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Normal service will be resumed ...

On Thursday (once I'm home).

Meanwhile, in Munich:


Bavaria is to Germany as Texas is to the United States, to a first approximation. Discuss.



Oh most definitely, it's how I've explained it to outsiders for quite some time now. Ditto Carinthia for Austria. Namely: * it's in the south * people there speak in a weird dialect * they claim they are different from everyone else and no one who is not one of them can understand them and they are the best human beings possible by virtue of being [place]ians. * they vote in a manner that is different from the rest of their country because, they claim, see above. In Bavaria, they even have their own conservative party that is distinct from the rest-of-Germany conservative party (CDU vs CSU).


"Thick Things. For Men with Taste", and an "XXL Special Supplement". In Berlin, the exact same lines would be advertising Ficken 3000 — except their meat of choice is pork.


Er, when it comes to beer, there is just no comparison.


In case anyone's wondering, one translation website renders Dicke Dinger into English as Big Boobs. Now I'm really confused.


It can mean both.


I prefer Bavaria


But, something like a quarter of Munich residents are non-German, and they get their own representative on the Council (or council-like thing) for whom only non-Germans can vote. It's a surprisingly cosmopolitan city. On the other hand I've never been to Austin, so perhaps it would surprise me too.


Yeah, sounds about right. Not sure there's a California equivalent in Germany though of laid back sun worshippers.


well .. yeah. From what I hear (living just across the border in Baden-Württemberg), the "true" Bavarians seem to believe that Munich itself is devoid of "true" Bavarians, that mostly "south-Prussians" (Prussian being (still) a catch-all term for non-Bavarian and therefore bad people) live in Munich. "True" Bavarians start on the outskirts of Munich.

No idea whether this is actually the case or not.

From what I hear, Austin is very liberal compared to the rest of Texas. Bruce Sterling certainly claims it is.


The most popular fast food there by far is rolls filled with what appears to be two-inch-thick slices of warm paté. Meat, meat, meat.


Austin is a cosmopolitan, more liberal island in a sea of Texasness. The university there plays a big part.


I'd say that regional diversity here in Deutschland is even greater than in the USA, given the persistence of a distinct Eastern identity more than twenty years after the Wall fell.


I guess the formerly east german democratic republic would compare to Alska?


really? how? confused


Bavaria has roads in mountains. With corners in them. Texas...well, you might as well buy a 3000 kg land yacht, 'cause you aren't going to have to do a lot of turning. That place will have you begging for a self-driving car.


Charlie: "Bavaria is to Germany as Texas is to the United States, to a first approximation. Discuss."

Batsh*t insane?


It is true that Bavaria and Texas are about the only places on earth where people are proud to be German.

This is also, I believe, the only reason why there is no Bavarian National Party campaigning for independence.


I'd say that regional diversity here in Deutschland is even greater than in the USA, given the persistence of a distinct Eastern identity more than twenty years after the Wall fell.

I'd have a hard time with that one. Visit the Village in NYC, then the south Bronx, then Queens, on to, Minnesota, Chicago, Memphis, Mississippi, Dallas, Austin, Portland, Idaho, then wind up with visits to San Francisco, LA, then Miami. You'll think you've been in 20 separate countries except for the TV channels.

For reference my mother in law is German, my wife lived there for 4 or 5 years from the age of 16 (mostly in the south). My daughter spent a year of school there 09/10 in a northern area and is there now for 6 weeks. I believe they'd agree with my comment.


See Caro's The Passage of Power (4th volume of great Lyndon Johnson biography) for a very funny look at Bavarian Ludwig Erhard's state visit to West Texas, which scandalized the protocol nannies but seems to have been a roaring success.


This is also, I believe, the only reason why there is no Bavarian National Party campaigning for independence.

Err, you know about those:

As for regions, could we say the Ruhrgebiet is like Detroit? Though we're less into Industrial and more into Gothic.

The "true" Bavarians seem to believe that Munich itself is devoid of "true" Bavarians.

The Texas analogue is Austin. A technology hub, it has attracted a lot of foreigners from both the US and the rest of the world. Austin's politics are about as liberal as you'll find in the US. Real Texans™ can't pretend it doesn't exist, because it happens to be the state capital.


At least now I finally understand the Bavarian burger stand a few blocks from me. I always thought it was really odd. But maybe it's normal. At this place they also like to put other meat in their burgers, like pork and lamb.

Ooops nvm, it's a Serbian burger place. Ok now i'm even more confused. (Etno in Chicago)


Well, yes, the Englischer Garten in Munich has some nice canals in it. I've been there twice.

And I see in many pics that in San Antonio there are some very nice canals.

Apart from that?


Texas doesn't seem to have anything even remotely like like the Deutsches Museum or the Alps.


I don't know, man. Is there a German equivalent to "Go south until you smell it, then west until you step in it"?


There's this:

The place is basically a German colony. I can say that since I live in Austin, but work in New Braunfels, where "authentic" German food can be had all over town. German's are in large part responsible for:

Which is a reason get here!


David, while that's true, you'll feel like you've been in 20 different countries after visiting all those regions (and I'm no exception to this: I live the California Bay Area and I think of myself as a Washington [state] ex-patriot). There is an argument that Germany has more cultural diversity per area (many of those regions you listed rival Germany itself in size).


I have visited Austin. If that's "liberal compared with the rest of Texas", then the rest of Texas is some place I don't want to ever go.


You have to visit Texas with an understanding of the place. It is almost a parody of it's popular myths. If you go with that attitude it's easier to deal with lawyers in $2000 suits and $500 cowboy boots. :)

There's a saying that gets applied to many people in Texas with inflated ideas of their self. All hat, no cattle.

The point is there a many "normal" people in Texas. But visiting there can be fun if treated as a spectator sport.


Texas has a lot of Germans, but unlike in Germany the outdoor beer gardens can run all year. The Germans brought beer brewing to Texas.

