A Great Tomorrow

Scientific American magazine published its annual ‘top 10 technologies to change the future’ – ideas that are poised to transform society! Mariner remembers when Neil deGrasse Tyson had his first series on the Universe; He spoke fondly of that moment when the Earth becomes Planet One – a world of peace and unity. It is the vision of the magazine and Neil and other scientists as well that science and technology will solve our human problems. These moments are pleasant to read or envision. Full of hope and absolute belief, it seems our walk into the sublime is a short one on a sunny day.

Just last night mariner watched Frontline on PBS. It was about the 1 in 5 children in the United States who live below the poverty line. It was difficult to watch perfectly normal and bright children be crushed by the brutality of our dollar-hungry society. Must we wait for Planet One before children who live in rented slum motels can register to go to school? They have no permanent address so the children can’t register. Tragically, these children know their plight, its unfairness, its wall that cages them in nothingness.

Hasn’t science and technology provided the capabilities today to allow every child born to experience a normal childhood? Yes, they have. Then what is wrong? What is wrong is science has little to do with issues of sociology, racism, class brutality, not enough to eat not because science hasn’t provided better crops but because human abuse doesn’t feel responsible to see to it that everyone has an equal chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Isn’t that idea part of the Declaration of Independence?

As we marvel at the potential of our future through science, remember that our main problem is us, not scientific inadequacy. No amount of engineering or visionary capability will alter the human condition.

Perhaps it is better to succumb to the intelligence and mental control of artificial intelligence rather than to sustain our own inadequacies.

However and nevertheless, let us admire the future in which we will live. Remain lighthearted and appreciative. Here are the ten technologies that will transform our society:

  • No one need be thirsty anymore even if one lives in a desert. Sunlight powers a water collector that produces enough water to sustain human life on a daily basis. Using Zirconium Fumarate, water is drawn from the air and collected for use.
  • Scientists will soon manufacture an artificial leaf that works exactly like a true plant leaf. The advantage will be the same as it is for a plant – Carbon Dioxide will be converted to hydrocarbons to produce energy. This means that fossil fuels will not be needed.
  • Artificial Intelligence soon will ‘see’ exactly the same as humans. This has significant advantages for security and precise viewing in the areas of medicine and other professions which require precise viewing of texture and color. Combined with convolutional neural network (CNN) technology, miniscule differences in faces, animals, or texture can be learned by the device without teaching it.
  • Traditional farming manages whole fields of crops. A new metering system manages crops plant by plant combining sensors, robots, GPS, mapping tools and high density data-analytics to provide optimum care and feeding to each plant individually – with no increase in human labor.
  • A ‘human cell atlas’ is under development which would map every cell in the body. This will enable researchers to track developing disease and other transformations such as aging or mental variations.
  • ‘Liquid biopsies’ will be more precise in identifying the presence of cancer and other defects in human chemistry. Today’s blood sample will be improved in sensitivity many times over to provide far more detailed data.
  • Improvements in catalytic converters will assure that every vehicle can run on Hydrogen gas. Fossil fuels will not be needed for any type of vehicle.
  • Vaccines will include DNA and RNA to more accurately control infectious diseases.
  • The new movement of building houses designed to grow gardens and otherwise have a ‘greening effect’ has moved to building whole blocks and streets with integrated growing areas more or less providing whole acreages for crops and atmospheric quality. One of the associated ideas is self-sustaining neighborhoods.
  • The biggie is quantum computing. Quantum computing is founded on quantum mechanics which does not search one solution at a time like current computer processing. Rather, it assembles all possible solutions at the ready and searches for the right answer along several paths at once. The intense processing requires cooling 100 times as powerful as super computers today. Obviously, the complexity of variables and other relationships in very abstruse problems will be solvable. The primary advantage is optimization beyond normal abilities even for super computers.

In the Frontline piece about children in poverty, mariner doesn’t see any solutions that will prevent an 8 year old girl from having to turn her pet dog over to a rescue center because she lost the house she lived in because they could not afford the rent.

Ancient Mariner

For Richer, For Poorer

Recently, the liberal economists and the conservative economists began expressing growing concern about the same thing: inequality. Virtually every validated and respected futurist, economist, even international banks, agree about the future: money is rushing faster and faster to only three sectors: manufacture of computers/information, international corporations, and banking/investment.

Mariner could toss lots of numbers and names of countries and corporations at the reader; that would take lots of words and trying to grow reader interest in a desert of information.

