It is over.

The battle to sustain individuality and Homo sapiens authenticity has been won by AI. Watch the following clip then read on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s11k0yAA8ZQ

Already AI is good enough to write novels, essays, legal briefs and singlehandedly manage most trades on the stock exchange. The ability for anyone to write any style of entertainment is just one database away.

With the invention of the gene splitter Crispr, AI will be able to pool all human variations into a massive database so parents can pick any child they want. Who wants a Donald Trump lookalike? How about triplets that are the Kingston Trio?

But then AI will perceive that it is much simpler to have one version of humans; just think how efficient that would be for politics, medicine, and one would need only one football team.

Perhaps it will be less expensive if humans had no need to travel.

Welcome to Matrix.

Goodbye.

Ancient Mariner

Food for thought

The agricultural industry is entering an increasingly rapid pace of change. It was only yesterday (and today) that farmers were encouraged to use no-plow techniques for large crop fields. Basically, the intent is to let indigenous plants provide a cover crop so that (a) good soil will not continue to blow away or wash away (b) the indigenous plants will provide better chemistry and require less commercial plant food in the soil and (c) the indigenous plants would retain CO2 in the soil. Changing farming practices is very difficult for farmers.

There are other practices that are changing. A small number of commercially large farms have decided to pursue zero fossil fuel in their operation. Manure, crop waste solar power and chemical conversions are used to produce electricity, feed and fertilizer.

These and other similar efficiency-based crop practices are an excellent effort but the circumstances surrounding a human population approaching 8 billion by 2030 and little land left to increase agricultural production has taken farming in a different direction.

Everyone has heard of hydroponic gardening (grown in water without soil) but aggressive corporations are taking hydroponics to extreme levels. Soil and vast acreages have a small role to play in large quantity production. Combined with the use of solar and wind energy, these farms have no season – they are year-round.

 

Add to the plant operation the quandary of what to do about cows. Long a joke, it is a fact that through flatulence and digestion, cows produce 40 percent of atmospheric methane. Cows generate methane in two main ways: through their digestion and through their waste. Cows are part of a group of animals called ruminants. Ruminants have stomachs with four distinct chambers. Sheep, goats, and giraffes also are ruminants. Even on television there are ads suggesting that everyone fight climate change by not eating beef.

The other side of cow economics is provided by Mother Nature. She is causing drought and water shortage in the primary wheat-growing regions of the southwest. Cows et al eat wheat – and a lot of water!

There are critics who say “Why eat the cow? Eat the grass the cow would eat.” As mariner mentioned in an earlier post: Perhaps anchovies, scrapple and spam may become popular again.

Ancient Mariner

 

Just between you and your yard

GRILLS

The carbon wave is getting close. Is your yard grill the best choice? Output at the end of the process, that is, as your 10 filet Mignon cuts turn brown, has been measured:

Gas grills win hands down. In an hour charcoal briquettes emit 11 pounds of CO2 while gas emits 5.6 pounds. Further, briquettes aren’t just wood; briquettes have additives that are not good to breathe. But even authentic wood, which is biodegradable, loses to gas. Like the US Government, (a prime example of divided forever opinion) advocates of charcoal have a low opinion of gas as a flavor enhancer. However, scientists suggest that smoke and briquette debris may change flavor during longer cooking times but in truth is not noticeable.

[Mariner’s personal experience suggests that if a cook needs hot, hot temperatures, for example in an old fashioned Weber kettle grill, charcoal produces a better fire – but this has nothing to do with taste.]

LEAVES

Everyone likes trees until the leaves fall. For several weeks the leaves blow about like loose trash, getting caught in everything from roof gutters to shrubbery to lawns and sidewalks. It is true that in urban areas there may not be a tree in sight, not in whole blocks or neighborhoods. But in more suburban and rural areas, trees and open yards are de rigueur. And so are fallen leaves.

It has been tradition, in the likeness of a Norman Rockwell painting, that each neighbor would gather leaves into a pile and burn them. While this still is practiced generally, many towns and cities have begun a ‘yard waste’ collection day to recycle leaves, branches and typical lawn and garden waste. Some towns have ordinances against burning leaves (and trash barrels).

This new pressure is raised for climate change reasons. Rather than burn leaves and thereby participating with grills in CO2 production, shred them into little pieces and put them into a compost pit or spread them directly into garden patches and lawns. By spring most of the leaves should be well into decomposition and preventing excess CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere.

EQUIPMENT

Many folks still use old fashioned yard tools that require arm and shoulder labor in order to function. Manufacturers, however, have a different vision of yard tools. For most of mariner’s life, gasoline powered equipment was the answer. Still, a person had to separate a shoulder to get the single-cycle engine to fire up. Today things are changing quickly. “In the name of climate change” manufacturers are pushing battery-powered equipment. It is smaller, lighter, self-starting and typically requires a Lithium battery. As the reader may have read in the news, Lithium is a scarce element. So we will see what future prices will look like for toy-sized equipment. A devotee of gasoline powered equipment can still find whatever they may need – for the price of a 2022 Chrysler Town and Country van.

