Tag Archives: Food

Now Is NOT the Time

In response to the question:

What’s the most disturbing truth about raising children?

Heavens. Where to start?

I’ll limit my answer to 3 unavoidable facts:

  1. The children you have right now (2015), and any yet to be born, are going to have to deal with the collapse of the biosphere. That’s not hyperbole: that’s the consensus of roughly 14,000 climate scientists, worldwide.                 BioShock                                                                                                                   They will grow up and try to thrive in a world where the norm will be mass migrations, food and water shortages, spread of deadly disease (malaria and West Nile virus, to name but two), and endless, endless wildfires, way too many to keep under control.                                                                                                                                They will live with storms that have the power to level cities. And it will be  hotter, much hotter.

  2. They will also have to deal with a world where there will be many, many applicants for fewer and fewer jobs.                                                                                                                                                             We only need so many people to grow our food, build and repair our highways, sell us our Starbucks, even trade our stocks for us. We put 250,000 new people on the planet (over and above the death rate) Every. Single. Day.                                  BirthRate Even if only half make it to adulthood, that’s still about 46 Million people that will need jobs in about 15 years. And then 46 million newer, new people the year after that. And the year after that.
    I’ve seen lines like this for part-time work at Chipotle’s. Seriously.

  3. Unless you are a Tiger Mom (or Dad), or can afford a good private school ($11,000/yr), your children are going to grow up — no way to say this but to say it — very dumb indeed.

The US ranks 28th in the world, just above tiny Portugal, in the education of its populace (Singapore ranks #1).

Horrid for a country that still likes to think of itself as a ‘superpower.’

I had to explain to a Millennial just yesterday why Benjamin Franklin was a Big Deal.

In sum: You are raising children

  • who will live in air-conditioning maybe 8 hours a day, before the power grids have their mandatory daily brownouts;

  • who will probably work part-time at a poorly-paid franchise operation, and

  • who will be unfamiliar with basic history, geography, or mathematics.

Further, engrossing, accurate reading: 

A Special Moment in History (Bill McKibben)


I Want to Advocate for Animals, but with Smarter Role-Models


Vapid, vapid, vapid and making things up.

Watch Ellie go on a  Holiday from Logic at 0:32, when she claims that Biscuit (to my eye, either a Yorkshire or a Landrace pig) has been Created By Evil Scientists by “taking the DNA of the wild pig and genetically engineering it.”

The fact of the matter is that commercial white pigs (Yorkshire, Landrace, Chester White, etc.) are products of selective breeding, not genetic manipulation.

Exempli gratia: The Yorkshire pig was developed starting in 1761 (way before genetic engineering was even an idea) by Robert Bakewell, using local hogs in his home county of Leicestershire, while …
the Chester White was first developed around 1815-1818, using strains of large, white pigs common to the Northeast U.S. and a white boar imported from Bedfordshire county, England.

Don’t mistake me. Factory farming is flat-out evil. Animals don’t exist for our amusement, or to be our slaves, or so that some gluttonous eejit can wolf down a McKrinkleburger with Bacon and Cheese.

Nom nom. His name was Bob, and he's soooo tasty!
Nom nom. His name was Bob, and he’s soooo tasty!

BUT — Making Shit Up to elicit an Emotional Response isn’t the way to go, either.

At best, Ms. Laks is guilty of really quite stunning ignorance, and that in no way helps the cause.


Warsaw Days 5 and 6: Now, where were we?

So —

Back two days. After my successful plenary lecture (“Linear, Barotropic Equations: Existence, Uniqueness, and Properties of the Solution”), we celebrated by spending the evening exploring Łazienki Park , which is beautiful beyond description (but here goes): 188 acres, lakes, castles, peacocks, classical sculpture gardens. Golden-green, lush, cool, quiet. Lamplighters. I loved the lamplighters:

Lamplighter in Łazienki Park, August 2013

The park is still lit by gas lamps, which give off a completely different kind of light. Tiny step into the past, as you walk in the evening glow. Modern lamps are brighter, certainly, but also much harsher.

