Open Thread - Thurs 19 May 2022 - Whatcha Reading?

Currently I'm reading a book called Don't Worry [It's Safe to Eat] by Andrew Rowell.

It's a bit old; was first published in 2003 as a hardback, but it's still pertinent because it discusses some of the political and social machinations that surround GM food and agriculture today and in the recent past. I decided to read it because I was in the UK when BSE happened, and the BSE thing really changed the way I thought about food. Before I was a bit of a twee 'organic maybe' kinda person. After I was vegetarian (at least while living in England), strongly in support of organic foods, and determined to raise as much of my own food as possible. I find the information in the book makes me angry more than it scares me, although I suppose the cupidity and the stupidity of the ruling elites, whether they be academics (hey, I'm one, sometimes!), or politicians or just a lackey in the regulation industry is more than angrifying, it's also scary, or would be if I wasn't numb to it.

I wasn't in England during the more recent Food and Mouth debacle. I'm glad I wasn't. I would have probably been arrested while protesting in support of the farmers who refused to let the government kill every animal they had; every sheep, every cow, every goat. For NOTHING! The cull didn't work. And it was illegal. Those farmers who refused to allow all their stock to be destroyed were simply ignored by the governmental murderers and they didn't get Foot and Mouth in their herds as they followed commonsense protocols such as isolation and vaccination.

The book goes into the politics and 'science' behind the government's reaction to BSE and Foot and Mouth. It discusses American politics and science as well, and their influence on the UK's reaction. Fascinating, and disheatening. Here's a review of the book from GM Watch from when it was first released: BOOK REVIEW: Don't Worry, It's Safe to Eat.

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I just finished reading a book about various 'illnesses' which seem to have no real physical cause. But they have many psychogenic causes, and are legitimate even if the western medical conglomerate doesn't usually think so. The book is called The Sleeping Beauties And Other Stories of Mystery Illness by Suzanne O'Sullivan, published in 2021. It starts by talking about the 'resignation syndrome' illness found in immigrant children in Sweden. Only Sweden, only immigrants. It goes on to talk about other similar mass 'psychosis' illnesses in Central and South America, New York, Kazahkstan, the US Embassy in Cuba (and other embassies around the world). It's fascinating, and shows how little we know about the boundaries (if there are any) between the human mind and body.

There's some reviews at the Goodreads entry for this book, and here's part of a review from the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine (the author of the book is Irish).

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Now, for the fun stuff. I'm still on the goatie thing, so here's a picture of my precious baby Lily. This was in 2017. Lily almost died of starvation. She has two big huge brothers, and she simply couldn't get enough milk from her mother after about two weeks, when the brothers started hogging everything, and she quickly (like in about 20 hours) began to starve. She was (and still is) so tiny. So her Mom let me adopt her; this doesn't usually happen for babies that are more than a day or so old - they refuse to drink from a bottle and so they eventually die Sad . Lily lived in the house with us hoomans and Jaska, house trained herself, eagerly drank milk from the bottle I prepared her every 4 to 6 hours, went outside to be a 'goat' with her Mom during the day, and quickly flourished. This pic shows how small she was soon after I found her nearly dead in the goat shed. She's next to one of my slipper boots, and could fit inside it. And she's almost two weeks old in the pic! lily_boot_16_june_2017.jpg

So, Whatcha reading recently? Here's the open thread - and remember, everything is interesting if you dive deep enough, so post about what you have found interesting lately!

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Sima's picture

It might not rain today! As Earthling1 noted, it's been raining like crazy here in the NW, but I'm hoping it won't rain today. Got manure to move and things to plant and so on.

Hope you are all doing well. Tell us all about what you are interested in and thinking about in this open thread, looking forward to reading it later in the day!

