Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A child selling a "Box of Stones" for 25¢

Ever wished you could go back in time and do something all over again because it would have been the right thing to do ?
Image from "A Journey to Jordan"

This little boy in the picture is selling small stones (rocks) on the edge of a marketplace in Petra Jordan. He's most likely imitating what he sees all the adults doing in the local market place selling fresh vegetables, clothing, etc. I chose the picture above because it reminded my of my son when he was around the same age selling rocks he had collected on some of our hiking trips in and around the San Bernardino National Forest when we lived in the San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California. What triggered this memory of him was a song I just recently listened to written and sung by Benjamin Francis-Leftwich called, "A Box of Stones." More on that later at the end of my post. I suppose my son had gotten the idea of selling some rocks as a business because he had first hand watched me making a living selling bread & produce at some local markets & tourist places in western Riverside County. I often took him to work with me when he was two years old to the age of five in my Van. He stayed in a Car seat on the passenger side. I often stopped and took time out breaks at our favourite  locations like the Orange Empire Train Museum in Perris California. Other fun places were Nature spots along the National Forest highways when heading back home. Our life back then had numerous, "Like Father Like Son" moments.

Today people find little time for spending it with their children. But there are so many things that parents can do and share with their children that can have long lasting beneficial effects on their kids later in life. And not just parents, but adults in general can find numerous opportunities in daily life to encourage any young child they come across to go down a positive road which may be helpful later on in life. So I guess my son picked up on selling things and maintaining the merchandising displays from me. He often wanted assignments when we went into my customer's stores. The store owners & their employees often let him help stock the shelves and produce bins. He was four or five years old. Very early on he learn how to work and do chores, something sadly lacking in today's youth. Not all kids are fortunate enough to have adults acknowledge them and help them along. Take this one experience I had below at one of my customer locations in Romoland, California.


Photo - Ralph Martinez (2011)

This old produce stand above was called Mottes Romola Farms in Romoland California. It was a kool concept when local farmer Leon Motte and his wife built their produce stand concept. Leon and crew salvage several old barn and other buildings around the area along with railroad memorabilia like the old Boxcar on tracks used for storage. It was an old farm style concept patterned after another successful produce stand in Corona California called Tom's Farms. Both these tourist attractions were my customers. But this one experience I had with helping out a young boy from that area has always stayed with me. If you look at that photo above, the entrance has a ramp which gradually meets the parking lot. This one autumn in 1995, a young local boy from Romoland stood at the foot of that ramp selling a box of chocolates so that he could play with his team by purchasing a jersey so he could play baseball. For a month twice a week I came on a Monday and Thursday and there he stood. His face was often dirty as was his arms. His t-shirt and jeans were old and worn out with holes. Romoland was always a dumpy run down sort of community and the families who lived there were generally poor and on public welfare. Crime was a problem and I'm pretty certain family life wasn't exactly "Leave it to Beaver" world. But this little kid persisted and was determined. The majority of people ignored him as did I when I walk past and he'd ask me if I wanted to buy a candy bar. But one day after I said no thanks, I took note that he had more than the usual dejected look on his face that I had seen previously and when I went inside, I asked the store's owner what his story was. He said the little guy comes there every day about 11:00am and stands there for about three hours with most of the store's customers just ignoring him and not wishing to buy any of his candy, but he still came every day.
Andy Griffith Show - Opie & fredns selling salve
Companies have used kids all the time for selling various products in the old days. Not so much today, but if so then usually they are accompanied by a parent. Most kids fail at this. It's not even natural for adult people to cold call door to door. But a few come out ahead. I was one of those kids who did well. I felt bad about not purchasing the candy. After my delivery was finished, I looked for the boy, but he had already left. I found him crossing the field behind the produce stand. I ran after him and said I wanted to buy not just one, but five candy bars. (the candy was lousy) I figured that this boy coming from such a poor rough background and most likely tough home life, might be encouraged if someone showed a little interest in what he was doing. His face lit up with a smile. At least he wasn't out doing some sort of mischief activity as was common from this town. His situation  reminded me of an Andy Griffith episode where Opie and his friends were conned into selling salve which was a tough sell. I've often wondered what happened to that little kid and if what I did really made any difference. I'd like to think so. 


Image - Today's Parent
There are numerous opportunities in which any adult can encourage a child in a positive way. For example, have you ever realized that children can learn about giving from receiving ? They can be helped to learn the joys of giving, of serving, of sharing while they are still young enough to be molded. All adults, but especially parents, can help a child to see that there is real happiness to be found in giving, for example to you, to other children or to other grown-ups. Often times adults don't want to accept gifts from children, mistakenly thinking it shows love to let the children keep for themselves the gift they would given to them. But I once read something from the Awake magazine about one man who changed the way he viewed a child's giving:

“I used to refuse when a child offered me some of his candy. I thought I was being kind, not taking what I knew he liked so much. But when I refused and let him keep it all for himself, I didn’t see the joy I thought the child would show. Then I realized that I was rejecting his generosity, rejecting his gifts, and rejecting him. Thereafter I always accepted such gifts, to let him know the joys of giving.”