All said, gardening is an excellent pasttime that gets you back to nature, gets you outside and works the old bones a bit. Give it a try while watching over your shoulder for climate change.

Ancient Mariner

Pakistan

Until 2010, Pakistan was an economic powerhouse of the Middle East. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at $263 billion was ten times larger than second ranked Sudan at $26 billion.

In 2010, Pakistan had more than a million acres flooded by a storm that swept giant ocean surges far inland, decimating the agricultural base of the nation. In 2022, mountain snow melt from the Himalayan mountains swamped the country’s entire economic base.

Pakistan is centrally located in the Middle East and has a long border with India. While border confrontations have occurred in Kashmir, the two nations recognize one another in trade. Pakistan is bound by Iran to the west, Afghanistan to the northwest and north, China to the northeast, and India to the east and southeast. The coast of the Arabian Sea forms its southern border. Clearly in the center of the Middle East and a gateway to China and India plus access to global seaports make Pakistan a natural player at the center of economics and politics.

But no more. Pakistan’s economy has collapsed; its government structure is dysfunctional. Recovering the damage to the citizenry will cost more than $16.3 billion.

Pakistan is cited because it is more than a small island nation sinking into rising seas. Pakistan was a worldwide player with a slowly but continuously growing reputation among its neighbors. But Mother Earth advanced the global warming war from the Arabian Sea and from the Himalayan mountains. A Putin-style bullet war could not do this much damage.

The seacoast of Pakistan looks a lot like the eastern seacoast of the United States, around Florida and all the way to the Texas/Mexico Border. Fortunately, the US is a much larger nation than Pakistan with more than one narrow agricultural area. So far, Mother Earth is lobbing notable storms into the Gulf coast and Florida; as a diversion, she is engineering a major water shortage in the Rockies and California and this year started on the Mississippi River – preventing many river-dependent supply chains from operating.

Nations are not messing with an inexperienced, underfunded adversary. It is the nations that are underfunded – by several magnitudes. As humans continue to throw Carbon Dioxide and Methane into the atmosphere, as humans barbarically continue to destroy and contaminate the Earth’s environment, as thousands of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and microorganisms disappear, dare we expect that Mother Earth will turn her head away?

Will the US be able to maintain leadership in the world when trillions of dollars must be spent in the war with Mother Earth to salvage Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charlotte, one-third of the land mass of Florida, Houston, one-fourth of Louisiana, San Francisco and Seattle? Perhaps Central America will disappear, and the Panama Canal will not be needed.

Mariner has not invented this dilemma. All the assumptions already have been discussed by scientists and futurists. Like a real bullet war, the battlefronts will shift, and the time may drag on but a war it is.

Ancient Mariner

Earth from God’s perspective

As one of thousands of creatures in God’s Earth zoo, our human view of reality often is myopic. That view is important because it keeps our species alive from day to day. The downside, of course, is that it is easy to ignore the bigger picture – the view from God’s perspective.

Unfortunately, over recent centuries education in formal categories of study has been socialized. The relationship between students and the Earth Sciences is taught as if the Earth’s 4.6 billion year history were a science-fiction movie. In fact, Earth’s history is very much a daily dynamic that encompasses every move every creature, including humans, makes on a moment-to-moment, day-in day-out basis.

The Earth’s history shows very plainly that the planet is in charge. It is the planet’s rules that will prevail. All creatures in the Earth Zoo must acknowledge the zoo rules for their respective cages, that is, how a species must relate to its environment and fellow members of its species.

Again unfortunately, the Earth itself must abide by God’s rules for astronomic behavior. This means that the Earth will not always be the same. For example, the Earth moved from a dry, barren planet to one that was covered in water because at the time it rained for millions of years. Life began in these waters but perished when the Earth suddenly incurred a centuries long ice age that froze the seas; ocean life had no choice but to perish. It was largely true with the large dinosaurs; a meteor hit the Earth and destroyed 90 percent of life on Earth.

These misbehaviors by Earth are rare. What occurs more frequently is smaller changes attributed to Sun storms, shifts in orbit and the aging of the planet. For example, what was called the ‘Fertile Crescent’ (the region east of the Mediterranean) in early human migrations is now largely desert. The absence of agriculture has left the region in turmoil for centuries; human stability in the environment has disappeared – an example of Earth changing the rules of the ‘human cage’ in the zoo.

For the first time in 4.6 billion years, a new zoo perspective has occurred: a species has decided to make the rules for interacting with the Earth’s environment. Yes, the humans.

