Next read is "Concrete Economics" by Stephen S. Cohen and J. Bradford DeLong.
First book from the #NewConsensus reading list.
I finished "The Power" by Naomi Alderman today.
I didn't enjoy the read, but it was thought provoking. The central thesis of the book seemed to be, "our society is based on power, and if women were stronger than men we would see the same oppressive dynamics we see now, reversed."
That's a grim thought.
Next book is The Entrepreneurial State, by Mariana Mazzucato.
I'm going to try not to overdo it with the social notes. It's a library book due back soon, and I'm not sure writing down everything helps me absorb the content.
Still, I'm excited to dive into another #NewConsensus book.
I didn't realize when i bought it that the book was written 2006, but I'm still pretty interested to read "Producing Open Source Software," by Karl Fogel.
I just joined an #opensource software company and I have a lot to learn.
Thus far, it's classic 1950s fare. A square-jawed team of white man scientists are flung into the far future along with their town. The local government is weak, the women are frail and must be protected.
For all that the premise is interesting - reminds me of "The Night Land" and "The City and the Stars" - post post post apocalypse cities surviving on doomed worlds.
I read Kiss the Ground (and other #ClimateCrisis literature) and I get so angry. As a species we're sinking into climate destruction and still, the world's largest #agriculture countries (looking at you, #US) can't take dramatic action. Only 53% of the country thinks #ClimateChange is major problem; only 49% think humans have something to do with it. This is the struggle of our time and, collectively, we're asleep.
"[David] explains that the per acre yield or corn has skyrocketed since his grandfather's day. His granddad was lucky to get around thirty or forty bushels per acre. In contrast, today in the noisy combine 'we' harvested around 150 bushels per acre - and some of thr farmers he knows are pulling in up to 180."
"When asked about the inputs and the investment needed to squeeze that kind of productivity from the ligand, David they've all gone up too. Farm chemistry can get complicated but the basic roles of application, he says, are simple. The more dry weight of corn (or soy beans) you want, the more pounds of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium you add. But along more inputs only works up to a point which is called your 'maximum yield' (MY)." #agriculture #farming
"He explains that the band numbers for application break down as follows. To grow an acre of corn today you apply around 140 pounds of ammonium nitrate (nitrogen), around sixty of phosphate (phosphorus), and around eighty pounds of potash (potassium). Added to that are about two to three points power acre of herbicides (like glyphosate, the primary chemical Roundup), insecticides, and/or fungicides."
"In other words, the great efficiency of modern #farming now makes it possible for every 1 farmer to feed 317 nonfarmers. It's really a miracle."
"The first barrier to unlimited acres of the same crop was pests, the second weeds, and the third fungus. Without balanced soils, which have inside them all the microbial life needed to support plants, nature will cull a crop. In naturue, diversity is the norm, not the exception, so an ecosystem in a systate of unbalance (too much of the same plant) will, through bugs, weeds, plant disease, et cetera, attempt to restore itself to balance (diversity)."
"The data suggests [pesticides] are in up to 98 percent of food. Sometimes it's in small doses, someimes large. The USDA, the agency responsible for testing our food, does not test for the majority of the worst offenders of these poisons (including 2,4-D, glyphosate, or atrazine) in the foods on which they are mostly sprayed (corn, soy, and wheat)."
"Washington, DC's 'revolving door' between big agricultural businesses, the regulatory agencies, and the Senate and House committees that are supposed to oversee them leaves little in the way of citizen protection from these chemicals. With nobody to shield them, Americans are the guinea pigs in the largest chemical experiment humankid has ever taken."
"Not surprisingly, up to 67 percent of the premiums for crop insurance are paid to private comapanies directly from the federal government. If that all sounds like mumbo jumbo, the bottom line is that private enterprise is soaking up most of the tax money that is supposed to be paid to farmers, who, due to an overbearing and outdated government finance scheme, grow the very crops that make Americans sick."
"The system of crop insurance works like this: RA releases its policy listing crop insurance prices. Based on the list of insured crops a farmer decides what they will grow. A farmer then certifies his or her production by making sure it conforms to the government mode. After harvest there's an acreage report. If, as is often the case, the crop produces less than the expected per acre quanity set by the governent, the farmer files a loss report."
"... a Farmer must adhere to the federal insurance program's strict guidelines concerning the type of crop to be planted (i.e. patented seed), the methods used (i.e., chemicals sprayed), as well as where and when the crops are grown. Not surprisingly, farmers generally grow the crops with the highest per acre insurance rates ... Because it provies a guaranteed price for crops, the federal crop insurance program tells the majority of ... farmers what to grow and what not to grow."
"While it maintains one sort of food security, in its current incarnation the government crop insurance penalizes farmers who do the right thing when it comes to soil. Based in Washington, DC, where the average Senate seat costs around $10 million and where there are over one thousand lobbyists for every member of Congress, the FCIC is in lockstep with the major companies that profit and benefit from industrialized corn and soy and the chemicals and machines they require."
"The interest in halting the loss of #biodiversity is enormous and is coming from unexpected quarters. Meeting after international meeting closes with strongly worded calls to protect nature, and the dialogue among the public sector, business, and civil society has never been more active. But once #economics rears its head, then the dialogue becomes muffled, and participants start shuffling papers and shifting their eyes nervously. "
"#Biodiversity occurs at all levels – genetic, species and #ecosystem – and it is often best illustrated by considering the wide variety of plant, animal and microorganism species that exist across the planet. To date, around 1.8 million different species have been discovered and documented, but this number only scratches the surface; the best working estimate of the total number of species, documented and undocumented, on Earth is around 8 million,
75% of which are insects (IPBES 2019). "
"#Biodiversity and genetic diversity are on a steady decline. The Living Planet Index determined an average decline of 68% in animal population sizes between 1970 and 2016 (WWF 2020) with some species groups and continents experiencing even greater loss; the Latin American and Caribbean states experienced a 94% decline in biodiversity during this period."
