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Is gardening actually popular, but I just don't know it? Everyone sees different pieces of the elephant, but for what it's worth I am the only person my age I know who is attempting to grow something more substantial than basil.

I would love to see a return to the earth, but the problem is that it requires hard physical effort and a willingness to delay gratification. These have been deliberately squeezed out of our culture. I appreciate your optimism, but unfortunately I think most people would choose bugs and video games over kale and outdoor work any day.

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I've known a fair number of people - usually middle aged middle management homeowner types - who are into gardening, growing their own tomatoes and such. Far from universal, yes, but it strikes me as suggesting a desire for something like that.

There's a huge amount of cultural distance between here and there, admittedly. And the UBI/biological test subject future is probably the low-energy path of least resistance. In practice I can see both of these happening.

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I think this would be successful, if implemented, and if the ghouls in charge of the system ever allowed it to be implemented. What's interesting is that it seems like every other decade or so there's a "Back to the Country" movement in culture, where the usual urbanites and suburbanites begin to romanticize small town living, farming, etc. and it leaks into the greater culture as a whole. You haven't seen this since... well, I'm no expert, but I'd say I cannot recall a strong trend pointing that way in broad pop culture in my lifetime. Part of this is, I'm sure, a result of the much stricter control the powers that be wield over what kind of stories and messages are allowed to be dispersed to the masses through Hollywood, the music industry, and other entertainment apparatuses. I think part of it is also a general disinterest in the idea by a large percentage of the Gen X and Early Millennial cohorts, the later of which practically flock to cities even to this day (if I had a dime for everyone I went to high school with who moved to New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles and remains there to this day, I'd have enough to buy a decent meal, and maybe a drink if it was happy hour. Hell, my college roommate just moved to Seattle, even as the city is visibly falling part, and is raving about how wonderful it is. Willfully ignorant or plain stupid, take your pick.)

I've seen a change in in Late Millennials and Gen Z, though. Of course, the bulk of these generations are even worse than the former two in terms of their complete enslavement to the "machine", if we want to call it that, but I've seen in my own circles a drastic rise in the past couple years of a sort of romanticism for the countryside. Maybe not the windswept cornfields of Kansas or North Dakota, or the remote mountain valleys that dot the Rockies, but I see more and more people who just want to... get away, really. Of course, a lot of this is baseless, wistful dreaming that doesn't take into account the hard labor of ag work, or any of the other tough realities of rural living - one name I see commonly attributed to is "cottagecore", which is, as the name implies, the aesthetics of living in a small, isolated cottage, usually with a single partner, with enough land to garden and raise small animals on, while the bulk of the day is spent either painting or writing or knitting, what have you - and people often turn up their noses and dismiss it as such. But, to me, it's important. Whether it's realistic or not, a growing number of people are hungry for change. Most of them, if presented the opportunity, I think would probably accept the discomfort that comes with a lifestyle change, or at least come to in time, rather than continue to toil at make-work time suck office jobs. Sure, some would probably break and regret such a choice, but I think most would be content. The worse things get, the more I see this sentiment for simplicity growing, and the more I foresee the powers that be trying to crack down on it (which is why they're pushing so hard for fifteen minute smart cities, or, to call them what they are, the Behavioral Sink Made Manifest, Panopticons, Digital Prisons, and, my personal favorite, Hell on Earth).

But, I also know that the whole "UBIomass" is exactly where they want to take this thing. You can see it in the way the transhumanists and their useful idiot techbros in the Silicon Valley talk about the "exciting" future of AI. Basically everything I read about that's written by these people in favor of AI is, "It'll be great when ChatGPT can write an entire movie script and StableDiffusion can use CGI to generate the visuals! Once all the creative jobs are gone and art is dead, we can have people doing more boring drudge work!" Of course, I think most of the Hollywood "writers" should absolutely be put to work doing something that involves handling feces with their bare hands, but at the same time, it is concerning there's this huge push to eliminate the entire entertainment industry and replace authors, musicians, directors, animators, writers, etc. with AI. As bad as Hollywood may be, as creatively bankrupt as the music industry may be, as miserably untalented as the current crop of authors may be, whatever ML run nightmare the cabal wants to replace them with will be ten times worse. But that's a screed for another time.