Image - The Andy Griffith Show

The photo above is Ron Howard's little brother who played Leon on the Andy Griffith Show. He was always offering Barney a bite of his gooey peanut butter sandwich. The gift was always rejected. Sometimes a little kid might offer you a piece of sticky yucky looking candy from their crusty looking bag. Next time try not rejecting the offer. Accept it and at least pretend to like it. You can disgreetly dispose of it when the child's not looking. Hopefully such an act will have a positive effect on a child who is forced to live in today's world of extreme negativity against children who no longer have an opportunity to grow up in an age of innocence. Back to the Benjamin Francis-Leftwich song, "Box of Rocks." It's both a lovely and painful song about losing a loved one. The lost loved one doesn't have to be about a sweetheart, but could easily be a friend or close family member. The song speaks of the imperfections and flaws of the one who was lost. Apparently in the song there were events which took place which revealed an incompatibility which interrupted the love and eventually lost. Sure enough we all have flaws. But in today's world, you have to try harder at making a difference in a world that encourages people to identify themselves by something they hate. Here's that sweet beautiful painful song "Box of Rocks" below.



Prior to moving over here to Sweden 11 years ago, I lost my son. I really wish all those years ago in 1994 when I came home tired from that long day's work that I had taken time to stop and buy one of those rocks from my 6 year old boy. Fortunately, my neighbour, Ray Rodriguez Jr, had just stopped his truck in the dirt road in front of our house where my boy had a box of rocks and signage saying "Rocks 25¢." He purchased one of those rocks. I really wish I had also bought one of those rocks too. Interestingly, this was that same summer when I bought the candy from that little kid from Romoland, California. Unfortunately it's too late. But not too late for someone else out there to do something encouraging with their child.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Highways & Tunnels & Bridges Oh My!

"Landslide on California highway part of $1 billion in damage"
This is Part II of my post about the Central California Coast Highway and natural mishaps that have befallen the Big Sur area with wildfire and flooding. Part I is below.
Santa Lucia Coast Range & Big Sur California: An Environmental Wreck ???
Photo: John Madonna, Associated Press

In an ironic twist, I've had this post in draft form since December 15th 2016, yet I've spent so much time pondering how to find a way to conclude it and then suddenly this catastrophic event above took place in the very area I wanted to highlight an an example of infrastructure rethinking. This section of Pacific Coast Highway is notorious for is instability. There's really no bedrock, the soil is made up of loose soil and fractured rock on an extremely steep mountain slope. In so many ways the unstable geology here is reminsicent of the broken fractured geology of the Carrizo Gorge area of eastern San Diego County where a series of 17+ tunnels have always been in danger of total collapse as this tunnel #16 above right which was recently seen collapsed this year as seen in a January 31, 2017 YouTube video, weeds and large boulders obstruct the track. The American way of road building in the early days had many twists and turns. The roads didn't offend the landscape, but rather flowed along with it. In later years roads were straightened to increase speed and ease travel and this often meant blasting their way through mountains and other obstacles. Unfortunately many places are unstable and have a long history of bandaid fixes and patches, only to fall down again during the next storm or earthquake event. It was back in December 2016 that I saw what could be the answer to the bad stretch of roadway from the way sensitive care was taken by this article below. 
"Scientists hope a new approach to planning road infrastructure will increase crop yield in the Greater Mekong region while limiting environmental destruction, and open dialogues between developers and the conservation community"
University of Cambridge
image by Jianchu Xu & Biaoyun Huai

A new highway snakes through the mountains of the upper Mekong in the picture above & right which was needed to improve transportation infrastructure which would benefit the economy. But rather than tackling the steep unstable slopes along those hills and creating an ecological nightmare, they opted for something that would be intitially more expensive to build, but in the long run safer and easier to maintain while providing a better conservation purpose at less cost over time. The very first images that popped into my head when I read this study were the many dangerous landslide points along California's beautiful Pacific Coast Hwy 1. Had such dangerous locations been bypassed with more superior engineering at original construction, the loss of life, property and permanent damage to the environment would never have played out the way it has over the past several decades. Of course way back when it was first built, they most likely had very little money aside from technology. This mostly was a tourist scenic route as opposed to major economic transportation corridor which is east of here with Hwy 101. Not only would being a scenic route want to avoid tunnels, the geology would make it almost impossible just like San Diego's impossible railroad to Imperial Valley. Clearly there are many places along the coast highway where steep slopes should be abandoned and ocean infrastructure considered. And there is usually no consensus on how or if this should be done. Here are some of the ideological roadblock hatreds from two opposing sides as the article pointed out:
"Conservationists can to appear to oppose nearly all new infrastructure, while developers and their financial backers are often fairly mute on the environmental impact of their proposals. This can lead to a breakdown in communication." (University of Cambridge)
Maybe both environmentalists and developers should learn how to use the data to avoid building those so-called highways to hell. But I wouldn't bet on it. As it stands now, even some of the fix-it patches they have already done will always be subject to removal by Nature in one fell swoop no matter how sophisticated and technologically advanced they believe their skills are. 



