The problem with modern agriculture.

I know there is a problem with ‘pests’ in agriculture. I know.

But from the point of view of the fungus, the wheat is the pest. Right? That is how nature/biodiversity works. If one species reaches plague proportions, like a vast field of wheat with nothing else growing in it, another comes in to take advantage of it.

That is the reason why we don’t see quintillions of wall-to-wall cockroaches, rats, or anything else taking over whole cities, countries, continents and eventually the entire planet with nothing else in sight. Because as soon as that happens, natural predators have a field day with them until the balance is restored.

That is the fundamental problem with modern agriculture isn’t it? The monocrop. So I don’t see how spraying ever-increasing quanities of poison onto the one species of plant you are trying to grow is going to change this fact. Even if you genetically engineer new species of wheat, the same principle applies. It’s like asking nature to change. It won’t ever happen because that’s the ‘nature’ of nature.

I think you need a different approach, to grow different species together.
Maybe let the birds and frogs take care of the insects?

Same goes for humans, if there are too many humans, a disease will eventually come along and wipe half of us out too.

Goiânia accident.

Eco shoes review

David Saddington on climate change

Affluenza

So Here We Are:

Donald Trump Is Officially The President

How to access climate change science journal articles

I’m starting to get a bit pissed with people on this whole climate change issue.

Really I am. People are still disagreeing and it isn’t because of the underlying science being wrong or anything to do with that. It’s because their lifestyle is in jeopardy. Or their job. Or their world view.

I can tell you that scientists could not give a toss either way. The thing that matters most for any true scientist is data, getting as accurate data as possible, analysing the data, discussing the data, and perhaps drawing some conclusions based on the data.

A good scientist keeps an open mind. They accept the results. Most research scientists I know are voracious readers. They seek the truth.

So here’s a story. Before I started my doctorate, I hadn’t even read any science papers. I had a materials science degree and I had not really been exposed to this whole new level of academic research. And when I started my PhD, in 1999, science papers were simply not talked about in the general public. So it was all quite new to me.

I also think that during any undergraduate degree, there are plenty enough university textbook to have to read. So I think most undergraduate scientists try to avoid the library as much as possible.

A large university can have 10,000 very nerdy students enrolled in it. But you never see even 1000 people in a library. Right? So the only reason to go to a library when you’re an undergrad, is when you have to do an assignment. Everyone else either works their, is doing a masters, a Ph.D, or they’re a lecturer or professor. I kid you not.

So when I started my doctorate, 4 years after I started my first degree, I literally started to get overwhelmed at the amount of scientific literature out there.

Much of this science research is ‘hidden’. I don’t mean on purpose. I mean, it’s not easily accessible, because much of it is not accessible through the web. Mainly because science was around well before the internet.

Anyway, the point is that you can’t always google everything. There’s a lot of stuff out there that hasn’t even been indexed by google!

So. How to get access to these journals then? Well, if the journal doesn’t have a webpage, they’re mainly accessible through university library databases. And there are many databases, like these.

Most science research is freely available. Meaning, you should never have to pay for articles. Subscriptions to journals only really cost money because they need to be edited and printed. Also, libraries pay for many of these annual subscriptions (well, the most popular ones at least).

So for the measly sum of about $10 per year, the cost of an annual library membership, you too can have access to practically any journal article you wish to read. So the cost of these subscriptions is subsidised by the university. How does a library get money then? Membership fees, university fees, tuition fees, and a mediocre amount of government funding. I suppose.

So the point is that you can fairly easily get access to pdfs of science papers through a library, and you might not have to pay anything.

There is a lot of collaboration between scientists. So you can always simply email one of the authors and they will gladly send it to you for free. Scientists will gladly share pdf articles with anyone and no that is not at all illegal, it’s encouraged.

Note that if you have never been into a library, don’t be afraid. Most librarians are glad to help. If you find a grumpy one, they’re probably just having a bad day, so find someone else and ask them instead. There’s honestly nothing worse than a grumpy librarian.

More and more journals are becoming “open access”, meaning anyone can freely access them.

