Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Weeds, Windows, and Wind

It was only a matter of time. Giant mutant weeds are taking over America's farmland. When environmentalist alarmists said it would happen, and then said it had started to happen, they were mostly ignored. The New York Times article today, Farmers Cope with Roundup Resistant Weeds. A variety of such weeds are proliferating, including giant Palmer Amaranths. Strangely, the amaranths are natives that were used, even cultivated, by the native American Indian tribes as food. The Times article wisely mostly avoids quoting gloating environmentalists, or organic farmers. It quotes a variety of commercial farmers who use Monsanto's Roundup Ready genetically-modified seed along with Roundup poison itself telling their woes with weeds.

I'm behind the curve, but slowly working my way through the Weeds TV series. I tried it a couple of years back and found be reminded how stupidly people act when stoned to be only minimally humorous. Having resumed the series recently, I find the later season's showing that being a dealer or a grower is not always all that easy to be a much funnier theme. Here in Mendocino County a lot of growers are not finding the idea of legalizing marijuana in California to be very funny either. The word is that prices dropped the last few years, between the recession and the semi-legal medical marijuana industry. Of course, on a small scale they can grow more and market more easily. There is also an apparently factual story circulating that a large tobacco company has bought up a lot of vacant land in our county.

So evolution rolls along, according to God's will (just kidding, I think God is a confusing concept). But try this one out for shutting up your local religious parasites. Darwin was God's prophet. God revealed to Charles Darwin how He had created the World, and how it works. Religious people can't usually help but argue about God. Once they See that Charles was His Prophet, they might get enough of a grip on reality to stop anthropomorphizing the universe.

Speaking of weeds, good politicians are almost always choked out by bad ones. The process begins at the town council and school board level. By the time you get to Congress, you got almost all Giant Mutant Amaranths. Some have red flowers, some have blue flowers, but they are all crowding out the rest of life on Earth. Or maybe the metaphor works better in reverse. The citizens are amaranths. By the time any get to Congress, they are Monsanto genetically-modified corporate freaks. The only way we can fix things is by becoming Giant Mutant Amaranths ourselves.

Windows and Wind. I almost forgot, and it is tempting to re-write the previous paragraph because of the obvious connection between politicians and wind. But let's take on Windows first.

Glass is everywhere in our society, but that is a recent development. Windows, classically, were just holes in walls. Usually with shutters so they could be closed on cold days. They have given philosophers much to ponder upon. Centuries of philosophic endeavor were spent worrying about whether the eyes and human senses, our windows on the world, could be trusted. (See Questions to the Illusionists). Windows typically are distinguished from their cousins, ports and valves, by the idea that they mainly let in information: a view. In letting in (or out) a view they create their own problems, mainly of a defensive nature. Castles and forts have minimal windows. You want to see the enemy, but don't want arrows or bullets flying in your windows. For those who want to see and be safe, there is bulletproof glass, but that is rapidly being replaced by cameras. Politicians and military men, being camera shy, are masters at the art of smokescreens. Strangely, there are more video cameras spying on us in our supposedly free nation than George Orwell ever imagined in his totalitarian novel 1984.

Windows keep out the wind, but environmentalists are loving wind these days. Why with wind you can have power without pollution. The problem is there are just too many human beings in the world these days, and their individual and collective power expectations are phenomenal. Massive amounts of wind power require massive turbines, which require massive amounts of steel, which requires massive mines, and steel mills, and burning of coke (which produces carbon dioxide). The wind gathering machinery itself is a blight on the land, killing birds and driving away other wildlife.

I love technology and science, but it seems that every time we solve a problem with technology, we create a bigger one. Modern medicine, largely a fruit of Darwin, has led to lower human death rates, giving us an unsupportable population.

There really is only one environmentally friendly technological solution, and that is birth control. World wide, and compulsory.

And because politicians have other concerns, that solution is not going to happen. Voluntary birth control helps, but it has proven to be insufficient.

I am no prophet, but I can see the most likely future: intensifying competition between humans for resources, and for survival itself.

I suspect the new winners will be those who thrive on a diet consisting largely of giant mutant amaranth.

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