Daily Archives: October 12, 2020

Did the Acetobacter exist prior to human alcohol-making activity?

I sometimes get sidetracked by questions like I put in the headline, partially because I have ADD since I was little, and something that might be related to that, I have an insatiable curiosity about, well EVERYTHING!

Now usually a trip to the library or a quick Google search answers my curiosity, because we humans have answered most of the easy questions. But in this case, the answer is not-so-easy. Acetobacter have been found in the wild, but are they wild or just escaped from humans? My google-fu says probably wild and evolved because yeasts sometimes ferment flower nectars into alcohols and wherever there’s a food source there will be something evolved to eat it. So the conclusion is Acetobacter predates human evolution, and was not the result of leaving beer uncovered in Sumeria after brewing.

Also there are very many varieties of Acetobacter in the wild, which also suggests that vinegar is not the result of humans leaving their wine and beer uncovered. So far the evidence we have is that beer and wine pre-date writing by about 1K years, as pottery shards have been found with residue from beer and wine that predate the earliest known writings. And there have been Acetobacter around long before that, meaning there has been malt vinegar around millennia before there were fish and chips to put it on.

So, this is how my mind works.

Happy Indigenous People’s Day!

I’m sure this will surprise noone that at the end of the XX century I was a member of a group that wanted to restore Hawaii to a separate country, on the grounds that occupying soldiers and sailors and their families were allowed to vote in the election that decided if Hawaii was going to be a state, return to being a separate country, or remain a territory. The grounds for that were along the lines of allowing occupying Russian troops to vote for reunifying East Germany with West Germany, or becoming part of Russia. We wouldn’t recognize that election as valid, so why did the soldiers etc. get to vote in whether Hawaii should be restored as a nation?

For those unfamiliar with Hawaiian history, the Dole company basically stole the country with US backing just before the turn of the XX century for growing pineapples and sugarcane, and used the Marines to overthrow the existing monarchy. Given that the winners write the history, the fact that history says the people were generally happy with their form of government prior to the Dole company stealing the country says a lot.

Anywho, IIRC being a baby at the time and living on the mainland, the ballot had 3 choices, become a state, remain a territory, or restore the monarchy and become an independent country again. And Google says that while that was what was SUPPOSED to be on the ballot, in fact the choice to return to an independent country was not on the ballot. We cheated and only allowed the choices to remain a territory with limited rights, or become a state. So, another count against the legality of the “election”.

On a better note, when this same question came up for the Phillipines in the 1930s being a state wasn’t a choice and the residents chose to be an independent country, with strong ties to the US for defense and commerce because of Japan. When Japan invaded the country in WWII the US garrison was technically already at war after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Anywho, this whole post is because the son of a family friend and fellow UU church member was kicked out of class for refusing to participate with class activities celebrating Columbus day, saying something along the lines of “Columbus didn’t discover America, he was the point man for the invasion.” And since his mother was Native American, he had a point.

Go ahead and celebrate Columbus Day if you wish, just remember all the people who were here to meet him when he “discovered” some Caribbean islands.