Wednesday assorted links

1. Should wine be more natural?

2. “…it is a theory of limited government leading to military strength…

3. Exit interview with Arthur Brooks.

4. MIE: “This British Airways flight will only carry crew named Meghan or Harry on the day of the royal wedding — and they’ll be serving Champagne and British cakes.”

5. GDPR is an impossible, sprawling mess (NYT).

6. Regulating sunlight in pre-reform China.


#3 "I have a book coming out next year called The Culture of Contempt. We’ve created a culture of not anger, not disagreement, it’s contempt. And we need to strike back. We’re the majority. We don’t want this. Americans are being held hostage and terrorized by the fringes. That’s what’s going on here. It’s not like 50 percent of Americans thinks one thing and 50 percent thinks another thing. No, 15 percent on each side are effectively controlling the conversation and 70 percent of us don’t hate each other. I can ask any audience, “How many of you love somebody with whom you disagree politically?” Every hand goes up. And yet, you’re willing to have somebody, some fringe person on your side of the debate, say that your brother-in-law or your mother or your aunt is evil and stupid."
Actually. Most Americans hate each other- with good reason. They created their own misery. Also, stupid, evil people can be mothers, aunts, even brothers-in-law.

No, we just hate Americans like you.

1) I am not American. I am as Brazilian as soya (Brazil is the #1 exporter), animal protein (a Brazilian company is the biggest protein producer the world has ever seen) and oranges.
2) I read American newspapers and magazine online, America is divided as never before.

"America is divided as never before."

Yes, there's a sharp divide ... between the superior North America and the obviously inferior South America.

South America is not inferior. Brazil invented the airplane, the radio, the Walkman, a more efficient kind of payphone, the typewriter, the caller identifier and discovered the pion. While Americans sent back children to Hitler's ovens, Brazilian welcomed lots of refugees.
I am talking about the sharp divisons among the populace of the United States. Mr. Trump is the most polarizing figure in American history since Lincoln.

Stuff it, you Sailerite piece of trash.

I am not Sailerite. I oppose Sailerism. I oppose racial supremacism. Brazil welcomes people from all races and countries. President Temer is from Lebanese stock. Former President Rousseff is from Bulgarian stock. Popular former President Juscelinonwas from Czech stock. Former dictators Medici and Geisel were, respectively, from Italian and German stock. While America sent Jewish kids back to Hitler's ovens, Brazil welcomed Jewish refugees.

You oppose Sailerism but you steal ideas from his blog anyway and try to pass them off as your own.

You lie, boy! I stole no ideas whatsoever from Mr. Sailer! I just pointed out the obvious: the Founding Fathers, when they mentioned the blessing of liberty for their Posterity, they meant WASP rule. You are too dense if you do not understand that!

Just what a closet Alt-Righter would say when challenged!

read this y'all!

I said America is divided. Now, even universities have become a battleground.

A Penn man is proud to work at Beth Israel Mount Sinai.

I am not an Alt-Righter! I reject their ideas. I avoid reading their texts. I can assure you I believe in democracy, human rights and the equality of all races. But America's Founding Fathers supported WASP rule. It is a historical fact you may be ashamed of (so would I in your place), but it is the truth.

"Brazil invented the airplane, the radio, the Walkman, a more efficient kind of payphone, the typewriter, the caller identifier and discovered the pion."

Brazil, a land where the delusions are larger than the Roman Empire at its height.

It is sad how you swallowed whole the anti-Brazilian propaganda.

You mean two bicycle mechanics from Dayton didn't invent the airplane? Please tell.

There is a value to dividing people into groups. You can get these groups to then follow you blindly by telling them what they want to hear. Any country that is "divided" is being divided for political purposes. Before the socialist took over Venezuela they divided it. Then they used those divisions to take power and loot the country.

#5 - Perfect example of why the NYT is trash. "This law is poorly-thought out trainwreck, written by committee. But it's a regulation, so it's alright."

"In the end, pragmatic guidelines that make sense to people who work with data might do a lot more to protect our personal data than a law that promises to change the internet but can’t explain how."