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Great comment. There's certainly a naivety to the cottagecore movement, but it also suggests a deep unease with the direction things are going, a desire to avoid getting sucked into the behavioral sink of the podopolis.

One of the problems is that village life is just boring. If you're young, energetic, and single, that is not where you're likely to find a spouse. The demographics are too old. Hence the bright lights of the city. Perhaps that will change -remote work and such may lead to a sustained migration to smaller communities, and a demographic rejuvenation. So far though that seems to mostly be already married middle aged Xers.

It's also remarkable to me that people want to replace actual art with mechanical 'art'. Although I doubt this will happen - so far what it produces just isn't that good. I suspect what will get replaced is the drudge work.

Then again the fact that the creative class are so concerned about this says a lot about the quality of the entertainment being generated by the large corporations.

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May 3, 2023·edited May 3, 2023Liked by John Carter

Thank you, that's appreciated. You're right about village life being boring. I understand why young people want to move to larger cities. I think everyone who doesn't grow up in one wants to move to one, lured in by the scale, the noise, the activity, and, more importantly, opportunity and other young people. I'd say it's actually a good thing for young people to leave their homes, find a spouse (assuming they didn't find one at home), and come back to raise a family. It builds character, and it provides valuable life experience. The biggest problem now is that young people often leave home with zero intentions of ever returning. There is no interest in building a community where they came from. Again, I do understand. I sympathize, too, even though I came from a suburb of a very large city, many suburbs (especially newer ones, I find) are dead-ends for young people that combine the worst aspects of both village life (lack of events, lopsided age demographics, not much economic opportunity) and urban living (crowded, bad traffic, increasingly steep cost of living) with none of the benefits (i.e. no privacy or space in the country, no abundance of similar age cohort, and in the suburbs, forget about being able to walk anywhere or going to anywhere more interesting than a mediocre chain restaurant). I couldn't get out fast enough, and lingered there far longer than I should have, which did me no favors.

I think the demographics is one of the biggest issues that prevent this from changing, though. The demographics in rural America are too old, and they're getting worse. I saw a fascinating story of a small town in Colorado (I wish I could find it but the name escapes me) where the mayor did everything he could to attract young people, start-up companies, and the like to rejuvenate the town and kickstart the economy. This wasn't in the windswept wasteland of Eastern Colorado, but a picturesque town in the Rockies - a beautiful place most people would love to live in. But, his endeavors failed. When he asked people he was trying to court into moving to his town, the most common response he got - "No single young women." Makes sense since these start-up companies were largely run by ambitious young, single, unattached men. Even as bad as the dating scene is in cities, at least their IS one. I'm finding this out the hard way myself - I relocated to a small city in the mountains under a 50k a year ago and I noticed that, not only is the age demographic heavily skewed in favor of the geriatric (the cost of living is far too high for most people in my age bracket) and there is a glut of single men and next to no young, unattached women. If you aren't interested in a drug addict or a single mom, your best hope is for someone in the nearest major city who's open to a long-distance relationship. It does bother me, as it bothers my friends out here who are of a similar age, but, in my opinion, after living in Austin for a while, it's a small price to pay to not have to live in a city. This is to say nothing of economic prospects, which are slowly improving as people and businesses relocate to the area, but not fast enough to meet demand for middle class salaries, which is having the knock-on effect of hollowing out the essential core of young families from the area. I have a feeling this will be catastrophic in the future, but that's a topic for another day.

