- Magical world view - expanded cosmology, nature, and apocalyptic world view, a rejection of science. Our religion was founded by this kind of thinking - Book of Mormon was translated with a rock and they used divining rods, etc. for trying to scry god's will. Plus I worry that planning for a savior to come and solve the problems for us in a Millenial conflict keeps us from really addressing the problems we have.
- Secret knowledge and levels - Temple, second endowment, but it also levels of priesthood and church callings. The hierarchical thinking about knowledge and transparency. I think this is one of the reasons the LDS church stopped revealing results of its audits. It does them, but it isn't open to the whole body of the church. It is need to know information. But this kind of culture makes it relatively easy to suppress and ignore past history that is negative. Just shut that away because it will hurt people's faith and keep that knowledge to the people who are in higher levels and can handle it.
- Set apart - being a Chosen people means others are not chosen. In Harry Potter, you literally get a special invitation and come to a secret school in a secret location. But it means that the magical community is isolated even when surrounded by muggle towns and neighbors. It would have been such a different book if they had banded together with muggles to fight Voldemort. For us in the LDS church, it also means that we aren't fully in our communities. Think about even the language we use to describe ourselves - a ward family, brother, sister, gentile, active, inactive, apostate, nonmember, investigator. We are invested heavily in our church lives - activities, seminary, church, missions, church schools, social networks, business networks, etc. And it enables us to be separate to be a holy and peculiar people, but it may mean we aren't truly invested in our communities. It means we see the rest of the world as other.
- Power and authority reinforced through social control - In Harry Potter they have separate schools, a separate ministry, different shops, etc. And Voldemort isn't the only enemy to Harry - it is the ministry itself that is trying to hold on to power and keep control and although they are against Voldemort - the worst of embodiment of the separatism that keeps Muggles out of their lives, they justify plenty of terrible actions to keep power and maintain their isolation. And they do it out of love - out of trying to do their best to keep their culture and their people safe.
Wednesday, April 07, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
Friday, January 22, 2021
- Carbon-negative farming techniques - banking organic matter in soil. These include: cover crops, no-till, optimal nitrogen fertilizer applications, and bioenergy crops. I am a little skeptical that bioenergy crops are the solution, and he didn't talk about coproduction of wind and solar energy as part of farming. There are a lot of windmills going up throughout the Midwest and I think with better energy storage and local energy utilization methods they could be a key component of sustainable carbon-negative farming techniques.
- Agriculture will be a major player for good or for ill in climate change. Think storing carbon while producing food vs chopping down rainforest for soybean fields. Runoff of Nitrogen, phosphorous, and soil into rivers and the ocean vs efficiently converting that into organic matter - improved soils, feed, food for livestock and people.
- Technologies available now
- Nitrous oxide abatement - precision N application and management
- Carbon sequestration - Cover crops, no till
- Cellulosic bioenergy - He didn't count this but anytime we can use all the biomass for animal feed that has to be better than grain fed systems.
- Plant N use efficiency
- Increased carbon sequestration - more roots, stabilization, better capture of organic matter in the soil
Monday, December 21, 2020
Merry Christmas and looking forward to the New Year!
So this was a year. . . So much seemed to happen this year that we weren't really expecting. Going into January we were expecting to start preparing to move to Scotland and thinking about all the changes that would bring. I travelled to Mexico for meetings at CIMMYT and did not expect that to be end of my travel for 2020. I had tickets purchased even for trips to Africa, Scotland, and Mexico that were never used. Then as we got closer to March, it was beginning to look like Covid was going to disrupt those plans. I started working from home. The kids activities were cancelled, school moved virtual, and I must have checked the covid monitoring site at John's Hopkins a billion times.
Although there were rough spots globally - climate change effects on wildfires, melting glaciers, and environment, all the protests for racial justice and equality, all the election craziness, this was a year that we were able to learn a lot of new things. I went skiing for the first time. Aleah mastered beading and bread making. Emily has really leaned into ceramics. Leila has been working on new patterns sponsored by Michael Miller fabrics along with YouTube video tutorials, paper patterns, and distributing to fabric stores. Colleen at the beginning of the year took gymnastics, rock climbing, and now has joined the swim team. Kate programmed actively on Scratch this summer and has loved using the wacom pad to do graphic art. Becca and I read a ton of books this year - all of the Harry Potter books, Narnia, and so many others. She also has become the best pen pal, writing letters to her friends from school.
Interviews with the kids about this year below - minimally edited for clarity.
