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."
"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."
"In 2009, the the midsize #farms - those grossing between $100,000 and $250,00 - averaged a net income of approximately $19,270, incuding government payments. Even those operations designated by the #USDA as "large industrial farms" (making a gross income of between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2009) netted only $52,000 on average, including $17,000 in government payments."
"A 2015 University of Illinois Department of Agriculutal and Consumer Economics (ACE) budget projection puts the net farmer income in 2016 for corn at negative $66 and soybeans at negative $97, respectively. Meaning, frowing corn will result in a loss of $66 per acre and soy will lose you $97 per acre. The ... recommendation? Cut costs by $100 per acre. Then at least you could make $3 an acre... In other words, the *only way* to make any money on these crops is with government [subsidies]..."
description of suicide trends
"In India, the overproduction of farm commodities, overwhelming debt, and pressure to conform to chemical companies' use of expensive pesticides have driven many farmers to commit suicide. Since th early 2000s (when GMOs were first introduced in India), suicide has taken the lives of over 100,000 farmers in India. In a cruel twist... one of the most common forms of self-immolation is by drinking pesticide."
"Farmers in the commodity game of 'grow more with smaller margins' will find the tightrope they walk is getting more tenuous. Six companies now control 75% of the grain-handling facilities, forming a virtual 'sextopoly'... As in the days of old, this virutal monopoly of companies sets the price of grain, and #farmers have to accept it."
"Nutritional density is a difficult thing to access over time, but studies put the loss of #nutrition in fruits and vegetables over the past sixty years at anywhere between 5 and 40 percent. Meanwhile, the size of our vegetables, grains, and protein sources has ballooned. This is called the 'dilution effect', whereby we eat more calories but receive less by the way of bioavailable nutrients."
"#Fracking has been linked to tainted drinking water supplies, earthquakes, and extreme environmental degradation. But hydraulic fracturing is the only way America can produce enough natural gas to sustain the fatories that make synthetic #nitrogen (ammonium nitrate). And without that synthetic nitrogen, more than 90 percent of the #crops grown in America would fail."
"More bad news: most synthetic nitrogen applied on farm fields in the United States is not going into crops. Recent studies put nitrogen uptake by crops at about 30 percent. This means that 70 percent of what is applied either goes into the atmospher or into water. Hence, 'two-thirds of the US drinking supply is contaminated or high levels with carciongenic nitrates or nitrites, almost all excessive use synthetic nitrogen #fertilizers."
"As the city of De Moines, Iowa, has learned, synthetic nitrogen poisons water supplies. As Fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico and other river delta areas are learning, nitrogen-rich agriculture runoff creates an anoxic environment that kills life. The waters affect by poisonous levels of nitrogen are called dead zones because the majority of the food chain is killed."
"...In the middle of #California is the Central Valley, a 60,000-square-mile, mostly flat piece of open arid land that has been cleared of its former #ecosystem in order to perform large-scale #agriculture. A small fraction of it is covered in plants and water (if we're being generous, say 10 percent). The remainder (say 90 percent) is bare, hardened, mostly unplanted dirt and reflective urban/suburban surfaces."
"During the day it reflects heat into the atmosphere and obsorbs heat, baking like a massive frying pan. All the while [the heat] is pushing clouds and rain away. Meanwhile its soils are eroding, which means food growers require ever more water. Now add to this manmade desertification the occurence of season after season of #CO2 assisted heat waves."
"In contrast, the former ecosystem of the Central Valley, a mixed oak forest with redwoods to the north and bushland savanna to the south, held most of its water in its soils. In natural forest ecosystems soil organic matter (SOM, aka "organic matter") is anywhere from 3 to 7 percent. For each 1 percent of organic matter, an acre of ground will hold around 25,000 gallons of water in its soils."
"So before man practiced agriculture in #California, the soil was likely holding around 100,000 gallons of water per acre. Growing on top of that soil was a mixture of vegetation types, all of which pulled CO2 from the atmosphere and pumped it into the ground where the microbes used that carbon to buid the very pore spaces that stored water inside the soil. This is the ecosystem we removed."
" In a twist of fate, we humans 'reverse terraformed" our planet from a web of balanced, interlocking, lush ecosystems into larger and vaster deserts."
Thanks for summarising those things. Being fully aware of the problematic agri-industry it is still striking that such forms of food production are sold as progress!
What I found interesting was the link to the #fracking disaster.
The price America pays for its new found energy independence. Ironically, it led to war in the middle east.
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