Though most readers are resistant to watching mariner’s Internet references, he implores the reader, he begs the reader, he insists the reader, he respectfully requests the reader watch an episode of Forward Thinking, “For Richer, For Poorer – the Dangers of Inequality” last broadcast on Bloomberg television June 17, 2016. In your search engine type:

www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-17/forward-thinking-for-richer-for-poorer

Watch it in its entirety. It is not fake news; there is no special interest agenda; it is too complicated for politicians – that doesn’t mean it is too complicated for you.

Further, check your current Atlantic magazine for a review of what Donald is doing. Mariner will let Atlantic speak about the Donald in his stead. The reader also can read the articles at www.atlantic.com.

Ancient Mariner

 

Nuance

The mariner has noticed, albeit casually over time, that one’s expressions seem to gravitate toward absolute values. He noticed this while watching a television show where a couple had to decide which of three houses they wanted to purchase. As the couple toured the three homes, both partners were wont to say, “I love this,” or “I hate this.” Yet, later in the show, these extreme terms were compromised in the final decision the couple had to make. Perhaps such extreme expression was a sign of undue prejudice – a desire to keep the world simple but at the loss of open-mindedness.

What if we consciously tempered our feelings by expressing a degree of appreciation or dissatisfaction rather than going for the absolute hate or love about what are actually mundane preferences. Would it hurt to say, “That’s nice but I would like to see something more green?” Studied measurement reflects a person who is capable of making a refined judgment without succumbing to an internalized and polarized opinion that has no ability to measure qualities other than egocentric comfort. Instead of saying “I hate that candidate,” would we have more self control, perhaps even empathy if we said, “I have some concern about that candidate.”

Speaking of candidates, Donald and Bernie have attracted followers – liberal and conservative – who have a common attitude: populism. Having populist followers is like owning two pit bull dogs. “Oh, they never bite; we even let the kids rough-house with them.” That may be the case. In fact, a tenant once had two pit bulls that were as friendly as puppies and always pleased to see the mariner but one can’t help seeing a judgmental attitude about them; Pit bulls tend not to have much reaction time between happy and attacking. Sort of like saying, “I hate/love that house” and “I hate/love the government.” Like pit bulls (or any pack of dogs), if one attacks they all attack. Populists require less provocation to incite mob rule.

Similar to a pack of dogs and those who say only “love” or hate,” populists are prone to over reacting and on the spur of the moment make foolhardy decisions that are untenable in principle. Remember when California’s citizens revolted against increasing property taxes by passing Proposition 13 driving the state to the edge of bankruptcy? Remember when KKK groups would hang African Americans for mundane behavior? Or our older relatives practiced genocide on Native Americans? Today, ISIS has vicious, torturous reactions very much like pit bulls. The US will never avoid wars until its culture adopts a more contemplative sense of self.

Still, as to followers of Donald and Bernie, someone has to attack capitalist greed and legislative incompetence….

REFERENCE SECTION

Many readers are from The Mississippi River Valley or the Ohio River valley – the center of US agriculture. A reader may either enjoy or be irritated by the following pass along. Nevertheless, mariner is entertained by devout republican capitalist farmers who cling to their liberal, even socialist farm subsidies:

From an article, “Spoilin’ The Broth”, by Bill Cook, in the Rockdale ( Texas ) Reporter dated February 11, 2016.

A letter to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from Jimmy Henry of Broken Arrow, OK –

Dear Sir:   My friends, Wayne and Janelle over at Wichita Falls, received a check the other day for $1,000 from the government for not raising hogs.  So, I want to go into the not raising hogs business.

I need to know your opinion on what is the best breed of hogs not to raise.  I want to be sure that I approach this venture in keeping with all government guidelines.  I would prefer not to raise Razorbacks, but if that is not a good breed to not raise, then I can just as easily not raise Yorkshires or Durocs.

As I see it, the hardest part of this program will be keeping an accurate inventory of how many hogs I am not raising.  My friend Wayne is excited about the future of this business.  He has been raising hogs for 20 years and the most he ever made was $422 in 1988, until this year when he got your check for $1000 for not raising hogs.

If I get $1,000 for not raising 50 hogs, will I get $2,000 for not raising 100?  I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 which will give me $80,000 income the first year.  Then I can afford to buy an airplane.

Another thing, these hogs I’m not raising will not eat 100,000 bushels of corn.  I understand that you also pay farmers for not raising corn and wheat.  Will I qualify for payments for not raising wheat and corn not to feed the 4,000 hogs I am not going to raise?

