links for 2010-11-22

  • This (self-described) hard-core, self-righteous vegan blogger finally figured out why she always felt weak and exhausted, why she was depressed, why her hair was falling out: her veganism. So she started eating eggs, dairy, fish, and meat again. Now she feels great! She also figured out that just as many animals have to die to feed a vegan as to feed a meat-eager. Problem solved? Nope. Her fellow vegan activists are freaking out. Her life has been threatened (repeatedly). She's been accused of being a meat-industry sock puppet. And she's being told that she's just not being a vegan *right*.
    (tags: food vegan)
  • Remember how some VHS tapes would play touch tones before they started? I remember, as a kid, holding the phone up to the TV's speaker, to see what number it would dial. (It didn't work, sadly.) It turns out that the tones are used to encode information about the tape for use by duplication machines, including duration and volume.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

7 replies on “links for 2010-11-22”

  1. The volatile reaction to her change in diet came because veganism/vegetarianism are religions, grounded like all religions in faith, dogma, misunderstanding, superstition, and to properly link effect with cause. Plus with this religion really bad faux science.

    Desert some faiths, like Islam, and adherents condemn you to death. Vegans will only trash you. Be thankful for the little things.

  2. Hofee,

    Well-said, regarding the religious angle. Veganism and often vegetarianism are essentially a sort of religion.

    For the last few million years since homo erectus arrived on the scene (actually earlier, but whatever because I don’t know enough about the diet of Australopithecus), we have evolved as omnivores. We have achilles tendons and large gluteus maximus muscles in order to facilitate long distance endurance running, to chase down less efficient 4-legged prey. That is the only use for endurance running. We’ve never been fast enough to sprint away from predators.

    The stone tools associated with the remains of our ancestors for the last few million years are SHARP POINTY THINGS. Not hoes, plows, or soy milk cartons. Millions of years of life and evolution during which we developed as predators. Millions of years during which our physiology and biochemistry became perfectly tuned to a diet rich in animal products as well as fruits, nuts and wild plants.

    Then in the evolutionary blink of an eye we came up with sophisticated agriculture. A few thousand years ago. Nothing. Not enough time to evolve into a new organism with a whole new set of biochemical needs and processes.

    The very idea that a vegan or vegetarian diet is ideal for the human body is absurd. Stuffing the human body full of vegan fare is just as foolish as raising cows on corn. Just because you can throw enough supplements and medications in there to prevent the organism from dying right away doesn’t mean that its a good idea or that the body is in especially good condition.

  3. This is rather timely for me, just having finished a 28-day experiment with veganism. It strikes me as odd that anybody would have so much at stake, emotionally, with regard to what other people eat. My own experience has me reflecting about the relationship between food, health and ethics and, while I’m still pondering it, I’m certain that I have no interest in adhering to a vegan diet. While I grant that bees are sentient beings, I can’t seem to feel bad about taking their honey.

  4. I’m sorry, but comparing being vegetarian or vegan to being religious is flat out stupid.

    One is an inconvenient (at least in Charlottesville) dietary choice usually based on some combination of science, ethics, and health, and the other is believing that a magical being sees everything we do and guides our lives. Not similar.

    There is plenty of misinformation about vegetarianism and veganism, but most of it is not positive. This article makes things worse by implying that someone can’t be a vegan and be strong and healthy. My wife has been vegan for 4 years now. She runs eight miles a day, seven days a week. I’ve been a vegetarian for about the same amount of time and would welcome a physical challenge from anyone who thinks that the current levels of meat consumption in the US is healthy. Bill Pearl (veggie Mr. Universe: might have something to say about building muscles as a vegetarian/vegan.

    Of course some vegans/vegetarians will go overboard, but there is at least as much criticism coming from meat eaters. You could say that about pretty much any life choice. How about we worry about our own diets and stop spreading misinformation about others?

  5. Well said, Sean. I generally eat a vegetarian diet, and I do not proselytize, ignore science, or make choices in a slavish manner. I occasionally eat one meal with lean meat, perhaps a few times a year, when my body tells me I should. The rest of the time I am fine on a vegetarian diet.

    It is true that we evolved as omnivores, and in fact that argument cuts both ways: We are capable of eating meat, but do not require it. In some cultures, meat is the main food. In others, it is almost entirely absent.

  6. This article makes things worse by implying that someone can’t be a vegan and be strong and healthy.

    What article? Who said that? I didn’t see anybody say that.

  7. Many, many vegans indulge in their dietary lifestyle with as much religious fervor as the most fundamentalist Southern Baptist; and many of those vegan folks look down their noses at non-believers. That is not debatable.

    I’m happy for this young lady.

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