Love, C.


The expression "Dicke Dinger" literally just means "Big things". In most cases it will refer to boobs, but could also refer to a "Big Car" or something like that. Google Image will give you a good impression of its uses.

The subtitle means:

"To barbecue like the Americans ("Ami" is a German colloquialism). Powerful, loud and tasty. Enjoy our BBQ with 15 new recipes"


To be fair, not everyone in Texas is insane (though the proportion may be higher than most other places, especially in governments, state and local). It is true that most of the Texans I know and like don't live there now.

As for bats, Austin's got 'em. There are about 1 million of them nesting under the Congress Street bridge from April to about October, IIRC, and they come out every night around sunset. Quite a spectacle.


Generally, maybe - I'd say they are the BRD's equivalent of Yorkshire, myself....

Pwas @ 3 Disagree - see previous comments on Franconia


As noted above there were many German immigrants to Texas in the late 1800's. Many of those, such as my paternal grandmother and her family, were from Bavaria. :-)


I support this thesis.

Parallels at the top of my head:

  • Located in the south of the country

  • Highly conservative

  • Incredibly jingoistic, xenophobic and christian

  • Common love for greasy meat products with thick sauce

  • Beer consumption far beyond advisable limits

  • Self-aggrandizing, special status as "free state"

  • Home of 'significant' sports and media franchises

  • Disturbingly high mustache-to-adult-male ratio


Agree with the Texas/Bavaria comparison. Of course, now OGH has to visit all the other 15 states (and numerous sub-state regions with a definite identity) of Germany to find the proper US state to compare to.

Re: BEEF - AFAIK that magazine is sold all over Germany.


Agree absolutely. Just drove through Austria and Germany a week ago. Austrians love their food and horses:


For what it's worth, Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley all went for Obama in 2008. Great steaming heaps of the stereotypical Texas exist, but the state's not like that everywhere.(*)

Just out of curiosity, what negative experience did OGH have in Austin?

(*) I admit to a bit of cognitive dissonance on noticing that a San Antonio supermarket stocks Texas Halal chicken products. No riots or firebombings have occurred in protest that I've learned of.


I went to a Jewish wedding in Memphis, some 16 years back. The Rabbi came up from Texas for the ceremony.


"Bavaria is to Germany as Texas is to the United States." Spot on, I think.

I throw the following into the mix.

First, Bavaria has a clause in its constitution permitting it to secede from Germany's federation of states. It is the only province of the former west Germany to have such a clause (and one of only two out of sixteen, AFAIK).

Second, the capital is markedly different from the rest of Bavaria, as other have noted. Supporting evidence: the lord mayor of Munich is a social-democrat while the rest of the province is staunchly conservative (e.g., promotes paying women to stay at home rather than getting a job and putting their kids into day-care).

Third, the (very conservative) CSU single-handedly ruled Bavaria for about 60 years and still overwhelmingly dominates its political life. The former head of the CSU said some years ago in a speech (while he was still Governor/Minister-President) that Bavaria has more intelligent voters than the rest of the country. Very telling comment.

Fourth, driving through Bavaria last year, the thing I noticed was how fertile the land is. It wouldn't surprise me to find that this richness of land and the resulting reliable harvests is one of the historical cornerstones of the smug conservatism that others have noted. That and the physical beauty of the place.

Fifth, and finally, the magazine gracing this post ("Beef: For men with taste") is not just a southern phenomenon. It's also available in northern Germany, where I spend much of my time. It launched some time in the last couple of years, and I've thought about buying it a few times, out of sheer fascination, only to balk at the price. I can't help thinking it's an elaborate joke, or else serves some other purpose than attracting a reading public.


The having-its-own party thing doesn't extend to Texas; in the US, that option is exclusively Democratic (if we restrict the discussion to parties with statewide or federal office-holders). Those parties would be in Minnesota (the DFL) and North Dakota (Democratic-NPL).

Re #23: Sure, Texas doesn't have anything like the Deutsches Museum, but nobody else does, either

And I'm going to have to subscribe to this magazine now.


Texas is where America's id is on display. I've met right wing people who were just as batshit insane in other parts of the country but in Texas they feel no inhibition about letting it all hang out. Those of us on the left feel a good deal of paranoia about saying what we actually think.

I choke when people call Obama a socialist. For god's sake we need some real socialists and communists in this country just to restore some balance.


Bavarians are the Wombles of Europe. Seriously, find a seat in a bar where you can see the pavement, put a small piece of litter down, see how long it takes for someone to tidy it up.


So Scotland is to the UK as Bavaria is Germany; excepting the south bit? Maybe it should be 'towards an extremity'.

BTW, you can add absurd local dress, used to differentiate and tribalise.

(Joke, joke, don't hit me.)


Houston has a good size Jewish community, so does Memphis (know some from both). I'm guessing the Rabbi was a family friend, to go all that way?

The only bits of Texas I've seen are the inside of airports--Houston (usually rainy) and DFW (trying not to get lost). And have never been to Germany, so have no opinion on the comparison.


You'v never met any Swabians (Suebians?), have you? Ridiculed inGermany_ for being overly clean, neat and exact. Looking down their noses at (for ex) Bavarians for being so dirty.


Dallas also has a comparatively large Jewish community (my wife has some relatives there).

Stuart in Austin @ 41:

We've got quite a few Obama-haters here in Oregon. The last time one of them told me Obama was a Communist, I said, "No, Obama is a Moderate Republican; I'm a Communist," and proceeded to tell him about being raised in a far-left family. It shut him up.


Yeah where's an Overton Window, when you need one (to escape through) ??


So Scotland is to the UK as Bavaria is Germany; excepting the south bit? Maybe it should be 'towards an extremity'

You missed the political bit -- opposite direction. Also the cultural cringe reflex. No, Scotland isn't conservative/smug/christian-religious. (The whacky national dress, secessionist tendencies, and odd accent I'll grant you.)


