Is it better for the environment to drink cow’s milk or soy milk? – By Jacob Leibenluft – Slate Magazine

Interesting little article on Slate: Is it better for the environment to drink cow’s milk or soy milk? by Jacob Leibenluft

it takes about 14 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce one calorie of milk protein on a conventional farm …

By comparison, Pimentel’s data suggest that it takes about 0.26 calories of fossil fuel to make a calorie of organic soybeans

I’m really struggling with my resistance to being vegan these days. Someone described biofuels (at least the ones that use food crops) as a crime against humanity because the food could be used to, well, feed people. The same is therefore true of dairy and meat. Eating animals is a crime against humanity in a world that doesn’t have enough food. And yet I still find myself craving and eating dairy products, even though on a certain level I find them rather gross.

Part of the problem is eating out. It’s easy to be vegetarian eating in a restaurant, but much more difficult to be vegan — especially once you get out of major towns (at least in my corner of the US).

Another part of the problem is the label-scouring that you get into if you’re serious about being vegan. If a cookie has a trace of milk powder it’s immediately outside the pale, although practically speaking the eating of that cookie (with its half gram of milk powder) is leading to an almost immeasurably small contribution to the suffering of animals.

So what that boils down to, I suppose, is the problem of being attached to labels. I tend to think that if I can’t be completely, 100%, utterly, totally, wholeheartedly vegan, then it’s not worth doing at all. I think I’m actually more attached to the purity of labels than I am to dairy products, which I know from experience I can do without quite easily. So perhaps I should just embrace being a half-assed vegan who sometimes eats suspect cookies and who may occasionally accept pizza from his father-in-law, who hasn’t been known to cook anything else in the years I’ve known him.

As Chesterton said, “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”

Almost Jupiter

Having a 20-month-old, I’ve become acutely aware of the aesthetic delights involved in blowing bubbles, but because the damn things are so ephemeral I never get a chance to really appreciate them.

Cue this slideshow. These really are quite extraordinary photographs. Enjoy!

Re-Incarcerated iPod

For most of the time since buying my iPod Touch last October it’s been “jailbroken,” meaning that I’ve hacked it to bypass Apple’s propietary protections in order to install unauthorized software on it, the grounds being that it’s pretty ridiculous for a computer manufacturer to insist you can only run their software on the machine you’ve bought from them. And the iPod Touch is nothing but a handheld computer.

So that’s been great. I’ve had various programs running on it such as an ebook reader (on which I’ve read several novels), some games, a flashlight, and I can’t remember what else.

But after the launch of Apple’s Application Store on iTunes I decided to un-jailbreak my iPod by installing the latest update to the iPod firmware, meaning that I could use the store but could no longer use the free but unauthorized applications that I’d installed.

That doesn’t seem much of a loss, since the App Store is full of goodies.

  • I have the mobile version of Omnifocus installed, which is a Getting It Done application. This syncs with the corresponding application on my Mac, so that I can carry around a list of outstanding tasks, categorized by project and context (e.g. “errands,” “office,” “computer,” etc.)
  • I have a free ebook reader (Stanza) installed and have already read a few short stories. I’m working on a SciFi novel right now.
  • I have a trial version of Remote Buddy, which turns my iPod into a remote control for my Mac Pro ( I was shocked to discover the Mac Pro didn’t come with a remote!).
  • I have Twinkle, which is a Twitter client.
  • Box Office tells me what movies I can’t go to see because I’m too tired after working and because we have Maia to look after ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • I have a new flashlight program (yeah, it just makes the screen white and bright, but that’s very handy when I’m negotiating my way through a darkened bedroom at night).
  • I have a dictionary installed (although it’s not as good as the free one I used to have).
  • I have the Apple Remote program, although it only works with iTunes and I may never use it.
  • Pandora is pretty cool — it generates playlists of music based on my favorite artists. It’s basically a series of customized radio stations. I’m listening to an Anthony and the Johnsons radio station right now and am hearing new music I love (I’d never heard of Peter Bradley Adams, for example, and I love his “Lay Your Head Down” from the album “Gather Up.”) I can give new music a thumbs up or a thumbs down so that the radio stations tune themselves to my tastes. So awesome!

Those are the main programs. There’s not much I can think of from the jailbroken apps that I miss!

I tried out the WordPress app, which allows you to write to your blog, but quickly deleted it. Apart from the problem of it crashing, it also doesn’t serve any function that I can see. I can already use the Safari browser to log in to my blog and use all the admin functions, while the mobile WordPress app offers very limited functionality. For example you can’t even edit a blog post. How useless is that!

Anyway, the app store is amazing and there’s so much free stuff that it makes my head spin.

Where the bleep am I?

A friend just wrote to ask whether anything was wrong, given that I haven’t been blogging here and that I haven’t been writing on Wildmind.

Actually, I’ve just been busy teaching at my local university — a six-week stint I do most years. I’ll say more about that later.

For now I just wanted to comment that I’m writing this post on my iPod Touch using the new WordPress application. I’ve been checking the app store morning, noon, and night since the app was first announced a couple of weeks back and was excited to see that it had finally arrived.

I can’t comment too much on how it’s working given that this is my first go, but I did have problems with the app crashing when I as entering my blog details — not a promising start. But since getting past that hurdle the app seems to be working well. Now I can blog under the covers at night!

[added from my computer] Well, it seems the app doesn’t allow you to edit a post once it’s been published, so that seems like a major drawback. Actually, the idea of a WordPress application seems fundamentally flawed given that the iPhone renders websites beautifully. I can simply use my iPod to log into my blog as I would from my computer, and then I have full access to the blog’s functionality. I’ve a feeling that a vast amount of midnight oil was burned getting this app ready for prime-time, but I’m not sure why. True, the admin area isn’t terribly well set up for blogging on an iPhone, but that’s just a layout problem. I’d imagine it would be easy enough to have a stylesheet that’s set up for an iPhone and that the website would switch to automatically when the user agent is Mobile Safari.