So here’s a link to the open-access journal “American Journal of Climate Change”, for example:

http://www.scirp.org/journal/ajcc/

Literally *hundreds* of papers freely available if you click on the ‘pdf’ or ‘html’ links, and this is just ONE journal of MANY that are all dedicated to the Earth’s climate.

Or you can simply join any science university library, walk in there and peruse the shelves and be overwhelmed the old-fashioned way…

By all means people can disagree with the findings, but if you’re going to do that and have any chance of winning an argument against a scientist, you should first at least educate yourself, otherwise you’re simply what I call ‘ignorant’.

Indian tech support scammer vs Raspberry Pi OS

Bank loses BILLIONS for funding Dakota pipeline

Mike Malloy on Donald Trump

Iranian orgies

Maybe this guy can cheer you up?

Can Trump read?

Culture your culture

Something happened last week while I was walking my dog.

SSHE decided that the best place to do a poop was right in the middle of a path in the Royal National Park. Right in front of two people who happened to be coming the other way. They saw the whole thing. I carried on rather sheepishly as they passed right by me. They both stopped at the end of their walk and looked back at me. The fat man with lycra/spandex pants and fluorescent sports top stretched his legs and was feeling rather good about himself, because he asked me to pick up my dog’s turd when I was more than 10 metres away. That’s brave.

When I go for a street walk –and I find myself going less and less just to avoid people– sure, I carry plastic bags. This time, I didn’t have any. So wanting to avoid a confrontation (like I always do), and feeling extremely embarrassed, I just replied calmly and softly “sorry I don’t have any plastic bags”, turned around and carried on. And then I heard them both muttering something about me being in a National Park with a dog and how it was ‘prohibited’. Well I have been thinking about this for a week or so. And my internet reply –which is rather different from my real-world reply– goes something like this:

No I don’t litter and I never have done. Normally I am a really ‘good’ person and I carry plastic bags with me when I walk my dog on the street. But lately, I’ve been reading this book, which embraces a “cradle to cradle mentality”.

Nowadays, whenever I go for a walk along a nature strip, I just cover the poop over with the adjacent sandy soil. It decomposes naturally and enriches the Earth. There is no ‘waste’.

One plastic bag is spared for use on something else. And there is one less plastic bag with a turd inside it, rotting away in the Lucas Heights dumping ground that they call a “waste management centre”.

You know, Aborigines and their dingoes have been living in this same National Park for 40,000 years. And they would still be here in another 40,000 years if white folk hadn’t have come along and shot them all. They didn’t pick up their dogs’ shit and put it into a plastic bag for it to end in landfill, did they? So I think we can learn an all-important lesson in sustainability from them.

Come to think of it, what do you think would happen if you asked all creatures big and small within the bounds of the National Park to dispose of waste as you suggest, by putting it in a plastic bag? There would not BE a National Park. It would turn into a dump.

Do me a favour. Don’t demand or even ask me to “do what is right”. Who told you that that was the right thing to do anyway? Have you been watching this video or this one?

Don’t you dare judge me about being a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person. And wipe those smug grins off your faces.

Do I mind picking my dog’s poop up? If it’s going to end up in a rubbish tip, yes, actually, I do mind.

I do not value your values. I do not culture your culture. I didn’t vote for your government and I don’t believe in what they stand for. I don’t remember signing any documents upon my birth to obey all the rules in your society. And neither does my dog.

What’s that you say? You don’t like treading in crap? It bothers you? So you don’t care about the environment after all, you just care about smearing dog shit on your vehicle’s carpet. Right, I see how it works now.

Well by the same token, I don’t like breathing in the toxic fumes coming from your vehicle’s exhaust pipe. Kindly drive around the block instead of driving past my place of residence. I’m sure that none of the animals in the National Park –with the exception of the black crows who now feed on road kill– like vehicles very much. So speaking on their behalf, kindly stop driving around and fucking up the atmosphere we all breathe.

Citizens of Australia, if it wasn’t for loads and loads of animals essentially crapping everywhere, nature wouldn’t exist as we know it. Crap is what keeps it all going. And let’s talk about the boundaries of a National Park shall we?

