gah, the slow food movement annoys me with its sanctimony. I read a study that said that locally grown does not necessarily mean a lower carbon footprint, though, so perhaps you should forgive the Santa Barbara tomatoes.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:15 PM
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Also, I'm sure that Jesus has procured an industrial-sized mortar and pestle, and is just too embarrassed to say so.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:16 PM
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Mark Bittman? The Wild Parrots guy?

appealing to NYTimes readers' snobbery and reverse snobbery all in one package, what an inspiration.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:24 PM
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Parsi, it sounds as though you and your fellow shareholders need to persuade your farmer to grow less chard.

I have a very cool mortar and pestle I found in an antique store. It's not industrial-sized, though. My new item will not be used until I fix up my kitchen, because I have to do a fairly complicated installation.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:26 PM
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Ooh! A commercial can opener! Those are fun.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:29 PM
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You got a tandoor!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:30 PM
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I so want a tandoor.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:32 PM
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it sounds as though you and your fellow shareholders need to persuade your farmer to grow less chard.

Yeah, well, I said that last year. Dude: what's up with the chard? Have something against kale? At least I like to eat that raw, gives more options. He laughed and tore off a bit of raw chard with his BARE TEETH and chewed it up. And gave me a green-toothed grin. These people, I swear.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:38 PM
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how to make chard stuffed with risotto

How Minimalist!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:38 PM
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My mom cooked a lot for the family when I was a kid, but it never would have occurred to me that it would have a trendy label!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:40 PM
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I tend to agree with 18.

I must say that Slow Food is probably the one example where I feel the desire to distance myself from them - the ones I agree with entirely, but find obnoxious. I've just started United States of Arugula, a history of how the US became a foodie nation, and I had to skip the preface, which is a tiresome paean to all the great food that we now have, blah blah blah. I'm just so sick of hearing about it. I mean, I've written it - that's probably why it annoys me - and I just want people to shut up about it, already. [The book itself is a really interesting history - lots of interesting personalities, lots of asides, and virtually no florid foodie writing]


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:43 PM
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36: For the NYT readership, I think anything without exotic produce, high-end liqueurs or gold leaf qualifies as minimalist. Chard stuffed with risotto is the rice and beans of the Hamptons set.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:45 PM
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You would eat kale raw, but not chard, parsley? That strikes me as completely backwards.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:46 PM
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La Pavoni?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:47 PM
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Could you perform a dramatic reading of this post ?

KZSU would thrive survive if some obscure music
show was preempted by The Delicious Dish: San Andreas Edition.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:47 PM
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37: Yeah, mine cooked for us daily (score one for the patriarchy) ... even if it wasn't quite what the slow food types had in mind, sure beat the hell out of warming up processed food products.


I read a study that said that locally grown does not necessarily mean a lower carbon footprint

That's been making the rounds. It's a bit sloppy, but at least obliquely makes the point of thinking in systemic terms.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:48 PM
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I'm sure parsimon will be thrilled to know that chard can substitute for taro leaves in this recipe I've been itching to make. Serves a crowd!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:51 PM
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My mom cooked a lot for the family when I was a kid, but it never would have occurred to me that it would have a trendy label!

Well, yeah, exactly. The trouble is that the inclusive claim - that Slow Food is mostly about not eating takeout or frozen food 6 days a week - is too trite to be a movement, while the exclusive claim - that unless everything is local and seasonal and artisanal, UR DOIN IT WRONG - is insufferable.

Cook's Country - the homey sibling to Cook's Illustrated - is an interesting experiment in pushing in the inclusive direction. At first I was a bit embarrassed at the gingham edging on some pages, as it seemed almost hipster ironic. But it's plainly become a resource for old-fashioned American cooking, as people write in to ask if anyone out there knows the recipe for some godawful dessert their beloved grandmother used to make. I don't know if there's really a lot of readers of CC who don't get CI, but it seems like there could be - all the (potentially) annoying tics of CI are excised, replaced with a sort of practicality - what is the best supermarket white bread?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:51 PM
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A version of that chard stuffed with risotto


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:52 PM
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40: Really?

I understand that raw kale is an acquired taste, and some say it's like eating leaves (it is), but I make a mean kale salad tossed with finely minced garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar, then lightly coat the leaves with grated parmesan ... then add whatever else you want. Strong flavors, not for the weak of tongue, but I've actually turned people to leaf-eating with this.

Raw chard, on the other hand. So no, I don't get it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:52 PM
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40: I didn't want to be the one to say it....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:52 PM
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The best one can say is that it's an attempt along the lines Ogged once promoted: make certain things that are good sound COOL, and people will follow (Ogged raised this in terms of public transportation, I believe).

Now I'm curious, is that a reference to this , or some post by ogged?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:54 PM
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what is the best supermarket white bread?

Well?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:56 PM
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49: As you can tell from the use of the name "ogged", it's in reference to ogged.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 8:57 PM
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Well?

Almost certain it was Pepperidge Farm, possibly their "Country" loaf, which is sliced a bit thicker and has a slightly more open crumb.

The frozen stuffed peppers recipe is quite good, I might add (that's a tip for any of you who may be coming into a period where time for cooking grows more scarce).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:01 PM
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45: There's some balance in there that's hard to hit.

Seasonal is good. Local can be vastly better that your standard options (but needn't be). Lots of variants of produce that doesn't travel or age well can be had locally much fresher, much better tasting and sometimes notably more nutritious than the industrial agriculture products.

All this is true... but that doesn't mean if you bung a frozen pizza in the oven on a busy night that you've fallen from grace. You can eat vastly better than is possible out of the processed food aisles, but it's going to cost you in time or money or both unless you are fortunate.

I agree that the supercilious attitude of some people involved is really off-putting. Some are narrow minded evangelists (cf Alice Waters), with all the character flaws common to evangelists. Some are asshole yuppies who want to differentiate themselves. I guess it takes all types.

The annoying thing is, as someone notes above, the core principles are really pretty good. It's a real shame if someone feels like they can't take small steps in this direction without associating themselves, in some sense, with people who disparage them.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:02 PM
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You know, CI does have annoying tics, but it doesn't lack practicality.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:04 PM
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As you can tell from the use of the name "ogged", it's in reference to ogged.

Ah, but parsimon has referred back to that linking of Bruce Sterling before, and memory can play tricks. I will wait for a ruling from the judge (parsimon in this case).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:08 PM
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49: Nick, a post by Ogged in the not too distant past (before his retirement, that is). I'm not going to look it up now -- off to bed shortly -- but I think it had to do with making public transportation sound cool to people as a way of selling it to them, and it may have been coming off an Yglesias post about the small-town aesthetic.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:10 PM
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You know, CI does have annoying tics, but it doesn't lack practicality.

Oh, I"m a devotee. But I recognize that some people can't see the delicious, fool-proof recipes for the tics.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:13 PM
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I want a La Pavoni too! It's actually not that interesting; it's just a vent hood, but a really good one. I've wanted one ever since I worked in a restaurant kitchen, and especially since getting a decent gas stove that allows me to disperse oily vapor everywhere.

On the slow food thing, I hate to go on and on about the virtues of the place where I live, but there are good reasons why the slow food ethic makes more sense around here than most of the rest of the country, and is therefore less of an obnoxious Lifestyle Choice.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:15 PM
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57: Ah. I guess a sister-publication can have an entirely different set of annoying tics, and between them a larger audience? It was just that `what is the best supermarket white bread' is exactly the sort of thing I'd expect CI to do, so I didn't follow what you meant.

Personally, I think CI would benefit from being a page shorter, the opening one, in every issue. Maybe that's just me.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:17 PM
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I've wanted one ever since I worked in a restaurant kitchen.

Exactly. Typical range hoods are pathetic.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:19 PM
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Typical range hoods are pathetic.

Like the one sitting on my front porch at the moment. Anyone want it? It's yours.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:20 PM
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Maybe that's just me.

I guarantee it's not. I used to read them, but either I got tired of it or he started repeating himself or both. Easily ignored.

I was actually trying to recall a better example of the CC ethos than supermarket white bread, but couldn't without research (ie, walking downstairs). CC is certainly much more likely to include a convenience food in a recipe than CI: CI pretty much only does it with convenience ingredients - say, frozen blueberries - whereas CC will occasionally throw in an actual prepared food, like jarred taco sauce (not for use as taco sauce, of course, but in the course of making something else).

CC has a LOT more recipes per issue, so it's hard to gauge their relative success rate. CI has 100% issues, where I want to make every single recipe the day it comes in the mail. That's impossible for CC, but they occasionally come close. Some of it just comes from my family's idiosyncrasies - fruit and meat combinations are deprecated, and nuts need to prove their merit in a given recipe. But sometimes CC's retro-Americana concept simply produces dreadful results. Shit, I think they even did ambrosia once. Gack.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:30 PM
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Typical range hoods are pathetic.

Those of us who spent 7 years cooking without any hood at all are grateful for what we have, thankyouverymuch.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:31 PM
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"What is the best supermarket white bread" is, I guess, a question more and more people will be interested in as the price of various foods goes up.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:32 PM
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||

Picture on the front of NYT right now (down in the multimedia section) illustrates that that rightwing publication may have been right about the name for certain Olympian named Tyson. He looks quite dandy.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:34 PM
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"What is the best supermarket white bread" is, I guess, a question more and more people will be interested in as the price of various foods goes up.

Actually, "What is the biggest loaf of crappy white bread for the least money?" is the coming question, sadly. We actually buy less bread than we used to, the fancy loaves are so expensive now.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:43 PM
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Actually, "What is the biggest loaf of crappy white bread for the least money?" is the coming question, sadly.

A while back I went to a beer dinner hosted by Garrett Oliver wherein he made the point that bread that lasted more than a day or two was just odd. It was a bit of a "hunh" moment, I have to admit. I'd have more details, but it was, after all, a beer dinner.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 9:53 PM
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I bought bread that didn't contain preservatives once. I thought it might last four days, but it lasted less than one day. I guess the next time I do that will be when I have a wife and at least two kids, or else never.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:01 PM
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Oh, I guess maybe I could host some sort of party at which people eat bread. That seems like the kind of thing other people do, though.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:03 PM
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I swear to God, people who want to promote sustainable agriculture do so actively recommending we choose to move to a nightmare world. For example, bread that lasts more than a day or two is not odd, it's awesome, unless you consider the fact that we don't all die of diptheria by age 42 as also odd.

And before anyone is tempted to tell me that locally produced everything is so wonderful, blah, blah, blah, let me tell you that I've been dutifully eating organic veggies, etc., and it sucks. There is nothing in the natural world as good as Ham and Cheese Croissant Pockets. Well, maybe steak, but I'm sure I'm supposed give that up too.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:05 PM
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There is nothing in the natural world as good as Ham and Cheese Croissant Pockets. Well, maybe steak, but I'm sure I'm supposed give that up too.

Both of these statements are wrong.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:10 PM
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That seems like the kind of thing other people do, though.

Tweet! I call fetishizing the anthropologic other.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:11 PM
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What do you mean, anthropologic other? by "other people" I mean my friends whose hobby is cooking.

I host the parties that center around watching the Paul Lynde Halloween Special. Don't know what I'll do when that starts wearing thin.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:13 PM
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What do you mean, anthropologic other?

I was just poking silly fun on the internet. I am unfamiliar with this Paul Lynde Halloween Special of which you type.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:16 PM
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71: I guarantee that Real Americans, salt-of-the-earth people like Cokie Roberts, agree with me. Well, at least pretend to agree with me.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:16 PM
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if you grind it fine enough, can you use salt-of-the-earth as a fleur-de-sel replacement?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:23 PM
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Our family of four goes through 3 loaves a week at least. In weak moments I've tried to convince myself that if I just made bread myself, the savings would justify the purchase of a stand mixer, but the better part of me knows that what I really need is time, and the stand mixer is just commodity fetishism. I don't want my bread tainted by reification.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:26 PM
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This is probably the appropriate thread to note that I just melted and then re-solidified butter with chives and honey, and it's delicious, not to mention absurdly easy.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:28 PM
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reified bread is poor nourishment indeed.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:29 PM
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||

Okay, that US gymnast babbling to the camera after winning a bronze was far more douchey than the swimmers.

"That's how we roll"?

|>


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:36 PM
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So how many comments did you delete, w-lfs-n?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:42 PM
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"I don't know if it's going to be the youthful, happening Woodstock they want it to be

Just don't take the brown acid.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:52 PM
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Wedding we were just at utilized rather heavily, the hostess's garden squash, zucchini, herbs, berries, etc. Local eating can be fine, indeed.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:54 PM
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And stop pretending that any event involving more than 50 people can be a "Woodstock". This is usually done by people who were being toilet trained in 1969, or who had yet to be conceived.

Don't try to describe a Kiss concert if you've never seen it /rant


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:57 PM
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81: two.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 10:59 PM
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But I took measures.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 11:00 PM
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Can someone explain to me the reason for Rule #2 on this post?


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 11:02 PM
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No.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 11:20 PM
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For one thing, there's only one rule.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 11:20 PM
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I told you guys, it would get annoying really really quick.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-11-08 11:22 PM
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Ah, got it.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:02 AM
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Parsimon, have you tried the chard sauteed with garlic, pine nuts, and currants? (I think that's also a Mark Bittman recipe, actually.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:58 AM
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I bought bread that didn't contain preservatives once. I thought it might last four days, but it lasted less than one day.

In the realm of preservative-free bread, I find the oilier it is the longer it lasts. If I buy black bread full of seeds, I can finish the whole thing before it gets moldy and/or hard. It dries out over several days, but certainly nothing like lighter bread does.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:03 AM
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I like eating food with preservatives in it, because otherwise I feel rushed into eating a week's worth of grocery shopping in three days. Also, I like to think I'm getting a head start on the post-mortem embalming process.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:29 AM
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I must have already mentioned here the hilarity I once caused while trying to talk in German about preservative-free bread?

Präservativ is one hell of a falscher Freund.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:33 AM
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French has the same issue with preservatives.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:47 AM
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92. That might be Mark Bittman, but it's also ubiquitous Catalan home cooking, where they eat all kinds of greens like that. Mainly spinach, but then.

What is the obsession with preservative free bread? Is it meant to be healthier or what? I doubt most boutique bread is preservative free, or the stuff from your favourite boulanger in the Loire valley either. So unless you're retired and have time to make your own all the time, I wouldn't sweat it.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:59 AM
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I am conscious; you are all zombies.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:39 AM
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Slow Food?
Sounds a bit French to me - don't tell JE


Posted by: Whatchamacallit | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 5:00 AM
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I'm wondering what evidence we have that any of the instigators of this sort of thing were ever "hippies". I know hippies who are into food, and they sure as hell don't have the money to start glossy magazines. These folx sound more like the ones the Chets picked on at Andover, plus a broad mass of petit bourgeois imitators.

I had a really decent club sandwich, fries and local maxi-brew last night at a restaurant that caters to those people (but in a shirtsleeves, S. Minneapolis way). The beer tasted like a slightly fancier version of Grainbelt Premium, which was okay by me.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 5:34 AM
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The actual instigators of the thing, IIRC, were a coalition of Italian office workers and restauranteurs, together with the farmers who supplied them, reacting against the erosion of the long lunch hour. This was an ongoing process at the time, not a sentimental backward glance to a non-existent golden age as it would be in the US or Britain where lunch has been a sandwich at your desk for a generation.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 5:41 AM
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That might be Mark Bittman, but it's also ubiquitous Catalan home cooking, where they eat all kinds of greens like that. Mainly spinach, but then.

Nice to know. (I didn't think he invented the combination himself, any more than I think he invented the Saute-garlic-in-olive-oil-and-eat-it-on-pasta-with-parmesan "recipes" that are always on those nyt lists.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 5:45 AM
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I find the oilier it is the longer it lasts

Fats and sugars will both keep the bread from going stale longer.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 6:28 AM
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In the realm of preservative-free bread, I find the oilier it is the longer it lasts.

Also, salt-free breads (e.g. "tuscan loaf") spoil very quickly, as salt has both hygrophilic and antifungal properties.

What is the best supermarket loaf?

An unbeatable source for everyday sandwich bread is to buy a Breadman and make your own. Once you practice once or twice, it takes about the same time to make a loaf of standard white sandwich bread as to brew a pot of coffee. And the bread is 10X as good as the plastic-wrapped stuff.

With the "premium" brands of supermarket bread costing $3 a loaf or more, it's actually cheaper to make your own. You can buy 50 pounds of bread flour and a pound of yeast from a warehouse-type store for about $30, and supply a family with bread for months. Even if don't live near a cute little artisanal bakery, there's no need to subject yourself to supermarket bread.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 6:31 AM
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To clarify 104, I when I say that making bread in a breadmaker takes the same time as making coffee, I mean the active prep time. Obviously the elapsed time is several hours, which means you do have to plan ahead, or set the machine to work overnight.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 6:33 AM
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IF OBAMA WERE IN BRANSON EATING A VELVEETA ON WONDER BREAD GRILLED-CHEESE SANDWICH HE'D BE UP BY 20 POINTS IN THE POLLS.


Posted by: OPINIONATED COKIE ROBERTS | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 6:34 AM
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Especially if the sandwich had an image of the Virgin on it. Or on second thought, possibly not.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 6:36 AM
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106 was actually a pitch perfect imitation of that detestable bitch Cokie Roberts, because the *real* Salt of the Earth know that grilled cheese sandwiches are made with Kraft singles, NOT Velveeta (which is reserved for specialty applications like melting on top of frozen broccoli spears). [Also, if you're in Branson, it's a special occasion, so you'd probably be eating at Olive Garden or something, but that's another matter.]


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 6:39 AM
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grilled cheese sandwiches are made with Kraft singles

Not all of us are rolling in the dough like you are, elitist collegeboy. Some of us have to make do with the Kroger brand American cheese.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 6:44 AM
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Some of us have to make do with the Kroger brand American cheese

Props to apo for shopping a union grocery chain.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 6:49 AM
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I was actually *in* the union when I worked part time at Kroger in high school.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:21 AM
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92, 97: It's also southern Italian.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:33 AM
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I was actually *in* the union when I worked part time at Kroger in high school.

You know, apo, that disclosure isn't exactly helpful to the labor movement in its efforts to shed the stereotype of "union member = smart-mouthed loafer".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:36 AM
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the checkouts of berkeley bowl marketplace are a veritable museum of magazines that will fail (aka magazines that focus-grouped well in marin county).


Posted by: tiny emperor | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:36 AM
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46- I ate those. My wife made that one, I made the stuffed tomato and the stuffed zucchini recipes that were in the same NYT article. I'll be posting them some time this week.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:38 AM
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I saw a great Roz Chast a few years ago in the New Yorker of a stand with "real" lifestyle magazines. Fussy Little Man was one I remember.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:39 AM
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112. Ah? Doesn't surprise me given that Southern Italy was occupied by the Aragonese for centuries. Probably a lot of culinary back and forth there.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:41 AM
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I watched Repo Man last night with my youngest. I had not seen it since it first came out and had forgotten how pervasive the use of generic food packaging was, including "Food" (noted in a comment here recently) and "Drink". Somewhere there is the perfect application of that design motif in this space. Maybe "Pretentious Food Magazine" or "Conscience-Appeasing Food Market".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:44 AM
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118: or Pompous Asshole


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:49 AM
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"Ironically Crappy Peaches."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:01 AM
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113: My friends who worked at Jewel when they were in hs were in the union. They were also very, very, very high.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:06 AM
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not a sentimental backward glance to a non-existent golden age as it would be in the US or Britain where lunch has been a sandwich at your desk for a generation.


Right, but in the US at least it was picked up originally by people who missed dinners, not lunch.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:07 AM
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OFE, there aren't preservatives in French bread from the local boulangerie. That's why you have to eat it the same day, why you can buy just half a baguette if you want, why there are little boulangeries on literally almost every street corner to make the daily bread-purchasing easier. Also why the French have so many delicious pain perdu recipes.

mmmmm


Posted by: morel | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:50 AM
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No thanks to you people, I just made delicious fresh red currant muffins - with a little crystalized ginger. Unsurprisingly yum (milder currant flavor than I would've guessed, but I didn't want a sour muffin, so that's just fine).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:04 AM
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Wow, hippie-hating at Unfogged. Who'da thunkit?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:06 AM
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90 is exactly right.

Saute-garlic-in-olive-oil-and-eat-it-on-pasta-with-parmesan "recipes".)

If I have good garlic I usually skip the saute step, and just toss the raw garlic and olive oil with the hot pasta -- I'm sure my co-workers love me.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:09 AM
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Instances of the word "hippie" used in this thread:

- the post itself, for what must be mysterious reasons, since he makes it clear that the people he is criticizing are "yupscale foodies". Everyone else seems to have ignored this odd word usage.

- minneapolitan's 100, in which he agrees with the post in general but questions why the word "hippie" is used.
- strasmangelo's 125, in which he laments that the post and thread alike are devoted to hating hippies.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:12 AM
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||

And speaking of assholes, McMegan is at it again. In fewer than 50 words, she manages to
- dismiss as patently ridiculous the plausible-bordering-on-obvious charge that McCain's "The ONE" ad is a dog-whistle to the Left Behind crowd.
- cite links to Ross Douthat and The Corner as dispositive arguments.
- insinuate that Amy Sullivan and Ezra Klein are comparable to paranoid anti-Semites
- insult liberals as "out-of-touch secularists" with "near-total ignorance of traditional Christianity".

For me, reading McMegan is like picking on an itchy scab: you know on a rational level that you'll feel worse for having done it, but somehow you can't resist the temptation.

|>


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:22 AM
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It is entirely possible that any attempt to think ethically about food will be drowned out by magazine publishers, lifestyle salesmen and the toolish chumps who buy their crap product.

The magazine that pisses me off most is "Organic Style" which my own mother subscribes to. I'd really like to come out with a zine called "Organic Content."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:32 AM
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FWIW, the method described in this book really works, and the active time spent isn't much more than the book title claims.

It does take a bit of practice to get the right touch--my wife figured it out after I got pissed and gave up--something to do with establishing the right gluten cloak. So we're eating 3-4 loaves of homemade bread a weak for the price of the flour and yeast.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:32 AM
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I'm wondering what evidence we have that any of the instigators of this sort of thing were ever "hippies".

None—I just like the song.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:40 AM
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But picking on McMegan is like scratching an itch.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:41 AM
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The magazine that gives a damn

This is so unbelievably annoying it makes me want to punch an endive in the face.

It reminds me of this appallingly named establishment, which I can only bring myself to patronize if I (patronizingly) call it the "Conscience Free Cafe", instead. Which, it's a good thing I can do that, because they make a fucking great latte.

Meanwhile, there are those who object to the name for reasons of insufficient sanctimony.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:43 AM
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100: Fuck you, minnie. Now I want a club sandwich with fries and a beer. The only things near me right now are a Chick Fil A and a Pizza Hut. I may never experience happiness again.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:45 AM
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McMegan is at it again

I try to leave her alone out of consideration for her meatspace friends here, but seriously: "out-of-touch secularists who mix near-total ignorance of traditional Christianity".

As someone who was born while my father was in Baptist seminary and who spent most of my childhood in the churches which employed him, I'd like to invite Megan to STFU. "Traditional Christianity" covers a very broad spectrum of beliefs in the US, and I'd suggest that she hasn't the tiniest clue regarding the deep south evangelical viewpoint.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:48 AM
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Dude, you're near a Chick Fil A and you think you can't experience happiness? Revel in the last, greatest achievement of the under-assult American crappy fast food juggernaut, Walt! Revel!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:48 AM
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Moreover, that her linked sources for refuting the idea that the ad is a fundamentalist dog whistle are an Anglican (Stuttaford) and a Catholic (Douthat), well.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:51 AM
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McArdle and Douthat are both some variety of lapsed Catholic, aren't they? That's why they're not getting the dog whistle; they're not the intended target. But it's driving me crazy; if the ad doesn't say literally that Obama is the anti-christ, it isn't.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:54 AM
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133:

And, moreover, they're still serving animal flesh and secretions.
Mmm, secretions.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:57 AM
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I'd suggest that she hasn't the tiniest clue regarding the deep south evangelical viewpoint.

I'd be astonished if this wasn't correct. But whatever: there is a species of conservative whose power depends on his or her acceptance as kin by liberals or (perhaps better) Democrats. At some point, it's not her, it's us. Pay her no mind.

McArdle and Douthat are both some variety of lapsed Catholic, aren't they?

I don't think Douthat's lapsed, and he used to be a Pentecostal. A CT Pentecostal, as I understand it, but still.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:58 AM
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I'd suggest that she hasn't the tiniest clue regarding ...

That would be about par for the course.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:59 AM
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||

Providence people: You can make you a TV-b-Gone tomorrow! Kill airport CNN! Good times!

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:00 AM
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Instances of the word "hippie" used in this thread

You don't have to call them Dirty Fucking Hippies to hate on the Dirty Fucking Hippies. See 9 and 11.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:03 AM
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143: I suspect the point was that the slow-food types have very little overlap with the DFH's. Which is true.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:05 AM
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So the post linked in 9 was about ... Dirty Fucking Hippies? Did you read it?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:05 AM
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143: You don't have to, but it's more fun.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:05 AM
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I'd like to invite Megan to STFU....I'd suggest that she hasn't the tiniest clue regarding the deep south evangelical viewpoint.

That captures my reaction exactly. As someone who has been occasionally known to, er, um, make glib assertions about subjects I'm not terribly well informed about, I try to be tolerant of McMegan's half-assery. But jeez, at least make an actual argument before heaping scorn on liberals.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:05 AM
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That's why they're not getting the dog whistle; they're not the intended target.

They don't get the dog whistle because their jobs are to serve as apologists for conservatism to liberal audiences.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:11 AM
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A CT Pentecostal

A Crooked Timber Pentecostal? Speaking in snarky, academic tongues?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:11 AM
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They don't get the dog whistle because their jobs are to serve as apologists for conservatism to liberal audiences.

Indeed. Megan's not dumb; she knows what her job is. It ain't being honest and thoughtful, that's for sure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:12 AM
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Speaking in snarky, academic tongues?

Like Aramaic?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:12 AM
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Looks like Sifu and I found a race condition.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:15 AM
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The difference between a DFH and a slow-foodie is that the latter fetishes gastronomic pleasure, while the DFH is merely concerned about the ecological and/or health impacts of food production and consumption.

The two breeds can be confused in Northern California because the favorable climate and critical mass of affluent consumers permits a cornucopia of delicious foodstuffs to be produced according to DFH principles. A slow foodie would quickly abandon the principles of sustainability if he was required to adhere year-round to a hundred-mile diet in rural Wisconsin. A DFH could stick with it.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:15 AM
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I don't want to hear denials from anyone who hasn't slogged through the near-entirety of Left Behind with Fred Clark. The man is a Baptist saint for his work on that monstrosity.

If you know anything about that book, then you know exactly what "The One" is about.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:16 AM
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138: I was convinced by Scott McLemee's take that the ad isn't literally saying that Obama is the anti-Christ but rather that he's the false prophet, that "other dragon" we hear so much about. That reconciles a vague millenarian dread about Barack Hussein with the canonical view that the anti-Christ must emerge from Europe (Book of LeHaye 13). As a bonus, Americans need not vote for Barack Obama in order to bring about endgame as they likely would if he were the true anti-Christ. I'm certain I'm just rephrasing the last week or so of comments on apo's blog, so apologies.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:17 AM
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There is a species of conservative whose power depends on his or her acceptance as kin by liberals or (perhaps better) Democrats.

I've come to think of McMegan as a pet conservative for liberals who otherwise wouldn't know any, or as a liberal-baiter who knows the elite liberal weak spots because she grew up among them.

For me, except for my college and hippie years (1964--1975), conservatives and Christians have always been thick on the ground, so I don't need McMegan for anything. (And even in the hippie world, Jesus freaks were a constant threat.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:17 AM
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153: I suppose it would be natural to call the intersection of the two, small as it may be, dirty fucking foodies.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:18 AM
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Apo, I suggest you email McMegan the link to your "Is Barack Obama the An/ti/ch/rist?" thread as evidence and proof of your bona fides.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:18 AM
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150: So who the hell is actually paying
for this supposedly willful stupidity?!

Blech.

On the bright side, I felt very happy when I had a drunken conversation with a guy who was sure that Sausagely and crew are 15-20 years away from heading up The Atlantic. It'll be nice when the current crop of liberal writers actually become editors.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:18 AM
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Man, Sifu is going to be soooo surprised when a scantily clad McMegan jumps out of the cake at his bachelor party. Will the copious consumption of classic cocktails cloud his judgment enough to.... ?

Stay tuned.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:18 AM
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Even as a Catholic I heard the whistle play some notes. I didn't hear the Anti-Christ stuff; that isn't my culture. I did hear the ad saying that Obama sees himself as the second coming. Blasphemer!!!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:18 AM
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Not to underestimate the toolery of the Atlantic tag-team, but the Left Behind folks are so heretical that there's no reason for a Christian of any non-Darbyist flavor to recognize their crap.

That is, to recognize it before it's pointed out. Once it's pointed out, it's really fucking obvious, and anyone who pretends it's not there deserves to be marginalized, if not actually beaten with a 2x4. (too far? Nah. She's making space in the discourse for effectively outright accusations that a major Presidential candidate is the Antichrist. not OK.)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:21 AM
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Actually, apo, if you could do a stats analysis on traffic for that post over the past few months (and years), that would probably make for some interesting journalism.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:21 AM
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155: pwned!

Though I'm sure I was pwned, too.

Stupid other blogs, what with the writing things.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:22 AM
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Even as a Catholic I heard the whistle play some notes.

Catholics (and Anglicans) have a fair bit of herd immunity to this stuff, because the very idea of the rapture is considered a heresy in orthodox Christianity. Also, the Vatican has been on the record for a good milennium as opposing any attempt to predict or foretell when the Second Coming will arrive.

IOW, McMegan is arguing from an utterly fraudulent pretense of authority.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:23 AM
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No, her job is to serve as apologists for the Republican Party to conservative audiences such as the readers of the Atlantic Monthly.

Every day they say "Wait a minute, everyone in charge of the Republican Party is a liar and an idiot, and they spend an awful lot of time hanging out with those ridiculous Christian zealots. Could it be possible that because the Democrats aren't led by idiots, they could be better equipped to maintain US supremacy in a globalized world?" And McArdle is a person who says "If you think about this deeply for exactly one second, you will realize that in this one instance, if you look at it from a certain perspective, Republicans can be seen as not lying any more than would be expected. Nothing to see here, the party of the rich is still reliable."

This is a niche market, but the readers of the Atlantic Monthly have an awful lot of influence over the conventional wisdom and the media coverage of various things.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:24 AM
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135: "out-of-touch secularists who mix near-total ignorance of traditional Christianity".

And Megan might have this viewpoint "covered", but as someone who was once an elder in the Presbyterian Church (now lapsed, with the experience in that role providing the final push out) continually hearing this, or variants of this, just wears me out. You're right, we don't know shit.