Devil''s Slide area on Hwy 1 south of San Francisco
in rock fractured by faults in San Andreas zone.

image - California Department of Transportation
This construction zone at right is Pitkins Curve on State Highway 1, the California Department of Transportation is completing a bridge that juts out from the side of the cliffs, leaving the old highway to capture falling rocks which I believe is finished now. My wife and I passed through here heading south on Cabrillo Hwy 1 towards San Luis Obispo, California. Some would argue that it would ruin the scenery by putting part of the highway viaduct bridge off the shoreline into the water, but can we really say that these massive scars since the original construction are more scenic ? Below here is the finished product we drove through on our way south. 

Image - Joyce Cory (2014)

The Pitkins Curved Bridge and Rain Rocks Rock Shed Projects Video footage

I love this combination of half tunnel half bridge landslide shelter which respects that the area is slide prone and impossible to tame. This type of design allows for periodic sliding which is common feature of this geography. But it also hopefully allows no danger to befall automobile travelers along Hwy 1. This type of structure is uncommon to most of Southern California, but well known and very common in many of the northern parts of the world.
British Columbia's Hwy 1 Lanark Snow Shed is 316m long
Image - TranBC Canada
Above and Below are beautiful examples of what are termed either Snow Sheds or Avalanche Sheds.
Below is British Columbia's Great Bear Snow Shed on the Coquihalla Highway and it's interior drive
Image - CWMM  Consulting Engineers Ltd

Ultimately these types of partial tunnel shelter designs on mountain sides allow natural slides to occur rather than preventing them is what that Pitkins Curve Bridge is all about. Unfortunately such construction is rare in Southern California where weather and climate have traditionally been pleasant most of the time and allowed the State to save money by taking a shortcut approach which has allowed development to increase at a faster pace and that's ashame for both Humans and Nature.

Image - LE CHIC EN ROSE - Model Railway
I know, it's a model train, but scenes like this are common everywhere in the real world of Switzerland. The Swiss cannot afford to ruin and destroy or make mistakes on landscapes they do not have. One stupid engineering blunder could ruin a steep mountain valley and almost render it unusable forever by bringing an entire unstable mountainside down into a valley.
Image - Northwest Air News

Above here is the Golden Pass Scenic Train near Zwissimen station Switzerland. I remember traveling through many tunnels and avalanche shelters on the train back in 1976 when I first visited Europe. This photo above reminds me of that movie scene from the 1965 WWII flick, "Von Ryan's Express," where Frank Sinatra single handedly holds off all those German soldiers in that Alps avalanche tunnel while his fellow prison camp escapee comrades make it over the border from Italy into Switzerland. All through the Alps these incredible infrastructures were everywhere and many of them seemed to have been built a century ago. Even the numerous public walkways or pathways and trails are all lined with stone along terraced hillsides to prevent erosion and degredation which were meant to last for centuries. Much of this careful done by hand has lots of natural character while providing a more maintenance free infrastructure system. Nothings perfect, but this kind of thinking is as close as you get. It's a work of Art.
image - jw.org

Public Pathways in Switzerland's Lavaux Wine Region
What about Tunnels and Wildlife Corridors ???
Image - AZCentral.com

Image - SoCal Region.com
Early traditional road building like that of the iconic American highway Route 66 often flowed with the landscape's natural geography. It rarely offended the land by blasting through formidable mountain barriers for a more straighter convenient tourist travel. The early roads hugged river canyons, had many "S" curves, some like this one on the right called 'Deadmans Curve' which is old Hwy 99 through California's Grapevine Canyon which was eventually replaced & road straightened when Interstate 5 was constructed. I can understand thier reasoning, but why not make a short tunnel through that low hillside which would allow deer, mountain lion and other large animals easy access to the riparian canyon corridor below without danger of crossing the freeway ? Large cuts in roadways are also constantly subject to slides in California either by heavy rain storms or earthquakes. 


Postcard image - socalregion.com
Above is an old postcard photo of an early Hwy 99 switchback roadway up the canyon. I get the reasoning for straightening out a endlessly twisting roadway infrastructure for convenience and safety. But long term maintenance and forethought should also have been considered and incorporated into many design plans for Interstate 5 and they weren't.
Image - Matt Beckstead 2011
This photo above is a wildlife ecoduct on the highway from Calgary, Alberta to Invermere, British Columbia. Over here in Sweden, while I'm not exactly keen on many things about living here, I do respect and applaud their numerous attempts at tunnels and wildlife overpasses like these two examples above and below. When we travel to Oslo Norway or Stockholm Sweden, these infrastructures are all along the route. They allow Moose and large Elk to travel from one side of the motorway to the other. It prevents automobile collisions with these large animals which also saves human life. Are they really all that complicated to design and build ? I come from Southern California which in the decades since WW II has had excessively almost unrestricted growth and doing things cheaply has been their road most taken. However in the long run many areas are ongoing maintenance nightmares.

