On Thursday 05 July 2018 21:25:31 Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> On Thu, 05 Jul 2018 11:27:09 -0700, Jim Lee wrote:
> > Take a village of people.? They live mostly on wild berries.
> Because of course a community of people living on one food is so
> realistic. Even the Eskimos and Inuit, living in some of the harshest
> environments on earth, managed to have a relatively wide variety of
> foods in their diet.
> But okay, let's run with this scenario...
> > One day, a man invents an automated way to sort good berries from
> > poisonous berries.
> Right, because it is totally realistic that a pre-agricultural society
> living on nothing but berries has mastered the technology to automate
> sorting berries.
> > Soon, all the villagers take their berries to him to be
> > sorted.
> Of course they do, because why pick only edible berries when it is so
> much more fun to pick both edible and poisonous berries, mix them
> together, and then play a game of "let's see if we missed any of the
> deadly berries and will die horribly after eating them accidentally".
> In this scenario of yours, is everyone in this a village a workaholic
> with a death-wish? Why exactly are they doing twice as much work as
> necessary picking poisonous berries and mixing them in together with
> the edible berries?
> >?The man dies, but passes the secret on to his son before doing
> > so.? This continues for a few generations.? Eventually, the final
> > descendant dies with no children, and the secret vanishes.? Now, the
> > entire village is clueless when it comes to identifying the
> > poisonous berries.
> Even this city boy knows enough to tell the difference between edible
> blackberries, raspberries and strawberries and the many
> maybe-its-edible- maybe-its-not berries which grown on random trees
> and bushes.
> Are there a bunch of dead birds around the tree? Then its poisonous.
> Do birds happily eat the berries and keep coming back? Then its worth
> trying one or two and see if they give you a stomach ache, if not,
> they're probably safe.
> A more sensible example would have been mushrooms. And its true, I'm
> entirely clueless how to identify poisonous mushrooms from edible
> ones. However will I survive?
The mushroom question is easy Steven. Since there is NO food value to a
mushroom, simply avoid them all. The only reason we use them in our food
is the flavoring. There are no calories, no or only trace amounts of
vitamins or minerals. Skipping them is the sensible thing to do
> Nor do I know how to smelt copper, or tan leather using nothing but
> dung, or perform brain surgery. I guess civilization is about to
In that case, I hate to say it, but your education is sorely lacking in
the fundamentals. Smelting for instance was discussed at length in the
high school physics books I was reading by the time I was in the 3rd
grade. Don't they teach anything in school anymore? Tanning leather for
instance involves a long soaking in strong tea, and doesn't name the
brand or genus of the tea, the important part was the tannic acid
> Steven D'Aprano
> "Ever since I learned about confirmation bias, I've been seeing
> it everywhere." -- Jon Ronson
Cheers, Gene Heskett
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