Posted by: Woodrow Wilson | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:25 AM
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IOW, McMegan is arguing from an utterly fraudulent pretense of authority.

This is basically her job description, no?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:25 AM
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166 to 148. Sorry.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:26 AM
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This is basically her job description, no?

Indeed. That's why she fit in so well at The Economist.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:26 AM
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If 153 is accurate, more power to the DFH.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:28 AM
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The difference between a DFH and a slow-foodie is that the latter really cares about food. IME, DFHs are content with raw vegetables, tofu and two or three recipes from the Moosewood Cookbook. Also, self-described slow foodies tend to be pretty committed to sustainability, so faced with the hundred-mile diet in rural Wisconsin, they'd likely either start an organic farm or move to the West Coast.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:35 AM
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The definition of a "slow foodie" is basically someone who hopes that paying eight quid for four tomatoes is going to make them able to cook. And at the end of the day, who among us doesn't have such unrealistic and faintly ridiculous hopes?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:41 AM
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166: yeah, that's probably a better way of putting it.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:45 AM
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I did hear the ad saying that Obama sees himself as the second coming.

If you're up on your eschatology, the second coming's supposed to be Jesus with some serious ass-kicking. A guy who would usurp the place of Jesus? God, if only we had a word for that....


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:46 AM
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155: pwned!

Well, yeah, I knew that. But I've been reading Slacktivist since before he started doing the LB series. Shit, he's one of 2 blogs on earth that blogrolled me.

Actually, 3 - Emerson's old place did, but after he left, I think.

Anyway.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:46 AM
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they'd likely either start an organic farm or move to the West Coast

I didn't mean to deny the existence of non-supercilious, sincere-in-their-convictions slow foodies, and thank God for them, because people like me who now enjoy access to better products are profiting from their labors. For that matter, thank God for the supercilious poseurs and Organic Style subscribers, because they've got real money , and so supply will spring up to serve the demand they generate.

In that sense, they might be contributing more to sustainability in aggregate than the DFH's subsist on homegrown lentils and bulghur wheat.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:47 AM
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166 is a depressingly apt narrative.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:48 AM
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I was finally getting reconciled to those wacky Europeans who treat food like a religion and now this. Snobby Americans treating food like a political statement.

I have nothing against having a religious preference, and nothing against making a political statement but at least be frigging honest about it.

Don't pretend it is about food when it isn't.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:49 AM
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The definition of a "slow foodie" is basically someone who hopes that paying eight quid for four tomatoes is going to make them able to cook.

So basically anyone who shops primarily at Whole Foods. Who do we know like that?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:49 AM
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Usurp, hell. I heard the intended takeaway as Obama says that he IS God.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:57 AM
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So basically anyone who shops primarily at Whole Foods.

Not really accurate. One of the underappreciated aspects of Whole Foods is the extent to which its core customers do not cook at all. The organic meat counter and organic produce selection cannot hide the fact that the proportion of prepared and ready-to-eat items at WF is as high as, or even higher than a traditional grocery store. Even the fresh foods are largely in the "in-store value-added" category, i.e. the merchant has done the hard work of skewering the pieces of meat and soaking them in marinade.

Scratch away the thin patina of Alice Waters, and you've got an upscale, more preeningly eco-conscious Trader Joe's.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:58 AM
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Again, what defines a slow foodie varies by location. There are plenty of non-supercilious slow foodies around here—and even a couple of very good restaurants that abide by the hundred-mile rule (with exceptions for a few ingredients such as citrus)—because it's easy. Produce (delivered!) from our CSA is cheaper than the same from Whole Foods.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:58 AM
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Maybe the term "slow foodie" should be restricted to its original use: edible developmentally disabled persons.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:02 AM
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Obama says that he IS God.

Man, Stevie Wonder is going to be pissed.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:03 AM
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Again, what defines a slow foodie varies by location.

Not disagreeing with you there. The California-centric media stereotype obscures the fact that slow food != obsession with garden-fresh produce. We can thank slow foodies (more broadly defined) for renaissance of the lost arts of preserving foods: canning, pickling, salting, smoking, confiting, drying, etc. Chopper's homemade bacon is emblematic of slow food at its finest.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:06 AM
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"slow foodie" should be restricted to its original use: edible developmentally disabled persons.

...and their mobility restricted counterparts, "meals on wheels".


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:08 AM
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If you guys cooperate, I might be able to get you some delicious, slow-foodie-fed ham. But at this time I don't have a reliable supply of slow foodies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:14 AM
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We can thank slow foodies (more broadly defined) for renaissance of the lost arts of preserving foods: canning, pickling, salting, smoking, confiting, drying, etc.

do, to the power of, what?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:17 AM
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173 is cute, but almost completely wrong.


Don't pretend it is about food when it isn't.

Often it really is just about food Tripp.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:17 AM
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And as the old joke says:

Oh, that's God. He thinks he's Bobby Orr. Or Havlicek, or …


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:18 AM
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Scratch away the thin patina of Alice Waters, and you've got an upscale, more preeningly eco-conscious Trader Joe's.

Actually, I disagree pretty strongly with this. Trader Joe's opened within a mile of our house; granted, that is 5X as far away as WF, but if they had stuff worth the trip, we'd go. They don't - I've been 3-4 times in 2 years (their maple syrup prices are stupendous, tho').

Just this morning I was in WF and musing that, while sometimes I wish I had the $$ to buy some of the prepared foods, I really wouldn't very often (just as I don't go to TJ's very often). But I'm still in WF all the time because they do, in fact, have the raw ingredients that I need*, plus about half the dry goods we use.

To some extent, this varies by store: our WF only has about 16 steam trays, plus the one prepared food counter; I've been in others that had probably 30 steam trays, and a prepared food counter twice as long. But they all have about the same amount of fresh goods/basic ingredients, so the proportions are higher elsewhere.

In a sense, there are two parallel and coexisting stores, which you often see in the checkout lanes - one person with 2 frozen meals, a couple takeout boxes of hot food, and a sushi tray, then someone else with a bunch of produce, fish, and cheeses. And me with a gallon of milk, a quart of yogurt, and a bag of Kettle chips.

* As I've said before, I do at least half my shopping (by value) in the Strip, and probably 2/3 or more by calories, so I know I'm not a typical food shopper in any sense


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:25 AM
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I felt very happy when I had a drunken conversation with a guy who was sure that Sausagely and crew are 15-20 years away from heading up The Atlantic. It'll be nice when the current crop of liberal writers actually become editors.

This sentiment is so wrong on so many levels. It's not the people who run and staff The Atlantic that are the problem with The Atlantic; The Atlantic is the problem with The Atlantic. It's not the Atlantic's job - or the New Yorker's, or the NYT's or the WaPo's or the LA Times's for that matter - to accurately report the news or provide a balanced and well-reasoned analysis of politics within the United States or whatever. Its job is to please its corporate ownership and advertisers, which means, ultimately, to act as an acceptable mouthpiece for the status quo. It's absurd to believe that recycling the staff on a given American publication is going to make its output substantially better absent some kind of structural change. But it's even more absurd to believe that when the staff recycling in question hinges on someone like Matt Yglesias, a self-consciously career-minded moderate who remains very aware of the limits of acceptable political discourse in Washington and makes little effort to challenge them. Yglesias remains largely committed to engaging with figures and ideas to his right while largely ignoring or dismissing those to his left. And if I were in his position, I'd probably do the same: there's not that much money in moving left, but sensible liberals who frown at unreasonable lefties are always in vogue.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:25 AM
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do, to the power of, what?

What?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:26 AM
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The definition of a "slow foodie" is basically someone who hopes that paying eight quid for four tomatoes is going to make them able to cook.

This is the exact same as the caricatured definition of "foodie". Surely adding the word "slow" changes something about your stereotype?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:31 AM
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194. 189 (trans.) WTF?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:32 AM
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195: Going to be make them able to cook eventually.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:34 AM
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195. A foodie either thinks they can cook, or knows they can't and talks about restaurants instead. Somebody who buys expensive produce under the delusion that it'll disguise their culinary shortcomings is a different animal, though there may be a narrow intersect in the Venn. But I don't think they're "slow foodies" either.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:37 AM
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197: so the slowness gently leaches away the grammaticality?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:41 AM
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prepared and ready-to-eat items at WF

All of which are pretty bleh tasting.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:46 AM
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In a sense, there are two parallel and coexisting stores, which you often see in the checkout lanes - one person with 2 frozen meals, a couple takeout boxes of hot food, and a sushi tray, then someone else with a bunch of produce, fish, and cheeses.

Hence my reference to the "core customers", i.e. the ones from which the supermarket makes the bulk of its. Fresh produce, meat and fish are not quite loss leaders (they are priced to profit, except for weekly specials), but they are more of an attraction to drive footfall than a profit engine. They are more labor-intensive (except for case-ready); the refrigerated displays are more expensive and less space-efficient; the shrinkage and spoilage costs are higher; and margins are constrained by the commodity nature of the product, etc.

Whole Foods has approximately the same relationship to cooking as Williams Sonoma; it's possible to be an avid cook and shop there, but the company would go out of business if it only served avid cooks.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:47 AM
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201: Same as any grocery store, hence the layout. From which follows the overstated but generally not bad advice to improve your diet and help your wallet by only shopping on the outer edge of the store.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:49 AM
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It's absurd to believe that recycling the staff on a given American publication is going to make its output substantially better absent some kind of structural change.

I don't really disagree with the underlying structural critique, but it is, in fact, pretty clear that individual editors make a difference. Marty Peretz was boss of Kinsley, Sullivan, and Kelly - Kinsley* was not forced to suck by Peretz. Without getting into All the President's Men nostalgia, WaPo under Bradlee and under Downie/Hiatt are vastly different publications. Shit, how different are the Clinton years without panty-sniffing Raines at the helm of the NYT?

These are marginal differences - that's why I said I agree with teh structural critique - but they're real ones, and big enough to make differences.

I also agree that I don't see Yglesias making a meaningful difference - both personally and professionally, he's simply not very liberal (mostly center-left, but I bet he holds more counter-intuitively Right positions than Left), and temperamentally he doesn't seem like a boat-rocker

* I'm not saying he's a great liberal; I'm saying that the change at TNR wrought by different editors was huge


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:49 AM
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Whole Foods has approximately the same relationship to cooking as Williams Sonoma; it's possible to be an avid cook and shop there, but the company would go out of business if it only served avid cooks.

Agreed.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:52 AM
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Meat, fish, and produce are more labor-intensive than prepared foods? Don't you have to prepare the foods?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:53 AM
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do, to the power of, what?

It's due, silly, to a commitment to getting one's food locally, and therefore have to deal with keeping food that's out of season.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:53 AM
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I'm no fancy big-city lawyer, but I would guess that prepared foods are more likely than non-prepared foods to already be prepared.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:54 AM
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More in sorrow than in anger I have come to accept the truth of 193. It was the Cokie Roberts Hawaii remark that eliminated any doubt. There's no way she says something that stupid unless it's in her job description.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 11:55 AM
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It's due, silly, to a commitment to getting one's food locally, and therefore have to deal with keeping food that's out of season.

It could also be due to thinking that it would be good/nice to know how to do such things oneself; after all, I can buy preserves at the supermarket all year round, and could before "slow food" existed. I don't think Chopper's making his own bacon because he couldn't get it at the supermarket when it was out of season.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:00 PM
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209: Okay, that too.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:07 PM
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Its job is to please its corporate ownership and advertisers, which means, ultimately, to act as an acceptable mouthpiece for the status quo.

Speaking of caricatures.

Fresh produce, meat and fish are not quite loss leaders (they are priced to profit, except for weekly specials), but they are more of an attraction to drive footfall than a profit engine.

You people have got to be kidding me. If I weren't so lazy, I'd find the 400+ comment thread to which I was alluding and in which we all made fun of ogged for his $20 per lbs. chicken breasts from Whole Foods. (I think it was a different thread from the one in which we made fun of him for his $9 per pound exotic fruit.)

The stuff there is overpriced. That doesn't make it evil or even bad. One presumes that the people who shop there aren't going hungry because they shop there and that they're getting something out of the decision to shop there. So all's good. But someone's going to have to link to a study indicating an ability to distinguish between $5 per pound chicken breast and $20 per pound chicken breast before I'm quite sure that the value is the same one that often seems to be claimed.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:15 PM
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(I think it was a different thread from the one in which we made fun of him for his $9 per pound exotic fruit.)

Damned good fruit, to be fair.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:17 PM
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Meat, fish, and produce are more labor-intensive than prepared foods? Don't you have to prepare the foods?

Yes, the seafood counter that is manned throughout opening hours and the meat counter where the steaks are weighed and packaged in the backroom are at least as labor intensive as the self-serve ethnic food bar, and much more so than the Kashi frozen dinners. And the labor involved in making the maki rolls is "value added" for which the store commands a markup, whereas the labor involved in picking out the specific filet of line-caught halibut that you point to is mere "service" that is absorbed in overhead.

Obviously I'm making broad generalizations here that aren't necessarily true in every instance.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:18 PM
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(I think it was a different thread from the one in which we made fun of him for his $9 per pound exotic fruit.)

Not only that, each fruit weighed over a pound.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:18 PM
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--


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:19 PM
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It sure is a good thing that this troll writes in a nonsensical and pretentious way that can be easily ignored, because from what I can tell the subject matter is just the thing to bait people around here.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:23 PM
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216: really the incomprehensibility makes it hard to say one way or the other.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:24 PM
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216-217: He sort of reminds me of the early read, but with a harder edge. I'm envisioning the lovechild of read and Emerson, but with a crystal meth habit.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:29 PM
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218 is deeply unfair to read, who, while sometimes surreal in her early essays, was never abusive.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:31 PM
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Indeed I remember read being quite easily hurt, when e.g. people mistook (or so we think) her for a russian spam bot.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:33 PM
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219: it's the incomprehensibility and absence of capitalization that evoked the association. You are quite right that read was never abusive.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:34 PM
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She did get upset at racist jokes.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:37 PM
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I recently became annoyed enough by my own tendency to read more to my right than to my left - thanks in large measure to Stras and Emerson both repeatedly bringing it up with reference to others - that I threw a bunch of liberal and debate-y sites into /etc/hosts and started expanding my blogroll from my old friend Lisa Harney's blog Questioning Transphobia, following links and links of links from there. I feel a lot better about my blog reading - I'm learning a lot, and reading a lot from people with whom I actually share values and goals rather than going on the Nth rehash of whether there's the slightest shred of evidence in favor of the US's approach to health care or not. And it's a whole lot more fun to disagree with someone who actually seems to give a damn about what I consider moral fundamentals than with someone who's clearly calculatedly amoral, just plain on the take, or both.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:39 PM
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The ToS is a right dickhead, KR (you buttphag), and don't be fooled.

I wasn't thinking of the frozen foods under the rubric "prepared foods"—more deli counter stuff.

Ogged's chicken breasts were $9/lb. On the other hand, I paid $4/lb for a whole chicken about a month ago, and it was pretty fantastic.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:39 PM
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Irony doesn't flourish in the purer air of the steppe, Peter. Or so we choose to believe.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:39 PM
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Whole chicken is the best way to buy chicken. It tastes like chicken!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:40 PM
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On the other hand, I paid $4/lb for a whole chicken about a month ago, and it was pretty fantastic.

But it was really a kitten.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:40 PM
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We snuggled for hours, and then I stuffed it with garlic and a lemon.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:43 PM
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I miss read.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:44 PM
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It tastes like chicken!

Maybe so in Calaville. Over here, if you buy the cheap, no questions asked chickens, they taste of blotting paper soaked in old fish leavings.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:44 PM
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228: huh. That doesn't look like garlic and lemon.

NSFW,K


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:48 PM
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The garlic and lemon were pre-applied to w-lfs-n's stuffer in that picture.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:53 PM
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Any of you guys have a reliable strawberry ice cream recipe? I can find many online but am a poor judge of ice cream recipes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:54 PM
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What can I say, Sifu? That doesn't look like a kitten, either.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:56 PM
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The ToS is a right dickhead

Who should not be acknowledged in any way, shape, or manner for the brief periods before his drivel is deleted, people.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 12:57 PM
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233: The first or second that pops up on Epicurious is pretty good -- let me get you a link.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:05 PM
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This is the one I've made. I added some additional strawberries just chopped coarsely -- good, but they kind of turned into ice-lumps. Perhaps I should have soaked them in liqueur or something so they wouldn't freeze hard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:08 PM
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Thanks, LB. I'm usually not so recipe dependent, but I have a hard time figuring out the first principles of ice cream making (and don't want to mess up, given the price of cream.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:10 PM
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I think it's more than possible to eat happily constrained to a 100-mile rule diet in central WIsconsin. My CSA is loccated about a 50 miles outside of LaCrosse, there are many others scattered across the state (I'm probably going to find a new CSA for next year--I hadn't realized they were so far away when I signed up with them). As long as you're willing to can, freeze, pickle, etc., or pay extra for someone else to do it for you, you can live pretty damn high on the hog. About the only thing you'd be hurting on is citrus, and there has to be some sort of citrus exemption, dammit.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:10 PM
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||

The mythical W-lfs-n month?

But how does apostrophree save time? Don't people just read through bad spelling and ignore missing apostrophes?
Most people either don't recognize or don't care when they encounter a misspelled word or incorrectly-formed plural. But some people do notice, and there's a personality type that will spend a lot of time demonstrating their superior English skills online. We've studied this for over a year, in many settings, and over and over we find the same thing: the most expensive employees, especially technical people such as programmers, can be provoked by the smallest error to post a comment of their own correcting the error and chastising the original poster. Observing technical staff in one organization we found that just two common errors -- it's instead of its and there instead of their -- accounted for six hours of essentially wasted time per month per employee.
We've also found that authors who flag their lack of writing ability with (sp?) actually attract more corrections, because on top of the corrections to the original error the laziness implied by (sp?) works some readers into a froth. Correcting such self-identifying comments, or just removing them altogether if there is no chance of converting the gibberish into proper English, stops another source of wasted time.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:14 PM
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We snuggled for hours, and then I stuffed it with garlic and a lemon.

Here's a picture of the poor creature right before W-lfs-n throttled it. The "after" photo is here.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:16 PM
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We've also found that authors who flag their lack of writing ability with (sp?) actually attract more corrections, because on top of the corrections to the original error the laziness implied by (sp?) works some readers into a froth.

I find this kind of surprising. I guess I'm not a pedant at heart (an even more surprising conclusion).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:22 PM
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On the meat/poultry/fish profit thing, yeah, Whole Fools is massively expensive. I was surprised to find that at my local WF alternative, Thanksgiving turkeys are in fact a loss leader, and the margins on the rest of the meat(/poultry/fish) are pretty slim. Also, I was able to buy cherimoya for $3/lb., so suck it, Whole Foods (and I believe BG seconds that emotion).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:33 PM
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241 made me laugh.

Don't think I'm not reading, Knecht. School doesn't start for two weeks, and so I'm not Leechblocking Unfogged yet.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:34 PM
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240: Mythical indeed.

Pretty sure that the whole thing is a joke. Apostrophree has not other reference in Google and John Scogan (the person "interviewed") was Jester to King Edward IV and was unusual in that he was an Oxford scholar. He was famous for his roistering, roguish, irreverent personality whose maxim was "a merry heart doeth good, like a medicine". He loved practical jokes.

Or maybe I should take it to Standpipe's ... oops, too late. Darn.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:37 PM
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Oh, and the chicken I got was organic and free range from Trader Joe's. It was only $2/lb, I believe. Not much more than Safeway's. I also go to a butcher's on College/Alcatraz to get different cuts of meat or fancy lamb or duck sausages.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:37 PM
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243: It trips so easily of the tongue: Thank you, Jesus.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:41 PM
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I didn't notice it until just now, but "Whole Fools" is my most felicitous typo ever.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:49 PM
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I understand that raw kale is an acquired taste, and some say it's like eating leaves (it is), but I make a mean kale salad tossed with finely minced garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar, then lightly coat the leaves with grated parmesan ... then add whatever else you want.

It's a Caesar! AGH!

The stuff there is overpriced. That doesn't make it evil or even bad.

The people mentioned in the post, and right there, are basically either Chets or Chet-wannabees (including the people who started the magazine) who are paying good money to pretend that they are worldly and have good taste. Which they likely do not. (See Chopper in Wisconsin for the opposite tendency.)

This reminds of the time I was in the yupscale exurban Targét to buy something common (this was about the time that the ex- started getting really snooty) and I wound up in line behind Mrs. Ostentatious. Mrs. Ostentatious was wearing a lot of modestly tasteful gold jewelry and purchasing about 8 chunks of various imported white cheeses and two bottles of 19.95 frog vino.

She was sure to let the cashier (and the rest of us in line) know that she was buying this because she was having some friends in from San Francisco for a wine-tasting party. She was going to feed them the Irish Cheddar that she bought at Targ#eacute;t.

I rather got the impression that everyone would eat the mismatched cheese, drink the California wine and then start hitting the vinegar she got as backup and nobody would complain.

{crossing the parking lot}
'Why was that strange strange woman wearing two scarves and a jacket? In the summer.'
'I don't know. Donna Karen tho.'
'To go with her high-quality Irish Cheddar from Target.'
{imitating hand wave}'Well, I'm going to be having some friends in from San Francisco...'
'And they'll proceed to choke on the vinegar she gives them. I bet they'll declare it yummy.'
'Dear, they'll probably be too drunk to notice.'
'Nobody could get that drunk.'
'They'll probably pass out first anyways.'
'Can we not ever ever ever come back to this Target again? I'm getting hives.'
'I'm sure that won't happen again.'
'But my head might explode...'

max
['Can I say yupple?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 1:57 PM
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On the meat/poultry/fish profit thing, yeah, Whole Fools is massively expensive.

Yeah, I'll only buy these things there if there's a sale, or a pretty strong need ("shit, I thought I had 12 oz. of chicken thighs"). It's frustrating, because at least some of that premium is for ethical meat - it's really not fair to compare prices between grocery store, factory-farmed chicken and cage-free chicken - but most of it is, effectively, gouging.

Hence, 1/8 of a pig and 1/38 of a cow in my basement freezer, bought locally with friends.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:13 PM
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I don't think eye gouging is ethical even in cage-free chicken bouts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:16 PM
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251:
Guess what.
What?
Chicken bout.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:25 PM
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252:
Guess why?
Chicken flying knee.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:28 PM
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Do chickens have knees?

And aren't they pretty much flightless birds anyway?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:37 PM
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|>

You know what's awesome? When you're in your stupid office that's miles from nowhere and ravenously hungry and it turns out there are 3 slices of raisin cinnamon bread that you didn't realize were still in the kitchen. That's awsome.

||


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:38 PM
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254: believe in the knee, M/tch.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:39 PM
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To the extent that that's a real question, chickens have to have knees, or else they'd sit on their nests with their legs stuck straight in front of them. I don't imagine going from standing to sitting down like that would be conducive to keeping the eggs intact.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:45 PM
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You can see the knee in action in this high speed MRI of a fighting chicken in the midst of delivering a well placed blow to an opponent.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:47 PM
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And aren't they pretty much flightless birds anyway?

You'd think so, but way back when we had a few chickens, one flew about a mile down the road, to a neighbor's yard.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:49 PM
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I guess what I meant was that, what with the way they're rigged up, chickens can't attack with their knees. It's all about the ankle for chickens.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:56 PM
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I'm really chuckling at the mental image conjured (evoked? described?) by 257.

"Easy now. Eeeeaaasssyyyy... *splat* DAMMIT."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:57 PM
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Don't underestimate the chicken.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:57 PM
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259: Was that one mile-long flight, or an extended series of flighty hops?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:59 PM
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260: that's how they get you, M/tch. There you are looking for beaks and ankles and then, wham! here comes the flying knee out of nowhere.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 2:59 PM
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The chickens that places like Tysons food breeds are not only flightless, they are barely able to walk.

A traditional breed like Rhode Island Red, is flightless the way pigeons are flightless. It is perfectly capable of flying, but can't be bothered most of the time.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:01 PM
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Rhodes


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:02 PM
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266: like, the colossus of? I don't see the relevance.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:04 PM
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Guess who?
Frank Purdue.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:05 PM
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chickens have to have knees, or else they'd sit on their nests with their legs stuck straight in front of them

Maybe they retract, like car stereo antennae.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:06 PM
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oh, wait. I was right the first time. My spell check flagged the first but not the second.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:06 PM
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The real evidence of chicken knees, however, is the presence of drumsticks and thighs in the Colonel's eight-piece box.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:07 PM
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235: Did I miss a good troll? And did read stop commenting?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:07 PM
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Taste the knee!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:08 PM
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Read hasn't been around much the last week or two, but I don't think there's any reason to think she's left, rather than just being busy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:09 PM
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274: she said something about the lab closing for the summer or something; said maybe she'd be back but not for a while? Or I made all that up? Why am I phrasing everything as a question? Trebek?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:10 PM
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"Easy now. Eeeeaaasssyyyy... *splat* DAMMIT."

Very Gary Larson.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:15 PM
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Did I miss a good troll?

Hardly.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:21 PM
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241 made me think of a different w-lfs-n-affiliated image.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:36 PM
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--


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 3:52 PM
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Ok, 279 was actually quite offensive.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 4:03 PM
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The troll fighters have been distracted by the other thread, BL. They'll be here in a moment.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 4:07 PM
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Good, and then Wrongshore will explain what he's talking about in 278. I am all twitterpated with curiosity.

How are you, IDP? Are you riding your bike again?


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 4:16 PM
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You'd be happier not knowing. (There's a post, back in 2006 sometime. W-lfs-n posted a picture of someone having carnal knowledge of a chicken. And a crab.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 4:19 PM
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Ew.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 4:20 PM
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You're telling me. About the first time I convinced my husband to actually read the blog, that post was up top. It took a very long time for him to stop referring to Unfogged as "those chickenfuckers".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 4:22 PM
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I am, thanks.

Is 279 not going to be converted to a meaningful dash?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 4:26 PM
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249: It's a Caesar! AGH!

Nuh-uh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 5:28 PM
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278, 282, 284: see 231.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 6:00 PM
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195: in my book a "foodie" is someone who wanks on about El Bulli etc, rather than does a big virtue number on you about their own cooking with simple, unpretentious, natural, seasonal ingredients which they have ruined.

209 etc: I was using the racy colloquialism "do what?" to express the sentiment "what earth do you mean, that jam-making would be a skill lost to the race were it not for slowfoodies, that's ridiculous chum!", and (in a mathematical joke), attempting to emphasise how vociferous a "do what?" it was, by pretending that the normal "do what?" was a multiplication of do by what, whereas in this case, the heights of do that I felt were warranted could only be reached by exponentiation to the power of what. Next time I will make it clearer and when one of you guys says something like "everything would be much better if only Samantha Power was in charge of foreign policy" or "I really can't think of a better opinion journalist than Megan McArdle", I'll say exp(ln (do) ln (what)) or some such.

I mean really. There are people out there who make jam and pickle onions without stopping every five minutes to explain how they are in touch with an ancient tradition and are truly involved with their lunch, unlike you fucking peasants. My mum, for example. I full stop swear to you that even if the ancient art of salting pork were to fall into abeyance, it would not take long to work out how to recreate it, simply by analysing commercially produced bacon. We absolutely do not need slow food bores to preserve the racial memory.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:07 PM
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I think my dialect lacks this use of "do what?" Is it like "say what?"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:12 PM
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Meanwhile, I have fallen into a dizzying abyss of semantic satiation. FASCINATING, RFTS, TELL US MORE.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:13 PM
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289 would be even better without the rest of the thread. It's like a mysterious jewel, dropping out of the sky onto your forehead.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:24 PM
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291: tell what now?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:25 PM
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We absolutely do not need slow food bores to preserve the racial memory.

Thus does d-squared deftly debunk a claim that no one made.

Just about any semi-archaic folk-art needs its quota of boring and/or silly enthusiasts to tranmit old traditions to the younger generation: making wooden sailboats, playing in a drum and fife corps, making Flanders lace, curing air-dried beef. I'd wager that a higher proportion of the girls in d-squared's mums school class knew how to make a good jam or pickle than in d-squared's school class. That's no tragedy by itself: we don't to store our victory gardens produce through the winter to keep from starving, and that's progress, by my lights.

All the same, I'm happy that there's folks who will cheerfully waste their free time trying to recreate grandma's century egg recipe or making a jugged hare. Some of this enthusiasm feeds through into commercial gastronomy (confit is trendy these days), where the dining public can enjoy it, and some feeds through into demand for higher quality supermarket products.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:33 PM
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There's nothing silly about wooden sailboats.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:35 PM
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Wooden Shjips, on the other hand, are kind of silly.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:39 PM
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We absolutely do not need slow food bores to preserve the racial memory.

I absolutely agree with you, and yet...I wonder if you realize just how crappy is much of the food that is sold in US supermarkets? The regular (I mean, not "organic" or whatever) dairy products, for example, come from cows that have been injected with hormones that have been banned in Canada and Europe, and an unbelievable amount of food items contain high-fructose corn syrup, which apparently is making people obese.

I have sort of a kneejerk reaction against anything that smacks of foody-ism. I'm sorry, but too many of the foodies I've ever encountered, whether IRL or online or in traditional print media, sound like sanctimonious prigs and nouveau puritans seeking to demonstrate their claims to be held worthy in the eyes of God and/or their fellow members of the food elect. What irks me all the more, however, is the sneaking suspicion that they may be at least half, if not 75 to 80 percent, right (about food sources, and steps/distances travelled between raw material and finished product, and etc.).

That said, the emphasis on locally grown food strikes me as somewhat chauvinistically Californian. I mean, I think it's a good thing that kids in Minnesota can eat oranges! (which, if they only ever ate local food, they would not be able to do). Yeah, people up north used to never eat foods (oranges, e.g.) that had to travel vast distances to reach their tables. But, you know, people up north used to get scurvy and stuff.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:42 PM
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The term "foodie" is horrendous. Food, on the other hand, is awesome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:44 PM
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Food-blee!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:50 PM
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Koblee!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:50 PM
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298 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:52 PM
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Koblee!

Nicely done.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:53 PM
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people up north used to get scurvy and stuff

Which suggests to me that it is not, in fact, habitable.

(Yes, at the end of the chain of reasoning, I honestly believe there should be so few people that they can all live sustainably in places that can feed them a year-round diet. Yes, getting from here to there is difficult. If that makes me an elitist Californian, that is fine. Show respect if you've gotten used to your posh diet with citrus and garlic and lettuce and almonds.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:56 PM
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Does Megan think that garlic is some sort of exotic Cailfornian delicacy? Is she aware of root cellars?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:57 PM
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303: so wait, shipping oranges 2000 miles by train is verboten, but shipping water 2000 miles and pumping it onto fields is a-okay?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 7:59 PM
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||

I feel bad for the red goggles marks on all the swimmers' foreheads. It looks really painful.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:06 PM
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There are abundant sources of Vitamin C (rosehips, parsley, some brassicas, many non-citrus fruit) grown outside of citrus-growing areas.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:07 PM
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307: don't forget fish!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:08 PM
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JRoth - Nope. Not at all. But I do think that all of the commercial garlic sold in the U.S. is grown here.

