Wednesday, 2 April 2014

07:55 – Barbara is taking the day off work today to make a day trip up to Virginia with her friend Bonnie Richardson. As usual, I tried to convince her to take Colin along. As usual, she deemed that suggestion unworthy of a reply.

I did a phone interview yesterday with Lauren Wolf of Chemical & Engineering News about the S.P.A.R.K. Competition, mostly about the disappearance of real chemistry sets since the 60’s and what S.P.A.R.K. might do to improve the situation. She asked if I knew of any scientists who got their start with a chemistry set, and I told her that she’d be hard-pressed to find any scientist of my generation who hadn’t gotten started in science with a chemistry set. Lauren’s Ph.D. is in physical/bioanalytical chemistry, so I asked her if she’d had a chemistry set as a kid. She hadn’t, but she said she had spent some time in her grandmother’s basement mixing detergents and other chemicals she found there. Of course she hadn’t had a chemistry set. Lauren is young enough to be my daughter, and by the time she should have gotten her first chemistry set, such things no longer existed. More’s the pity.


10:11 – Kit sales still “feel” slow subjectively, but I just checked the figures. In Q1 of this year, our revenues were about 10 times those of 2012Q1 and 1.8 times those of 2013Q1. If that trajectory holds, we’re going to sell a lot of kits this year.

I’ve boosted our batch sizes accordingly. Originally, we made up and bottled chemicals for batches of 15 forensic kits and 30 each biology and chemistry kits. As of now, we’re making up and bottling chemicals for batches of 60 forensic kits and 120 each biology and chemistry kits. The larger runs use our time more efficiently. Which reminds me that I need to get the last half dozen or so solutions made up that we need for another batch of biology kits. And I need to get started on the taxes.

61 thoughts on “Wednesday, 2 April 2014”

  1. Yeah, our uber-vegan daughter has had a slew of digestive system disruptions and problems and issues and challenges over the years, and through the consumption of mega-portions of whatever, has still managed to get her weight up well over 200 pounds anyway. Different strokes for different folks and all that but it can’t be healthy for most people. Nor would the consumption of massive quantities of meat on a regular basis, either, as I’ve seen with some people over the years.

    51 and sunny with blue skies here today; I will make a recon again to see if those girls are going by dressed in their summuh clothes yet.

    And another interview coming up shortly back at the old Big Blue plantation up here; could be interesting.

  2. Nice. The female CryptKeeper.

    And like Mrs. MacBeth, hands dripping blood.

    And let’s not forget Susan Rice and Samantha Power, the other members of the witches trio chanting round the cauldron…

  3. And another interview coming up shortly back at the old Big Blue plantation up here; could be interesting.

    Goodness! Have you figured out how to get them to pay you for interviews yet?

    Here in the Houston area, you would have gotten a job months ago. But you would not be able to find a place to live due to the housing shortage.

    Is anywhere else in the rest of the USA doing well? Or is the low unemployment just a localized issue in the Great State of Texas?

  4. North Dakota is going gangbusters. I’ve heard that residential rents in ND are actually higher than they are in the good areas of NYC.

  5. “Have you figured out how to get them to pay you for interviews yet?”

    That’s a damn good question; as soon as I figure that out, I’ll also work on getting them to pay me for the resumes I send them and emails and calls I respond to. This is sort of a deja vu thing now; three years ago at this same season, I was interviewing there for two jobs, and there was confusion on their part as to which one and how much it paid. I can see it as a possibility again…but I ended up being hired then. Fingers crossed…

    Texas is too hot for me, plus the bugs and venomous reptiles and large Spanish-speaking population when here I am trying to re-learn French.

    Vermont has wicked low unemployment stats but the scene appears a little different when one has been outta work for long periods in the IT field here and now one is over sixty. Rents and house prices vary wildly and we got an amazing deal on this one; houses in the immediate area are averaging twice what we paid two years ago. Sure, nothing works in an old house but you, but we knew that going in and we’re slowly getting it to where we want it; once again it’s mostly rehab and repair of things that previous occupant owners nutzed up and that detract from the 1830 ambience.

