A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘tea

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Charlie Stross at Antipope shares an essay he recently presented on artificial intelligence and its challenges for us.
  • P. Kerim Friedman writes at {anthro}dendum about the birth of the tea ceremony in the Taiwan of the 1970s.
  • Anthropology net reports on a cave painting nearly 44 thousand years old in Indonesia depicting a hunting story.
  • Architectuul looks at some temporary community gardens in London.
  • Bad Astronomy reports on the weird history of asteroid Ryugu.
  • The Buzz talks about the most popular titles borrowed from the Toronto Public Library in 2019.
  • Caitlin Kelly talks at the Broadside Blog about her particular love of radio.
  • Centauri Dreams talks about the role of amateur astronomers in searching for exoplanets, starting with LHS 1140 b.
  • John Quiggin at Crooked Timber looks at what is behind the rhetoric of “virtue signalling”.
  • Dangerous Minds shares concert performance from Nirvana filmed the night before the release of Nevermind.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes new evidence that, even before the Chixculub impact, the late Cretaceous Earth was staggering under environmental pressures.
  • Myron Strong at the Everyday Sociology Blog writes about how people of African descent in the US deal with the legacies of slavery in higher education.
  • Far Outliers reports on the plans in 1945 for an invasion of Japan by the US.
  • L.M. Sacasas at The Frailest Thing gathers together a collection of the author’s best writings there.
  • Gizmodo notes the immensity of the supermassive black hole, some 40 billion solar masses, at the heart of galaxy Holm 15A 700 million light-years away.
  • Russell Arben Fox at In Media Res writes about the issue of how Wichita is to organize its civic politics.
  • io9 argues that the 2010s were a decade where the culture of the spoiler became key.
  • The Island Review points readers to the podcast Mother’s Blood, Sister’s Songs, an exploration of the links between Ireland and Iceland.
  • Joe. My. God. reports on the claim of the lawyer of the killer of a mob boss that the QAnon conspiracy inspired his actions. This strikes me as terribly dangerous.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at a study examining scholarly retractions.
  • Language Hat shares an amusing cartoon illustrating the relationships of the dialects of Arabic.
  • Language Log lists ten top new words in the Japanese language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the dissipation of American diplomacy by Trump.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the many problems in Sparta, Greece, with accommodating refugees, for everyone concerned.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting the decline of the one-child policy in China has diminished child trafficking, among other crimes.
  • Sean Marshall, looking at transit in Brampton, argues that transit users need more protection from road traffic.
  • Russell Darnley shares excerpts from essays he wrote about the involvement of Australia in the Vietnam War.
  • Peter Watts talks about his recent visit to a con in Sofia, Bulgaria, and about the apocalypse, here.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the corporatization of the funeral industry, here.
  • Diane Duane writes, from her own personal history with Star Trek, about how one can be a writer who ends up writing for a media franchise.
  • Jim Belshaw at Personal Reflections considers the job of tasting, and rating, different cuts of lamb.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at a nondescript observatory in the Mojave desert of California that maps the asteroids of the solar system.
  • Roads and Kingdoms interviews Eduardo Chavarin about, among other things, Tijuana.
  • Drew Rowsome loves the SpongeBob musical.
  • Peter Rukavina announces that Charlottetown has its first public fast charger for electric vehicles.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog considers the impact of space medicine, here.
  • The Signal reports on how the Library of Congress is making its internet archives more readily available, here.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers how the incredibly isolated galaxy MCG+01-02-015 will decay almost to nothing over almost uncountable eons.
  • Strange Company reports on the trial and execution of Christopher Slaughterford for murder. Was there even a crime?
  • Strange Maps shares a Coudenhove-Kalergi map imagining the division of the world into five superstates.
  • Understanding Society considers entertainment as a valuable thing, here.
  • Denis Colombi at Une heure de peine announces his new book, Où va l’argent des pauvres?
  • John Scalzi at Whatever looks at how some mailed bread triggered a security alert, here.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on the massive amount of remittances sent to Tajikistan by migrant workers, here.
  • Arnold Zwicky notes a bizarre no-penguins sign for sale on Amazon.