It isn’t working too well. The humans are changing the environmental rules from a sophisticated, self-managing zoo to a resource for allowing humans to actually claim ownership of the environment, motivated less by balanced self-management than to optimize comfort, reduced accountability and personal advantage over other humans. (Reminds mariner of the crypto crisis).

Zoo management isn’t taking this sitting down. Earth’s environment is growing unstable. Sadly, this imbalance affects all the species at the zoo.

God is watching.

Ancient Mariner

For What it’s Worth

There isn’t much further to be offered by mariner. The entire world is in a state of upheaval not seen by planet, man or beast for the last 300,000 years. There are none among us who can foresee the future reconciliation of the turmoil. There are none among us with the strength and wisdom to command the tiller of history.

Overly truncated, he will share a few random thoughts that linger.

֎ To reduce the faith Jesus proposed to one observation, He said what matters to you for your own wellbeing is irrelevant. All that matters is what you do for the wellbeing of others – only in this act will you know the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus knew in his heart, however, that humans were simply over-intelligent chimpanzees so he offered forgiveness to provide time for humans to discover how Christianity worked. He was overly kind – perhaps a weakness in His doctrine.

֎ If, If democracy continues to clatter along for the next two years, only the option to run Biden again will avoid the collapse of Federal relevance. Both parties are in frightful disarray. In a time when the economy is a critical factor, a collapsed Congress led by a zealot, red or blue, will be useless.

֎ The only solution that avoids oligarchy and authoritarianism is to turn the tax structure upside down. Where is FDR?

֎ The world is headed toward corporatism. Super-sized corporations will assume control of many government functions; for example, capitalizing the health industry. The backbone of policy will no longer be driven by nations but by the internet.

֎ It is a personal fear that mankind will not survive global warming. Social collapse will occur. An example from history is the fall of the Roman Empire.

Will there be a global ‘dark age’?

֎ The one sustaining force that may sustain humanity for a coming communistic age is family unity. Not the nuclear family – a victim of technology and automation – but geographically bound multi-generational families that can muster a meager GDP for themselves. Was Jesus right?

But hang in there to witness a polar magnetic reversal, a Solar storm and, if you live long enough, a major ice age – all within the next 200,000 years.

Ancient Mariner

On Morality

Back in August mariner wrote about Mark Boyle, an economist who decided to live without money for three years. A quote from the August post is repeated below:

“. . . surprisingly, over time I found my reasons slowly change. They now have less to do with saving the world, and much more to do with savoring the world. The world needs savoring.”

Boyle’s change in mindset from fixing what is broken to preferring an existential experience has lingered in mariner’s mind. Boyle’s primary point in the book is that the farther the distance between genuine reality and manufactured reality, the more human judgment becomes dysfunctional.

Is Boyle’s philosophical assumption the reason for 7 billion humans around the planet to simultaneously experience political imbalance, diminishing natural resources and an unstable atmosphere?  Do the political and religious trappings of religion prevent savoring the spiritual core of faith?

Mariner is sensitive to Boyle’s assumption on four occasions:

  • Ordering a meal from a kiosk in McDonalds instead of experiencing a very brief subconscious gratification from interpersonal engagement.
  • Similarly, in the supermarket having to be one’s own cashier eliminates brief conversations that engage human awareness and even enjoy a shared accomplishment of the task at hand.
  • Watching individuals of all ages avoid human contact at meals, family time, taking breaks at work and even interacting with the dog they are walking. Why? Smartphone.
  • Institutions of religion – particularly Christianity – behaving in grotesque ways that are in direct violation of Jesus’ mandate to love others by personal commitment.

Even the wonderful experience of purchasing online diminishes the need to do human things like walk, talk, make real-time-on-the-spot decisions, experience the weather, and identify with nature. Avoiding these small experiences denies exercising judgment in existential circumstances – Boyle’s point is that our unpracticed, hands-on judgment becomes warped; our individual liaison with reality is not properly understood.

Mark Boyle’s ‘savory’ experience was his daily connection with an undisturbed Mother Earth devoid of any intrusions by the industrial and technological revolutions. Not having to see the world through steam engines, computers or mechanized destruction of the habitat enabled him to see how ethics and morality are derived from intimacy with one’s surroundings. The purity and simplicity of Boyle’s experience with nature allowed a moral attitude to develop between him and his environment.

The insight is that presumed reality bears presumed morality. As we sit in comfortable chairs at a dinner setting and eat pigs we haven’t watched spend their entire lives in tortuously small cages, our morality about eating pigs is indifferent to a reality we do not know. Building dams on salmon rivers produces massive amounts of electricity for millions of people but having no awareness of salmon reality, there is no moral compunction to deal with the salmon’s world. Consequently, salmon is an endangered species.

On the other hand, the Native American Hupa tribe has a direct relationship with salmon and is aware of the stress on the species. The tribe leads the fight to save the salmon. Their reality shapes their morality.