    And just saw this:

    http://blogs.marketwatch.com/capitolreport/2014/04/01/four-states-hit-record-highs-for-home-prices/

    ND must be wack due to the fossil energy boom again. Just finished the second season of “Deadwood” and looking forward to the third and last, evidently. Also started watching “Southland.” These things seem to last for two or three seasons now, with pretty good actors and acting and stories, and then go bust.

  6. “Get Ready for the Internet Robber Barons”
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303725404579461822619207730?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303725404579461822619207730.html

    “Power follows the money, and bureaucratic appetites are voracious. Who will there be to stop the process, after all? Where is the elected legislative body that will answer to the world’s population that finally pays these “fees”?”

  7. And I need to get started on the taxes.

    I am still working on mine. Mostly because I do such a poor job of keeping up with my property rental business expenses on a spreadsheet. Yes, a spreadsheet. Not quickbooks nor peachtree.

    I found out Saturday that I had forgotten to log some large expenses and did not make as much profit as I thought, so, I am way over withheld on taxes. We are going to get back about 25% of the taxes that I withheld. Now I am worried that will be an audit trigger. Or a penalty for that interest free loan of money to the government.

    Our tax system sucks. Scum politicians!

  8. In Q1 of this year, our revenues were about 10 times those of 2012Q1 and 1.8 times those of 2013Q1. If that trajectory holds, we’re going to sell a lot of kits this year.

    How do you figure? Going from 10x to 1.8x is a drop of 8.2x, meaning that you’re on track to have (1.8 minus 8.2) -6.4 times as revenue as previously. I’m not sure how that would come about, unless the government seizes all your company assets, fines you, and throws you in jail. Which is only fair. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.

  9. Haw, haw, haw, I love it! Get pissed! Get angry! Do something!

    Viva la revolucion, amigos!

    Vive la révolution et Vive la liberté!

  10. Mostly because I do such a poor job of keeping up with my property rental business expenses on a spreadsheet. Yes, a spreadsheet. Not quickbooks nor peachtree.

    At least there’s no state tax due.

    If you used Quicken to keep your checkbook and credit card expenses, it can dump out reports to make the job a lot, lot easier. We have categories for all the tax and expense buckets set up and most autoallocate when we import the check and credit card data into Quicken. While Turbotax can import directly, I don’t use it, since we didn’t put in paystubs with all the withholding and deductions as the year goes by. Just easier to type in the W2s and 1099s.

  11. “Barbara is taking the day off work today to make a day trip up to Virginia…”

    Mrs. OFD is in Richmond this week, and staying on the third floor of a historic building with a huge and palatial airBnB residence for $110/night; I clued her to the airBnB site a few months ago and she’s been finding amazing places to stay all over the country for at least half of what the hotels charge, with her own ability to buy and cook her own meals, better scenery, privacy, etc., etc. What a discovery this has been for her. Most of her colleagues are not interested; they evidently prefer the predictability and service at hotels and don’t mind paying the higher costs upfront and then waiting many weeks to be reimbursed.

    Two different Fedora versions, one the Security “spin,” just would not boot on the netbook, so I’m keeping the Santoku and installing security packages one by one that were not included in the distro, based on Lubuntu. Now doing updates…still a lot faster than Windows and rarely requires a reboot.

  12. If you used Quicken to keep your checkbook and credit card expenses, it can dump out reports to make the job a lot, lot easier.

    I use Peachtree for my software business (and I have a conscientious bookkeeper) who takes care of my 300 to 500 transactions per month. My personal business (rental property, just three tenants at the moment XXXX four tenants, forgot about my son who uses the small office building for his FFL) is just 4 to 6 transactions per month so an Excel spreadsheet does just fine. When, I enter ALL of the transactions. I’m getting lazy and forgetful in my old age.

    BTW, got the pleasure of meeting an ATF agent last week. She was nice and kinda wishy-washy. Not a gun carrying agent as far as I could tell, just a compliance officer.