[NEWS] Five science and technology links: Darjeeling tea, Fitbits, cannabis, PrEP, Planet Nine

  • Climate change is making the famous tea of Darjeeling much more difficult to come by. VICE reports.
  • Wired notes Fitbits are useful tracking devices for scientists engaged in studies, too. (I always wear mine.)
  • I entirely approve of this new Niagara College program. Why not legalize and professionalize cannabis agriculture?
  • This VICE interview with bringing the Truvada needed for inexpensive PrEP across the border into Canada is of note.
  • A new study suggests that Planet Nine, if it exists, was likely not captured by the young sun but formed here. Universe Today reports.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO shares pictures from Toronto in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Crooked Timber reacts, perhaps not wisely, to the recent British government state that an independent Scotland would not automatically have a currency union with the United Kingdom.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that tidal heating of Mars-mass planets in the circumstellar habitable zones of red dwarf stars could keep them habitable.
  • The Dragon’s Tales observes arguments that Vesta may have had a magma ocean for a long time period.
  • Far Outliers observes the impuissance of the last Ottoman ruler of Syria faced with the Armenian genocide and comments upon how the response of the American government after the First World War to abandon the Middle East did not help things.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas responds to Nick Kristof’s wondering where all the public intellectuals are by arguing that whole concept may just be an effect of a centralized mass culture.
  • At Halfway Down the Danube, Douglas Muir notes that Kosovo hasn’t had much of a winter.
  • Language Hat has two posts on language standardization, one on Aramaic in the ancient Middle East an the other on Hazaragi, a Persian dialect spoken by–here–Shi’ite Afghanistan refugees in Australia.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the dire situation of tea plantation workers.
  • The Map Room’s Jonathan Crowe links to recent maps of Ganymede and Mercury.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer comments on the tumult in Venezuela by wondering why that country’s government has been so incompetent.
  • Thought Catalog features a first-person essay by Iranian gay refugee in Canada Shawn Kermanipour.
  • Towleroad remarks on the gay icon status of Blondie’s Debbie Harry.
  • Transit Toronto’s Robert McKenzie observes that the TTC is offering transit users the chance to “Meet the Manager” of different stations.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that migration from Belarus to Russia is becoming a serious issue for both countries, whether because of labour shortages in Belarus or Russian immigrant politics.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • BlogTO links to vintage photographs of Bloor Street.
  • Centauri Dreams documents intergalactic flows of star-fueling hydrogen around the galaxy M82.
  • D-Brief explains what Hawking meant when he said black holes didn’t exist.
  • D-Brief explains what Hawking meant when he said black holes didn’t exist.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper analyzing the likely structures of the Nu Ophiuchi and Gliese 581 systems.
  • The Financial Times‘s World Blog doesn’t think Italy is likely to escape its institutional deadlock and examines the issues related to German-style labour market reforms in France.
  • The New APPS Blog’s Jon Cogburn writes an interesting piece comparing Nazi plans for conquered eastern Europe with North America’s own racial issues.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer links to a recent set of scenarios on Syria’s future. Best-case scenario involves a partition, worst-case scenario involves wholesale regional war.
  • Supernova Condensate takes a look at the pharmacology of tea.
  • Window on Eurasia notes China’s use of soft power to win hearts and minds in Central Asia.

[LINK] “Hot, Caffeinated, and Expanding: The Global Geography of Coffee, Tea, and Yerba Mate”

Geocurrents’ Martin Lewis has a fantastic post outlining the global trade coffee (tea an yerba mate, too).

It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of the global trade in coffee and tea. Among commodities, the $80+ billion international coffee market is sometimes said to trail only that of oil. Coffee is an essential source of revenue for many countries, with Burundi making more than half of its export earnings from the crop, even though it does not count among the world’s top twenty producers. By weight and value, the international coffee trade surpasses that of tea, but tea is still the more widely consumed beverage. According to the Wikipedia, “Tea is the most popular manufactured drink in the world in terms of consumption. Its consumption equals all other manufactured drinks in the world – including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and alcohol – put together.”