Hardly close to your interpretation. Of course, you didn't bother to read it, because conservatives simply invent their own facts to conform to their biases.

The irony is GDPR is very right-wing.

It's like the right-wing approach to the environment. Eliminate all data, now there is no adverse impact from blowing up mountains to burn coal, etc.

As someone on I think Marketplace put it, people want to have a say over how their data is used, but the EU decided the only solution was destroying the data on those who want control over its use.

This is like security by obscurity fallacy as in control over conclusions by eliminating data.

If you can't find information on someone, many will assume the worst even without GDPR like rules.

That is the Trump administration policy for everyone but Trump and his friends of the day.

GDPR is typical knee-jerk. Totally not liberal.

"Still, the G.D.P.R. is not a lost cause. We do need rules about data."

There's nothing "right-wing" about regulation like this. You just want it to be right wing because it's so deeply unpopular that your own left-wing media outlets rag on it.

1. Well, natural wine is a new one. Organic wines are common enough in Germany - and not very good, generally. And a variety of generally young wines might fit some of the definitions of 'natural,' particularly when it is the vintner making them for their own consumption (this would involve talking about co-ops, and gets confusing - such wines are not allowed to be sold).

'fermenting slowly with wild yeasts from the vineyard'

This sounds a bit dumb though - wild yeasts are no guarantee that the wine will be palatable. Reusing yeast is what I am familiar with, not letting wild fermentation occur (though the Belgians seem to be able to pull this off with a certain style of local beer -

Nonetheless, sounds like another trend worth avoiding, which is one of the benefits of reading this web site.

Dr. Loosen! Excellent white wine. I've drank homemade red wine in Greece, made without preservatives, and like Beaujolais wine, it spoils quickly, tastes something like grape juice, and pretty good when fresh.

Bonus trivia: do Baptists really believe Jesus drank grape juice? It's hard to preserve fruit juice, unlike wine, especially back in the days before refrigeration.

Sugar is a natural preservative

Not in liquids it's not.

Sugary liquids will not spoil but the concentration has to be really high (like honey, like maple syrup). My Greek grandma made this jam that even mold would not spoil. It was like rock candy almost, so much sugar.

Bonus trivia: the ancient Greeks had a wine that was condensed, like a syrup, and was mixed with water. Modern wine is a modern invention.

I rather like that unnatural thing - or perhaps unfamiliar thing - English wine. The sparklers can be excellent. We've also had very good still whites and once - we could hardly believe it - a good red.

P.S. I agree with Ray - we've had some delish Dr Loosen.

Chateau Thames Embankment.

"Climate change drives UK wine production but not without weather shocks"

Yeah, if the climate changes back to the balmy days of the Roman period we'll continue to get good wine. if it changes back to a Little Ice Age, God help us all.

2. Oxymoron of the day: limited government and military strength. Small governments can be highly oppressive (and aggressively militaristic) governments by devoting most of government spending to the military. What the authors mean by "limited government" is a government that doesn't devote significant resources to such things a social welfare programs or public capital investment, instead saving for military conflict resulting from . . . . what exactly? On the other hand, are governments that do devote significant resources to social welfare programs and public capital investment less militaristic and less likely to engage in recurrent military conflict? Maybe the statement should be re-written as follows: military strength leading to limited government.

I have personally suffered due to whatever the hell it is Californians are doing to wine. Supposedly, they have successfully lobbied for the ability to keep things off label. Whatever they are doing, my gut is better now since I tend to avoid American stuff and try to pick from countries that have been doing pretty much the same stuff for hundreds of years. I can only remember one brand from Italy that caused a similar problem. Certainly, if they kept it 'more natural', it would be better. I have also never understood why the mainstream libertarians are against labels- people should be able to know what it is they are buying so that when they have reactions they can figure out what's causing it. Also, there's an aspect of fraud- what is "wine"? How different from the ancient process can it be before it's no longer actually wine? Let me go to the lab and whip up something with grain alcohol, grape polyphenols, tannins from wherever. Is it wine? No.