  13. At least there’s no state tax due.

    True that for individuals here in the Great State of Texas. But not for businesses. I had to pay a franchise tax for the last two years running for my software business. And state unemployment tax (paid that today, $2400). And state sales tax which I pay monthly via EFT to Texas. And about two or three other taxes for the privilege of running a business and providing a job for quite a few people.

    Don’t even get me started on all the federal taxes my software business pays. I feel like I am a tax collection agent for several entities.

  14. Re: MrAtoz says:
    2 April 2014 at 12:24
    Suck it Vegetarians:
    http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2014/04/01/study-vegetarians-less-healthy-lower-quality-of-life-than-meat-eaters/

    Couple of interesting comments posted after the article …

    veggiedude • an hour ago
    This flies in the face of a (2009) Oxford University study that followed 61,000 people over a 20 year period and came to the exact opposite conclusion as this one.

    d Rease • 2 hours ago
    If one reads the study linked in the article, you’ll see that in fact, they didn’t have a wide sampling of “vegetarians” (2.2% in fact) and that only 0.2% were pure vegetarians*. Also, this study was a survey conducted for only 11 months. This article makes irresponsible conclusions and barely mentions the CDC says that fruit and veggies helps reduce disease in all dietary groups. If this were a balanced article, it might suggest there are multiple longterm published studies that contradict this study.

    *(I’m figuring the guy above uses the words “pure vegetarians” to mean “vegans” ?? i.e. no animal foods, only plant foods.)

    Lots more comments if anyone is interested. Especially “Conspiracy_Fax” raises
    some very valid points, but he is attacked mercilessly.

    Suffice it to say, an article well worth reading is this one by Michael Pollan
    (author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”) published in the New York Times
    Magazine — you can read it here …

    http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/unhappy-meals/

    One of Michael’s best known quotes is: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
    Which is what he uses to begin his article. Here’s links to download a poster …

    http://debris.com/misc/2007/pollan_poster_sm.pdf
    http://debris.com/misc/2007/pollan_poster.pdf
    http://debris.com/journal/1492

  15. Evidence about dietary stuff is mixed and incomplete. This Austrian journal doesn’t look so bad, but then again JAMA and many others (1, 2, 3) have published studies arguing the opposite: that vegetarianism tends to be healthier. I think it’s too early in the history of nutritional science to say for sure.

  16. Well, my take is that we have a couple million years of evolution optimizing us as omnivores. Historically, people have eaten grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other vegetable matter as their primary diet, with dairy and meat whenever they could get it.

  17. I know some vegans who seem quite healthy, though they have odd opinions, such as not wearing wool. They say they won’t eat meat as they feel eating sentient animals is cruel. I say you are what you eat, and I would rather be sentient than a vegetable.

  18. I don’t care what anyone eats or doesn’t eat, excepting of course humanitarians. They bother me.

    I do suspect a good part of that is societal conditioning–“mustn’t kill and eat your little friends, Bobby”–rather than evolved instinct. On the other hand, I suspect that vegans are merely more inclusively empathetic than us meat-eaters. Most of us, for example, would draw the line at eating a dog or a horse because we like dogs and horses. Similarly, most of us draw the line at eating things we hate or fear, like rats, snakes, and bugs. We generally eat only animals that we have no strong feelings about either way.

  19. “…the new Amazon Fire TV?”

    I got their email on that last night; kinda pricey and we already can get Amazon Prime stuff via the Roku anyway. And this past Xmas I saw our son doing the spoken command thing and remote with his XBox-attached tee-vee. We’ll see how far this goes…

    40 here right now and pahtly sunny; I see there are tornado warnings for the great Lone Star State, another reason for us to stay up here which I’d forgotten about. My family moved out to Illinois (for three years and then they couldn’t stand it anymore) a few months after I got back to MA from the Second Indochina War, and my siblings vividly recall having to rush down to the basement after the warnings and seeing huge black funnel clouds in the distance.

