Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bugs in the System

There's a part of the Torah which, to most modern readers, seems extremely primitive, antiquated and obsolete - and yet which in fact could be vitally important to resurrect for the modern world.

In parashas Shemini (though, strangely, not parashas Re'eh) the Torah states that certain locusts (swarming species of grasshoppers) can be eaten. Eating bugs simply grosses out most people in modern Western society, and I suspect that many people see this as a relic from a primitive, barbaric era. But a recent article in the New Yorker noted that in a world with a burgeoning population of billions, insects provide a much more efficient and environmentally-friendly source of protein, amongst other benefits:

From an ecological perspective, insects have a lot to recommend them. They are renowned for their small ‘foodprint’; being cold-blooded, they are about four time as efficient at converting feed to meat as are cattle, which waste energy keeping themselves warm. Ounce for ounce, many have the same amount of protein as beef–friendly grasshoppers have three times as much–and are rich in micronutrients like iron and zinc. Genetically, they are so distant from humans that there is little likelihood of diseases jumping species, as swine flu did. They are natural recyclers, capable of eating old cardboard, manure, and by-products from food manufacturing. And insect husbandry is humane: bugs like teeming, and thrive in filthy, crowded conditions.

With regard to the laws of kosher locusts, the expert on identifying kosher species is my friend Dr. Zohar Amar, author of Ha-Arbeh b'Mesoret Yisrael. Basically, the species for which there is a widespread tradition amongst North African Jews is Schistocercia gregaria, the Egyptian desert locust. According to many halachic authorities, even Ashkenazi Jews can adopt the North African tradition, since there is no tradition in Ashkenaz against these types of locusts being kosher; we simply lack a tradition either way. As a result, I myself have eaten locusts on several occasions. Crunchy on the outside with a chewy center!

Can you imagine what an impact it would make if Jews were known not for exploiting animals in factory-farming and indulging in massive gastronomic excesses, but instead for adopting a more environmentally and animal friendly (and traditional) approach to fleishigs? I know, it's not likely to happen. It would be as radical as girls receiving intensive Jewish education.

There are actually various ways in which the debate over the kashrus of locusts relates to rationalism, which I hope to discuss in a future post. Meanwhile, I will point out the irony of how those Jews who would most strongly protest the rationalist approach that various parts of the Torah were oriented towards the ancient Israelites, and insist that the Torah is equally oriented towards all times and places, are usually those who claim that locusts are now forever forbidden (until Mashiach comes) and that this section of the Torah is now effectively obsolete!


  1. Get in touch with your Inner Frog!

    Another useful feature of the halacha here is its practicality. In Ancient times if there were enough grasshoppers and locusts to make a meal chances are there wasn't any other food. It had all been eaten down to the ground.

    Locusts? Grasshoppers? Crickets? Destroying Locusts? A decent entomologist can figure those out. Black beetles are another matter. There are thousands upon thousands of beetles. Lots of them are black. Figuring out which ones are kosher will probably take Moshiach and a bunch of insect field guides.

  2. > "...the rationalist approach that various parts of the Torah were oriented towards the ancient Israelites"

    I suppose the word "oriented" can mean different things. It can mean "various parts were oriented _only_ towards the ancient Israelites" or it can mean "various parts were oriented _primarily_ towards the ancient Israelites." Which one would the Rambam hold by?

  3. "feed to meet"

    should read

    "feed to meat"

  4. Please Reb Nosson, give me a break about being environmentally "friendly" by eating bugs. There is nothing wrong with farming animals for meat at a large scale, and Schita
    is the most painless slaughter procedure in use today. the environment is not affected in any noticable way by us puny 7 billion humans. we cannot "warm the earth".
    I usually love your posts but this one (and a few others) is just silly. (and when I said "warm the earth" I was not quoting you, so please don't say I misquoted you)

  5. Are these scientific statements, or expressions of religious faith? On what basis do you say that shechitah is the MOST painless method of killing an animal, and that we CANNOT warm the earth?

  6. " Schita
    is the most painless slaughter procedure in use today."

    One question for you. How long do you think it takes for a cow to die after the cut has been made...