I want to get started not feeding as soon as possible as this seems to be a good time of year to not raise hogs and grain.  I’m also considering the not-milking-cows business so please send me any information you might have on that.

I assume that the government will consider me to be unemployed from all this non-production, so I plan to file for unemployment and food stamps.

I eagerly await your reply,

Sincerely yours,

Jimmy Henry Henry Farms Broken Arrow, OK

  • Sometimes mariner is embarrassed by the inhumane pursuit of profit extracted from the bottom of the job market. He has insight into what indenture was like in the early days of industrialism. See:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/10/nyregion/at-nail-salons-in-nyc-manicurists-are-underpaid-and-unprotected.html?CID=4QXQY&nlid=74363051&_r=0

Ancient Mariner

Water and Monarch Butterflies

A staggering four billion people may be facing water scarcity. A new study shows that two out of every three people on our planet simply do not have enough water to meet their basic needs.

“We find that four billion people live in areas that experience severe water scarcity at least part of the year, which is more than previously thought, based on those earlier studies done on an annual basis,” said Arjen Hoekstra, co-author of the new study, in an interview with Tech Times.

This doesn’t mean that we lack water in the world. In fact, previous studies have shown that we have more than enough water to cover all of our needs. Instead, the issue is getting the water where it needs to go; water isn’t available at all times, and isn’t always available in the places where it’s needed.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said that two-thirds of the worldwide population could suffer from water shortages by 2025. The organization said that 70 percent of available freshwater is utilized on agricultural practices but inefficient methods and faulty irrigation systems waste about 60 percent of it.[1]

  • –   –

This water shortage issue is one of many economic, environmental, and national issues that make up part of the refurbishment of the Nation’s infrastructure. Further, other nations also must come to terms with the policies and practices of water distribution. The global population already is experienced in the policies and practices of managing oil – another commodity; practices include war, immoral business practices and hoarding profits. The difference is that human beings are fortunate if they live as long as five days without water; oil, by comparison, is a convenience. How much more intense would be the battle over water rights?

Another serious issue that can be lumped under American infrastructure is the large issue of global warming. If, in fact, the planet’s oceans will raise an average of nine feet at the shoreline, Trillions of dollars will be lost at beachfront destinations, factories, homes, and utility facilities. There is no organized plan to deal with this catastrophe; there is no technology to deal with this catastrophe. Twenty-foot berms and flood gates like the ones used in Louisiana don’t stand a chance.

At the Bing/News website is a lot of charted information and historical comparisons of temperature that are highly informative.

See:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=January+global+temperature+record&filters=tnTID%3a%22EBCB2A1C-158D-452c-AFDD-1AD4FF97E939%22+tnVersion%3a%221295326%22+segment%3a%22popularnow.carousel%22+tnCol%3a%2210%22+tnOrder%3a%22c049ee40-830e-4fe7-b380-32bd3b9a163e%22&efirst=8&FORM=HPNN01ularnow.carousel%22+tnCol%3a%2210%22+tnOrder%3a%22c049ee40-830e-4fe7-b380-32bd3b9a163e%22&efirst=8&FORM=HPNN01

 

REFERENCE SECTION

Some readers may be put off by the name “Aljazeera” and may find that there is more news about Middle Eastern conflict than may be of interest. However, don’t throw the baby out with the bath; even if the television broadcast is not to your liking, the Aljazeera website is deliberately American in its reporting thanks to a separate media branch located in the US and a staff of Americans. Aljazeera’s Indepth section has an independent view of the American scene which often provides independent insights about the US. See: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/02/vote-donald-trump-elections-republican-160210114053274.html?utm_source=Al+Jazeera+English+Newsletter+%7C+Weekly&utm_campaign=420320dfb2-weekly_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e427298a68-420320dfb2-224505437

Mariner mentioned this next topic last year about this time. This is a reminder. 90% of Monarch Butterflies are gone. The issue is that between weed killers in rural areas and not much space in urban areas, the milkweed plant is disappearing. Planting a few milkweeds here and there will help the Monarch more than one would expect. If you want to raise Monarchs – a bit more effort than just planting milkweed – see:

http://www.monarchwatch.org/rear/

Mariner planted several milkweed plants among the shrubbery. For a good selection of websites and techniques, search “feeding monarch butterflies.”

