John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 99A: Press Ctrl-Z

by on Feb.09, 2012, under Rum Doings, The Rest

In episode 99A of Rum Doings – the podcast for the new generation – we don’t discuss whether it’s about time we abandoned the TV license and reintroduced the dog license. And then we took to Twitter to find out what it was we were supposed to be talking about.

Which we then ignore for ages and talk about the importance of rum for preventing heart disease, how you only exist if you podcast, and then finally turn to a tweet for how copyright will be interpreted by the next generation.

Is it more humane to keep a robot pet? Or how about a robot wife? Why aren’t there boobies on children’s TV? And why can’t Sherlock Holmes investigate the missing grammar?

We consider the difficulty curve of petrol stations, the most bestest academic discipline, and then someone flicks the vegetarian-rant switch on Nick. Can a Morman be president of America? And are gays icky?

We really do ask you to write a review on iTunes. It makes a massive difference, and helps other people to pay attention to the podcast. Thank you to everyone who has – we’ve some lovely reviews. The more that appear, the more likely iTunes is to take us more seriously. And keep on tweeting and so forth. Please – it’s the only thing we ask of you. And don’t forget to give us a million pounds.

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20 Comments for this entry

  • mister k

    The Holmes complaints were about Irene Adler, when she appeared nude before Sherlock, because, as we know, if children see a naked lady their brains fail and they turn into merciless killers.

    On heart disease… I’d be wary of taking results from observational studies and saying that x reduces your risk by some amount. What it means is in that “in studies it was found that people who had done x had less incidences of heart disease than people who had not by some amount”. So doing x doesn’t actually mean you will reduce that risk by that amount.

    I sort of suspected when I asked about the disciplines that you might plump for philosophy, though I would argue that it has become increasingly less relevant. When it was talking about the basis of mathematical thought, and scientific inquiry, then it was relevant. When it talks about p-zombies, I’m not sure I care that much.

    On veganism, as you avoid, one can become a vegan to minimise one’s carbon footprint.

  • Nick Mailer

    Veganism has a terrible carbon footprint. Growing soy etc rapes the earth and requires tons of oil-based fertilisers. Prairie animals and other ruminants have the least carbon footprint: they sequester the carbon in the flesh and manure.

  • Mike

    The last two episodes have been amazing, thanks chaps.

    I love the way Nick enunciates “good quality”. It makes me smile.

  • Gassalasca

    I am bemused you think Mormons aren’t Christians.

  • devlocke

    @Gassalasca: I had the same reaction.

  • Pasco

    Nick, you sound like Edwina Currie.

    There are people in the UK who are poor. There are people in the UK who are going hungry. There are people in the UK with nowhere to live.

    Denying these facts does not make them go away, but it does potentially make the situation worse, and it probably make you a horrible person.

    Is the situation in the UK as bad as other countries? No. Does that make it OK to do nothing about it and ignore the problem? No.

    Love the podcast.

  • mister k

    Provided one can get a hold of meat (and dairy) that has been reared in a sustainable manner, on land that couldn’t be used for other uses, you might have a point. In terms of energy efficiency, for the most part crops are going to do a lot better than animals. Most soy goes towards feeding animals after all.

    Having a diet where you avoided all meat and dairy you couldn’t source yourself would likely be rather expensive than just avoiding the stuff in the first place.

  • mister k

    Re: Are mormons christians? It rather depends how one defines the term. If I told you I believed in Jesus Christ the space monkey who came to earth and threw feces at people, you probably would exclue me from that group.

  • Nick Mailer

    “Most soy goes towards feeding animals after all”. This is because of the massive, subsidised grain surplus and their seeking what the hell to do with it. The American plains supported millions of buffalo on grasslands well before feeding animals grain was thought of. Feeding animals grain is environmentally ridiculous, makes the animals sick and renders their fats unhealthy for humans.

    But once the oil runs out, we simply won’t have an option, as I said. It’s fossil fuels that allow the grains to grow.

  • mister k

    I’m not sure I disagree, but thats the way it is currently. I’m just not sure its terribly practical to obtain meat that has been soley raised on fields.