When our eyes couldn’t take in any more beauty, we headed to the top of a high promontory, where we had exquisite food at Qchnia Artystyczna , accompanied by the inevitable (and very good) 0.5 L of Tyskie , and all of Warsaw below us, twinkling in the dark.

Warsaw by Night

Note to readers: if in Poland, at a restaurant, and there’s something on the menu that has mushrooms — EAT IT. Poles are insane about mushrooms, and they’re not those horrid button things that we have to endure in the States. They’re what we would call artisanal. Carefully grown, sometimes foraged, so many varieties I have lost count. Heaven.

Oh, for my Math brothers and sisters, this was Wednesday’s lineup:

Wednesday, 14 August
9:30 – 10:20 A. Ioffe
Metric regularity in variational analysis
10:20 – 10:40 Coffee break
10:40 – 11:30 R. Guenther and C. C. Buchanan (That’s Me! My Math Author Name)
Linear Barotropic equations. Properties of the solutions
11:30 – 15:00 Lunch break
15:00 – 15:40 M. Frigon
On a notion of category depending on a functional
15:40 – 16:00 Coffee break
16:00 – 16:40 J. Pejsachowicz
Topology and bifurcation
16:40 – 17:00 Break
17:00 – 17:40 M. Koenig
S. Bernstein’s idea for bounding the gradient of solutions to the quasilinear Dirichlet’s problem

Well, as usual, it’s very late and I have an early morning tea with a new project director / co-researcher, a very respected, brilliant fellow in his field. That’s on top of my current writeup for publication, my book, looking for a new home for the PhD, and life in general. Got to sleep. More tomorrow.

Sunday August 11: Sleeping, Eating, saying “Thanks”

Firstly — fly British Airways if at all possible. Three connections, 17 hours of travel, and I felt as safe as if I was in my bed at home. The longest flight, the jump from LAX to Heathrow, was on a 747-400. I love those planes. They’re huge, safe as houses, and can do everything but file your taxes for you.

So, no-one met me at Frederick Chopin Airport due to a bureaucratic glitch, but being a Big Girl, I hailed a certified cab and soon found myself at the Banach Center, obraz ul. Śniadeckich 8, 00-956 Warszawa, for those of you curious enough to google map it. After a heated discussion between my cabbie (scant English) and housekeeping (no English) I found myself in room 515-B, which was clean and pleasant, 15-foot ceilings with damask and embroidered silk curtains, a HUGE bath all to myself, quiet as a tomb, nice view of the courtyard — and 80° F at least. So, open up the lovely Euro windows (the kind that pull down from the top), put the fan on the floor on ‘slow sweep’ — and — I kid you not — sleep for about 19 hours. Hey, it worked. I’m on Poland time now.

Sunday: up at 4 pm, Warsaw time. I print out some basic Polish things on Babylon.com (“I’m starving — where is a restaurant?” Where can I buy some tea?” Why is my room so damn hot?”) and go down to the front desk. Most of the answers — as best I can make out — are “Ask the desk staff tomorrow,” but — thank heavens, I am pointed towards a restaurant well worth the flight, just 2 blocks from BC:   U Szweǰka, where they kill you with delicious Polish and Czech food, free refills on wine and beer and delicious kirsch for afters. $20 USD for this:

U Szwejka

that’s bacon and sausage spread in the left ramekin (heck yes, I ate it and it was incredible) and a creamy-cheesy-dill concoction in the right (thank heavens for long-lasting lactaid)  — but this doesn’t show the second glass of wine, the heavenly apple pie with vanilla ice, or the kirsch. I rolled out of there, and wandered around the city in the twilight.

I found a great little grocer’s about a block away, and took pics of a nearby Catholic church, and what I think was some post-Soviet archway sculpture:

Catholic Church WarsawLeftoverSovietStatue2

We’re definitely in a tony section of town: little parks everywhere, big public squares lined with high-end shops. Scrupulously clean yellow-and-red electric trams and buses every 10 minutes or so — even at 8 at night. The weather was perfect: cool and pleasant, a few clouds, a beautiful sunset

Oh, how to say thank-you?  It’s “dziękuję” pronounced “Cheen-qoo-yee,” as best as I can tell.
Well, the math starts tomorrow at 9 am. Dobranoc (Goodnight)!