"Robots allow the cows to set their own hours, lining up for automated milking five or six times a day — turning the predawn and late-afternoon sessions around which dairy farmers long built their lives into a thing of the past. With transponders around their necks, the cows get individualized service. Lasers scan and map their underbellies, and a computer charts each animal’s 'milking speed,' a critical factor in a 24-hour-a-day operation. The robots also monitor the amount and quality of milk produced, the frequency of visits to the machine, how much each cow has eaten, and even the number of steps each cow has taken per day, which [...]
Stereotypical rich people of days gone by, with their brass-buttoned Navy blazers and exotic European sports cars, used to love to feast upon caviar. Why? Nobody knows, but it had something to do with caviar being a weird and expensive thing from a strange and threatening place: Communist Russia, or Red China—wild sturgeon were already in short supply by the 1950s, when Ian Fleming made his social-climbing civil servant an aficionado of the appetizer. By the 1960s, it was the show-off rich people restaurant appetizer of choice. Then humanity continued destroying rivers and fisheries and whole ecosystems until the Earth's caviar systems all collapsed. Wild caviar, that beloved snack of [...]
There aren’t a lot of people who specialize in spotting flaws in the ethical logic for veganism. That’s quite possibly because no one cares about obscure intellectual discourses over animal rights. I certainly didn’t while I was a vegan. After I saw the light and stopped eating animal products my first year at The University of Texas, I read bits of Tom Regan’s The Case for Animal Rights, Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation and Carol Adams’ The Sexual Politics of Meat, but I could never get into them. I rejected animal farming because it was violent, gruesome, cruel and needless. I didn’t need academic theorizing to keep me convinced.
But after [...]
Brooklyn Grange, the 40,000-square-foot rooftop farm in Queens that got a nice little write-up in the Times on Friday, got a taste of the downside of publicity pretty quickly: That afternoon, the New York State Department Of Buildings stopped by because the farmers had neglected to file paperwork showing that the building's roof could withstand the million pounds of mass that the farm's soil, irrigation lines, and plant life (not to mention the workers) would bring to it. "Our enthusiasm to get plants in for the season outpaced our paperwork," said farmer Ben Flanner's contrite statement on the matter. Whoops! I'm also somewhat worried about the subversive attempt [...]
And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.
God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn and call his state senator to complain about expensive new slurry pit legislation, spend all day with his ag lobby board strategizing about more laws against private raw milk sales, take that state senator out for steak and wine at dinner, and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board at the school he wants to eliminate with a voucher program." So God made a farmer.
It is news to nobody that we are a world undergoing "ad creep," an invasive omnipresence of advertising. Now, ads are more than just "on" our lives but make up "how" we live. With apologies to the Tracy Awards and Kraft's "Cheddar Explosion" program for the demolition of Texas Stadium, the ultimate in ad creep may be a small, cheap booze campaign going on right now in South Dakota.