Economic historians emphasize the crucial roles played by coffee and tea. The early modern European and American tea trade with China was large enough to be of political as well as economic significance, as reflected to this day in “tea party” slogans. Seventeenth century coffee houses in London and Amsterdam were not merely drink dispensers, but also incubators of the stock market and the insurance industry; the original Lloyd’s of London was a coffee house. As historian Wolfgang Schivelbusch relates in his engaging Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants, the “sober drink” of coffee was widely linked to Protestant rectitude and frugal business habits. Although both coffee and tea are still frowned upon by many and prohibited by a few groups, both drinks seem to have generally healthful effects. Recent studies led Seeking Alpha to half-jestingly refer to “coffee stocks as a healthcare investment.” In historical terms, the main benefits of such beverages probably stemmed from the fact that they demanded the boiling of water, reducing microbial contamination.

[. . .]

The disparity between coffee growing and coffee drinking countries appears less pronounced on a map of per capita consumption. Here the main patterns pertain to world regions: coffee use is high through most of the Americas and especially in Europe (with a few notable exceptions), low in sub-Saharan Africa and throughout mainland South, East, and Southeast Asia, and highly variable in the greater Middle East. Within the coffee-drinking zone, Nordic countries stand out, with Finland’s 12+ kilograms per person per year almost meriting a category of its own. It is true that many coffee-exporting countries are not particularly keen on the drink, although Brazil, which alone produces a third of all internationally traded coffee, imbibes fairly heavily; Brazilians drink more coffee, on average, than residents of the United States. Several others important producers, such as Colombia, Venezuela, and Ethiopia, exhibit moderate levels of consumption, whereas low levels of coffee drinking characterize such major exporters as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Peru.

The geography of coffee has changed greatly since the early modern era. Several places that were once redolent of coffee now drink little. Yemen was world’s first major coffee exporter, with one of its ports, Mocha, giving its name to a particular coffee preparation. Today qat-obsessed Yemen has little use for the drink. Indonesia is still a major exporter, but consumption remains low even on the island of Java, which has lent its name to the beverage more generally. ‘Turkish coffee” is famous, as once were the coffee houses of Istanbul, but Turkey today consumes little of the black beverage, much preferring tea. Ethiopia, coffee’s homeland, does both export and imbibe substantial quantities, but trouble lurks; according to a recent report, “Ethiopia’s coffee export continues to plummet due to chaotic government controls and enforcement of bad policies.”

Coffee consumption is generally quite low in Asia, with South Korea and especially Japan forming exceptions. But coffee producers are excited by prospects for growth in the Asian market, particularly that of China. Although the average Chinese person drinks only 5 cups a year, the figure in Shanghai is now over 20, and consumption is growing quickly as Starbucks and other chains proliferate. The biggest growth in the coffee market, however, has occurred in the Gulf States; according to a recent report, “The UAE has been the fastest growing market by volume for coffee in the world with coffee volume sales expected to register an 80 per cent growth from 2009-2014, or a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 12 per cent year on year over the same period.”

On the production side of the coffee ledger, the biggest change over the past two decades has been the rise of Vietnam, now the second largest producer by a healthy margin. The rise of Vietnamese coffee has often been described as economically destabilizing, generating distress in several poor, coffee-dependent countries. As can be seen on the Wikipedia map below, Vietnam competes in the robusta coffee market, which is otherwise heavily concentrated in Africa.

Lewis also comes up with interesting patterns in the distribution of tea drinking and growing (broadly paralleling coffee) and in yerba mate, apparently starting to take off beyond southern South America in the United States as well as the Middle East (ties of migration with Syria and Lebanon are key, here).

Go, read and see the maps!

Written by Randy McDonald

August 1, 2012 at 2:58 am