Best - Wild Kratts autograph - they wrote her back and sent a signed post card. First letter from Cindy, going to the cabin. Calling Esther and writing letters. Visiting Cindy. Making tamales.
Worst - pollution and covid
School - Zoom, independent study always having to wear masks
Media - Wild Kratts, SheRa, Gravity Falls, Hilda, audiobooks on Epic and Sora.
Books - Serpents secret, Harry Potter, Narnia, Wolves of the Beyond, Frog and Toad
Best - playing with Nora and the Gardunia/Cannon Bubble. Making cookies, brownie recipe - double chocolate from Martha Stewart's Cookies.
Favorite memory - Nora and Kate made a really huge cookie. Added too much milk and then mixed too much. Bubbled in the oven and then put it in ice cream
School: Online - likes being able to manage self - own space and can take breaks. Doesn't like that it is more fact-based and less experiential because harder to show, see, and experiment online.
Worst - wildfires, covid19
Video: Dr Who - Top recommendation, Sherlock, Shera - Catra + Adora forever, Nightvale, webtoon, Scratch,
Music: Dode, Alex Benjamin, AJR
Books: SuperNova, Renegades, Life of Pi, Last Wings of Fire book
Best - bread and beading. Favorite bread: Rosemary focaccia https://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/6144-rosemary-focaccia
Favorite memory of the year - getting the robot through the maze in robotics
Worst - quarantine and the library being closed.
Recs - Mandalorian, Magnus Archives, Wolf 359, Alice isn't Dead, Gravity Falls, House on Mango St, webtoons,
Best - in school at the beginning of the year and going to the cabin this summer. New hobbies - Swimming hard - 2 hr practices 4-5 days a week. Gymnastics and climbing last spring. Zoom meetings and wacom pad. Pride Month and black lives matter on YouTube
Worst - staying at home for covid19, six grade camp cancelled. Time doesn't make any sense
Media - Good Place, Gilmore Girls, The Office, Parks and Rec, DeAngelo Wallace, the Come-up
Internet - webtoons, Sora, Zoom, Spotify
Books - Cassie West, reading Land of Stories with Becca, Hunger Games, Cinder, Matched, Allie Carter
Music - Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Melanie Martinez, Olivia Obrien, Haley Steinfield, B. Miller
Looking forward to covid vaccine, going back to school, life not being so boring.
I didn't interview her for this - I can't believe she is already 20 years old!! She continues to do well at Truman. She lives off campus and has been working at Starbucks and HyVee. Celia, her girlfriend, did her basic training for the army this fall. She has been focusing on ceramics - making a bunch of pots, cups, mugs, planters, and next year will work in the ceramics studio part time. Check out her instagram for all of her art and updates.
Best - Hanging out with family , quarter system at highschool made it easier, especially with online, pool opened this summer, working out almost every day this year - Jillian Michael's Kickbox and youtube: SugarPop. Lots of walks in the neighborhood. Food recomendations - Aleah's bread, Cheesy eggs - 1/2 onion, bell pepper, cheese, 3 eggs. Pero + hot chocolate
Worst - The stay-at-home orders, spring virtual school, election stress, constant uncertainty, school start, constant change with not enough info. Business has been a little stagnant.
Quarantine hobbies - historical costuming - started making shift and stays. would love to go to Versaille costume party 2021.
Rec Podcasts - Code Switch, Nice white Parents, No Compromise, Throughline.
Media - Historic clothing videos: Abby Cox, Bernadette Banner, Fashion Justine. Exercise - Sugarpop fitness. TV - Wolfblood, Poldark, Community, The Crown, The Good Place, Sherlock with Kate at night.
Looking ahead to 2021 - New block of the month pattern, paper patterns for sale, 6 new patterns, following more activists and quilters.
If you made it this far, more about my year.
Good - Skiing, long bike rides, and hiking with friends. Trump losing the election over and over again. Working from home and online school went a lot better than I thought it would. No wasting time commuting to work and cutting work travel meant I was home more - no more staying late at work or being out of town. I have a new job - getting to focus on one crop, mostly, and also on becoming a better leader and scientist. I can't say I am not appreciated at work any more. I really feel like this is a chance to build a team and really do something exciting with cotton this next year.
I did all the quarantine hobbies - bread - still trying to perfect sourdough rye, gardening, made furniture, faith crisis, running. I got a new bike and rode the Katy trail and some longer rides to the Arch or to the Mississippi river. I went with a friend last week, crashed, and was totally wore out at like mile 35 - so more work to do. I blame it on getting old. . .
