ultraspare change

all sorts of things

9/2/09

Untitled

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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Untitled

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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Nokia - The Morph concept

i think nokia is on to something here

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9/1/09

the modernity ward: Food and Drink

Thanks to xkcd for summing up my life entire in one panel. Ahem.

Two things bugging the shit out of me today. Rather, a selection of two of the things bugging the shit out of me today. Let's be honest.

One: Meat is Murder. Murder of YOU.

When I heard this story on NPR, I was unable to stop myself from sputtering and waving my hands in impotent rage. Who the hell funded this, and why have they no respect for basic statistics? WHY DO THEY LOVE ERROR? Okay, look: red meat = muscle from large ungulates (and it looks like they include pork too? Whatev). Red meat =/= HOT DOGS and HAM and BACON and fucking PASTRAMI. At least not for the purposes of a medical study on diet! Hellooooo, interference!

Even someone utterly unfamiliar with the different vitamin, saturated fat, and fatty acid profiles of grass-fed versus conventional meat should be able to grok that even a conventional hamburger, made of plain ground beef with maybe a little salt and pepper, will have a far different short-term and long-term effect on health than a bacon pastrami dog. Salt, sodium nitrite, nitrate, erythorbate -- so hey! Why not lump them together?

You know what I'll believe? A study that compares people who consume the typical American diet with regard to meat, against people who consume only grass-fed and/or free-range meat. Don't control for fat consumption, just compare one type of meat (exclusively) against the other. That, I'd base a behavior change on.

Harrumph.

Two: Take the Local, or, Yes, Alice Waters Was Being a Dipshit, but Why Tar Organic Food with That Brush?

I love me some Shapely Prose, and a big part of what I love is the comments section. Smart, incisive, observant, challenging. This time the comments are pissing me off royally, like with ermine robes and a scepter and shit. Why? Because we've moved from the calling-out-privilege trope, of which I heartily approve, to the organic-is-silly-local-is-for-chumps trope, of which I do not.

But isn't it true that organic is boutique food for rich people? Well, kind of, these days, yes, barring a backyard garden (and that in itself could be a privilege marker, depending on where you live). Less so than it used to be, but more than it ought to be. I'm not actually disputing that organic often costs more and is more difficult to get. What I'm saying is, it shouldn't be. Organic, sustainable practices ought to be the default in food production, whenever possible -- and without agricultural subsidies artificially deflating conventional food prices, it wouldn't be any more expensive. (In fact, how about we subsidize organic farming, and drop subsidies for anything with a little Monsanto sign in the ditch?)

But but! you say (if you are the comments section). Isn't it true that organic food requires a lot more land and other resources for a relatively low yield? Well, no, it isn't, actually. Properly built-up soil, healthy living soil, can be enormously productive of the right crops. If what you want is monoculture, the same kind of corn for millions of acres, then you grow a variety optimized for high yield in a thin matrix of sterile dead soil, dependent on synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, not to mention irrigation. Sure, it looks like you're getting more bang for your buck, but you're actually spending far more than you reap, once you factor in the financial costs of all those chemicals (again, subsidies!), the environmental costs of a dead watershed (all those chemicals have to go somewhere) and water rights issues, and the health costs of all that crap being dumped into our water. Oh, and you have to drill the oil and natural gas and refine it and blah blah blah. See what I mean?
So no, it's not actually true that organic requires more resources.

Oh, and but! you may say. Local food is stupid! It's cold here! Or hot! It's a desert, or Vermont! I don't want to live on beef/turnips/nopales half the year. God, local food is d-u-m-b.

Except -- and you knew I was going to say this, right? -- it isn't. Because if you're eating nothing but beef ten months out of the year? UR DOIN IT RONG.

Eating local doesn't mean eating what's locally produced on a mass scale. The way we've optimized and specialized means that all the farms near you might grow nothing but soybeans or feed corn or factory-farmed chickens, but that is not what eating local means. That is, in fact, missing the point entirely. The point of eating locally is to explode that specialization so that there's a great variety of locally adapted food available in any given place. It's not something that's easy to do on your own; it's part of a societal shift. And it also demands a more wholistic way of looking at the food year. If you don't preserve the summer harvest (or whenever your harvest is -- spring and fall in a hot area, maybe), then yes, you'll be living on rutabagas all winter. But that's not how people ate when they ate local out of necessity. Maybe they had rutabagas every night, but they also had different meats, dried beans, canned tomatoes, dried vegetables (all those make an awesome stew!), bread, fruit preserves, all kinds of grains. The list goes on. You can have green peppers all winter, provided you froze them or dried them. And nowadays, aren't we lucky to have the option of freezing food to preserve it, or safe pressure canning? My point is, it's not easy or convenient the way we're used to, but it is possible to get a decent part of your diet locally. (Some things make sense to transport -- grains, pasta, beans, flour, spices, coffee, um, soy sauce.)

Remember: people have lived in all sorts of environments all over the world, all before modern food transportation and homogeneity of diet. There are all kinds of things to eat that will grow in pretty much any climate.