Sifu Tweety - My eyes are aglow at the thought of a 2000mile canal, but our current system is not on that scale at all. When we tap the Great Lakes...

Seriously though, shipping oranges 2000 miles by train IS shipping water 2000 miles. Oranges are just bundled water, sunshine and environmental quality, and it makes me mad to send it all over everywhere like that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:09 PM
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too many of the foodies I've ever encountered, whether IRL or online or in traditional print media, sound like sanctimonious prigs and nouveau puritans seeking to demonstrate their claims to be held worthy in the eyes of God

To me, this smacks of the problem with making fun of hipsters. Generally, the people who call people hipsters share most of the tastes of hipsters, they just don't conform to some hyperbolic state of living and dying by those tastes. The people who actually aren't hipsters simply don't really think about hipsters.

What the hell's wrong with being a foodie? It seems useful to have a subset of eaters who are passionate about what they eat, who are good cooks, who appreciate good ingredients, and who concern themselves with the supply chain. It seems possible, given our highly trained dialectical minds, that we could valorize those qualities and at the same time deprecate snobbishness, elitism, and a lack of compassion for people of modest means.

Really. All the foodies I know are people who have fed me well. The rest of it just sounds like latte-liberal bashing.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:10 PM
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309: my large point is that looking at California as some kind of Mecca of sustainability seems flawed at best, largely due to water issues. Also keep in mind that e.g. Siberia supported humans before California did.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:14 PM
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Fish has vitamin C?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:14 PM
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shipping oranges 2000 miles by train is verboten

This is an especially pointless example to get exercised about, because oranges from Florida ride on backhaul capacity that would otherwise return empty on the northbound leg; that is, transporting citrus doesn't occasion any material addition to transport flows.

Florida is a black hole for transportation capacity. The state consumes vast quantities of goods that have to be transported southbound, but produces next to nothing that requires northbound transportation. Citrus is one of the rare exceptions, along with phosphates (which move in different vehicles, and therefore cannot take advantage of backhaul capacity).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:15 PM
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large(r) point. Probably not objectively large.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:15 PM
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More to the point, I need some ideas for how to prepare scallops to take to the Hollywood Bowl tomorrow night. Consider that we will be sitting on wooden benches while watching Etta James and Solomon Burke.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:15 PM
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Which suggests to me that it is not, in fact, habitable.

Oh, please.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:16 PM
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312: some fish, yeah. Google Inuit diet and vitamin C.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:16 PM
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Who were the Google Inuits?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:17 PM
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315: grill 'em on skewers; aren't there BBQs in the park there?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:18 PM
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Which suggests to me that it is not, in fact, habitable.

Of course you cannot be serious. Way north of Minnesota, there are vast tracts of land which have been inhabited (by people, though admittedly not by foodies) for some thousands of years.

Garlic is not the specialized chi-chi crop that some people now seem to think it is: it used to be peasant food, back in the day when there were actual peasants. Lettuce (or lettuce of some sort, anyway) was perhaps considered an exotic import to England during the time of Henry VIII: I dimly recall (I'm too lazy to look it up) a reference in Hume's History of England to Henry VIII sending off to the continent for "salad" to satisfy his pregnant wife (I forget which one, and I'm too lazy to look it up) who had a "pica."


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:19 PM
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318: it's easy to find out, anyhow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:19 PM
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curing air-dried beef

What, do they not have Turkish people where you live, KR?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:19 PM
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Who the hell thinks garlic is chi-chi? Because those people need to get out more.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:20 PM
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319: I don't think there are, but I'm gonna prep 'em at home. Still, that sounds yum.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:21 PM
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Seals are fish?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:21 PM
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Oysters have nearly as much Vitamin C by weight as lemons. Can there be too many reasons to eat oysters? I think not.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:21 PM
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There is, or was, an all-garlic restaurant in L.A. called "The Stinking Rose."

Apparently it still exists and there is one in SF as well.

It's not known to be very good, though.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:22 PM
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There are abundant sources of Vitamin C (rosehips, parsley, some brassicas, many non-citrus fruit) grown outside of citrus-growing areas.

Postwar Labour government in the U.K. figured out that the only way to provide vitamin C in adequate quantities without putting an unbearable strain on foreign exchange reserves was to cultivate black currants in Britain. Whence came Ribena.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:22 PM
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Scallops: simplest, easiest. Slice them thin (3-4 slices/scallop), squirt with lime juice, sprinkle with salt and crushed chili. It's straight out of Mark Bittman, but I did it last weekend, and am still savoring the flavor.

Depending on transportation timing, etc., you could even chill the scallops and pack the lime juice separately, combining close to eating time (they should sit ~5 minutes).

Megan: if you're talking commercial production, I hope you don't use any wheat for those pie crusts....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:22 PM
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Is 313 right? that's so fucking hot.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:23 PM
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Please yourself. When people say to me that they can't eat locally because their region doesn't produce food for several months, it then follows that their region cannot support them for those months. And if the region can't support you for all the months, then it isn't actually a place that can support humans. Then they say they aren't interested in the locally-produced food restriction, and that's fine. But under that restriction, it isn't habitable.

Sifu Tweety, California provides more than half the vegetables in the country and more of the nation's fruit. If all we had to feed were our own, there'd be plenty. We'd be using less than a third of what we use now.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:23 PM
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When people say to me that they can't eat locally because their region doesn't produce food for several months

Who are these people, and why are you listening to such idiots?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:26 PM
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Thanks JRoth. I will probably try something that simple.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:26 PM
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But by those standards, California can't support humans. Enjoy your fruit and vegetables, but you might have some problems with protein, wheat, and water. Don't think you have coffee, either.

Under that restriction plenty of places are habitable. You think that they only became populated with the advent of the highway system? It's just that there's surely a middle ground between eating strawberries in December and having an orange be something you've only seen in picture books.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:27 PM
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My great-grandfather once held scurvy at bay during a freeze-in by brewing spruce-needle tea. It was so awful he never drank tea again.

Of course the sensible reaction would have been to move to California.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:28 PM
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FTR, 313 was a dig at Megan, not Sifu.

What, do they not have Turkish people where you live, KR?

No, we really don't. We do have lots of Armenians, though. They might have discreetly turned the tables on the perfidious Ottomans.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:28 PM
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In February, I pass sixty miles of winter wheat on my train ride between here and Oakland. It is usually the third crop a CA farmer gets per year. Not irrigated, either, and especially green and pretty. I don't know where it goes, though. I hear it is a "high durum wheat" that the Italians like for pasta. I don't think I eat local wheat now, but we certainly could.

Way north of Minnesota, there are vast tracts of land which have been inhabited (by people, though admittedly not by foodies) for some thousands of years.

Then they shouldn't need oranges against scurvy.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:28 PM
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But are the picture books made entirely with locally sourced materials?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:29 PM
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watching Etta James and Solomon Burke

So. Jealous. You. Suck.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:30 PM
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Possibly the most idiotic UF thread ever.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:30 PM
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331: but it isn't actually true that those places can't support humans, just like it isn't actually true that California -- absent massive investment from a large nation that needed the output -- could produce such a huge amount of food. It's not like the central valley was an agricultural miracle before the water got there, never mind the fuels used in farming. If every farm in California was denied fossil fuels and distantly sourced water, the state could probably support its historical population, which is to say not that many people. If you're making this argument on behalf of South Carolina, sure, maybe. But California farming is an artifact of the industrial age.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:30 PM
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313 definitely nuanced my understanding of the movement of goods, but I wouldn't call it a dig against Megan. After all, it presupposes that "the state consumes vast quantities of goods that have to be transported southbound", and Megan's arguing for self-sufficiency.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:31 PM
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A lot of the native peoples in the North weren't very healthy before contact. At least that what my (often rather racist) Grandad claimed.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:31 PM
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I read somewhere that the only mammals that can't synthesize their own vitamin C are simians and guinea pigs, but the internet tells me that bats, too, are in our scurvious cohort.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:32 PM
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A lot of the native peoples in the North weren't too healthy after contact, either, Grampa.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:33 PM
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Pretty much the only things we'd give up in CA are coffee, chocolate and vanilla. There is ample water, protein and capacity to grow grains. (We export meat now, and we're the second or third largest dairy producers in the country. Y'all aren't appreciating the scale out here.) Veggies, fruit and fiber, too.

KR - I caught that in 313, and started to think about some of the stuff my sister has told me about how containers move, but then I got distracted again.

Really though, you guys should stop worrying about California under my scheme and think about growing truck crops in the Plains. Seems to me like that should work fine.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:33 PM
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I only teach local math to local students.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:36 PM
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True that, Wrongshore.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:36 PM
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Ah, you already called him racist. I was just piling on. Sorry, Gramps, ya big honky.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:38 PM
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331: but it isn't actually true that those places can't support humans, just like it isn't actually true that California -- absent massive investment from a large nation that needed the output -- could produce such a huge amount of food. It's not like the central valley was an agricultural miracle before the water got there, never mind the fuels used in farming. If every farm in California was denied fossil fuels and distantly sourced water, the state could probably support its historical population, which is to say not that many people. If you're making this argument on behalf of South Carolina, sure, maybe. But California farming is an artifact of the industrial age.

S -T, You're just wrong. The Central Valley was incredibly productive when it was a seasonal marsh. Then, when early ag started, like, until the 40's, they had tons of artesianal wells and produced food for the country without the projects. Even middle ag, until the seventies or so, would just the federal projects along the 99 freeway is gravity fed water moving maybe a hundred miles or so (out to Modesto, from the Sierras). The Upper Sac Valley gets tons of water. The later ag - along the 5, is freakin' ridiculous. California could do fine for itself with just the Friant Division, or just the Sac Valley, or maybe even the coastal plains, which don't get inland waters much at all. Keep in mind, we feed about 120 million people now, and would be going down to 40 million.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:40 PM
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Certainly.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:40 PM
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Self-sufficiency for any arbitrarily defined political unit is a fool's errand. The argument Megan makes for California in 346 could be made equally powerfully for any number of California-sized chunks of the U.S.

Trade enriches, both in material and in qualitative terms. Autarky impoverishes.

If the current market system is producing ecologically nonsensical outcomes like shipping fruits halfway across the country for processing and halfway back again for consumption, that's a sign that transportation fuel is too cheap relative to its fully internalized cost, and nothing more.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:41 PM
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I'm off to garden. Back after dark...


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:42 PM
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Pretty much the only things we'd give up in CA are coffee, chocolate and vanilla. There is ample water

There is ample water in the state, but it's not where most of the people are. You've seen Chinatown, right?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:44 PM
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Some northern populations were healthy before contact, some weren't. It varied. Northern peoples got a lot of their vitamin C from fresh meat, it didn't need to be supersized. There are berries in the Northern territories, and native peoples and settlers used them.

Settlement on the Northern Plains, in both the US and Canada, was mostly enabled by the railroads. It brought supplies and carried away produce; the system of extensive, large-scale agriculture for cash—think Days of Heaven—were part of that way of life from the beginning. The First Nations and the Meti after them, who had lived there before, were nomadic.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:46 PM
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Megan is surely familiar with Mono Lake, and the other lake that wasn't saved from LA's depradations.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:47 PM
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KR, isn't the ability to actually have empty capacity on the backhaul also (probably) a result of having inaccurate pricing of the transpo costs?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:47 PM
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Now, Ben, you know that California is a natural class, and that all things obtaining to any part of California naturally obtain to the whole.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:49 PM
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The future, Ms. Fuchs!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:54 PM
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I try to eat foods that grow as locally to me as possible. Often I go for days eating only the lichens that grow on my knees and the tiny mites that live on my knuckles. Sometimes I forage in my keyboard for crumbs, but if I actually have leave my office to obtain food I consider myself a failure.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:55 PM
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Whatever, jms. I only eat my intestinal flora.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 8:59 PM
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Christ, Megan, your California chauvinism is embarrassing. Texans talk about the Alamo with more dignity.

I have nothing against foodies (and clearly the term "foodie" is an attempt to make food less pretentious). The circle of ideas around slow food, sustainable local agriculture, on the other hand, makes me crazy.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:00 PM
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||

Precedence on the "I'll do anything for love, but I won't Douthat" pun is mine. Evidence here. This is, I think, earliest, still-vestigial version, which I honed to perfection in succeeding posts.

The Nobel Prize for this belongs to me, not one of those other guys.

|>



Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:10 PM
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The former Owen's Lake.

Walt, my California chauvinism is more extreme than you see here, but I feel zero embarrassment for it. When I travel outside the state, I use my manners and tell people the beautiful things I notice about their states.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:34 PM
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Then they shouldn't need oranges against scurvy.

But I want oranges.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:34 PM
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Then you're a bad person.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:38 PM
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366 -> 364, though wanting oranges is also bad.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:39 PM
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I don't care. If I'm going to hell anyway, I'm eating some distantly grown food on the way.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:40 PM
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Which part makes me a bad person? The parochialism about California or the not regretting it? Or the having manners when I travel?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:42 PM
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Texans talk about the Alamo with more dignity.

No surprise there. It was the very apex of all human endeavor, after all.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:47 PM
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Which part makes me a bad person? The parochialism about California or the not regretting it?

Up in the PNW, we're ambivalent about that. We resent you for ignoring us, yet we prefer that you stay away.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:48 PM
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When I travel outside the state, I use my manners and tell people the beautiful things I notice about their states.

For instance, sucky parties.

(Yeah, yeah, DC isn't a state…)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:51 PM
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I was home again when I said that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:54 PM
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The parochialism about California puts you in a class with all the various other California parochials I've ever known, which is by and large not a good class to be in.

California is a very lucky state, but too many of the people there don't live up to it


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 9:56 PM
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||

Remember that thread about the gorilla video, where I debated Cala about whether it accurately represented the cognitive challanges in noticing motorcycles? Well, she was right, I was wrong, and she should be more careful driving.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:08 PM
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Well, when we choose who gets to stay and be part of the small population eating locally, I'll make sure that we keep all the California chauvinists here, where they can't bother the rest of y'all.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:09 PM
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What about the cognitive challanges involved in spelling?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:13 PM
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You'll pry my Venezuelan chocolate from my cold dead fingers, Megan.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:15 PM
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377: inherant to the iphone, ban.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:16 PM
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I'll gently close your eyes first, Ben.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:19 PM
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||

Sifu, how on earth do I email you? I can't find a link for contact info on your homepage.

|>


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:21 PM
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381: tfish, and if you'd like a domain try "whoomps", which is a dot-com. Or ask Ben.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:24 PM
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381-2: It's true, you could e-mail Sifu there, but he actually forwards all his e-mail to everyone that comments here, so you might as well just say it out in the open to save on e-transportation costs.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:28 PM
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I can't believe there's a domain called "whoomps." Sent.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:29 PM
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They grow pretty good apricots in British Columbia. Just in case anyone was wondering.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:32 PM
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I especially enjoyed 360-1.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-12-08 10:33 PM
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Really though, you guys should stop worrying about California under my scheme and think about growing truck crops in the Plains.

As soon as California ag interests let their congresscritters rewrite ag policy, we will.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:00 AM
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The California chauvinism makes you a bad person (parochialism is too kind). Woo-hoo, California is wonderful! It's not like you did much of anything to deserve such a wonderful place. They let anyone move there, you know. And the defensiveness, "oh, we Californians are going to take our perfectly round ball and go home where we won't bother you anymore. Here in utopia. Did I mention that I live in utopia."

I have literally nothing against California. I would live there gladly. But I would live any number of places gladly. But watching you emote how wonderful California is, and how by some alchemical transference that makes every single person who lives in California, including you, wonderful, is about as appealing as watching Charles Krauthammer or Sean Hannity do the same thing about America.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:05 AM
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Lettuce (or lettuce of some sort, anyway) was perhaps considered an exotic import to England during the time of Henry VIII:

I think that's right. But it was also grown in Britain by the Romans. Maybe the early Saxons just didn't like the stuff.

Whence this idea that citrus is the only source of vitamin C, anyway? It's a usefully concentrated source, sure, as any 18th century sea captain would tell you, apart from the Americans who thought it was more macho to put up with scurvy. But northern people have always got vitamin C from red fruit in summer and preserved stuff in winter. Why do you think they invented sauerkraut? I imagine the First Canadians had as much initiative as the First Germans.

(274. read signed off a week or so ago, saying she was going home and wouldn't have much internet. It wasn't clear if or when she planned to return.)


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:18 AM
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Why do you think they invented sauerkraut?

On account of all the brats they had?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:21 AM
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I'd just like to say that I sure hope someone thought that "Astrophysical Review O" was amusing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:22 AM
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What are you doing awake at this hour, Ben?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:37 AM
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I saw five shooting stars tonight! The moon was very bright, so the conditions weren't great for seeing the Perseid, but maybe the rest of you will stay up past moonset and have better luck than me. Still, five!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:44 AM
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388: And the defensiveness, "oh, we Californians are going to take our perfectly round ball frisbee and go home

otherwise, spot on.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:51 AM
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I try to practice the ethic of living locally.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:56 AM
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Garlic is not the specialized chi-chi crop that some people now seem to think it is: it used to be peasant food, back in the day when there were actual peasants.

Makes me think of the amusing foodie obsession with ramps. A friend's mom tells of growing up dirt poor in West Virginia, and the kids who were even poorer than her, like, no shoes poor, reeked of ramps most the time. That's what they ate, because that's what they could forage.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:02 AM
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96: I once was very glad to meet up with a family out gathering ramps In WV. A groundhog had chewed through several wires and hoses on our car (they are attracted to the salt) at a trailhead at a place called Otter Creek. No one else around, a very long walk to a town and a very lightly used road that ended just a couple of miles further up. Fortunately, a family gathering ramps came bumping down it (only car all evening it turned out) and gave one of us a ride into town.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:20 AM
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Maybe the early Saxons just didn't like the stuff.

Vikings do not eat salad.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:24 AM
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re: 398

Yeah, but what about the Saxons?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:38 AM
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What are you angling at ttaM?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:41 AM
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I'm just being pedantic about the Viking/Saxon distinction.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:43 AM
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Oh well. Like any other sentence, it just sounded a lot better with Vikings.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:45 AM
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You can grow truck crops anywhere. California dominates on the national market, probably because of lots of cheap labor (truck crops are labor intensive), a long growing season, and the fact that California itself is one of the biggest markets.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:45 AM
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Makes me think of the amusing foodie obsession with ramps. A friend's mom tells of growing up dirt poor in West Virginia, and the kids who were even poorer than her, like, no shoes poor, reeked of ramps most the time.

Oh, this is SO spot on. Ramps were a spring tonic to compensate for the vitamin-poor winter diet. Even today, eating ramps in WV is a form of nostalgic connection with the past or an expression of Mountain State identity more than an actual culinary preference.

My "WTF?" reaction to finding ramps on the menu of two chi-chi restaurants this year was even more extreme than when I moved back to this country after living abroad for a number of years and found that Krispy Kreme donuts had become a coveted delicacy.

I attended a pre-release sneak preview of John Sayles' Matewan in the WV state capitol complex. There's a subtle joke about ramps in one scene that brought the house down. I imagine it didn't even register with audiences in the rest of the world.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:53 AM
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Never heard of ramps before today. They sound fantastic. Want.

Garlic chi-chi? Makes no sense. I don't even understand how it's possible to market it that way.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:02 AM
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If salt can be frightfully chic chi, it should be easy for garlic.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:06 AM
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minus c plus hyphen


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:07 AM
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406. Point. We use more salt to clear the kitchen step when its icy than we do in cooking all year, so I'd forgotten that one.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:08 AM
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337: Huh. For the record, the Western Organization of Resource Councils says CA doesn't produce any wheat. Or at least, the fact sheet I looked at said that; I probably misunderstood.

Further research indicates that CA produces a whopping 2% of the national wheat harvest for their 12% of the population. So Megan is welcome to make 1/6 of her pies using wheat.

Anyway, the obvious point is that eating local != your diet is strictly limited to whatever is shipped less than 100 miles to your grocer. It's very odd to think that, because most grocery store strawberries are from CA, only CA people get to eat strawberries. Also, I think we all agree that Megan's CA-centrism is her least attractive trait; fortunately for her, no one around her is even aware that it exists.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:14 AM
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Is no one going to note that Sifu has implicitly confessed in 375 to running down a motorcyclist last night? He'll soon be off to his network of safehouses scattered across the country (but mostly Boston, NYC, DC, Minnesota, and the Bay Area). Extremely low-profile meetups, everybody.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:17 AM
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My bet is that slow food people don't really care much where their flour, pasta, corn meal, rice, etc. come from. There are culinary reasons for not wanting produce and fish to be shipped far, and probably for meat products too. Freshness, and the avoidance of vegetables bred for durability, and the avoidance of processing required for shipping and shelf life. But none of these factors hold for grains, AFAIK.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:24 AM
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way back before you people were born I knew someone who was talking about growing some super-duper exotic garlic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:25 AM
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My bet is that slow food people don't really care much where their flour, pasta, corn meal, rice, etc. come from.

It's arguably worse than that. I bet there is a lot of overlap between the consumers who fetishize fresh local produce and people who buy special Japanese sushi rice and Scandinavian crisp bread. I'll confess to belonging to the intersection of those sets.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:04 AM
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Thorsten Veblen wrote a whole book about this, but if we all work together we can probably reproduce about 7% of his insights without reading it. (but of course, doing it this way keeps our analysis of the leisure class local!)


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:15 AM
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Thorsten Veblen wrote a whole book about this, but if we all work together we can probably reproduce about 7% of his insights without reading it.

Speaking of Veblen and produce, in one of his papers, Veblen quotes an aphorism about strawberries that I love:

"Indeed... we may say as Dr. Boteler said of strawberries. 'Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God
never did.'"

Here is the extended dance mix of dsquared's comment in 414.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:45 AM
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Makes me think of the amusing foodie obsession with ramps.

I think the next normal vegetable up for breathless foodgasms is the beet, judging from all the articles about beets in the NYT. They're the new spinach, oh, they're delightful, and they're pink, etc.

One of my friends is from Italy and could not understand at all the trend of a simple tomato and mozzarella sandwich served in a pretentious restaurant. Her reaction would be like if I were to travel somewhere and find that they were serving peanut butter and jelly for $35.

It's very odd to think that, because most grocery store strawberries are from CA, only CA people get to eat strawberries.

Or that CA people would want to eat the hard-as-a-rock strawberries they ship out of the country. CA agriculture isn't designed for local consumption.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:46 AM
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Beets are fucking delicious. There are also those golden beet varietals, which I could see becoming sehr trendlich.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:51 AM
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416: wherever that peanut butter and jelly is, it probably uses this peanut butter.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:51 AM
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Yeah, it's totally beets. And last year I made a beet salad that was, indeed, awesome. But what a mess!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:52 AM
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Yeah, it's totally beets. And last year I made a beet salad that was, indeed, awesome. But what a mess!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:52 AM
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417: I don't care for them much, but there's nothing wrong with liking beets. There's something a little weird about acting like something my grandmother cooked is the second coming of hip, though.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:53 AM
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Is it polite or tiresome to apologize for double-posting? We all do it, we all know that the fault generally lies not with ourselves, but with the software, but still, it's human naturesocially imprinted to say, "Sorry."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:54 AM
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Why you dissing on your grandma like that, Cala?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:54 AM
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There's something a little weird about acting like something my grandmother cooked is the second coming of hip, though.

That's sort of how it works, y'know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:54 AM
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Her beets were pretty bad, JM.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:55 AM
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I think the next normal vegetable up for breathless foodgasms is the beet

Yesterday's news, Cala. By the time the NYT writes about it, the foodies are almost ready to move on to the next thing.

Personally, I love me some beets. My garden has produced a nice crop of them this year, and the attendees of the sw/pple suburban meetup can expect to be served some.

Re: the golden varieties. I wouldn't be surprised if they do become the new In Thing, but if they do, it won't be because they taste better.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:55 AM
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416. I'd bet a small amount of money on that. Beets were last year's foodgasm here, so next year you'll get them and we'll get ramps.

I've got a delicious recipe for beets with garlic and yoghurt, which should convert all but the most hostile. Maybe I'll post it somewhere.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:57 AM
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If the foodies next turn to corned beef and cabbage, then I really will start to question their taste.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:58 AM
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But, they'll have to corn their own beef.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:59 AM
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But, they'll have to corn their own beef.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:00 AM
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Sorry, my browser just went doolally.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:00 AM
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You know, if I made and sold these I would market them as something you could crumble over salad to de-boring it, and use the slogan "These beets are made for breaking!"

That's just me, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:01 AM
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Grandma probably boiled the beets (or maybe pickled them), while contemporary foodies prefer to roast them or eat them in raw slivers.

There's something about boiled beets that brings out an unpleasant flavor. Beetroot contains minute quantities of one of the chemicals that is associated with the distinctive odor of feces, and I wonder if it isn't made more prominent by boiling.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:04 AM
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433: more unorthodox preparations abound.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:07 AM
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Email sent, Knecht.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:07 AM
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Boiled beets served in soup form (aka borscht) is one of God's own foods.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:07 AM
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410: Um, yeah Tweety. Everyone's OK, right? You're not commenting while knee-deep in human-motorcycle shards?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:18 AM
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Garlic chi-chi? Makes no sense.

Using actual garlic rather than garlic salt used to be pretty unheard of in my part of the Midwest. Several years ago while visiting home, I bought garlic at the grocery store. The girl ringing it up looked it with puzzlement, and then rang it up as an onion. Had I not told her what it was, that would have been the cheapest bulb of garlic ever.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:19 AM
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human-motorcycle SB human/motorcycle, although the other way would be awesome.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:19 AM
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Oh! I'm afraid I'm to blame for 375.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:20 AM
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A human-motorcycle? Like a centaur but with motorcycle wheels? That shatters like crockery? Freaky, bro!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:22 AM
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440: You're Sifu's gorilla?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:23 AM
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What's wrong with parochialism? Pretty much everyone has some of it going on -- if you don't on some level believe your home is the best place on earth to live, you should move. Of course, California parochialism is factually mistaken, given the earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, and mountain lions, as well as the entire lack of being in NY, but that's forgivable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:23 AM
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Holy crap.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:23 AM
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Using actual garlic rather than garlic salt used to be pretty unheard of in my part of the Midwest.

Blume and I are apparently from a similar part of the Midwest. Except my tribe uses the pre-minced stuff, for which I've been roundly chided (botulism! death! no flavor!) 'round these parts before. I prefer buying whole cloves, but I confess to giving into the lazier angels of my nature from time to time.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:24 AM
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441: Freaky-awesome. I think shards can be composed of bits of metal or glass, as well. Don't know about human hybrid chunks, though.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:26 AM
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We had garlic salt, and I remember my mother using it, but we almost always had fresh garlic, too.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:27 AM
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And I'm assuming Sifu hasn't been killed in a motorcycle accident, because commenting would slow down under those circumstances. (And consist mostly of "Braaaaaains," no?)

But I certainly can't figure out what the story is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:28 AM
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442: I count her passes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:29 AM
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But I certainly can't figure out what the story is.

You don't want to know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:29 AM
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443: Uh oh. I'd stay out of Vegas, LB.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:31 AM
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411: Actually, I do try to buy staples that are locally produced by small producers where practical (no sushi rice growers in the upper Midwest). God, I'm obnoxious.

Like Knecht, I temper my localism with expensive ingredients from the back ass of beyond. Especially fish--the fish I usually buy (aside from the locally farmed trout) is invariably flown in. So, hypocrite here.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:33 AM
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What's wrong with parochialism?

Well, there's cheerful, self-aware parochialism, and then there's humorless parochialism of the form "the reasonable position here is that probably the rest of you should give up and die."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:34 AM
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453: quit being so mean to stras.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:34 AM
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BTW, LB: strawberry ice cream turned out delicious. Thanks!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:36 AM
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Well, there's cheerful, self-aware parochialism, and then there's humorless parochialism of the form "the reasonable position here is that probably the rest of you should give up and die."

Don't forget the defensive, trying-a-little-too-hard parochialism of those who secretly or subconsciously fear that their home is an armpit and/or a backwater. This phenomenon alone is probably worth 30-40 electoral votes for the GOP.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:38 AM
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456, if you hate West Virginia so much, stay away, we're doing fine without you.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:39 AM
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Well, we're doing as fine as we've ever done, anyway. What do you want from us?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:40 AM
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Don't forget the defensive, trying-a-little-too-hard parochialism of those who secretly or subconsciously fear that their home is an armpit and/or a backwater.

Oh, quite. I did forget!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:40 AM
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So, random thought here. Fossil fuel prices keep on going up, presumably. Does wind powered shipping come back at some point? Ship design has progressed to the point where I wouldn't be surprised if it were practical.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:40 AM
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I once witnessed a debate on an immigration forum between some pull-up-my-bootstraps guy from Kansas and some Chet from NJ, and the Kansas guy was seething when the NJ guy asked why if Kansas was so hardy and wonderful, they were accepting more money from the government than NJ. Lots of blustering.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:42 AM
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What's wrong with parochialism?

It's not the parochialism, it's the apparently sincere uncomprehension that anyone would choose to live elsewhere. The fact that, in this case, that's based largely on growing plants that all originated elsewhere is especially grating.

if you don't on some level believe your home is the best place on earth to live, you should move

As Calvin Trillin said, "Anybody who doesn't think that the best hamburger place in the world is in his home town is a sissy." Obviously, by "a sissy", he meant "to be deprecated," but I know he's right.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:43 AM
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See, unlike you benighted New Yorkers and Californians, I am a citizen of the world. Or at least the world's bars.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:43 AM
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460: people are working on it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:44 AM
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Since the dawn of time, big shots have yearned to destroy Kansas. We've managed to survive on luck, pluck and guile, and we like to say to know-it-alls, don't try to blunder around telling us what to do, just stay away and send us lots of money!


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:45 AM
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464 cont'd: I had an amazing book as a kid called something like "A Child's Guide To The Future" with an illustration of two navy destroyers lashed together like a catamaran, with huge sails above them. Why would this book be impossible to find on the internet? Stupid internet!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:46 AM
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Does wind powered shipping come back at some point?

Old News.

[Pretend that's a link to a story about container ships with sails. They exist, but I don't want to do the research nec. to avoid pwning]


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:46 AM
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464: I'd seen that before, but it's a kludge. I'm thinking giant cats, with those airfoil things rather than fabric sails, and engines only for maneuvering near port or really unfavorable weather.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:47 AM
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Fossil fuel prices keep on going up, presumably. Does wind powered shipping come back at some point? Ship design has progressed to the point where I wouldn't be surprised if it were practical.

