March 16th, 2020


Climate Change as WWIII

I like  this metaphor.  People understand war a lot better than they understand "you are cooking the planet to death, dumbass." 

To their excellent suggestions I will add:

* Stop cutting down the trees we already have.  If we lose the Amazon, we're really screwed.

* Stop extracting and burning fossil fuels.  They do us more good in the ground.

* Work on electing leaders who will take effective action instead of faking it like a whore's orgasm.

National Park Fees

This article proposes raising national park fees to protect wildlife outside of parks.  At first, it seems reasonable; the people using the parks pay for the animals in and around the parks.

Here's the problem: national parks are supposed to belong to everyone, for all Americans to enjoy.  Require a fee, and suddenly it's not "everyone's" park anymore.  The higher that fee goes, the fewer people can afford it.  Doesn't take long before a "national" park becomes nothing but a rich people's playground.  It ceases to have meaning or relevance to anyone else, so they don't love it, so they don't protect it.  How well do rich people typically protect nature?  *looks at broiling planet*  Not well at all.  Having a few "free" days doesn't help, because then the park is monstrously overcrowded and not fun.  What's the point of going if you can't see the bison over the crush of people?  You'd get a better view from your television, but again, that's not likely to make people fall in love with nature.  We need to get out in it, and not when there are 50,000 other people crammed in with us.

That means, if we want to support the national parks, and keep them available to everyone, we need to do it with taxpayer money.  No fee to enter or use the facilities, because you ALREADY PAID FOR IT.  If the parks are overcrowded, clearly we don't have enough of them and should designate more. The government already owns vast tracts of land it could designate.  Sometimes it forecloses on big ranches or other private tracts that could also be turned over for public recreation and/or wildlife restoration.  We need more room to plant trees to suck the carbon back out of the air anyhow.  Why not kill two birds with one stone?  Get people out in nature, invite them to plant furnished tree seedlings, fall in love with nature, save the world.  \o/

Minnesota Supports Bees

 ... by issuing grants up to $350 to turn lawns into wildflower gardens.

This is just one approach.  Some other states have nurseries where you can get native plants free or cheap.

For maximum effect, you want to connect habitats.  Identify your community's habitat areas such as parks, remnant forests, creeks -- anywhere with a lot of wildlife.  Make a pinmap.  Then target the spaces between those areas and try to recruit people to enhance their yard for wildlife habitat, enabling species to travel from one habitat area to another.  Fencerows and riparian zones are most effective for this, if you can convince people to devote that much territory to it.  But you can start with yards.

Dried Flowers


Nature Deficit

The teaser for this article asked: When did children stop playing outdoors?

When adults forcibly imprisoned themWhen parents who refused to imprison their children were criminalized.

Do not dare to blame children for staying home, or for the unhealthy results of isolation, obesity, and nature deficit disorder that follow.  Adults did it to them.  Blame the adults.

Free the children.  They can be so much more than they're allowed to be anymore.



 ... doesn't always work as well as we'd like.

But this reminded me of cases where nature rebounded spectacularly beyond all expectation: Chernobyl and Fukushima.  So why are they recovering so well, and some other areas not?  What's different?  Maybe the radiation.  Maybe the size.  Maybe the the very serious ban on humans, that's a good bet.  It would be worth comparing.

Meanwhile, I think the best thing we could do for rewilding is to apply copious amounts of organic matter -- manure, compost, humus, even just tilling under cover crops -- to restore nutrients and build soil before attempting to reintroduce native species.  Hell, sow it with alfalfa and let a herd of bison shit on it for a few years. You're not going to hack up old farmland any worse than it already is, and you might manage enough repair to give the restoration a better chance.


... is faring poorly in the face of climate change

What we could do to address water quality and habitat issues:

* Protect all the waterways where manoomin still grows.

* Restore as many as possible of the former ones by creating protected zones around them so the water will be clean and behave as needed for the wild rice to grow.

What we could do to address growing season issues:

* Start throwing seeds into lakes at the northern edge of its habitat, to see it will creep north with the shifting temperatures.  New territory may become suitable as old territory becomes unsuitable.  This will not help the tribes who relied on it, as they are now stuck with a tiny fraction of their old homeland, but it might just save the rice.