    There was a killer tornado sixty years ago in Woostuh, MA, and several smaller ones since, one of which killed a Boy Scout at their camp in Rutland (just outside the city). Periodic warnings, too; and in the early 80s I was driving in to work on Route 9, the Boston-Worcester Turnpike and saw thunderstorm activity ahead, near the Spencer area, and then the sky turned yellow. As I crested a slight rise I looked back and saw two funnel clouds approaching. What an eerie sight. Nothing came of it, but it was extremely interesting.

  20. OFD, another reason you wouldn’t do well in the Lone Star state is your accent: you would have to spel different.

    Just sayin’

  21. I can fake a Texas accent pretty well, having spent many multi-week and multi-month periods there in the early 70s. But that’s OK; y’all in the great Lone Star State don’t have to worry about little ol’ me coming down from beautiful springtime Vermont anytime soon.

  22. Suck it Vegetarians:

    http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2014/04/01/study-vegetarians-less-healthy-lower-quality-of-life-than-meat-eaters/

    A quick examination of human teeth and our digestive track pretty much proves we never evolved to be strict vegetarians.

    I think there is some psychology at play here. I’m going to throw this out with no scientific backing to support it other than my gut feeling, but it seems to me that people most inclined to be vegetarians are also more inclined to have chronic health problems (both physical and mental) and it is those chronic health problems driving them to be vegetarians (they feel it will improve their health or their mental state leaves them too overly empathetic/sympathetic to eat another living creature).

  23. How about VEGANS: THE OTHER HERD ANIMAL

    I haven’t seen that as a bumper sticker, seein’ as I just made it up.

    Or VEGANS: THE OTHER WHITE MEAT

    I’m sure I can get more offensive if I put my mind to it.

  24. “I’m sure I can get more offensive if I put my mind to it.”

    There is neither an iota nor scintilla of doubt about that.

  25. VEGANS: THE OTHER WHITE MEAT

    Haha, I’ve got to admit, that one cracked me up. It is a *very* white, middle class movement, especially in the US.

    On the other hand, I suspect that vegans are merely more inclusively empathetic than us meat-eaters. Most of us, for example, would draw the line at eating a dog or a horse because we like dogs and horses.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I think there’s an argument to be made on the basis of consistency: if I believe dogs can suffer, then I’m forced to conclude that pigs, sheep, etc can also suffer. Their suffering is unnecessary for my survival, so it would be unethical for me to contribute to that suffering by supplying demand for their meat.

    Anyway, I’ll put a stop to my preaching. Time to lunch on some tofu. 😉

  26. I’m sure I can get more offensive if I put my mind to it.

    Best I saw was when I was visiting Oregon. The greenie whackos had shut down a lot of the logging with lawsuits to protect birds, Bambi, fish, plants or whatever they could get a liberal knuckle dragging judge to block.

    “Save a Logger, Eat a Spotted Owl”

  27. I like Anthony Bourdain’s take on vegans: “Being a vegan is a first-world phenomenon, completely self-indulgent.” That is, only in the first-world do people have the luxury of being picky about what they eat. In most of the rest of the world people get their protein and calories wherever they can and are thankful for it.

  28. I suspect that vegans are merely more inclusively empathetic than us meat-eaters

    What is the saying? “Nature is red in tooth and claw”? There is total outrage at one of the Swiss zoos just now. They had a Giraffe that had to be put down. I’m not clear on just why, but there wasn’t apparently anything so wrong with it that they couldn’t feed it to the predators.

    So they did. With the hide still on. So all these innocent, young school children saw lions and tigers chewing on identifiable pieces of giraffe. The outrage!

    And it just happened again yesterday, in a different sense. In a bear park, a mated pair had two cubs. As often happens in nature, the male bear killed one of the cubs yesterday. In full view of the visitors. Again, the outrage!

    I grant that both of these incidents require adults to have earnest discussions with their kids. However, this is a *huge* teaching opportunity, to explain how nature really works, to explain about the way modern society hides death, and tried to deny that it even exists.