  7. You had me all excited to run out and buy a few for dinner, then you had to say this!

    "...bugs like teeming, and thrive in filthy, crowded conditions."

  8. Locust on the menu of a high -end English restaurant:


    To elie: the measuring stick of painlessness is NOT how long it takes to die.
    The correct measuring stick is how long it experiences pain (if at all) before losing consciousness.

  9. Locusts make you fleishig?? Well forget it then.

  10. There is nothing wrong with farming animals for meat at a large scale ... the environment is not affected in any noticable way by us puny 7 billion humans. we cannot "warm the earth"

    The issue with animal farming is not necessarily climate change, but land and water usage. It takes a lot of water and land to "grow" a cow, relative what is required to grow food crops. As world population and meat consumption per person go up, at some point you start to run out of usable land and water, which drives the cost of meat up to prohibitive levels. When that starts to happen depends on how much useful land and water you have to begin with (some countries have very little).

    From an environmental perspective there is something to be said for the idea of reducing meat consumption, especially in the Western world, where people tend to eat meat at least daily.

  11. adopting a more environmentally and animal friendly (and traditional) approach to fleishigs?

    Silly question here R' Natan, but are locusts necessarily fleishig? Fish is not. Poultry is, based on statements of Chazal. Are there any discussions in the Rabbinic literature on the "meat status" of insects? How do the Jewish communities that eat locusts approach the issue?

  12. Whoops, that was misleading. Locusts are not fleishig, they are pareve. I meant that there is a different approach to eating meat in order to get animal protein.

  13. Locusts are Pareve, not Fleishigs!(Yoreh Deah 87:3)

  14. Legumes (bean, peas, lentils) are an extremely cheap and healthy form of protein that can be easily grown almost anywhere in the world, and they already make up a small part of most people's diets. So I think replacing meat with legumes (as well as nuts and seeds) is a much better way to avoid the ecological and ethical horrors and factory farming. Not only is it more palatable and unambiguously kosher, but it also conforms with the common sense teaching of the Ramak (which could be derived from the Golden Rule) that one should "kill no living thing unless it is necessary" and have "compassion on all the works of HaKadosh Baruch Hu" (Tomer Devorah, ch. 3).

  15. Does the Moroccan tradition cover all four kosher types of locust? Is it identical to the Yemenite tradition?

  16. Just in case anybody here thinks R' Slifkin is suggesting something that's way out of left field, first try searching for "eating insects" or "entomophagy" in Google. Many, many people out there are interested in this topic.

  17. RNS to Zamjr86: "On what basis do you say that shechitah is the MOST painless method of killing an animal?"

    Zamjr86 didn't say that. He said: "Schita is the most painless SLAUGHTER procedure in use today." I guess he means compared to Hallal.

  18. I would highly recommend whey protein as the highest quality protein (best amino acid profile), for supplements, meals, and bodybuilding. It does require the milking of a cow in its making but it involves no slaughter. There are a few kosher brands out there.

  19. Why bring North Africa and not Yemen?

  20. Is it possible to raise locusts on a large scale so that they could be a reliable source of food?

  21. Avi, I'm not sure it's true that whey is the best quality protein. Whey protein's amino acid score (see nutritiondata.self.com) ranges from 102 to 110 (the higher the number the more complete the protein), but a number of vegetables have similar scores. Lambsquarters, for example -- a common weed that used to be a popular potherb -- is extremely nutritious and tastes similar to but better than spinach, has quite a bit of protein per serving, and the protein quality is a whopping 129. Quinoa, an increasingly-available grain originating in South America, has a score of 106. Buckwheat, a mainstay of the Ashkenazi diet for centuries, scores 99.

    Also, it's not true that milk production does not involve slaughter. Nearly all male calves are slaughtered for veal, and milk cows are slaughtered as soon as their milk production begins to decline.

  22. Rabbi Slifkin, are you doing Daf Yomi now? We just covered how to identify kosher grasshoppers!

  23. "> Can you imagine what an impact it would make if Jews were known not for exploiting animals in factory-farming and indulging in massive gastronomic excesses, but instead for . . ."