There is at least one such vessel in commercial service (too lazy to find the link). It's a "hybrid" of sorts, because it's difficult to overcome the inertia of such a massive vessel at rest with windpower alone. I'm not sure how it's doing. There are, as you can imagine, some pretty significant engineering challenges involved.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:47 AM
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Exactly, Fatman.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:47 AM
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DAMMIT.

Here, too.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:47 AM
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people are working on it.

Wow, I am trying to combine that image with Joseph-Conrad-style terrible weather on the high seas, and boggling.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:48 AM
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460: The thing about current shipping is that it is ridiculously cheap. Big container ships are pretty efficient, much more so than pretty much any other transport link.

Flying live lobsters around won't be as attractive though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:48 AM
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See, unlike you benighted New Yorkers and Californians, I am a citizen of the world.

If I were stuck in Texas, I would be too.

(Hi Walt!)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:51 AM
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Flying live lobsters around won't be as attractive though.

genetically modified lobsters will fly by themselves.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:51 AM
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Garlic is not the specialized chi-chi crop that some people now seem to think it is: it used to be peasant food, back in the day when there were actual peasants.

I can't say I've ever seen garlic put as chi-chi, but for what it's worth lobster used to be the kind of thing you only ate if you couldn't afford not to.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:59 AM
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Big container ships are pretty efficient, much more so than pretty much any other transport link.

That's exactly right. In addition to the natural efficiency advantage of water transportation versus land (lower speeds, lower friction losses), merchant shipping benefits from the enormous carrying capacity of the vessels (both container and bulk shipping). In general, the importance of fuel economy to transportation costs increases with 1. smaller average load size; 2. higher velocity; 3. lower route density or higher route circuity; and 4. longer length of haul. Only the last factor disadvantages maritime transportation. In consequence, the incentives to improve efficiency in other modes are generally higher. FedEx's investment in hybrid delivery vans is a good example of this logic.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:00 AM
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468: there's this, from a couple years ago. Apparently not something they actually planned to build, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:04 AM
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Not sure exactly how it works, but the Thrust Fin seems another relevant development for maritime shipping.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:06 AM
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Speaking of water transport, I don't see why we (here in the UK anyway) can't make more practical use of canals.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:09 AM
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The thing about current shipping is that it is ridiculously cheap.

Although container ship costs have tripled recently, which really changes the equations. I just saw some numbers the other day, but now I can't recall what or where they were. Bottom line though is that a lot of current practices is predicated on virtually free container shipping, which makes things like shipping logs from Canada to China for milling and then shipping them back as finished products stop making sense, or at least stop being a slam-dunk.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:10 AM
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462: Too right.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:14 AM
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if you don't on some level believe your home is the best place on earth to live, you should move

That is a fucking insane thing to believe.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:19 AM
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274 and all: read's lab is moving, so she's going to be at home without Internet access for a couple of weeks. She did say that she might not come back once she gets to the new lab if her forced two week break from unfogged gets it out of her system.

Jesus is right about Whole Foods. It can suck it. He may not, sadly, be right about oysters. They are delicious, but I think that they may be over-fished in the U.S. (I think that the non-domestic farmed species does something actively bad in the UK. Or so the Food Programme said.)

Just so you all know, and I don't think that WF, is going to sue me for revealing corporate secrets, prepared foods is the biggest money maker in many of the urban stores; I think that it varies in some of the suburban ones. Their gross is often second only to grocery, and their margins are among the highest.

Produce has so much waste and spoilage that they don't make huge profits. Fish has pretty low margins, and they have to be very careful about ordering the right amount each day, because they throw out what they don't use. The volume of fish sold isn't that high compared to meat. Specialty (cheese and some other stuff) generally does quite well.

Most of the prepared foods are taken out of the case at night and put back in the next day--even the stuff at the salad bar. The vegetable sides at the BBQ are often days old. It's really gross, but it means that there's not a lot of waste.

Someone forwarded me an Economist article about Stop and Shop's plan to offer lower produce prices by reducing spoilage. One of my favorite lines in the piece was that Whole Foods refused to release its numbers, because they were "proprietary". First off, their inventory control systems aren't very good, so I bet that they don't even know what their numbers are. Second, I'm sure that they're absolute crap, and they'd be embarrassed to release them to the press if they knew.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:20 AM
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I think that they may be over-fished in the U.S.

Eat up, BG!

Now I crave oysters. I could eat a couple dozen this very moment. With Champagne. For breakfast.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:29 AM
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483: Why's that? I mean, a lot of idiosyncratic factors go into why one might think their location is better or worse than others (for example, I speak only English, that kinda limits my options in a substantial way), but why wouldn't one move if everything seems to just fit better somewhere else?

Offer invalid in case of large family or something else that would make moving a complete and utter pain in the ass. Barrier to entry (errr... exit) being higher than discounted future benefits, and all that.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:31 AM
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Speaking of water transport, I don't see why we (here in the UK anyway) can't make more practical use of canals.

Inland water transportation is inferior to modal alternatives with very limited exceptions. Canals (with the exception of interoceanic ones) became mostly obsolete after the advent of the railroad. Riverine transportation is even worse, because the routes are sometimes meandering (e.g. the lower Mississippi) or require costly dredging and locks to remain navigable (e.g. the Missouri). There are a few inland barge routes that would be economical in the absence of public subsidies (coal on the Ohio River is probably one), but they apply to a limited number of dense, low-value commodities.

What could be interesting is to drain some canals and use the rights of way for additional passenger rail corridors.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:32 AM
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re: 486

Come on, most people think that where they live is pretty nice or OK. That's enough.

Where you live is emphatically a satisficing rather than maximizing decision process.

A bit of mild parochialism is fine, most of us probably have some residual affection for where we grew up and for where we currently live, and it can even be amusing as a source of banter. But anything other than that, is just bullshit.

People seriously think where they live is the 'best'? Really? And that if it isn't totally the 'best' they should move?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:35 AM
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Canals (with the exception of interoceanic ones) became mostly obsolete after the advent of the railroad.

Well, I can see that they are slower. But cost per tonne?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:37 AM
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Speaking of water transport, I don't see why we (here in the UK anyway) can't make more practical use of canals.

Just the other night I met an English engineer who's been going back to England on holiday to work on some big canal restoration project. But I gathered that it was for cruising, rather than shipping, barges.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:38 AM
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This is going to be one of those disputes where we take three hundred comments to figure out that the thesis is either obviously false or trivially true, isn't it?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:41 AM
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491 gets it right.

Please, the original thesis was qualified by the phrase "on some level"! It meant nothing!


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:42 AM
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491: since the thread is technically already almost five hundred comments I feel like we'd have to do a lot more work to really iron out where the dispute began. Might be a little premature to start tossing out solid numbers like that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:43 AM
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Speaking of water transport, I don't see why we (here in the UK anyway) can't make more practical use of canals.

Plus you have modern lock-tech like the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:43 AM
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re: 491

Probably.

Psychologically, I think, all Brits just suspect that anyone using superlatives like 'best' about where they live is probably self-deluded, wrong, a dick, lying, or all four.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:43 AM
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re: 494

I'm from there, actually. The Wheel is in between the village I grew up in and Falkirk proper.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:44 AM
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Where I live is absolutely the best example of where I live in the world.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:45 AM
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"The opening had been delayed by a month due to flooding caused by vandals who forced open the Wheel's gates."

Luddites? Yobs? Or Nattargm himself?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:46 AM
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It must be so! I reveal my preference for where I live by living there!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:46 AM
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Kobe lives here!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:48 AM
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487: I doubt that most of that is true.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:48 AM
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re: 498

The area immediately near the Wheel is pretty tough. I'd imagine there's not shortage of yobs.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:49 AM
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Where you live is emphatically a satisficing rather than maximizing decision process.

But even in the case of satisficing, one is still looking for what seems to be best. Now, there's very imperfect information in this decision, and many of the attributes that make a certain place "best" are highly individual. That's why anyone claiming their home is best is a dick, since their definition of "best" means almost nothing to others.

Still, if I learned enough about another place that it seems definitively better than my current location, yeah, I'd probably move. Hell, I'm probably going to move in a few years to places I don't think I'll like quite as much mostly because I think it should be done.

Also, people will tend to like their own location due to endowment bias. People all think they have huge cocks what they already have is better.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:52 AM
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483: Oh, best for you, not best objectively.

I wasn't talking so much about coldblooded calculation of various factors making your home superior to all other environments, as referring to affection for your home place, which I think is a fairly normal, common human emotion. If you're not looking at the stuff you walk by every day on the way to work with at least a vaguely pleased, proprietorial sense that "Yes, that's the right way for a street to look," you're probably not happy there, and should think about moving.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:52 AM
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because they throw out what they don't use.

They could make fish stock—this would also use up some of the wilting veggies—and sell it.

According to Chris Onstad, who would know, the beet moment has already arrived and is looking for a supplanter.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:52 AM
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if you don't on some level believe your home is the best place on earth to live, you should move

I would guess it's far more often the other way round; if you can't move, then you will sooner or later find some level on which it is possible to believe that your home is the best place on earth to live.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:55 AM
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443 - Now, see, LB understands. When New Yorkers talk about how their city is the best place on earth, I don't even get a twinge. Yeah, sure, they think that. I don't have to tell them it isn't so, and I don't care. This is because I also contentedly believe that about my place. If you aren't insecure about this stuff, it doesn't get to you.

So far as "we're going to take all our food and go home and the rest of you can starve", I think:

No one should starve, but about 80% of people shouldn't exist. Like I said, I don't know how to get there and hope that it isn't painful. There should be fewer Californians too.

Grow your own food and like what you have. There are real environmental costs to California (like our salmon runs) to supplying food for half the country. I'd like to see those moved close to where people live, so they can make aware choices about them.

If you don't like what your region grows, you should either decide you like your region more than citrus and stop complaining, or you should move to a place that grows the food you want. I'm not nativist, I'd welcome you here and help you find an apartment and take you to market. If mangoes and bananas were that important to me, I'd move to Mexico.

Finally, Dsquared:

To my knowledge, you've made four or five direct comments about me over the course of my being here. Every one of them as been 180 degrees wrong, at least one of them readily checkable, which you blithely admitted you didn't do. You've arbitrarily created some antipathy towards me, based on a hugely incorrect model. I shouldn't care, because what's it to me if some stranger far away doesn't like his made-up construct of me? But your pot-shots do bug me.

So, please either: engage me directly and ask me whether your guesses are right or just don't say anything about me.

(Please don't defend your construct of me. I know personally the factual things you've attributed to me, and they've not once been accurate. I don't want to turn this into a back and forth argument about my character, although I'd be happy to do that by email (under my signature). I don't even like talking about me, and people would chime in in support or opposition and it would all be super annoying.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:55 AM
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re: 503

I think we are using satisficing differently here. I don't mean 'best given the bounds on the information I have' I mean 'good enough'. And I wouldn't set an amazingly high threshold on 'good enough' either.



Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:56 AM
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Although container ship costs have tripled recently, which really changes the equations.

It doesn't really. It's still ridiculously cheap at 3x (or 10x even). You're quite right that eventual shortage could change the viability of some things. On the other hand, because it's so cheap there hasn't really been much done on improving efficiency (this might be where LB's wind power comes in in the form of hybrids) which might get you 2x back or whatever.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:57 AM
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and furthermore, that believing that your home is the best place on earth to live would imply that you had reasonably good information about a wide variety of alternatives, and how would you get hold of that information if you were parochial?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:57 AM
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Megan has learned to troll.

Remember the straightforward, wholesome Californian girl we taunted a year ago? That person no longer exists. Megan has become a hardened internet warrior.

She should be offering pastries, I think.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:00 AM
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Qualifying, like LB, "best place for me".


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:01 AM
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and furthermore, that believing that your home is the best place on earth to live would imply that you had reasonably good information about a wide variety of alternatives, and how would you get hold of that information if you were parochial?

Wouldn't imply that, I don't think. You can believe something without also believing that you have sufficient information to know that it is the case. I'm perfectly happy with my ill-founded belief, based on parochial ignorance, that NY is the best place in the world to live, and would be less happy with a more skeptical attitude toward it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:02 AM
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Feeling a little proud, Emerson? You had a role in that. Also, those are my sincere beliefs.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:03 AM
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FWIW, Megan, your versions of localism is wildly impractical and I can't see any kind of philosophical justification for it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:03 AM
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There are real environmental costs to California

Very true.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:04 AM
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510 brings up a good point: There are vast numbers of people who feel some sort of warm fuzzy for the place they live, and would rate it highly, but do so based on almost complete ignorance. I'm sure this is much like the characteristic of thinking of your own countries legal/political/whatever system as being the `right' one, which is all good and fine as a matter of comfort but really stupid if it slips toward jingoism. This sort of thing can lead to frustrating conversations based on deeply asymmetric information. Just because beliefs are strongly held doesn't mean they are defensible.

yet another 1st world problem thread.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:05 AM
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and furthermore, that believing that your home is the best place on earth to live would imply that you had reasonably good information about a wide variety of alternatives, and how would you get hold of that information if you were parochial?

Also, you could know things to be the case, like "I really love large sandy beaches next to oak foothills", or "I really love very dense English-speaking metropolises surrounded by water". Then there would probably only be a handful of places to investigate, which is a reasonable comparison to make.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:05 AM
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I must say, if you reduce the population of anywhere by 80%, well, yeah, it's a lot easier to sustain that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:05 AM
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Megan, your versions of localism is wildly impractical and I can't see any kind of philosophical justification for it

Heh. There's something in Orwell's wartime essays about the available diet that can be produced in the British Isles without relying on imports, consisting primarily of herring, oatmeal, and apples. Not that there's anything wrong with that as a diet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:06 AM
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515 - OK. Impractical doesn't stop me much.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:06 AM
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Well, I can see that they are slower. But cost per tonne?

Cost per ton-mile on the linehaul segment does tend to be quite a bit lower (often artificially lower, because of subsidies for locks and dredging, but that's another matter). There are, however, three very important countervailing factors:

1. Time in transit comes at a price. Take, for example, a container full of microwave ovens worth $100,000 wholesale (it would be more compelling if I said flat screen TV's, but microwaves are closer to the average value/ton of containerized merchandise). Every additional day in transit costs something $20-30 in capital cost, another $6-15 in equipment rental, a buck or so in contents insurance, and some additional amount in obsolescence loss (spoilage, price decline, missed market opportunity, etc.).

2. Linehaul costs aren't everything; modal transfers are costly. In most cases, the end customer isn't consuming the product right at the wharf. So you need to transload to another mode of tranportation, which means investment in loading facililities, additional operating cost, and probably additional time in transit. Add all this together and it's easy to eat into the cost advantage on linehaul, especially for short hauls (and almost every origin & destination pair in the UK is a short haul under the relevant definition)

3. Canals have limited reach. When you have a dynamic supply chain, you need the flexibility to connect numerous origins with numerous destinations. Road transport can obviously do this, and to a lesser extend rail transport has the advantage of interconnectedness. Water transportation obviously doesn't have the flexibility of road transport, but it also doesn't have the equivalent of the "classification yard" in the rail business that enables hub & spoke economics.

The bottom line is that inland transportatation is viable only for freight flows with specific characteristics:
- low value per weight
- long haul
- high volume on specific lanes
- predictable demand over many years (to justify building the loading and unloading infrastructure)

Typical examples are bulk commodities such as coal, fertilizer, ores, some grains, and some finished metals. "Container on a barge" proposals abound, but they are rarely economical.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:06 AM
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519: It looks like that's approximately what we're looking at though, long term, absent technological developments that aren't even on the horizon at them moment. I doubt it'll change the population of California by anything like that much though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:07 AM
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523: well, that depends on whether the Sierras lose their snowpack, probably.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:08 AM
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re: 513

I just don't understand that. Maybe it really is a US versus the world attitude.

How could someone be happy believing something to be the best, in the certain knowledge they didn't have the requisite information on which to found that belief?

It seems ... irrational.

And, as I said above, I'm inclined to view the use of superlatives in that way as ... suspect.

I think most Brits think that most things about themselves, the people they know, and the places they live are potentially a bit shit. And people who think 'woo! woo! awesome!' type thoughts are ... possibly a bit daft in the head.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:08 AM
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You can believe something without also believing that you have sufficient information to know that it is the case.

but this sort of belief wouldn't form grounds for believing that you had a sound basis for gainsaying anyone else's similar claim about where they live, which I think is what ttaM and everyone else are talking about?

I think that the irritating thing about parochialism is that, unless one's very careful, it slips back and forth from "I live here because it's the greatest place on earth" to "It's the greatest place on earth because I live there".

(if I was in argumentative mood, I'd say that there was also a qualitative difference between being parochial about a socially and ethnically mixed, cosmopolitan city, and being parochial about a place full of middle class Caucasians and the things they like, but I suspect that this would simply shade into my own North London campanilismo, which I'm sure is no more attractive than anyone else's)


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:09 AM
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You can believe something without also believing that you have sufficient information to know that it is the case.

3 billion monotheists can't be wrong. Unless they are.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:11 AM
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I think most Brits think that most things about themselves, the people they know, and the places they live are potentially a bit shit. And people who think 'woo! woo! awesome!' type thoughts are ... possibly a bit daft in the head.

I mean, California is great, if you can ignore the fact that it's totally not a sustainable place for large population centers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:11 AM
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515 - I'm out of my depth, talking about philosophical justifications here. But to me it starts at the bottom, with the physical conditions I see around me. I want my rivers to look like this, and I want my farms to look like this, and I want the workers to look like this, and you do that enough and the end result starts to get real constrained. The only outcome I can see that satisfies the physical conditions I want and also has a high quality of living for the people is the one I described. Few people, living regionally.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:11 AM
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I want the workers to look like this

Mexican?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:12 AM
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I went to college in a school that was about 50% California or New York chauvinists, and they were very tiresome. As here, they tended to join forces rather than to fight one another.

Problems:

1. Indifference to and ignorance of other places.
2. Dependency, and whininess when separated from their urban teat.
3. Contact superiority -- the belief that if you were once in the same room with Very Famous Person X, that somehow you have achieved something.
4. Overvaluing the local product while maintaining ignorance of external products. For example, during the high hippie days the most famous hippie bands were (unsurprisingly) San Francisco bands, but they really weren't that great and haven't worn well. (Quicksilver, Country Joe, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin: footnotes. Grateful Dead: annoying cult).

I especially remember trying to tel someone that Paul Butterfield did certain Dead specialties earlier and better than the Grateful Dead. They found that just unimaginable.

For me, Portland is the most comfortable place, with many good points, but not a world-class city. On the other hand, it lacks the unpleasantnesses of most world-class cities.

Wobegon is basically a schtick. If you weren't born here, you probably don't want to be here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:12 AM
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re: 520

That's actually total crap, of course. Most of Britain is positively cornucopian in its agricultural potential. There's very little that can't be grown here except for a very small amount of tropical fruit, pretty much.



Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:12 AM
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533

It seems ... irrational.

It is irrational. Lots of irrational beliefs make people happy, in some sense (cf religion). It only makes you look really stupid of you try and argue it against a belief based on more knowledge.

Some of it is definitely cultural though. Lot's of people like to believe their way of doing things is best. The US culturally raises this to a high art, even in the face of contradictory evidence (I mean in particular instances). For many people here, it seems to be held as almost tautological. Some other places I've been (e.g UK as ttaM notes) are far more likely to be cynical about it


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:13 AM
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Yeah the UK is actually probably a better agricultural bet than most of the US; this will change if the gulf stream moves.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:13 AM
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New Yorkers tend to embrace the "I live in the best place in the world" mindset as a defense against all the shitty things about living here.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:14 AM
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Be it said that 529 has the most profoundly totalitarian implications of anything I've ever read on this site.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:14 AM
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524: point. But even so the human costs, as usual, will mostly be borne elsewhere.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:15 AM
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536: happily, Megan has thus far not been appointed our ostensibly benevolent overlord.

535: same with Californians, really. The good things and the shitty things are different, but the impulse is the same.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:15 AM
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I want the workers to look like this

Mexican?

Y muy guapo.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:16 AM
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btw 507: To my knowledge, you've made four or five direct comments about me over the course of my being here.

not being funny here, but have I really? Since I shudder to think how many hundreds of comments I've made in total, you'll perhaps understand that these comments might have loomed larger in your life than mine. If I've pissed you off five times then sorry, five times[1], but I honestly don't really know what you're talking about.

[1] Apology perhaps attenuated a bit by the fact that if post 507 is anything to go by, you might have deserved it on some of those occasions.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:16 AM
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It seems ... irrational.

I read this as being said in a Spock voice.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:17 AM
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537: well, right. Luckily there's plenty of other states (and one Mexico) for California to get water from!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:17 AM
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want my rivers to look like this, and I want my farms to look like this

They aren't actually your rivers or farms, though.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:17 AM
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i>Be it said that 529 has the most profoundly totalitarian implications of anything I've ever read on this site.

Yeah, the physical world is a bitch like that. Physics never bends her rules.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:17 AM
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actually probably a better agricultural bet than most of the US;

probably? It's not even a close contest. Much of the US is pretty marginal by comparison. Like in every other aspect, it's main strength geologically speaking is being big enough to have lots of pockets of different stuff.

The UK has been famously productive for ages. Why do you think it's so damn green in most of it.

You're right that a stalling gulf stream would shake things up. Here as well as there though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:18 AM
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If you're not looking at the stuff you walk by every day on the way to work with at least a vaguely pleased, proprietorial sense that "Yes, that's the right way for a street to look," you're probably not happy there, and should think about moving.

I pretty much agree with this. Or at least I do right now, not having read further.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:18 AM
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re: 534

Yeah, if the Gulf Stream moves, we're screwed. But, absent that, the UK is pretty damn great in terms of range of produce that can be grown, potential yields, fisheries, etc.

I can see a case being made for minimizing transport costs, for reducing or eliminating reliance on fossil fuels, bringing processing closer to home where possible, etc. Those are all sensible pragmatic measures. But the 'if it doesn't grow within $foo miles of where you live, you can't have it' point of view is just stupid.

Sometimes, for example, there are going to be efficiencies that work the other way. Where it's less labour intensive and less resource intensive to produce product X somewhere else and move it. That's likely to remain the case even in a world with drastically curbed energy expenditure.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:18 AM
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OneFatEnglishman never read the post with the picture of my colon attached. True totalitarianism is me sitting on your face, forever.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:19 AM
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Maybe it really is a US versus the world attitude.

Maybe an NYC versus the world attitude. Like Emerson, I find Portland very agreeable; it beats NYC in many respects. But it can also be really irritating, partly because of Portlanders' parochialism, pathological avoidance of confrontation and infuriatingly poor driving skills.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:20 AM
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547: no! Any kind of motion of any kind is deprecated! In the brave sustainable future we will all stand stock still and gain our nourishment from photosynthesis!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:20 AM
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I want my rivers to look like this, and I want my farms to look like this, and I want the workers to look like this

but unless you have some basis for these arbitrary preferences, and your decision is based on actual information, then this is simply campanilismo. Even if you do, you are perhaps underestimating how profoundly offensive people find it to be told that the way in which they have chosen to live their life is wrong.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:20 AM
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The UK has been famously productive for ages. Why do you think it's so damn green in most of it.

Yeah, it looks the way it does [even the superficially wild bits] because it's been under continuous cultivation for thousands of years.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:21 AM
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547: Right, the point is about reduced energy expenditure, not localization per se. And we should use every available technological trick we can, within those bounds. It's true that constrained energy supplies will imply a certain degree of localization, but long distance transport of non-perishables (or reasonably non-perishable, remember the spice routes?) will still make sense in a lot of cases, etc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:22 AM
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544. wtf has physics got to do with anything under discussion?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:23 AM
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552: Exactly. Mostly growing up in a place that's still mostly unihabited, and hardly had a settlement worth the name for 150 years, it was always astonishing for me as a kid wandering around the UK and seeing the imprints of long-scale habitation all around me. Even the `wild bits', as you note, were positively tame in comparison.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:26 AM
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552: there is actually a campaign in Devon to reforest Dartmoor (apparently it was a forest right up until one of the Henrys decided he'd rather have a navy than a forest. These were the days when if you couldn't grow grapes locally, you went out and conquered France)


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:26 AM
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554: I think she's inferring the results of energy constraints, but I could be wrong,


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:26 AM
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infuriatingly poor driving skills.

What are you talking about, Jesus? I haven't been in Portland, Oregon for about seven years, but the drivers never struck me as bad. They seemed quite polite, really. Of course, my baseline is Boston drivers who are known to be terrible.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:28 AM
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540 - I do understand that they were a bigger deal to me than to you, and if your comments about me had varied, I'd be all "eh, sometimes I piss him off, whatever". But they've had the same format - pissy comment about me, based on something completely made up. If it isn't the case that you have some weird constructed image of me (and I am completely happy to believe you damn near never think of me at all), then you are remarkably consistent. At any rate, qualified apology mostly accepted, and then please ask next time you have an opinion to offer on me. I'll tell you if you're right.

543 - The rivers are about one-twenty-six millionth mine. But I'd be happy for a collective vision of how we want them to look. The farms I think we'd have to buy off with higher produce prices if we want them to look like my ideals.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:28 AM
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re: 556

Yeah, there are similar reforestation plans all over bits of Scotland, which were cleared for sheep and have largely been kept clear by the fucking parasitic deer that infest the place.

This is also why some people want wolves back. I know someone who claims they've already reintroduced on some fenced off land. Whether that's true or not, I don't know.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:30 AM
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Fondness for a particular place is personal. I like Wobegon, but in order to like this place you have to have a fondness for marshes and their flora and fauna, and an indifference to mosquitos.

Then again, "my place is better than yours" is juvenile.

And there are certain objective superiorities found, for example, in world cities. Along with which come objective deficiencies. One of the things I don't like about NYC is that with my skill set and financial condition, I'd almost certainly end up in one of the less fun, more unpleasant parts of NYC, and would be better off elsewhere. Same for most of California. The best places have most of the absolutely-best niches, but that also have a much larger number of crappy niches.

What we're mostly bitching about is the indifference of world-class people to everywhere else.

Wobegon does have one world class place, an arboretum full of exotic plants that one man spent 50+ years of his life developing. If it were in California it would be famous. If I brought a Californian there, they'd explain that they have a better place in California, but they might be wrong.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:30 AM
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When NYC secedes from you ungrateful fucks, we're taking Law & Order with us. Do you hear me? NO MORE LAW & ORDER.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:31 AM
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Do you hear me? NO MORE LAW & ORDER.

Where do I sign?!?!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:33 AM
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559: Since I have no fucking idea who you are, it will be impossible to comply with that request.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:34 AM
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557. Ah. Well that's easy then. Just build a gigawatt PWR upwind of Sacramento. Energy problems solved for the region for 25 years and plenty of scope for high energy physics.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:34 AM
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562: And that is a problem how?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:34 AM
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Just last night I ran into the local actress who has played a bit role in "Law and Order". She's a classically blonde, wholesome Suzy Creamcheese type like B. She says that she feels fine out on the streets of in Spanish Harlem during the daytime and has lots of friends there, but that after dark things get hairier.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:35 AM
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actually an independent New York, while potentially a good idea (I for one would be in favour of it being fast-tracked for EU accession), would certainly be economically dependent on trade in services, so I daresay it would continue to export "Law and Order" (the TV series that is, I'm not sure you can export law and order).


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:36 AM
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but unless you have some basis for these arbitrary preferences, and your decision is based on actual information, then this is simply campanilismo. Even if you do, you are perhaps underestimating how profoundly offensive people find it to be told that the way in which they have chosen to live their life is wrong.

and

544. wtf has physics got to do with anything under discussion?

Because I just said I get to where I'm going by starting to look at the physical world. The stuff about groundwater depletion and aquifer subsidence and water quality (temperature and chemical) and sediment transfer and salt build-up in soils and changing snowpacks and soil depletions and the capacity of the atmosphere to absorb greenhouse gases is the stuff I work with and worry about every day. That shit is inexorable, and the only choice is whether to pay in large-scale perturbations, or to pay in small constant payments. I haven't come to a better conclusion than the one I outlined.

And, yeah, it is annoying to be told that the way you've chosen to live your life is wrong, but it is also really annoying to know that you personally will pay to remedy the damages caused by other people's choices. Someone is going to be annoyed.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:37 AM
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Also, you could know things to be the case, like "I really love large sandy beaches next to oak foothills", or "I really love very dense English-speaking metropolises surrounded by water". Then there would probably only be a handful of places to investigate, which is a reasonable comparison to make.

See—that's parochialism. Maybe you'd like other things more, if you gave them a chance! (This isn't really realistic, but it does suggest why modesty might be appropriate.) You like all those things enough not to want to find out what other things you might also like, and may even find it inconceivable that you'd come to prefer other things, but you could change.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:37 AM
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525, 526: Hrm. Maybe you guys are simply immune to the parochial impulse. Really, all I'm talking about is my sense that my city is the best place in the world, in very much the same way that my children are the most delightful and appealing in the world. Both emotions are irrational, and both can easily lead to behaving like a shithead, which tendency should be avoided.

But if you don't have some impulse to believe that your own kids are extraordinarily wonderful in some way, there's something peculiar about your relationship to them, and if you don't have some recognizable such feeling about your home town, I'd tend to think that there's a good chance you'd be happier elsewhere.

(And my apologies for the Orwell thing. Who says he knew anything about British agriculture. I just thought it was funny in context.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:37 AM
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the TV series that is, I'm not sure you can export law and order

Even if you could, I hear that while things are better their is hardly a surplus.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:37 AM
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552 & 556: Let me recommend a wonderful book to reinforce this impression to the point, in me anyway, of awe: The Pattern Under the Plough, by George Ewart Evans. A study of the folklife of East Anglia, showing its continuity from pagan times.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:38 AM
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Megan, seriously, how do you propose to deal with resources other than food?

Iron? Coal? Hydrocarbons?

There are lots of things that either aren't or can't be produced in California. What happens there? You don't use 'em? Or what?

There's no possible model for our future economy that isn't going to involve the transport of raw materials and that is going to mean people living where the raw materials are which may, of course, mean transporting food to them. Apart from various strains of hippy-fascist green primitivism the extreme localist model goes nowhere.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:38 AM
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573 sounds interesting.

Why is it that in America we eat Sardines and not herring? The northern European immigrants came here first, after all.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:39 AM
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I want my rivers to look like this, and I want my farms to look like this, and I want the workers to look like this

Megan, I don't know your background, but have you ever lived anywhere else? I just can't imagine saying something like this. The rivers and farms in Missouri look a lot different than the rivers and farms in northern Germany, but it wouldn't occur to me to pick one of those two and say, yes, this is how I want the river to look. It looks the way it does where you are.

On preview, what Ben said.



Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:40 AM
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Really, all I'm talking about is my sense that my city is the best place in the world

I've found this to be quite easily solved by living different places. Which may included (my current location excluded) feelings of `oh, I'm happier here' but also pretty universally points out things that the new place does well or poorly relative to previous ones.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:41 AM
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Megan, seriously, how do you propose to deal with resources other than food?