That being said, remote work is the key to reverse this trend and open up much of rural America as a feasible destination for middle class families and young single adults again, but much of the business world has done and is doing everything they can to prevent it, to the detriment of everyone sans themselves. It would be the equivalent of letting the serfs off the farm. Whatever reasons these companies give for keeping their employees shackled to the office is total bunk - it's not about efficiency, it's not about communication, it's not about team building, or whatever other excuses they throw out, it's about control, and nothing else. I'd keep going but this is a soapbox I get really, REALLY high on and I will absolutely type up a small novel about it if I don't stop myself here. Point is - this country would improve in every way if the middle class was free to disperse across the country and go where the homes and land are cheap and opportunity abundant.

And, to briefly touch on the AI "art", it isn't good now, but the leap that was made between the first public version of Dall.e and what even the bog standard StableDiffusion can put out is quite shocking. I suspect it's only going to continue to improve in quality until it can put out something that is wholly soulless, but, if nothing else, pretty. And if the current state of entertainment is anything to go by, even that latter point isn't necessary to capture a large audience. What's more important is the miserably uncreative bugpeople that think what is coming out of AI right now is quality art. If their total lack of taste and class is surprising, remember these are the same people who will look you in the eye and tell you those shitty monkey NFTs are art. I genuinely think they are fundamentally unable to appreciate art of any kind of any meaningful level. Which is fine. Not everyone needs to be or should be a critic. But they should also not be dictating the future, nor dictating to the rest of us what kind of art we should be engaging with, or even allowed to be made. I'd hesitate to say these people should dictate anything above a McDonald's drive-thru, but I'm belaboring the point. These people are the same people who lick up every ounce of Marvel content, by and large, so it really seems to me like they're spiritual toddlers who would find entertainment in a pair of keys being dangled in front of their face.

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You nailed it. I've been saying exactly that about the maximal shittiness of suburbs more or less since I was a teenager - the worst elements of rural and urban living, with none of the benefits, now with bonus unaffordability.

Also bang on about small towns and dating. I spent four years in a 30k college town - options were students (too young, frankly), academics (for obvious reasons a hard no), single moms, fats, opiod addicts, and fat opiod addicted single moms. Now I'm in an even smaller town and it's even worse.

The key to reviving small town demographics is attracting young women. This is very obvious. Of course, the other problem is that demographics in general are aging fast. We live in a granny state.

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''options were students (too young, frankly)''

Too young? Not at all...

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I would have gone with a student frankly, top pick the ones that got through the first year of the meat grinder without changing their hair color.

As for attracting females to the country. You need to catch one in the city and get her preggers asap then you move out, for the kids.

Difficulty is work.

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May 4, 2023Liked by John Carter

The only authors worrying about being replaced by AI are the ones who can't write.

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Correct.

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As far as the entertainment “industry”

If AI remains accessible for all, won’t it make it easier for people or small groups/towns/etc to make their own custom movies and entertainment? And isn’t that better than what currently passes for an entertainment industry?

Properly used, AI could bring more customization and a wider range of available products and entertainment.

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This is a pleasant sounding dream. However, I believe you are seriously underestimating the barriers to turning soft suburban white collar employees into self-organizing, self-directed agriculture entrepreneurs capable of even self-sufficiency. I'll bet I'm the only person here who has actually attempted to run a small-scale commercial farm. It was a painful, slow-motion failure. (Now it's possible I'm just not a very good businesswoman in general.)

The types of whole-system farming you are talking about require an immense amount of skill -- or at least the willingness to think hard and learn -- *and* hard physical labor to pull off. Gardening is a *hobby.* Permaculture farming, particularly with no recourse to chemicals, is *hard labor every day.* Producing enough protein will be damn near impossible without livestock, and they are required for fertilizer input as well. And once you have livestock, you are tied to the land 365 days a year. No vacations. No sleeping in. I do not see Heather from HR in that role.