    That statement is both false and pointless. Jews as a rule do not exploit animals or engage in excesses you claim, nor do you cite, nor can you cite, any evidence to show Jews are somehow particularly "known" for this. Thoughtless throwaway asides like these hinder rather than help.

  24. @Zamjr86

    Your letter is filled with misconceptions, distortions and things which just aren't true. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are simply ignorant.

    Large scale meat production can be somewhat benign if it's in areas which can sustain the animals without soil and water degradation and which are otherwise useless for human-consumable food. That cuts out most of the area used for meat production and animal feed. Otherwise a cow or sheep or goat or chicken consumes at least an order of magnitude more per calorie of food than vegetables or grain.

    Schechita is in no way the "most human" method of slaughter. Various rabbinical authorities have stated that unconsciousness and death are immediate. This is a lie. Beheading would be faster and more painless. A bullet or captive bolt to the brain would be just as good. Ask anyone who works in a slaughterhouse and doesn't have a vested interest in promoting kosher slaughter. With the bolt or bullet it's *Bang* *Thud*.

    A sheep or goat goes down pretty quickly. A man professionally cut and stabbed by a professional soldier using scientifically optimized techniques takes at least 20 seconds to lose consciousness unless you sever the spine. A cow? It can be a long, loud, bloody affair.

    Your contention that we "cannot warm the Earth" is simply a lie. The evidence is irrefutable at this point. Even Londstrom, paid shill of the oil industry, has admitted as much.

    The theory is sound. The evidence is consistent and comes from a large number of different sources. The models are predictive.

    Methane from livestock production is not the single largest criterion greenhouse gas, but it is significant. The amount of fossil fuel burned in raising, feeding, processing and transporting food animals is highly significant.

    This is simply a matter of established fact. It doesn't matter how much the Petroleum Institute, your rabbi, Fox News or Rush Limbaugh screams otherwise.

  25. The New Yorker is not a scientific publication. The statement that bugs like filthy teeming conditions is such a broad and inaccurate statement that it's hard to know where to start.

    Flies do well in filth. So do cockroaches. The conditions in which we raise factory-farmed animals are truly vile, but people have no trouble with that.

    But grasshoppers, crickets and locusts? No. As someone who has had to raise insects I can tell you they do best in a clean environment. They can survive close contact but prefer a certain amount of space. If they are overcrowded they get sick and die.

  26. As for the best and most complete protein profiles, meats really are the best, especially eating "nose to tail" with a preference for organ meats. No single plant is as good. The classic American Triad of corn, squash and beans provides complete protein. Hemp is very good. Quinoa and amaranth have much to recommend them.

  27. Lawrence Kaplan Comments:

    Rabbi Slifkin: I am very troubled by this post.You say that according to many halakhic authorities Ashkenazim may eat locusts since there is no Ashkenazic mesorah either way. But you do not document your claim. I see that this is the view of Rav Ovadya Yosef. But are there any distinguished ASHKENZAZI authorities who rule this way? From the admittedly little I have read, the prevalent Ashkenazi view seems to be that since there is a general prohibition against insects, we need a clear and unbroken mesorah in one's own community to permit eating a particular type of locust. In any event, this is a serious halakhic issue, and I do not think your blog is a place for pesak halakhah. I would urge all readers to consult a knowledgeable posek before eating any locusts. You know I have consistently been a great admirer and supporter of your writings and blog. But such a post may undermine the laudable work you are doing.

  28. I don't think advocates of this diet will be content with sticking to locust. Promoting it will certainly lead non observant Jews to violating whole new issurim.

    Our cultures notion of progressiveness seems to have a very regressive streak.

  29. I love your Torah, but occasionally you let your (somewhat left-wing) (but not strident about it) politics get in the way of it. The notion of "global warming" has been, if not outright discredited, shown to be highly questionable at the very least. You have the right to believe in it, but it is by no means a fact, and (unlike evolution) by no means universally accepted.

    A Schreiber

  30. "You say that according to many halakhic authorities Ashkenazim may eat locusts since there is no Ashkenazic mesorah either way. But you do not document your claim. I see that this is the view of Rav Ovadya Yosef. But are there any distinguished ASHKENZAZI authorities who rule this way?"

    Rav Scheinberg. And others, who I will document in a future post.

