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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:18 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
But no, no balut for me. [shudder]

It's a cultural taboo for me; I balk at the idea of eating fetuses.


I am fascinated. You are happy to eat the embryo, and the adult, but not the foetus.
Could I ask for why, without seeming intrusive or rude? When does an embryo become a foetus, or a foetus an adult?

My apologies if this question oversteps the mark.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:19 am 
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DrPhill wrote:
When does an embryo become a foetus, or a foetus an adult?
An ovum doesn't become an embryo until it is fertilized. Commercial chicken eggs are not fertilized. (I gather there is a niche market for fertilized eggs, but I haven't seen them sold for human consumption.) A (chicken) fetus becomes a chicken when it hatches, at which point it can be humanely killed before being cooked and eaten, if you are so inclined. (I'm not, but others may be.) After two or three weeks, a chicken embryo is a fetus that may have some measure of brain and nervous system, capable of suffering when boiled alive. (In addition, those who eat adult chicken rarely consider all parts of the bird palatable.)

Does that help you understand the squeamishness?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:53 pm 
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DrPhill wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
But no, no balut for me. [shudder]

It's a cultural taboo for me; I balk at the idea of eating fetuses.

I am fascinated. You are happy to eat the embryo, and the adult, but not the foetus.
Could I ask for why, without seeming intrusive or rude?

It's a good question, although in a bit I'll have a bone to pick with your choice of wording. Anyway, the only reason I can think of for any taboo is culture and upbringing, plus the luxury of being able to indulge such standards; after all, my survival doesn't depend on it. But first let us more clearly define our terms: An unfertilized egg in its shell cannot ever qualify as an embryo; it is forever beyond developing into life, and as such falls outside the taboo in question. In that wise, it might as well be a hat. A fertilized egg, OTOH, changes the game: known by its blood spot (which is the embryo) on the yolk, it is dependably a source of culinary squeamishness in the West, for no one I ever knew would eat one, at least without misgivings; it casts a pall over one's breakfast. Some people pick out the blood spot before cooking, but I would far rather give a fertilized egg to the cat; that way, at least, it doesn't go to waste.

So no, I am not "happy" to eat an embryo; I avoid them. Bone duly picked, and contradiction there is none - nor ever was.

The ethics of eating animals is a topic that runs deep and has many offshoots such as this one; what constitutes taboo status when it comes to animal age is seldom broached outright, but in a given milieu still seems to find a somewhat cohesive consensus. The general rule I absorbed and still bear is basically this: While I cannot dictate to others, for myself the adult stage alone is acceptable eating, if I must at all. For this reason, while I love lamb, I have mixed feelings about it and am very unlikely to prepare or eat it, unless it's offered and there's nothing else - in which case I can assure you I will have the good grace not to look a gift horse in the mouth in front of others.

In the unlikely event that I were ever offered Kutti Pi, however, I would absolutely have to decline such hospitality, even at the risk of causing offense - but considering its highly controversial cultural status, I'm sure my host would understand. The Wiki article goes on to note that with the exception of Balut, fetus-as-food is nonstandard at best in any other culture, so I'm in good company.

Of course all of this stands outside of pure logic and has more to do with subjective emotional responses. Nevertheless, there you have it. One must have structure, and this is mine.

DrPhill wrote:
When does an embryo become a foetus, or a foetus an adult?

I think Tunborough's analysis is very satisfactory, except to add that the adult stage commences with the ability to reproduce.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:55 am 
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Thank you Tunborough for a clear technical definition - that accords with what I remember from biology classes long, long ago.

And Nanohedron, I was expecting a well thought out and clearly reasoned response. I was not disappointed. Yes most of these things are cultural in the end. Even my vegetarian preferences. I had not realised about Kuti Pi and initially thought you were advocating the consumption of YouTube celebrities.

What I am interested in here can be separated into two - how much rational thought goes into our dietary decisions, and what might underlie the cultural biases. In the first case the answer becomes obvious as soon as an answer is produced. For the second - which I find more fascinating - a little more digging is required.

Let me explain my thoughts a little more: Cultural practices are not arbitrary. Selection of sorts operates at a cultural level. Cultures with more beneficial traits should, in the long run (and in the absence of unfair advantages), be more successful than fewer beneficial traits. (Please excuse the laziness of a circular reasoning here - 'beneficial' means it makes the society more successful, so that statement could be seen as a tautology.)