And just to add a pinch of doom: We'd better get back to using those things while it's still a choice, and not a matter of necessity. /doom

As for the class factor, I am never, never going to blame any individual without the income to buy local or organic food, or the time to grow it. Never. Because that's not how societal oppression works. That doesn't mean that you can't eat quality food if you're poor, though. In some places you have options; Philadelphia is one, with community gardens and farmer's markets that accept EBT cards. This isn't the norm, and frankly it's the responsibility of the community as a whole to provide good food options for everyone who lives in it.

It's late and I'm starting to ramble, but there you go. My answer to the internet. 

(Some people are saying the same things I am saying, there. I don't wish to pick on any one commenter, either. It's just that these things keep coming up, in my world, and I finally hit my "lash back" point with the comments there.)

so true

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Seal - Kiss From A Rose


Begin forwarded message:

From: iquanyin <iquanyin@gmail.com>
Date: August 23, 2009 8:29:58 PM PDT
To: iquanyin@gmail.com
Subject: Seal - Kiss From A Rose

Check out this video on YouTube:


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8/31/09

Government Has Made $4 Billion On The Bailout, So Far [Wall Street Meltdown]

well, this is good news

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8/30/09

Loreena McKennitt- All Souls Night

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Online Makeover – Virtual makeover, Makeup, Celebrity Hairstyles – TAAZ

wow, this is waaaay fun! great site: infinite choices (well done, not cheesy), it gives you the colors, it's free, and you can download your creation. it's you, if you could have any hair and makeup you wanted. right now.

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FACEBOOK BREAK UP: Very Funny But True How Facebook Has Been Messing Up Relationships

whoa!

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iPhone Photography - iPhoneography, just another iPhone photography blog - Journal - iPhone User Strikes Gold With PhotoFame Application

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How to SMS with Google Voice from Any Mobile Phone


Begin forwarded message:

Date: July 17, 2009 2:00:00 PM PDT
Subject: How to SMS with Google Voice from Any Mobile Phone
Source: Lifehacker: Google
Author: Gina Trapani

Just because you don't have an Android phone or BlackBerry (or even, unofficially, an iPhone) doesn't mean you can't text from your cellphone using your Google Voice number. In fact, you can use Google Voice SMS capabilities on any phone.

Even if you do have an Android phone, BlackBerry, or iPhone, you can still use this method to use the native SMS app on it. It's an inconvenient kluge, but it works.

First, log into Google Voice and configure it to forward text messages to your cell phone. When someone sends a text message to your Google Voice number, you'll receive the text on your phone–but not from the recipient's phone number. Instead, it will be a 406 number you've never seen before, with the person's name preceding the message (as pictured here). Add that number to your recipient's address book entry as "Other" or a custom label (like "GV SMS"). Each one of your text recipients will have a different 406 number.

From there on in, if you SMS that 406 number, your recipient will receive text messages from you—and it will look like they're coming from your Google Voice number. Their replies to any messages you send to that number will go back to your Google Voice number and come to you via the 406–meaning, your recipient never sees the 406 number. Like I said, it's a kluge, but it works.

We already mentioned this tip in our guide to easing your transition to Google Voice, but it's an important feature worth repeating.


Smarterware is Lifehacker editor emeritus Gina Trapani's new home away from 'hacker. To get all of the latest from Smarterware, be sure to subscribe to the Smarterware RSS feed. For more, check out Gina's weekly Smarterware feature here on Lifehacker.

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What Would Jesus Buy?


Begin forwarded message:

Date: August 23, 2009 5:32:00 PM PDT
Subject: What Would Jesus Buy?
Reply-To: FunkyPunkyG <funky.punky.g@gmail.com>
Source: A Funky Freegan Journal
Author: FunkyPunkyG <funky.punky.g@gmail.com>

Eric and I are getting ready to host a screening of the documentary "What Would Jesus Buy?", an entertaining look into consumerism, particularly in relation to Christmas. The video screening is going to be in conjunction with a freegan potluck, and a dumpster diving outing afterwards. I will post the pictures of the event after, and will share my thoughts about the film.

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"And it's on the Table..."


Begin forwarded message:

Date: August 4, 2009 9:41:00 PM PDT
Subject: "And it's on the Table..."
Reply-To: FunkyPunkyG <funky.punky.g@gmail.com>
Source: A Funky Freegan Journal
Author: FunkyPunkyG <funky.punky.g@gmail.com>

"I don't mind stealing bread /From the mouths of decadence /But I can't feed on the powerless/ When my cup's already overfilled" -Temple of the Dog, "Hunger Strike"

It's very sad to me that we can find such amazing amounts of food thrown away while our brothers and sisters in other locales are starving from lack of supplies.
Below, we have transferred eggs we found into flats that we brought. A full carton of eggs will be thrown away if even just one egg is cracked in the collection. Often these eggs are more than two weeks before their expiry date.

Next picture is of one couple's share of the haul, after it was taken home and cleaned. Thirteen people showed up to that meetup. I was taking extra food for my intentional community of twenty housemates, and another lady was taking extra to donate to a food pantry. Yet, even still, we did not take all that was in just one of the three dumpsters of that particular store. Incredible.

Read more…


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