    I was not paskening halachah in this post - nor do I think that anyone will see it as such, nor eat Egyptian desert locusts (which are in any case entirely unobtainable in the US and very hard to get hold of anywhere else).

  31. I love your Torah, but occasionally you let your (somewhat left-wing) (but not strident about it) politics get in the way of it. The notion of "global warming" has been, if not outright discredited, shown to be highly questionable at the very least. You have the right to believe in it, but it is by no means a fact, and (unlike evolution) by no means universally accepted.

    Surely you must see the irony of what you write. It could equally (or even more strongly) argued that you are subconsciously influenced by right-wing politics in your views. And the notion that it is by no means a fact and has been shown questionable is exactly what many (religious) people say about evolution. And while the notion of man-made global warming might not have quite the universal degree of support amongst scientists as evolution, it's pretty darn close.

  32. See too my post Climate Change Skeptics. Now let's get back to the topic of this post!

  33. "Now let's get back to the topic of this post!"

    I don't think it is fair for you to imply they were off topic, climate change was the underlying issue of your post.

  34. I'm all for the tradition of eating kosher locusts which luckily for us the Yemenites and maybe some others have maintained. But that last picture is a little disturbing. It almost looks like a miniature person.

  35. Anonymous, the notion that anthropogenic global warming has been "discredited" is complete nonsense. Among climatologists, meteorologists, atmospheric scientists, and planetary physicists there is striking agreement. Ice cores. Direct measurements. Correlation with greenhouse gas budgets. Worldwide glacier retreat. The loss of the Ross Ice Shelf. Plant succession. The melting of the Siberian permafrost. First ever complete loss of the North Polar Ice Cap. Comparison with solar activity. And a couple dozen more. The data all agree.

    Ten of the last fifteen years have been the hottest on record, and four continents have had their hottest recorded years in the last decade.

    All of this closely tracks the rise of criterion greenhouse gases since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

    Every few months Right Wing news sources with a distinct history of anti-science bias claim that global warming has been "debunked" or "discredited" or some other nonsense. It always turns out to be, not to put too fine a point on it, a lie. Hacked emails. Solar satellites. Londstrom's now-recanted prognostications. You name it. It always turns out to be vapor.

    The only and I repeat only publication which appeared to have some weight to it turned out to be by a man who was paid by the Petroleum Institute to reach a pre-determined conclusion.

    Science is not Left or Right. It's Right or Wrong. The Science is in. It's rock solid, robust highly tested. The average world temperature has been rising for 150 years. All of this rise can be accounted for by human activity. There are no competing models let alone theories which can account for the data despite massive amounts of money put into the search by those with vested interests in the result. And no amount of money or rabbinical pronouncements change the reality.

  36. A couple of points in response to Lawrence Kaplan…

    1. How likely is it that someone who respects halacha and kashruth will eat a locust based on nothing more than a blog entry?

    2. Your caveat about not knowing much about the matter is fine, but then how can you proceed to offer an opinion about the “prevalent Ashkenazi view”?

  37. 3 points.

    1. Temple Grandin (world expert on humane treatment of slaughtered animals) has said that Kosher Slaughter is the most humane way to kill an animal if done properly. And properly means the restraint system to hold the animal, and has said that it is much better than stunning the animal with a bolt to its head.

    "All stunning methods trigger a massive secretion of epinephrine (Van der Wal 1978; Warrington 1974). This outpouring of epinephrine is greater than the secretion which would be triggered by an environmental stressor or a restraint method. Since the animal is expected to be unconscious, it does not feel the stress. One can definitely conclude that improperly applied stunning methods would be much more stressful than kosher slaughter with the long straight razor sharp knife. Kilgour (1978), one of the pioneers in animal welfare research, came to a similar conclusion on stunning and slaughter " From http://www.grandin.com/ritual/kosher.slaugh.html

    2. You say the locust is chewey on the inside, but can you really use it to replace meat? Can you make hamburgers and hotdogs out of it? Shwarma?

    3. My Morocan friends tell me that they only ate locusts when the locusts ate all their food. They didn't make it sound like it was something really enjoyable to eat on a full time basis.

