The Smaller-Hammer Approach

Don’t get me wrong: the bigger-hammer folks still prevail in the arena of strip-mining the soil for maximizing profit from monoculture-derived soy, corn, cotton and the like.

And granted, the insects and weeds still either have or are evolving the upper hand. Again.

But Monsanto-Bayer, Bosch and John Deere are seeing in this another opportunity to make a buck while seeming-GREEN. Yet again, the upper hand against an uncooperative NATURE is (wait for it): more technological fixes.

See Robots fight weeds in challenge to agrochemical giants

Meanwhile, in another sad statement of the state of affairs, natural predators are being replaced by yet another robot–a smaller hammer: a tiny mechanical spider is being developed, soon perhaps to be released in large numbers, to provide the environmental services that biological spiders and other predators could have effectively performed once upon a time.

Not to worry. We Know Better. We’ll fix whatever is broken–meaning whatever buggers with efficiency or profit. Nature is just too sloppy and slow for Modern Man in the Anthropocene. Move over, let our engineers show you how it’s done.

And I don’t think I like where this story is headed, but then I’ll only get to the middle of the book before the lights go out.

Should we, in the last chapter, do ourselves in, it wouldn’t be the first time that a major extinction was caused by the “environmental tinkering” of Earth’s creatures, though such a feat has never before been brought on by a single species. We really are something special.

See: Evidence that Earth’s first mass extinction was caused by critters not catastrophe

E(mesis) Pluribus Unum

Or…Whatever you want to do you have to do something else first.

One from the many–interruptions, distractions, diversions and alteration of so-called plans.

Source: various. But largely and lately, Scout the dog.

Moral: do not take on a year old dog as a new member of your household unless you are prepared to be interrupted at every turn.

  • No, you cannot chew up another roll of toilet paper.
  • My razor is not a chew toy.
  • HEY! It’s just an inch-long millipede that somehow crossed the threshold, not a pit viper for goodness sake!
  • And no my slippers are not imaginary rabbits for you to chase.

And this morning, the emesis—full of freshly-munched grass; and also the expensive Interceptor pill he had just taken with a smidge of peanut butter. Oy.

And we just passed the One Month mark with the boy.

And if you’ve read this far and bothered to look at the image and are at all nature-aware, you may have noticed the picture is NOT of dog puke at all. So WHAT IS IT?  [Answered as a comment to this post on facebook later today. ]

Aging in Place

And so this is where the actuarial rubber meets the road.

Baby boomers appeared of a sudden, historically. We swelled the ranks of the middle class. We demanded and got affordable housing just out of town, and cheap gas to get us back and forth to the places we spent our money.

Now we’ve grown up, grown old and grown to need a lot of new things that society is just now wondering how to offer to both the well-off and the not-so-well-off elders of our times.

Chief among these missing older-boomer things is a way for aging folks who have enjoyed those city edges and settled neighborhoods to stay in or near them when their physical, emotional and health needs become more demanding of the help of others in the context of a familiar and supportive setting for their final years.

Hence, “Aging in Place.” I attend a three hour meeting this morning at Hotel Floyd to discuss this complex issue, both at the personal and the community level. I rather dread being forced to look at the inevitable demands that come with inevitable decline and increasing dependency on community, neighbors and family.

But face it we must.

Some gathered resources from a quick overview this morning:

Age In Place | The National Aging In Place Council   http://www.ageinplace.org/

Aging in Place | SeniorLiving.com   https://www.seniorliving.com/aging-place

Aging in Place and Senior Resources   http://www.seniorresource.com/ageinpl.htm

Octopi From Outer Space

No Really. That is being posited as the source of the many-faceted oddness of the 8-tentacled creature that has been shoehorned into the mollusk group but really, in many ways, is such an outlier that it seems like it came from–OUT THERE!

A recent proposal in the scientific journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology posits that octopus DNA could have arrived on Earth in “an already coherent group of functioning genes within (say) cryopreserved and matrix protected fertilized octopus eggs.” And these eggs might have “arrived in icy bolides several hundred million years ago.”

Not everyone is aware that Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, suggested that life on Earth was the product of “directed Panspermia“–a seeding of the galaxies by an advanced being, also OUT THERE.

And admittedly really OUT THERE is where many see the credibility of this intriguing proposal. But I have lived through a time when many “impossibilities” have proven to ultimately have been taken as fact. Stay tuned!

Go Get Dumpa!

Regrettably, we have a long distance relationship with our grand daughters. Looking back a couple of decades from now, their memories of their mother’s parents will be sporadic visits to Goose Creek or on their home turf for a long weekend now and then.

But I suppose they will have some solid recollection of the things we paid attention to: clouds, birds, flowers, and anything living.

So when Ann and Taryn came across this roadkill on their coastal Carolina neighborhood walk last weekend, the 10-yr-old immediately said “Let’s go back and get Dumpa!” And they did. And we all walked six blocks back to the dead snake.

“Can I touch it?” she asked, needing permission from the nature-outdoors “authority” in her life, now and again.

From all such interactions over the years, the grands at least know that things have names; they have stories; and they have value in the grand scheme of things. And they maybe will keep their eyes open to details that some children don’t care to attend to or see and just don’t have the curiosity to care about.

The snake, by the way, stumped me. It had the head of a rat snake, but until seeing this “yellowish rat snake” (Elaphe obsoleta) I did not know that any had longitudinal stripes. Now I know. Thanks Taryn, for teaching the old dog a new trick.