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Archive for the 'booze' Category

Discussing the Ethics of Driverless Cars

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

This morning we got into a discussion about the complexity of designing ethical driverless cars that meet social expectations. That’s a hard subject to articulate. Mostly because there isn’t just one ethical framework; but also because there is probably no way to produce an ethical car that passengers would step inside for a journey. We can’t even produce a safe car. Imagine if the car could insist, for the greater good, that you die.

When I see discussion about the design of an ethical driverless car the question, at least for me, becomes “Which ethical framework are we talking about?” Utiliarianism? Kant’s Categorical Imperative? Ethical Rights analysis? There is no hard and fast ethical regimen that would hold true in all cases.

In Utilitarian analysis, for the greater good, the car might be designed to sacrifice one driver so the family of five in another car survives. But what if the other car was at fault? Is it ethical to sacrifice the single driver so an oncoming carload who made an error would be spared? Do we count five lives against the one life; or, do we count each life as being of equal value to the individuals involved? Are younger lives more valuable than older lives? Would your gender, weight, health, criminal record or race be taken into account? Who makes that judgement? In the real World the Utilitarian perspective is a very cold calculation.

And if we run with Kant’s Categorical Imperative then the maxim might be something like: “All cars will kill all drivers all the time.” Or, “No cars will kill any drivers any of the time.” I’d take a punt that the second is the maxim that makes sense. Ethical driverless cars should never kill drivers.

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Starting on Next Year’s Scrumpy

Friday, April 1st, 2016

The simplest to make of all alcoholic drinks has to be the humble (and often underrated) naturally fermented hard cider called scrumpy. And it’s that time of the year to start on our scrumpy production.

Making scrumpy is as easy as purchasing fresh apple juice without preservatives:

  1. Pour the fresh apple juice into a sanitised fermenter,
  2. whack on an airlock to keep out the yeasties and bugs, and
  3. watch that fermentation go crazy, eventually slow and then stop.

This process should take around six months. Some people advocate that you should siphon the cider off any dead yeast every month-or-so, but it’s fine to leave it alone until all fermentation has completed. The final product should be a dry cider with a reasonably high alcohol content.

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Our Australian Faux-Mamajuana is Lovely

Friday, March 18th, 2016

The foray into trying an Australian Faux-Mamajauna went really well. I used the two finger rule where two horizontal fingers of red wine and two horizontal fingers of good honey were combined in the spice bottle with two fingers (thumb to index) of Bundaberg Select Vat Rum.

The result is surprising for a drink that would have to carry an ABV of around 30 per cent (60 proof). I could taste the cinnamon and berry flavours with a strong nearly medicinal smell. This worked in a really good way. The drink is spicy, fruity and extremely smooth without being sickly sweet. It’s a liqueur.

So if you’re thinking of that little something nobody else will sell you then I’d suggest you follow the recipe. I think only adding things you’d eat in your food was a good place to start. But be careful, it packs a punch.

mamajuana_1

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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