  38. "No it wasn't!"

    Though I should have used an rather than the, you wrote, "insects provide a much more efficient and environmentally-friendly source of protein"
    Which is a paraphrase of the lines following the piece of the article you cited: "insects reared for human consumption produce significantly lower quantities of greenhouse gases than do cattle and pigs. 'This study therefore indicates that insects could serve as a more environmentally friendly alternative for the production of animal protein'” (Here). The implications of the statement were not lost on us.

    That is not to say I think a blog is an appropriate place to evaluate the merits of scientific explanations on climate change. It is just clear that other than reducing green house gases from factory farming consuming insects has little going for it environmentally (or otherwise).

    I can't help but suspect, however, that the law of unintended consequences will come into play. As the article notes, "Processing insects is labor-intensive, and they are not exactly filling."(here) We have already seen that this process has been mechanized, "working on de-shelling insects using pressurization technology." It is very possible that in retrospect it will be found that the raising of edible insects may be more efficient, the processing of insects for human consumption may not be.

  39. " Black beetles are another matter."

    If you live in Israel, there is only 1 black beetle that people care about. It's the one that swarms your house this time of year and cover everything you have.

  40. Lawrence Kaplan comments:

    With reference to Yitz Waxman's two points:

    1. I don't know how likely. Probably not that likely. But there maty be some simple souls who admire R. Slifkin-- and rightfully so-- and may be mislead,

    2. I gave what I specifically said was my impression.I am ready to be corrected. Are you claiming that the prevalent Ashkenazi view is that it is OK to eat locusts?

    I am still troubled by this post. It seems to be crossing over into the area of pesak halakhah which ought to be out this blog's purview. Again, I say this as an admirer of R. Slifkin.

  41. Todd, while global warming is clearly a reality, whether or not humans contribute significantly to it is a point of serious scientific debate. The earth has been warming for the past 15,000 years, approximately since the last ice age. Oceans have been rising roughly 1 inch every hundred years for thousands of years. There is an 8000 year old village off the Israeli coast that used to be inland and is now under 10 meters / 30 feet of water. You can see archaeological remains from the village at the Haifa natural history museum. There are strong correlations between long term climate trends and solar activity ( which makes perfect sense ). Trying to paint global warming as a recent, man made phenomenon around which all the scientific questions are settled is a disservice to the public and to the public's trust in the scientific community.

    Willie Soon, a solar physicist and climate scientist at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Madhav Khandekar, a former research scientist from Environment Canada who served as an expert reviewer for the IPCC’s 2007 reports wrote an article pointing out some of the problems with the computer models being used.

  42. "See too my post Climate Change Skeptics."

    I read it. In that post you engaged in condescending speculation as to why so many people dont accept "global warming"-cum-"cimate change". And I see many of the inordinate number of comments you received on that post called you out for that. If you read Climatedepot.com, you will find many articles, from many scientists, all disavowing global warming. (And it's not limited to disavowing "man made" global warming. Most of the evidence shows that the southern hemisphere has actually been cooling.)

    Basically, its a big mistake for you to equate evolution with climate change, for that's what you seem to be doing. People will reasonably conclude that if the latter's a sham, then the former is likely the same.

    A. Schreiber

  43. So it's okay for you to say that I am letting left-wing politics cloud my judgment, but it's "condescending speculation" to suggest that you are letting right-wing politics cloud your judgment?

    (Incidentally, I am not remotely a left-winger)

  44. Ameteur, you're distorting or actually falsifying here. Dr. Grandin said that kosher slaughter can be humane. She did not say, and she has denied saying, that it is "the most humane" method.

  45. By the way, I said that Schita is the most painless way to kill animals IN USE. IN USE meaning IN USE. what I meant by CANNOT is that our population is still far too small to have a significant impact. Scientist have been caught red handed falsifying data trying to "prove" global warming, i.e. the CRU hacks, which exposed emails that instructed the researchers and employees to manipulate and delete important info.

    I am not saying that all scientists, or even most are ideologically driven, but there is a lot of grant money going to those who would research how to prevent the "coming catastrophe" of AGW- anthopegenic global warming.

    I liked your post on the bat by the way.