Be prepared for an onslaught of milkweed eating beetles. They are bright orange and there will be so many the milkweed disappears under the pile of beetles. For a broad education on the Monarch and the milkweed, see:

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/news/2005/jul/072201.htm

How to control Milkweed Bug, see:

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/insects/plant-bugs/milkweed-bugs.aspx

A good site for how to grow milkweed is:

http://www.gardenguides.com/89349-plant-grow-milkweed.html

[1] http://www.techtimes.com/articles/133631/20160215/4-billion-people-face-water-shortage-rising-populations-agriculture-drive-water-demand.htm

Ancient Mariner

 

Distribute Your Wealth Now!

Yes, you. If you have the wherewithal to read the mariner’s blog, you have wealth. No one else can address the depravity, greed, ignorance, prejudice, starvation, disease, death, destruction of the biosphere, incessant war, and class abuse.

The United Methodist Church has a mission project called “Imagine No Malaria.” One can acquire a tee shirt that says, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending the night with a mosquito.” This proverb is a fine challenge; it can apply to any issue around the world or around the corner. If you want to support this project, send a contribution to your local Methodist Church.

Below are other efforts that need your wealth and your health.

Habitat for Humanity. (www.habitat.org) Builds homes for the homeless. This is an organization that has immense impact on a family’s life in a very short time. HH will accept your body and a hammer as well. Check the website for information.

Salvation Army. (www.salvationarmyusa.org) “ONE MISSION: Into the world of the hurting, broken, lonely, dispossessed and lost, reaching them in love by all means.” Contribute goods and cash. SA also helps those in disaster zones and ignores national boundaries. Check local phonebook for free pick up; donate cash on the website.

Religious Institution. Visit your institution or search for that institution’s website to find a magnitude of mission projects for people in need around the world.

World Wildlife Fund. (www.worldwildlife.org) “The group’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. Currently, much of its work focuses on the conservation of three biomes that contain most of the world’s biodiversity: oceans and coasts, forests, and freshwater ecosystems. Among other issues, it is also concerned with endangered species, pollution and climate change.” Visit website for gifts and donations.

Food and Water Watch. (www.foodandwaterwatch.org) “Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainably produced. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping the global commons — our shared resources — under public control.”

The mariner is a member of FWW. He feels there is a need to protect shared resources by keeping resource administration in the public sector where profit is less of a threat to our health and access to critical resources is not denied for any reason. FWW is an advocacy organization that responds to federal, state and local legislation that may be detrimental to the wellbeing of citizens.

Local charities. In your search engine, type “charities near me” to find organizations supporting every sort of need from homeless to abject poor to neighborhood cleanup to slum restoration to medical need to foster children services, even to homeless pets. There is no shortage of need for your wealth and your health.

Add to this list your commitment to improve local government by becoming active in local issues and participating in the primary and voting process.

The mariner has provided a short sample of ways by which the reader can become engaged in improving the world. One does not have to wait for an election.

Ancient Mariner

Keeping Up with the World

Some readers may be interested in why the world is the way it is today. For example, the Atlantic magazine has a truly insightful article about ISIS, its driving principles and interpretation of the Quran. See:

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

For a thorough, apolitical review of all aspects of global warming, population and impact on the biosphere, Live Science is an excellent source not only for global warming but a full rainbow of scientific insights about the world today. See:

http://www.livescience.com/topics/global-warming/

In order to produce both volume and profit in livestock corporations, animal abuse is rampant – including human animals. See:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=john+oliver+chicken+farmers&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=FB1EA7E99500750DC9B2FB1EA7E99500750DC9B2

A few books are benchmark publications that bring to light the subtle phenomena that shape our lives. For example, a book everyone should retrieve from a library is The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. It is an entertaining read recounting Kolbert’s travels around the world with scientists and researchers. She discusses how viruses and bacteria are carried around the world affecting everything from frogs to bats. The book focuses on human activity that destroys the biosphere. There is an alarming account of the huge number of extinctions that have occurred since 1900 and what that means to human survival.

The Road to Character, a new book by David Brooks, PBS commentator, is an introspective review of his life by comparing the lives of others against his own life. Brooks discusses foibles and successes and how others overcame their shortcomings to become people of high character.

Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, written by Doris Kearns Goodwin, was published in 1977 but is a tour de force of Johnson’s personal and public life. Many today can recall (and observe) the cultural shift engineered by Ronald Reagan. Fewer remember the “guns and butter” policies of Johnson. Johnson launched the greatest cultural shift since FDR – including the Civil Rights Act. Goodwin was an intimate friend to whom LBJ revealed his inner struggles and his aspirations. Good for a summer long read.