Since the taboo on eating foetuses seems common across many cultures, what was the benefit of avoidance, or the penalty for their consumption, that drove the cultural trait?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:35 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
A fertilized egg, OTOH, changes the game: known by its blood spot (which is the embryo) on the yolk, it is dependably a source of culinary squeamishness in the West, for no one I ever knew would eat one, at least without misgivings; it casts a pall over one's breakfast. Some people pick out the blood spot before cooking, but I would far rather give a fertilized egg to the cat; that way, at least, it doesn't go to waste.
To reassure you, a blood spot on the yolk is a blemish, and has nothing to do with fertilization. I have seen blood spots in many eggs that I know were produced with absolutely no roosterly involvement. Feel free to pick out the blood spot, or give the egg to the cat if you are still squeamish about the blood, but rest assured that no embryos are consumed either way.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:11 pm 
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Ar-r-g-h-! We are straying uncomfortably close to a discussion involving the intracies of Parthogenesis. TMI :boggle:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:18 pm 
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Tunborough wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
A fertilized egg, OTOH, changes the game: known by its blood spot (which is the embryo) on the yolk, it is dependably a source of culinary squeamishness in the West, for no one I ever knew would eat one, at least without misgivings; it casts a pall over one's breakfast. Some people pick out the blood spot before cooking, but I would far rather give a fertilized egg to the cat; that way, at least, it doesn't go to waste.
To reassure you, a blood spot on the yolk is a blemish, and has nothing to do with fertilization. I have seen blood spots in many eggs that I know were produced with absolutely no roosterly involvement. Feel free to pick out the blood spot, or give the egg to the cat if you are still squeamish about the blood, but rest assured that no embryos are consumed either way.

Thanks for the correction. My misapprehension was due to popular lore which I never thought to question. Actually, I believe the last time I ever saw a blood spot was in my teens, and that's a temporal gulf wherein it's easy to fall for the notion that roosters might have had freer rein then, even if they really didn't.

Did some looking, and I found this article which gives some pointers on how to tell whether an egg is fertilized or not. It's quite different from what I thought I knew.

DrPhill wrote:
I ... initially thought you were advocating the consumption of YouTube celebrities.

Now there's a compelling thought. KonMari en papillote, anyone?

DrPhill wrote:
Since the taboo on eating foetuses seems common across many cultures, what was the benefit of avoidance, or the penalty for their consumption, that drove the cultural trait?

I would hesitate to try to find a common benefit/penalty thread with this; contrary to what I said earlier, I suspect the trait is so fundamental that it goes deeper than what we call "culture". We can be certain that whatever an original frame of conscious reasoning might be in one culture, in most cases it will have been lost over time, with only the shared repugnance remaining to be rationalized by the latest school of thought that comes along, and still the reasoning itself gets called "tradition" - when the reality is that it is the taboo, not the reasoning, that is the real tradition. The rest is window dressing that is a para-tradition, and that only so long as it holds up; the taboo will go on regardless of how you wish to frame it. I'm not confident that every culture will have had the same original reasoning about this. It might have been economic, but later might switch to religious, or vice versa. It might even simply just be the bare, unadorned gut feeling that eating fetuses is somehow monstrous, and nothing more than that; that is certainly my position, and as far as I can tell the feeling was natural to me, although it would have been reinforced by the fact that no one even talked about eating babies or fetuses unless it were in macabre jest, and that rarely, for its being held in such bad taste. This taboo is so ancient that it cannot remain untouched by the changeable vagaries of how we seek to justify our more primeval and probably intuitive codes, but I've never needed an ideology or any other rationalization for not eating fetuses, myself; it's simply part of me, and even though it could be argued to be irrational, I'm not conflicted about that.

Speaking of being conflicted, what is more interesting to me is how people give themselves cultural permission to spurn the taboo, because it is a strong one.

an seanduine wrote:
TMI :boggle:

That's life in the Chiff lane for you. It's poststructural. :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:31 am 
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As the article Nano linked shows, there is no 'traditional' taboo about eating fertile hens eggs. Most backyard flocks had a male and the flock was maintained by letting a broody hen sit on a clutch of eggs. If not kept incubated a fertile egg does nothing for many days - it's how birds build up a clutch of eggs and then incubate them so they hatch at roughly the same time. The spinoff from this is that an unfertile egg doesn't 'go off' for many days either, so we can buy them on the weekly shop and keep the for a surprisingly long time.

Our little flock is female only, the oldest hen's eggs usually have a red spot, which I normally pick out though I am not sure why. In a commercial flock she would have long ago gone into pet food but since she mainly lives on what she finds in the garden she still pays her way in eggs and does some pest control. When they are off-lay we are lucky to have supplier with traditional flock just down the road.

So - fertile eggs from a genuinely free ranging flock or unfertile ones from the supermarket and don't ask too closely about where they came from?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:33 am 
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ytliek wrote:
So I really didn't follow the early discoveries of the Covid-19 coronavirus in China but did hear mention that virus was transmitted from a particular animal to humans. What's to say that the virus won't continue to spread through the animal kingdom and continue to transmit to humans from other animals?

Apologies for quote from self as its more of an update.