  46. If we ever run out of space to breed cows, by that time the technology of vat grown meats should be ready for mass production.


  47. @Todd:

    Please give me real proof, don't just act like Al Gore the hypocrite, and tell me "the science is irrefutable".

    Science is not based on consensus. no matter how many scientists say something, it doesn't make them right.

    Copernicus was right. the earth moves around the sun. 99% of the people on earth KNEW the sun (and everything else) moves around the earth. but Copernicus was right.

    In the case of AGW, at least half the people on earth in estimate know it's junk science, and yet there is a "consensus" and "irrefutable truth" that AGW is real.

    Look at the whole story. not just the 1/2 of the story that Gore and his cronies are giving you.

  48. @Todd:

    Long before man, we had something called the dinosaurs. during that period, temperatures worldwide were FAR higher then they are now.
    the fact that we are experiencing a warming trend now is due to the natural climactic cycle, which will continue, over millions of years, up and down.

  49. Lawrence Kaplan –

    RNS has broached many a halachic topic over the course of his blogging history. Examples that I recall off the top of my head include organ donation, maror, 2nd day yom tov, shiluach haKein, netilat yadaiim. Why does this one “bug” you more than the others (yes, pun intended). Any blog reader can take it for what it is worth and ideally work out the halachic issues under the guidance of his personal Rabbi, as he would with all sorts of information that we are typically bombarded with in the course of our lives.

    Now suppose that one of the readers relies on RNS’s research on the matter and proceeds to participate in a Yemini locust feast. What exactly is “misleading” here?

    Personally , I find the matter of the “prevailing Ashkenazi view” quite an interesting topic of discussion. Forget the locust question – too far out of bounds. How many Ashkenazi rabbis would even seriously consider the question of eating quinoa on Pesach? A good start might be to define the term and its implications.

  50. Todd, do you have a particular quote in mind?
    From what I have read, stunning is seen as more likely to cause harm than good, and 'ritual slaughter' if done properly causes the least stress and pain.

    Although I did see something which implies a perfect sniper in the exact right spot, might be best. But that's not really an option for anybody.

  51. ">(Incidentally, I am not remotely a left-winger)"

    Agreed wholeheartedly! Indeed, my post only referred to your "somewhat left wing, but not strident about it" politics, and even with that I was only referring to the global warming stuff. Apologies if I implied otherwise.

    My only critique is that you seem to accept the notion of "global warming" as fact, and in your post you tried to dismiss its critics as merely having a religious angenda. In my opinion this bespeaks an overwarranted faith in anyone claiming to speak in the name of science. It is said that skepticism is the hallmark of a true scientist. The concept of evolution has stood the test of time. By contrast, "climate science" has shifted in the past 30 years from global cooling to global warming to ANY change in the pattern. Far from surviving another 75 years, it's not even widely accepted now. Agree with him or not, when a major-party presidential candidate dismisses global warming as basically hysteria, he's speaking for tens of millions of people, countless scientists among them. It is, therefore, unwise to put or appear to put evolution on a par with global warming. The former has true acceptance. The latter does not.

    A. schreiber

  52. *sigh*

    I was wondering who'd bring up the "solar scientist".

    His arguments came up and went down in flames a few days later. But all that matters to the denialists is that someone had some objection at some point which means he was absolutely right and all the research is a sham.

    Here's one good summation courtesy of Bad Astronomy. There are dozens of others. Just look for the Science-related writing, not the political.

    I draw your attention to the last paragraph:

    The Earth is warming up. The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so. This corresponds to the time of the Industrial Revolution, when we started dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases warm the planet (hence the name) — if they didn’t we’d have an average temperature below the freezing point of water. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which is dumped into the atmosphere by humans to the tune of 30 billion tons per year, 100 times the amount from volcanoes. And finally, approximately 97% of climatologists who actually study climate agree that global warming is real, and caused by humans.

  53. Lawrence Kaplan Comments:

    Yitz Waxman: The OU explicitly states that whether quinoa is kitniyyot is a mahloket among its leading poskim and therefore it does not recommend it. So one of the OU's leading poskim says it's OK to eat quinoa.