It would be lovely to imagine this is a possible future for mankind, but I'd need a lot more convincing. And when I hear "aquaculture" I immediately think of the "Farming Frogs for Fun and Profit" schemes of the 1930s.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/frog-farming-1930s-failure-ponds-canning-legs-conservation

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My grandfather was an upper Midwestern farmer in his youth. My mother once floated the idea of homesteading to him and he literally shed a tear and said "do you know how hard I worked so my kids wouldn't have to farm?"

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The grass is always greener, I suppose.

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May 3, 2023Liked by John Carter

Just being self sufficient is pretty easy, if you don’t have to pay a mortgage or other things. I mean, we were basically self sufficent growing up with our 5 acre hobby farm of 4-5 highlands and an orchard and veggie garden. When the power went out we cooked on the stove. It was fun and an hour of chores in the morning was all it really took to run it. Of course, the hobby farm didn’t cover the long vacations around the world or nice dinners out or college. But did we need those?

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Indeed. It can be true both that mass farming enabled economic growth and higher material standards of living and that we'd be better off in other ways with a bit less of it.

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Aquaponics is a bit different ... it's combining fish farming with agriculture, such that the waste of one nourishes the other.

Certainly, it's a fair bit of work. Then again those who engage in permaculture farming seem to enjoy it immensely. From the outside at least it seems much less like grinding labor than conventional industrial agriculture.

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May 3, 2023·edited May 3, 2023Liked by John Carter

In the human body most cells just accept what the bloodstream brings them, usually already highly processed, and a very long long way from its source, and their waste is collected by the same system and taken to the centralised waste recycling/disposal organs. They may engage in some small local exchange systems, but most cells in most multicellular bodies are dependent on specialised central systems to provide them with their food, water, oxygen aswell as the chemical messengers and electrical signals which influence their behaviour.

Most cells in most multicellular bodies don't "farm"/grow their own or anybody else's food. There are remarkably few organs devoted to hunting and gathering external resources, highly specialised groups of cells that collect and process air for oxygen, raw materials from around the organism to be ingested and broken down into molecules that can be easily and safely transported around the vast complex network of the body. The gastrointestinal tract is like a huge factory.

The cells of certain organs engage in what you might call craft and creative trades, constructing substances that other cells need/will use, including what you might call media or propaganda, the hormones which affect cell behaviour. But most cells do not have access to an external substrate on which to grow anything. It's one of the things which cells in multicellular organisms had to adapt to, being dependent on distant centres of production for their food supplies. In return for being part of a large entity.

Roman's comment ref Melanin is interesting. You could perhaps say that some skin cells can/do "farm" sunlight to produce vitamin D ... except that they don't grow/farm it, like pulmonary cells are engaged in gathering oxygen, not growing/farming it.

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That's an interesting perspective. Of course, the problem is that the nutrients distributed by our economic circulatory system are highly poisonous.

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May 3, 2023·edited May 3, 2023Liked by John Carter

Yes, I would tend to agree with that assessment. :)

It's as if the human global entity is currently a crack/heroin addict, only wanting to eat icecream/sugar and dairy etc because of the gratifying instant/short-term painkilling high/buzz that provides the central nervous system/decision making centres, at the expense of the rest of the body, or as if its sense organs, especially taste and smell, are out of whack/disordered/impaired, and/or the decision-making centre has become disconnected/alienated from the rest of the body/gut feelings etc, such that it eats things that are bad for it, or as if it is on a very tight budget, eating famine food/restricting intake because it is experiencing/perceiving shortages/austerity, or because it thinks it is "fat" and wants to "lose weight", or is experimenting with the sort of diet required for an arduous/risky long distance journey .... or because it is engaging in insect-like steps of pupation/transformation and needs to break down many of its existing organs/structures in the process.

PS. I should have said above that very few organs are *directly* engaged in food/resource hunting and gathering, because of course the whole of a multicellular organism/entity is pretty much designed to achieve that, plus reproduction.

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Pupation is certainly an interesting and possibly very apt metaphor. Solve etc coagula....