Zealot: The life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Asland, is a fascinating study of the time of Jesus – without focusing on the Christian ramifications of Jesus. It is a sociological look into that time; it provides a fresh perspective by which to understand Jesus and his role as a proselytizer and as a zealot. Reza Asland is a world renowned expert on world religions and has published several important works. For what it’s worth, Fox News vehemently denounced this book and assassinated the character of Asland.

 

Communication moves a lot faster today than even a couple of decades ago. Within minutes, we know about beheadings in Iraq, or a tsunami in Japan, or a volcanic eruption in Peru, or a giant explosion in China, or denying funds for America’s infrastructure and the jobs it would provide, or the disappearance of the Monarch butterfly. We know more about what is happening in real time. The added responsibility is to know why these events are happening. One can no longer speak blindly from old prejudices and unfounded privilege. Every day is a day at school maintaining our education about what is really happening and, knowing why, make the right decision to improve the plight of our real-time world.

Ancient Mariner

Advocacy at Home – Local Organizations

In this final section, the point is made that one soldier is a good soldier – even a hero. However, one soldier will not win a war. Toward the end of the last segment, neighborhood organizations were mentioned as a form of vitality, a force that sustains a good gestalt. Many of these local organizations have outreach components that go beyond the neighborhood to address state, national and global issues. Add to the local organizations the many larger organizations that focus on various issues, and one has assembled an army of good soldiers.

Local organizations with established outreach include the majority of churches, particularly connectional denominations, where many local churches contribute to a fund-raising distribution center. Many social organizations adopt a cause beyond the neighborhood from simple causes like the Lion’s Club eyeglass redistribution to widespread campaigns like the Methodist Church’s “No More Malaria” campaign. At the following website, 51 veteran support organizations were listed:

https://www.nrd.gov/other_services_and_resources/veterans_service_organizations/chartered_veterans_service_organizations

For  virtually endless numbers of wildlife organizations, use:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=List+of+wildlife+protection+Organizations&go=Submit+Query&qs=n&form=QBRE&pq=list+of+wildlife+protection+organizations&sc=0-31&sp=-1&sk=&cvid=9fedf1e8b48949c097ef6008f02d68a8

For organizations dedicated to improving the environment, see:

http://www.nrdc.org/reference/environGroups.asp and

http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2008/09/24/25-environmental-agencies-and-organizations/

Further, government agencies abound:

http://www.grinningplanet.com/5005/government-agencies-environmental.htm

If the reader is serious about stemming the tide and extending the day of Armageddon, one is in constant communication with many of these organizations. They are the reader’s army. They will be glad to receive one’s participation and financial support. The mariner endorses all of them as helping in some way although some may be better organized than others. A list of efficient organizations follows but may not cover one’s specific interest:

http://www.fundraiserinsight.org/articles/environmentalfundraising.html

Do not forget the sportsmen organizations. While they may be self-serving in goals, they improve the environment to sustain the wildlife they hunt. Often on counterpoint to sportsmen is:

http://www.humanesociety.org/ which is involved in a plethora of animal rights and abuse issues around the world – not just pets.

To provide a concise wrap up to the series on Advocacy at Home, the list is briefly revisited:

Utilities (water, gas, travel): Virtually all the issues in utilities can be improved by improving your own home. Consider some modern upgrades that will reduce the use of fossil fuel byproducts. If your vehicle has a few years on it or is a larger vehicle for when you had children, consider replacing it with something more efficient. Use cloth shopping bags. Some national issues are the legislative battles between pipelines, oil wells and environment, fossil fuel versus renewable fuel, and international trade agreements that directly affect oil prices.

Global ecology (air, water, use of chemicals):  Water is the most critical resource on the planet. Secondly, carbon emission already is killing sea life. Finally, the Environmental Protection Agency needs triple the budget it has to police the many chemical violators (speak constantly with vigor to each of your representatives at all levels of government). They are all sizes from gasoline stations to Dukes Power Company and the coal, gas and oil industry at large. Advocacy and policing by citizens is very effective in this issue.

Food (water, quality, chemicals, land use): Commercial food production consumes immense, almost unbelievable amounts of water. The greatest reduction of water use is to grow your own vegetables or buy home grown at farmers markets – enough to store in the freezer or can. Purchase protein products from a local butcher/locker or directly from the wharf – an interesting experience if one has never purchased fresh seafood. Finally, cut back on red meat. Land use is legislated in favor of farmers and developers; many regulations are local and hearings are open to your attendance and wise advice.