"#NaturalCapital, per the Natural Capital Coalition, refers to “the stock of #renewable and non-renewable resources (e.g. plants, animals, air, water...) that combine to yield a flow of benefits to people”. Much as an investor will use financial capital to generate profits, a stock of trees or population of fish will provide a future flow of timber or food. Managi and Kumar have estimated that between 1992–2014 the value of the Global Natural Capital stocks per capita declined by nearly 40%."
"#Biodiversity, healthy #ecosystems, and the survival of species all have intrinsic value, but their instrumental value to humans is provided through the products and services we obtain from ecosystems and is best described using the term “ecosystem services”. Biodiversity loss compromises the delivery of fundamental ecosystem services like #pollination, and the global loss of all pollinator species would lead to a drop in annual agricultural output of an estimated USD 217 billion annually."
"...investments in the provision of #ecosystem services alone could have a negative impact on the provision and sustainability of the flow of other ecosystem services into the future. Where human intervention in an ecosystem aims to maximize provision of a service, it can often have a negative effect on biodiversity, leaving the system less resilient... For example, #reforestation replacing natural forest with monoculture plantations provides an ecosystem good but decreases the #biodiversity."
"From 1990 to 2016, the world lost over 1.3 million square kilometres of forests, an area larger than South Africa (World Bank 2016). Commercial agriculture is responsible for over 70% of #deforestation due to demand for palm oil, soy, timber and cattle (Lawson 2014). Private finance can help mitigate this trend through zero-#deforestation investments and sustainable supply chain practices that promote habitat protection while delivering positive financial results."
More of an essay than a book, but my next read is "Making Kin with the Machines" by Jason Edward Lewis, Noelani Arista, Archer Pechawis, and Suzanne Kite. https://jods.mitpress.mit.edu/pub/lewis-arista-pechawis-kite/release/1
"North American and Oceanic Indigenous epistemologies tend to foreground relationality. Little Bear says “[i]n the #Indigenous world, everything is animate and has spirit [. . .] ‘all my relations’ refers to relationships with everything in creation [. . . ] knowledge is the relationship one has to ‘all my relations’.”"
"These relationships are built around a core of mutual respect. Dakota philosopher Vine Deloria, Jr., describes this respect as having two attitudes: “One attitude is the acceptance of self-discipline by humans and their communities to act responsibly toward other forms of life. The other attitude is to seek to establish communications and covenants with other forms of life on a mutually agreeable basis..."
"The first attitude is necessary to understand the need for more diverse thinking regarding our relationship with #AI; the second to formulating plans for how to develop that relationship.'"
"One of the challenges for #Indigenous epistemology in the age of the virtual is to understand how the archipelago of websites, social media platforms, shared virtual environments, corporate data stores, multiplayer video games, smart devices, and intelligent machines that compose #cyberspace is situated within, throughout and/or alongside the terrestrial spaces Indigenous peoples claim as their territory."
"Kānaka maoli (Hawaiian people) ontologies have much to offer if we are to reconceptualize AI-human relations. Multiplicities are nuanced and varied, certainly more aesthetically pleasurable than singularities. Rather than holding AI separate or beneath, might we consider how we cultivate reciprocal relationships using a kānaka maoli reframing of #AI as ʻĀIna. ʻĀIna is a play on the word ʻāina (...land) and suggests we should treat these relations as we would all that nourishes and supports us."
I think #KimStanleyRobinson stories at their best are tales of individuals, their lives twisting together in a series of vignettes that end up making a whole. Punctuated interludes to add depth, or character.
Ministry for the Future feels more interested in the interludes, and less on the characters. This time around there are two protagonists, and a lot more disussion of trends or ideas.
I'm burning through it, and loving it. Just thinking through how KSR is changing over time.
"'...But what should we be telling national governments to fund now?'
Bob said, 'Set increasingly stringent standards for carbon emissions across the six biggest emitting sectors, and pretty soon you're in carbon negative territory and working your way back to 350.'
'The six biggest emitters being?'
'Industry, transport, land use, buildings, transportation, and cross-sector.'
'Everything not in the other five. The great miscellaneous.'
'So those six would be enough.'..."
"Eleven policies would get it done, they all told her. Carbon pricing, industry efficiency standards, land use policies. industrial process emissions regulations, complementary power sector policies, renewable portfolio standdards, complementary power sector policies, building codes and appliance standards, fuel economy standards, better urban transport, vehicle electrification, and freebates..."
Never let anyone tell you that fiction can't teach!
Terrifying. We must step away from monoculture in general.
Treating plants with formulas of exacting and calculated salt-based fertilisers is crazy.
We merely need to take care of the soil, and let the plants take care of themselves.
This largely requires a move back to forestry and diverse polycultures.
Are (all) the toots that follow (until today) all about "Kiss The Ground"?
I want to link to this thread, but want to make sure it actually is a thread.
This Mastodon instance is for people interested in technology. Discussions aren't limited to technology, because tech folks shouldn't be limited to technology either!