And one more that no white person is going to mention:

* Pray over it.  Track down all the old rituals and customs and restore as many of them as possible.  Because spirit plants and animals can be damn finicky -- if they don't feel appreciated, some of them will pack up and leave everyone to starve.  You had instructions for making it happy, you got them when you moved in there, use them. 

White people can help mostly by staying out of the way and letting this happen.  Stop fucking over the tribal people who are trying to fix the problem white people created.

Here are some traditional and modern recipes for wild rice.  It is better if you have manoomin, but in most places all you can get is cultivated "wild rice" which is nowhere near as good.  (The strains and processing are different, with different results.)

Kitchen Junk Drawer

 The kitchen junk drawer is largely responsible for domesticating wild rice.  That DNA is not useless.  It is there in case a species suddenly needs to do something different.  Then evolution reaches into the kitchen junk drawer and searches for a solution. Usually it finds one.  This is a LOT faster than waiting for random mutations to offer something brand-new.


So now children are afraid of nature, even desirable parts like butterflies, and some say their parents are too, so it's not all that new.

This is biophobia, an unreasoning fear or hatred of nature.  It leads people to avoid or destroy living things.  And this is absolutely lethal.  If it spreads too far, it will destroy the species, because humankind cannot live on a dead planet.  We probably wouldn't even survive a serious hit to the biosphere, as mice could, because we are large apex animals that require a lot of food to sustain.

This is what we get from decades of moving people from rural to urban areas and imprisoning children so they cannot explore nature and learn to love it.  If they don't love it, they'll fear it; and if they fear it, we're all fucked.  People destroy what they fear, and we can't live without nature.

I fucking told you so.

Types of Altruism

 ... influence dating and friendships

Most people prefer to connect with someone who will favor them over distant strangers (deontologist).  This is logical since the point of family is to make life easier together than alone.  If someone prefers to help distant strangers over close friends and family (consequentialist), they're not much of an improvement to your survival strategy.

They differ again in the "trolley problem" where a person is asked to choose between killing one person or several.  Generally the consequentialist will choose to divert and kill one person for the sake of saving several, whereas the deontologist will prefer to keep their hands clean by doing nothing and allowing more to die.  But those are random strangers.  If you're tied to the tracks, you better pray that the person making that choice is a deontologist who knows you, and will choose you over strangers. 

As an interesting corollary: How many people would have to be on the other track for you to kill someone you loved in order to save them?  100?  1,000,000?  The whole world?  Or would you let it all burn to save one person?  (I have freaked out philosophy professors just by saying, "What if Krypton was declining, but didn't actually explode until the lifeboat launched?")

While the trolley problem is artificial nonsense, the type of dilemma is very real.  How do we allocate survival resources, and why?  In this regard, deontology has an evolutionary advantage by perpetuating closely related genes that support it.


Speaking of the Dead

As a general rule, it is best not to speak ill of the dead, who are not readily able to defend themselves.  (Well, not where most people can hear it.) 

However, if the deceased was abusive, you are not obliged to conceal a crime.  Abuse is wrong, and if people don't speak out, it's just accepted as the norm and goes right on doing damage.

Another good rule is "comfort in, dump out."  If the abusive deceased was a member of your immediate family, then you have every right to say whatever you want to anyone.  If not, then you have to consider your stance on the above points -- let him get away with it by concealing the crime, or reveal it and upset a bunch of relatives who are already upset?

Which does the least damage is not necessarily clear.  Certainly people will be upset if you speak out.  But if you don't, you may hurt yourself worse, and you also lose an opportunity to encourage other survivors to speak out.  What if you're not the only person he abused?  What if he's not the only abuser in the family?  Which are likely problems.

Poem: "Like Little Fish"

This is the perk poem for the March 3, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl reaching its $150 goal. It was inspired by the "Fish" square in my 1-1-20 card for the Less Usual Bingo Patterns fest. This poem belongs to the Arts and Crafts America series.

Warning: This poem deals with multiple miscarriages.

Collapse )

Moroccan Mint Tea

 ... takes a while to make.