    I do not think the other examples are the same, but it is late and I am tired. Then perhaps I am more attracted to quinoa on Pesach than to locusts, which I have never had.

    I found this post very informative, as usual, but think the halakhic material should have been presented in this post, not a later one. Also I think it should not have said so blanketly "It's OK to eat locusts." It should have been phrased more theoretically.

  54. " The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so."

    Except of course during the 1970s where we were told of the impending Ice Age.


    I wonder if you passed that article around on facebook, how long it would take people to realize that the article is from 1974.

  55. Todd:

    So what accounts for historical changes in the Earth's temperature? Why have we been warming for the past 15,000 years? Why was there a mini-ice age in Europe 400 years ago? Why have the oceans been rising approximately 1 inch every hundred years for thousands of years? How can anyone claim that there has been an acceleration in warming since the industrial revolution when we don't have even semi-reliable worldwide temperature reading going back even to 1900? The sun has no significant effect on the temperature of the Earth? That's farcical. These are specific questions worthy of specific answers, not just broad hand waving dismissals.

    Experimental Link Found Between Sun and Climate

    This includes an interview with Jasper Kirkby, the originator of the experiment.

    Update on the CERN CLOUD experiment

    Here is the CLOUD experiment website.

    As others have pointed out, science isn't about hand waving and consensus, it's about addressing the specific details of questions and testing falsifiable hypothesis' via experimentation.

    Calling everyone who disagrees with your pov a "denier" and claiming consensus doesn't cut it.

  56. "It always turns out to be, not to put too fine a point on it, a lie. Hacked emails. . . ."

    are you kidding me? The emails produced by the whistelblowers in climategate were not a "lie"; to the contrary, they revealed the pseudo-scientific nature of the global warming group, and their shocking attempts to stifle all criticism. what planet are you living on?


  57. Personally I think its really misguided and irrational to even question whether it's "ok" to eat locusts. Of course it is ok since our Torah tradition tells us that some are kosher and luckily for us certain of our brethren have preserved the tradition and method for determining which ones are. So anyone who learns this from them or receives a kosher locust from them has nothing to worry about. To stick heads in the sand and say "but we forgot it in the climate where we ended up therefore we must pretend it was lost to everyone" is insane. It doesn't make any sense.

  58. FYI Yeshai the most balanced amino acid profile does not translate into the best protein for humans. We don't use all amino acids equally.

    Fun facts: The protein in Cow milk is 80% casein 20% whey

    The protein in human milk is 40% casein 60% whey.

    Can you guess why?

    Also, just because cow milking involves slaughter now does not mean is necessitates slaughter.

  59. Student V: Are you a posek?

    Lawrence Kaplan

  60. Someone sent me an article by some right wing nut claiming that that CERN Cloud Experiment conclusively disproves AGW. I downloaded the actual article which is available here:


    The article does NOT disprove AGW.

  61. 'My only critique is that you seem to accept the notion of "global warming" as fact'

    As he should. It is a fact. The dispute among those who actually understand the data is over the cause(s). Anyone who does not accept that the earth has gotten warmer is right up there with those who say cigarette smoking doesn't cause lung cancer, that HIV doesn't cause AIDS, and that there was no Shoah.

  62. To solve the world hunger by breading edible bugs? This is wacked and can never happen. Please... Who's gonna eat them?

  63. Just ran across a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal regarding the CERN experiment:

    The Other Climate Theory

    The article is chock-full of interesting little tidbits such as this one:

    On the phone from Geneva, Mr. Kirkby says that Mr. Svensmark's hypothesis "started me thinking: There's good evidence that pre-industrial climate has frequently varied on 100-year timescales, and what's been found is that often these variations correlate with changes in solar activity, solar wind. You see correlations in the atmosphere between cosmic rays and clouds—that's what Svensmark reported. But these correlations don't prove cause and effect, and it's very difficult to isolate what's due to cosmic rays and what's due to other things."

  64. "A man professionally cut and stabbed by a professional soldier using scientifically optimized techniques takes at least 20 seconds to lose consciousness unless you sever the spine" This is NOT true! 5 seconds or less. Bolt stuns do not kill 100% of the time. And bled out meat tastes better. Ask hunters!


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