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

earthling1's picture

@Sima
May pick them at the library if they can get them. Or buy.
As a condition of continuing employment years ago,I had to take class in hazardous materials.
The instructor got the whole class's attention right away when she told us that before the Renaissance,there were fewer than two hundred artifical man made chemicals/compounds in existence.
Today, there are over two million. And we really don't fully know what effect these have on the world environment, let alone the human body.
We know now our bodies are showing trace amounts of micro plastics from regular table salt, and like amounts from glysophates from you cornflakes.
But what happens, over time, when these artifical chemical/compounds mix together in our bodies?
Or the preservatives, coloring, and bonding agents we read on side of our food containers mixing with the micro plastics/big ag chemicals?
We just don't know what the really long term effects this will have on our bodies, our environment, or even other plant and animal life.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Sima's picture

@earthling1
we humans have created in the last couple centuries. Depressing too, in a way. The thing that opened my eyes as a young adult (I was about 21 or 22) was learning that the probably reason for BSE was that the food entities (for cattle/sheep/etc) take the remains of butchered cattle/sheep etc and cook them into a slurry which they dry to make cattle/sheep/etc food. And, they had changed the rules about cooking to make it possible to use a lower temp, and, the BSE thing survived that. So basically, they were feeding herbivores meat and then surprised when the herbivores got sick! The thought of how unnatural that was made, and makes, me sick.

I think you can get both books through the library, maybe Inter-library loan (I use that a lot) if necessary. But both are recent (the paperback of the first book was published 2015) so the library probably has them. Mine does! Smile

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

using treated lumber for raised beds earlier in the week

Don’t!

Depending on what it’s treated with, could be Not Good if you plan to ingest what you grow

Pressure Treated(red or green PT) Will have arsenic, copper and chromium in it
Nasty Shite

Use Untreated Southern Yellow Pine, should last 10-15 years East Coast

Untreated Doug Fir should last 10 years West Coast

Red Cedar(anywhere) about the same

Flax seed oil or butcher block oil will extend this somewhat

Ground contact just rots the wood it’s what it does

Use caution

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Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

Explain Bldg #7. . .

If you’ve ever wondered whether you would have complied in 1930’s Germany,
Now you know. . .
Sign at protest march

Lookout's picture

@Tall Bald and Ugly

We have dry summers and I much prefer in ground beds, plus they have the advantage of being able to drive over to dole out manure and/or mulch.

Last book I read was Ranvenous about the discovery of the cancer diet relationship by a Nazi, Jewish scientist. Truth is stranger than fiction. Amazon blurb below:

The extraordinary story of the Nazi-era scientific genius who discovered how cancer cells eat―and what it means for how we should.

The Nobel laureate Otto Warburg―a cousin of the famous finance Warburgs―was widely regarded in his day as one of the most important biochemists of the twentieth century, a man whose research was integral to humanity’s understanding of cancer. He was also among the most despised figures in Nazi Germany. As a Jewish homosexual living openly with his male partner, Warburg represented all that the Third Reich abhorred. Yet Hitler and his top advisors dreaded cancer, and protected Warburg in the hope that he could cure it.

In Ravenous, Sam Apple reclaims Otto Warburg as a forgotten, morally compromised genius who pursued cancer single-mindedly even as Europe disintegrated around him. While the vast majority of Jewish scientists fled Germany in the anxious years leading up to World War II, Warburg remained in Berlin, working under the watchful eye of the dictatorship. With the Nazis goose-stepping their way across Europe, systematically rounding up and murdering millions of Jews, Warburg awoke each morning in an elegant, antiques-filled home and rode horses with his partner, Jacob Heiss, before delving into his research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Society.

Hitler and other Nazi leaders, Apple shows, were deeply troubled by skyrocketing cancer rates across the Western world, viewing cancer as an existential threat akin to Judaism or homosexuality. Ironically, they viewed Warburg as Germany’s best chance of survival. Setting Warburg’s work against an absorbing history of cancer science, Apple follows him as he arrives at his central belief that cancer is a problem of metabolism. Though Warburg’s metabolic approach to cancer was considered groundbreaking, his work was soon eclipsed in the early postwar era, after the discovery of the structure of DNA set off a search for the genetic origins of cancer.