Interestingly, this differs from the Middle Eastern mint tea process that I'm familiar with: you pack layers of fresh mint tea and sugar in a container, pressing down hard with a tamper, then slowly pour boiling water over  them.  Allow that to sit for several minutes, then pour off the tea.  This version lacks the green tea, thus has no caffeine.

Artificial Sweeteners

 ... can be bad for you in various ways.  Most of these are not new.

However, this is the first time I've seen a reference to decoupling as a problem.  If confirmed by other studies, this would mean ANY sweetener with low or no calories -- whether artificial or natural -- would cause problems when combined with carbohydrates.  That includes stevia, a natural sweetener.  :/ The body uses sweetness to gauge how much is being consumed, how to process it, and when to feel satisfied.  Break the link between sweetness and carbohydrates, then the body gets confused and bad things start happening.  

I Voted

I voted in the Illinois primary election.

Have you voted? If so, you can reveal a verse. The following linkback poems still have verses available:
"Mysterious and Impermanent"
"Greater Than the Sum"
"A Lively Feast"
"Always Carry Your Goodness"
"Crossroads on the Hero's Journey"
"The Arc of the Mental Universe"
"So Often Alone"
"An Iron Fist"
"Mr. Ian Woon and the Excellent Adventure"
"The Bushfire Shawl"

Diet and Anxiety

A diet low in fruits and vegetables correlates with a higher incidence of anxiety.

There are lots of reasons why someone might feel anxious.  Living in hazardous conditions is one, and sometimes it happens for no discernible reason.  But diet is another, because if your body doesn't have all the raw materials it needs to make neurochemicals, your brain can run short of some and then you feel like crap. 

This is why, when you feel bad -- and not just with anxiety, anything -- a good first step is to check your diet.  Are you eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh, whole foods?  If not, try doing that and see if you feel better.  Unlike psychotropic drugs, a healthy diet doesn't have risky side effects, although it does cost more money than a junk diet (but less than drugs).  

For anxiety in particular, also check your subjective and objective safety levels.  If someone is mistreating you, or your life is otherwise insecure, then diet, drugs, or talk therapy won't make you feel better.  You need to solve the problem, then work on restoring your peace of mind.

Monday Update 3-16-20

These are some posts from the later part of last week in case you missed them:
New Crowdfunding Project: I Was a Teenage Creature ($3,532 pledged of $5,000 goal, 4 days to go)
Today's Smoothie (guava banana mango)
Community Building Tip: Alley Art
Read "Petrichor"
Friday Yardening
Would you shoot an albino deer?
Today's Smoothie (banana blueberry)
Poem: "Doing Business with Lead-Pipe Cruelty"
Poem: "Exist Without Permission"
Voting Rights
Self-Awareness Question: Greatest Strength
Today's Adventures
Good News

There will be a Poetry Fishbowl on Tuesday, March 17 with a theme of "anything goes." Mark your calendar, and I hope to see you then!

The [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam ran this weekend but nothing happened.

I am hosting an Arts and Crafts Festival to connect sellers with buyers. Please spread the word.

Poetry in Microfunding:

There are two open epics at present.

"To Be Something Stronger and Better" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Shiv. Tolli, Shiv, and Caroline hang out in the workshop after the sculpture show.

"Pride Against Prejudice" belongs to Polychrome Heroics. Find out what happened to Aconite.

The weather has been mild here. Seen at the birdfeeders this week: a big flock of assorted blackbird species, a big flock of mourning doves, a flock of sparrows, several cardinals, several dark-eyed juncos, a downy woodpecker, a squirrel, and a rabbit.  I have started spring planting.  Currently blooming: winter aconite, snowdrops, miniature iris, Cornelian cherry dogwood, maple, hazelnut.


Bean Recipes and Rice Recipes

These kidney bean recipes look good.  Kidney beans are an important pantry staple in many cuisines, dried or canned.  These are for navy beans. Nothing beats a can of beans for dealing with unexpected guests, because you can do so many things with it.

Here are some recipes that start with rice.  Put one of each on the table, and you get complete protein without having to mix them in the same dish.

Barbecued Muskrat

This recipe comes from Maryland.

These assertive spices should work on any meat where you don't really want to taste the meat.  Chicken would absolutely vanish into that.