  • Nick Mailer

    mister k: I don’t know what you mean by “practical”, but I obtain meat that has been soley raised on fields. It costs more than normal meat, but then I don’t buy videogames, don’t smoke, don’t drink much etc, so I feel that’s a higher priority for my money.

  • Nick Mailer

    For example, this weekend, I got some good stewing beef from a market stall run by these people:

    It was about 10 quid for a kilo of steak cubes, which is good for about four or five servings when cooked with lots of veg – so even at this supreme quality, it hardly breaks the bank!

  • mister k

    Well the cost is an issue for myself unfortunately, especially as I’ve been on a vegetarian diet for about seven years now.

    My point was that vegetarianism/veganism is more environmentally friendly than standard meat consumption, and in turn careful selection of products can beat veganism/vegetarianism. Combined with moral scruples about eating meat I’m still reasonably happy with the stance I’ve taken, although you’ve managed to give more convincing arguments than most, both here and in the past.

  • Nick Mailer

    Mister k: it’s worth reading Lierre Keith’s “The Vegetarian Myth”. She was a staunch vegan who slowly began to unravel the health and environmental aspects behind her decision. I found her chapters on how agriculture is an unsustainable rape of the soil particularly eye-opening.

  • devlocke

    @Mister K: Mormons believe in the bible as the word of god (apparently with some caveats depending on translation, canon, etc., but that is not uncommon amongst Christian religions), and believe Jesus Christ was the son of god sent to redeem mankind. They have extra texts, and a number of doctrinal disagreements with mainstream Protestantism, I suppose, but so do the Catholics, and I assume the Orthodox church(es) does/do as well, not to mention Gnostics or whatever (I don’t even know if that should be capitalized – is there a proper ‘gnostic’ movement that is deserving of proper-noun-ness?).

    On what basis can you make the claim that they are not just another denomination of Christianity?

  • devlocke

    Oh, re: vegetarianism vs. veganism, I feel like you can be a morally consistent vegetarian; you don’t have to be a vegan to not be a hypocrite. Not believing in killing animals and eating eggs are as incompatible as not believing in capital punishment and being pro-choice: not at all. Vegetarians only seem wildly inconsistent to me when they start eating fish or poultry (i.e. chicken meat). If you believe in ‘living in harmony with nature’ or some such, and just don’t think things should die to please you, you could totally rock dairy and eggs.

  • Nick Mailer

    devlocke: what do you think happens to the male chicks and calves? Properly ethical vegetarians should make a point of eating humanely reared British veal, for a start – allows the calf to live longer in proper conditions (not in a crate or shot before the mother has finished suckling).

  • mister k

    “On what basis can you make the claim that they are not just another denomination of Christianity?”

    I don’t. I’m just saying that it might be possible for someone to make such a case, given that some Mormon beliefs are wildly at odds with other Christian teachings.

    Nick, I will give that book a try.

  • Alex

    I’d like to see a cemetery farm where people could donate their bodies for use as fertiliser. You could leave a particular field fallow and start loading up on corpses (with cardboard coffins and no preservatives, of course). When they’ve been there long enough, you’d till the earth and start planting. You’d never run out of space!

    I guess you could go the meal route, but that might be a little too upsetting for family members.

  • devlocke

    @Nick: That would depend upon the farm was hosting the eggs/milk, I suppose. Maybe they are allowed to live a long and peaceful life until they die of old age and then used to fertilize gardens? There’s no reason, in theory, for them to be offed.

    I suppose at some point, it either becomes unsustainable or just off-loads the guilt onto someone else… which is probably your point. But veganism is also unsustainable, as per your previous comments n’ spoken-words, so that doesn’t really provide a differentiator (I made up a word! Or at least a usage; there was probably an already extant one that would have serviced, but I’m tired; I am rambling now, carry on) as far hypocrisy goes.

    I don’t think anything we do, be it farming or manufacturing or philosophizing, scales to infinity without problems. Which is, err, problematic, but consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, etc.