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Posts Tagged ‘dairy

“Maybe the only significant difference between a really smart simulation and a human being was the noise they made when you punched them”*…

 

… So humans won’t play a significant role in the spreading of intelligence across the cosmos. But that’s OK. Don’t think of humans as the crown of creation. Instead view human civilization as part of a much grander scheme, an important step (but not the last one) on the path of the universe towards higher complexity. Now it seems ready to take its next step, a step comparable to the invention of life itself over 3.5 billion years ago.

This is more than just another industrial revolution. This is something new that transcends humankind and even biology. It is a privilege to witness its beginnings, and contribute something to it…

Jürgen Schmidhube—  of whom it’s been said,  “When A.I. Matures, It May Call Jürgen Schmidhuber ‘Dad’” — shares the reasoning behind his almost breathless anticipation of intelligence-to-come: “Falling Walls: The Past, Present and Future of Artificial Intelligence.”

Then, for a different perspective on (essentially) the same assumption about the future, read Slavoj Žižek’s “Bladerunner 2049: A View of Post-Human Capitalism.”

* Terry Pratchett, The Long Earth

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As we welcome our computer overlords, we might recall that it was on this date in 1930 that Henry W. Jeffries invented the Rotolactor.  Housed in the Lactorium of the Walker Gordon Laboratory Company, Inc., at Plainsboro, N.J., it was a 50-stall revolving platform that enabled the milking of 1,680 cows in seven hours by rotating them into position with the milking machines.  A spiffy version of the Rotolactor, displayed at the 1939 New York World’s Fair in the Borden building as part of the “Dairy World of Tomorrow,” was one of the most popular attractions in the Fair’s Food Zone.

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“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese”*…

 

Americans eat 35 pounds of cheese per year on average—a record amount, more than double the quantity consumed in 1975. And yet that demand doesn’t come close to meeting U.S. supply: The cheese glut is so massive (1.3 billion pounds in cold storage as of May 31) that on two separate occasions, in August and October of last year, the federal government announced it would bail out dairy farmers by purchasing $20 million worth of surplus for distribution to food pantries. Add to that a global drop in demand for dairy, plus technology that’s making cows more prolific, and you have the lowest milk prices since the Great Recession ended in 2009. Farmers poured out almost 50 million gallons of unsold milk last year—actually poured it out, into holes in the ground—according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. In an August 2016 letter, the National Milk Producers Federation begged the USDA for a $150 million bailout…

There exists a little-known, government-sponsored marketing group called Dairy Management Inc.(DMI), whose job it is to squeeze as much milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt as it can into food sold both at home and abroad. Until recently, the “Got Milk?” campaign was its highest-impact success story. But for the past eight years, the group has been the hidden hand guiding most of fast food’s dairy hits—a kind of Illuminati of cheese—including and especially the [Taco Bell] Quesalupa

Amid an historic glut, a secretive, government-sponsored entity is putting cheese anywhere it can stuff it: “The Mad Cheese Scientists Fighting to Save the Dairy Industry.”

* G.K. Chesterton, Alarms and Discursions

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As we opt for the stuffed crust, we might spare a thought for Charles Elmer Hires; he died on this date in 1937.  A Quaker pharmacist, introduced root beer to the world at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876.  A committed member of the Temperance Movement, Hires saw his drink (the original formula included sarsaparilla, sasafras, ginger, pipsissewa, wintergreen, and juniper, among other flavoring ingredients) as an alternative to alcohol, and dubbed it “the temperance drink” and “the greatest health-giving beverage in the world.”  Hires was inspired by root tea, but thought that “beer” would be a more attractive name to “the working class.”

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Written by LW

July 31, 2017 at 1:01 am

“If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?”*…

 

Research makes it increasingly clear that it’s dangerous to the health of both our bodies and our planet to eat too high on the food chain…. even as observations like the one that titles this post remind us that old habits are hard to change.  At the very least, we can consider the facts of the case…

The Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE) have released a sixty-six page report on meat consumption around the globe, the Meat Atlas.

The report presents a global perspective on the impacts of industrial meat and dairy production, and illustrates its increasingly devastating impact on society and the environment. The way we produce and consume meat and dairy needs a radical rethink.

The full report (with larger graphics) is available to read/download here.  Meantime, our friends at tmBBQ have provided a helpful precis:

The narrative within the report has a definite anti-ag lean to it, and coming from Europe it’s all in metric, but the facts and statistics within are rich and varied. If you’re interested in the way we grow and process animals for human consumption, then please read the entire report, but below is an executive summary of sorts with some of the most powerful and intriguing facts about the meat we eat.

Page 10: “In the USA, the number of pig raisers fell by 70 percent between 1992 and 2009, while the pig population remained the same.”

Page 11:
Top 5 Beef Producers – USA, Brazil, European Union, China, India

Top 5 Pork Producers – China, European Union, USA, Brazil, Russia

Top 5 Poultry Producers – USA, China, Brazil, European Union, Russia

More fun food facts at “Meat Atlas.”

* John Cleese

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As we deliberate on our diets, we might volunteer to docent in memory of Elias Ashmole, the English antiquarian, collector, politician, and student of astrology and alchemy; the first university museum– the Ashmolean– opened to the public in Oxford on this date in 1683, thus becoming the first public museum in Britain, and (probably) the world.

“The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology,” as it was officially known, showcased Ashmole’s “Cabinet of Curiosities”– including the stuffed body of the last dodo ever seen in Europe… though owing to voracious moths and to the underdeveloped state of taxidermy at the time, it had rotted away to its head and a single claw by the time of “the unpleasantness with the American colonies,” under a hundred years later.

dodo head

The desiccated head of Ashmole’s dodo; with its foot, all that remains

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Written by LW

June 6, 2014 at 1:01 am

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