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May 3, 2023·edited May 3, 2023Liked by John Carter

Whatever the "real" explanation/most apt metaphor is for the current situation I believe that centralised food/resource management/production is here to stay, if we are to have any future as a global human entity that is, with all the extraordinary evolutionary developments that being a "multicellular organism" on a planetary scale may make possible.

But I hope that the global entity's central nervous system either reconnects with its guts and sense organ cells and realises that everything might function better on a different diet, or if this is the diet necessary for the next stage of this global lifeform that I get to be a cell with direct access to ( some at least of ) the relatively raw fresh unprocessed materials, a skin cell in the sunshine, or somewhere in the lips and tongue, highly sensitive, maybe get to give useful data to the nervous system. Perhaps I am one of these, already desperately ( if mutely most of the time ), trying to tell the brain that this stuff is shit.

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If there's a way to do this without relying on massive - and quite toxic - chemical inputs, I'd love to hear it.

Notably though, the multicellular metaphor you apply is based on animal life. What about plant life? Given that human societies are sessile rather than mobile, at least in their most advanced forms, a tree may be more appropriate. In that case there isn't really a digestive system per se, and a much larger fraction of the biomass is engaged directly in food production via photosynthesis or nutrient acquisition.

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May 4, 2023·edited May 4, 2023Liked by John Carter

That's a very interesting suggestion. I'm thinking about it. :)

My first thought is that plants have far fewer specialised cells than animals do, and far fewer or less complex interactions between them.

But I agree that it would involve the sort of spreading out to gather resources and the decentralised nature of that which humans have tended to until recently. Hmmmm. :) It would fit with the hypothesis that the planet was/is a kind of seed, sprouting and using up its stores as the new "plant" grows.

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I would push back a bit on the “modern farming practice is evil!” bit. There are many ways of farming that work well that are not exceedingly labor intensive nor muck up the environment so badly, but much of the modern farming industry’s behaviors are driven by regulatory rules and distortions. For example, a focus on max output per acre is largely driven by government subsidies to NOT plant certain amounts of acreage as a form of “price support”. The result is leaving more marginal land fallow while cranking the ever-loving shit out of the best land. Likewise the seeming obsession with growing corn and soybeans comes from ethanol subsidies and soy subsidies. In most places keeping animals is extremely difficult these days due to rules that you basically cannot have animals with access to streams lest they poop in or near the water.

I don’t think that in practice most people would like farming as more than a hobby, and not many people would really like the hobby. Thus getting more people involved in agriculture probably isn’t ideal. However, we could certainly stop making things worse for the industry and those who would like to get in on it.

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The corn and soy subsidies are absolutely insane, yes. Another factor is that a lot of the land used for grain agriculture is actually better suited to pasturing livestock, which instead get put in feedlots and fed corn because the grasslands they should be grazing on are being used for soybeans.

No question that government regulatory bodies are a huge part of the problem here. And of course regulatory capture is a big part of that.

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May 3, 2023Liked by John Carter

Nice one. Do you have any good dummies guides to "regenerative agriculture, permaculture, aquaponics"? I know a crazy scientist friend of mine who, in his loft, grew vegetables in gravel filled plastic containers regularly flushed with two days stale washing machine water. Apparently, veggies thrive on that bacteria infested soapy stinky stuff 😅. (btw, this friend also wanted to build 80 rats cage to test some neuroscience, but he managed to get married first, and wife drew the line there)

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Sounds like a fascinating guy. Shame about the wife.

Sadly, no, I'm not nearly enough of an expert in the subject to point you to any specific resources that I can vouch for. Perhaps other readers might chime in?

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What's beautiful is that not only do we carry the genes of all our ancestors that have gone before us and have dealt with the BS of scwabian parasites, we already have nanotech that God and Nature gave us, like melanin which only requires sunlight:

https://romanshapoval.substack.com/p/can-we-detox-nanotech-with-sunlight

Love the Rommel pic the most. Shut up Candace- youre better than that.