Image - PDI
Smithsonianmag: "Worlds Coolest Animal Bridges"
Main Reasons for Highway Wildlife Over & Under Passes
Image - Inside Philanthropy

Google Earth
In Southern California there has been a movement to build more and more of these wildlife overpasses to prevent the larger animals from becoming roadkill. Yes we see roadkilled squirrels & rabbits all the time, but it's the larger animals like Deer, Bears, Cougars, Wolves and Coyotes which are not nearly as abundant as the smaller animals. Plus there is the human life safety factor. Hitting a large animal on a highway (usually at late night) is a dangerous experience. One area of controversy for roadkill is the passes between the Santa Monica Mountains, especially where Cougars of Mountains Lions attempt to traverse such passes to get from one part of their traditional territoral range to another. For me coming from San Diego County, I never understood why a tunnel was never proposed and implemented when the newer Mission Gorge Road bypass was built back in the 1960s for a wildlife gap connection between Cowles Mountain's Pyles Peak  and Kwaay Paay Peak next to the San Diego River's Mission Gorge within the Mission Trails Regional Park. 

Image from Trail to Peak's website

If you look towards the left hand side of the photograph above, you can see where Mission Gorge Road leaves west Santee headed towards San Diego's Mission Valley. It pushes upwards from  Santee through the gap between Pyles Peak and Kwaay Paay Peak. This would be the ideal location for building a tunnel to allow a wildlife corridor above and allowing a major connection between both sections of Mission Trails. The other major spot which would have provided good beneficial wildlife corridor would have been a short tunnel through the gap between North Fortuna Mountain and Miramar Military Reservation along Freeway 52 which is on the right hand side of the photo above.
From Trails to Peak's website

Again here is the entire map of Mission Trails Regional Park and you can easily see both Pyles Peak and Kwaay Paay Peak with Mission Gorge road running through the center of both. Perfect spot for wildlife corridor.

Photo credit: Dr. Yun Wang
I kid you not, if Southern California had the mega-fauna (Asian Elephant) problems common to the Simao-Xiao Mengyang expressway in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province, China, heads would roll if something sensable wasn't done immediately. So getting back to our California Route 1 Cabrillo Highway along the central coast, I really think that building a viaduct type of bridge over water construction would be the way to go and still be beautful and scenic. Allowing those unstable steep slopes to settle and heal with native vegetation would be much more eye pleasing than allowing the area to continue to degrade because of a belief that Nature has to be tamed and conformed or bent to our will. Somewhere Jennifer Doudna just fell off a chair. Below is another example of successful over water viaduct down in Australia.
Photo: david_wimble via Instagram

Sea Cliff Bridge in Australia
Seriously folks, picture California's Central Coast where most of the major catastrophic landslides have historically taken place and imagine a picturesque viaduct bridge like the one above to bypass the danger and allowing the land to heal with it's native coastal sage scrub.
Responsible Infrastructure References
Road planning 'trade off' could boost food production while helping protect tropical forests 
Interstate 15 and the Scenic Virgin River Gorge Bridge Project
Arthur's Pass Viaduct Highway New Zealand



Seriously folks, these people insist on doing things the hard
way- Or it just may well be it's a Union thingy

Google - Wildlife Overpass Construction Designs
Googled wildlife overpass construction
Coyotes, Wolves Cougars........Forever
5 SCIENTIFIC SOLUTIONS TO PREVENTING OR REDUCING ROADKILL

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"It won’t be long before CRISPR allows us to bend Nature to our will." Jennifer Doudna

This stereotype of the Biotech Mad Scientist has some basis in fact. Knowledge without bioethics is in fact madness
Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc.


Almost 150 years ago the scientific world suddenly became enlightened or so they thought. Science up to that point was mainly about discovery and wonder of our natural world around and how things in nature worked and functioned. But the so-called new ideologically driven revelations caused many among mankind to question origins of how things came into being. But in reality the consequences were even bigger than this. Because the new enlightenment also called into question traditional definitions of morality and accountability. After all, if the new secular religion was true, then all previous traditional worldviews on what was considered morally right were now wrong. Christendom's record of bad examples and conduct up to that point would seemed to have added some validity to this change of heart. Unfortunately this also opened the door to a newer worldview where previous ethics were changed. The industrial revolution in the late 1800s helped to change everything. While it did provide some measure of technological advancement, without ethics, it was also a miserable time for the average worker and city dweller. The biggest hindrance towards responsible technology through biomimicry was that the new secular religion began to teach mankind that nature was flawed, imperfect, badly designed and that Nature was a wild brutal beast that had to be tamed and bent towards mankind's will. In reality this new Scientific Dogma was in fact a smokescreen for the gross scientific ignorance on the part of it's adherents. Humans ever since the beginning of the industrial revolution have gone forth in their ambitious pursuit of economy by working against nature rather than working with it.  
Examples of bending Nature to Mankind's collective Will when it comes to Agriculture
The Wilderness Society