Remarkably, Warburg’s theory has undergone a resurgence in our own time, as scientists have begun to investigate the dangers of sugar and the link between obesity and cancer, finding that the way we eat can influence how cancer cells take up nutrients and grow. Rooting his revelations in extensive archival research as well as dozens of interviews with today’s leading cancer authorities, Apple demonstrates how Warburg’s midcentury work may well hold the secret to why cancer became so common in the modern world and how we can reverse the trend. A tale of scientific discovery, personal peril, and the race to end a disastrous disease, Ravenous would be the stuff of the most inventive fiction were it not, in fact, true.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Sima's picture

@Lookout
I think I will look it up and add it to my 'to be read' list. THanks for the recommendation.

We've got really wet ground here, about 1 to 2 feet down is a solid clay pan which makes for very wet winters, early springs, and late falls. In the summer though (which here is after mid June or later) it gets very dry. We used regular ground beds for raising our crops, but we have raised beds for herbs and things we want all year round. Have to water those raised beds a lot more, but they survive winter wetness, when the paths and fields have weeks of standing water, well.

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

earthling1's picture

@Tall Bald and Ugly
I used plain pine shipping crates with wood blocks for feet initially, but just watering ate it up from the inside after a couple of seasons.
Now I use raised beds just poured on the ground with my little Kobota tractor. But I have a lot of room at the farm. In my backyard garden I use concrete blocks to line a 14'x 22' raised bed.
I've become rather anal with what goes into my soil. I won't take leaves from the rain gutters along my roof because the asphalt tiles "bleed" chemicals. Nor from the street gutter, contaminated with who knows what dumped in the street, in addition to oils drippings from passing cars and asbestoes dust from brake linings. I don't use grass clippings that may have been treated with weed & feed fertilizers.
And of course, I never use comercial chemical fertilizers. It's not an easy task protecting your organic garden or farm.
Thanks for the great tip.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Sima's picture

@earthling1
Earthling1, but if you have neighbors with horses etc, maybe ask to be allowed to compost the manure? Makes for great soil after composting. You do have to make sure they aren't putting chemicals etc into the horses/manure area. We used to get manure from a stables nearby, they were so happy to get rid of it they trucked it to us, and were quite willing to follow the rules we had about chemicals, etc. Anal about what goes in your soil? Exactly the way to be!

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

@Tall Bald and Ugly
There are remains of packet landing dock posts of the stuff that have been stuck in the muck in Cape Cod Bay that were in use in the eighteenth century. I salvaged some Black Locust trees blown over by Hurricane Bob in 1991. One still supports the mailbox and two others frame our garden gate, 30+ years on!

The stuff is hard and heavy, but lasts longer in ground contact than any North American wood that I’m aware of. It would be perfect for raised beds and long lasting garden stakes!

(I’ve been told it’s in the legume family. If so, it should easily support Jack’s Giant, if need be.)

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“We have a very small window in which we need to make a fundamental shift away from capitalism.” Kshama Sawant

Sima's picture

@ovals49
As you say. It is in the legume family. It's got the most amazing flowers, such a beautiful smell, and it's got some wicked thorns on the smaller branches. It makes great fence posts, and lumber, and I love it as a shade tree. Just gotta wear gloves when handling it.

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

@Sima
are toxicity of bark and seeds if ingested. So remember not to put these on your wild forage list. Also some rumors that the thorns can cause serious infections, but I think it’s more likely not from thorn toxicity itself but from puncture wounds with nasty bacteria, like with rose thorns.

They are also considered invasive in some parts and apparently are as difficult to get rid, of once established, as Yucca. Leaving the stump and roots in the ground will lead to an endless parade of sprouts that will require regular snipping or mowing, perhaps for decades.

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“We have a very small window in which we need to make a fundamental shift away from capitalism.” Kshama Sawant

Sima's picture

@ovals49
We lost the main tree I raised from seed in a weird windstorm in August a few years back. The storm made several tornado like mini cells, or something, that paraded across our pasture and took out a few trees. You could see the circular wind pattern in the beaten down pasture grass. Anyway, that tree has regrown and sent out shoots all through the lawn. They are easy to control, as we mow them down with the lawn mower. But if we forget, there will be a 15 foot tall new tree in about a year or two. Can cut it down with clippers, but it sure grows fast!