    But no, rather than have that discussion, it’s better to demand that such incidents never be allowed to happen again. The male bear will be sterilized. No more giraffes will be served as food, at least not during opening times.

  29. Ray quoted:

    “Save a Logger, Eat a Spotted Owl”

    My favourite is “Greenies get up my nose.”

  30. Brad, IIRC the giraffe was put down because it was too closely related to their other giraffes and couldn’t be placed in another suitable zoo.

  31. Brad, that was the Copenhagen zoo, which last time I checked was in Denmark.

    They’ve put down four lions recently, as well. They’re trying to do their best to maintain some form of natural behavior in a zoo setting which is upsetting to idiots.

    Greg is right in that it was an inbred giraffe from an unexpected pregnancy. Had the pregnancy been between two unrelated giraffes they would have sold the calf to another zoo, which isn’t as upsetting to idiots for some odd reason. Soon we will have a welfare state for unwanted animals. Meanwhile people are starving, which also doesn’t seem to upset people as much as one giraffe does.

  32. I like Anthony Bourdain’s take on vegans: “Being a vegan is a first-world phenomenon, completely self-indulgent.” That is, only in the first-world do people have the luxury of being picky about what they eat. In most of the rest of the world people get their protein and calories wherever they can and are thankful for it.

    While that is true, I don’t feel it’s a particularly effective criticism. Other first world indulgences include running water, electricity, hospitals, vaccinations, roads, and sewers. First world indulgences are sometimes very good things!

    The obvious criticism of vegetarianism/veganism is one which can’t really be addressed: if you don’t consider animals’ suffering to be important, morally, then there’s no reason to avoid inflicting it. And it’s quite reasonable (although IMO wrong) to consider their suffering unimportant.

  33. Just to be clear, then, if vat-grown meat becomes available you’d have no problems eating it? In practical terms, that’s still an SF concept, although we have the technology to do it today. Of course, a pound of beefsteak would cost a lot more for now than the stuff in the supermarket does, but it could be done and the cost would come down quickly if it were done on a large scale.

    It’s interesting. I know many vegetarians. Some of them actually love the taste of meat but refuse to eat it on moral/ethical grounds. Others have no moral/ethical issues with eating meat, but simply don’t like the taste.

  34. Just to be clear, then, if vat-grown meat becomes available you’d have no problems eating it? In practical terms, that’s still an SF concept, although we have the technology to do it today.

    Definitely! I doubt I’d bother spending a lot of money on it, but once it became reasonably efficient I’d have no qualms. I actually met the guy who heads up the team at Maastricht University which recently made one of the first lab-grown “burgers”. (There was basically only one tissue type, so the texture was reportedly all wrong, but it’s a start.)

    It’s interesting. I know many vegetarians. Some of them actually love the taste of meat but refuse to eat it on moral/ethical grounds. Others have no moral/ethical issues with eating meat, but simply don’t like the taste.

    Yeah, there is a lot of variation. I recall you mentioned that your friend, Dr Chervenak, avoids meat because of the taste. I’ve known a lot of people with Indian ancestry who avoid it because they can’t digest it very well. Well, I love the taste and — based on my omnivorous Welsh genetics — I’d thrive on eating meat, cheese, etc. But I don’t think it’s fair to cause pain when I can avoid doing so.

  35. I once conducted an experiment with my kids. We bought carrots with their greens still intact, sliced off the top 1/2″, trimmed the greens to 1″ long and placed them cut end down on a plate filled with water. Within two days the greens started growing again. My youngest son, who was around 6 at the time, remarked that the carrots we happily eat are in fact still very much alive, and even after being cut into small pieces endeavored to grow, while meat stays dead. Since carrots don’t have faces and can’t make noise (that we can hear) we have no moral or ethical qualms about eating them. I remain convinced that all living things are equal in that they are all living. Just because we can’t see distress in their faces, doesn’t mean they don’t or can’t feel distress on some level.