Specie ecology (Microsystems, estuaries, wildlife): You MUST step out and be an active advocate of your cause. Belong to an organization that will extend your influence. Jump in and “save a whale or a bear or a fox, etc.” with your own hands.

Neighborhood gestalt (trash, abandoned housing, loose pets – and your house!) It takes more than owning a tract in a neighborhood to contribute to a good neighborhood gestalt. Be part of the neighborhood through interaction with neighbors, organizations and charitable behavior.

Local organizations (scouting, youth clubs, nursing homes, PTA, Lions Club): There are many, many volunteer organizations in the reader’s community. In many communities, there are volunteer fire and first responder companies; dozens of volunteer organizations exist from preschool to high school; every neighborhood has unofficial neighborhood watch groups for people in difficulty on the street. Interestingly, the various motorcycle brands publish handbooks full of volunteers within a half hour of wherever the reader’s bike fails. If the reader has a bike, pass it forward and put the reader’s name in the handbook. Lastly, but importantly and entertainingly, get to know one’s police officers on a personal basis. The reader eventually will meet them while on a walk.

The mariner worked many years ago with the Maryland State Police. He joined the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). At the time, he was an independent consultant in the law enforcement sector and traveled around the country. He was able to use the FOP as his private ORBITZ and once in Washington, DC, was put up on FOP premises and treated like royalty. It takes a village – AKA neighborhood. For broader perspectives, see the list above in this post.

Tools

Many newspapers, even if online versions and especially local newspapers: Read the news headlines from Bing (news not show business), Google (news, not show business), Huffington Post, Atlantic, New York Times and other known and respected news sources. The content is better presented, more relevant, and more diverse than any television station. Local issues will be found only in local newspapers.

Two or three respected soft cover journals, even if they’re at the library: These are the journals that can be boring if the subject is not one you are interested in. However, if the subject pushes your button, there is no better source to become informed. Try:

Agenda (for your reading pleasure – excellent poetry)

American School Board Journal

Education Week

InfoWorld (computer news)

National Journal

Scientific American

The Atlantic

The Economist

Washington Post

Neighborhood walks: Once a week, if not more, walk all the streets of your neighborhood. If nothing else, it’s good for your health. Make a mental note of changes of any kind. Do not hesitate to introduce yourself and start a conversation with individuals you meet who obviously are not in a hurry. Ponder a future conversation that may need to be had with someone in an organization who may be interested in that change. Make note of something you and your family can do to improve a situation.

Discerning eyes: Eyes help during your walk, of course, but discerning eyes look beyond the instance to see emerging patterns and ramifications, even projecting the impact of government and zoning futures. Perhaps a park is needed for children or simply green space for other creatures.

Personal blog and twitter communication: Talk to people all the time! Email, voice, twitter, facebook, your congressmen and other government individuals, your neighbors, your fellow workers, your extended family, your merchants. If a high functioning recluse like the mariner can do it – so can you.

Physical effort (scheduled time, communication, achieve goals): It’s time for discipline. Get out of your #%@$!&!! house and do something.

Ancient Mariner

Having a Hog for Dinner

Or maybe a chicken, or leg of lamb or a steak tenderloin. It is the ritual of the farming life. Most of us remember the family farm. It was a good way of life. Farm operation was self-sustained. There was a balance between investment, byproducts (including environmental contamination), and lifestyle.

Those were the good old days. Farmers took pride in their individual efforts and products. The County Fair was big time and winners could boast of best livestock, best crop, and even best harness race horse. Children were encouraged to compete in future farmer contests that required intense engagement with animals, their health and even their happiness.

It isn’t that way anymore. The reader remembers it that way, but that farm is long gone. Even organic farms are run for profit, not for lifestyle. Largely, what exist today are corporate farms. Corporate farms disregard the environmental impact; corporate farms waste water in immense volumes; corporate farms physically torture livestock to increase profit.

And Iowa is the worst state in the United States.

The mariner mentioned once before that he is a member of Food and Water Watch (FWW), which concerns itself with abusive treatment of resources, livestock, pollution, or misrepresentation to the customer. Below is a website that will lead you to a map that shows the concentration of corporate farms in the US. Look at Iowa. The Koch brothers participate in more corporate farms than any other Iowa corporation. They are opposed across the board to humane treatment of livestock and disregard the gross impact of their waste on the environment.

 http://www.factoryfarmmap.org/

 Screw the world, give me my dollars. Does this describe the American dream?

Ancient Mariner