Of course, finding and keeping to a decent yeast for your product is a good idea. If these "natural wines" guys get too hippy on us, then their wines will make us sick too.

Yeah, like the article says, modern wine has lots of preservatives in it, and not sulfides either. Turns out drinking one cup of wine a day is not that good for your health. But if you want a decent red wine that's cheaper, always go for a mixture (merlot plus cab, shiraz plus cab, etc), not a single varietal wine, unless the wine is really expensive and rated high by Parker.

Bonus trivia: Parker became a wino from sampling all that wine. You're supposed to swish it and spit it out, not drink it, which I found much to my chagrin when I did the wine country tour in northern California.

"Certainly, if they kept it 'more natural', it would be better."

That's a pretty egregious naturalistic fallacy.

One that I am responding to, and putting ' ' around, because it is vague and in the hands of some people, may not lead to what I actually want, which is good wine that doesn't hurt my gut.

I don't suppose you ever think about bringing more to the party than the obvious?

When merited.

A possible explanation for libertarian opposition to legally required labels:

The bureaucracy that determines and enforces the labelling requirements is a very expensive way of arriving at a result that could be reached through market forces (consumers want labels->consumers buy wine with labels->wine producers make labels in order to meet consumer demand). The bureaucracy is hard to shake once it is established and becomes too self-congratulatory once the result is achieved (they claim that if they are dismantled, the labels will all disappear suddenly!). All that permanent cost (paid by you and me, fellow taxpayer), just to get something that we can achieve through signals in the market.

Also, "whatever they are doing" in Europe with wine is varied and includes all of the varied winemaking techniques used in America (and all the other winemaking regions of the world, for that matter). The cool thing is that you can come to understand these techniques through reading about winemaking. Get a book like Karen MacNeil's The Wine Bible and taste examples of the wines as you go. You'll get a feel for what wines work for you, and you'll learn how to fill out that "whatever they do..."

They usually mention the cost of changing labels too, but if you add something, technically it is a different product.

I know a bit about wine. The main thing here is the Europeans are usually doing whatever they used to do before I was born, whereas the Californians are using additives- clarifiers, de-foaming agents, etc... This is an educated guess, since I know many Europeans could be using similar products- and there's probably a lot of pesticide/insecticide being sprayed too.

Of course there is a lot of pesticide use! As the article states: "In 2000, a French government report noted that vineyards used 3% of all agricultural land, but 20% of the total pesticides."

I'd love to pick your brain about wine! It's one of my great loves.

Should wine be more natural? NO.

But, why the desire to standardize wine? If some people want to try new/old things? Why not?

I've been living for 5 years in a wine producing region. Local winemakers are proud of their experiments on working closer to nature. But, it's authentic campagnard pride, not stupid snob London wine trader pride.

As the article say, the result of the experiments sometimes is great, sometimes is sad. Two weeks ago I was with my wife tasting 2016 pinot noir from a local hippie produce. We were regretful of not buying more delicious 2015 because 2016 was is what it is. These experiments are cheap $20-30 a bottle.

If you care to read about the composition of a Bordeaux with good reputation you'll find it's an assemblage of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and sometimes one more. By mixing different the outcome of different vines, the winemaker tries to produce something great every year. But this assemblage wines feel the same as driving an sports car in the perfect roads of Switzerland, good but never amazing......unless you go for $200+ a bottle.

So, that's the contrast between organic/hippies and established wine producers. Me? I enjoy the discovery visiting lots of winemakers, even if sometimes it's nauseous. The people that buy wine in a restaurant want always good. The "market" makes everyone happy. Therefore, wine should NOT be more natural because wine must NOT be standardized. Diversity is awesome.

People suffering "fear of missing out" are better 300,000 Km away from wine. You'll never know them all, just enjoy the path of discovery. I still remember the first day I tried a cool Neuchatel AOC non-filtré.