    Since my family’s survival trumps all other living thing’s survival, I have no moral issue eating meat or carrots. What I do want is for living things that are harvested for consumption to be raised or grown in healthy environments, free from contaminants that will reduce their nutritional values.

    Those people who do have moral and ethical issues eating meat should know that small animals are killed in vast numbers during cultivation and harvest of vegetables, as any farmer can tell you. Even hydroponically grown vegetables have blood on their “hands”, as the land used to build the greenhouses will at the very least have displaced animals from living there, if not outright killed them during construction.

    I don’t hunt, but I don’t disdain hunters other than trophy hunters. If a person wants to hunt down and kill an animal, I don’t have a problem with it, as long as they eat it.

    In fact, I support veganism, as it means more meat for the rest of us.

  36. Just because we can’t see distress in their faces, doesn’t mean they don’t or can’t feel distress on some level.

    While it’s true that pain is poorly understood, it seems likely that things without a central nervous system can’t feel anything comparable to the pain we might feel. Conversely, things with a central nervous system, to judge from their reactions, probably feel something comparable. Hence I wouldn’t place all living things on an equal basis: some things seem to experience pain.

    Those people who do have moral and ethical issues eating meat should know that small animals are killed in vast numbers during cultivation and harvest of vegetables, as any farmer can tell you.

    I’ve worked on a farm before, and you’re quite right that some animals die either way. That’s unavoidable. However, far fewer animals die per calorie of plant-based food source. Here’s a brief article which gives an idea of deaths per calorie.

    Anyway, I don’t think people will change their dietary habits any time soon, but I do think it’s realistic to hope that synthetic foods will reduce the pain we inflict to get our food. I also think that my dietary choices (weak veganism, with exceptions for roadkill and eggs from well-kept chickens) are in accordance with the ethical principle I stated previously.

  37. Sorry, you’re right. I guess with the bear incident I mixed things up – the bear was definitely here, but the giraffe was not.

  38. What I don’t understand is why vegans object to dairy products. I mean, there’s little doubt that dairy cattle have much better lives than they would have in the wild. We take care of them, and in return they provide us with milk. It’s a good deal from their perspective. In fact, a dairy cow that isn’t milked on schedule is a very unhappy cow.

  39. I do know a lot of milk haters. They all launch into well-rehearsed tirades about how humans are the only animals that consume milk after being weaned, etc. etc. I didn’t realize that people of European (mostly Northern Europe) descent seem to hold a monopoly on the gene that allows our bodies to produce lactase into adulthood. Over 90% of adults from Eastern Asia, for example, are lactose intolerant. So, looking at it from a global scale, it shouldn’t be called “lactose intolerance” as that is actually mostly normal. Instead, adults who can tolerate lactose have “lactase persistence” as that is the mutation.

  40. Things without a central nervous system cannot be clearly understood by things with one, and vice versa. Just because you can’t or won’t recognize it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Animals raised in a crowded area are not as healthy as animals allowed to roam free. Vegetables grown in a crowded area do not thrive like vegetables grown in a properly weeded garden. Looked at from that perspective they are the same. Or so says my ethical principal. However, neither of us has the right to force our ethical principals on each other.

    Morals and ethics change by the decade and by the culture. Once people thought heretics and witches should be burned at the stake. I think that is abhorrent, but I also think that is a viewpoint of a person who lives in a modern society. I also think that if I lived in those times, I may very well have provided the wood, or perhaps would have been standing on it.

    As long as you don’t try to force your morals and ethics on me, I won’t try to force mine on you. Eat what you want, but allow others to do the same and no-one should have any problems. As I said previously, I support veganism as a food choice. I just don’t subscribe to it myself.

    As for animals that don’t eat milk after they are weaned, both my cat and dog enjoyed milk, while I only use cream in my coffee and I’m rather fond of ice cream, other than that I don’t like milk, except in cooking.