If you want to taste the actual meat, for game species I recommend traditional Turtle Island spices such as juniper, sage, and whatever alliums grow wild in your area.  If you're dealing with an aquatic species such as muskrat or diving duck, and you're concerned about the 'fishy' taste, then a good trick is to combine it with actual fish in a chowder or similar recipe.

Long-Lasting Produce

These fruits and vegetables last a long time in your fridge.

They're what used to be called "good keepers."  Look for varieties that ripen last in their season.  Some things also last a long time at room temperature or slightly cooler, like winter squash.  These are things that you can keep in stock if you use them fairly often.  Perishable things you need to buy right before you use them, or if you use them often, you have to replenish every few days to a week.


 ... can reduce depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.  Presumably crochet and other fibercrafts have similar effects.

Imagine if counseling offices had supplies for this.  "Here is our cabinet of coping supplies.  A guide to which items are recommended for which conditions is on the door.  The most popular for depression and anxiety is knitting.  You can get a free bag of supplies with knitting needles, patterns, and enough yarn to make at least one project."  That's $5-10 of materials retail, depending on exact contents, and quite a lot less if you bought them wholesale. 

*ponder*  Hell, someone should just create a charity that hands out free fibercraft supplies to people with these problems.  Any fibercraft store could put up a display where folks could donate stuff to be packaged and handed out at local clinics or at the store itself.  Do you know someone with these problems?  Buy a knit kit to show them that you care.  This could help the stores by encouraging more people to take up a constructive hobby, too.

There's a reason crafters have memes like "Knitting is cheaper than therapy -- plus you get warm things!"  Nothing will fix everything, but many people find that this hobby helps a lot.

Postpartum Depression

 ... can affect fathers as well as mothers.  Since the support for women isn't great, it's likely much less for men, which is a problem.  Good luck improving access for either.

While the medical industry pressures people to get treatment, that takes time and money at a point when families have less of both.  Due to the nature of the triggers -- hormone swings and a crying baby -- this type of depression is often temporary.  Notice how they say it takes months to clear up on its own, but also months to clear up with treatment.  How much is that treatment shortening  the duration?  Possibly not much if at all.  Sometimes people just want to feel like they're "doing something."  I'd like to see a comparison between talk therapy, pills, a free nanny, and say $500-1000 a month extra to pay for baby expenses.  I suspect the latter would be more effective than the former, except in cases where the prevailing cause is biochemical imbalance (more likely in mothers than fathers).

In more practical terms, you can help reduce the chance or impact of this problem by offering to do housework, go shopping, or watch the baby/older kids so the parents can get some freaking sleep.  Postpartum depression can hit anyone, but it's much more likely to affect parents who are overburdened and underslept.

Who's Destroying the Amazon?

In addition to illegal loggers and a pro-deforestation president, whom we can't reach easily, there are other targets. These big banks funnel money into deforestation: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and BlackRock. 

Kick them in the wallet if you can, which is the only thing they care about.  Boycott the big banks that are cutting the lungs out of the biosphere. Find a credit union near you or a green bank.

Here are some general tips to stop Amazon deforestation.

Poetry Fishbowl Report for March 3, 2020

Our theme this session was "Broken Angels." I wrote from 12:15 PM to 6 AM, so about 15 hours 45 minutes allowing for breaks. I wrote 5 poems on Tuesday and another 5 later; they ran long this time.

Participation was lower but still quite lively, with 12 comments on LiveJournal and another 70 on Dreamwidth. A total of 17 people sent prompts. There were no new prompters.

Read Some Poetry!
The following poems from the March 3, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl have been posted:
"Doing Business with Lead-Pipe Cruelty"
"Exist Without Permission"
"The Health of Our Civilization"
"In Some Home Neighborhood"

"Petrichor" (standalone, January 7, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl) (linkback perk)
"Like Little Fish" (Arts and Crafts America, January 18, 2020) (free epic)

Buy some poetry!
If you plan to sponsor some poetry but haven't made up your mind yet, watch for the unsold poetry list from March 3. That will include the title, length, price, and the original thumbnail description for the poems still available. All sponsored poems from the fishbowl have been posted. This month's donors include: [personal profile] ng_moonmoth,[personal profile] janetmiles, and [personal profile] fuzzyred. There were no new donors. There are 0 tallies toward a bonus fishbowl.

