Monday, January 12, 2009

Things I Like; Things I Don't Like

The stamp on my UK visa tells me I entered this country on a permanent basis Jan. 21, 2006. Three years (or thereabouts) gives me some perspective on life here. It's not long enough to be cynical ... OK, it's long enough to be cynical about some aspects of life here ... but long enough to have developed some clear likes and dislikes. Or at least things we enjoy and things we find peculiar. So to celebrate the three-year anniversary, I thought I'd do a series of posts on things I really like and things I really don't like (Mrs. Werbenmanjensen is free to join in as she wishes).

A thing I like:


It is fortunate that I live in a land with so many good beers. It is unfortunate that I am unable to try each and every one of them. So my advice to those who ask me what they ought to drink when visiting Britain is to tell them to walk into the nearest pub, look for the long handles on the bar and order what looks interesting from the selection of badges on those handles. Those are the cask ales, pumped by hand from a cellar to your pint glass. While over time they may have gone from being made by specialist brewers to being a brand owned by a major conglomerate, they are beers you won't get in any other country--bitters, porters and the like. Across the rest of the bar you may see familiar names--Guinness, Kronenbourg, Carling, even Budweiser and Coors. But you can get those at any old bar. I like to try something I haven't drunk before.

A thing I don't like:

The obsession with the carbon cost of heating a kettle of water for tea.

This is a comparison you'll find in many contexts. This morning, the BBC reported that two Google searches consume the same amount of energy as boiling a kettle of water (never mind the auto trips to the library averted by Google searching). A major train operator advertises that its trains are so energy efficient that they actually make up for millions of boiling kettles (the first of four on this clip):

Look, almost every action causes carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere. If we're going to drink tea, it will require energy, and until our energy sources are 100% sustainable, that energy consumption will result in carbon emissions--no matter if we heat our water in kettle, on a stove, or in an animal skin over a wood fire. If you don't want your beverage to have a carbon impact, drink water. From a stream.

This obsession wouldn't be so bad if it weren't trivial in comparison to some of the choices we make in our lifestyle, living accommodations, residence, commute, and leisure travel that release far more than the 14 grams of carbon that a kettle does. But we don't like the thought of giving up our houses, yards, automobiles, and sunny holidays, so we obsess about tea kettles.

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Blogger oldest kid said...

What else do you like and dislike?

12:51 PM  

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