Bad - Not moving to Scotland, depression, doubts and losing faith in my religion, anxiety and stress about future and the election. It is crazy to me that Trump and many of his party refuse still to accept the results of the election.
Just not being able to make plans. I totally agree with Colleen time seems to be faster and slower than I expect. I miss being with people from work, from church, or even just strangers - I miss things like parades, concerts, races, working out at the gym, talking to friends in the cafeteria at work, and all the interpersonal random conversations that seem so impossible now.
Next year - Hard to really seriously make plans, but thinking about cotton genetics, building a new team, and travel to either UK or New Zealand this summer as part of collaboration with AbacusBio. I think we will try to go as a family and stay for a couple of months. I would like to do some more long distance swimming events - maybe all of the Saturday swims at Simpson Lake and then a long distance race this summer?
Media - The Expanse Season 4 and 5 were so good. The Mandalorian was better then the last Star Wars movies. Youtube: VlogBrothers, The Microcosm, Pitch Meeting, Yale courses online - The Philosophical Foundations of Politics, New Testament History, The Science of Wellbeing.
Plays: The Band's Visit
Music - Brandi Carlile, STL
Books - I reread mostly old favorites - The Chosen - Chaim Potok, Ursula LeGuin - The Left Hand of Darkness, The New Testament - translation by Thomas Wayment, The Man in the High Castle, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, The Yiddish Policeman - Michael Chabon, Educated - Tara Westover, Stalin - Stephen Kotkin, Dune - in Spanish, Harry Potter series - English and Spanish, Plastic Magician and Spellbreaker by Charlie N Holmberg, The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold - Highly recommended, The Fated Sky - Mary Robinette, Murderbot series - Martha Wells, The legend of Hermana Plunge by Angela Liscom Clayton, Dragonback series - Timothy Zahn.
Podcasts - El Hilo, RadioAmbulante, RadioLab, This is Uncomfortable, Reply All, Throughline, Dear Hank and John, Levar Burton Reads, The Anthropocene Reviewed, Nice White Parents, Preach.
Extra fun. Becca made this video about the cat. She is getting older and moving slower. She had a bad limp for most of the year as her arthritis was getting worse, but the new medicine seems to help.
Thursday, December 10, 2020
I would like to say Amen to Pennsylvania's brief to the latest Trump attempt at overturning the election results:
From the introduction:
Since Election Day, State and Federal courts throughout the country have been flooded with frivolous lawsuits aimed at disenfranchising large swaths of voters and undermining the legitimacy of the election. The State of Texas has now added its voice to the cacophony of bogus claims. Texas seeks to invalidate elections in four states for yielding results with which it disagrees. Its request for this Court to exercise its original jurisdiction and then anoint Texas’s preferred candidate for President is legally indefensible and is an afront to principles of constitutional democracy.
What Texas is doing in this proceeding is to ask this Court to reconsider a mass of baseless claims about problems with the election that have already been considered, and rejected, by this Court and other courts. It attempts to exploit this Court’s sparingly used original jurisdiction to relitigate those matters. But Texas obviously lacks standing to bring such claims, which, in any event, are barred by laches, and are moot, meritless, and dangerous. Texas has not suffered harm simply because it dislikes the result of the election, and nothing in the text, history, or structure of the Constitution supports Texas’s view that it can dictate the manner in which four other states run their elections. Nor is that view grounded in any precedent from this Court. Texas does not seek to have the Court interpret the Constitution, so much as disregard it.
Why is the Republican party and leaders standing by this attempt to deny the reality that Donald Trump lost this election?
Here is the statement from other states opposing this case:
- New Jersey,
- New Mexico,
- New York,
- North Carolina,
- Rhode Island,
- U.S. Virgin Islands, and
Here are the states supporting this case and their arguments:
- North Dakota,
- South Carolina,
- South Dakota,
- Utah, and
- West Virginia.
106 Republican legislators also have submitted a statement supporting this case. I won't list them all, but so disappointed to see this. I was talking to my friend Young Wha about this case and it really does seem like we are living in different realities. One where we live in a democracy, and another where loyalty to the president supersedes facts and where even the facts exist in an alternate reality.
The other groups submitting documents in support of this case are evangelical christian groups - like https://thejusticefoundation.org/ that fights against "forced" abortions? A Christian family org? Nothing this president has done deserves this support.
Nothing in this election shows fraud, just that people were allowed to vote using mail in ballots. Which is crazy because so many states allowed mail in ballots and Trump won those states. List here. They aren't in this case.