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I just want Candace to be quiet. Is it so much to ask?

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Yes. She just wants to be quiet too she just doesn't know it. Poor poor candace. Get out there an pull some beets already

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May 3, 2023·edited May 5, 2023Liked by John Carter

It would be pretty hilarious seeing AI sending each other corporate memos. An endlessfeedback loop of dogshit, forever unread and unloved. Just like the human version, only funnier.

I know that’s not what you're envisioning. But here’s a weird prospect: the "wise council" of these mechanical 9fficers turns out to be anything but. Just like the borerd, distracted driver who drops his guard while Car-Bot steamrolls little Mindy and her puppy, the bots of the cuber-corp will also run afoul of situations that aren't navigable without human insight, intuition and imagination. The wrong data based on flawed models will float up the chain to the (presumably still human) executives, who will eventually turn into rubber stamps for everything (including company-obliterating debacles).

*I was only following my robot underlings orders," won't fly well at that shareholder meeting about the impending bankruptcy filing.

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There was a Ray Bradbury story, about a world in which the humans had all disappeared, but the telephones continued to work, recorded voices leaving voice mails that got sent back as new voicemails. Indeed, AI promises just this absurdity.

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May 3, 2023Liked by John Carter

''All the recipients of UBI have to offer in exchange for the largesse of the owners is their flesh''

And your soul, check the fine print.

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They are doing their best to stop labour moving into agriculture; buying up farms in NL for 120% of their value and banning the farmers from starting again anywhere in the EU.

Interesting about the mRNA jabs. I have thought it was about installing a testing regime for a while. You see mRNA can substitute for gene activity and with enough data (real time traceability via wearables and batch tracking of mRNA vaccines) you can “solve” biology with massive ML/AI models as the real problem has been lack of data relative to the dimensionality of the problems. The unwitting UBI recipients doing their service for the elite. They also seek to control AI expansion (recent AI regulations) into the workforce to control the number of “useless eaters” they produce and not destabilise things too far too fast. IBM layoffs were only 7k out of 300k for instance; realistically natural wastage as we enter a recession, AI largely being hype (probably for the stick price) in this case.

Not all AI/ML scientists are woke…but the non-woke are incentivised to not rock the boat by 2-400k salaries. Think the AI regulation hysterical screeching of the last two weeks that bore no resemblance to reality left a lot of them confused as most of them hadn’t noticed the same patterns/playbook regarding COVID measures.

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May 4, 2023Liked by John Carter

"Machine learning systems have a tendency to converge on the common sense conclusions that anyone unblinkered by ideology will come to."

Agreed. Not long ago, in a conversation with a friend about this very subject, I said I was really looking forward to the answers that emerged when someone put to AI one or two pointed questions about the validity of the "Climate Change" hysteria. Then I realized these questions have probably already been asked and answered.....and the machines have been reprogrammed with new instructions to provide a more ideologically acceptable answer.

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Bingo.

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May 3, 2023Liked by John Carter

Masanobu Fukuoka was an agricultural genius who nailed all this back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, in practice. He wrote The One-Straw Revolution, The Natural Way To Farm, and The Way Back To Nature.

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Yes, I have heard of this man. Thank you for bringing him up.

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Damn good insights there!

I have to wonder if the WEF types are buying up farmland exactly in order to stave off the possibility of people feeding themselves and opting out of the guinea pig life as a tester for experimental injections.

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This is quite possible. That and cockblocking cattle ranchers. Not much land is actually needed for permaculture however....

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Love the ag bit - how do we get people moving in that direction? A cut paragraph from the Techno-Canton challenges piece:

AI is new, but automation isn’t. Rising productivity has been around since the Industrial Revolution, but now we’re mostly busy piddling away the gains watching TV, not spending more time with family or getting involved civically. The solutions there are going to have to be cultural or behavioral, not technological. Optimistically, a bit less transience drives deeper local human connections and going outside gets more interesting again.