Tyke here - steady on now, lad.


Oddly, not as far as I know.

Bride: Memphis Roman Catholic. Groom: St John's Wood (London) Reformed Jewish Atheist.

As they'd not that long before moved down from Manhattan, I suspect that any Rabbis they might have known would have been in NYC or, more likely, London.


Texas doesn't seem to have anything even remotely like ... the Alps.

Perhaps not, but plenty of climbers go there anyway: it (apparently, I've not been) has some of the best bouldering in the world, with Hueco Tanks being particularly well-known. A Google search throws up some longer routes too, but nothing like the big walls of the Alps or Yosemite.


Texas doesn't seem to have anything even remotely like like ... the Alps.

Yep. When my relatives by marriage visit us here in central NC one of their biggest complaints are the hills and trees. They start to get claustrophobic if they can't see 5 to 10 miles unless there's a building in the way. Only group of people I've met who complain about there being too many trees.


Bavaria, Texas, whatever. That's one big pile of beef.

Wonder if they have a "pink slime" problem in Germany.


high price for ebooks the apocalypse codex is 12.99 us dollars for kindle aren't paperbacks cheaper? I'm on a budget.


I fear this is getting away from Bavaria (of which I'm quite fond), but I'm surprised that people seem to be surprised that there are Jews in Texas. Of course there are synagogues all over the state, which can be confirmed by googling "synagogues in $TEXAS_CITY".

Locally, there's a big Jewish-themed supermarket in San Antonio just up the road from the one that sells Texas Halal chicken. Tragically, their bagels aren't very good.


In that case, thay may have had to go that far to find one who was willing do the marriage. Most Rabbis hesitate to do mixed marriages, unless one has converted. A Reform Rabbi might be willing, but not necessarily. I do know a Conservative Rabbi who did a same-sex ceremony, one was a convert. Unfortunately not legal here, they went to California for that.

But, nevermind, that's a bit off-topic.


That'd be some parts of Eastern Germany, than.

You get:

A) the local dialect

B) the politics


"The Apocalypse Codex" isn't out in paperback in the US, and won't be for another year -- the $12.99 ebook is priced against the $24 (before discount -- usually discounted to $17) hardcover.


My impression is that, because of BSE, there are regulations in the EU that cut off most of the reasons US meat processors started using "pink slime".

I think this may be coincidence, but if the "beef trimmings" included materials which were suspect under BSE controls, the process would do nothing to prevent transmission. The prions are a lot harder to denature than any bacteria.


Pink slime? A friend in CA mentioned how much 'meat' these days is made using strange pink stuff, maybe it is the same thing? (When is it going to mutate and take over the country?)

Although I get the impression that in Europe in general they take their food more seriously than in the USA.



FRESH FROM THE MOULD LAB Thus the best meat of the world is formed

LUXURY IN THE BEER MUG 30 Euro per bottle: Are the new beers worth it?

CURRIED SAUSAGE FROM PIKEPERCH 7 snack classics with fish instead of meat

WITH XXL SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT The BEEF! paper for the knowledge-hungry with interviews, horoscope and Page Three girl

BURGER, RIBS, STEAKS BIG THINGS Grilling like the Yankees: powerful, loud and delicious! Enjoy our barbecue with 15 new recipes"

Issues of explosive nature, alright.


Pink slime?

The uber green and other groups think that the "grown in a vat" equivalent of this is what we should all be eating in the not too distant future instead of actual cattle.


Even for non-vegetarians, if the taste is the same or nearly so, and if the result is not toxic in some way, the fact that it was never attached to a pain-feeling nervous system before being in our plate should be a definite plus on vat-meat side for any empathy feeling human.

And even if right now vat-meeat is very far from any economic sense, it does remains the fact that cows and pigs and so on do consume a lot of resources compared to their food output, while a semi-industrial process could be likely optimized.

About the pink goo, most industrial food preparation processes are quite gross. And meat preparation in general is gross a lot, be it industrial or traditional. When I was a kid in my grandfather farm I yearly witnessed pig butchering, and it's not something for the faint of hearth...


didn't know that thanks, on another note watch the documentary called the thin blue line, and texas for some reason puts a lot of innocent people to death after the fact, plus the good ol boys seem to still be running the place, arsenio hall said that they were making an electric couch for all the guys coming down the pike instead of the chair. so much for texas. in fact the last time i was going through texas it really stunk. cowboy hats and all


Radiating awesomeness...


Austin is definitely the most liberal town in Texas. Dallas isn't bad (there is a thriving Gay community there). I have found that Liberal Texans exist in pretty sizable numbers, but they are a bit different than Coastal Liberals. They tend to still be protestant Christians, and personally conservative. The difference is, they don't believe in legislating their personal morality and are tolerant of others' beliefs and lifestyles (Ok, my wife still calls me a damn yankee regularly).

That said, Texas still has an Overton Window looking out the other side of the building from Scotland. OTOH, I have found Texans to be more polite on average than the rest of the country. I like visiting Texas (but as implied above, I'm married to one, so not really unbiased here).


About the pink goo, most industrial food preparation processes are quite gross. And meat preparation in general is gross a lot

MSM as its known in the trade


yummy,8-o...just coat it in breadcrumbs, and deep fry it...most Europeans would eat it happily

[except the French, naturellement]


A woman I know who is German, repeatedly claimed that Bavarians aren't German . Not entirely sure why except "they are weird !". Oddly enough the topic of "Dinner for One" came up and I suspect that Bavarians don't find it funny .

I'm beginning to like them .


I'm inclined to agree with them about the desirability of vat-grown "pink slime". It's the version made by ramming inedible bits of dead animals through a fine sieve then treating it with ammonia and food dye that's unhygienic and unpleasant to contemplate.


I feel that most any industrial scale vat grown food stuff will gross out most folks in terms of what will be done to prep it and kill of any germs and such.