Offshore drilling!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:41 AM
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559: Since I have no fucking idea who you are, it will be impossible to comply with that request.

Then how about the other option, where if they are discussing someone named Megan, you just don't say anything? Because you don't have any fucking idea who I am, and I happen to know the few times you've said something, they've been both mean and wrong.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:41 AM
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558: Boston drivers are insane but seem to know what they're doing (trying to kill you, for example). Portland drivers tend to be clueless and/or passive-aggressive; the "slower traffic keep right" concept is utterly foreign to people here, and they get in a snit if you try to merge the right way.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:42 AM
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This land is your land. This land is my land.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:42 AM
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OK, I still agree with what I quoted in 546.

I'd say further to Megan's "I want my rivers and farms to look like this" that - totalitarian implications aside - I totally get landscape loyalty - I find the farmlands and forests of the Northeast to be far lovelier than the landscape of any other region (western Austria, which is similar but more mountainous, also warms my heart). That's part of why I'd never live anywhere else. I don't think the extent to which our regional attachments are aesthetic and thus de gustibus should be underestimated.

I must say that there's a sort of unthinking parochialism to Californians, Texans, and, to an extent*, New Yorkers that is offputting in a way that the self-aware, self-doubting parochialism of the Rustbelt, the Great Plains, and maybe the South** is not. For most people, it's "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home." For people on the former list, it's just the second part of the sampler phrase.

* NYC is complicated by all the immigrants; I don't know whether natives are more parochial (in this way) than the Americans who move to NYC as adults. Does the carpenter from Queens bray about "greatest city on earth," or does he gripe about the grime and the noise, but he still wouldn't live anywhere else?

** Setting aside nauseating "Southern Heritage," I get the sense that most Southerners recognize their region's shortcomings in a way that, say, Texans don't. But I could certainly be wrong.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:42 AM
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Really, all I'm talking about is my sense that my city is the best place in the world, in very much the same way that my children are the most delightful and appealing in the world. Both emotions are irrational, and both can easily lead to behaving like a shithead bore, which tendency should be avoided.

Otherwise, spot on. The analogy with parental love is exact - it's fine in itself, but not something that should survive the inner censor.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:42 AM
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re: 573

I've mentioned before, the sense of continuity I grew up with. In the fields near where we played as kids were Roman forts, Bronze Age and Iron Age celtic monuments (and Brochs), castles from the middle ages running right through to the 18th century, etc, Field boundaries probably went back hundreds or even thousands of years.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:42 AM
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Here in Wobegon we eat both. We eat pickled herring, though, not the nasty dry salted herring that they have in Germany and maybe Britain.

Pickled herring is God's perfect food. Sweet sour spicy fish, with a nice texture and not fishy in the bad sense. It meets all important flavor needs.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:42 AM
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Maybe you guys are simply immune to the parochial impulse.

Does this parochial impulse maybe have something to do with still living around the same place you grew up? LB, you grew up around NYC, didn't you?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:43 AM
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549: Nah, Chicago's got some solid parochialism going for the city. People who grew up or have lived in the city for years, it's kind of in the blood.

551: It's certainly impossible to say that one is living in the best place without having tried the other options, but it's not difficult to get a feeling for it over time. You've got your own travels and experiences living elsewhere, which can give you a good sense of what are dealbreakers or particular niceties in a location (I can't stand long periods without sunlight and really need a place to be navigable by mass transit and walking/biking, for example). You've also got your own parents' and close friends' experiences, which are presumably useful inputs given your knowledge of those people's preferences and probably even largely shared preferences. Then there are just the hard realities of things like jobs. As a mathy finance guy, I am just plain limited to certain cities where those jobs are, or I'd have to find a place so wonderful it's worth a massive fucking pay cut and a new career. These things help limit the pool substantially, and next thing you know, you're only looking at a handful of possibilities for "Best Place For Me".

P.S. Most NorCal folks should consider that Sydney has equally nice weather, a city as big or bigger than San Francisco, just as many Asians, actual blackcurrant products, and 6+ weeks of government-mandated vacation. Bam. (It's on my "handful of possiblities" list, natch)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:43 AM
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if you don't have some recognizable such feeling about your home town, I'd tend to think that there's a good chance you'd be happier elsewhere.

I find this incomprehensible at every level. I've lived (excluding brief sojourns or a year or less) in 5 different cities in my life, and boy do I mean different! With one exception, I've been contented in all of them. Do I have to choose a favourite? No thanks.

And the territory between contentment and boosterism is vast.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:45 AM
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580: you can substitute the vast majority of US drivers for Portland there, ime.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:45 AM
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I don't know whether natives are more parochial (in this way) than the Americans who move to NYC as adults.

As a native, I'd say we're more sincerely parochial. People who move to NY as adults (not all of them, but lots) get all annoyingly 'greatest city in the world' about it, but aren't actually fond of the place. They move out as soon as they have kids, and then keep talking about how much they love it but it's just not practical to live there, what with the noise and the dirt and the difficulty parking. Those people annoy me.

The natives don't think of the noise and the dirt and the difficulty parking as hardships, or if they do, they should move.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:46 AM
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Where you live is emphatically a satisficing rather than maximizing decision process.

Especially if one wants to be happy. No part of the planet is perfect.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:46 AM
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re: 579

People respond to individual blog comments. Sometimes people say intemperate or sarcastic things. That's sort of how blogs work.

The blog comment model isn't one in which people are supposed to fact check with the person whose comments they are responding to, or where people can't comment unless they already have extensive prior knowledge of the commenter whose comment they are responding to.

If someone says something totally wrong about me, or which I think is bullshit or unfair, I'll tell them to fuck off or call them on the content. But I sure as shit wouldn't expect them not to comment at all until they were absolutely certain it wasn't going to offend me, or until they'd absorbed all my past 'work'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:46 AM
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588 is right.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:47 AM
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Blume -By what a river should look like, I mean stuff like year-round hydrograph, and water temperature, and extent of floodplain, and well-being of native species. I'm comparing a healthy Californian river to an unhealthy Californian river. I have no opinions about how rivers should look elsewhere and don't want to re-make rivers in some different image.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:48 AM
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LB is one of the brutish locals who drives people ways from New York, sort of the way the Snopeses and Bubbas have succeeded in keeping The South mostly to themselves. Well played, Breath clan!

Texas chauvinism is especially annoying because much of the place is an objective shithole.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:49 AM
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Then I guess I understand it even less.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:49 AM
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Maybe you guys are simply immune to the parochial impulse.

Well, of course they are. Those poor fuckers have to live on Great Britain. Occam's Razor suggests there's a single very simple reason for sentiments like this:

"I think most Brits think that most things about themselves, the people they know, and the places they live are potentially a bit shit."

(I kid because I love. I'd probably have stayed if London weren't so damned expensive and the winters actually had any sunlight.)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:49 AM
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As a native, I'd say we're more sincerely parochial.

In my experience, true natives of any city are best ignored for any comparative purposes, because they tend (obviously not exclusively) to not know what the hell they are talking about. They are, however, great sources of localized information.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:50 AM
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I second soup biscuit in 577 and Blume in 586. "What know they of England, who only England know?"


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:52 AM
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589: The bad things about Portland drivers aren't unique to Portland, sure. They're just turned up to 11 here. Plus, the excessive politeness makes 4-way stops excruciating. It's like Dr. Seuss's story of the Zax.

For all that I hate about LA, I admire Angelenos' driving skills.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:52 AM
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592 - Dsquared doesn't comment on the content of my comments, he comments on my character. I'd give leeway for that if I thought he knew me, or if he were right sometimes. I am, after two years of this, telling him to fuck-off, or calling him on the content.

I wouldn't even care if it offended me, as long as it were accurate. Notice how I didn't get the least miffed at Walt Someguy for calling me a bad person for being parochial. I am parochial, so I don't care.

Look, from now on, he's had notice that he's wrong about me. Since he knows that now, I'm asking him to check with me (since this seems to come up once every seven or eight months, this isn't much of a burden) or not offer opinions about me. This doesn't seem like a huge chilling effect.

He could also ignore that, in which case, nothing would happen.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:55 AM
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Pickled herring is God's perfect food. Sweet sour spicy fish, with a nice texture and not fishy in the bad sense. It meets all important flavor needs.

Not to mention one of Iris' more reliable foods. Warms my heart, it does.

John, do you find the cream herring to be an abomination, or merely heretical?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:57 AM
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Texas chauvinism is especially annoying because much of the place is an objective shithole.

Comity!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:58 AM
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re: 601

I struggle to even find the comment he made that's made you get all affronted.

In this thread? Where?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:58 AM
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For all that I hate about LA, I admire Angelenos' driving skills.

Driving in LA was one of the scariest experiences of my life. In Boston, you're likely enough to get into an accident, but it'll be at a relatively slow speed. If you signal that you're going to change lanes and speed up to do it, the person behind you decides to speed up to prevent you from doing it. Doing this at 85 plus miles per hour is a lot scarier to me.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:58 AM
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Blume, the chain doesn't make sense? I want my California rivers not to get too hot, because our fish require really cold water to breathe. This means that farmwaters can't drain directly into them. This means that farms can't over-irrigate, or that we need marshes between farms and rivers. It also means that we can't divert too much water, because the water left in rivers heats more rapidly. This means fewer farms.

You start following those chains back from enough directions and what is left gets pretty clear.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:59 AM
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I'll have cream herring from time to time, but it's just a change of pace. Iris is certain to grow up to be a wonderful person.

At age 6 one of my nieces ate sushi the way other kids ate french fries. Though not as often.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:59 AM
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588, 593: I'll put you two down in the 'immune from the parochial impulse' column, then.

583: not something that should survive the inner censor.

Well, in the case of parochialism rather than parental love, I don't see giving people friendly shit about it (that is, about the superiority of my home as opposed to everyone else's) as a major social problem. For one thing, it seems to get under lots of people's skins very nicely, which is always a plus for that kind of thing.

And just like parental love, while it can be used to behave badly or boringly, there's some value to it. I want the people running NY to have some version of my feeling about it -- a particularized affection for its individual qualities. It seems productive in terms of understanding what works well and badly about the functioning of the city, and in working with the individual nature of the place to improve things there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:01 AM
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606: Well, that's just a rationale for fewer people to live in your region, not for your region to be considered the best.

If that's how you intended the comment, that's fine, but it's a bit mystifying in a thread where everyone else is talking about local boosterism and parochialism.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:03 AM
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re: 608

There's a big gulf between having an affection for the place you live or the place you are from and thinking it's the best.

There's loads of stuff I really like about Scotland, Glasgow in particular, I really rate as a place to live and I have a huge amount of affection for it. But 'best'? I'd never say that except in the course of a bit of bullshitting with someone Londoncentric.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:04 AM
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608. I suspect spending most of your childhood in one place may be very boringinfluential in creating attitudes like this.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:04 AM
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Megan, I think I was confusing your explanation of your localism with your preference for where to practice it.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:04 AM
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Oh. I can see how those got confused. I was talking about using the constraints of the physical world to justify my vision, in response to Ttam in 515.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:06 AM
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You start following those chains back from enough directions and what is left gets pretty clear.

North Carolina!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:07 AM
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re: 613

You've still not answered how you propose to deal with non-food resources. It's a serious question.

How?

See 574


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:08 AM
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For one thing, it seems to get under lots of people's skins very nicely, which is always a plus for that kind of thing.

Once again, let me point out how this sounds when a New Yorker says it to a Midwesterner.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:08 AM
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I'd never say that except in the course of a bit of bullshitting with someone Londoncentric.

I don't know that we're all that far apart here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:08 AM
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God do I hate whining about how where you're from is the specialist place ever. I went to grad school with a guy who wouldn't shup up about Chicago, even though were we going to school there we'd both be up to our asses in debt and unable to afford any of the things alleged to make Chicago so awesome.

The other way in which this is annoying from academics: it leads to a tendency to show up at a new job (most likely in a less desirable locale than one's grad program) and whine insufferably instead of making an effort to find out what's good about a new place.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:09 AM
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re: 617

I think we are in some ways. Because while I'd bullshit about it, I don't actually believe it to be true.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:11 AM
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where you're from is the specialist place

They don't call Durham The City of Medicine for nothing, yo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:13 AM
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616: Well, sure. Any category of teasing that works at all is something people can be shitty about. I tend to drag out my NYC chauvinism in response to boosterism about other places -- Megan gets all Californian, and I point out that at least I'm not at risk of being devoured by mountain lions on my way to work -- under the assumption that someone who starts it can take it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:13 AM
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579: Also not possible to comply with that request, sorry.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:14 AM
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the assholes of hippies are the tomorrows of today

merely contingent, pupson


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:14 AM
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it leads to a tendency to show up at a new job (most likely in a less desirable locale than one's grad program) and whine insufferably instead of making an effort to find out what's good about a new place.

A mistake I'm excited to avoid!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:16 AM
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614: actually, apo, North Carolina does sound like a wonderful place to live in a lot of ways. Beautiful countryside, soft in the way that the east coast is--not jagged like the West--with much nicer Springs than we have in New England. I think that SC might be nice too--Charleston especially. I have heard that a lot of Northerners are moving to the Research triangle park area--enough for people to complain. Isn't Cary known as Containment Area for Relocated Yankees?

Are there cities where you can get by without a car? What are the state health insurance regulations? I might move if I could be assured of getting health insurance?

Are there boringly WASPy Episcopalians who are vaguely embarrassed by the evangelicals? Or do I need to move to Virginia for that?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:16 AM
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619: See my 504. If I need to get all humorless about it:

Yes, I have no objective set of criteria applicable to all possible human environments by which NYC is measurably the finest place in the world to live. I just like the place.

But my dog really is smarter and cuter and nicer than your dog.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:17 AM
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Daniel, it crosses my mind, you don't think she's taking to heart your occasional comments about McArdle do you? Because I can see how that might sting a bit.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:17 AM
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--


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:20 AM
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Whine insufferably instead of making an effort to find out what's good about a new place.....

That's my #1 problem with world-city chauvinists -- the way they behave when they're off the teat. (I might add that structurally, almost all academics end up at a place lower-ranked than the one they graduated from. Only the top Ivy League academics can stay in the Ivy League. Grad schools produce more PhDs than they consume.)

I have to grant that saying that NYC or the Bay Area is the best place in the world has a certain plausibility that saying the same thing about Dallas or Atlanta or even Portland wouldn't have. The problem is different.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:20 AM
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re: 626

I don't have a dog, but my potential future dog totally kicks your actual dog's ass.

re: 627

I wondered about that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:20 AM
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622: look, dsquared, I'm asking you to be nice all the time, and that's final.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:20 AM
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624: Sifu, seriously, it's worth the effort. Besides, ethernet-delivered porn is the same anywhere you go, so your basic needs are met.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:20 AM
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Besides, ethernet-delivered porn is the same anywhere you go, so your basic needs are met.

I only view locally produced artisanal porn.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:24 AM
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Are there boringly WASPy Episcopalians who are vaguely embarrassed by the evangelicals? Or do I need to move to Virginia for that?

Yes, but they're all over 80.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:24 AM
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633: At that point you might as well give up and just have sex.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:25 AM
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Pornographic autarky leads to imaginative poverty, Knecht.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:26 AM
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Here in Wobegon we eat both snails and oysters.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:26 AM
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601: I am currently considering expressing the opinion that you're being rather annoyingly think-skinned and passive-aggressive, and rather selfishly expecting everyone else to do the heavy lifting in interpreting your every thoughtless generalisation. Is that OK? Does it truly describe your character? Or what?

By the way, a quick perusal of this thread reveals that the offending comment could only possibly have been #394, in which I laid the apparently false calumny that frisbees are round. To which all I can say is:

Exp(ln(do)ln(what))?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:27 AM
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This is an academic-oriented blog, you have to expect people to be think-skinned.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:29 AM
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I wonder if moving around a lot as a kid has an effect on one's ability to attach totally to a place. I lived in five different cities by the time I was eighteen, and my general feeling about new places is more like, "This place is pretty livable" or "Eh, I'd miss having X resource." NYC is hard to leave because it means I'll have to start driving again and the shopping won't be as nice, and it will probably be harder to meet people, but there's a lot I won't miss, like $1200 rent for a 300 sq.ft. studio apartment. I like the global and racial diversity here, but am annoyed by the blindered bourgeois culture. I have moments when I think "How could I live without Prospect Park two blocks away?" but I love it so intensely because I'm deprived of green spaces otherwise. I have affection for, but not romantic attachment to, the city I mostly grew up in. They're all just places.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:29 AM
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McMegan is never called Megan any more, is she?

Let me again affirm my precedence on the "Anything for love" Douthat pun: February, 2005. There's a better-formed version later than 2005.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:29 AM
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Naw, I know when he's talking about me (the four or five times it has happened) and when he's talking about Ms. McArdle.

622 - OK. There's nothing I can do about it, now that I've told you.

Ttam - yeah, that's a hard question, so I wanted to think on it. The end result of my hardline rules would be small populations sized by whatever the limiting constraint in their area would be. If I wanted to ease up on that, I suppose I could make some distinctions between trading real durable things and trading stuff needed to keep up daily life, which would get at the iron. I suppose I'd be on the develop-local-energy-sources side of things, which may impose an even smaller bound than food.

But really, I do the bulk of my thinking about food and the environment. The rest of my thoughts are much hazier. I suppose I'd clarify them if I thought we were going to make enough progress on eating locally that I had to think about the next step.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:30 AM
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Pornographic autarky leads to imaginative poverty, Knecht.

Megan might argue, with some justice, that California could be entirely self-sufficient in porn and nonetheless offer endless variety to suit even the most exotic tastes.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:30 AM
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625: NC is actually very beautiful, as long as you don't look too closely at the parts between the coast and Raleigh.

I think that SC might be nice too--Charleston especially

I wouldn't recommend SC, which has a tendency to live up to the less flattering stereotypes of the South. It does have some lovely scenery, though.

Isn't Cary known as Containment Area for Relocated Yankees?

Yeah, but it's mostly a joke. People complain because that's what people do. The constant in-migration has made the job and housing markets very, very resilient here, and it's a fairly cosmopolitan area. Definitely the progressive center of NC.

Are there cities where you can get by without a car?

Yes, but not easily. Well, that's not true. Chapel Hill and Carrboro are carless-friendly, and the bus system is free. Not sure what the situation is outside of the triangle, though.

What are the state health insurance regulations?

No idea.

Are there boringly WASPy Episcopalians who are vaguely embarrassed by the evangelicals?

Oh sure. You don't actually encounter much evangelical action here unless you get out of the cities.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:31 AM
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NYC is hard to leave because it means I'll have to start driving again

What?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:32 AM
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I honestly cannot believe that people on the internet would be mean in response to the "let me tell you how to live: everyone must die" plan.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:33 AM
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in-migration

Apostropher doesn't believe in phonological or orthographic assimilation.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:34 AM
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641: Fair do's, you've got bragging rights on that one. Did we ever get it squared away whether he was a "Do That" or a "Doubt Hat"?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:34 AM
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646: Big talk for someone who's not on the list. We'll be sending you your notice informing you of when to report to the local population reduction center shortly, unless we hear about a substantial change in the localism of your eating habits.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:35 AM
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645: oh, like she's going to bike across one of those bridges, Ben. That's dangerous!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:35 AM
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645: Almost anywhere I'd get a job, I'd probably have to drive to get where I need to go. The likelihood of being offered a job in downtown Boston, Chicago, or San Francisco is pretty small.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:35 AM
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"let me tell you how to live: everyone must die" plan.

"And so many of the people in the cemetery here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:35 AM
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649: but she said we could all be on the list! She'll help us find apartments! Are they.... deadly apartments?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:36 AM
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I don't bike. It's a sad story about multiple ear infections and resultant horrible childhood balance.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:37 AM
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651: you have more options than that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:37 AM
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you're being rather annoyingly think-skinned and passive-aggressive, and rather selfishly expecting everyone else to do the heavy lifting in interpreting your every thoughtless generalisation. Is that OK? Does it truly describe your character? Or what?

Thin-skinned - not on the whole. In general, I tend to let stuff slide, and I am often quite delighted by inventive insults. I used to copy anything good for the tagline of my blog.

Passive-aggressive - possibly. I don't really understand what it means, so maybe I do it. My inclination before passive-aggression would be straight out avoidance, though, like not telling you before when stuff bugged me.

rather selfishly expecting everyone else to do the heavy lifting in interpreting your every thoughtless generalisation - not so much. I'm pretty good about laying out my train of thought when I'm writing a real essay. Here in the comments, I unfortunately jump around, although I try to give the antecedants if it has been more than a comment or two. I try to re-engage, though, if I get asked a question that shows where I wasn't clear.

394 was what triggered my old annoyance, and I figured it would be a good time to bring it up straight with you when it wasn't a big deal.

Do you have other guesses about me that I could verify or refute?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:37 AM
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Did we ever get it squared away whether he was a "Do That" or a "Doubt Hat"?

I thought it was "Doe Taaaa".


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:37 AM
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643: I'd thought about that; it is indeed a blessed land, but I'd counter by telling her that the diversity of offerings arose out of a trade-dependent economy.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:38 AM
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Dow thut.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:38 AM
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641: He may deny it, but it's "Do that", now and forevermore.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:39 AM
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659: Dow as in Dow Jones?
is the "th" voiced or unvoiced?


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:40 AM
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Did we ever get it squared away whether he was a "Do That" or a "Doubt Hat"?

I heard him on the radio the other day, and it's closer to the latter. It's almost "Doubt That," which seems appropriate.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:40 AM
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658: but you were only talking about pornographic autarky.

That's how we're going to get our non-food resources, in fact. Export porn, import—british steel!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:41 AM
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656: look just fuck off will you?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:42 AM
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663. I'm happy with that, living in a major steel producing city.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:43 AM
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You won't be so happy when increased production ruins the air and, in turn, your lungs.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:43 AM
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663: Sorry, SoCal and the Czech Republic have already flooded the market. You'll be lucky to get a 2x4 of Canadian softwood for your multicultural fuckfest DVD.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:44 AM
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re: 642

You really are proposing a green-fascist form of primitivism. With pretty arbitrary boundaries on what can be traded based on what's convenient for where you live and a lot of vague hand-waving around the hard bits.

The boundary between "trading real durable things and trading stuff needed to keep up daily life" is conceptually incoherent and wouldn't solve your problem at all.

You need tools to grow food, you need medicines to stop the workers dying, you need all kinds of material resources to do all kinds of things that are necessary for maintaining even a fairly basic standard of living. Lots of those things just aren't going to be in the places where the food is grown, and vice versa. I don't know how much you've thought about how many of the things that are basic to life as we live it just aren't going to be local to you. I'm not talking about luxury goods or energy intensive frivolities, either.

We live in a highly globalized world, and I don't mean that in some neoliberal sense. We've relied on trade in raw materials for hundreds of years. A completely local economy doesn't take us back to the 19th century, or even the 17th or the 18th. It takes us back to the Dark Ages or beyond.

You don't get to opt out of thinking about the hard stuff because it's not your main concern, especially when your proposed solution is so comfortable with the idea that lots of people have to die.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:44 AM
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You don't want to know.

Have you guys seen Parenthood lately?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:45 AM
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"Anything for Love" can say whatever he wants about how his name is pronounced, but this is America -- not Abkhazia or wherever the Douthats came from. We speak English here.

You can have your own opinions, but not your own facts.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:45 AM
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I knew a family named "Bouthot", who pronounced it "Boo Tot". I thought this was a very odd selective americanization. If you're going to go that far in defrenchifying, why continue to pronounce the "th" as a "t"?

Anyway, that means that "Douthat" is "Doo Tat".


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:47 AM
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Export porn, import--british steel with which to manufacture more porn, with saucy titles like The English Gay-tient.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:47 AM
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Sorry, SoCal and the Czech Republic have already flooded the market.

Exactly what state do you think southern California is part of? I've capitalized things in a way designed to give you a hand.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:48 AM
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672: thank you for making that explicit.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:48 AM
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Unvoiced, I believe, but hear for yourself. As a bonus, learn how Ruy Teixeira pronounces his name.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:49 AM
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A completely local economy doesn't take us back to the 19th century, or even the 17th or the 18th. It takes us back to the Dark Ages or beyond.

This really really really needs to be highlighted.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:49 AM
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It takes us back to the Dark Ages or beyond.

Even Stonehenge was built with stones from a quarry about 200 miles away, wasn't it? And let's not even talk about the Mediterranean and Nile trade routes going on back a couple thousand years B.C. Hell, silk trade with China damn near bankrupted the Romans in the 200-400 A.D. era. Trade's been happening for ages, all that's changed is how cheap or expensive it is, and that's probably all that's going to continue changing in the future.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:49 AM
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674: look I was going to work in The English Gay-tient somehow, and I didn't care how many jokes it killed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:51 AM
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673: You don't think tomatoes produced in Santa Barbara count as local, but if a double penetration video is filmed there, you're suddenly happy to claim it? You're an odd cat, W-lfs-n.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:51 AM
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"Dark Ages or beyond" isn't even right, because if you go too far "beyond" the so-called Dark Ages, you've got empires with trade connections in Africa, Asia, the Caucasus, Europe up to Britain and Scandinavia, etc.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:52 AM
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We've relied on trade in raw materials for hundreds of years.

There's evidence of flint traded over hundreds of miles in the Gravettian. Exchange is one of the things people do. I'm happy to consider almost any solution to the scarcity problem, but I won't consider one that denies people their humanity, because that was tried in the 20th century and we know what happened. And I won't give the neighbourhood I live in, or chance acquaintances on the internet live in, a pass over others where there are a lot more people with a lot less chances, just because I'm personally less inconvenienced thereby.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:53 AM
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664 - Not in the sense of leaving Unfogged, but I won't try talking with you further.

***
I honestly cannot believe that people on the internet would be mean in response to the "let me tell you how to live: everyone must die" plan.

Or live with the trade-offs, which I don't like. Look, this is the chain of reasoning I've arrived at from what I see. I don't consider myself the source of this. I mean, you can say you're happy with the trade-offs, or say that I can't have things the way I want them, or say my reasoning is wrong. But with the constraints I see, I think a vast population reduction is in store. I'm not the agent of that, just one possibly-wrong messenger.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:54 AM
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Pwned because I couldn't remember how to spell "Caucasus".

You don't think tomatoes produced in Santa Barbara count as local, but if a double penetration video is filmed there, you're suddenly happy to claim it?

DVDs cost less to ship than tomatoes, and, you know, the internet. I'm happy to relativize "local" to shipping costs, especially to score cheap points.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:54 AM
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California is naturally blessed by having boundaries that extend across regions that produce many variegated types of resources.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:55 AM
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As a bonus, learn how Ruy Teixeira pronounces his name.

I don't want to be disillusioned.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:55 AM
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re: 677

Sure. People were trading for precious metals, minerals, ores, etc. right back. We have evidence for neolithic trade routes, never mind later.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:55 AM
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The point Megan's making, I think, is that she likes California, and wishes five and a half billion people were dead. What's the problem?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:56 AM
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but if a double penetration video is filmed there, you're suddenly happy to claim it? You're an odd cat, W-lfs-n.

W-lfs-n lays claim to all DP videos.*

* This could have been an "All your base" joke, but I thought better of it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:57 AM
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re: 682

We've already pointed out that the restrictions you envisage make no sense conceptually, are pragmatically empty and have unacceptable consequences.

It's one thing to say that inevitable resource squeezing will lead to population reduction and another to say that we should impose [incoherent, vague] restrictions on how we should respond to those resource scarcities.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:58 AM
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687. I'm coming to that conclusion.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:58 AM
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...


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:58 AM
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God, all this time offending Megan, and I've only now worked out that she was the thread's I-can't-believe-it's-not-a-strawman-no-toilet-paper-for-you primitivist! This must be the invisible hand at work or something.

Even Stonehenge was built with stones from a quarry about 200 miles away, wasn't it?

Apparently not the current favoured theory among archaeologists; previously it had been believed that the bluestones used were not found in the surrounding region, but it has lately been conjectured that there are in fact quite a lot of bluestones in Wiltshire, but the geological surveys missed them because they were all in one field, propped up into a sort of "henge" formation. I am not kidding btw - I might be wrong but it was told to me as fact.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:58 AM
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Cleaning crew to checkout, please.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:59 AM
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I find that porn videos made nearby are firmer, juicier and more flavorful than the ones that have been shipped long distances.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:00 PM
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especially when your proposed solution is so comfortable with the idea that lots of people have to die.

I don't like that part, and prefer they were averted instead over a few generations. I'm fairly afraid that the way they will die is in large-scale tragedies that will mostly be horrific for poor brown people. I honest to god think that the things I've proposed will make those slightly less awful, perhaps by being spaced further apart or slightly less intense.

Considering the ways I expect climate change to act, I think a lot of living how we do includes, in small part, a willingness to let other poor countries take on the really dramatic deathtoll. Since I think that is the alternative, green-primitive sounds like a better choice.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:00 PM
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685: me too. I have a firm belief that Ruy Teixeira pronounces his surname "Tethera", as in the Old Cumbrian number 3, which at one point extended to an actual belief that he was from Penrith.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:01 PM
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696. He's American. He pronounces how he goddam wants to. I know how he would if he was Portuguese.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:03 PM
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I wonder if moving around a lot as a kid has an effect on one's ability to attach totally to a place

I don't know. I have lived in the same city/town my whole life and I can't say I am that attached to it. I am in the it is sufficient category, but I definitely wouldn't say it is the best place.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:03 PM
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California is naturally blessed by having boundaries that extend across regions that produce many variegated types of resources.

Well exactly. Imagine an East Coast CA, running from North Carolina to the top of Lake Ontario, and inland to the Appalachian Trail.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:04 PM
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Are you guys going to make me be all explicit? My hopes are that we end up with the communications we have now, some of the health care and a standard of living about like my grandparents. Small houses, small wardrobes, local economies, good food.

I also hope we do that without catastrophic losses of other cities and nations, but I'm not convinced of that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:05 PM
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687, and passim: (a) Can't we all just be friends?

(b) Generalizing madly about what I believe Megan to mean:

(1) Current levels of population and resource use are having significant effects on the natural environment that are making it both less pleasant and less able to sustain life, including ours.

(2) It is impractical to reduce resource use enough to really ameliorate these effects without massive reductions in population.

(3) Accompanying massive reductions in population, massive reductions in the resource use related to long-distance trade are also desirable. She hasn't thought through the details of exactly what long-distance trade will remain necessary.

(4) Massive reductions in population and resource use are desirable; in the absence of those reductions, either (i) the natural environment will degrade sufficiently to impose severe hardships on the population as a whole, or (ii) the natural environment will degrade sufficiently that a whole bunch of people will die, reducing the population that way.

(5) California is the only acceptable place to live, and everyone who lives anyplace else can suck it.