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I think some people are already moving, or trying to move, in that direction.

One of the big cultural shifts that needs to happen is an allergy to processed foods. That creates greater demand for real food, which in turn makes it more feasible for people to support themselves in reasonable comfort by growing it.

As always, land prices are an issue....

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It doesn't take much to grow enough to eat. Especially if economic pressure (e.g. remote work) can push people back out of cities.

These folks are super well-optimized, but they are getting a ton of production out of an in-city backyard: https://www.urbanhomestead.org/

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Yes, growing enough to feed oneself is fairly straightforward. The trick is growing enough to support oneself in other ways.

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Automation is king... except when it isn’t. AI is going to replace excel and Microsoft not the corporate class that actually produces something of real value. Personally I think the only jobs that will be getting axed are those of mediocre middle management, gatekeepers who use information hoarding to maintain power, finance ppl who majored in algorithm monopoly and produce nothing/use complexity to manipulate the system, and workaholics who work harder not smarter. AI business strategies that focus on using it to minimize repetitive busywork and allow workers to focus on more creative or important tasks/decisions are going to be the most successful in my opinion. It’s literally just PATTERN RECOGNITION. These companies should be pushing integration that promotes human innovation/creativity not replacing people and automation for automations sake.

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Indeed, yes - those are precisely the jobs I expect to become redundant.

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🙌 less time wasted doing busywork staring at a black box and more time to actually live life the way we were meant to! Outside! building, growing, and being stewards of the earth. That salt of the earth life is the best life 😇🥰

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Apr 11·edited Apr 11Liked by John Carter

Have you ever thought about other (non-UBI) possible financial systems that could arise in a society where all work is performed by robots? I think it's a concept ripe for exploration. One idea that comes to mind for me is something similar to the plantation system of the antebellum south, but with robots instead of human slaves, and every household as a "plantation" (ie, every household owns at least one robot capable of performing all necessary household chores as well as producing goods or services for other people in order to bring money into the household in lieu of any of the humans having a job other than "robot taskmaster").

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Worth recalling that it was only a minority of the antebellum population who owned plantations and slaves; the majority of the free population did not. I suspect in practice it must be similar for a robot economy.

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Apr 11·edited Apr 11Liked by John Carter

"Worth recalling that it was only a minority of the antebellum population who owned plantations and slaves; the majority of the free population did not."

I know*. That's why I specified the idea of every household having at least one robot as one of the differences (along with robots instead of human slaves).

Another possibility is a new, robot-based version of "mudsill theory", in which even if not everyone owns a robot, robots still prop up the social status of even lower-income people who don't own one.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudsill_theory

Here's James Henry Hammond's 1858 Mudsill Speech in which he explained and advocated for the idea:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h3439t.html

* While it's true that only a minority of antebellum southerners were slaveholders, the majority had some level of dependence on slavery. For one thing, statistics often list the percentage of individual slaveholders rather than taking into account the fact that each slaveholder's full family generally had access to or dependence on his slaves, that slaveholders frequently rented out slaves to lower-income people for temporary work, and many other factors. As historian Joseph T. Glatthaar wrote:

"The attachment to slavery, though, was even more powerful. One in every ten volunteers in 1861 did not own slaves themselves but lived in households headed by non family members who did. This figure, combined with the 36 percent who owned or whose family members owned slaves, indicated that almost one of every two 1861 recruits lived with slaveholders. Nor did the direct exposure stop there. Untold numbers of enlistees rented land from, sold crops to, or worked for slaveholders. In the final tabulation, the vast majority of the volunteers of 1861 had a direct connection to slavery. For slaveholder and nonslaveholder alike, slavery lay at the heart of the Confederate nation. The fact that their paper notes frequently depicted scenes of slaves demonstrated the institution's central role and symbolic value to the Confederacy."

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That's an important nuance to the slaveholder argument, which I hadn't previously considered. Thanks for bringing it up.