I grew up with my grandfather and uncle running a small slaughter house. 4 or 5 employees tops. Watching them work from cow to steak (or pig to ham) gives a whole new meaning to what is acceptable to eat or not.

I swear that most people think that burgers come out of replicators and get upset when told about reality. Starting with what is done to the male calves a month or so into life.


Same with male piglets, roosters, male billy goats and male lambs too. Castration shortly after birth to prevent the meat from toughening up and then slaughter once they reach a reasonable size where future feeding won't substantially increase the muscle mass. The females are kept as breeding material and milk production until they wear out then they go to the slaughterhouse to provide lower-quality cuts, burger meat etc. Circle of life and all that.

A good manga I've been reading recently called "Kin no Sagi" (Silver Spoon) is about a city kid from Sapporo who ends up at a Japanese high school out in the boonies of Hokkaido specialising in teaching agricultural students, usually kids from a farming background. It's very hands-on with animal husbandry as part of the cirriculum -- castrating piglets is the least of it.

The focus character has to face up to the fact the cute newborn piglets he has to look after are going to be bacon in a few months time, even the runt of the litter he names "Pork Bowl". Being Japanese the storyline doesn't actually avoid the dilemma he faces when it comes time for Pork Bowl to be loaded onto the truck.


Personally, I wonder why most of the vat-grown meat scenarios still focus on mammals. Insect cells are a lot more easily to cultivate:

May I propose to focus on some locust species for the biblical inclined:


Very occasionally they attempt to show 'Dinner for one' on British TV. It sinks like a stone. As with Benny Hill, it's something that fails to meet contemporary British taste in humour.

As far as sense of humour is concerned, the Bavarians we know (our daughter and her husband*) are from Munich and seem to have a liking for British humour, particularly the works of one Sir T Pratchett. On the other hand, that is going to be self-selecting.

(*We're pretty sure neither of us were anywhere near Bavaria when she was born. And we'd not even met then. But well, we have a Munich daughter.)


That reminds me of a recent gubernatorial candidate-- Kinky Friedman. His mystery novels are hilarious, but his early claim to fame was as the lead for a country/western band, The Texas Jewboys.


Pink slime is the timed fat that was feed to pets. Its cheaper to fast trim it leaving some meat on it. What many (ALL?)do now is put the fat scraps in a centrifuge and spin and heat it. The then liquid fat is spun our and whats left is sanitized with chemicals. Bacteria has been found in it at stores, but not by the FDA where it is made. Large amounts are put into hamburger by some stores. They don't have to tell you and there is no limits. The FDA says its great. I could not understand why my hamburgers tasted so bad all at once, so I went to a different store. Then our newspaper did a story about it and said my old store chain used it allover the country.
Kinky Friedman'songs were much under rated because most of them were funny and said things. And he has had a lot to say about the parts of Texas with German immigrants.


When my relatives by marriage visit us here in central NC one of their biggest complaints are the hills and trees. They start to get claustrophobic if they can't see 5 to 10 miles unless there's a building in the way.

Heh. My relatives from North Dakota have the same complaint when they visit West Tennessee.


on another note watch the documentary called the thin blue line, and texas for some reason puts a lot of innocent people to death after the fact, plus the good ol boys seem to still be running the place, arsenio hall said that they were making an electric couch for all the guys coming down the pike instead of the chair. so much for texas. in fact the last time i was going through texas it really stunk. cowboy hats and all

Humm ... This is the kind of post that often results in a yellow card from OGH. Texas and Texans are fair game, I suppose.


1) Charlie's in Germany, so not moderating as intensely as usual. 2) That post agrees with some of his stated opinions.

3) Wildly O/T but Coolest xkcd ever!!


Full of people who are proud of being backwards, consider their catholicism a folk custom that is not about religion at all, so you better not complain aboug having it shoved on you, stranger, have taken everybody else's money for decades and now whine at having to pay under the same laws, have politicians endorse drunk driving, and feel that they are better than everybody else by accident of birth.

Yes, that's Bavarians for you. I live here.


My grandfather preferred Bavarians to Prussians.

They both shot at him, but the Bavarians were more polite about it.


texas for some reason puts a lot of innocent people to death after the fact,

Pretty strong opinion but not really a fact. Unless we have different interpretations of the phrase "a lot".

But I still would not want to be caught up in the Texas court system. Much more so than in most of the world, if arrested, you are assumed guilty of something.

As to "after the fact" I have no idea what you mean by that.


Sean the troll tries to troll - cancelled for ad hominem attack on OGH


Christ almighty, where do we start with this one?


Christ almighty

Are you suggesting prayer?


I did my PhD at DESY, in Hamburg, in the mid-80s. At the time, CERN in Geneva, SLAC and Fermilab in the US, and DESY in Germany, were about on a par as the Big Four international labs in particle physics. Just after finishing my doctorate, I attended a meeting of the German Physical Society in Munich, and while I was there I visited the Munich Science Museum. To my surprise, the extensive exhibit on particle physics had lots of stuff about CERN and not a mention of DESY at all, despite DESY's being a German lab.

My conversation with a German postdoc about this went as follows:

Me: "Why isn't there anything about DESY in this exhibit?"

German (not Bavarian, note) postdoc: "You've got to understand, Susan. This isn't Germany. This is Bayern [German for Bavaria]."

So, I'd definitely agree with the statement that it thinks it's a different country - and the rest of Germany tends to agree with it!


So, I'd definitely agree with the statement that it thinks it's a different country - and the rest of Germany tends to agree with it!

Germany was a loose collection of states until the later 1800s. Apparently much like some states in the US they don't always want to show much kin to each other.


Of the ejaculatory kind.