    I know a vegan who refuses to use any animal by-products, including wool which is harvested without harm to the sheep. I’ve been to shearings and the sheep do seem to enjoy having their heavy and hot wool coat trimmed off for the summer. Oddly, that same vegan cut her own hair to make wigs for women going through chemotherapy, and who have lost their own hair. Ethics are weird.

  41. Some people object to milk because of the necessity of killing most male calves. To be fair, though, I don’t know how many deaths per calorie this works out at. Others object because milk cows are kept lactating for a much larger proportion of time than their ancestors, and as such are prone to mastitis and associated pains. It’s difficult to quantify how bad that is. I think it’s worth pointing out that the comparison isn’t necessarily between milking cows and not milking cows. There is also the option of breeding much fewer cows, meaning many cows would no longer need milking because they didn’t exist.

    Good point about lactose tolerance, Chad! Again, many of my Asian friends avoid milk because they can’t digest it. I’m partial to the occasional cheese, but I’m uneasy about the ethics of milk for the reasons given above.

    Things without a central nervous system cannot be clearly understood by things with one, and vice versa.

    On the face of it, that seems obviously untrue. At least in the general case, humans are quite good at understanding things which aren’t human. Certainly, we seem to be better at that understanding than any other animal we’ve met. You’re right that vegetables and animals may or may not thrive, but reproductive success doesn’t imply consciousness — and consciousness, particularly pain, is what I believe to be most relevant here. That choice, of course, is something on which you might disagree.

    Morals and ethics change by the decade and by the culture.
    Indeed!

    As long as you don’t try to force your morals and ethics on me, I won’t try to force mine on you. Eat what you want, but allow others to do the same and no-one should have any problems.

    Precisely so. I never did try to force my morals on you. I merely explained what I think and why.

    I know a vegan who refuses to use any animal by-products, including wool which is harvested without harm to the sheep. I’ve been to shearings and the sheep do seem to enjoy having their heavy and hot wool coat trimmed off for the summer. Oddly, that same vegan cut her own hair to make wigs for women going through chemotherapy, and who have lost their own hair. Ethics are weird.

    Yeah, no idea about the wool thing. Maybe she doesn’t like how sheep are eventually killed for meat? Strikes me as crazy.

  42. “I also think that if I lived in those times, I may very well have provided the wood, or perhaps would have been standing on it.”

    The latter. LOL.

    And after the revolution you’ll be standing on it, too. (just kidding!)

    Wow, I can’t keep all these food ethics situations straight; we don’t eat much meat here anymore, maybe a couple of times a week, if that. Probably as much fish as meat, too. We try our damndest to buy local, go to farmers’ markets, do what we can to grow some of our own stuff in the limited sun-space we have here, etc. But I will relay the concerns about the feelings of carrots to our vegan daughter forthwith.

  43. “On the face of it, that seems obviously untrue.”

    Does it? At one time we thought fish didn’t feel pain “like we do” but they have a central nervous system. We also used to think that dogs and cats didn’t have emotions “like we do” yet anyone who has had a pet knows very well they do. What we used to know is less than we know today. I submit that what we will know in the future will be greater than what we know now. And that may very well include understanding that vegetables have their own state of consciousness. Certainly not on the same level as ours, but one could argue that a cow’s isn’t either.

    Wasn’t there an Asimov short story that used vegetable consciousness as a plot device, and so people were forced to eat yeast, and the punch line was discovering yeast had their own consciousness? I’ve read so many I forget!

    “Precisely so. I never did try to force my morals on you. I merely explained what I think and why. ”

    On this point we are in agreement. I never meant to imply that you were forcing your viewpoint on me, or anyone else. My apologies if you felt that way, or felt that I was thrusting my views on you, other than as a point of discussion.

    “Strikes me as crazy.” Again we agree. I’ll add batshit crazy. Her objections also extend to owning a pet, which she views as a form of slavery. As a ex-pet owner, I never viewed my pets as slaves, but as companions.

  44. “And after the revolution you’ll be standing on it, too. (just kidding!)”

    Yes, I suffer from no delusions. 🙂

  45. “As a ex-pet owner, I never viewed my pets as slaves, but as companions.”