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Apr 11Liked by John Carter

If you're interested in learning more about the Civil War era, I'd recommend finding books and videos by Gary Gallagher. Out of all the Civil War historians I've seen, he does the best job of explaining the cultural nuances of the era. There are a lot of videos of him on YouTube and CSPAN (including some of his college lectures), and he's a very engaging lecturer.

Part of what like so much about him is that he is focused on presenting history as it really was and understanding the past on its own terms. Here's a quote from an exchange between him and a student in one of his lectures:

Student: "Your talk was very clear minded. I think everyone would agree - certainly in this audience - and it was essentially devoid of [...] the current politics of our day. I read the New York Review of Books. I'm more on the science side, you know. The New York Review of Books doesn't publish stuff like what you just did."

Gallagher: "Of course it doesn't, no."

Student: "And that's what I want to just ask you about how you presenting history as history - how do you get away with it in this day and age?"

Gallagher: "I'll give you an honest answer to that. Some people really don't like it, and so some people lob stink bombs at you and other people say thank you for kind of staying in the realm of history rather than the realm of current events. I talked for more than thirty years, and many many many times at the end of a semester students would come up and say, "I can't tell what political party you are". And I would say, "Good. I don't want you to tell what political party I am." And they'd say, "No, we want you to tell us now." I'd say, "No, I'm not going to tell you because it's not pertinent to what I wanted to do in here." So it's one way to go - and I'm not saying everybody should do it that way - that's the way that I do it and this sounds boastful - I'm a good teacher and I've always been a good teacher. I've always had lots of students in my classes and it's worked for me. Other ways work for other people but I really try to separate those and I don't pretend - of course I have political views. Of course I do. And I try not to let them get in the way of my scholarship. I'm sure it spills over in some ways but I try not to do that. But I really try to do it what I'm working with students try to keep my politics out of how I-"

Student: "That itself itself is political in this day and age."

Gallagher: "Oh, in this day and age, everything is political. I wrote a book called The Union War - that's what I've talked about the last time I was here, Dan, and where I argue some of these things and some people said because I argued that Union was the most important thing that I must not think emancipation was important. I said "No, my longest chapter was on emancipation in the book." I'm talking about what they thought, not what I think. So do I think it's a tragedy that the Radical Republicans didn't have their way better during Reconstruction? Yes, as a matter of fact I do. But I'm trying to recover what's going on then to the best of my ability to do that and I don't pretend I can get it perfectly, no one can. It's very hard. But I tried."

And another quote from him:

"There's nothing easier than beating up on dead people and saying how misguided they were and how benighted they were compared to us. The same thing will happen to us in fifty years. They'll look back and say they can't imagine why we do some of the things that we do. It's just part of trying to understand the past. I think in some ways you have to take the people on their own ground and then try to understand them. It's not so much a question of "Oh, I like them or I don't like them," it's trying to understanding them."

One of his most interesting lectures is "Robert E. Lee and the Question of Loyalty", in which he convincingly argued (using evidence from Lee's words and actions) that the idea that Lee merely had a simple allegiance to Virginia and only joined the Confederacy for that reason is far too simplistic, and that Lee actually had a range of complex and shifting loyalties, including an eventual allegiance to the Confederacy over Virginia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMGrDmUjZCg

I'd also recommend the website Civil War Causes, which collects primary documents documenting the causes of the Civil War:

https://www.civilwarcauses.org/

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Apr 10Liked by John Carter

The problem with your elegant solution is one, that it would work, two, it would empower and three it would preserve us. It would FEED us Useless Eaters. That is absolutely the wrong direction, bucko!

We'll need some Oligarchs, some Canadian Solar Panels (actually made in China but higher qual), We'll steal some land using Eminent Domain and we'll give the sons of the politicians giant greenhouses! That is much more "purposeful"...

The State Puppets will fight against ANY Self Determination. It is Anathema.

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author

Luckily, the oligarchs aren't the only ones with agency.

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