As Robert D. Kaplan put it [Kissinger, Metternich, and Realism]:

Henry Kissinger's first book, on the Napoleonic Wars, explains Kissinger's foreign policy better than any of his memoirs, and is striking as an early display of brilliance and authority

The very subject of Kissinger's doctoral thesis raised eyebrows at Harvard, as one biographer, Walter Isaacson, has observed. At a time when the threat of thermonuclear extinction obsessed political scientists, the court diplomacy of early-nineteenth-century Europe seemed quaint and irrelevant. Even if the technology of war had changed, Kissinger implied, the task of statesmen remained the same: to construct a balance of fear among great powers as part of the maintenance of an orderly international system -- a system that, while not necessarily just or fair, was accepted by the principal players as legitimate. As long as the system was maintained, no one would challenge it through revolution -- the way Hitler in the 1930s, categorized by the thirty-year-old Kissinger as a "revolutionary chieftain," did.


Robert D. Kaplan is an ignorant, and dangerous, bloody fool.


D. J. P. O'Kane @92: I hesitate to share my true feelings about this post, because it might involve insult as well.

Nevertheless I have to say that I think it IS a bit rich to call a man who has more first-hand experience with many of the worlds most troubled regions than any of those that presume to judge him an ignorant fool.


Thank you 72 for Kin no Sagi. I really wish more people would understand where meat comes from.

And I wished that also before I became vegan (somewhat involuntarily, probably partially due to the modern food industry).


Does Bavaria have any version of South Texas? All you people up there are talking about Anglo Texas, which includes the Germans. Spanish-speaking Texas is still America --- but rather different from the stereotype of the state, culturally and politically.

(Google "Joaquín Castro." I had a bit role in his campaign, before the district was remapped to exclude Eagle Ford.)

Strangely, to me, this influence is super obvious, but somehow discounted by casual European observers.

I'm not disputing the similarities, but this seems a huge difference from Bavaria, unless there is a centuries-old Czech-and-German speaking and rapidly growing part of that province. Ditto, do Bavaria's unique sartorial and culinary traditions mostly derive from Moravia?

(BTW, Charlie, why wouldn't Texan bizzaro-world conservatism make you more desirous of visiting? I don't understand; strange places generally engender your curiousity, no? After all, you get to leave!)


I strongly agree with you, but to be fair the guy @91 is probably referring to the very serious historical errors that Kaplan committed in Balkan Ghosts. Those errors led him to misread what he saw on the ground, and contributed to America's reluctance to intervene in the Yugoslav Wars.

He also has a tendency to glorify the military. I find that a little strange, because he's an IDF veteran, and veterans --- especially of conscript armies --- have in my experience a much more balanced view of the competence and capabilities of the armed services.


One of the things Hitler did on coming to power was consolidate the central government by replacing the state governments of such places as Bavaria, Saxony and the like with Reich Statthalters, whatever they were.


Well, a 'Statthalter' is something like a stewrd. For the office, see:

The idea for the steward was somewhat intertwined with the 'Führerprinzip' (leader principle),ührerprinzip

though anyone with some knowledge about the anarchy that was internal NSDAP politics is invited for a somewhat cynical laugh, let me just mention Göring and Himmler for the usual suspects, e.g. Göring and the Navy:

BTW, shit, is this a Godwin or not?


Does Bavaria have any version of South Texas?

Actually, they have, to a degree:

They even had a Bavarian Minister President once,ünther_Beckstein

though that one was more of a 'let's take the usual Roman Catholic CSU conservatism and dampen its tendencies for cronyism

with Protestant ascetism.

As for regions with Bavarian-Czech cohabitation, err, I already used up my Godwin for today, right?


Regarding food production, there's a curious unspoken assumption in the current narrative, something along the lines of "if the animal has a nice life it will forgive us for eating it".

Personally, I've come to see battery farms as more ethical in the sense that, a creature brought up under such conditions of sensory deprivation is likely to have less neural development and surely the less organized neural networks you have to destroy to get your meat, the better? Considerations of economics, flavour and meat quality & hygiene aside.

I recall a reddit post last month or so, some farmer's cow had produced a calf that had no head. Obviously they destroyed it without eating the meat. Obviously why? The thing looked eminently edible to me, except the head came pre-removed.

As for pink slime, there's a Spanish saying "From the pig we use even the way it walks" (Another version is "even the oink"). Again if it can be done with sufficient health guarantees then it's both ethical and economical to use every last ounce of protein. We waste enough food as it is.


Did you miss the phrase "added ammonia"? The English (or at least English-speaking Irish) version is "even using the curl of its tail". Using every part for minimum waste does not imply we eat every piece of recoverable protein - see PIG 05049 for examples.


I guess I assumed the ammonia wasn't compulsory, I don't think the wholesale overuse of antibiotics is a good thing either but as it is battery farming approaches vat grown meat with conventional technology.

I also don't know enough chemistry to judge whether ammonia use should be considered an irreversible taint. After all it's a natural metabolic product so concentration is probably a relevant point.

Using every part for minimum waste does not imply we eat every piece of recoverable protein

Sure, but it seems like a fair goal to shoot for, in principle.


Large parts of of the Lander called Bavaria have sartorial (and culinary and linguistic and...) traditions that are radically different of what we think about when we talk about Bavaria.

There are parts of Swabia, and other regions which were incorporated too late to adapt to the lederhosen and oompah-band traditions. If you go from Munich to a place like Oberstdorf (the highest market town in Germany!) for instance, you get a cultural shock at every level.

Many of mad king Ludwig's castles are in regions which have different customs than those of "traditional" Bavaria.

You have to rent a car (or a bike) and take the time to do a real tour of the place. It's very nice.


Wake up! Pink slime is not vat grown meat. Its seems to be mostly part emptied fat cells. And it really tastes bad. Over here we had a saying that every thing was used but the squeal. But nobody ate it all. Not that they knew at least.
Kissinger's foreign policy is the main reason America is so loved by all the world. From what I read America was trusted before him. Kissinger would tell lies in one country and the first country would call the next one to tell them what he said. And so on and so on. They all knew he would say anything. The World has never gotten over him. And the messes he made are still running. After he was out of power he was getting paid to lobby for this thug and that one.  Metternich's plan had countries sending troops to put down the people in other countries to fight the danger of democracy.
Kissinger seemed to think this was a good thing because it held back change. The English made a point to destroy it by the late 1800's.