I went back two days later and the big pile of shit that my dog left had almost completely disappeared. The rain had already begun to wash it away. So I’m going to carry on walking my dog there until I get a fine for it. And when approached, I’m going to claim that I’m part Aboriginal and that my dog is part Dingo. And if they have a problem with that I might just say that I’m starting my own religion called “Vida Enigmatica”.

Deregulation Nation: Welcome To Trump’s Wild West

Lipreading Donald Trump.

Open letter to Craig Kelly + Scott Morrison.

Hello,

Scientists are telling you that fossil fuels are a bad investment.
So we’re all starting to wonder: what the hell is wrong with you people?

Are you deaf? Or are you just corrupt?
I don’t know how you people sleep at night. Really I don’t.

It just makes me lose hope for humanity when I read all about alll the coal & oil projects that are planned for the future. It’s just fucking *totally depressing* for any scientist.

So much so, I wouldn’t even WANT to have children today. Sure we all innately want children (deep down). But quite frankly, why bother? Why even bother having children if we are going to be making their lives more difficult?

I don’t think you people will ever understand, unless you actually spend 4 or more years doing a science degree. You can’t know all that we know. It would take 4 years just to be able to explain it to you! On top of the many years we spend researching information after that.

Now apart from all the clear evidence, what kind of IDIOTS truly believe that the consequences of their collective, cumulative actions cannot not influence this world? I think the people that believe that deserve to become extinct. Really I do.

I for one am FED UP already.
Just completely fed up.
And I am speaking out.

Dr. Leslie Dean Brown
ex-materials scientist.
www.econazi.org

El secreto de Melania.

2433

How did I miss this one?

I‘m sure she’s a nice person and everything, it’s just that, well, being so rich that you’re pretending to eating diamond-encrusted jewellry, it might not go down too well in some places. Least of all, Mexico.

These are the people that are going to “drain the swamp”? Are they trying to cause a revolution? Why not be a bit more like Warren Buffett –you know– low key with their wealth?

All I’ll say is that

a) The French revolution was a real event. It actually happened. People revolted!
b) This is the age of information.
c) History repeats itself.

Mike Malloy on Donald Trump

Hermit provides scientists with valuable climate data.

The coming super struggle, by Alvin Toffler:

THE COMING SUPER-STRUGGLE

The need for new political institutions exactly parallels our need for new family, educational, and corporate institutions as well. It is deeply wired into our search for a new energy base, new technologies, and new industries. It reflects the upheaval in communications and the need to restructure relationships with the non-industrial world. It is, in short, the political reflection of accelerating changes in all these different spheres.

Without seeing these connections, it is impossible to make sense of the headlines around us. For today the single most important political conflict is no longer between rich and poor, between top-dog and underdog ethnic groups, or even between capitalist and communist. The decisive struggle today is between those who try to prop up and preserve industrial society and those who are ready to advance beyond it. This is the super-struggle for tomorrow.

[Read more…]

A timely extract from a book called “The 3rd Wave” by Alvin Toffler.

Two apparently contrasting images of the future grip the popular imagination today. Most people—to the extent that they bother to think about the future at all—assume the world they know will last indefinitely. They find it difficult to imagine a truly dif- ferent way of life for themselves, let alone a totally new civilization. Of course they recognize that things are changing. But they assume today’s changes will somehow pass them by and that nothing will shake the familiar economic framework and political structure. They confidently expect the future to continue the present.

This straight-line thinking comes in various packages. At one level it appears as an unexamined assumption lying behind the decisions of businessmen, teachers, parents, and politicians. At a more sophisticated level it comes dressed up in statistics, computerized data, and forecasters’ jargon. Either way it adds up to a vision of a future world that is essentially “more of the same”—Second Wave industrialism writ even larger and spread over more of this planet.

Second Wave ideologues routinely lament the breakup of mass society. Rather than seeing this enriched diversity as an opportunity for human development, they attach it as “fragmentation” and “balkanization.” But to reconstitute democracy in Third Wave terms, we need to jettison the frightening but false assumption that more diversity automatically brings more tension and conflict in society.