The Poetry Fishbowl also has a permanent landing page.

Improve Soil to Store Carbon

Healthy soil stores more carbon than depleted soil. 

Hell, anyone can make soil.  Learn how to make healthy soil.  There are many ways to make compost.  This requires the right mix of brown/carbon and green/nitrogen ingredients.  Happily for our carbon sequestration goals, you need a lot more browns than greens.  In particular, once your compost is ready to use, you can fork in some wood chips to lock more carbon underground where they will decompose slower, absorb moisture, and release nutrients over time.  Just put another layer of fine compost on top if you plan to plant things in it.

Regarding manure, the basic advice is not to use any from carnivores or omnivores, for various reasons; but if it's shit, it can be composted.  If you're willing to get more technical, it is challenging but not impossible to run a very hot compost pile at home that can kill any potential problems.  Another option is pit composting, where you dump everything into a deep hole, cap it with a layer of soil, and then plant (preferably inedible) things in the clean top layer.  See The Humanure Handbook for ideas.

Unsold Poems for the March 3, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl

The following poems from the March 3, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. Poems may be sponsored via PayPal -- there's a permanent donation button on my Dreamwidth profile page -- or you can write to me and discuss other methods. There are still verses left in the linkback poems "Mysterious and Impermanent," "Greater Than the Sum," "A Lively Feast," "Always Carry Your Goodness," "Crossroads on the Hero's Journey," "Gökotta," "The Arc of the Mental Universe," "So Often Alone," "An Iron Fist," "The Bushfire Shawl," and "Petrichor."

"Brief Bright Flames"
This contributed to the free-verse poem "Brief Bright Flames." On Hali's birthday, Cas and Boss Blaster talk about family issues.
170 lines, Buy It Now = $85

Boss Blaster bounded down
the steps to the basement,
eager to show off his prize

"The Highest-Paid Professional Women"
Your prompt contributed to the free-verse poem "The Highest-Paid Professional Women." When a nun shows up to discuss prostitution, Boss Blaster is bemused.
420 lines, Buy It Now = $210

Boss Blaster was doing paperwork
at the dining room table when
Cas let a nun in the house

"Not a Sudden Problem"
Your gang prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Not a Sudden Problem." When the Hammerheads jump the Broken Angels, unexpected developments emerge.
703 lines, Buy It Now = $352

Ned and Gregg had split up to patrol
the North Bottoms neighborhood,
Ned in the car and Gregg on foot

"Their Wings Too Heavy"
Your prompt contributed to the free-verse poem "Their Wings Too Heavy." Heron meets Cas and Hali at Blues Moon.
849 lines, Buy It Now = $425

After breakfast, Shiv went down
to make the daily special menu
on the big standup chalkboard

These two appear in sequence:

"Releasing the Parts from False Position"
Your prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Releasing the Parts from False Position." Dr. Infanta wants a favor, and in return, Shiv asks her to fix an old problem.
275 lines, Buy It Now = $138

It was raining, and Shiv was thinking
about how much he didn't want
to go out in it because it made
his bones ache, when Lorry arrived
and gave him a good excuse not to

"By the Action of the Muscles"
This inspired the free-verse poem "By the Action of the Muscles." After getting his arm fixed, Shiv feels sufficiently awful to let Heron take care of him with a minimum of protest.
528 lines, Buy It Now = $264

Shiv woke up feeling like
he'd been hit by a truck,
backed over, and hit again

Today's Smoothie

This is similar to the last one we did:

1 cup guava nectar
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
2 tablespoons coconut milk

We didn't have a ripe banana yet, so we substituted frozen strawberries. We started out with the usual 1 cup of almond milk, but it refused to blend properly. I deduced that the problem was using two frozen fruits instead of one frozen and one fresh, so we added another 1/2 cup of almond milk. Then it blended down to a milkshake consistency. It tastes pretty good, though not quite as good as the last one.

For future reference, if using all frozen fruit, omit the ice cubes and see if that works better.