The way that Göring claimed authority over everything that flew is not so different from what the RAF did for naval aviation in the Royal Navy. There is a reason that the USN and the IJN were able to do so much with aircraft carriers. They had control of the aircraft side.

I'm not sure that one is entirely down to the NSDAP. It was one of those inter-war ideas which didn't work out.


Charlie is now back in Scotland, and somewhat frazzled by a series of unconnected events happening all at once.

Play nice, OK.

Those with an interest in German politics should look up David McAllister.


I'm not sure that one is entirely down to the NSDAP.

(sarcasm mode)Hey, you expect this kind of behaviour from decadent bourgouis plutocracies, but not from an enlightened people's gouvernment, right?(/sarcasm mode)

I agree somewhat to your point, but then, first of, with the failed painter and his cronies there is this typical disconnect between propaganda and reality, err, any reality, which I think is important to reiterate, having the distinct pleasure to encounter the occasional 'a strong leader to sort this mess out', and second of, err, AFAIK the Royal Navy and like were not in the habit of executing meddling executives:

But is it just narrative causality in my reality tunnel, or is the best way to get a really corrupt gouvernment to vote for the guy who vexes about fighting corruption the most?

As an aside, one more reason to think the distinction between 'totalitarian' and 'authoritarian' regimes rubbish.


Beef? "Ze Cherman farmer has not BSE, because he hass JCB" Or so I'm told!

Trttelreiner @ 98 Errrr ... Franken (Franconia) isn't noted for anything except BOOZE. They grow really good wine there (ususally sold in Bocksbeuteln) and AMAZING beer - oh and they have a local version of Scrumpy as well. They wouldn't let me drink it ( "Kein für auslandër" ) until I explained that we had it too, (i.e. Scrumpy) - and yes, it was Orange, Lumpy & Dangerous .... Franconia was aggregated into Bayern in 1803 - thanks to Boney. I don't think they've assimilated yet, though.

Dave Bell @ 104 Errrrr ... wrong I think Look up "Taranto". ( Where the IJN got the idea for Pearl Harbour from ... )

Or, maybe even "Fleet Air Arm"


I, also, have first hand experience of two countries on which Kaplan has commented - Eritrea and Sierra Leone.

I first came across Kaplan in his book Surrender or Starve, about the political background to the Ethiopian famine of the 1980s. It's actually not bad as a bit of reportage on the roots of that famine - the politics of Ethiopia's Soviet-oriented military junta, the Dergue. What set my alarm bells ringing was the paragraphs where Kaplan expresses his puzzlement at the reporting of the Manchester Guardian on this issue. That newspaper was one of the journals that blew the whistle on the diversion of food aid to the Ethiopian military. Kaplan is puzzled because he identifies the Guardian as a liberal newspaper, which must therefore be a nest of fellow-travelling comsymps, and which, therefore, should have been expected to cover up the brute political facts at the roots of the famine in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Later on, our man moved on to west Africa, and argued for an extreme Afro-pessimist analysis of the civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Those of us who work on those countries find his analysis. . . simplistic, to put it mildly.

I've not read his Balkan Ghosts book, but I'm not surprised to hear that it, also, is simplistic and misinformed.


I've never read Kaplan, so can't comment directly on him. That said, I'd agree with the main point of Para 2, particularly having read "Loud and Clear", the autobiography of .


Using every part for minimum waste does not imply we eat every piece of recoverable protein

Sure, but it seems like a fair goal to shoot for, in principle.

Those two synergizing viewpoints are what led to the BSE epidemic in the UK -- feeding cows' brains to other cows. We got off lightly; the death toll so far is only around 200 people. (The worst case projections around 1996-2004 were for it to kill millions of us, but it turns out to be not quite as infectious in humans as feared. Still, a food-born disease that kills hundreds of people in a particularly horrible manner is nothing to dismiss lightly.)

I'm tending towards the opinion that we should either [try to] stick to organic free-range agriculture, or go all the way to vat-grown produce (as and when we get a handle on how to do that properly). The in-between processes appear to be both inhumane and have nasty failure modes.


Nope, Dave is right.

The RAF was formed from the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. The RN didn't regain control over its own aircraft until early 1939.

By then, of course, it was almost too late. Because the aspiring Air Marshall would far rather be based at an aerodrome within reach of London and weekends off, than stuck at sea with the Fleet for six months; and that has an effect on who gets first pick for investment in shiny new aircraft. See "Fairey Swordfish".

History repeats; Joint Force Harrier was supposed to provide a Naval Strike Wing, but it never really took off (forgive the pun) and allegedly this is one of the reasons why the RN would be happier with a different aircraft from any in service with the RAF, for its shiny new carriers. It increases the likelihood that the Squadrons will be based permanently on the carriers, and not leaking sea-going competence and currency by spending six months of the year at RAF Marham...

There's a reason why there were a couple of Honours handed out to the AAC team who took Apache to Libya from HMS Ocean; there's a lot of hard work and skill in setting up the processes required to operate in a Naval environment, i.e. one in which you can't just jump into a Landrover and drive off somewhere to pick up a part, or phone a mate who knows how to solve a particular problem...


Just a bit of history on British Naval Aviation.

From 1918 to 1939, naval aircraft, pilots, and other personnel were provided by the Fleet Air Arm of the RAF. On the 24th May 1939 this became the Air Branch of the Royal Navy.

Fairey Swordfish: Maximum Speed 120 knots, range 475 nautical miles.

Compare this to the USN and IJN contemporaries.

Douglas TBD Devastator: Max speed 179 knots, range 378 nautical miles.