I don't let the goats eat the leaves, as I've heard they are poisonous. Our goats don't eat things like that, they taste them, but then back off, so I've not had any problem. I sure wouldn't eat the 'peas' they make as seeds. But the smell of the blossoms is heavenly, gotta admit. I've never been hurt by one of the thorns, err, I have been hurt/poked/stabbed, but never had an infection.

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Sima's picture

@Tall Bald and Ugly
We can get cedar and such, so we use that. I grow black locust (from one seed, curated from california!) and we use that for fence posts as needed. Never, ever do I make a bed from treated wood. It's just not safe. We actually use 1/2 inch by 6 inch fencing boards for our beds. They are pine. Yes, they rot, but it takes years for a raised bed because it's open to the air on one side, which tends to slow the rotting. We've beds we made from 1 inch by 10 inch boards (pine again) for the berries. They have been in a wet area for over 20 years. The berries are high enough when planted in the beds they don't suffer from the water. Anyway, the boards are just now starting to rot through.

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1 user has voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

QMS's picture

Ha, ha. Funny Freudian flip. Love your little goat.
Just finished the Kennedy book on Fauci.
Goes to show what kind of monsters steer policy.

Switching back to Sci-fi. Take me out to space.
This planet is populated by some evil players.

Raining here as well today.
Good excuse to sit by the fire and veg out
with a good read. Thanks for the OT Smile

Chow!

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Sima's picture

@QMS
Isn't it? Blush I gotta get that book on Fauci read. I think it might make me too angry or depressed right now though. We had sun today, and maybe will have some tomorrow! And the winds died down so it wasn't blowing 25 mph across the fields! Was great outside.

I need to get back to reading Sci-Fi too. A few years ago my Dad gave me a new sci-fi book to read that he thought I'd enjoy. It was so grim, so depressing, I couldn't finish it. About how everyone lived in towers of RVS, never could go outside, played games and did schooling without ever leaving home, their whole lives were on the computers... damn, it sounds like now, doesn't it?

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1 user has voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

enhydra lutris's picture

come back later." Good morning Sima (et. y'all). Should already be outside or otherwise at work, try to read at night, but by then I mostly just futz around with sudoku. Have to organize my time better - never have, never will, but it's a good mantra.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Sima's picture

@enhydra lutris @enhydra lutris
You aren't alone! Got a new phone a few months ago. My old phone was about, errr, 8 to 10 years old. How embarrassing is that? Anyway, the new phone has 'woodoku' on it. And, I'm addicted. I actually play the game on my computer now, through firefox. Read a webpage, do a few moves on woodoku, do some actual work on the computer, do a few moves on woodoku, post here, do a few moves on woodoku... I claim that it keeps my mind clear!

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

usefewersyllables's picture

dystopia in my life, so I'm rereading Vonnegut's "Player Piano", to be followed by Heinlein's "If This Goes On". Pretty much shows you where my brain (such as it is) is these days. When you have to delve into escapism to reassure yourself that things could *worse*, things must be pretty gnarly...

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

Sima's picture

@usefewersyllables
I haven't read their stuff in ages, but I think you are right, it might reflect where our minds are right now.

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

usefewersyllables's picture

@Sima

who the real Nehemiah Scudder will turn out to be. I'm thinking Tom Cotton has the inside track on it right now. But for the next presidential cycle, the repub facet of the uniparty is almost certain to raise themselves up a serious biblethumper in an attempt to counter the Trump Train by bringing in the sheep- and after that, it'll be Katie-bar-the-door.

The uniparty as a whole appears to be blissfully unaware of the first rule of technical Magick, which I believe goes like this: "Do not call up that which you cannot put down". Immanentizing the eschaton, indeed!

Gonna have to dust off my Robert Anton Wilson collection again, as well. I'm not reading anything new these days- just letting my brain meander effortlessly down the same old classic ruts... Once again, I'm glad that I'm old and childfree.

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

Sima's picture

@usefewersyllables
Me too (or at least getting there)! And me too! And I'm also glad of it. At times I regret the childfree aspect, but not that often. I think that's why I have so many animals, all with names and personalities (yes, mostly goats). They, my dog, the chickens, the cats, are my children!

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so