Friday, January 31, 2014

George Carlin on Extinction of Species and the Self-Correcting Planet

While his ideas do not take into account the devastation humanity has wrought, it is true the planet will be fine, it's people who are fucked.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dirty Empire Reconceptualization

The drug war will be recognized by future generations as the contemporary equivalent of pogroms and witch hunts. It is a throwback to the medieval mob mentality and hysterical intolerance for marginalized elements of the population. We perpetuate it with our consent. Dirtyempire reconceptualization:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Humanity is Fauna

Ecological succession is not merely an above ground phenomenon.  The visible aspect of the process is accompanied by equally momentous yet unseen shifts in the underlying microbiological food web.  Soil biological communities deepen in complexity, climax, and regress as the case may be along with the flora and fauna which they support.

Ecosystems are at their most stable, productive, and vital when they are most successionally mature.  Only by association with soil life do plant communities reach this stage of maturity.  Animal individuals and communities in turn only achieve their optimal expression in association with successionally mature plant communities.  Being animals ourselves, we have the opportunity to benefit greatly from the role that living soil plays in terrestrial vitality.

During a 5 day lecture series at Greenfriends Farm/the Amma Center in Castro Valley CA last month Elaine Ingham hammered that last point home.  She managed to rekindle in me the sense that in spite of massive, relentless forces in the process of stripping our habitat of its health-giving properties and of stripping our minds of the ability to perceive it, our physical surroundings can provide abundantly for us should we choose to encourage them to function as they were designed to.  Whether or not the necessary critical mass of awareness is reached to make our surroundings function in the manner for which they were designed before they collapse around us doesn't matter as much to me as the wonder I experience in the understanding of their potential.

Elaine also helped me to put humanity's ecological role in its proper perspective.  In the absence of humanity, nature plays with succession and biodiversity with its own disturbances of anything from a rock falling in a pond to an asteroid hitting the planet.  In that sense, humanity itself is one massive disturbance nature is throwing at itself.  In microcosm, a disturbance of say a fire razing a forest to the ground would reduce the soil to a bacterially-dominated state upon which only pioneer weeds and simple animal life could thrive.  On the macrocosmic scale a disturbance greater than, say, the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs could set the clock back on the biosphere's evolutionary state itself to the time before complex life forms emerged (in that sense evolution itself is a form of succession).  Neither biological destitution nor abundance is guaranteed or universal.  Species persist and change the ecology that reemerges in interesting ways from what it once was.  Then, of course, one day it gets partially erased and starts all over.  No big deal.

Esoteric postulation aside, over the course of the 5 days Elaine Ingham described the ways mainstream agriculture tries to strong-arm production despite the very disturbances it exacerbates versus the ways soil biodiversity can improve yields even as it improves long-term arability.  While I won't detail every depredation and every opportunity she went over, I offer the following interesting concepts and details:

-Weeds and pests are merely indicators of poor soil biology, "don't kill the mesenger"
-Copper sulfate is a biocide that is permitted under the organic standard in America
-Soil testing executed in the absence of soil biology is misleading because it is soil biology that makes nutrients available in the tested form, "Soil chemistry is the result of biological activity"
-Cumulative compaction caused by increasing intensity of tillage over the course of centuries gradually produces anaerobic soil conditions which lie at the heart of the increasing difficulty of tillage agriculture
-The sloughing off of root systems of grazed grasses may not be the mechanism by which high density grazing generates organic matter so quickly in the soil; that the roots die off at all is speculative
-You can use compost as potting soil as long as you get the biology right
-Where chloramine is used to treat municipal water you can use humic acid in very low concentrations to bind the chloramine so it does not interfere with the composting process, nor your soil biology
-If you get your biology right, you don't have to rotate your crops
-You can compost anaerobically, it just takes a lot longer

(Image is "The Golden Age" by Lucas Cranach the Younger)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Methylation and MTHFR Defects presented by Benjamin Lynch, ND

If you find yourself struggling with food sensitivities, chemical sensitivities, and generally precarious health, this genetic anamoly may be compelling you to seek solutions for mitigating its effects. The MTHFR polymorphism interferes with cognition, emotional equilibrium, energy, detoxification, and a host of other basic physiological functions many people have the luxury to take for granted.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ridiculous Paleo Soup for Busy Days

I will now show you how to deeply nourish/heal yourself (as the case may be) on a daily basis without having to make it your job.

1. 2 cups bone/tendon/skin stock.  See my October 5th "Ridiculous Oven-Roasted Knuckle Bones/Brown Stock Technique" entry on the full process.  Recently I have favored making my stock with chicken heads or including a couple mackerel carcasses into the pot.  The quantity used in this recipe depends on the gelatinous-ness of your stock.  I tend to make very dense stock so I dilute it with water to make it go farther.
2. 2 cups ground or chopped grass-finished ruminant meat.  See Footnote #1 on meat variations and some notes on grass-finishing.
3. 7 cups grated or chopped tuber or starchy vegetable.  Cabbage is one of the quickest to slice up, but I prefer to grate rutabaga.  Other options include grated cauliflower, beets, carrots, broccoli; also sliced bok choy, napa cabbage.
4. 1 TSP Fish Sauce.  Try and find the sugar-free kind.  I use Red Boat.
5. Salt and spices
6. Condiments.  These are important.