Nakajima B5N: Max Speed 204 knots, range 1075 nautical miles (doesn't specify any payload).

The contemporary naval fighters of the time such as the Sea Gladiator and the Mitsubishi A5M had speeds of between 220 and 240 knots. The Fleet Air Arm, in 1938, got the wonderful new Blackburn Skua monoplane fighter-bomber which could reach 195 knots.

It's hard not to get the feeling that the Royal Navy got a pretty bad deal from the RAF-control, even if planes such as the Fairey Fulmar showed the Admiralty wasn't playing with a full deck. The British didn't really produce an effective carrier fighter until the Hawker Sea Fury. The Seafire worked, but had significant flaws.

Given that example, Göring doesn't look like such an idiot. And the Germans didn't have much naval aviation, the usual catapult-launched spotter planes on cruisers and battleships, and land-based maritime reconnaisance. Things worked out OK, until the aircraft carrier came onto the scene.

There are some, reporting on modern British naval aviation, who think the RAF is at it again. Or maybe it is the near-monopoly supplier, BAE.


I'm afraid that blaming the RAF alone for the relative backwardness of naval aviation rather ignores the whole context and the organisational issues since WW1.
For starters, we nearly didn't have an RAF ready for WW2, due to budget cuts over the previous 20 years. This was of course a problem across all the armed services; they had to prioritise and I suppose you would argue that the wrong priorities were chosen. Then we have the determined efforts by the navy to kill off the RAF when it was young, back in WW1 and just after, which didn't really endear them to anyone else.
There's also the issue of clash of egos between the various top level commanders in the navy and Raf, I am sure.

The modern scene is probably a brainless mish-mash of bae, stupid procurement procedures at the mod, political meddling and so on, see the u turn on arrestors for the new aircraft carrier.


People, you are converging on one of the five strange attractors again.


Beer, you ignoramus. Unless you are talkig about those pampered lowlanders of Lower Franconia that grow wine.

Charlamange sent the Franconians to bring civilisation to the Bavarians. After 1200 years, it can be said that they failed.

(Mocking your neighbor is a good old pasttime in these parts, and a lot more fun than mocking people too far away to ever be annoying. Which is why I'll be quiet on the matter of Texans.)


In light of the knowledge of how many Texans are descended from Missourians, I should have no comment. Hope OGH made it home intact.


I don't disagree but I've always been a bit wary of the narrative that seems to say, in effect "They made cows into cannibals so of course god/gaia/karma kicked in", if anyone could predict an infectious agent smaller than a virus, almost impossible to sterilize and whose main mode of detection is finding holes in your brain from that, he's a damn good futurist. It just looks like a morality tale, but that's just our pattern matching at work. Brains are not inherently a bad source of nutrients. (Mmm, brainnsss)

(Wiki sez prions were theorised since the 60s but only confirmed and named in 1983)

My point is, I don't think vat grown production will be immune to similar failure modes (Prions, something else we don't know we don't know?) and we already know traditional agriculture has it's own nasty failure modes (Ask the 19th century Irish).


There was nothing "traditional" about our monocrop monoculture - and certainly nothing "traditional" about the fricking useless non-response of the London government to the disaster.

119: says that prion diseases were known for centuries, even if the possibility of them being transmitted to humans wasn't.


Martin @ 111 If, as you say the Navy got control of its own aircraft BEFORE WWII broke out, which is what I thought. Then Dave is worng ... And the aircraft that made the succesfula attack @ Taranto were ... Fairey Swordfish. Erm.

inge @ 115 THAT is stright flame-bait, and wrong! Meanwhile I suggest you look at THIS Publication (released today or yesterday)to which I was one of the contibutors on Foreign Beer in London. And, I'm a life member of CAMRA. OK?

@ 117/8 Very true. Not helped. of course by the fact that everyone had a bad harvest 1847-8 because the weather was crap (hence revolutions across Europe) but, the real killer (from the Irish' unfortunate viewpoint) was that England (especially) was least-worst off, because it had the most advanced agriculture system around at the time, and the food suppy held out (just)

@ 119 Re Scrapie - errr - "Kuru" ??


It's not like we're moving away from monocultures. They're unfortunately convenient.

Most actual famines are man made of course, politically motivated interference or lack of action.

Foot and mouth is another example of nature chowing into our food supply.

"Prion diseases were known for centuries, even if the possibility of them being transmitted to humans wasn't."

Well yes, the diseases were known but the prion was only named in 1983 from 60s theories. Viral diseases were known from antiquity, well before any germ theory or viral theory. Doesn't mean they knew what was going on.


The Japanese studied the Battle of Taranto in their prep, but they probably got the "idea" for Pearl Harbor from their own attack on Port Arthur, to the extent it is all that original an idea to begin with.


Wikipedia corroborates my memory that kuru was known to be a brain disease transmissible between species and between humans by cannibalism by the mid-1960s (the discoverer of those facts got the Nobel in medicine in 1976). That the transmission mechanism was prions was discovered later, but you don't need that information to decide that eating your neighbors' brains is probably a bad idea.


Yes but, we're talking cow brains here, which are arguably a delicacy, I really don't think an obscure factoid probably familiar only to anthropologists translates into any sort of obvious forewarning for something so damn exotic as prions turned out to be. They even contradict the central dogma of molecular biology.

Hey, it could've been worse, if we'd gone with the soylent green approach, we'd be really screwed.

