There’s a post I keep meaning to track down from gordonzola, about the cheese foundry whose workers used some of the big cheesemaking vats as hot tubs after hours. I think listeria would be the least of your worries after one of those…
Archive for the ‘agricultural’ Category
Originally, I’d meant to post more African & African-American content during the month of February, when by law and by custom we in English-speaking North America bother to pay attention to the accomplishments and struggles of the African Diaspora. The conspiracy-minded might point out that February is the shortest month of the year.
Anyway, I kinda screwed that up, which is embarassing, because I ran across a lot of great content that I just kept forgetting to put up. Situation remedied, starting now.
self-trained repairmen of Nigeria. I was reading something a while ago, about how cheap low-end electronics, or even much of a resale market, are a phenomenon that you just don’t see in most of Africa. People buy the best they can, so that it can last long enough to be run into the ground, rebuilt, and run into the ground again. Of course, what this means is that to capture the low-cost end of the market, a lot of people end up handicrafting their own devices, many of them to fit needs that there are no factory-made tools for. Welcome to the world of afrigadget.
Notable tinkerers of recent history include young Mr. William Kamkwamba, electrifying rural Malawi one handcrafted windmill at a time, and Dr. Cedrick Ngalande, creator of a fermentation-powered generator. Mmm, beer (but probably not).
AicuÃ±a (Aicunya if your browser is anglophone) is a sweet little timelocked town in eastern Argentina, far away from any other sizeable population centers. Everyone knows everyone else. Almost everyone is a blood relative of everyone else. As near as I can glean from this article, the principal products of AicuÃ±a are walnuts, isolation, and albino children.
One of Strom Thurmond’s ancestors owned one of Al Sharpton’s. More detail, sensationalism here.
I thought the Kiwanis had won this one a while ago: despite the ease and low cost of salt iodization, over two billion people don’t receive enough iodine, causing mental retardation, goiters, and worse.
In a stunning triumph for democracy, one of the few poor countries with no iodine deficiency is autocratic Turkmenistan, where “President Saparmurat Niyazov…solved the problem by simply declaring plain salt illegal in 1996 and ordering shops to give each citizen 11 pounds of iodized salt a year at state expense.”
Note: I would NOT be touching this shit with my bare hands. yeccch.
though I am failing admirably this week: In Praise of Idleness
…It is difficult to see how the authorities can aim at a paradise in which there will be much leisure and little work. It seems more likely that they will find continually fresh schemes, by which present leisure is to be sacrificed to future productivity…This sort of thing, if it happens, will be the result of regarding the virtue of hard work as an end in itself, rather than as a means to a state of affairs in which it is no longer needed.
Kiwi geneticist Rod Lea claims that the Maori people have a “warrior” gene which makes them more prone to violent and criminal behaviour - specifically, an elevated amount of monoamine oxidase There is some dissent to this hypothesis…
Grauniad review of Harry Potter academic conference
chicken sexing is unexpectedly fascinating: In the 1950s, several machines were invented that illuminated and magnified the cloacas of newborn chicks, and chicks could be sexed by inspecting them with this machine.
Break it Up, the hit song by Carl Lewis and the Electric Storm. If only all athletes were this skilled in the musical arts.
The Shock of the New World, with respect to the flora and fauna of Australia. Bit of a hodgepodge, but I liked it. Try to get as far as the useful flammability of eucalyptus forests, and the inverted culinary social priorities of the class structure:
Convicts traditionally ate salted meat - which signified lack of property, for only the landed could enjoy fresh beef or lamb - and fresh fish. The ceremonial food of the free must therefore be fresh meat and salt fish.
In the same genre as how not to photograph a horse (but it works anyway) (see also: goat, I present pregnancy, a collection of abstract forms (pretty hard to peg unless you know what you’re looking at, but I’d still class it as not work-safe).
I can laugh at this because I, of course, do not have a cubicle, but rather a wide spot in a hallway in the basement.
most of the world’s wasted water is agricultural. This isn’t exactly surprising. Too much of agriculture seems to be based on the concept that water is effectively free. Even in areas where water is damned expensive to get to, grossly outmoded methods of irrigation are used, whether out of indifference, ignorance, or (more often) indigence. It takes effort and a certain amount of capital investment to really wring the most use out of irrigation, and a subsistence farmer has neither.
(see earlier worries on this topic)