Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Epidemics and conspiracies

I wonder why there can't be an epidemic that does something beneficial- such as destroy the ageing process, or make it impossible for cancer or heart disease to damage those infected. What if something like that has happened in the past to solve a problem we don't know once existed?

Yeah, I know that since there are so many more ways to mess things up (due to entropy) than to get something right that making things worse and causing problems is the overwhelmingly more likely result, but still...

In a similar vein: Why can't there be a conspiracy to spread liberty and help people rather than to hurt individuals and hide the guilty parties? Oh, wait. I think I've said too much...



  1. Things like this actually do happen. I'd like to give an example but I haven't thought about it in a while and I've forgotten all the examples.

    Indeed, what often happens is that something tries to randomly improve itself, and then some human will freak out and stop it because they're terrified of change.

    It shouldn't piss me off. They're afraid because they actually can't handle change, which isn't their fault, and anyway most changes are for the worse. But damn but that pisses me off.

    I've remembered an example. Seasoning cast iron pans. When you cook hot in a cast iron pan, instead of just burning food into the surface and making it a pain to clean, it creates a hard non-stick coating.

    Most, if they didn't already know, would try desperately to clean the seasoning off. They'd probably fail and then run around going, "Cast iron pans suck," get teflon instead and happily ingest their daily portion of perfluorooctanoic acid.

  2. I use cast iron almost exclusively. And I guard them against those around me who are "cleaners". I just rinse them out and use a brush to get off the stubborn stuff. No soaps or detergent. When people say "Ewwww!" I point out that the cooking temperatures will sterilize them better than any amount of washing could ever hope to. Cast iron is the best.

  3. I'm told modern detergents are fine. (Though I've yet to acquire my own set and try it myself.)

    Ye olden cast iron you couldn't wash because the only cleaner was lye, which will successfully dissolve the carbon coating. The tradition has survived even though technology has moved on.

    Not that I'm saying you should clean them if you don't want to, just that you could if you wanted to.

  4. I wash with Lye soap every day. It is pretty mild. It doesn't have lye in it, even though lye went in to making it. The lye and fat were chemically altered to become soap.

    I had actually read that modern detergents are worse on cast iron than lye soap was, and that's why people nowadays thought cast iron was a pain.

    But... I'm not going to start washing (other than with hot water) my cast iron, regardless. It's just not worth the risk.

    But isn't it funny how different people will tell you opposing "facts", and that those "facts" rarely get put to the test. Kinda like "taxes are the price we pay for civilation" and "without the government protecting us, we would all be getting attacked and robbed by everyone we met".