Indeed, the exact reverse can be true: If 100 people all desperately want the same brass ring, they may be forced to fight for it. On the other hand, if each of the 100 has a different objective, it is far more rewarding for them to trade, cooperate, and form symbiotic relationships. Given appropriate social arrangements, diversity can make for a secure and stable civilization.

— Alvin Toffler, The 3rd Wave. 1980.

The true value of biodiversity.

Without insects, it has been said that most of humanity would die within a few months. Without trees and phytoplankton and thousands of other species with chlorophyll, we would all die.

Knowing that, I just can’t understand why billionaires such as Bill Gates are so intent on alleviating poverty in the 3rd world above all else. They make that their priority. In my opinion, it makes more sense to me ot protect nature first, and then when we have that sorted, let’s see if this planet can comfortably support more than 7 billion people.

So I think that environment should definitely be funded first. And then people. I have always thought that. Why do I think that? It’s not because I am cruel. It’s not because I don’t like people. It’s because people do not live in isolated bubbles. People depend on nature.

I think most people don’t appreciate this, but there’s another angle to valuing biodiversity (besides being fundamental for our own survival).

And it’s this. We still don’t really know how embryos form and develop. Sure we can characterise each of the stages of blastulation. We can draw little pictures of each step along the way. But it’s a lot harder to know how and why embryonic folding occurs. So what are there are underlying reasons that each stage of development occurs when and where it does?

I mean, it’s not really a ‘miracle’. Scientists don’t accept ‘miracles’ as answers. There are chemical and physical reasons why cells spontaneously split into two halves. A cell doesn’t just split into two because it feels like it. And there are chemical and physical reasons why this occurs. And from what little I have read on the subject in the book “How the leopard changed it’s spots”, it’s not due to the DNA molecules alone. In actual fact, the first splitting of a cell is caused by a concentration gradient that is set up inside the cell’s plasma. And according to this book, it’s due to flluctuations in calcium concentrations within that first cell.

Okay. Now we are getting somewhere. You might then ask, “Well what causes those fluctations then?“. Most likely, I would say, gravity. Because gravity is a force that acts in one direction relatively to a cell. So there are underlying reasons as to how embryos proceed to develop and they are not always to do with DNA alone.

And those are the real answers that science seeks. It’s not good enough to ask “which genes cause which traits?”. A real scientist wants to know how genes work. How do the chemical variations in a strand of encoded DNA produce the morphological changes? Now, I’m only talking very basically about this subject. It’s an extremely superficial discussion. And so if you’re a developmental biologist or a genetic engineer and you’re reading this, you’re probably laughing at me.

Where am I going with this? Well, until we know *exactly* what causes a rhinos eye to form where it does, or what causes a tiger’s stripes, or the forces that shape an elephant’s tusk, well, I think we owe it to nature to protect all of these things. Because they are a vault of information that can unlock life’s secrets. If we knew the answer to that, then we’d have at least earned the title of cleverest species.

Imagine if we could ‘program’ certain trees genetically to display a road signs such as a speed limits with differently coloured bark. Imagine if you could reprogram the tree to automatically change its bark pattern and display a different speed zone at differnt times of the day? That is all possible.

sustainable morphogenesis.

And I don’t simply mean “what genes are found in a rhino or a monkey”. I mean, what is it about those genes that controls protein folding? If we could create our own strand of DNA, could we predict what the resulting organism looks like?

From what little I have read on the subject, it’s not just DNA. The patterns and shapes seen in nature are caused by physical and chemical forces. Because one day it might be possible to make whatever shape we want at the mere press of a button. Imagine if we could simply grow an organic skyscraper. Right now I don’t think we are ready for that.

Just today, I learned that biology may even be taking advantage of quantum effects.

Even then, all these species are beneficial to us in terms of mental health. We also owe it to this world not to simply destroy everything in our path.

Crooked Donald authorizes controversial pipelines

Corrupt politicians scramble to protect their bribes

Scientists vs Trump

Trump’s executive orders

Arrest warrant issued for DAPL protest hero

Trump fuming over women’s march