Down under in Australia, these bulldozers and chains are being used to clear vegetation in the northern region of Australia called Queensland. But the loss of native vegetation undermines efforts to tackle climate change since healthy vegtation moderates and drives climate mechanisms. The Global Warming  movement's main target has always been the criticism directed at Industry around the global, with deforestation getting honroable mention once in a while. This deforestation by stripping landscapes is yet another example of bending Nature towards some future Ag corporate's will. In so doing they are inadvertantly dismantling piece by piece various climate creation mechanisms and weather moderating components. Yet, the Global Warming folks rarely hit on this because demonizing industries and political ideologies they oppose are considered a goal more important than the truth of climate change. Land clearing by big Agricultural Business interests is not the only climate damaging culprit. The Smithsonian magazine online journal came out recently and reported that 84% of the world's wildfires are caused by humans, not lightning, not volcanoes, etc. Why is this significant ? Because earlier this year, NASA scientists came out and reported that Wildfires are the cause of Droughts and not the other way around as previously thought. So Wildfires are causing an increase in Droughts ??? Yeah, surprise surprise or maybe not. It's another way of saying deforestation by mechanical means causes desertification. We understand that, but wildfires on an increasing level do the same thing and no one reports on this, in particular the environmentalist gangs. One wonders why ???


India’s National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR)

Well, well, well. There's a new GMO Rice that has been developed by India’s National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR) for which they insist can improve uptake of natural Phosphorus from the soil, cutting back on the use of artificial synthetic phosphorus fertilizers. This GMO Rice was created in a Lab by introducing a gene called OsPAP21b which was taken out from a traditional rice genotype called Dular. The research study was published in Plant BiotechnologyJournal demonstrated that this introduction of this gene produces an enzyme, which when secreted into the soil through the roots of the rice plant helps in absorption of organic phosphorus not otherwise readily available in the soil to the plant on it's own. And yet what they are proposing as an improvement over what settled science considers Nature's bad designs has already being accomplished for 10s of 1000s of years through mycorrhizal fungal networks colonized on plant rootsystems. Up to 85% of plants depend on this mycorrhizal fungi to survive. Plants and fungi depend on each other for nutrient cycling and water absorption.