On 1-4, while she might be wrong about all the fact claims (and incompletely thought out on the trade bit), this all seems like reasonable stuff to talk about, and not the sort of thing that really translates into 'wishes five and a half billion people were dead.'


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:07 PM
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700. Seriously, do you have any idea how much food was traded globally in your grandparents' time?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:09 PM
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692.2 is pretty awesome. It certainly wouldn't be the first example of early cultures managing to exhaust local resources.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:09 PM
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...


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:12 PM
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I think that most of Western agriculture was for distant markets right from the beginning. Wobegon used to havea mill and a a local brand of flour which was traded nationally.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:12 PM
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Oh, I got that Sifu Tweety was joking. I wasn't worried about that.

I'd even revise 701(5) to:
(5) California is the place that makes me deliriously happy to live here, and I hope you are all equally happy in your own places, with whatever it is that you can grow there.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:12 PM
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standard of living about like my grandparents... good food

You'se tripping, ma'am. All those recipes for green bean casserole came from somewhere, and it sure as hell wasn't my generation or my parents. And no, it's not particularly improved by locally-grown green beans or organic onions fried up for the crunchy coating.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:13 PM
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701: the necessity of (b) as an exercise may be leading to some of the thread bloat, in this particular instance.

If I were to try and actually summarize Megan's argument (really, I was just being funny with the five and half billion dead; I mean, "five and a half billion dead": how can that not be hilarious) I gather it's something along the lines of: (1) people should only eat food grown within 200 miles of their home. (2) this is not workable in much of the country, so people who choose to live there will die. (3) anybody who doesn't want to die can move to California, which is utopia, except (4) that wouldn't work because California's population is too high already, so (5) the world population will have to be a hell of a lot lower, which (1-3) will make a more pleasant process for people in, say, Lagos.

This is not, I suggest, an argument that makes a huge amount of coherent sense in its current form. Then again, neither does most of the thread, and one should only throw rocks through the glass houses closest to oneself, so.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:13 PM
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(4) Massive reductions in population and resource use are desirable
[...]
On 1-4, while she might be wrong about all the fact claims (and incompletely thought out on the trade bit), this all seems like reasonable stuff to talk about, and not the sort of thing that really translates into 'wishes five and a half billion people were dead.'

You don't see how the bit I quoted from (4) might leave that impression?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:13 PM
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706: How's the rest of 701? Mostly on track with what you meant?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:14 PM
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701: Here is why I think this is boring to talk about, and why I find making snide comments more satisfying: this is so clearly in the realm of practical impossibility. Megan is the blog equivalent of the protest candidate, able to speak the hard truths to power only because she's slipped free of any obligation to make any of this into some remotely plausible view. Next: I share my vision about how life would be if everyone were super nice and rode ponies.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:14 PM
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700. Seriously, do you have any idea how much food was traded globally in your grandparents' time?

I should, but if it was more than oranges at Christmas, then we can kick it back to my great-grandparents time.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:15 PM
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if everyone were super nice and rode ponies.

In your case, I think it would involve getting your shoes all scuffed up as they dragged on the ground. I'd apply for a variance.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:17 PM
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712: Before that there was a massive trade in dried, salted cod.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:17 PM
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My next door neighbor actually grew up with rural self-sufficiency. She still makes her own sauerkraut, pickles, tomato juice, and pickled beets. She worked two jobs most of her life, along with raising a family, and can live on nothing -- she thinks that a $900 Social Security check is pretty darn good.

Really a freak of history. Not a wonderful life, though. WWII almost ruined her life -- her husband left her with 1 or 2 kids and apparently sent little or no money home.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:18 PM
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All those recipes for green bean casserole came from somewhere

Indeed, the Horrible Things Suspended In Gelatin foodgroup dates to the 30s.

Actually, a related foodie note with a trade-based punchline: fine French restaurants in NYC in the 50s couldn't get chanterelle mushrooms anywhere - one supplier sent canned ones from Germany. Years later, they became available from Oregon. The head chef said, "Surely you didn't just start growing these?" "No. We've been exporting them to Germany."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:19 PM
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Great-grandparents won't do it either. We have to go way back. Romans fed on grain from Egypt.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:19 PM
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714: never mind things like sugar or spices.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:20 PM
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709: Starting from her assumed facts, the reduction in population is probably coming whatever we do, either intentionally or through ecological collapse, and it'll be easier and fairer if it's intentional. That may be wrong, but it doesn't actually require wishing for the death of billions.

And of course we can drop the population by reducing the birthrate, and letting people die at the end of long happy lifespans, rather than by lining them up for the suicide booths.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:21 PM
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My hopes are that we end up with the communications we have now, some of the health care and a standard of living about like my grandparents.

That last bit is completely inconsistent with the first two, you know that, right?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:21 PM
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712. Start here for just one aspect.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:21 PM
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711 - Well, for one, it is only completely implausible because voluntary populations restrictions aren't talked about much. If they were a major topic of national discourse, then we might know a lot more about the option. Like, how much is conveniently possible, what that would cost, what the ethical implications are, where the leverage is, and how far that would take us.

And then, yeah, I'm talking crazy talk in a blog about my opinions. I get that it wouldn't interest you, but that's why there are lots of threads.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:22 PM
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My hopes are that we end up with the communications we have now, some of the health care and a standard of living about like my grandparents.

These desires are basically incommensurable with the rest of your program.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:24 PM
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Where do we get the idea that relying on locally grown food isn't possible for most of the country? It's not true except in the desert west.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:24 PM
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we can drop the population by reducing the birthrate

Yeah, there's a possible world in which this happens, but it's very, very far away. We lack political institutions sufficient to impose the kind of incentives that would produce this result, and if they magically came into existence they would immediately collapse.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:24 PM
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Crap, missed the italics off. That first sentence in 723 is a quote.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:25 PM
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Well, for one, it is only completely implausible because voluntary populations restrictions aren't talked about much.

I really have to quibble with the "only", there. It's completely implausible because everything about it is kind of ridiculous, starting with the idea that the only thing it's not okay to transport from place to place is food, hitting "why doesn't everybody agree to stop having kids for a couple generations?" on the way and finally ending up at the majestic California wheat and iron fields.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:25 PM
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720 - I'm hoping that it isn't. I don't know much about the energy industry, but I'm hoping the internets is a small enough sector that with many fewer people there'll be enough slack to keep it going.

Look, I don't want to go back in time and live just like that. I'm hoping that we can use the good stuff we have now to make a much smaller (averted, not killed) population super comfortable.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:27 PM
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There's also a tendency for populations to fall naturally when it becomes less economically attractive to have large families. No country in Europe has a birthrate near replacement, but nobody's obliging Europeans to stop having kids. OTOH, in China, where they did try to do it by compulsion, the population continued to grow.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:28 PM
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I should say, since this is kind of a pile-on, in here, that I realize that Megan's ideas are well-intentioned and, outside of the more pie-in-the-sky aspects, yes, it would be good for everybody to figure out how to better make use of the products of the land around them, and also, yes, California's a neat place.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:28 PM
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There's this whole middle ground here. Not that I want to point it out when we're busily exterminating a few billions so Californias can have fresh strawberries and the satisfaction of knowing no one else does, but quite a lot of the U.S. is capable of supporting agriculture, and moving back to earlier trade and consumption patterns (like my grandparents' era) wouldn't mean the Midwest would starve. (Of course, California was a loss less densely populated then.)

This whole fucking middle ground: people eat locally as much as they can, have gardens when they can, and don't beat themselves up over eating a banana.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:31 PM
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re: 728

How do you think chip-fabrication plants work? Fibre-optic cables made and laid? Copper-cable made?

Switches? Routers? etc

By the time you factor in the tooling and the factories and all the minerals needed to make these things work, you just aren't talking about small-scale local industry.

None of this is to say that more local production where possible and less transport expenditure isn't a wise move.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:32 PM
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I don't know much about the energy industry, but I'm hoping the internets is a small enough sector that with many fewer people there'll be enough slack to keep it going.

Who's going to make all the hardware that the modern communication infrastructure runs on? Do you have any idea how much a modern chip fab costs? (The last estimate I heard was $1 billion U.S. It's probably gone up since then.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:33 PM
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I see that ttaM and I are (again) thinking the same things.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:33 PM
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We lack political institutions sufficient to impose the kind of incentives that would produce this result

I agree with you, but wish that weren't the case. There's lots of stuff you could do that might have a large cumulative effect:

Free and widely available birthcontrol and abortion.
Advertising campaigns for small families.
Delayed onset of childbirth really magnifies over the generations, as does wider spacing between children.
You could offer to pay off college loans to anyone who makes it to twenty-eight without children.

There are tons of non-coercive things you could do, long before you get to a One Child campaign.

****
727 - You could say that the path we took to get to this conversation is ridiculous (which is sorta par for the course) and you can say that my California chauvinism is ridiculous (which I will be serene about as I do sun salutations on the beach with my homegrown tomatoes). But the idea of much smaller populations living locally isn't ridiculous.

Also, what Emerson said. The rest of the states could be entirely food self-sufficient if they weren't growing corn and soybeans.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:33 PM
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--


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:35 PM
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I should, but if it was more than oranges at Christmas, then we can kick it back to my great-grandparents time.

Somewhat pwned already, but in your great-grandparents time, Argentina was rapidly becoming a wealthy nation based on the export of beef in newfangled refrigerated cargo ships, and grain producers in Denmark were wiped out within a generation by cheap imports from North America, to be replaced by herds of swine and dairy cattle, which fed on the imported grain and became tinned hams and cheese for export.

I won't knock Megan's noble intentions, but her vision of utopia is, well, pretty darned utopian.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:36 PM
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731. I don't think that's being questioned in fact. I grew up in Britain under "austerity" and we ate pretty damn well, if with less variety than we do now.

My own concern is from the other end: the impact on less favoured parts of the world if we concentrate too much on maintaining our own green acres.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:36 PM
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But the idea of much smaller populations living locally isn't ridiculous.

No, it's not ridiculous, if by 'living locally' we mean 'living locally where possible, and trying to do things in the most resource efficient way where not'.

But that moderate position is quite a long way away from a fair bit of what you've had to say above.

Also, what Emerson said. The rest of the states could be entirely food self-sufficient if they weren't growing corn and soybeans.

I'd actually be very surprised if that was the case, actually. True for both coasts, but I'd be surprised if it was true for large swathes of the middle and northern states absent petrochemicals and unsustainable water use.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:37 PM
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Compulsory and government-encouraged population limitation was very successful in China and India. It had a major effect in averting or greatly delaying some of the population-bomb disaster scenarios.

This happened partly because the leaders of those two countries paid attention to the warnings of the population bomb Chicken Littles. If you warn someone that something is going to happen, and they takes steps to avert that event, it doesn't falsify your warning, but confirms it. Confusion about that point is enormously common.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:37 PM
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I think that most of Western agriculture was for distant markets right from the beginning. Wobegon used to havea mill and a a local brand of flour which was traded nationally.

Yes, I made a similar point in 355. West of the Mississippi that's the pattern. In the Midwest east of the Mississippi, there were several generations of close-to-subsistence agriculture only, and then as the country infilled in the middle of the 19th C, cash crop farming coexisted with a more subsistence style depending on terrain. Wendell Berry writes about how it essentially persisted where he lives, in No. Central Kentucky, until WWII.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:37 PM
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But the idea of much smaller populations living locally isn't ridiculous.

If you don't define it in a weird, maximalist, arbitrarily constrained way, no, it isn't.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:38 PM
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Free and widely available birthcontrol and abortion.

Ha. Utopia indeed.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:38 PM
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699: Imagine an East Coast CA, running from North Carolina to the top of Lake Ontario, and inland to the Appalachian Trail.

Indeed. When a state is that large, it becomes quite a bit easier to speak of its becoming relatively more self-sufficient. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but southern Cal. doesn't bear much of a resemblance to northern Cal., does it?)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:38 PM
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732,733 - Then my vision doesn't work, and I would scale back and look at trade-offs again. But my vision starts where it does.

we're busily exterminating a few billions so Californias can have fresh strawberries and the satisfaction of knowing no one else does

Neither of those are things I've said or meant.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:39 PM
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Where do we get the idea that relying on locally grown food isn't possible for most of the country? It's not true except in the desert west.

The point is not what's possible: it's what's desirable. I think all of us here get that "desirable" should have an ecological as well as an economic component, but even then, "every micro-region should be self-sufficient in food" is an absurd goal. David Ricardo had a neat little thought experiment about how the Scots could be self-sufficient in wine if they put their minds to it, but it wouldn't be a very sensible goal.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:39 PM
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If you warn someone that something is going to happen, and they takes steps to avert that event, it doesn't falsify your warning, but confirms it.

Like hell it does.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:40 PM
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Also, it seems like it'd be a little onerous to bring your tomatoes to the beach all the time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:40 PM
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735: I was thinking about something like financial incentives for people who don't have more than one kid, but that seems awfully cruel to low-income families with two or more. Also, any initiative to reduce family size is going to send the anti-choicers into a frenzy. One of their big talking points is that America is in terrible danger of producing too few (white) children. They've drummed up a lot of statistics claiming that America's (white) work force has declined so tragically that (brown) immigrants are taking over all our (white) jobs, and that the fault is "selfish" (white) people not having children or aborting them. Population control needs a lot better PR penetration before any such measures could be taken.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:40 PM
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739: I have no idea where you get that. The Midwest has been a major food exporter from before the internal combustion engine was invented, and irrigation is scarcely a factor here (east of North Dakota). The area is specialized in grains, dairy, and hogs purely for economic division of labor reasons. Fruit is about the only thing we can't grow.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:41 PM
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Megan, I've had to restrain myself from making more than one comment like the one you quote in 745. No, you don't say that, but something about "I hope you are all equally happy in your own places, with whatever it is that you can grow there" hits a sour note. Even if you didn't mean it that way.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:41 PM
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Also also, wouldn't travelling from the central valley to the beach (tomatoes in tow) all the time be fairly resource intensive?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:42 PM
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re: 750

Really? Everything I've ever read has suggested that the area is suitable for industrial agriculture of some crops but really not suitable for many other things [that are more suited to relatively wet temperate climates].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:42 PM
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Note that the birth control, abortion, and magical desire for only children has to be worldwide, lest our utopia be annexed.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:44 PM
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Weren't the British colonies in this country pretty much founded with the idea that they'd be exporting agriculture? It's not just California farming that's an artifact of agricultural trade; it's the whole damn country!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:45 PM
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Beaches and homegrown tomatoes certainly do exist outside of California.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:46 PM
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753: "The Midwest" is a huge, nebulously defined, and climatologically diverse region.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:46 PM
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753: the mountain west is certainly unsuitable for agriculture, but the midwest was cultivated as grazing land for centuries before Emerson's loutish ancestors got there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:46 PM
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moving back to earlier trade and consumption patterns wouldn't mean the Midwest would starve

Pishah, given our topsoil and general fertility? It's more likely that otherwise lovely areas of California will starve once they can't divert large rivers or trade their small quantities of high-value fruits and produce for the grains and pulses that actually, y'know, form the bulk of a agricultural diet.

Actually, this is something I'm unaware of without doing hefty research, but does anyone here know how the density of indiginous populations originally varied across America? I assume the largest concentration was in the mid-Atlantic region, with decent concentrations through much of the midwest and lower concentrations through the plains states and the west, but that's not far from a shot in the dark.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:47 PM
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751: Yes, I've refrained from saying anything, because I didn't want to get nasty, but I agree with Blume.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:47 PM
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That may be wrong, but it doesn't actually require wishing for the death of billions.

It may be wrong, but it's the most likely scenario at this point.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:47 PM
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755: yes, although cod and whales, as BG suggested above, were the bulk of it for quite a while.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:47 PM
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Blume, it is very likely that when we start talking fast like this, I shouldn't try to be funny at all. I've seen lots of places where it goes wrong. But, I've been totally cool with it going the other way (responding with a joke to Sifu Tweety's joke that I like my laborers Mexican, for example, and not giving a crap about his joke that I wish death on 5.5B people, both of which would be bullshit if I didn't trust him.). But I will take great pride in California and laugh at myself for giving that impression to people and mostly I expect them get both jokes. If you don't, or don't trust me to be joking sometimes, I can't help.

735 - See, if it were a big conversation all around, we could know which of those make people crazy and which of those we could work with.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:48 PM
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756: yeah but if you try and take the tomatoes to salute the sun the ungrateful wretches just sit in the car and play gameboy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:50 PM
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re: 755

At the time you kicked the British out there wasn't really a great deal of agriculture happening the mid-west. By the time the British were kicked out, weren't the majority of the states that existed the ones that were located in the bits that are really quite unlike the mid-west (in terms of climate and geography)?*

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states/exploration_1675.jpg

Look at the extent of the settled area?

* I know the midwest isn't homogeneous.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:50 PM
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Note that the birth control, abortion, and magical desire for only children has to be worldwide, lest our utopia be annexed

There also has to be some way of dealing with the inverted demographic pyramid when the current generation of adults want to retire.

751, 745: I note that if you are going to argue for a position that is very close to an extremely unpleasant one (and which might, indeed, actually logically imply the extremely unpleasant one without you realising that your views had this implication), the onus is on you to make the necessary caveats. You do not get to make everyone else come up with precisely the right set of qualifications and adjustments to your statements which are necessary to stop them being horrible (#701 was entirely supererogatory), and you don't get to call other people rotten meanies if they decide to simply take your words at face value.

Or in other words, there is a virtue of intellectual charity, but there's a vice of intellectual indigence, and sometimes what's needed is not a Marshall Plan but a stiff intellectual welfare-to-work program.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:51 PM
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762. And don't forget the marvellously nutritious tobacco.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:51 PM
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762: Sugar too, obviously.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:52 PM
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Beaches and homegrown tomatoes certainly do exist outside of California.

But do sun salutations make you serene?

Also also, wouldn't travelling from the central valley to the beach (tomatoes in tow) all the time be fairly resource intensive?

I also grow tomatoes in Oakland (and take trains). No, I do not move other food between my houses.

Note that the birth control, abortion, and magical desire for only children has to be worldwide, lest our utopia be annexed.

We start with us. When our house is in order we can look outward.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:52 PM
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never mind things like sugar or spices.

TweetyFish again ignores the locally-produced snails and puppy-dog tails. Beats me what snips are. Maybe snips are scapes.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:52 PM
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All those recipes for green bean casserole came from somewhere

My impression was that most of the dire food of the 50s came out of WWII improvements in canning, preserving, etc., and the selling of what those improvements enabled to everyone and his brother at the end of the war through all sorts of advertising ploys about Modernness because hey, all these factories were going agnd we've got the technology, and the war's over so we've got to start selling to others, right?

I think the "local economy" stuff makes more sense if cast more in terms of a plethora of small business and businessowners—money staying in the area, owners who know the customers, etc—than in terms of where the raw materials come from. (Though I'm also sympathetic to the latter tack, and really, strawberries and tomatoes in December is kind of ridiculous.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:53 PM
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765: yes? I wasn't responding to your midwest comment; what I meant about grazing referred to things done (in some areas) by indigenous peoples.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:54 PM
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W-lfs-n, by how much does this beat your average comment count? I'm thinking that a hearty "Atta Boy!" is in order.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:55 PM
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strawberries and tomatoes in December is kind of ridiculous

Verily.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:55 PM
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762. And don't forget the marvellously nutritious tobacco

762: Sugar too, obviously

Sure; I was thinking particularly of NE.

Remember learning about "Naval Stores" in school?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:56 PM
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771.1 matches my recollection too.

the local economy stuff makes a lot of sense if you look at it as a `more localized economy', meaning that we look at some of the assumptions behind current practice and throw out the ones that don't really make sense (unlimited supply of dirt-cheap fossils, for example). If you rethink what you're doing on this basis, it's not going to turn you into some sort of deep ecologist, even though it may mean a real drop in long range shipping of unripe, out-of-season produce as ben notes.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:57 PM
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re: 772

Yeah, I sort of misread you a bit.

Anyway, re: grazing by indigenous peoples, there are very few places on earth that can't support some population, and pastoralism is a pretty good way to survive in areas that don't immediately lend themselves to other forms of agriculture.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:57 PM
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762: Sugar too, obviously

W/r/t the American colonies, sugar was brought there and rum left.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:58 PM
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--


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:59 PM
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re: 776

Yeah. That makes sense.

There are things we do now that are nuts from an economic perspective [longer term] and double-nuts from an ecological perspective.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:59 PM
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(Correct me if I'm wrong, but southern Cal. doesn't bear much of a resemblance to northern Cal., does it?)

Dunno. I don't go to the beach much, but I like to take my heirloom tomatoes up to the top of the public stairs and do sun salutes watching the sunset over the reservoir.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:00 PM
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776, in stating the reasonable, realistic position, completely misunderstands the thread, and should be deleted as trolling.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:01 PM
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781: that is a nice spot to take a tomato.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:02 PM
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Like McMegan's pubic hair style.

Stylized elephant head shown in profile, trunk lifted in triumph.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:02 PM
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and also, yes, California's a neat place.

See, now this is just too much.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:05 PM
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784: Don't feed it, W-lfs-n.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:05 PM
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It's ok JRoth, LA isn't really California.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:05 PM
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783: I almost got engaged to my tomato there, actually. There were joggers behind us, so I waited.

779: Is this something that the author herself writes about? Because if it's just "let's belittle a disliked female writer by sexualizing her," I'm agin' it.

(Though "fur a change" is funny.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:08 PM
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Oregon's great conservationist governor Tom McCall said on national TV, "Come visit us again and again, but for heaven's sake, don't come here to live." He would agree with Megan on population growth and resource sustainability, essentially, but the "don't stay" message has been directed primarily at Californians, who are considered a menace up here.

locally-produced snails

I've just recently discovered that our common garden snails can be eaten with garlic and beurre blanc (I wasn't aware they were same species as petit-gris). Garden pest problem solved, deliciously.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:09 PM
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786->788.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:09 PM
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When our house is in order we can look outward.

Getting our house in order, by your lights, precludes looking outward. Is it that everyone with the first name Megan botches collective action problems?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:09 PM
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777: How much of the Americas were ever settled by agriculture-dependent people before the Europeans came over with wheat and other grains? Corn is a pretty nutritionally-poor crop, and it was like pulling fucking teeth to breed it out of teosinte in the first place. Central America had a couple empires built on the stuff, and I believe it made its way into some marginal agricultural tribes in the U.S. southwest. Even though the Iriquois were growing it in the Northeast, they'd still have to move around when their small patches of farmland grew exhausted.

I couldn't tell you why corn took so long to get to the Iowa and Illinois areas, but I can tell you that it absolutely thrives here without too much help (as do soy and wheat) and has done so since waaayyy before industrial agriculture became common.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:10 PM
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Doh! Sorry about that. Shoulda known.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:11 PM
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I've just recently discovered that our common garden snails can be eaten with garlic and beurre blanc (I wasn't aware they were same species as petit-gris).

Awesome. I must find out if that's true here.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:12 PM
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At the time you kicked the British out there wasn't really a great deal of agriculture happening the mid-west.

Yes, well, this is one of the reasons for the Revolution - the Brits didn't want Americans to cross the Appalachians. Prohibited entry would tend to reduce land's productivity.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:13 PM
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My impression was that most of the dire food of the 50s came out of WWII improvements in canning, preserving, etc., and the selling of what those improvements enabled to everyone and his brother at the end of the war through all sorts of advertising ploys

Right history, wrong chronology. The first three decades of the 20th century, especially the 1920s, were the real inflection point in the evolution of "groceries" as we now know them. What changed in the 1950s is (1) there was a larger middle class population to consume them; and (2) television advertising to popularize them.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:13 PM
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777/792: High density and stability was a feature of the northern half of the west coast anyway, hence the elaborate art etc (more time). This was largely due to fish stocks iirc, though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:14 PM
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No, it is just that people too often use "the problem is so big that no one can do anything" as a reason not to do anything. When that comes up, my response is to draw reasonable boundaries (national ones, in this case) and to say "let's start here". This is also nice, because it helps against accusations of hypocrisy. It isn't a misunderstanding of collective action problems, it is a way to get started on them.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:15 PM
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792. What was the staple crop of the Mississippian peoples in their pomp, before Ponce de Leon's semi-accidental germ warfare? They cultivated a lot of territory.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:15 PM
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I've just recently discovered that our common garden snails can be eaten with garlic and beurre blanc

You have to pay attention to what they were fed on. You can ingest some nasty plant toxins by eating snails that gorged on the wrong thing. The safest bet is to only eat vineyard snails.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:15 PM
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792: My recollection is that the Mississippian peoples of the central river valleys (Mississipi river, Illinois, Ohio, Arkansas, rivers etc) had cities based on corn agriculture (e.g. Cahokia). That'd be around 1200 - 1400 CE, IIRC, which I probably don't


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:16 PM
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795: Probably. It's Helix aspersa, the common brown stripey kind. You have to gather them and purge them with cornmeal or some other cereal before cooking, apparently.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:16 PM
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message has been directed primarily at Californians, who are considered a menace up here.

I suspect that one boils down to: you already fucked up your state, don't fuck up ours...


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:17 PM
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our common garden snails can be eaten with garlic and beurre blanc

How big are they? Just the other day a couple snails arrived in a bunch of watercress. I showed them to Iris, who wondered why the ones in her books were so much bigger.

Are slugs edible like snails?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:17 PM
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798: The problem is not the size of the problem so much as the nature of the problem, in particular, that the steps you suggest to move to the Megan Utopia would produce good results if everyone followed them, but no good at all if some good-hearted souls followed them while others took strategic advantage of that. Result: no net benefit and a disappearance of the good-hearted souls. It's like saying I'm going to "get started" solving the prisoner's dilemma by always cooperating.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:21 PM
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804: maybe?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:21 PM
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803: Exactly.

Are slugs edible like snails?

I was just about to look that up. They're basically the same thing, but not all snails are edible. I'm not sure I could eat a massive banana slug as casually as I eat typical escargot.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:22 PM
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807: a relevant quote:

If you are talking about land slugs, as far as I know they have never been eaten as a normal food, unlike some land snails. However I have heard of a young man who died after swallowing a slug alive for a bet with his drinking mates. It wasn't the slug as such that killed him but the parasitic rat lungworms that it was infested with.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:25 PM
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807: a massive banana slug should not be eaten casually. It should be eaten formally, with grace and attention to detail informing every step of the process.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:26 PM
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For one thing, a banana slug would turn your mouth numb.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:26 PM
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Is it true that the correct way to clean snails before eating is to place them (live) in a pan of nice clean cornmeal for a few days, and let them work it through their systems themselves?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:27 PM
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812

Maybe that was the joke.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:27 PM
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parasitic rat lungworms

Delectable!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:28 PM
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811: that seems to be what Jesus suggests in 802. Sounds awfully convenient if true.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:28 PM
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Maybe even too convenient.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:30 PM
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811: It would have to be wet, no? Or else you'd end up with a pan of desiccated snails.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:30 PM
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814: The out of print edition of the Joy of Cooking proposed something similar for cooking 'possum: keep it in a cage and feed it rice and milk for a week before slaughtering.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:31 PM
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more seriously to 807: afaic, all snails are edible (practicality and desirability of this probably vary quite a bit) and slugs are near neighbors (also molluscs) so --- probably. You'd want to clean them well (remove digestive system at least.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:31 PM
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I remember similar stories about carp being kept alive in a bathtub full of milk before being eaten. In retrospect, this seems implausible, both because that would be an awful lot of milk, and because I'm not sure that milk is a worlable environment for a fish.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:32 PM
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811/814 iirc the usual thing is to starve them.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:32 PM
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811: That's what I've read. There are other regimens involving starving them a bit first, using other cereals and/or finishing off with water. Then you boil them for 10-15 minutes for death and de-sliming.

''People are so insensitive,'' said Alan Rivers, one of the protesters and a dentist by trade. ''They think this is just a big joke, but there's a principle involved. A whale or a slug or a tiger - it doesn't make any difference.''
Christ, what an asshole. I didn't step on a tiger or a whale with my bare feet when I went out to the car the other night.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:33 PM
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802: so wait, the revolution happened because the British wouldn't let Americans bring their slugs across the Appalachians to farm without purging them with cornmeal first?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:33 PM
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Also, how delicious the bathtub-milk would rapidly come to smell.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:33 PM
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worlable

It's not worlable—too dense—but you should see the eddies.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:34 PM
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825

I didn't step on a tiger or a whale with my bare feet when I went out to the car the other night.

And good thing, too!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:34 PM
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From the link in 806:

The big loser was a slug and vegetable aspic, prepared by Paul Pfau, the chef in Scott's restaurant. The dish was a gelatinous rainbow of beets, asparagus, artichokes and chunks of suspended slugs, garnished with pansies and flowering kale.

OMG.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:35 PM
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816: You'd give them water too. I think the idea behind feeding them cornmeal or greens or whatever is just that you have no idea what they've been eating prior to catching them. Could be poisonous slug bait, whatever. So you feed them for a couple weeks to flush out the system.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:36 PM
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828

The aspic was actually partially solidified hagfish slime.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:36 PM
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829

822: 794, dork.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:36 PM
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The problem is not the size of the problem so much as the nature of the problem, in particular, that the steps you suggest to move to the Megan Utopia would produce good results if everyone followed them, but no good at all if some good-hearted souls followed them while others took strategic advantage of that. Result: no net benefit and a disappearance of the good-hearted souls. It's like saying I'm going to "get started" solving the prisoner's dilemma by always cooperating.

I don't think it's that bad. One problem with calls for massive reductions in population and resource coming from rich people is that poorer people tend to have the perfectly reasonable reaction "Sure, you want us gone, and those of us who remain to not consume anything. Howzabout you go first?" If the birthrate and resource use of California can drop to a significant extent, then Californians are in a slightly less grotesque position to be exhorting say, residents of Bangladesh to reduce their population as well. (Not that this makes this practical, but starting locally doesn't seem to be a central problem with it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:37 PM
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831

828: You could have just had a live hagfish tunneling around in there.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:37 PM
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832

So you feed them for a couple weeks to flush out the system.

And to fatten them up! Then you drown them in brandy, roast, and eat while the fat is still hot, the cuts the shell incurs on the roof of your mouth both the just price you pay for your cruelty and the source of the metallic tang of fresh blood that complements their flavor as nothing else can—cover your head with a large napkin or cloth to hide your rapacity from god.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:38 PM
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For a short while in high school, a friend got intrigued by ZPG and decided it was the answer to all the world's problems. I suggested we change our band's name to "Condoms for Hottentots."


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:39 PM
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Jesus! I go do just a little bit of long-overdue work, and you people write 27 comments.

It wasn't the slug as such that killed him but the parasitic rat lungworms that it was infested with.

