Livrem & julemiddag

Nu skal vi snart til det igen: Flæskesteg, and, rødkål, brunede og hvide kartofler, sovs (ikke sauce – den tynder variant), franske kartofler og måske syltede æbler med gele, og prikken over i’et, ris á la mande. Men selvom jeg år efter år lover mig sig selv mådeholdenhed, så lykkes det ikke alligevel når jeg sidder ved julebordet. Well, sidste år, hvor jeg fik kogt lammekød, var problemet ikke så stort.

 Nå, men nu har jeg altså fundet ud af hvordan det skal gribes an i år, så det handler bare om at overbevise familien. Strategien er at ligge hindring i vejen – og helst så mange som muligt:

 

  • Spise julemiddagen af mindre tallerkener, så man må fylde op lidt oftere
  • Hente maden på en buffet eller i køkkenet, så herlighederne kommer på lidt længere afstand
  • Indtage julemiddagen ved hjælp af kinesiske spisepinde (det kommer til at tage lidt tid at flå flæskestegen i små bidder, men bliver sikkert underholdende)
  • Spise suppe til forrest. Det er mest vand, fylder godt, og relativt kaloriefattigt Æhh, holder den? Sådan en hønsekødssuppe med fedtperler ovenpå lyder ikke specielt fattig på kalorier. Men selvfølgelig er suppen nok mindre kalorieholdig end and og brunede kartofler.
  • Sørg for at al maden en hjemmelavet. Det sætter en grænse for hvor mange retter der kommer på bordet. Ideen er at man hurtigere “kommer til at kede sig” med at spise f.eks. flæskesteg og – voila – så spiser man mindre:

Indeed, it’s not a bad idea to limit the total number of courses. Variety stimulates appetite. As evidence, Ariely brings up a study conducted on mice. A male mouse and a female mouse will soon tire of mating with each other. But put new partners into the cage, and it turns out they weren’t tired at all. They were just bored. So, too, with food. “Imagine you only had one dish,” he says. “How much could you eat?”

Men måske er det alligevel lidt for upfront – det med spisepindene, altså. 

Population control or not?

The world population is somewhere around 6,700,000,000 individuals. Is there an upper limit to how many people the planet/environment can accommodate when everyone needs ~2000-2500 calories/day, a car, heeting, and airplane travel?

Polar Bear from Plane Stupid on Vimeo.

Do we need to talk about population control? As in China? Or as birth control in Africa? And what difference does that make, when the greenhouse gases are being omitted from the chimneys of the developed world.Malthus was wrong, but is he still wrong?

 …And speaking of him:

The first mistake Malthusians always make is to underestimate how society can change to embrace more and more people. They make the schoolboy scientific error of imagining that population is the only variable, the only thing that grows and grows, while everything else – including society, progress and discovery – stays roughly the same. That is why Malthus was wrong: he thought an overpopulated planet would run out of food because he could not foresee how the industrial revolution would massively transform society and have an historic impact on how we produce and transport food and many other things. Population is not the only variable – mankind’s vision, growth, his ability to rethink and tackle problems: they are variables, too.

 

The second mistake Malthusians always make is to imagine that resources are fixed, finite things that will inevitably run out. They don’t recognise that what we consider to be a resource changes over time, depending on how advanced society is. That is why the Christian Tertullian was wrong in 200 AD when he said ‘the resources are scarcely adequate for us’. Because back then pretty much the only resources were animals, plants and various metals. Tertullian could not imagine that, in the future, the oceans, oil and uranium would become resources, too. The nature of resources changes as society changes – what we consider to be a resource today might not be one in the future, because other, better, more easily-exploited resources will hopefully be discovered or created. Today’s cult of the finite, the discussion of the planet as a larder of scarce resources that human beings are using up, really speaks to finite thinking, to a lack of future-oriented imagination.

And the third and main mistake Malthusians always make is to underestimate the genius of mankind. Population scaremongering springs from a fundamentally warped view of human beings as simply consumers, simply the users of resources, simply the destroyers of things, as a kind of ‘plague’ on poor Mother Nature, when in fact human beings are first and foremost producers, the discoverers and creators of resources, the makers of things and the makers of history. Malthusians insultingly refer to newborn babies as ‘another mouth to feed’, when in the real world another human being is another mind that can think, another pair of hands that can work, and another person who has needs and desires that ought to be met.

Levitt & Dubner’s new book: Horseshit?

I’ve read that there is a new pop-econ book out from economist Levitt and journalist Dubner called “SuperFreakonomics”. Levitt and Dubner are the pair who wrote the “Freakonomics”-book that explains why drug-dealers live at home with their mum and why U.S. the crime-rate fell sharply during the 1990′s. The new book proposes quick and easy solutions to the climate problems, and their point of departure is the late 19th century pollution problem in New York, where horses were used for transport of people and goods, but the animals production of manure was extreme and impossible to handle:

By 1880, there were at least a hundred and fifty thousand horses living in New York, and probably a great many more. Each one relieved itself of, on average, twenty-two pounds of manure a day, meaning that the city’s production of horse droppings ran to at least forty-five thousand tons a month. George Waring, Jr., who served as the city’s Street Cleaning Commissioner, described Manhattan as stinking “with the emanations of putrefying organic matter.” Another observer wrote that the streets were “literally carpeted with a warm, brown matting . . . smelling to heaven.”” 

The ‘Freaks’ note that the manure-problem in New York solved itself after some years with the invention of the combustion engine. They suggest that some sort of laissez-faire politics combined with a few innovations, will solve the current climate problem; no need for a meeting here in Copenhagen next month… Their suggestion solutions include

  • fibreglass boats equipped with machines that will increase the cloud cover over the oceans
  • a network of tubes that will suck cold water from the depths of the sea to the surface
  • a 35 km long hose that will mimic a volcanic eruption and shoot sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere (where it will act like tiny mirrors, reflecting sunlight back into space)

The reviewer at the New Yorker has the following closing comment (which seems appropriate):

“To be skeptical of climate models and credulous about things like carbon-eating trees and cloudmaking machinery and hoses that shoot sulfur into the sky is to replace a faith in science with a belief in science fiction. This is the turn that “SuperFreakonomics” takes, even as its authors repeatedly extoll their hard-headedness. All of which goes to show that, while some forms of horseshit are no longer a problem, others will always be with us.”

Om landbruget…

Det er jo ikke nogen overraskelse, men alligevel:

“In the U.S., Foer reports, people are prescribed about three million pounds of antibiotics a year. Livestock are fed nearly twenty-eight million pounds, according to the drug industry. By pumping cows and chickens full of antibiotics, farmers have been instrumental in producing new, resistant strains of germs—so-called superbugs. As soon as the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a class of drugs known as fluoroquinolones in chickens, for instance, the percentage of bacteria resistant to fluoroquinolones shot up.”

Landmændene overfodrer med antibiotika og skaber problemer bakteriel resistens; de stuver køer, svin og fjerkræ sammen på uendeligt små arealer, og har produktionsenheder på mod een million dyr (som f.eks. den by i Mexico, hvor svineinfluenzaen opstod). Men det er jo ikke landmændene, der er usympatiske, og det er heller ikke husholdningerne, selvom det er vores daglige jagt på et bedre tilbud i køledisken, der tvinger landmændene til effektiv produktion.

Det er nok bare en af markedsliberalismens uheldige sideeffekter, og jeg tror spørgsmålet er, hvordan man bedst muligt internaliserer de eksterne omkostninger (dyreetiske, sundheds- og miljømæssige)  i prisen på et kilo flæsk…