Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
ENGINEERING SALMON CONSUMERS
“The main concern addressed was whether the genetically engineered salmon could escape and establish themselves in the wild, with detrimental environmental consequences. The larger salmon, for instance, could conceivably outcompete wild Atlantic salmon for food or mates. The agency said the chance this would happen was ‘extremely remote.’ It said the salmon would be raised in inland tanks with multiple barriers to escape. Even if some fish did escape, the nearby bodies of water would be too hot or salty for their survival. And reproduction would be unlikely because the fish would be sterilized, though the sterilization technique is not foolproof.” Damn, I guess they're right; I don't see a flaw in their reasoning, not even a loophole the size of a salmon/eel gene switch. It's as safe and sure a thing as so many other government promises. Maybe even better than those decades of Fukushima reactor assurances, starting back in the 1970s and going on until March of last year, when they somehow turned into actual lies. Odds must be, jeez, like one in-- some other number! And growth hormone year round, too! What could go wrong there? Wonder what kind of labfood they're fed in those tanks. Unevolved, human-made and bred fish naturally aren't very smart. I suppose these would have to taste pretty close to salmon. But most folks won't know what they're eating.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Some say that the first half of life is spent acquiring things, and the last half is spent letting them go. That's generally true, I suppose, but it's different for travelers, who from the start of their journey begin to let things go. One of the unsung benefits of travel is learning how to do this, how not to invest too much of your presence in static physical things.
If you're a traveler, by now you know the deepest meaning of goodbye. As to physical things, you've learned to never accumulate more than you wish to carry, and from your first day of wander you've worked to pare even that down, to give yourself maximum mileage; you therefore reduce all that matters to practicals, minimals, symbols, essences, thoughts, memories, things you can take with you when you go-- as you always do, or at least always think of doing.
If in your latter travels you physically settle down somewhere, in spirit you still treat time like a traveler, still live like a traveler, consider like a traveler, eye your surrounds like a traveler, always thinking: maybe next month, maybe next year; viewing all your trappings with a measuring eye, plotting what to do with them at departure, give them to friends who might need them, enjoy them, pass them on... for you know what anchors possessions can be to fluent passage on the endless river - known only to travelers - that runs always through the world and has carried you here, the marvelous river you've never really left, that runs now inside you, calling to the boat of your soul...
The traveler spends his life letting go and going on, and at death it is the same.
Friday, December 14, 2012
First snow of winter fell during the night and is still falling. Kind of late, even on the mountaintops; the first white dusting was only a couple of weeks ago. When it's still dark and you're just waking you can tell by the deeper silence that it has snowed; then the quiet fills with light and seems even thicker...
When you hear that silence, peep out the window and behold that whiteness covering all you see, something changes in you as when you were a kid, that ancient winter quickening, a new flow you can feel, a current native to the bone, this new cold white adventure just beginning to build, for there are things to be done, special things-- snow to be shoveled, outdoor items to be covered or moved into snowless places (good thing the snow tires are on -- a smile), break out the Sorels, the heavy socks and gloves, get the snowcoat, thick hat, shovels, heavy brooms, car brush, window scrapers, cover the wheelbarrow, put the ladders away, bury the garden faucets and hoses beneath mounds of leaves, stack more firewood closer to the house before the snow builds its deadline.
The dawning birdsongs are sharper and clearer - more frugal; energy is at a premium -
Appetites change too, as a result of all this action, this freshness of air scrubbed through the night by trillions of fine-edged waterflakes; hunger gets big, the body gets ready for what is to come, the work and the fuel, the food and the firewood, the lifting and shoveling and hauling, fighting the doubtless wind, pushing through the deepening snow, ice to be chipped away, like old days of waiting...
Saturday, December 08, 2012
FAHRENHEIT - um - WHAT WAS THAT NUMBER AGAIN?
Slowly the moves the big eraser...
"American literature classics are to be replaced by insulation manuals and plant inventories in US classrooms by 2014.
A new school curriculum which will affect 46 out of 50 states will make it compulsory for at least 70 per cent of books studied to be non-fiction, in an effort to ready pupils for the workplace.
Books such as JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird will be replaced by "informational texts" approved by the Common Core State Standards."
Monday, December 03, 2012
CONVERSATIONS WITH PEPPERS
Only carnivorously tabloid reporters and hyperlonely folks with no vegetable friends make fun of gardeners who talk to their plants. Look at what happened to Prince Charles. He stopped admitting it, speaks to vegetative bodies only in private now, except perhaps when he addresses parliament.
But the fact is that all gardeners talk to their plants, especially in early winter, like me this morning when I was walking the rows clearing the gray stalks and wilted vines, harvesting what I could and pausing to amaze over the stalwart peppers, especially the incipient ones huddled on thin stems trying to become green in the cold.
Peppers originated in warm climates, so cold is not their friend, but they were literally hangin' in there, the younger, smaller, yet still piquant ones that, despite their brave efforts, were beginning to turn yellow as though they were holding their breath. Under the pitiful circumstances, who with a beating heart could simply walk by these wannabe succulent emerald lives and say nothing? Any such folk should not be gardening, for they hold no esteem in the vegetable world. Agrobizzers, likely.
I could only sympathize and be thankful to the virtually shivering capsicums for all their efforts, as for example the savor they gave to my chili last week, but for all that green shivering it was a pretty one-sided conversation. Still, I could make out some words of their language, which is not subject to the limitations of mere sound like ours, but takes the form of light and color; thus no need for crude lips or vocal chords. Most of what I could make out from their side was in the nature of “Get me out of here!” Which I did.
Our conversations were therefore brief, as I went down the rows emanating pepperish gratitude as best I could, knowing that any buds left in place would grow no more, now that the cold was waxing fast. I harvested whoever was of sliceable size, to help me continue with my life; the rest would become part of next years' proud summer pepper chorus.
Peppers do appreciate an audience.