A tiger at the NY Bronx Zoo has tested positive for Covid-19, and yes, NY is the current epicenter for the virus. What needs to be identified is whether a zoo worker transmitted the virus to the tiger, or the cat contracted virus from other means possibly through food, water, airborne transmissions. I'm just curious if the Covid-19 virus can continue to spread throughout the animal kingdom and be transmitted, randomly, between humans and animals as in a seesaw affect.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/anim ... bronx-zoo/

And, unfortunately the town of Milford here has had a first death due to the coronavirus so the virus is close to home.
https://news.yahoo.com/milford-coronavi ... UjoNWb1-AP


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:06 am 
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They assume the tigers and lions in the Bronx zoo caught it from a zoo keeper. There have been a few (limited) studies of infected cats, in Belgium, the Netherlands, China and Hongkong that seem to indicate cats can get infected by humans, can infect eachother subsequently but don't seem to infect humans. Dogs can get infected too.

There's a fear the virus may infect primates, specifically mountain gorillas and chimpanzees that are particularly susceptible to human respiratory infections, in the wild and wipe them out altogether.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:13 pm 
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david_h wrote:
As the article Nano linked shows, there is no 'traditional' taboo about eating fertile hens eggs.

Yes, it appears to be more of a personal issue, as in my case - although I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I was typing away I heard the tenant upstairs coughing at some length; she normally doesn't cough at all. Could be no more than a cold, but you can't help thinking to yourself, Here we go...

For those of you without the ability or means to sew your own face masks, here's a no-sew version that actually looks pretty darned good because of its layers:

https://youtu.be/EAj12GKuAEk

You wouldn't even have to use hair ties; rubber bands or the like would also do. The main thing is a large-enough piece of cloth (18" x 18" in the video). Experts recommend tightly woven cotton for this sort of thing.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:59 pm 
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Ok. I am in the maelstrom. I live fairly close to the first epicenter of the covid-19 illness in the state of Washington. Shelter in place if you can. If you can´t, follow all the CDC guidelines. For sure, wash you´re hands often. The Novel coronavirus has an outer Lipid (read ´fat´) Layer that has been shown to be disrupted by soap and water. Once this Lipid Layer has been disrupted, that particular virus molecule can no longer infect a cell and has been rendered inactive. Soap and water really works.
If you do have to go out, some face/breathing cover is better than none. The gold standard for first responders is an approved PPE gown, N-95 breathing filter, and a face shield. Working inside a ´Hot Zone´, ideally the PPE gear would be ´positively ventilated´.
Think ´Ebola´. Most of this gear is ´unobtainium´ as far as most civilians are concerned, and in any case should be reserved for front line workers.
What to do?? Nano´s link to the simple fold-up face covering from Japanese Creations is a simple, non-sewn emergency measure.
But a few simple additional elements can up-grade this face covering to make it a little more effective and any trips out to the store a lot less nerve wracking. It has been shown that simply pinning a Zep Blue Shop Towel to the inside of Nano´s face covering will raise the filtration factor immensely. You can generally get about three uses, after washing, out of these Shop Towels. This type of shop towel is made from the same sort of ´blown-fiber´ material as the inner liner of N-95 masks. Nothing you make at home will approach that efficiency, but then the aim is simply to reduce you´re exposure. Other brands of blue shop towels are not as good, but still are an upgrade in filtration. Another possible source, might be cutting up a HEPA standard vacuum cleaner filter and using that as an inner liner.
Even HEPA filtration is only good down to 1 micron filtration as a general rule. A good start. But not up to the standard of stopping 95 per cent of all particles down to .3 Microns to help block viruses. As a civilian, your exposure is a lottery. What you want to do is increase your odds of avoiding infection. Also important is good facial conformation of any mask. Breathe through the mask/face covering, not around it! Addition of some sort of eye protection is also a good upgrade.
Be Safe. Be Careful. Be Well.

Bob

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:01 am 
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My wife has been making "olson pattern" masks. We've been using HEPA filters from her vacuum cleaner.

https://www.regmedctr.org/webres/File/OlsonMask_wPattern_v3-USE%20THIS%20ONE.pdf


We seal the mask with toupee tape. Downside is now I get online ads for wigs and wig products. I use this on my rare trips to the supermarket. I don't think it's a magic bullet, just better than nothing


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:13 am 
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There's debate about how much protection a mask, short of an N95, provides the wearer. There's much more agreement that a mask protects other people in case the wearer is infectious and not showing symptoms, which quite a few of us probably are. So go for it.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:45 am 
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Guidance regarding masks seems to vary quite a bit. More than a few countries now seemingly moving towards making the wearing of them compulsory. I suppose outside medical situations every little helps. I have only seen very few people wearing them here but I haven't been out much at all and would have seen only the few people at the supermarkets. Latex/plastic gloves seem to be more common. I'd have my doubts about those, it's often a false sense of protection : I often see people working in cafes and shops using them as a hygiene token, handling your money and then going back to handling food etc. I saw a man coming back from town in a car this morning wearing them and thought that anything he picked up on them while in town was now on his steering wheel. I prefer to sanitise my hands leaving (and entering) shops and get in the car with clean hands.

The situation throws up dilemmas though, going out to go to the baker's and picking up a bottle of gas this morning I met an old, a bit mountainy, woman walking on the back road, about four miles from town. Typical auld one living alone in a remote cottage. She wanted a lift. Felt bad for driving on.

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