My Current Favorites
If you are bringing this to work:
2 mason Jars

Step One:
Heat up the stock in your pot on high.  Mix in salt, spices, and fish sauce.  Experiment with different spices.  Over time you will learn what quantities you like.  Beware the saltiness of your salt.  Kosher is strong, whereas Himalayan is worthless.

Step Two:
Throw in starchy vegetable and ground meat.  Let the temperature of the ingredients mount, then cover.  Let everything steam until it softens, then mix thoroughly and turn the heat down to medium.  All should be submerged in the stock at this point, or add water if desired.  Throw in the whites of two soy-free eggs into stew (see Footnote #2 for significance of soy-free animal feed), put yolks aside, and mix thoroughly.

Step Three:
Now the condiments.  While the egg whites denature, place one nori sheet in each serving bowl (or mason jar) (see Footnote #3 on benefits of nori, fish sauce, and cod liver oil).  Bowl or jar the stew.  Place one egg yolk over each serving.  Add 1 TBL coconut oil, 1 TBL olive oil, half a lemon, 1/2 cup of sauerkraut, and 2 ml fermented cod liver oil into each serving.  Stir well.

You're Done!  Do this repeatedly day after day with many variations and you will never get bored.

Footnote #1: Meat Variation
Instead of relying on ground meat and its limited nutrient profile all the time, I like to prepare other animal products ahead of time and carve into them over the course of the week.

Favorite Options:
1. Ruminant Tongue
2. Pork Skin
3. Oxtail
4. Any fatty, tough, cartilaginous cut of meat

Step One:
Throw the cut into your dutch oven frozen or at room temperature (it's going to cook so long that it doesn't matter).  Elevate it above the bottom of the pan so it doesn't cook in it's juices but instead browns and crisps.  I like to use spent stock bones to elevate the meat instead of relying on metal racks.

Tongue over Rack of Spent Bones

Step Two:
Let it cook between 200 and 225 degrees anywhere between 6 and 12 hours.  This is where a plug-in electric oven really comes in handy.  I let mine cook overnight or while I am at work away from home and don't have to worry about it.  I use the dutch oven within my electric oven to capture the juices, to insulate it against the cold (I leave this machine outside), and to make cleaning easier.  

Dutch Oven within Plug-In Oven

Step Three:
Throw the meat into your fridge for future chopping, and collect the juices that it released for use as added flavor to your next soup.  

A note on grass-finishing:
If your food isn't eating paleo, neither are you.  I emphasize ruminant meat because it's far easier to get ruminant meat from livestock that have been fed their biologically appropriate diet than from their monogastric peers ie swine and fowl.  If pork and chicken from animals fed on tubers, nuts, and grubs was more widely available I would be eating a lot more of it.  But the same logic that leads me to grass-finished meat repels me from pork and chicken raised on grain.  Check out this nifty diagram on Omega 3 to 6 ratios in common fats.

Would these ratios change if the animals in question were fed what they had been eating for thousands of years prior to domestication (and continue to eat in the wild)? Are the tissues of humans who eat terrible Omega 3 to 6 ratios riddled with the latter?

In my work I have come across numerous customers who don't like grass-finished meat due to its supposed gamey -ness.  I recently learned that off flavors in grass-finished meat may be due to poor nitrogen to carbohydrate ratio in livestock feed. Another reason to know you farmer. 

Footnote #2: Does Feed Toxicity Move up the Food Chain?
Honestly I don't know.  The phytoestrogens in soy may be a bioaccumulative substance like heavy metals, but it's more likely that the residues persist in the tissue of animal product.  Read this excerpt on the effects of phytoestrogens in soy.

Footnote #3: Oceanic Nutrients
I don't know if I have the energy to track down all my references on the benefits of including oceanic sources of nutrition in our diets.  I will say this: there was a time not long ago when terrestrial ecosystems were tied in with marine ecosystems, and the land was saturated with the fertility of the sea.  Now we are increasingly cut off from an increasingly impoverished ocean.  Supplementing with marine products is a common practice amongst various agricultural enterprises, such as feeding kelp meal to cattle or fish emulsion to depleted soils.  Look up Chris Kresser's lecture "The Role of Fish and Seafood in the Real Food Diet" or ask me for it for his commentary on the mitigation of the toxicity of mercury by selenium in fish tissue, or view his article.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Heaven and Earth

How do we create a balance in our lives between simply playing out our biological imperatives made possible by the random manifestation of appropriate environmental conditions, and leading lives of ecological, personal, and intercultural intentionality?

The same evolutionary phenomena that gave us the power to destroy the spheres we inhabit (bio-, individual, social) also gave us access to the insight regarding their augmentation.

My addendum to the Goldilocks Principle: biology given the chance to reproduce, will reproduce (interchangeable with [evolve], [destroy itself]).  What then is in store for humanity?

