Thursday, August 02, 2007

The big smoothie dilemma

At the weekend I made a smoothie out of the numerous pieces of fruit in the fruit bowl and fridge that were perched precariously on the edge of going furry. It contained mango, plum, nectarine, blueberries, banana, raspberries, melon, papaya, strawberries and grapes. (No courgettes, despite them being sneaky members of the fruit family). And I stood back and thought to myself "What a lot of vitamins / air miles". Now, there is no doubt that the vitamin to air mile ratio of this smoothie is better than a lot of the rubbish we / I import and eat. And Dr Gillian McKeith would probably squeak in glee and pronounce me immortal after drinking this cocktail (particularly once I'd added the live yogurt) ... but still - is that benefit to me (and Badger, and Dr But Why?) worth the damage to the planet?

This stuff is particularly at the forefront of my mind because one of my current projects involves editing and making an interactive documentary about a very interesting book which doesn't yet have a title but goes under a working subtitle of "Why Global Warming is the best thing that has ever happened to the human race." It's a complicated argument, and before you can begin to think about "best" you of course need to settle on a definition of "good" and "bad".

The author's working method of determining between good and bad is quite simple. Things which are expansive and inclusive are broadly good, things which are contractive and exclusive are broadly bad. Thus, legislation which prevents negative discrimination against, to take my own minority, gay people, is good even if from time to time it infringes on the basic freedoms of individuals who are homophobic - this calculation is based on the fact that (in the UK at least) there are more gay people than people who are genuinely damaged by the fact that they can't openly discriminate against us. More people experience inclusion as a result of this change than exclusion. We're not into measuring degrees of benefit or damage - simply whether people feel more inside or outside of the circle.*

I quite like this method of calculation. It seems both human and scientific at the same time. (No, I don't want to further define those terms - I simply feel that in my gut, and as both a human and a scientist that is good enough for me!)

So. On the question of my nine-fruit smoothie, and the fact that there are no papayas growing in Surrey ... I expect that the international trade in exotic fruit is actually more expansive and inclusive than it is contractive and exclusive. Food is a doorway into other cultures etc etc.

Now to more pressing issues. NMJ raised the issue of resisting joining Facebook. It's something I've been wrestling with recently - on Monday I received an email inviting me to become Ruby's friend on Facebook. (For new readers - Ruby is my dog.) I have a limited amount of time for non-work internet stuff, and I have a gut feeling that, for me, Blogging is better than Facebook.

I realised that this is essentially a social smoothie question. Facebook and Blogging do quite different things. Facebook maintains existing networks and facilitates groups of common interest / association. Blogging is so much broader. You already know that, because you're reading this.

So, next time someone pesters me about not being a member of Facebook I shall simply tell them that I like really really exotic smoothies, and very occasionally I like to throw in a courgette. ;)


*Of course we all feel inside / outside of the circle to varying degrees, or even multiple degrees at the same time and this is a constantly changing experience depending on the momentary relationships we have with the various aspects of our selves, but in very simplistic terms I can generally say whether, when something changes, I feel more or less included than I did before. Inclusion is not the same as membership. Accepting an invitation may carry terms and conditions, the value of investments may go down as well as up, etc etc etc.

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Blogger Jon M said...

What's a courgette, is it a kind of sports car? I liked the definition of good. Would sugar beet go in a smoothy...or turnips...hmmm.

02 August, 2007 14:17  
Blogger JJ said...

Yummy, the juice looks fab.

I've awarded you a very covetable 'Thoughful Blogging Award' for all the IT geekery you did for In Search of Adam. When you're free come over to Tea Stains to check out what you need to do to get that enviable prize!

02 August, 2007 16:29  
Blogger NMJ said...

hey stray, sorry that i have nothing enlightening to say about global warming, but i do love that jug of fruit, and i love that you score out the 'dr' aspect of gillian mcK, i have already dealt with her on my blog.


02 August, 2007 18:59  
Blogger Stray said...

jon m ... oh dear ... are my courgettes inferior because they're not red? Hmm ...

No no ... I don't think turnips are fruit!

JJ - wow! Thanks :) IT geekery is my speciality. I have been having trouble getting Dr But Why? (who really is a Dr, of clever things to do with chemistry) to recognise 'geek' as a complimentary definition, and this will certainly help!

nmj - oh yes, the little weaseley one always struck me as a peculiar kind of doctor indeed ... she is clearly suffering from a major eating disorder and feels the need to inflict it on the rest of the public as well. Maybe we should send her on a six week course of CBT? ;)

02 August, 2007 20:13  
Blogger But Why? said...



Look me in the eye, now. I want you to answer truthfully...

Have I ever unwittingly consumed a courgette smoothie by your hand?

02 August, 2007 23:12  
Blogger Stray said...

Dr BW - I'm not sure our height differential allows for direct eye contact, but I promise that I have never fed you a courgette smoothie.


02 August, 2007 23:40  
Blogger But Why? said...

I no longer feel safe...

03 August, 2007 07:09  
Anonymous Daisy-Winifred said...

Just how big is that jug I don't know about a convertible courgette looks like it would need a cortina, with fluffy dice of course, to power it. Is that one of those real smoothie making machines as it seems to dwarf my 1970's blender - converts from mixer on stand don't you know.
Facebook mm yes I thank you for your explanation as I have wondered about it, not as a prospective joiner just wondering and really understand why I found it a puzzle now... existing social networks and groups of common interest are just so me:0)
Going by the last few days my social network and common interest group should all come under the heading community nursing which I have zilch enthusiasm or interest in, give me courgette smoothie before that!

03 August, 2007 07:26  
Blogger Caroline said...

I love facebook. I love it soooooooooooo. I have thrown sheep and I am a vampire and a ninja and I post about events and I have friends that hug me and draw me pictures and stuff and I put photos of my children on there and it is easy to use. I love it so.

But courgettes scare me. They are tricky ticky!

03 August, 2007 20:16  
Blogger Ms Melancholy said...

Lovely Stray, for a small fee I shall bring you some exotic fruit all the way from Thailand. Given that I am intent on polluting the planet anyway with all this travel, it seems the least I can do. So....mangosteen, rambutan, go longden, mango, pineapple.....anything else?


04 August, 2007 05:36  
Blogger Stray said...

Dr BW, is this new?

D-W - there are no fluffy dice in my smoothies! As for facebook - I am constantly surprised by people who send me invites to join and become their 'friend'. I am tempted to reply with a link defining the term. I am pretty sure it does not include these people :)

Cas - I am glad you love it :) I am also glad you blog! I am extremely confused by the vampire / sheep throwing stuff - it is beginning to sound like a big game of dungeons and dragons ... !

Ms M - such exotic names! I looked at pictures of mangosteen on line and they look amazing ... some of that would be lovely! Just don't bring back any giant spiders ... Badger would be most unhappy.

05 August, 2007 10:01  
Blogger Miss Tickle said...

Custard apples. They are 'mazing. Just like your smoothie. And your blog.

Hooray! (I am in a good mood.)

07 August, 2007 10:31  
Blogger PurpleSparkleBright said...

Facebook is alright. Alright for being a Pirate and a Vampire and throwing digital food at people. Its really an information harvesting trick though. But I can't quite see you on it. I will, however, add Ruby to my friends list :)
Courgettes rock in so many ways. Anything tastes good in a smoothie, except celery *shudder*

18 August, 2007 16:17  
Anonymous Hydrocodone said...

6ayNNR The best blog you have!

02 November, 2007 07:21  

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