See, this makes me feel much better about All-American food squeamishness.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:40 PM
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832: Probably takes a fair few snails to get a decent feel of rapacity going. Still, more efficient than peacock tongues.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:40 PM
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836

835: for the full effect you need to set up a snail luge.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:42 PM
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837

Ortolans are small too, so I figure it should be workable.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:43 PM
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838

I love that there's a little corner of the Internet where a person can make ortolan jokes and expect them to be understood.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:43 PM
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839

I go do just a little bit of long-overdue work

Ruin it for everyone, whydoncha.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:44 PM
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BTW, can I just say that I'm kind of charmed by the "Random Location Journal" tagline on NYT articles. I suppose that in some way it could be annoying, but I just love the idea that every single locality in the US has an ongoing journal in the NYT; they just don't always make the final edit ("all the news that fits").


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:45 PM
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It is not yet clear whether it was understood.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:45 PM
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842

The asshole of a lifetime!
In Long Beach, California!


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:46 PM
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843

If the birthrate and resource use of California can drop to a significant extent, then Californians are in a slightly less grotesque position to be exhorting say, residents of Bangladesh to reduce their population as well.

but the plan didn't have very much to do with the resource use of California, except in as much as California imports food, which isn't very much. Step one here seemed to involve California telling non-California to reduce their consumption of imported food, while continuing to produce non-food goods for export to California. Or something.

Also I don't know about your grandparents, but as far as mine were concerned, I'm not sure that the average subsistence farmer would necessarily view my heroic decision to reduce my consumption to their level as much more than a token gesture.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:47 PM
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844

That's the problem with ortolan jokes, isn't it? Possibly no one's commented on it because it went over everyone's head. Possibly it just fell flat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:47 PM
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845

the slugs, which are said to have the fibrous texture of abalone and virtually no taste.

So how bad can they be?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:47 PM
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846

It was understood, Ben.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:49 PM
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847

No one commented on my Spartacus joke, either. I must be losing my touch.

On second thought, it's you guys. You guys are the problem.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:49 PM
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848

844: except for the fact that several people including yourself commented on it, I think your point is very sound.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:50 PM
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849

I understood it, ben, and it made me laugh.

I have previously suggested an elaboration of the turducken involving progressively smaller birds, with an ortolan at the center. I've since refined it to include, inside the ortolan...a bee hummingbird. It will be magnificent.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:50 PM
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850

I should have known, Jesus.

Inside the bee hummingbird, you should put a real bee, filled with honey.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:52 PM
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843: in an effort to live a more sustainable life, I think I might adopt the diet of my paternal grandfather; it's organ meats and three martini lunches from here on out!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:52 PM
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852

And floating inside the honey in the bee, a single homunculus. Decadence!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:53 PM
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853

849: It can be rendered even more piquant by serving it on board an airplane, or ideally in a helicopter being transported by cargo airplane.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:54 PM
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854

I have vague plans to cook and eat a lamb's heart on Saturday. My sister tells me it won't taste good, but I'm determined.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:54 PM
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855

Baking times might be a problem, but an osturducken would be delicious.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:54 PM
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849: by that you mean a hummingbird stuffed with bees, right?

The ostralbatroheronturduckengrousequailkingfishortolantitbeehummingbird would be good with risotto.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:54 PM
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ideally in a helicopter being transported by cargo airplane.

Best of all would be to have three guests over, each in a separate helicopter. You would have hired a band—without music, life would be a mistake!—similarly split up. The program, naturally, would be Stockhausen.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:56 PM
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854: Your sister is wrong (unless she has some inside information that you're going to use a shit recipe or something). Lambs' hearts are great stuff. The still-beating hearts of one's mocking siblings, on the other hand, disappointing. I'm just making conversation here.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:56 PM
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I have vague plans to cook and eat a lamb's heart on Saturday. My sister tells me it won't taste good, but I'm determined.

The first paragraph of Wolfon's debut novel, folks. You heard it hear first.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:57 PM
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860

854. Does your sister offer evidence for this apparently absurd assertion?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:58 PM
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861

No, my debut novel will begin with the sentence fragment noted here. Your proposal has its merits, though.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:58 PM
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It can be rendered even more piquant by serving it on board an airplane, or ideally in a helicopter being transported by cargo airplane.

Or in this. With mirrors on opposite walls.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:59 PM
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853: not a helicopter, and Airstream trailer! For hiding one's rapacity from god, that is the canonical stuffing.

Meanwhile, my Turfucken recipe disappeared with the rest of the Poor Man's archives.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:00 PM
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864

LB, I still think this misunderstands the problem:

One problem with calls for massive reductions in population and resource coming from rich people is that poorer people tend to have the perfectly reasonable reaction "Sure, you want us gone, and those of us who remain to not consume anything. Howzabout you go first?" If the birthrate and resource use of California can drop to a significant extent, then Californians are in a slightly less grotesque position to be exhorting say, residents of Bangladesh to reduce their population as well. (Not that this makes this practical, but starting locally doesn't seem to be a central problem with it.)

My point is not about the rhetorical higher ground or the moral authority to call on other people to do things. It's about the incentives. This sounds like the unilateral disarmament of the environmental movement: here, let's make the US a small, economically (and, as a result, strategically) impotent nation, but o! the moral authority we will have to call for change! To which others respond in unhelpful ways. Again: granting that the Megan Plan would be helpful if everyone followed it is *not* granting that we have reason to follow it knowing that others will not.

Analogy: if you want people to use less carbon, create incentives for doing so. But creating the incentives required for the Megan Plan requires the sorts of political institutions that (as I said a long time ago) we don't have and could not sustain, because (among other reasons) *national* institutions aren't sufficient.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:05 PM
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865

863: Pwnage more delicious than snails, or even tiny songbirds.

Excerpts from the Helicopter Quartet here. Frank Scheffer's documentary on the piece available for download here. I have the Arditti recording; it's an awesome idea, but the piece itself is kind of annoying.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:10 PM
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866

So there are two prisoners, kept separate from each each other in isolation cells. Each of them has the opportunity to get knocked up by a prison guard...


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:13 PM
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867

443

"What's wrong with parochialism? Pretty much everyone has some of it going on -- if you don't on some level believe your home is the best place on earth to live, you should move. ..."

This makes no sense to me. Most of us face constraints that oblige us to compromise about where we live, what job we take etc.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:13 PM
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868

Possibly it just fell flat.

A dead Ortolan, sure. But a live one will fly over your head and lift the serviette too.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:14 PM
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869

To follow up on 864, you'd have to have some kind of guarantee that while Californitopia turns its economy back to 1900 (or 900), some other country doesn't figure out "hey, look at all those guys sitting on these fossil fuels they're not using because they're so sustainable! Think would could take 'em?"

It doesn't mean anything can't be done, but realizing that it's not just a project California or U.S. can undertake on its own, especially if that project entails a significant drop in the quality of life is a good start.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:15 PM
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870

864. But we know from experiment what the effective incentives are here:

Firstly, do not be a subsistence+ peasant, such that having a lot of children enables you to grow just enough surplus to buy some capital goods, like a rake, in a good year, and seed corn in a bad one;
secondly, have a sufficiently high standard of living that the marginal cost of raising a third child would potentially threaten that standard, but not so high that you can give the economics of raising a large family the finger.

Seems to me that the former is compatible with a post-abundance economy, but the latter isn't. Impasse.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:16 PM
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871

It's like saying I'm going to "get started" solving the prisoner's dilemma by always cooperating.

That is totally what I would do.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:16 PM
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872

754

"Note that the birth control, abortion, and magical desire for only children has to be worldwide, lest our utopia be annexed."

No it doesn't. Military power doesn't have to depend on mass armies. However you do have to be willing to bar starving refugees.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:18 PM
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873

871: funny joke.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:19 PM
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874

766

"There also has to be some way of dealing with the inverted demographic pyramid when the current generation of adults want to retire."

This is not a serious problem. Fewer unproductive children balance additional unproductive seniors.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:20 PM
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875

Fewer unproductive children balance additional unproductive seniors.

Only if you fatten up the remaining ones.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:22 PM
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876

It's a good thing Shearer has come along. Now we can finally get some clarity.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:24 PM
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877

876: the fact that he's reading through this entire thread is cracking me up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:25 PM
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878

The inverted demographic pyramid -- that's only a problem for one generation, right? After that you'd have straight sides at a new lower population. Sucks for that generation and reason to think about transition mechanisms, but it is a limited problem, right?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:26 PM
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879

So you're thinking the plan is to shrink the world population by 80% in a single generation?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:28 PM
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880

I love that there's a little corner of the Internet where a person can make ortolan jokes and expect them to be understood.

Ortolans were on This American Life. They're over.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:30 PM
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881

So you're thinking the plan is to shrink the world population by 80% in a single generation?

True, all of our tools, dwellings, cities, etc. would be comically useless, but we would only need 0.8% as much food and water, so, you know.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:31 PM
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882

Yes. Personally. Form a line.

No, but it is just that I wonder at that question every time it gets brought up. It is a transition problem, but not a reason not to go to a smaller population and stay there. I was hoping someone would confirm that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:32 PM
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883

881: it would ratchet up the adorability factor a ton, and just think how good it would be for the sport of horse racing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:32 PM
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884

Josh outs himself as a Style Section writer.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:32 PM
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885

Fewer unproductive children balance additional unproductive seniors

in steady state, perhaps, but the transitional generation rather gets it in the shorts.

that's only a problem for one generation, right?

I hate to put words into anyone's mouth, blacken their character, etc, but the plain fact is that the number of people we're talking about here is clearly in the billions.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:33 PM
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886

882: well, but the "transition" to a smaller population would take a very long time, is I think the issue. Like, centuries, let's say.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:34 PM
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887

Tragically, the Dead Kennedys actually have a song about this.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:34 PM
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888

887: that's rather disconcertingly relevant.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:36 PM
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889

Huh. I was certain that the link in 887 would go to "Kill the Poor."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:36 PM
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890

888: And fukkin' retahhded.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:36 PM
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891

887: I was thinking more this song.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:37 PM
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892

It is a transition problem, but not a reason not to go to a smaller population and stay there

A similar case could be made for jumping off the Matterhorn; after all, the beer and food is much nicer down in the valley and it's cold at the top - you're not going to worry about a transition problem, are you?

If that analogy seems weak to you, it's because it was my second choice, after rejecting the far more striking but equally precise analogy to the attempt of the German state to execute a change in the demographics of Europe between 1933 and 1945, and the numerous memorials and museums dedicated to the associated transition problem.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:37 PM
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893

No, "kill the poor" is kind of cool but the song about what if there were a conspiracy of the powerful to make the downtrodden really tiny has almost nothing to redeem it.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:38 PM
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894

Josh outs himself as a Style Section writer.

You've found my secret shame, ben.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:38 PM
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895

Hmmm. I don't think we have centuries before we lose billions to catastrophes.

(I didn't mean 'one generation' exactly; I was trying to simplify the demography problem to see if I understood it right.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:41 PM
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896

Come to think of it, "California Über Alles" would also have been appropriate.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:42 PM
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897

Or "moon over marin." Wow, the whole DK discography is relevant. Too bad they didn't write a song about falling for epic trolls.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:44 PM
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898

Wow, the whole DK discography is relevant.

Except "Dog Bite".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:45 PM
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899

I don't think we have centuries before we lose billions to catastrophes.

What are your odds on humanity going extinct? Also, what do you think of Under A Green Sky?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:46 PM
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900

Come on, folks. I'm counting on having the benefit of the doubt for not having mass-genocidal wishes and also genuinely thinking that things are grim, and moreover, more grim for other poorer people. It'd help if I got that much credit from you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:47 PM
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901

I don't know if "MTV Get Off The Air" is that relevant.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:47 PM
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902

I think extinction can be averted by making strong choices now (each for themselves, but nevertheless in the same direction), but I don't know how to get to there.

I'm even more greedy than that, because I want a high quality of life for people, and I think the path to that is even more constrained.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:49 PM
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903

Haven't read Under a Green Sky.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:50 PM
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904

My favorite DKs song is "Too Earnest to Troll".

Megan isn't trolling at all, anyway. too many people insist on agreeing on virtually every premise.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:51 PM
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905

Megan I don't think anybody thinks you actually support genocide. Just that the things you want to happen would sort of inevitably involve it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:51 PM
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906

899 is basically hilarious.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:52 PM
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907

benefit of the doubt for not having mass-genocidal wishes

Think about having practically unlimited corpses to throw off a roof, though. GENOCIDE PARTY AT MEGAN'S!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:52 PM
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908

899: I don't know about Megan, but I think that any careful analysis will give a tiny probability of humanity going extinct but a pretty high probability of a population crash in the next few decades. The estimates all involve pretty large error.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:52 PM
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909

What's frustrating about this, Megan, is that a big part of the grimness of the problem is the point you keep ignoring.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:53 PM
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910

Slugs are often toxic. An Oregon frat boy type on a dare died of slug ingestion. Toxins are their substitute for shells.

The export of wild ginseng root from America to the Orient began in the early 1700s. The discovery that ginseng grew wild in America was made, IIRC, but two French Jesuits in Canada, who were relying on the research of other Jesuits in China.

Edible snails are easily grown in a terrarium, but herds of snails make a loud munching sound which can be quite annoying.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:53 PM
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911

||
We're less than a hundred comments away from comment #900,000 (though that includes deleted spam and whatnot).
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:54 PM
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912

My God. Will UnfoggedCon III be the Million Comment March?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:56 PM
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913

I think it would be kind of neat to go extinct for maybe twenty, thirty thousand years, then come back and see how the place has changed; kind of like when you come home after your first year away at college and everything is different somehow, but on a bigger scale.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:56 PM
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914

911. So, do we have a Y2K type problem?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:56 PM
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915

911: Now would be a good time for new commenters to hurry up and read the archives.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:57 PM
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916

907 - They reek when they land in the fire. It puts all the vegetarians off.

905 - See I think they're going to happen any way, which is why I'd like to take an explicit and planned and even stark choice now, to end up at the best likely outcome.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:57 PM
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917

913: plus you'd have all these new experiences and stories to share with the species that didn't go extinct.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:57 PM
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918

Just that the things you want to happen would sort of inevitably involve it.

That's uncharitable. It's reasonable, if a bit pessimistic, to believe these things are going to happen regardless of what you do, and planning it out is the best you can do.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:59 PM
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919

913: This remains an interesting article, Ben. I say "remains" because I'm afraid that I've recommended it to you before. And I know how you hate repetition. I suppose I could just cut out the middleman, and say, "Fuck you, I'm doing my best to entertain you."


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:59 PM
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920

which is why I'd like to take an explicit and planned and even stark choice now, to end up at the best likely outcome

A noble impulse indeed. I'm not really sure you're on the right track as far as getting there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:59 PM
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921

damn. pwned by Megan when answering for her. Bad form, that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:59 PM
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922

913: The bears already turned my room into a guest room?!?


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:00 PM
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923

damn. pwned by Megan when answering for her. Bad form, that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:00 PM
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924

a big part of the grimness of the problem is the point you keep ignoring.

What exactly? The rapid decline in number of people? I'm the one who says to do it fast and voluntarily and I say that because I don't ignore the what it will be like if we don't (again, mostly for poorer people in other countries).

What else am I missing?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:00 PM
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925

913: Find yourself a copy of Marooned in Realtime, by Vernor Vinge, if the idea appeals to you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:00 PM
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926

915: Are you suggesting you're taking down the archives? Because that would be ... maybe not such a bad idea.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:01 PM
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927

918: but the problem is, if the solution to most of the world's population being eliminated is to eliminate most of the world's population, you're not actually leaving yourself with a whole lot of humane options.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:01 PM
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928

Does comment 900,000 win a prize? Because I like prizes.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:01 PM
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929

913: Find yourself a copy of Marooned in Realtime, by Vernor Vinge, if the idea appeals to you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:02 PM
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930

Stras frequently quotes from Under a Green Sky, which makes me instantly suspicious of it.

Some of his quotes indicate a chain of logic that goes "previous mass extinction events have involved massive changes in the atmospheric composition that render the planet much less habitable. we are clearly in the midst of a mass extinction event. therefore we need to worry about changes in the atmospheric composition that will kill all humans." This chain of logic has a glaringly obvious flaw.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:03 PM
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931

Naw, I really appreciated it, Soup Biscuit.

I'm not really sure you're on the right track as far as getting there.

Awesome. I'd love to be wrong. Tell me the constraints you see and the better paths.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:03 PM
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932

I don't know if anyone cares about what I've been eating lately, but for breakfast I had some cold roast pork with some mustard, cheese, an (heirloom, local) apple, and a slice of bread (from a loaf bought on Saturday!), and right now I'm braising oxtails and shanks along with a wild pig's foot and various veggies, to be served with polenta for dinner. Smells pretty good! (Lunch was an ounce of chocolate.)

Ari: it would cost me seventeen frackin' dollars to read that. I don't have that kind of money! I spent it all on oxtails.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:03 PM
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933

Fun game, Ben! I had black bread with cream cheese, and some cold-brewed coffee. (Which I learned how to make on unfogged.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:06 PM
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934

885

"in steady state, perhaps, but the transitional generation rather gets it in the shorts."

This is wrong. Decreasing the population growth rate (by having fewer children) initially decreases the fraction of unproductive citizens as the number of children starts decreasing immediately (compared to a continued population growth status quo) but the number of productive citizens doesn't start to decrease for many years. Transition could be a problem going abruptly from a negative growth steady state to a positive growth steady state (since there would a period when the minumum size age cohorts are centered on the productive years) but this would be managable with a gradual transition.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:06 PM
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935

Are you suggesting you're taking down the archives?

Good lord, no. Just saying that folks should get cracking before they have to slog through a million to catch up.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:07 PM
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936

This thread reminds me a lot of the beat-up-on-minneapolitan thread form a few days ago. In both cases, someone was trying, with not the greatest results, to grapple with real, deep problems of how we organize ourselves as human beings. In both cases, the collective response has been a combination of nit-picking and "nyah nyah I can't hear you." The problems remain. I sympathize with stras's writing off the Unfoggetariat as incorrigibly conservative.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:07 PM
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937

932: Really? It's behind a paywall? How does the site know that I'm a subscriber, I wonder. That's creepy. Anyway, send me your address, and I'll photocopy the real thing for you.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:07 PM
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938

930: To be clear, we should separate estimates for the likelihood of climate-change induced population crashes from agricultural footprint induced population crashes.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:07 PM
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939

924: no, I mean the PD/collective action stuff. I.e., how to bring it about that it makes sense for individuals to make the necessary choices (whether this involves directly modifying their behavior, or choosing to create structures that provide behavior-modifying incentives, or whatever).


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:08 PM
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940

936 is uncharitable, but it's not as there hasn't been plenty of uncharity already here.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:09 PM
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941

Stras frequently quotes from Under a Green Sky, which makes me instantly suspicious of it.

This is not Standpipe's other blog.

(I actually read Under a Green Sky because stras talked about it... Good book, not actually mostly about humanity going extinct, and it doesn't say exactly what stras said it does.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:10 PM
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942

937: Really? What's your email? Probably something lame like akelman at ucdavis dot edu.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:10 PM
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943

931: well, there's the whole convincing everybody on earth not to have children thing, that might not be so realistic. Then there's the supporting the massive aging population so they don't die alone and uncared for, there's that thing. Then there's the creating an entirely new, worldwide system of government so you can manage this whole process. Then, once you've got that ironed out, there's the developing an entirely new economics that doesn't utterly collapse. So, much as I admire your cold-eyed realism in arguing that we have to wipe out much of the earth's population now lest they be wiped out later, I'm not 100% there with you on how very much better it would be than the alternative of not relying entirely on absurd leaps of faith to fill in the gaps in your very, very silly (if lovely and sustainable and beachy and tomatoful) imaginary world.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:11 PM
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944

I had two medium, brown local eggs in an omelet stuffed with Ukrainian garlic (which I bought from the farmer on Sunday), jalapenos, cherry tomatoes, and avocado, on multigrain bread, along with French-pressed coffee and milk.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:11 PM
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945

I'm trying to fill the uncharity gap. ATM.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:11 PM
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946

Probably something lame

As ever.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:12 PM
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947

I'm a little crabby that people here seem to be espousing the same position I had when I was labeled 'crazed.' I could be misreading things though.

I'm glad that many people are finally coming out of their clouds and taking a sober look around, even if the view is not so great.

People were thinking some crazy things there for awhile.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:13 PM
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948

So was I right?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:13 PM
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949

In both cases, someone was trying, with not the greatest results, to grapple with real, deep problems of how we organize ourselves as human beings.

Megan hasn't actually suggested a course of action here, which is making most of this highly speculative. We're a bit short of grappling stage.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:13 PM
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950

936: well, yes. Many conversations here have followed the pattern "blue sky dreamer proposes utterly unrealistic (verging on absurd) plan to solve real problem, is widely mocked, then, in high moral dudgeon, insults the rest of the commentariat as unfeeling thugs and probable fascists". Maybe that's not how stras would summarize things?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:14 PM
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951

How is Ukrainian garlic different from other garlic?

(For a moment I thought it was garlic that was grown in the Ukraine and shipped here, which would have been pretty funny.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:15 PM
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952

I had locally made blue cheese on locally made manchet bread with a supermarket salad that had probably been imported from the four corners of the earth. On balance, I think AWB has had the best dinner so far.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:15 PM
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953

Boy was my lunch delicious. I had mussels in white wine and braised spinach with roast garlic all up in there. And, like, bread. I don't know if it was local bread or not.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:16 PM
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954

I had an unusually good, albeit rather dull, sandwich for lunch: fresh basil and mozzarella on fresh sourdough. I washed it down with a san/pelle/grino limon/ata (people are watching -- seriously).


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:16 PM
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955

I had bahn-mi on amazing bread.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:17 PM
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956

940: 936 is uncharitable

Having finally done an Achilles on this thread (brought on by a day of, like, work) I do not find 936 uncharitable at all. An assortment of previous "probable world futures" threads, that I will not bother to find, offered in evidence.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:18 PM
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957

Nine hundred thousand, bitches.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:18 PM
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958

936:

I hope you're not talking about me. I try as best I can to be grounded in reality which I admit does piss off both sides. I take offense being called conservative or liberal. I think I am mostly a realist. When times are bad it seems everybody is mad at the realists.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:18 PM
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959

Yeah. Spammer.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:18 PM
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960

I had leftover spaghetti for lunch. I'm pretty sure none of it was local, because I used all the local tomatoes in gazpacho.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:19 PM
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961

There's no shame in enjoying SP lemon soda, ari, though I think Sifu wins. I love mussels.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:19 PM
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962

How is Ukrainian garlic different from other garlic?

For years it was known as "Polish garlic" or "Russian garlic," actually.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:19 PM
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963

956: Dammit!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:19 PM
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964

Come on, pick up the pace, I want to see this thing reach 1000.

I changed my mind. Megan is totally right.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:20 PM
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965

My lunch was going to be delicious leftover okra, but I got fed takeout Thai food instead. Until tomorrow, little okras! Tonight will be local kale with local onions and local garlic cooked in not-at-all local olive oil, plus beans that I had shipped to me, personally, from California.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:21 PM
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966

I try as best I can to be grounded in reality ...

Sometimes your best just isn't good enough, Tripp.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:21 PM
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How is Ukrainian garlic different from other garlic?

It's unleavened.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:21 PM
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968

Ukrainian garlic was the variety he called it. I also bought a bulb of his "music garlic."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:21 PM
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950: I'd describe the problem more as "Blue sky dreamer identifies real and serious problem worthy of discussion, throws out some ideas related to solutions. Sober, sensible commentariat shreds ideas as not a complete solution to problem and impractical anyway, rejects attempts to redirect attention to problem by pointing out that initial ideas really were silly, and wanders off, satisfied with its effort to shut down discussion of serious problems by silly people."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:23 PM
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963: 956: Dammit!

Tell it to Zeno, loser.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:23 PM
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Isn't this going to be Ben's first 1,000 comment thread? Do I remember reading recently that he hasn't had one before this? If so, I'm taking it there myself, if need be. Don't stand in my way; I've got thirty-something "Football sucks" ready to go.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:24 PM
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962: it'll be Russian Garlic again if we don't stop the reds from taking Atlanta!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:24 PM
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957:

now tell me how much that is in manperson-years of productivity lost.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:25 PM
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969: sure, but you're forgetting all the laughs along the way.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:25 PM
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971: I think college football teams should only play games against other colleges in the same state.

And there should be fewer of them.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:26 PM
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956:

I do not find 936 uncharitable at all. An assortment of previous "probable world futures" threads, that I will not bother to find, offered in evidence.

JP,

If you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen.

Personally I'm sick of lies and I'm sick of over-sensitivity.

Now is the time to toughen up and start getting our gear together because the ride is gonna be bumpy from here out.

We need to take an honest hard look at where we are going, take a deep breath, and get to it.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:26 PM
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977

I completely concur with 969.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:26 PM
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978

I had an artisanally grilled hot dog Chicago-style, no relish, no onion, and a Maxwell Street char Polish (grilled onions and mustard, natch) with a side of fries.

Because I'm American, you fuckers.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:26 PM
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plus beans that I had shipped to me, personally, from California

I hope you didn't trade a cow for them. Because if they're the same ones I've got, they're not at all magic.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:27 PM
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I thought I disagreed with the way Megan characterized California as virtuously self-sufficient, which is false, not the way that she observed that humans aren't doing very well at sustainable practices overall, which is true. So, sure, I disagree that the solution to the latter is a big hearty dose of the former.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:28 PM
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981

Ari's tooting has not increased.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:29 PM
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982

I wholeheartedly reject the idea that only the people mocking the silly people are reponsible for the failure of these sorts of threads to metastasize into serious policy discussions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:29 PM
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...no relish, no onion,...Because I'm American

978 is self-contradictory.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:30 PM
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I hope you didn't trade a cow for them. Because if they're the same ones I've got, they're not at all magic.

I'll let you know just how magical they are after I've eaten them.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:30 PM
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984: The variability of dried beans/legumes can be really surprising. Hope yours are yummy.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:31 PM
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I regret to discover that I have been pwned on the undignified topic of musical fruit.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:31 PM
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987

969 is kind of insulting, but you really don't want me playing this game.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:31 PM
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982: It is a truth universally acknowledged that the fault for anything going wrong is never all on one side. But the focus on insisting that the silly people are silly does get in the way of moving the conversation forward. Not that I have many ideas for where it goes other than "We're all doomed."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:32 PM
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984: The variability of dried beans/legumes can be really surprising. Hope yours are yummy.

I am excited about them. Tonight's are Red Nightfalls, but I also bought several other varieties while I was at it. Beans!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:33 PM
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987: look, Cala, if it weren't for you billions would still be alive.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:33 PM
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991

990: That makes me a hero of this movement, right?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:35 PM
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Ben, your link suggested that your pork was from that other recipe. Did you make strangolapreti?

I had leftover Daube de bœuf Provençale for lunch.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:35 PM
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Not that I have many ideas for where it goes other than "We're all doomed."

Hence the problem. A thread full of common-sense suggestions of things we can all do -- in addition to being things that most of us already know on some level -- is exactly the sort of thing to inspire new heights of silliness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:35 PM
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991: yes. Here's your fresh strawberry.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:36 PM
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Ooh, gee, I'm not even in California. (One thing to be truly envious of Californians: strawberry season here is about 4 days.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:37 PM
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976: I'm sick of over-sensitivity.

Jesus Freaking Christ on a Cross of Imported Lebanese Lumber, Tripp, all I was pointing out was that everybody else had for the most part acted/reacted differently in this thread compared to those threads. Overall I agree that 969 is right.

So 976 -> 976.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:37 PM
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976: When did Tripp turn into mcmanus?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:38 PM
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you really don't want me playing this game

But the rest of us do! Come play, Cala!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:40 PM
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939, 943, 949 - I did list four voluntary population reduction measures that were moderately concrete. My proposal would be to start with those and see how far they take us in a decade before creating other structures that are more restrictive.

If you mean, how to we get to a community that is even willing to put those in place? Well, talking about it would be an early step, since I have no perception that population reduction is on the policy horizon. Besides that, states could put it in their plan requirements, the way they are doing for GG emissions. It could be incorporated into grade school curriculums by a governor who was willing to do that. Someone respected could make it a cause and see if it catches on. A few splashy reports could come out. People could write public comments to agencies telling them to consider population reduction and also letters to the editor.

My sense of these things is that they take roughly twenty years to gather momentum (my Dad knows the guy at the FAA who started the no-smoking-on-airplanes idea, says he started pushing for that in the early sixties). That seems like too long for me. But maybe gas at $10/gallon will get us to a similar place. It is a rough way to do that, but you may be right that we are collectively unwilling to do iit intentionally.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:40 PM
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Jesus, no, I didn't. I bought the pasta, which wasn't even gnocchi.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:40 PM
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Not that I have many ideas for where it goes other than "We're all doomed."

That is why y'all need me two steps ahead. After the honest hard look and realizing that "we're all doomed" then move on to "it doesn't matter, fight the good fight anyway because it is the right thing to do."

As usual everyone is gonna ignore me until they stumble into that insight on their own. Fine.

People. grrr. What am I gonna do with them?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:41 PM
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Also, to answer Emerson upthread, my grains are milled, if not grown, locally. Bob's is just down the road from where I dump my yard debris.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:41 PM
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997: There was some sort of shadowy clinic in Mexico. Nobody quite has the straight story though. Best not to speak of it, really.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:41 PM
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1004

Yes! So great. Thanks, Ben.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:41 PM
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This apple I'm eating has a pinkish tinge to the flesh the first half-centimeter or so underneath the parts where the skin is red. Neat!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:41 PM
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Somehow that's the perfect content for comment #1000.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:44 PM
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999: One worry, which is a nitpick to some, and a big problem to others, is that voluntary population reduction measures won't seem to be enough (e.g., Europe.) The other is on the assumption that it works, there is a big problem of what to do when an aging population has to depend on a smaller workforce. China's running into the beginnings of this now. It's really not clear how it all shakes out.

I think we'd be better off reducing consumption, to be honest. The problem isn't child #2, it's that child #2 uses enough stuff to support 100.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:45 PM
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I also bought a bulb of his "music garlic."

Of the local farmers growing garlic, only one has music garlic, and that is by far my favorite of the varieties available.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:45 PM
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Tripp's been McManus ever since he returned from the wild.

A step actually possible for everyone here to take is a reduction of consumption (measured in resource terms rather than in dollar terms). No air conditioning, heat only to 60 or so, minimal travel, wash clothes by hand and not too often, no lawn, live in a small crowded house, don't flush too often, eat small amounts the lowest-impact food regardless of geographical source, patch and repair rather than upgrading, limit yourself to one pair of shoes and two changes of clothes, etc. Live like a Bangla Deshi, in short.

It's odd that we're talking about a drastic reduction of population rather than this. But not really.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:45 PM
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You're right, LB, I should never underestimate the power of writing letters to the editor.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:46 PM
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I did list four voluntary population reduction measures that were moderately concrete.

