June 3rd, 2021


Coping Skills: Cleaning

Folks have mentioned an interest in questions and conversations that make them think. So I've decided to offer more of those. This is the current list of coping skills.

10. Clean or organize your environment.

This method is fantastic when you feel like everything is fucked up or out of control.  Here is something you can fix.  \o/

I find it most helpful to focus on small projects, such as:
* Pick up 3 things that are out of place and put them away.
* Clean a sink or section of countertop.
* Fill 1 bag with clothes to donate.
* Organize 1 shelf, box, or other small area.
* Put things into 1 organizer, such as a basket or drawer divider.
* Check cleaning supplies in 1 area (e.g. under the sink) and list those needing replacement.


Today is partly cloudy and mild.

I fed the birds.  I've seen house finches and doves today.

I planted 3 pots of purple prairie clover and 5 of red cardinal flower to put on the picnic table.

I planted the first 3 privets in the savanna hedge.  With hungry bees buzzing around my head and grass tufts raining gametes all over me.  >_<

EDIT 6/3/21 -- I planted 3 more privets in the savanna hedge.

EDIT 6/3/21 -- I put topsoil around the 6 privets and covered them.

EDIT 6/3/21 -- I watered the 6 privets.

Human Overpopulation

This article argues that humans aren't overpopulated because the birth rate is below replacement.

Bullshit.  The shrinkage is a good  thing for the planet, because human overpopulation is causing all kinds of problems.  The current 7+ billion population is about 3 times the sustainable maximum.  Less would be better.  For most of history, the population was under 1 million and only crossed 1 billion around 1800.  Devastation rose sharply after that, so I'd call 1 billion a tolerable maximum and 1 million a lot better for everything else on the planet.

Yes, a shrinking population poses its own problems.  However, these are much less than the cost of an environmental crash, like we're heading for now.  Infinite growth in a finite system is the philosophy of the cancer cell, and that ends badly for everyone.

Body Augmentation

This study used a "third thumb," which is neither the right size nor position (it should be smaller and higher to mirror the flesh thumb), and should have been controlled by hand or arm motion rather than foot, but which worked anyway. 

Amusingly, they didn't mention -- and likely are not aware of -- the very old, static prosthetic thumb.  It's commonly called a shucking peg after its most famous use, but can be used in many other tasks.  There are many styles, but they break into two basic forms: a protrusion that works like an extra thumb, or a hook that's more like an extra fingernail.  They can be used to hold, puncture, tear, or open things.

Humans use a lot  of prosthetic devices that aren't really thought of that way.  Clothes are prosthetic fur, sometimes literally.  Shoes give tender feet the protection of hard hooves, and gloves make up for missing fingerpads.  A hat provides the sun shade that some other species get from a tail.  A purse, briefcase, backpack, etc. is like the marsupial pouch or folds of skin that some species use to carry everything from babies to food.  Jewelry is a mate attraction device, like the fanciful colors or large horns of some species, and it takes effort to obtain which is why it's sometimes used as a gauge of productivity and thus fitness.

Scientific Replication

... is facing a crisis.  Nonreplicable hype studies are cited far more often than replicable studies.  See, this is why I say that adding money to science gets you economics, not science.  Much the same is true if you add politics.  People are producing and publishing bunk because it is exciting and rewarding.  They do not publish as much truth, because it makes less money and gets less attention.  When you set up science to require money and attention, you get more bunk than real science.  That's a problem.

There is a high degree of inaccuracy in studies to begin with.  Among the most ubiquitous flaws are bad sampling and poor research design.  This isn't a matter of one bad lab or university or journal.  It's the system.  This becomes especially obvious in secondary research, where a collating study may throw out many previous studies in its topic range due to visible flaws, poor recordkeeping, and related issues.

You can deal with this yourself by triangulating data.  Anything that has not been replicated should be considered a point of interest, not a fact.  You need at least 3 solid studies to consider something even somewhat reliable.  And remember that a lot of advice gets reversed 5-10 years down the line anyway.

The Secret Lives of Trees

This article talks about the awareness and connectivity of trees.  It's nice to have detail, but none of this is a surprise to tree-friends.  Trees are perfectly willing to commune with and help two-legs, but the Ent reference is absolutely apt: you have to be patient and approach the tree as close to its timeframe as you can.

Then again, when sufficiently pissed off, trees can be a lot louder and faster.  Not long ago we visited a local nature reserve that has hacked down way too many trees to create spaces for humans instead of wildlife.  It was very disturbing to walk the trails with the trees groaning, clattering, and throwing things at our heads.  O_O  I can't blame them, but still, yikes.