From: Mr Q. Z. Diablo on
On 2010-02-01, Mxsmanic <mxsmanic(a)> unwisely decided to post the following to Usenet:
> Mr Q. Z. Diablo writes:
>> This is surely a no-brainer?
>> I probably cycle around 35km every day and consume around 12000kJ worth of food
>> (I'm assuming that my intake is around normal). Covering that distance takes a
>> total of around 1 hour and 25 minutes. Even if we assume that this is all the
>> energy that I consume in a day and it accounts for my entire food intake, we're
>> talking about (a few napkin calculations are required here) a power output of
>> 2380 Watts. This is plainly ludicrous (I would be gobsmacked if even a world
>> championship cyclist would put 2.5-odd kW to the pedals). Even a small,
>> economical, four cylinder car puts out (and hence consumes) out a couple of
>> dozen times that amount. I am frankly surprised that people wouldn't figure
>> that out without resorting to any kind of numerical calculation.
> What about the sunlight and fossil fuel required to raise food crops for
> animals, the consumption of energy by the crops, by the animals, and by you?
> It all adds up. One hundred square feet of cropland receives about 12,000 kwh
> of solar energy in a six-month period. How many square feet for how long are
> required to produce the food that feeds the animals that eventually gets put
> into the bicycle. Add it all up and it is very, VERY wasteful.

Sweet Christ! Did someone just give you an enema of stupid? If you want to
count in all the energy that goes towards crop production, we can also count in
all of the things that go towards the production of fossil fuels of sufficient
grade to power a motor vehicle. That includes prospecting, mining, refinement,
transport to destination, blah blah blah blah blah. I'm not talking about waste
here, and nor is Bill. We're just demonstrating to you the fact that the energy
used getting a motor vehicle from A to B is considerably more than is consumed
getting a cyclist (or even a pedestrian) the same distance.

To this end, my estimates have leaned _grossly_ towards overestimating the
amount of energy required to power a bicycle (I suspect by as much as an order
of magnitude although I cannot confirm this) and have been very generous to the
efficiency of fossil fuel production.

Just when we're all thinking that poor ol' Bill is off with the fairies, someone
comes along who has bypassed the fairies to join the clouds and the cuckoos.

"Who gets a hard-on during Kwanzaa? Nobody!"
- Dan Savage
From: Bill Bonde {Colourless green ideas don't sleep furiously) on

Mxsmanic wrote:
> Bill Bonde {Colourless green ideas don't sleep furiously) writes:
> > While that may be true, whose fault is that?
> That depends on the reasons for their poverty. It is a consequence of poverty
> to a large extent.
> > But we are talking about not what you can spend on food but what
> > you need to spend on food to get proper nutrition.
> Getting rid of the cell phone won't make a dent in a food bill of hundreds of
> dollars per month.
I think there are two points in response to that:

1) It doesn't really cost hundreds of dollars a month to feed each
person if they cook their own food from staple foods.

2) If you have enough money to buy a cell phone, it would seem like
you have enough to avoid starving, given that while the cell phone
alone isn't that much money, it is money that could be used to
avoid starving. I think we can add the cable bill to that amount

> It especially won't make a dent in the nutritional value of
> that food.
But whether or not the food is good for you is a choice that you

"Gonna take a sedimental journey", what Old Man River actually
From: Bill Bonde {Colourless green ideas don't sleep furiously) on

Magda wrote:
> On Sun, 31 Jan 2010 15:12:01 -0700, in, "EvelynVogtGamble(Divamanque)"
> <evgmsop(a)> arranged some electrons, so they looked like this:
> ... John Rennie wrote:
> ... > Mxsmanic wrote:
> ... >> Earl Evleth writes:
> ... >>
> ... >>> In industrial societies. In 3rd world countries in which
> ... >>> the per capital income of the lowest elements of the society
> ... >>> are less than $2/day, food is the major "budget" item.
> ... >>
> ... >> It is the same for me in the industrialized world. I'm continually
> ... >> amazed by
> ... >> how much money buying groceries consumes.
> ... >
> ... > I'm surprised at that. Generally in the western world anyway
> ... > food has become cheaper and cheaper
> ...
> ... Really? To which part of "the western world" do you refer? In the
> ... U.S., even "junk food" prices have skyrocketed over the past few years.
> ... Meat and fresh produce engender fresh "sticker shock", on nearly every
> ... visit to the supermarket!
> The list of things I don't buy any more due to the sudden higher (read "absurd") prices is
> as long as my arm - and growing.
Fingernail clippers?

"Gonna take a sedimental journey", what Old Man River actually
From: Bill Bonde {Colourless green ideas don't sleep furiously) on

Magda wrote:
> On Sun, 31 Jan 2010 16:29:31 +0000, in, "Bill Bonde {Colourless green
> ideas don't sleep furiously)" <tribuyltinafpant(a)> arranged some electrons, so
> they looked like this:
> ...
> ... Magda wrote:
> ... >
> ... > On Sun, 31 Jan 2010 21:34:52 +0000, in, John Rennie
> ... > <john-rennie(a)> arranged some electrons, so they looked like this:
> ... >
> ... > ... You are an abusive person aren't you, Magda?
> ... >
> ... > No, dahhhhhhhhling - Billy Stupid is.
> ... >
> ... > He can't even read, for heavens' sake!
> ... >
> ... I find that an odd claim given that the sum total of our
> ... interaction has been entirely via the written word.
> I wouldn't have it *any other way*.
That's fine with me.

> Go eat your cereal.
I don't usually eat breakfast.

"Gonna take a sedimental journey", what Old Man River actually
From: Earl Evleth on
On 31/01/10 14:15, in article 4B658285.7F1A1ABF(a), "Bill Bonde
{Colourless green ideas don't sleep furiously)"
<tribuyltinafpant(a)> wrote:

> They are the government making food cost more.

The higher cost of food can come from price increases
occurring after the producer delivers it into the
distribution system.

In the last year or two farmers collectively have
had a huge drop in income, yet the price to the consumers
has been rising. It is not exceptional that a particular
vegetable will be sold by the farmer at 1 euro/kilo
to the initial buyer, running it through the distribution
system and finally sold the the consumer at 5. The biggest
increase comes with the price demanded by the grocery store,
having bought the item for 2.5 euros but sells it for 5.
Part of the problem, of course is spoilage, but the
major issue that. So the government might support the
producer but that is not where the problem of food
prices lies.

The same thing occurs with authors. Unless it is a
best seller most authors receive a small fraction
of the book price. The editors, the workers running
the printing presses, the local library selling
the book will take the piggy portion of book sales
receipts. One personal example is my wife, who in
the 1950 and 1960s sold a total of over 600 light verse
poems to leading magazine and newspapers. Her total
income from those sales did not exceed more than
several thousand dollars (net after expenses).
The Wall Street Journal at the time published light verse,
and only paid $5 for one. Her mail costs of contacting editors
exceeded her profits. I did that taxes so I know.

Some of those poems are survived those years ont he
web example (from "Inspiring Quotations")

It is true that you may occasionally overhear a mother say
"Children must have their naps,
It's mother who knows best."
When what she really means by that
Is that she needs a rest.

So she made tens of thousands of people smile a little
and got diddly in cash, some rewards in having done so.

Basically, light verse is a dying art, little of it appears
in print anymore, no more Ogden Nashes.

That poetic style does not exist in French but does
in English