(Image is Flammorian engraving or "Missionary Finds a Place Where Heaven Touches Earth")

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Interesting Quotes from "Spontaneous Evolution" by Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman

Evolution consisted of long periods of stasis until suddenly there's a dramatic upheaval, a profound change, referred to as a punctuation that leads to a whole new class of evolution, a whole new form of life evolves from this point...  The evolution of civilization can go from a present state of disorganization and disintegration, and in a moment of spontaneous awareness, change in awareness, civilization can express what would be a spontaneous evolution.

...civilization is somewhat redundant to the character of a human's life in that civilizations are born, civilizations evolve toward a maturation period, and then inevitably civilizations succumb as new information and new cycles of awareness start to manifest themselves in a population.

The human as an individual is not evolving, what is evolving is the community of humans.  So just as much as cells in our body get together and make a 50 trillion strong community that we make a human body what's evolving on this planet is 6 and a half to 7 billion people are cells that are finally beginning to recognize they are not individual cells living their own individual lives, they're actually part of a larger community--humanity.  Humanity is a structure, a living entity that is covering the globe and it is humanity that is evolving.  So what we're seeing is a change in the way that we perceive ourselves and our relationship to the world.

...belief controls biology.  But it goes even deeper than that: cultural belief controls and determines the body of civilization.

At the present time, we either assimilate and integrate our polarized insights and make a quantum evolutionary jump as a global humanity, or we can continue the bipolar insanity as religious and scientific materialist fundamentalists duke it out to be the last paradigm standing on a dying planet.

If we understand that evolution is a progression of accumulated awareness then perhaps if we clarify the current state of our collective awareness we might just speed up that evolutionary process.

The key to avoiding apocalyptic collapse lies in really understanding the underlying meaning of the word apocalypse before it became a code word for the end of the world.  Apocalypse meant "the lifting of the veils."

The concept of Newtonian belief is the promise of a controllable utopia.

"A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who, even if their action be honest and intended for the public interest, are necessarily concentrated upon the great undertakings in which their own money is involved and who necessarily, by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom...  We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world--no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men." Wilson

It was, of course, the astounding success of propaganda [written by Edward Bernays and Walter Lippmann] during the war [WWI] that opened the eyes of the intelligent few in all departments of life to the possibility of regimenting the public mind.

"Controlling the masses without having them know it..."
"Herd that needs to be led..."

Maybe it's time for children of go dto finally grow up and become adults of god.  Children of god worship the lawgiver.  Adults of god strive to live the law.  "The common error of ordinary religious practice is to mistake the symbol for the reality, to look at the finger pointing the way and then to suck it for comfort rather than follow it." Alan Watts

Economy and ecology are one and the same.

When birds, aviators, and astronauts fly above the surface of Earth, they gain a greater perspective of the planet than their water-based and land-based predecessors. When astronauts transmit their view of Earth as a blue-green gem suspended in the black emptiness of space back to people on the planet, they share that new perspective with the rest of humanity as well.

And those images, from that perspective, have had such a powerful effect on civilization that they have caused a change in the course of human evolution. Those images fostered and concretized the hippie notion, professed by visionaries such as Buckminster Fuller, that we are all one people traveling through the galaxy on tiny, fragile Spaceship Earth.

Those images of our Nest in the Stars induced a quality of self-consciousness in humanity that kindled and ignited an innate mammalian desire in responsive people to support survival by taking care of the environment; keeping our food and bodies healthy; and raising our children, families, and communities in an atmosphere of love and harmony.

Inspired by those initial photos from space, visionary John McConnell created the Earth Flag in 1969. In 1970, the United States celebrated the inaugural Earth Day and initiated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And the 1970s saw the enactment of five major pieces of legislation to protect the nation’s air, water, and land.

Simply stated, in response to the perspective provided by astronauts, an ever-increasing number of former reptilian-phase humans experienced an emergent leap in evolution wherein they became aware that survival is contingent on nurturing the planet and all species as well as our individual selves. These awakened persons become the seeds of our next evolutionary leap, the emergence of humanity’s mammalian phase.

In that regard, the current state of civilization resembles the fractal iteration of a self-similar pattern that occurred millions of years ago in animal evolution, a time when dinosaurs, birds, and primitive furry mammals shared an uneasy coexistence. Such a vision invokes an image of movie director Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park in which humans run for their lives as monstrous dinosaurs, the equivalent of all-consuming corporations, such as “Enron-osaurus Wrecks” run amuck and threaten the survival of the meek. At some point in Earth’s prehistoric history, an undetermined event led to the extinction of the ruling dinosaurs and opened an opportunity for mammals, the meek, to inherit the earth.

Likewise, the current ecological, economic, and population crises that face humanity are portents of the demise of dinosaur-like corporations and the rise of green-friendly human nurturers.

As we project our fractal pattern into the future, we see it is likely that current global stresses will precipitate the planet’s next evolutionary leap as marked by the emergence of civilization’s nurturing mammals as the dominant life force on the planet.