    And could they then leave of their own accord if and when they tired of your companionship?

  46. Actually, for me, it’s more a question of whether I can leave without Colin’s permission.

  47. Well, cats are peculiar creatures; with some exceptions they seem to feel more allegiance to a place than to a person. Perhaps the person is just an aspect of their territory with which they are familiar? Still, both with dogs and cats, it is (or ought to be) a partnership.

    One of our dogs runs away whenever he gets the chance (we manage to restrict this to once a year or so), but he always returns – filthy and happy – after a few hours. We presume he has a girlfriend somewhere.

  48. but he always returns – filthy and happy – after a few hours. We presume he has a girlfriend somewhere.
    Sounds like my younger brother.

  49. My last cat had to stay indoors at my house because I lived on a busy street in a city and there were several loose dogs running around. (The Schenectady PD animal control unit had the manpower to roust owners who’d licensed their pets but let the license lapse, but seldom had time to gather up loose animals even if the animals were a danger or a nuisance. Might that have anything to do with revenue collection? Nah…)

    But most weekends we went to my girlfriend’s house and I let the cat out as soon as we got there. He’d return 18 to 36 hours later, ravenous and tired and sometimes scuffed up. He’d wolf down some food and then collapse somewhere and sleep like the dead. In fact, a couple times my girlfriend called me over because she thought he’d actually died, he was sleeping so heavily.

  50. Our largest and male cat snores when deeply asleep. The two adult cats go out but generally stick close to the house and yahd. They used to bring in deceased rodents, birds and frogs but nothing since last fall. We’ll see as the bay ice leaves and a genuine spring warmth arrives.

    I had a cat back in the early 80s down in Woostuh and he showed up one night with a swelling on the outside of his ear; it was a BB; some piece of shit had shot at him with a BB gun. I managed to get it out with him being none the worse for wear.

  51. I submit that what we will know in the future will be greater than what we know now. And that may very well include understanding that vegetables have their own state of consciousness. Certainly not on the same level as ours, but one could argue that a cow’s isn’t either.

    What we know in the future will be greater than what we know now, sure. But I doubt it’s going to contravene something as basic as the requirement of a brain-like structure for consciousness.

    On this point we are in agreement. I never meant to imply that you were forcing your viewpoint on me, or anyone else. My apologies if you felt that way, or felt that I was thrusting my views on you, other than as a point of discussion.

    Ah no, fair enough; just making sure *I* wasn’t coming across as forcing mine on you. Very good. 😛

  52. “I know a vegan who refuses to use any animal by-products, including wool ….”

    How far does this extend. It is usually obvious for clothing and food stuffs what does and does not have animal products. But does she not have her blood tested when she goes to the doctor? Most tests use animal products like antibodies, buffering proteins, and enzymes. What about medicines? If it is FDA approved in the US or EU then it has been tested on animals before any human got a dose. All of the modern biologic medicines are produced in living things. Sometimes cells in a bioreactor. Increasingly more often in complete animals like rats, rabbits, goats and pigs.

    My question does not come from a desire to put a vegan down, just I think that most who say they use NO animal products are probably using many. Modern medicine is deeply intertwined with animals and animal products.

    JLP

  53. I think that most who say they use NO animal products are probably using many

    I wonder if they have ever worn anything with leather. Shoes, belt, handbag, leather seats in a car, leather furniture, given rawhide chew sticks to their dog, etc. Eaten an ice cream cone. When most of these whackos are really pressed they find they have used more animal products than they realize.

  54. From what I’ve seen and learned over the decades about this sort of political and social activism, many of said activists are ignorant or hypocrites or both. Like the anti-gun-rights crowd, of whom we’ve found any number who either carry themselves, legally or illegally, or have bodyguards, or are like unto the gent out in Kalifornia who was caught running guns illegally himself. The busing fanatics of forty years ago who imposed their draconian rule through the courts on the citizens of South Boston but who sent their own kids to private schools or out to the suburbs. Etc., etc.

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