Soylent green causes kuru!!


privateleron @ 122 Err... maybe The problem, from the IJN's pov was that Pearl H is shallow, and required special techniques for air-dropped torpedoes. Also, the single biggest loss (IIRC & AIUI) was caused by a single penetration delayed-fuse bomb, and not a torpedo, detonating the forward main magazine of USS Arizona

They even contradict the central dogma of molecular biology.
Francis Crick, who first used that term "dogma" had some things to say about it later:
"I called this idea the central dogma, for two reasons, I suspect. I had already used the obvious word hypothesis in the sequence hypothesis, and in addition I wanted to suggest that this new assumption was more central and more powerful. ... As it turned out, the use of the word dogma caused almost more trouble than it was worth.... Many years later Jacques Monod pointed out to me that I did not appear to understand the correct use of the word dogma, which is a belief that cannot be doubted. I did apprehend this in a vague sort of way but since I thought that all religious beliefs were without foundation, I used the word the way I myself thought about it, not as most of the world does, and simply applied it to a grand hypothesis that, however plausible, had little direct experimental support."

Let this be a lesson to all of us about careful choice of terms.


Yeah I read that bit on wiki yesterday too. Funny enough I always understood Crick's meaning as he intended it, possibly had it explained as such by the bio teacher who introduced the concept. But I suppose using theological technical terms in science is a bad idea.

Anyway, I'll concede by exhaustion that indeed prions are perfectly ordinary and predictable a thing to crop up when one delves too greedily and too deep, and we had it coming for being icky and feeding Bessie with grandma's brains instead of selling them to the French.


I did not know that! I should visit the place.

In turn, I wholeheartedly recommend renting a car and driving around Texas, including its far outposts around El Paso and Midland.

I am, needless to say, not Texan.


Sorry, Nestor, I wasn't trying to beat on you. The Central Dogma has been one of my hot buttons for about 20 years now; more and more exceptions to it kept popping up, but too many biologists were stuck on the idea that information could only flow in one direction, so the exceptions had to be something different than "really" genetic information.


Greg, you're forgetting the lead times, from specification through prototypes to the operational availability.

Even in WW2, it was typically three or four years. With naval control coming in summer 1939, there wasn't going to be anything coming through the pipeline until 1942, maybe 1943. A few designs got into service more quickly, but had problems to overcome. The Hawker Typhoon never did get some of the bugs eliminated, performed well, and was rapidly retired at the end of the war.

The Royal Navy was flying Grumman F4F Wildcats before the USN--the British design contemporaries were based on different assumptions. And, while the Navt gained formal control in 1939, it took time for the new bosses to learn what to do.


Yup, I'm a bit concerned about what the failure modes of vat-grown meat will be too. Currently, the cost of prototype meat is about 5 orders of magnitude too high. I'm sure that there are a lot of opportunities to reduce the costs - but cost reductions are very frequently paired with added hazards.

I rather like the idea of meat which never part of an animal - but that also means that it never had an immune system... If the sterility isn't perfectly maintained, it is vulnerable to contamination by essentially anything.


I'm lower Bavarian by birth.

One obvious difference between Bavaria and Texas (at least according to what I heard tell about Texas) is that Bavaria has one of the harsher school systems in Germany, and a good education is prized. This includes science. No flat earthers or creationists around here.

Also, there's a temper issue. Bavarians can usually be relied upon to be contrary just for the heck of it, thus eg resulting with a town in a ultra conservative rural area with a openly gay student member of the Greens as mayor.


This includes science. No flat earthers or creationists around here.

Yeah, but AFAIR there is a higher incidence of electrosmog complaints in Bavaria compared to the rest of Germany. Though than, don't get me started on "alternative medicine" in Germany.

Take this as an unsubstantiated claim, I'm trying to find the study.


And here it is:

According to this study, it seems like the incidence of EMF related complaints is higher in Southern Germany, basically Baden-Würtemberg and Bavaria, compared to the rest. Though not that much (lower vs. higher 1x% range).

Though they go grenn, IMHO Bavarians tend to go ödp

and not Greens.


One of the problems we've got is that existing textured vegetable proteins and tofu don't have quite the same flavour as meat -- the mouth feel in some cases is very good indeed if you're expecting processed meats (e.g. salamis and chicken nuggets) but the flavour isn't right. Nor are the food-for-vegans-and-veggies market suppliers really interested in making stuff that tastes exactly like meat: if anything, that's liable to repel a large chunk of their existing market. (Folks like my wife, who went vegetarian thirty years ago because she doesn't like meat.)

One avenue that's being pursued is the idea of adding the gene for myoglobin to plants used as input sources for the proteins used in fake meats, to produce a GM vegetable-origin fake meat that actually tastes and feels right. That avenue is likely to be a lot cheaper than actual vat-grown tissue cultures, and a lot less vulnerable to infection by pathogens that can in turn infect humans (i.e. it's a lot safer for us).


I've tread Ireland exported food all the way through the "Great Irish Famine.” But it was grains for animals. The Irish could not pay for it. I've read that most most could not pay their rent after buying food. They were turned out of their homes by landlords agents and most died of exposure not starvation. The old English parliament used tax money to buy food for them, but the new rich could not see giving their money away and started a new party. This was the start of modern capitalism I think.


Yes, that certainly sounds like a much safer route than mammalian cells in vats. As you said, a modified plant which makes an animal protein or two is far less likely to support a pathogen that can also attack us. Much appreciated!


Cue late 21st century shaman standing by the fire in the ruins of a great metropolis: "The fools! They mixed the flesh of animals with plants and in their madness they doomed us all!!"

... But yeah it does sound like a good idea. :)


Could have been worse. If they'd created GM vat flesh that produced high fructose corn syrup and grew stalks of potato tuber heavily drenched in cooking oil the resulting diabetes pandemic would have wiped out the human race.


[[ Content cancelled. Retelling racist jokes that someone else told doesn't mean you're any the less racist. (Mod) ]]


I think you'll find Minneapolis and Queens have more in common with one another than Minneapolis and rural out-state Minnesota have in common or Queens and some small agricultural village in upstate or western New York.

In my experience, average small-town Minnesota is culturally very similar to average small-town Alabama or Idaho or California for that matter.

Of course there are exceptions like New York Mills, MN or Big Sur in CA.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on June 18, 2012 10:00 AM.

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