The British in this case are like Germans having an strong opinion on Mexican food. Unless the Brit has lived among the vines and winemakers for a long period.......the opinion is useless.

Ps. The funny thing is that there a few winemakers in England and they are completely ignored. From this fact I can infer the article author knows nothing =)

$20-30 a bottle is not cheap for me. It’s normal.

What I enjoy is finding some decent plonk for $15-20. Much much easier to do in France.

Just have someone switch the labels, no one can tell the difference including Mr. Parker

Indeed, some research supports this view, but I’m very skeptical, as I do informal tastings a couple of times a month with friends.

wine should not be assessed from a comparison point of view (the point of view where we sip from an anonymous glass and then say something like: that wine has stronger cedar notes but less strawberry notes than that other wine from the previous glass, and is it not fascinating how nobly the tannins have been regulated) - unless you are a super taster, and, like me, you probably are not - wine should be considered as a holiday accoutrement.
What do I mean by holiday accoutrement? Drink the same wine from the same vineyard -preferably from a place where you have visited or near where you have lived - year after year at the same time of year. Eventually, you will be able to say "that wine is not the July 4 wine I remember" "that wine is not the May wine I remember" "that wine is not the summer blockbuster wine I remember" "that wine is not the Whitsuntide wine I remember", if someone tries to trick you by introducing another wine into your holiday routine (trust me) : bonus side effects, you will immediately recognize acidity and sourness and the encroachment of vinegar-type deformation of the taste of wines that are not even part of your yearly calendar of wines (trust me, I know what I am talking about).

Look at it this way: if you are older than 40 and some genius of vintage lousy food-purveyance put in front of you a McDonald's chocolate milkshake vintage 1977 and then a current version, you would probably get, in a blind test tasting, the following question right 100 times out of 100 - which is the good 1977 version, which is the new version? Come on who can assert that I am wrong about that? And those are just milkshakes, wine is much more full of information.

Or look at it this way: if, like me, you have smoked a few thousand cigars, ranging from the Prince Edwards offered at the pledge week smokers back in the day to the best of the best from a two days' swim south of Key West (with Connecticut wrappers, remember that hospital where Wallace Stevens converted to the best Christianity he could and nearby later that year Karen Carpenter, the golden voice of our lifetimes, was born) - well, if you smoke enough cigars, you don't for a second doubt that someone who knows as much about wine as you know about cigars could easily and with lots of precision distinguish the good from the less good. (in other words, the quality of cigars is very easy to assess)

And why is quality important, when wine with little quality is 'good enough', as are cigars with little quality - after all, 15 or so billion years into the universe, is not the very fact of wine, good or not, amazing, and the very fact of cigars, good or not, also amazing? That is a good question (leaving aside the billions of years of uncertainty as to when to celebrate the birthday of the universe, but I digress, as usual) .... Why should we feel we have wasted our time if we have never given up what we wanted to do for frivolous hour after frivolous hour in order to do what it takes to be a friend to a little creature - a dog who needed a home, a cat ditto, or (and I am not talking about little creatures here, for the record) the old folks at the assisted living facility who, to tell the truth, never heard Mendelssohn and Rachmaninoff played the way I play it, even when they were young and full of hope, or a pot-bellied pig or a tarantula who never had a friend in the world ? Because the quality of what we do for others is important (I have adopted a couple hopeless terriers, with PTSD and other 'deal-breaker' problems, as they say, I did not care, there were no deal-breakers for me) it is no small thing to be a friend to a creature who never had a friend in the world, a less than ideal temperament is far from a "deal-breaker" in that kind of world - and who does not want to live in a world where it is no small thing to be a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world? The question answers itself, nobody could want to live in such a world.

so they asked me what do you think of wine tastings and i said i don't know enough about wine to make it worth my while, some people do but I don't, but i do know about cigars and terriers with PTSD and the way Rachmaninoff wanted his chord changes to be played in the very unlikely event (from his point of view) that such chord changes would be played for a rather absent-minded group of Alzheimer's patients, God bless their souls God bless their hearts of course they preferred it when I played Edelweiss or the Rainbow Connection (for some reason those are hugely popular in the old folk home circuit) but just in case there was a fan of the best of music I went through dozens of Rachmaninoff's favorite chord changes (and the C sharp minor modulations were the least of it)

3. Brooks and Politico would hit it off because they are members of the Washington uniparty. He's too delicate of sensibility to support Trump - he probably preferred Obama and Hillary.