 Image: Landeveert 2001
But why in the world would the Biotechnology companies and Academia in India not explain and educate to Indian Farmers just how this biological machinery has been doing this for countless 1000s of years for free ? Right there is the problem, the word, "Free." Industrial Agricultural Scientists do not own the patent rights to their work but are "bought out" and owned by the industries financing the research. The Biotech Geneticist's sole aim is to invent new products in order to increase the profit bottonlines of their corporate masters who pay their salaries. Bioethical problems are conveniently shelved by these scientists and totally ignored by Industrial Biotech Agriculture as a whole. Take this image on the right. This is a thin-section micrograph of a tunneled feldspar  Scale bar = 100 micrometers. Back in 2015, Scientific American, author, Jennifer Frazer, wrote about a study which was undertaken to find out exactly how mycorrhizal fungi actually mine the tiniest soil particles for nutrients which are otherwise unavailable to their plant hosts. Here are some quotes about the image above right:
"If you sift the mineral particles from conifer forest soil, wash them, and examine them under a microscope, you will discover a startling detail: tiny tunnels, three to ten micrometers across"  
"The tunnels curve and branch and sometimes more than one pierces the same particle. What could have created these microscopic boreholes?"  
"The tunnels seem like they were made by something … alive. They are the spitting image of hyphae – that is, filaments – of fungi."
(Read the rest of the study Here)
Fascinating. Apparently for countless thousands of years Nature has been sustaining itself with great efficiency. This is something the prevailing Scientific Orthodoxy has been denying during the past 150 years. Oddly enough other scientists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History have informed us back in December 2015, that humans have been what's wrong with the environment ever since they began spreading their version of agriculture across the planet starting 6000 years ago. Seriously, 6000 years ago ? Those aren't my words folks, it's the researchers own words. They paint us a picture of how a once pristine sustainable Earth existed, but then a shift disrupted the calm pattern that they insist had been stable for 300 million years. Wow, how could that be ? Here is how Kathleen Lyons, a paleobiologist in the Smithsonian's Museum’s Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems (ETE) program put it, “This tells us that humans have been having a massive effect on the environment for a very long time.”  Lyons was the lead author of the study, which was published Dec. 2016 in the journal Nature. One can only imagine as Humans became more enlightened how much more damage resulted to the Earth's with the advent of science-based Industrial Agriculture. Now we are faced with CRISPR, whose co-inventor said those infamous words which are the title of this post. The Biotechs want to bend Nature to their collective will. Today's science has two major flaws:
Groupthink - is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences. 
We could otherwise easily label this groupthink phenomena as  Scientific Consensus, Settled Science, etc. And this is where the collective's "Argument from Authority" brain washing techniques through clever marketing skills by means of media come into play in getting the majority of the population in line by means of an intensive indoctrination scheme. First, throw at an otherwise gullible ignorant public cute little animated cartoons which illustrate how inept the Earth is for home gardeners and farmers, but how giant Agro-Chemical Corporations can save the day. Second, it's important to con them into believing and accepting this belief system is what democracy is all about.
Herd Mentality or mob mentality, describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors. Examples of the herd mentality include nationalism, stock market trends, superstition, and home décor, etc.
The Groupthink within Science and Herd Mentality by those with a vested interest in a product for profit whose approval can rain down a windfall of wealth, will often gang up on anyone or anything which threatens their little money making venture. For example, Professor Marcus Pembrey and a band of other Scientists dared to challenge such an Orthodoxy on genetic inheritance with their research work in epigenetic inheritance and for doing so they were branded heretics. They showed where certain negative actions could turn on or off specific gene switches causing a negative gene expression. Recently, a paper in the journal, New Atlas, also suggested that the CRISPR gene-editing tool caused unintended genetic mutations. Here is one paragraph from the article:
In examining the entire genome from the CRISPR-treated mice, they found that the tool had successfully corrected the specific gene they were targeting, but it also potentially caused a great deal of other genetic changes. In two CRISPR-treated animals, more than 100 large gene deletions or insertions and over 1,500 single-nucleotide mutations were identified.  
This set off a firestorm of controversial flaming on the part of Industrial Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology companies and their internet troll defenders (IFL Science Cult) who hope to gain billions of dollars off this technology. As the CRISPR cas9 co-inventer, Jennifer Doudna, proudly proclaimed about CRISPER's potential, they will be able to bring back:
“woolly mammoths, winged lizards, and unicorns. … It won’t be long before CRISPR allows us to bend nature to our will.”
Aside from the irresponsible last sentence in her quote of 'bending Nature to human will,' which is the title of my post here, you should first of all be aware that most of this resurrection of extinct creatures or bizarre unnatural creations of mythical beasts is pure fantasy that will never happen. CRISPR headlines are closely related to the same sensationalistic headlines when it comes to NASA's Astrobiology Program news reports. Such clickbait headlines are meant to create fascination and interest in funding. There are two links here you should read which provide glaring exposure on why Mammoths and other mythical beasts are nowhere near coming around the corner. First, here is something from Live Science:
"The road to bringing back the mammoth — a giant that went extinct at the end of the last ice age — is filled with barriers." 
"Even if pieces of preserved ancient DNA are uncovered, they might be contaminated with foreign DNA from fungus, bacteria, plants, animals and even from humans handling it for research purposes." 
"This DNA contamination can make it difficult for researchers to know which DNA molecule belongs to the animal, and which is from contamination, especially if the extinct animal doesn’t have a living relative whose DNA can serve as a roadmap," Shapiro wrote.
Live-Science: Mammoth Resurrection: 11 Hurdles to Bringing Back an Ice Age Beast
Second, here is another article written by Paleoanthropologist, John Hawks, who stated that all these sensationlist headlines making bold predictions of imminent herds of woolly mammoths trampling around the local sanctuary are nothing more than fake news fabricated by Harvard Geneticist, George Church, who talks about artificial wombs, elephant embryos, all backed and supported by a gullible science media:
Media outlets this week have run more than 60 stories about Church’s press announcement, with breathless headlines, like “Woolly mammoths ‘to walk the earth again in TWO YEARS’ after massive breakthrough”, or “Woolly Mammoth Could Be ‘De-Extinct’ In 2 Years, Scientist Says”. 
"Five reasons convince me that this week’s mammoth cloning story is beyond sensationalism, it is fake news. Looking at how this story went wrong says some depressing things about the state of today’s media coverage of science."
Medium.com: How mammoth cloning became fake news
You should also be aware that Corporations which utilize industrial science use Pop Science Media outlets to distract an otherwise gullible public from all of their previous past & ongoing failures. The prevailing Scientific Orthodoxy (which has modeled itself after Christendom's medieval ecclesiastical hierarchical structure), uses these news outlets to pound "consensus science" into the human psyche to create unquestioning faith in their ambitious technologies and future consumable goods. Their tactics are so aggressive, that they remind me of the Sci-Fi World's imfamous Borg Collective:
"We are the Borg. You will be assimilated into our collective. Resistence is futile."