Wait a second... when exactly did we all agree that population reduction is even necessary? Yeah, sure, if we keep doing things exactly the way we have the last thirty years a shitload of people are gonna die, but it doesn't automatically follow from that that the solution is to reduce the world's population.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:47 PM
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1012

Garlic, garlic, the musical bulb.
The more you eat, the closer you come to finding something that rhymes with "bulb"


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:48 PM
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1013

Cala and Emerson are right about population size/resource use, anyway.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:48 PM
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1014

This, on the other hand, is not silly at all.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:49 PM
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1007 - That's why I'd love for it to be an active policy area. It would be great to know what the real levers are, and whether there are greater gains for different policy techniques.

And, like Emerson suggests in 1009, I actually have more faith that people would go for a smaller population and preserve some of their standard of living than I do that they'd voluntarily decrease their standard of living as much as they'd need to to get the same effect.

1010 - If that was to me, FL, well, that is one of the options we have for applying pressure. As part of a series of measures, it does matter. If you think that there should be a different way to get things done in the states, I'd like to hear that. But saying it is impossible so it isn't worth it to try really fucking shafts future people.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:52 PM
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I am in favor both of population reduction and standard-of-living reduction, but this thread has been oddly skewed toward the former, which we can contribute little to, rather than the latter, which is something we can do something about, but only at personal cost.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:52 PM
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1017

Captivatingly Kenyan!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:54 PM
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1011: It's not a certainty, it's just the most plausible path.

It's odd that we're talking about a drastic reduction of population rather than this. But not really.

Right, but it's not nearly enough. Conservation would help many things but it's both very difficult to sell (at least in such a way to make a big difference) and more importantly, it doesn't really address the fundamentals (the `green revolution' is essentially tied to the use of fossil inputs, and there is no plausible replacement).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:55 PM
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1019

Gunman kills Arkansas Democratic party chairman


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:56 PM
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1007

"... The other is on the assumption that it works, there is a big problem of what to do when an aging population has to depend on a smaller workforce ..."

This is not a serious problem. The workforce is just a big a fraction of the population because there are fewer children. Raising children is expensive.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:56 PM
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1021

Isn't a large chunk of the population growth in the US driven by immigration anyway? Why not just stop letting people cross the border and let Central and South America worry about reducing their populations?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:57 PM
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1022

Just noting that reduction in energy use is not equivalent to reduction in standard of living. In practice it will correlate.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:59 PM
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(the `green revolution' is essentially tied to the use of fossil inputs, and there is no plausible replacement)

This is the biggest argument in favor of Megan's premise. I don't know what % of the world's non-coal fossil fuels go to ag, transport, petrochemicals, and electricity, but it seems to me that transport and electricity are (relatively) easily replaced with non-FF sources, whereas the others are not. If Al Gore waves a magic wand and all transport and electricity come from renewables (and coal) tomorrow, do we have enough oil and natural gas to last indefinitely? Or have we just kicked the can 10 years down the road? I really don't know what the proportions are, and it's critically important.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:05 PM
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969: I'd see it more as "Blue Sky thinker writes long, passionate political love letter to self, strongly suggests that main problems of society revolve around lack of resemblance to own lifestyle, makes dim predictions of impending doom for anyone insufficiently resembling self, predictable comments thread shitestorm". With a large dash of "makes large claim, attempts to walk away from obviously unacceptable implications of claim, eventually concludes that complete impracticability of pet scheme is someone else's fault".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:09 PM
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The green revolution is partly superior seed, and that doesn't have much of an energy cost. My gay wheatfarmer friend says that you can buy seed customized to maximize yield on your land with its specific growing season. Something like "90-day wheat, 100-day wheat, 110-day wheat", etc.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:09 PM
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1026

Six minutes between comments? We'll never take this thread to 1,000,000 this way.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:10 PM
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1027

988

"... Not that I have many ideas for where it goes other than "We're all doomed.""

But in fact we are not all doomed (except in the sense that nobody lives forever) so saying "we're all doomed" is just a way to avoid thinking about the actual issues.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:11 PM
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1028

Putting aside the fact that any one of these steps can be shot down as impractical or wishful thinking, here is a Paul Ehrlich quote that I find is a nice summary of what a non-awful path to the future would require.

Gradual and humane reduction of the size of the human population, limiting of wasteful per capita consumption among the rich to allow room for increased consumption by the poor, use of more environmentally benign technologies and increased equity among and within nations will all be required.

Of course between the idea and the reality falls "the shadow", which is why I am quite pessimistic about humankind avoiding some manner of grim crash. But does anyone disagree that these are at least the right avenues to pursue?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:13 PM
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1029

If Al Gore waves a magic wand and all transport and electricity come from renewables (and coal) tomorrow, do we have enough oil and natural gas to last indefinitely?

As near as I can tell, fertilizer production just needs free hydrogen, not natural gas per se. The cheapest way to get free hydrogen these days is steam reformation of natural gas, but you could just as easily use solar, nuclear, or hydropower electricity. Ammonia probably makes a decent energy storage media, which is something you need for a lot of the renewable power sources anyway.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:14 PM
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and on the general issue, technological fixes are the only actually feasible solution as neither lifestyle reduction nor population reduction are possible without unacceptably totalitarian governments (and yes that means they are impossible under our current society and yes that means that they do require something not unlike the Chinese state to implement, and no you aren't allowed to assume a magic-pony solution to this bit and then go on to speculate about the more attractive features of your highly dubious people-and-toilet-paper-free utopia).

So all actual policy suggestions (assuming none of us here are actually up to the mark in terms of coming up with big-scale carbon-replacement, carbon-sequestering or geo-engineering ideas) are going to revolve around lining up the incentives through the tax and subsidy system and hoping that some genius will pop up to pull our fat out of the fire like they always have in the past, more or less.

Or in other words, vote Obama. Sorry to get all Brad DeLong but that's the bloody facts and we might as well get used to it.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:15 PM
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1025: Well, and I was going to add that I don't actually think that the hysterical claims of strong green revolution advocates (the people who basically equate every organic apple with a dead African child) are correct, in that a lot of modern ag practices increase production even absent petrofertilizer. Best organic practices are as productive as many mainstream practices, but with the caveat that they require more labor.

Presumably you could combine petrofertilizer with other, labor-intensive practices to create even greater yields, but as has been pointed out countless times, the limiting factor on agriculture isn't crop yield, it's economics* - wealthy First Worlders can outbid hungry Third Worlders for food, including (comparative) luxury goods. Throw the whole world diet to grains, legumes and greens, with no meat and limited fruit, and you could feed 9B with organic practices. But that will never happen, so....

* And, possibly in the future, resource limits. But I'm not convinced that those will likely trump the economics


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:18 PM
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1032

I actually have more faith that people would go for a smaller population

Not that this is a serious discussion, but be careful with the goalposts. Not 'smaller' population. One-fifth the size it is now.

Plus, I'm not sure people would until they're at the point where it's in their economic interest not to have another kid. If you need the kid to help with the farm, people are going to want to have the kid.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:18 PM
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Yeah I mean if we're talking about policy ideas with no chance of actually passing that are about a hundred billion times more likely to be realistic than the village 'round the strawberry bush model, how about completely scrapping the us Ag subsidy system? Sure, it would be economically devastating to a lot of places (including parts of California), but it would eliminate the utterly perverse incentives we currently suffer under.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:19 PM
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1034

"The Islamic Shock"

Another preferred nickname swiped by the black man.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:19 PM
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1035

"US" should probably have been capitalized, and "Ag" arguably shouldn't have.

If you want more policy ideas that are sound and reasonable and would help but won't actually happen, how about completely scrapping the federal mortgage system and all local zoning rules, and replacing them with guidelines that would promote multifamily rental development near transit corridors.

And hey, while we're talking in terms out mega-scale blue-sky woo-woo ideas that are about a hundred billion times more practical than the ideas that have come up so far in this thread, why not reällocate (oh, say) 70% of the money spent on highway projects to rail?

None of this will happen, of course. Yet it will all happen a thousand times over before we convince people they should work together to humanely reduce the world's population by 80%.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:23 PM
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1036

I am in favor of population reduction, consumption reduction, and technological fixes all three.

How paradoxical! I haven't claimed that a single solution must be chosen and the others firmly rejected. I'm speaking eclectically and not arguing a single central idea! My paper does not have a single thesis, and the ideas are not original anyway.

Am I contrarian or what.

The economic orthodoxy is what Dsquared said: there's a tech fix available, we should take steps to bring it about as soon we, as economists, finally concede that there's a problem at all (there are an infonite number of points on a line, you know, so we can't run out of resources), and frankly, talking about population reduction or consumption reduction requires the rejection of the economist's utopia, and that's impossible.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:26 PM
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1032 - well, I was going to ride the moving goalposts until we knew what would happen with voluntary stuff, because in real life I wouldn't actually be all totalitarian and because I can plausibly imagine a wide range of responses to the voluntary measures. If it looked equally grim after giving those a decade or so run, then I'd revisit my original goalposts and write even more strident comments.

1033 - I'd scrap the Farm Bill IN A FLASH if I could. The loss to California ag would be mostly on the west side of the SJV, which shouldn't be farmed.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:28 PM
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When I am President, Sifu, I will reällocate those highway funds, encourage those rentals/condos, and reform the agricultural subsidy system. W-lfs-n in 2020, people.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:29 PM
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1039

And hey, while we're talking in terms out mega-scale blue-sky woo-woo ideas that are about a hundred billion times more practical than the ideas that have come up so far in this thread, why not reällocate (oh, say) 70% of the money spent on highway projects to rail?

piker. Massive mirrors in space is more realistic than ideas so far in this thread. Sequestering carbon in massive algal blooms is less likely to have unintended consequences than ideas so far in this thread. Genetically engineering non-farting cows is less intrinsically risible than ideas so far in this thread.

I demand that everyone drops what they're doing and seriously considers the feasibility of terraforming Neptune! Well maybe you're right, but what if that problem was solved in some way? You agree that it would be a good idea to escape to Neptune don't you? Well what would you rather do - live forever on Neptune or perish on Earth? tcha, you people.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:29 PM
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I don't know. I think ag subsidies may disappear sooner than most people think. I also think that if we're at the front end of peak oil, highway spending might be deemed a silly porky luxury before too terribly long. Remember, we haven't been allocating federal dollars this stupidly forever. There's no reason to think we can't stop.

That said, the federal mortgage system, and the idea that anyone who's middle class deserves a single-family home of their very own, that one seems like a tougher nut to crack. Moving away from the suburban ideal is probably much more likely.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:31 PM
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1041

in fact, I am not even 100% sure that it might not be the case that some nuclear power industry press releases might be less unrealistic than population reduction.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:32 PM
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1042

Genetically engineering non-farting cows is less intrinsically risible than ideas so far in this thread.

Why would you want to genetically engineer a non-farting cow, when you could instead construct a cybernetic anus that would allow dung to pass while trapping the methane and reacting it with atmospheric nitrogen to produce ammonia for fertilization.

Such a lack of imagination these days. Sad, really.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:32 PM
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1043

highway spending might be deemed a silly porky luxury before too terribly long.

Never!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:33 PM
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1044

I think local zoning is going to be the toughest; so long as people can set their own rules for land use, they're going to resist densification. As long as people resist densification, we're going to have the same crappy development patterns, albeit with the direction of income stratification quite possibly inverting, and the exurbs becoming dirt-poor meth-infused shitholes and inner cities glamorously granite countertopped.

Or maybe that's already happened.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:34 PM
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1045

Installing those cybernetic anuses would be a pretty thankless job.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:34 PM
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1046

Are you seriously writing off the feasibility of massive, carbon-sequestering, fartless, chromed cows in space? Because it sort of sounds like you are, and that's pretty shortsighted, if you ask me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:34 PM
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1047

Classic post. Foodies may be good overall, but they still deserve a takedown!

No time to read a 1000 post thread, but I would just like to point out that beets taste great and ramps taste like crap.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:36 PM
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1048

1046: massive, carbon-sequestering fartless, chromed cow blooms, on Neptune. Let's be clear, when we're talking about solutions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:37 PM
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1049

Installing those cybernetic anuses would be a pretty thankless job.

Thankless? You'd be helping save humanity! Unpleasant, I'll grant you.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:37 PM
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1050

1042: I might, actually, think that the cybernetic anus was modern and artificial and not sufficiently local, and that I wanted nothing to do with mass-produced cybernetic anuses, preferring artisanal, "natural" cows' arses which were closer to the land, with a real spirit of terroir. If I was a member of Veblen's leisure class, that is.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:38 PM
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1051

Artisanal, heirloom cybernetic anuses, just like the ones our great-grandparents use to farm in Victory Anus Gardens.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:39 PM
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1052

Baa's comments in the thread linked in 1,043, reminds us of how very recently it was that people (who were not completely evil or stupid) could totally ignore the issues of fuel supply/fuel demand/fuel cost/environmental devastation when talking about transport issues. And this was AFTER the 2004 election.


Does anyone want to associate themself with this sentiment right now?
I guess I'd just like to know what intercity rail would need to do to disqualify itself? I agree with Apostropher that in the realm of crazy government subsidies, Amtrak would hardly be the first I would cut. But when does our patience run out? In 2050, when we're all flying point-to-point on fan wing airplanes will I still have to hear about how train service between Boston and New York should be given more chances?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:40 PM
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1053

cybernetic anus.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:41 PM
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1054

I would spend three hours a day sucking the farts out of cows' arses with a handmade organic latex enema bulb, purchased for £5000. And really, if you won't also make the time to suck cow farts, what kind of a person are you?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:41 PM
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1055

1052: keep in mind that baa's a republican (or libertarian or some other crazy thing).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:42 PM
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1056

W-lfs-n in 2020, people.

I'm afraid we've seen the chicken pictures, Ben.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:42 PM
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1057

If cows were always in large sealed barns, their farts could be collected to substitute for natural gas.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:43 PM
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1058

"A dick in every chicken" will be my campaign slogan.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:43 PM
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1059

Local best-practices organic agriculture, mass conversion to solar using this technology, high speed rail, buffalo commons, hydrogen fuel cells for power storage, carbon nanotube membrane desalization, space elevator, asteroid mining!

Roughly in that order, I think.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:44 PM
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1060

massive, carbon-sequestering fartless, chromed cow blooms, on Neptune. Let's be clear, when we're talking about solutions.

Neptune?! Uranus! (LHF)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:45 PM
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1061

The farts of termites are being harnessed for natural gas at this very moment.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:46 PM
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1062

1057: I suspect the animal welfare people might have something to say about that.

(I seem to remember that there are such things as cowshit power plants - the LibanLait dairy in Lebanon used to run one before it was bombed by the Israelis. But running one off cow farts would be a lot more technically difficult. Although, I emphasise, still several orders of magnitude more realistic than 80% population reduction.)


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:46 PM
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1063

I like that the thread has come full circle to the assholes of tomorrow.


Posted by: elemund | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:48 PM
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1064

1025: Superior seed is a second order effect as I understand it. A lot of the seed improvement hasn't even done anything for yield (in some cases yield is even lower, see current GMO soybeans vs. conventional) because it wasn't designed to: what it has done is facilitate automation. Which is also energy intensive. Sure, not all crops are as fundamentally fossil dependent as modern corn production (most of which isn't even useful as food, it's a feedstock to further energy-costly processes) but it's all pretty expensive. As someone noted above you can look at similar yield numbers with lower fossil input but only by greatly increasing labor. Not a terrible thing necessarily. It's not at all clear that current yields globally can be maintained at all though, practically speaking.


As far as dsquared's going all Delong --- assuming technological fixes will sort everything out is nothing but a mugs game at this point. By all means look for them, but don't treat `technology' as a source for magic ponies. Which means policy initiatives to deal with ag failures, etc. have to be at least explored.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:48 PM
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1065

80% population reduction can be done with one stroke of a button, Danyel. All these other things are collective action problems.


Posted by: Vladimir Putin | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:49 PM
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1066

1057 - I'm actually on a committee on whether to make anaerobic digesters mandatory for dairies in CA. A big problem is how to get gas pipelines out to the dairies so they can sell the methane.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:49 PM
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1067

Or maybe that's already happened.

It seems to be already happening, at least.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:50 PM
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1068

Farm animals have no welfare. Turkeys and chickens live in gulags. No problemo.

You'd need a cheap, simple way of gathering methane and using it for simple local purposes such as heating, water heating, electricity generation, etc. You wouldn't want to try to gather it in a central location and sell it as a commercial product.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:51 PM
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1069

iirc getting the feedlot industry off corn dependence would make a good dent in methane production too. Not that this is likely to happen prior to a fossil supply problem, mind.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:53 PM
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1070

Yeah but the dairies are pretty far from any potential users. It isn't so much gathering it in a central location to sell as a commercial product as, even though they can produce a lot of energy, there's no one close enough to take it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:55 PM
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1071

Dairies would be localized sources of cheap energy, there for the taking for anyone who was able to use it. Any given barn would produce very limited quantities of methane, possibly not more than the farm used. It could be used to drive tractors, for example. But you'd need an extremely economical way of harvesting and processing the methane on a rather small scale.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:58 PM
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1072

You mean in the local economy utopia? Good plan.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:59 PM
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1073

Perhaps cows could be trained to fart only in the collections area.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:01 PM
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1074

1070: The dairies use less electricity than could be generated by the methane produced on-site? Even flaring it off would be advantageous from a greenhouse gas perspective...


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:05 PM
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1075


those consumers who enjoy eating beef or pork or pollo should do time in the slaughterhouse and/or abattoir a few times a month (or buy the birds and cut off their heads themselves).

that's progressive economics not to say a just division of labor.....................(the issue overlooked by classical econ and marxistas alike.........)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:10 PM
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1076

1059

"... high speed rail, ..."

What is with the infatuation with high speed rail? If higher energy costs mean we can't afford planes we won't be able to afford high speed rail either. Instead there will be drastic reductions in long distance travel most of which is not really essential.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:11 PM
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1077

1074

"... Even flaring it off would be advantageous from a greenhouse gas perspective..."

Is this really true?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:13 PM
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1078

I believe that he was saying that the CO2 produced would be less harmful than the methane burned.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:15 PM
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1079

1070 - I guess so. (I don't know this stuff authoritatively, but I can pass along what I hear at meetings.) This is for manure, not farts, btw.

From here:

...California's more than 2,300 dairies and their 1.7 million cows that produce 120 pounds of waste per day -- each.
If methane digesters were installed on all California dairies, they could trap 450,000 tons of methane a year, which is equivalent to taking 2 million cars off the road, according to estimates from Sustainable Conservation.

Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:15 PM
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1080

Cutting the heads off chickens is a joy. They're annoying as shit. It took all my self-control not to harvest the little shits early.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:18 PM
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1081

Wait, I meant 1074. Also, I'd be surprised if the Air Board would let them burn it. If you follow that article, it is a clusterfuck of state agencies doing contradictory things to achieve their different missions.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:18 PM
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1082

it is a clusterfuck of state agencies doing contradictory things to achieve their different missions.

If you generalize a little more, this is a nearly perfect description of how government works.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:34 PM
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1083

I believe that he was saying that the CO2 produced would be less harmful than the methane burned.

Exactly. Methane is a really effective greenhouse gas. 20 times as effective as CO2 by weight, according to the EPA, although burning one pound of methane gives you five pounds of carbon dioxide. Still, a factor of four reduction is nothing to sneer at.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:43 PM
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1084

The erstwhile 1082 was arguably a reasonable contribution that shouldn't have been deleted.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:44 PM
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1085

That's how he gets you, ben.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:46 PM
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1086

There's an interesting article on the history of birth control -- in the service of population control -- in the latest issue of the NYRB

Unfortunately not available in full online. Short version: population reduction programs have met with less success than simply improving people's standard of living has (education delays the bearing of children, less felt need to breed, lower child mortality rate due to improved healthcare and nutrition, voluntarily sought birth control is more likely to succeed than various "incentives," and so on.)

The larger point has already been stated: you can't really start with population reduction. You address the numerous other things mentioned late in this thread; not least, the standard of living of the world's richest has to take some hits in order to increase that of the rest of the world.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:49 PM
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1087

These oxtails are fantastic. I totally want to have sex with me now, and all I've eaten were the bits I (heh) sucked off the bone because I couldn't cleanly separate them, and a few tastes of the braising liquid as it reduced.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:01 PM
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1088

These beans are also fantastic. Vive la decadence!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:03 PM
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1089

1083

"Exactly. Methane is a really effective greenhouse gas. 20 times as effective as CO2 by weight, according to the EPA, although burning one pound of methane gives you five pounds of carbon dioxide. Still, a factor of four reduction is nothing to sneer at."

Yes a molecule of CH4 is much more effective at blocking thermal radiation than a molecule of CO2. CH4 doesn't last as long in the atmosphere which reduces the long term impact but since it is mostly lost by being converted to CO2 it is better to burn it immediately . And by my calculation this produces about 5 pounds of CO2 and H2O together not CO2 alone.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:03 PM
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1090

The Troll of Sorrow is capable of making an intelligent contribution. He almost always chooses not to. Sometimes he mixes his bullshit in with something interesting, giving the referee a hard call.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:04 PM
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1091

And by my calculation this produces about 5 pounds of CO2 and H2O together not CO2 alone.

Whups. So two-ish pounds of CO2. The point still stands. Figuring out how to use the methane is no doubt hard, but as energy costs go up, we'll no doubt see people trying to solve it.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:18 PM
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1092

||

Synchronized diving is a-freaking-mazing.

|>


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:27 PM
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1093

I skipped lunch today. I really need to stop doing that.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:28 PM
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1094

it is possible to earn significant carbon credits under the EU regime simply by flaring off excess methane from an oil rig rather than venting it, and many of the "offset" systems attached to your air tickets do actually gain their credits in this fashion.

in unrelated news, the LibanLait dairy did not produce enough electricity to power itself, and it supplied more or less the entire milk demand of Lebanon, so I suspect that would be more of an academic problem than a real one.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:45 PM
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1095

What an interesting thread. I'm not interested in the least in living in Megan utopia, and don't see how you get there absent fascism. And just sealing the borders.

My pet utopian plan is a little different. Give California back to Mexico. Maybe Texas too. (I've lived in both, and think Texans are, in general, an order of magnitude less provincial than Californians. YMMV). The transformation of Mexico would be tremendous.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:51 PM
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1096

OT: The latest TPM makes it pretty clear that McCain is going to organize his campaign around Georgia, and at least likely that he and Saakashvili have been in cahoots from the start.

McCain is desperate and I think that this is a very long shot. War is all he has to sell, and I think that the voters are ready to take a time out.

One advantage for McCain is that he can use Georgia separate himself from Bush. But I don't think that the voters are looking for "even more warlike".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:54 PM
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1097

Since the cow farms are usually next to cowtown, pipe farts out to a local high efficiency gas burner and burn the shit for the electrical power for the town. Short pipelines, easy to implement on a town by town basis.

If you don't have enough cow farts, you can buy natural gas. Also, you can get methane from garbage dumps so go for the three-in-one solution. Shit, ship the garbage from LA and whatnot to the cowtowns. They smell likes farts anyways.

Local best-practices organic agriculture, mass conversion to solar using this technology, high speed rail, buffalo commons, hydrogen fuel cells for power storage, carbon nanotube membrane desalization, space elevator, asteroid mining!

mass conversion to solar using this technology,

You know, that's actually just an improved method of electrolosis, so you can use any power source to make hydrogen. Which means you can make hydrogen pipelines and burn hydrogen in your cities. (Skip the fuel cells for now, please.)

Local best-practices organic agriculture, mass conversion to solar using this technology, high speed rail, buffalo commons, hydrogen fuel cells for power storage, carbon nanotube membrane desalization, space elevator, asteroid mining!

No: high speed rail, buffalo commons, hydrogen pipeline system (all in parallel), slow mass conversion to solar, solar desalinization, organic ag, lunar mining, carbon nanotubes, and then the space elevators. You need the nanotubes for the elevators.

Really, solar power is not terribly viable (even now) as a power source, but it should work real good for desalinization, particularly in places short on water, long on sunlight and next to like, an ocean. (You boil the water just like they do in a nuclear submarine, and dump the crud back in the ocean.) Not that I think there's any places like that in the US.

max
['There has not been one cock joke in this thread, I think.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:02 PM
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1098

1092: I have no idea how they score it. Seriously. I hear they have access to slo-mo replay now on some events, but the commentator seems to see these tiny failures as they're happening, which I can only guess means the "live" coverage is on enough of a delay that she can view it a few times before saying, "Oh, yeah, that's not going to be the 9.0 they needed."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:11 PM
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1099

giving the referee a hard call

Yeah, against my better judgment, I'm going to let that one stand. I'd have no trouble putting in time at an abattoir, aside from my general aversion to physical labor of any sort. But then I'm kinda sociopathic like that, maybe because of growing up attending pig pickins.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:26 PM
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1100

I'm going to let that one stand

But somebody else isn't! You're like my AA buddy that keeps me honest.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:27 PM
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1101

1101


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:25 PM
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1102

I'd be surprised if the Air Board would let them burn it

Which is funny, because there's literally nothing that burns cleaner than pure methane. Worst case is limited amounts of CO, which is harmless outdoors.

IIRC, pasture-fed cattle emit significantly less methane.

Again, all signs point to an end to grain-fed cattle/dairy cows.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:30 PM
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1103

1101 -> 13


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:30 PM
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1104

['There has not been one cock joke in this thread, I think.']

Do references to Ben's chicken-fucking pic count?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:31 PM
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1105

I can only guess means the "live" coverage is on enough of a delay that she can view it a few times before saying,

Everyone's a cynic.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:35 PM
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1106

1102:

JRoth is letting the termites off scot-free. What's the deal, J? Have a soft spot for termites?

Here's a guy who knows what's up with termites. Note his look of determination:

There are some 4 billion tons of them. It is said that about 700 kg of termites exist for every human on the planet. In terms of carbon churn and methane they contribute the most as compared to other living species on earth. They eat everything cellulose, often even living plant tissues.

The presence of termites across vast swathes of savanna creates a climate that is more severe. There is less humidity in the air, more violent rainstorms, less frequent rain. The type of plants that do manage to survive in termite areas are those which devote a great deal of energy to producing anti termite toxins. Acacias and all types of magnificent mahogany tress all derive from the selective pressure to avoid being gobbled up by termites.

The point is that not everything natural is necessarily good and wholesome, just because termites have been degrading their environment for hundreds of millions of years does not mean that their influence is desirable. termites do not like the cold. If they did, perhaps the soils of the temperate zones would be as poor as tropical soils.

The biomass per sq km of termites is often far greater than any other animal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:47 PM
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1107

there's literally nothing that burns cleaner than pure methane

Hydrogen


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:38 PM
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1108

What's the deal, J? Have a soft spot for termites?

In my basement window frames, sadly.

Hydrogen

D'Oh!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:59 PM
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1109

I note the US Census Bureau projects a near 50% population increase in the next 40 years. I also note that the BBC chooses to make this a story about the extra people's complexions. I don't know which is more depressing.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 1:21 AM
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1110

I have to do this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 7:56 AM
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1111

1111!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 7:57 AM
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1112

1111->15


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 7:58 AM
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1113

Max, why lunar mining over asteroid mining? I realize the asteroids are (much, much) farther away, but you could pop a few nukes off near them Orion-stylee and push them into Earth orbit, conveniently close to the mid-point of the space elevator, and your terminus from dropping raw materials down to earth.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 8:00 AM
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1114

And I realize that 1113 is like debating the fine points of end-stage socialism and/or anarchy (No! Food will be distributed by self-organizing collectives!), I'm just an SF nerd with an English major, and am curious.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 8:07 AM
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1115

Really, solar power is not terribly viable (even now) as a power source, but it should work real good for desalinization, particularly in places short on water, long on sunlight and next to like, an ocean.

Solar costs are falling though. This could be a good development strategy for somewhere like Algeria, which could supply power and water to most of the western Mediterranian.

You don't need to move the asteroids. Most of the energy cost in space flight is in take off, so the return trip from the asteroids would be practically free, as they have negligible gravity. Just chill and wait - after all, the whole operation woulld be robotic.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 8:09 AM
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1116

OFE--Yes, but unless you're building Von Neumann-style machines, you still have to build a bunch of little pushers to get it back, and a power source for driving the individual shipments back.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 8:29 AM
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1117

1092: Synchronized diving is a-freaking-mazing.

Yeah. I was all ready to scoff about the froofrooness of it but damn was I wrong. It is like diving only not doubly hard but quadruply hard.

In theory it should be easy - attain perfect form and find a partner who has done the same. Yeah. In theory. The hard part is actually doing that, and when divers come close it is wonderful to watch.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 8:40 AM
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1118

1115:

You don't need to move the asteroids. Most of the energy cost in space flight is in take off, so the return trip from the asteroids would be practically free, as they have negligible gravity. Just chill and wait - after all, the whole operation woulld be robotic.

Dude. It takes as much energy to stop the rocket coming back to earth as it does to get it off the earth. Yeah, the shuttle and re-entry capsules do some pretty amazing stuff with using the atmosphere for braking but if you do not do the same thing with the packages coming back from the asteroids you'll end up with ruined packages and big bad holes in the Earth. if the packages are big enough you'll kill all life on Earth.

From a space perspective the best way to attack the earth would be by throwing rocks. They don't even have to be that big.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 8:47 AM
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1119

Nobody's actually paying attention at this point, I assume, but some of the responses to Megan remind me of something one of my biology professors said in college. He was a specialist in ecological recovery after disasters, particularly volcanic eruptions, and had learned that a good mix of non-native plant species could really help speed up the process of establishing a mostly-native plants ecosystem. One day after class a bunch of were chatting about this and that - he was often good for it - and the subject of the then-new protests against globalization came up. He explained that he was deeply sympathy to localist concerns, but that in practice he thought it had to be more of a mindset than a hard and fast goal.

"Bismuth is very important," he said. "Do any of you really understand the role bismuth plays in Puget Sound life or where we get it and how?"

Of course, none of us did. It turns out that he didn't, either, except that he'd heard one of the business school profs yammering about it on the phone a few days earlier. His real point, he said, was that everything is very important. He pointed at the ubiquitous periodic table of elements at one end of the lecture hall and commented that the odds were good every single one of those elements with a half-life of more than a few minutes was significant to a worthwhile task within not many miles of us, and that if we were going to propose sweeping changes to what could be allowed or tolerated, we'd better know something about where that place was and what the people there are up to. In the meantime, we should doubt our own confidence.

It's stayed with me.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 9:28 AM
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1120

I have my doubts about protactinium, frankly.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 9:34 AM
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1121

Bruce,

Was this guy's point that we should be very cautious when allowing any change? If so then was his point for or against globalization?

Cautioning against change depends totally on what the baseline is, right?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 9:42 AM
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1122

Sounds to me that he was arguing against purism.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 9:43 AM
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1123

Tripp: John gets it right. He was in favor of a lot of localism, but against overconfidence.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-15-08 3:15 AM
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1124

One of the Nicest Places in the World to Live!

I think I'd prefer California.

I think I'd prefer Yemen.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-15-08 2:49 PM
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