#5 There is something much bigger amiss here. Europe is the reigning sovereign when it comes to proposing and defending toothless regulation to solve a prisoner's dilemma. Defense and deterrence via NATO, economic and financial integration via Maastricht, holding polluters accountable via Paris Climate Agreement, and now privacy and consumer advocacy via GDPR. How has the European community any credibility left when it comes to multilateralism? People worry about American leadership and rightfully so, but Brussels is so much worse.

Arthur Brooks finally realized that the GOP voters came for the free beer of racism, not the quiche of fiscal conservatism.

Wow. A rare original thought on this comment thread!


Original? Leftists like to say this although survey evidence doesn't bear it out

Depends onthe survey.

1. Any discussion of the pros and cons of wine making today is supercilious. Lake Country Red. Lancers. Those were the top red wines in America my parents' generation drank. Good God, awful. But that was before California wines took off. To complain about wines today is stupid. Most people wouldn't recognize a great vintage if splashed in the face anyway. My only complaint is that wines, California wines, are overpriced. But that's because so many people are drinking them. And guess what, demand makes for a better (and more supply of the) product. Economics tells me so.

All eyes on China for the economic forces you talk about here. The Chinese are rapidly rising to the top of the list of wine consumers. Though it will be a while still before they top the US, winemakers are already turning their attention to Chinese tastes. Some industry people are planting vineyards in China so that (in three years time--when the plants produce fruit) they will be ready to make domestic wine for the local market. It's something to watch. The economics tells me so!

6. The claim is made that China had a regulation that wasted land by requiring density no greater than twice density of of the densest cities in the world.

In the US, real estate agents and policy advocates opposed to zoning would condemn projects built to those China standards as failing to meet the requirements of Americans on light and view, requirements that can be met only by single unit houses on lots with yard on all sides.

I thought it was an excellent article, but I was wondering why the author gave the implicit population density in hectares....

1) The entire story revolves around whether wine is an industrial product [the last 40 years of standardisation, both in AOC regimes & the New World] or an agricultural one.

In Australia, the smaller producers go for the more biodynamic grown fruit, with expression of the local terroir.

UPSHOT: Let a million flowers bloom! [hic]

3. I have sent the morning flattening boards with a bench plane. So I don't have energy to read in detail. I will cop to this being a surface response.

Sure, you can say we are "hostage" to multiple extremes.

But in reality, only one, very peculiar, extreme is in charge.

That tends to skew the reaction to rational (centrist, moderate) response.

If you don't like this extreme, you must be part of some other, don't you know?

I've had biodynamic wines that fit nicely alongside decent bottles, but natural wine in my experience is a whole different, and gimmicky worse, thing. It smacks of more food religion like locavorism, which, as someone who likes to cook and drink wine, is the most tiresome of modern aesthetic trends. No, it's not better because it tastes like vinegar. No, it's not better because it's cloudy. No, it's not better because it lasts less than a day opened. It may be better for other reasons related to balance, interesting flavor profiles etc, but what is happening here is people are letting these wines start at 3rd base because they are "natural". Ugh.

#6 Market forces and public health

In China houses with sunlight have Feng Shui points and sell better. The feng shui practices are crystallized from general observations that houses without sunlight tend to be damp and moldy, bad for general health. It is better to have a hot house than a moldy house. Direct or diffused sunlight also increase vitamin D production. Similar regulations exists in USA,

"Laws to protect access to sunlight date back to Vitruvius, and contemporary versions exist in cities from New York City to London to San Francisco."

GDPR is the best thing that happened to us. it will clean our mailbox of all that spam like never before.

Good joke, I laughed.

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