Agreeing with Boyle, mariner’s assumption also is drawn from a popular college text, ‘Situation Ethics’ published in 1988 by Joseph Fletcher.  Fletcher suggests that certain acts – such as lying, premarital sex, adultery, or even murder–might be morally right, depending on the circumstances. Hotly debated on television, in magazines and newspapers, in churches, and in the classroom, Fletcher’s provocative thesis remains a powerful force in contemporary discussions of morality.

In other words, presumed reality bears presumed morality. Is the world’s problem that we don’t have a common reality? For example, as resources grow scarcer and oligarchs grow wealthier, does that represent two different realities, therefore two different moralities? Does a meta creature have the same reality as a homeless person? Do coral reefs have a different reality than a person driving a car?

Ancient Mariner

Is there a shift in the wind?

֎ It seems that the latest polls – and a few primaries – suggest that the democrats may be more successful in November than was imagined just sixty days ago. Don’t bet money yet but the election may be more interesting than expected.

One situation that is giving democrats a larger than expected victory is rank voting. In Alaska especially, Donald-backed Sarah Palin did not survive to run in November.

If you aren’t sure what rank voting is, mariner posted a detailed explanation back on April 22 called ‘Rank Voting – 2’. Type the title in the search box on the Home page.

A lot hangs on whether the economy is decent until November. Any disruptions will have an effect on a cautious electorate. Otherwise, the polls suggest that an unusually large number of independents and young voters prefer the democratic side.

It is obvious that the abortion issue has stirred dust as far as voters are concerned but Donald himself is having difficulty with his appointed preferences in tossup states.

֎ Another issue that is growing rapidly is climate change happening across the US west. Small towns already have rationed use of water; some literally have so little water they depend on government and charitable organizations for water.

On the other side of the crisis, Mississippi and several other southern states are suffering from record breaking floods. A skeptic could poo-poo the shifts in weather as just an unusual year except that the entire world is having a weather related crisis. For the moment, Pakistan has the worst case. The nation’s economy and human wellbeing have been stopped dead as mountain glaciers melt so rapidly the lower rivers can’t handle the flood.

Let’s hope Mother Earth holds off on more tragedy until after the election; sooner or later the US economy will have to accommodate a growing cost caused by a warming planet.

֎ Does the reader have a pseudonym? Mariner’s is pink dot.

Ancient Mariner

Mother Earth is calling in the big gun

Has the reader ever heard of CMEs? CME stands for Coronal Mass Ejections. This is an event that occurs on the Sun. Most folks are familiar with sunspots as a phenomenon. Sorry to mix metaphors but sunspots are like big blisters that eventually pop and spray massive amounts of energy. Each sunspot is larger than planet Earth and can be as big as Jupiter.

When a sunspot bursts, the radiation escapes the Sun’s gravity and travels across the Solar System. The reader may recall a small CME disturbance last March when the northern skies were alive with an impressive display of Aurora Borealis; the display was caused by a CME that had minor interference with Earth’s magnetosphere – although southern Africa did have a momentary blackout of its electric utility grid.

Statistically speaking, a major hit by a CME occurs every 150 years or so. The last one occurred 150 years ago . . . The only electric grid back then was the telegraph. It took a few weeks to repair the grid.

Today, the entire world is wrapped in electrical grids. Consider local utility grids, corporate network grids, telephone grids, satellite grids and Internet grids. Where it took only weeks to restore the old telegraph grid, it may take several months to repair today’s grid laden world.

This statistic has not gone unnoticed by Mother Earth so add CME to climate change.

Have a fun Labor Day!

Ancient Mariner

The new law firm takes over

In a recent post, mariner used a metaphor suggesting that Mother Nature was taking over the issue of disarray in the human world. Here is an example of Mother Nature taking charge of economy, agriculture and civilian priorities:

AXIOS – “The heat wave roasting China is setting records for its reach, with an area equivalent to California, Texas and Colorado experiencing high temperatures exceeding 104°F.

Why it matters: At 71 straight days, the heat wave and drought have no parallel in modern record-keeping in China or around the world, Axios Generate co-author Andrew Freedman reports.

More than 260 weather stations saw their highest-ever temperatures during the long-running heat wave, according to state media reports.

The severe drought has throttled back China’s hydropower production, leading the government to cut power to key industrial hubs.”

So it isn’t only Europe, the United States and the Middle East having their toes put to the fire, it includes China and Southern Asian nations as well. The use of heat, storms, flooding, shifting weather patterns and drought are Mother Earth’s legal documents ordering humans to cease and desist. Fresh water is increasingly scarce; worldwide, industry and agriculture are suffering economically.

We have only begun to see disruptions to housing markets and other fiscal practices. It won’t be long before nations of the world have to stop profiteering and fighting wars in order to commit resources to Mother Nature’s style of reform.

Ancient Mariner