Source - funnyjunk.com

Here's another example. Almost immediately after the negative exposure of CRISPR cas9's potential for unintended mutational consequences, this industry's Thought Police came out with numerous articles in science journals condemning these scientists and their methods. So now the scientists mention in Nature-Methods were now guilty of a Thought Crime. Their claim was that the mice themselves used in the experiment were inbred related mice and it tainted the experiment from the start because the mutations were already there. To illustrate their accusation, the media they used to poke derogatory fun at the research paper and it's scientists,  provided an unflattering photograph of an Apalachian family. This is nothing new. For many years now the prevailing consensus science has fabricated other illustrations showing people of colour being inferior to the European white man with their March of Man Progress icon. So now they pick on a pitiful people whose culture is often demonized and made fun of by today's media elites. It's true, these people in many ways are handicapped in the sense that they have not had the advantages like proper homes, healthcare, educations etc as others in the more affluent parts of the United States. But like people of colour from the past, they are often singled out and made fun of by people with a secular minded ideology from both the east and west coasts where critics view themselves as scientifically literate progressives. Of course the real purpose of targeting these people was to provide a damage control  to smokescreen the glaring flaws of this technology so that Biotech Stocks & Shares would bounce back after the negative News.
Further attempts at killing the Truth about CRISPR cas9's potential for unintended consequences
This is not CRISPR gene editing technology. It's a strawberry-rhubarb crisp. (AP )
FORBES: "CRISPR Gene Editing Controversy: Does It Really Cause Unexpected Mutations?"
In an attempt to demonize the alarmist researchers of the damning study of unintended consequences with CRISPR, self-proclaimed, pseudoscience fighter, Steve Salzberg, Professor of Bioengineering at John Hopkins University and Forbes Magazine contributor, says he wants to set the record straight. He claims to have read the research and found what's wrong with their science. Unfortunately one of his leading paragraphs exposes the real motive behind the charges of heresy. Follow the money people, because it's never really been about the Science.

"Not surprising, the resulting news headlines were gloomy. The stock in three companies trying to commercialize gene editing–Editas Medicine, Intellia Therapeutics and CRISPR Therapeutics–all fell sharply. (Interestingly, the stocks started falling on May 24, and bottomed out on May 31. The paper appeared online on May 30.) Scientists involved with these companies quickly responded, arguing that the study was flawed, but of course those scientists have a lot of money at stake."

A. Dudzinski/Science Source

Today the prevailing Scientific Orthodoxy demands that people everywhere globally bow down and worship the image of their religious icon known as the secular version of the Tree of Life. That's what that March for Science a couple of months ago was all about. Step out of line by expressing a preference for Biomimicry over CRISPR and you are accused of a Thought Crime. And yet out of the other corner of their collective mouths, this same secular religious Icon is also the very same tree they insist is flawed, imperfect and badly designed. Hence the image above beautifully illustrates how in every corner of life on this planet Earth, these ideologically driven Scientists are attempting to provide numerous major tweaking & alterations of all ecosystems they believe where Nature has fallen short of perfection. I would think this is quite a dilemma for most of the environmental groups out there who violently protest in the streets and demand that Nature be preserved just as it is and be left alone to it's own devices and yet all the while still believing Nature is flawed, inept and poorly designed. Is it any wonder mankind's leadership has collectively failed ??? Could this Orthodoxy's worldview take on life have caused all this present negative chaos we all view on the Nightly News each day ??? Is the flaw really with Nature or human ignorance cloaked with an air of arrogance ??? Originally, the concept of science was intended to be practiced by means using noble traditional values like objectivity, integrity, curiosity, fairness, diligence, honesty, respect, cooperation, self-sacrifice & humility. If these virtues had really been the guiding force all along, would our planet Earth today really be so degraded as we experience it now ??? 😱

"It is time to destroy those people who destroy the earth!"
Rev 11:18 


Monday, June 26, 2017

Burn Baby Burn - Fire Ecologist Celebrate Fire Season

"Life goes on though, and fires are not unnatural"
Margarethe Brummermann
Image - CNN

Annimated Graph - USA Today
The quote at the top of the post is from Margarethe Brummermann, Biologist from Dortmund Germany who resides in the Tucson area. She had written a post about Mount Lemmon which towers above Tucson to the north. I made a comment on her page about how my wife and I had driven up to Mount Lemmon last year May 2016 and how sad we were to see so much of the forest destroyed by wildfires. I made mentioned how I had first visited Mount Lemmon back in the late 1970s and there was hardly ever a scene where wildfire had damage anything. There was always the occasional snag here and there, but forests and even the high desert scrub were always able to recovery properly. That has all changed now. But her reply to me was simply, "Life goes on though, and fires are not unnatural." Her viewpoint is reflective of most all fire ecologists who champion fire as natural, yet often times have a hard time differentiating between human (especially if Native American) and lightning caused fires. Earlier this year, researchers revealed that 84% of all wildfires are human caused. So is that something natural or unnatural ??? The majority of wildfires on Mount Lemmon have had a human cause. This has also caused human introduced non-native, Buffel Grass, to invade clear up through the Saguaro Forests into the mid-elevation ranges of the Mount Lemmon. Here is that interesting finding regarding the origin of most wildfires.
Smithsonian Magazines: "Study Shows 84% of Wildfires Caused by Humans"

Aaryn Olsson, University of Arizona

Last year when we traveled up the Mount Lemmon highway, we were greeted all along the way by an overwhelming sea of Buffelgrass which blanketed all areas of the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson. Researchers say warming temperatures and fewer winter freezes are helping the invasive plant spread, posing a threat to saguaro cactuses and other native plants. The Tucson Sentinel even had an article with a chilling title, "Arizona without Saguaros? As climate warms, desert's future uncertain." The Saguaros are such an iconic symbol of Arizona and the Sonoran Desert. But they cannot take wildfire. They have no protection against it. I can't hardly imagine them being eliminated permanently.


Grant Martin/Cronkite News Service

Bromus tectorum, an invasive species commonly called “cheatgrass,” grows in an area of the Coconino National Forest burned in a 1996 wildfire. I strongly dislike Cheatgrass. This is the invasive noxious weed whose stickers you have to pull out of your socks every so often down the trail when you go on a hike.


Grant Martin/Cronkite News Service

Researchers say this area of the Coconino National Forest, which burned in 1996, is decades away from returning to its native state, if it ever does. They say rising temperatures have weakened trees, raising the potential for devastating wildfires that will open the door to invasive species. Don't expect recovery anytime soon.



Image - Getty Images

I remember reading the fire ecology literature some time back in 2006. There was an account written by Arizona Historian Marshall Trimball of the old west in New Mexico, when a Cavalry Officer was complaining to his superiors about his men smoking cigarettes and dropping them along the trail as they all rode horseback. The problem was they were starting grass fires from their careless bad habit. Of course this was in the 1800s, when Indians still existed and practiced their ecological conservation with fire. Yet hsitorical writings from the 1800s relay that they used fires to war against their enemies. Not exactly eco-friendly. I know, it destroys the narrative. This 1800s is the time period for celebration for most fire ecologists who champion how natural the forested ecosystems all were back then because of Indians. But as I've questioned this before, if fire ecologists were looking at the world back then and telling us how natural wildfire played in ecology of all plant community systems, how did they reconcile white European Soldiers starting fires with their cigarette butts ? Was that a good thing for Nature ? How did this factor into their research of what was good for the plant community environment ? Native Americans generally get a free pass on why they started fires and they really shouldn't. See the post, Dances With Myths. But now what about the white man back then ? Today there is a movement to down grade human beings as not being so exceptional. Mankind is now being considered nothing more than animals equal to everything else. Does this now mean that the research on wildfire causes being 84% human fault provide us a new designation of the term, "Natural"   ??? 😲 Would it mean that humans carelessly throwing down a cigarette butt today should now be considered perfectly normal behaviour ??? 😟 We seem to be living in a time period of redefining everything from it's historical normalcy.
But what about all those heavy Rains 🚿 ??? Didn't things get better ??? 🌳
Image - Pismo Hotels

This year's rainy season of 2017, California experienced one of those unprecedented rainy seasons, after four years of serious intense drought. But everyone cheered Hooray 🙌 and celebrated with pom poms that all was well again in California again. The drought was now over, or is it. Indeed, heavy rains came, even to the point of major flooding events up and down the state. While there were some very clear catastrophic negatives, one of the great joys of all that rain brought out a spectacular display of wildflower blooms. Starting in early March, flowers popped up all across Southern and Central California and produced some seriously spectacular scenery. The photo opportunity didn't go unnoticed nor wasted by many of the non-profit eco-activist groups hoping to cash in on a fund raising opp by posting pics on their site's indicating that Nature seemed to have rebounded from the jaws od death. Or you know, life found a way. Except that things really were'nt all that rosey as they advertised. First, some of the people were a little too anxious about getting out there first. Then it appears that much of the water came in so furiously, that most of it raced back to the Pacific Ocean like a bullet train. Some water did fill up many of the State's reservoirs, but the surrounding landscape didn't have great percolation into the hills and mountains. I know this from viewing early on the photographs of dried dead invasive weeds not all that long after the flowers died and now look where they are over there with heat waves. Plus as indicated at the top of this post, lookie where we are now with the 2017 Wildfire stats. So have things really changed for the better ? Nope, same old same old. 😏




Look, I refuse to celebrate fire the way most fire ecologists worship it. Yes fire can be used as an excellent tool for correcting problems with any ecosystem if done properly. And I've actually done that. But mostly humans have misused and abused fire, even the so-called experts. Prior to 2006 I never read much of anything about the discipline of fire ecology, although I worked with people in the US Forest Service back in the 1980s who did prescribed burns. I've fought tooth and nail against many of their ideas which are complete failures when it comes to reforestation techniques. Take the Fire Ecologist insistence that fire is needed for the wild seed germination. For example, Tecate Cypress is one of those trees in which Fire Ecologist have insisted for decades needs fire to propagate itself. Prior to reading their literature, in all my 30+ years of outdoors exploration experience and seed collecting, I never found this to be true of Tecate Cypress. There are numerous circumstances under which the seed is spread and germinates without the need of fire within old growth chaparral which hasn't burned in a couple of hundred years. Same with Arizona Cypress. Fire is not always necessary, but you cannot tell them this. Science is not supposed to be about working in a Lab and venturing outdoors once in a while on a couple token field trips to make the research look legit. You have to live outdoors with nature. Look, I am not credentialed. I have no alphabet soup initials behind my name, nor some fancy coveted title before my name. Thank God. That allows me the freedom of not having been infected by the worldview biases and flawed presuppositions common to the Scientific Orthodoxy's industrial business model. I'm just one of 6+ billion people on Earth subjected to the negative consequences of inept decision making from a world leadership which has been weighed in the scales and found deficient. 
References I've written for seed germination, not entertainment, just practical real world application and fun: