Geopolitics again

This blog is largely not being updated any more, mainly because I don’t feel there is much to say. The battle lines have been drawn for many years: a world that promotes sanity and goodness based on bedrock human feeling, or one that is increasingly dominated by financial spreadsheets and bizarre technological shortcuts which devise way to control supply and production in order to maximise profits by basing things on patented or otherwise exclusive methods. In so doing, the latter sort of destroys the basis of its own existence, simple things like clean air and water, beautiful wild and cultivated vegetation and animal life, healthy good-hearted family lives and so forth.

You either get it or you don’t.

You either keep believing most of the compromised crap being promulgated in terms of fake food, or pseudo-organic products, terrorist threats, the stupidity of those into organic food, those skeptical of hysterical warnings of climate change – which conveniently ignores the horrific degree to which our bad agricultural and corporate practices are raping and ruining our world – are ridiculed, just like those who don’t reflexively wave the flag as government after government pass laws edging us into full state control and virtual tyranny, crappy entertainment with stupid plots and characters devoid of most norms of decency, norms, intelligence, good heart and so forth.

You either get it by now, or probably you never will.

Meanwhile, they want to take historically the bread basket of Europe and in a few short years chemialize the soil, ruining it for generations to come and calling it all ‘free market progress’ without pointing out that this always comes with a terrible price for the local people involved. Ask the farmers in Iraq whose thousands-of-years based seed stocks were destroyed after our invasion and have almost lost the ability to feed themselves without first paying our central banks and international corporations.

Meanwhile ordinary human goodness persists, although mainly in the hearts and minds of ordinary good people everywhere, the vast majority amongst us, who struggle to maintain personal and spiritual viability in the midst of this tremendous onslaught. In the end we will ‘win’ because such aspirations and motivations are based on bedrock decency in line with the fundamentally good nature of life and our world. But meanwhile, many bad things will continue to unfold, whilst far too many of us burst into laughter at the canned jokes provided by shallow sit-coms on the goggle box.


Record Cold Temps in US

NASA's Terra satellite captured this picture of snow across the eastern United States on Feb. 19 at 16:20 UTC (11:20 a.m. EST). Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team - Click to enlarge

This increasing trend even during the peak high of the current sunspot cycle, presages ever-colder temperatures in the next few years to come similar to conditions in previous ‘mini-ice ages’ which occurred during the Maunder and Daulton minimums. For the bakery, this will no doubt mean increasing difficulty with spelt harvests given they are planted in the late fall and have to survive the winter. Moreover, I am beginning to suspect that this may be partly why spelt fell out of favour a couple of centuries ago, although have read nothing directly to indicate this.

This is also why the gaff-rigged yawl I purchased last year has such unbelievably rotten superstructure. They had frequent arctic blasts bringing the temperature down to -20C which hadn’t happened in decades. The boat was unprepared for such treatment. Damp which had accumulated in weak spots due to admittedly poor construction as the builder ran out of sufficient funds at the end of the project, were submitted to frequent freeze-thaw cycles as the temperature oscillated rapidly between -10-20C and +10C. By the time  got down there in June, after it had warmed thoroughly in the humid, swampy atmosphere of the Eastern shore of the Chesapeake, many who passed by to say hello as I was trying to effect repairs, including many with decades of experience with boats, expressed disbelief that the boat was only two years old and insisted that I had been ‘had’. However it was simply that the boat was not winterized at all given that usually it is not necessary down there.

This year is even worse. Global warming may or not be a significant trend that has been exacerbated by man-made inputs, but those inputs are minor league compared with longer-range climactic cycles such as the one we are entering. In Cape Breton, luckily, we are buffered somewhat by the Gulf stream which passes from South to East not far from our shores. But many others further inland and on the North East Coast of the US are going to be in for brutal winters the next 10-20 years.

A good time to invest in Florida or Mexico real estate?

15 Health foods that are really junk

Well, maybe none of this is news to the few who read this blog, but there are some interesting links about modern wheat in the wholewheat section, including:

Modern Wheat – Old Diet Staple Turned Into a Modern Health Nightmare

from the above link the two following:

       Use of selected sourdough strains of Lactobacillus for removing gluten and enhancing the nutritional properties of gluten-free bread. (Shows decrease of gluten in experimental doughs from 400 ppm to 20ppm by using sourdough fermentation vs. typical commercial yeast leavening, proving that slow natural fermentation significantly alters the gluten profile. Basically, if you ferment the dough properly, the gluten issue is eliminated which is why I only offer organically fermented ‘sourdoughs’.)

       Sourdough bread made from wheat and nontoxic flours and started with selected lactobacilli is tolerated in celiac sprue patients.

Evidence of decreasing mineral density in wheat grain over the last 160 years.

Lack of intestinal mucosal toxicity of Triticum monococcum in celiac disease patients

Search for atoxic cereals: a single blind, cross-over study on the safety of a single dose of Triticum monococcum, in patients with celiac disease

Characterization of Khorasan wheat (Kamut) and impact of a replacement diet on cardiovascular risk factors: cross-over dietary intervention study.

Effects of Short-Term Consumption of Bread Obtained by an Old Italian Grain Variety on Lipid, Inflammatory, and Hemorheological Variables: An Intervention Study

 The sourdough fermentation may enhance the recovery from intestinal inflammation of coeliac patients at the early stage of the gluten-free diet.  (This experiment used sourdough fermentation on gluten free doughs and found they greatly assisted celiac patients in healing gut issues. I suspect similar results would be found when eating my whole grain rye if not all breads offered.)

Some of this stuff is overly technical for many tastes (including mine), and most too extreme (why don’t they have more tests on classic sourdough whole grain rye, Red Fife wheat, spelt, the stuff most of organic bakers and eaters eat rather than rare local varieties or almost unobtainable triticum etc.? In any case, there have been scattered tests, some of which are buried somewhere in this blog.

The bottom line: modern bread comprised of modern wheats, overly processed flours, raised with commercial, single-strain factory-grown, sugar-fed yeasts are essentially what I think of as ‘mass-produced imitation breads’. And some ‘artisan-breads’ are simply small-volume, even hand-made variations on the same ingredients and techniques because the bakers (either home or small artisan bakeries) know no better.
I continue to offer with pride – despite declining sales of late as the gluten-free craze catches on in Cape Breton – heritage grain, slow-fermented breads made correctly without compromise. They are nourishing, highly digestible and good-tasting. They are real food. At some point the fashion will change and people will come back to these breads. Meanwhile I hunker down for a long, hard winter!
Btw, I have an occasional customer is a full-bore celiac who gets violent reactions if she even so much as tastes ‘normal’ bread, but she can eat as much as she likes of mine without any adverse reaction.

Microwave Ovens – Don’t use them!

This is old news to me but I find many have not yet heard about it. Don’t assume that just because it’s on sale or Health Canada approved that it’s safe. Microwaves were developed (by the Germans) in WW II to kill lice in order to prevent typhus, and indeed they are very effective that way because no living creature can withstand bringing to a boil the water molecules in its cells. Using such a machine to cook food is not a good idea at all.

In Comparative Study of Food Prepared Conventionally and in the Microwave Oven, published by Raum & Zelt in 1992, at 3(2): 43, it states:

“Artificially produced microwaves, including those in ovens, are produced from alternating current and force a billion or more polarity reversals per second in every food molecule they hit. Production of unnatural molecules is inevitable. Naturally occurring amino acids have been observed to undergo isomeric changes (changes in shape morphing) as well as transformation into toxic forms, under the impact of microwaves produced in ovens.”

There are no atoms, molecules or cells of any organic system able to withstand such a violent, destructive power for any extended period of time, not even in the low energy range of milliwatts. Microwaves quickly destroy the delicate molecules of vitamins and phytonutrients (plant medicines) naturally found in foods. One study showed that microwaving vegetables destroys up to 97% of the nutritional content (vitamins and other plant-based nutrients that prevent disease, boost immune function and enhance health).

Dr. Hertel was the first scientist to conceive and carry out a quality clinical study on the effects microwaved nutrients have on the blood and physiology of the human body. His small but well controlled study showed the degenerative force produced in microwave ovens and the food processed in them. The scientific conclusion showed that microwave cooking changed the nutrients in the food; and, changes took place in the participants’ blood that could cause deterioration in the human system. Hertel’s scientific study was done along with Dr. Bernard H. Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University Institute for Biochemistry.

12 Enumerated Effects of Microwaves

1. A breakdown of the human “life-energy field” in those who were exposed to microwave ovens while in operation, with side-effects to the human energy field of increasingly longer duration;

2. A degeneration of the cellular voltage parallels during the process of using the apparatus, especially in the blood and lymphatic areas;

3. A degeneration and destabilization of the external energy activated potentials of food utilization within the processes of human metabolism;

4. A degeneration and destabilization of internal cellular membrane potentials while transferring catabolic [metabolic breakdown] processes into the blood serum from the digestive process;

5. Degeneration and circuit breakdowns of electrical nerve impulses within the junction potentials of the cerebrum [the front portion of the brain where thought and higher functions reside];

6. A degeneration and breakdown of nerve electrical circuits and loss of energy field symmetry in the neuroplexuses [nerve centers] both in the front and the rear of the central and autonomic nervous systems;

7. Loss of balance and circuiting of the bioelectric strengths within the ascending reticular activating system [the system which controls the function of consciousness];

8. A long term cumulative loss of vital energies within humans, animals and plants that were located within a 500-meter radius of the operational equipment;

9. Long lasting residual effects of magnetic “deposits” were located throughout the nervous system and lymphatic system;

10. A destabilization and interruption in the production of hormones and maintenance of hormonal balance in males and females;

11. Markedly higher levels of brainwave disturbance in the alpha, theta, and delta wave signal patterns of persons exposed to microwave emission fields, and;

12. Because of this brainwave disturbance, negative psychological effects were noted, including loss of memory, loss of ability to concentrate, suppressed emotional threshold, deceleration of intellective processes, and interruptive sleep episodes in a statistically higher percentage of individuals subjected to continual range emissive field effects of microwave apparatus, either in cooking apparatus or in transmission stations.

Take a look around you at every person that still uses a microwave. The largest majority are unhealthy and overweight. The more you use the microwave, the worse your nutritional state gets, and the more likely you are to be diagnosed with various diseases and put on pharmaceuticals which, of course, will create other health problems that lead to a grand spiraling nosedive of health.

Of all the natural substances — which are polar — the oxygen of water molecules reacts most sensitively. This is how microwave cooking heat is generated — friction from this violence in water molecules. Structures of molecules are torn apart, molecules are forcefully deformed, called structural isomerism, and thus become impaired in quality. This is contrary to conventional heating of food where heat transfers convectionally from without to within. Cooking by microwaves begins within the cells and molecules where water is present and where the energy is transformed into frictional heat.

Back this week – July 26

Back earlier than expected (due to disastrous nature of the sailing venture!), so will be at the market this week, one week earlier than announced.

I got some really great brick oven sourdough breads from two bakeries in the US, one in Vermont, the other in Deer Island Maine. So I am going to do a sort of experimental bake featuring traditional miche – large 2.5 kg loaves.

Also, I found out why I had difficulty getting my Red Fife white flour this spring: American organic meat producers are expanding and buying up large quantities of organic grain (shame on them, they should be promoting pasture-fed!), which is squeezing the small organic bakeries with their much smaller orders. Indeed, both bakeries are using Meunerie Milanaise flours even though it is more expensive than most American equivalents and based in Canada.


If I hadn’t been such a fool for sailing vessels this past  year, I could have afforded a new stone mill from Komo (Cost about $1500) with sieves meaning I could make higher quality fresh-ground whole grain loaves, but also freshly sifted, fresh-ground white flour meaning I would only have to buy the kernels, which are cheaper. But that is going to have to wait another year or longer until I am back in the black. Meanwhile, I am very happy with the Speerville Whole White which varies from 80-90% extraction, albeit it means I cannot make the sort of fluffy, light-coloured loaves that many prefer. They are better for you!

Uisce break

Thanks to the help of friends, I purchased a 2012 custom-built 45 ft gaff-rigged Sharpie-style yawl.

Sharpie-style means she is flat-bottomed, and her length is about 4-5 times her width, which in this case is 11′. Her depth board up is 2′ which is extremely shallow for a boat this length, and 6′ board down.

Her ‘rig’ is gaff-rigged (upper spar on four-sided mainsail), and yawl – meaning a smaller sail on second ‘mizzen’ mast aft of the rudder. She also is cutter-rigged in that she has two foresails up front.

So here is a picture of her without sails:

1 from stern

In any case, on June 17 I leave to take possession, varnish her up, get to know her for a week or so, and then – hopefully – sail her up starting early July and arriving back in Cape Breton around July 20. This passage will be chronicled – or blogged – at:


Uisce is her name: it means ‘water’ in gaelic, which for me is an old, sacred, pre-industrial language, so it is like ‘Water Goddess’ or ‘Sacred Water’ to my mind. But also, the word has a good ring to it, and also a chipper subtext. The Uisce!

Feel free to follow along!

Cost of wheat increasing?

I just took delivery of more grains and flour this spring and for a variety of reasons will be paying almost double for white flour what I paid last year (and thus four times the price which most bakers pay for typical, commercial white flour). This is partly because my previous source of White Red Fife has dried up until the next harvest, and partly because Speerville’s Whole Whites, since the 1980’s when I first started using them, are the best ‘white flour’ I have ever had, so rather than buy an inferior type of flour at less cost (albeit still organic) I took the plunge – despite lower sales the past six months – and ordered something of better quality albeit almost double the cost because the Maritime farmers are not subsidized like other farmers, and because of smaller operation milling fees being a tad higher per kilo.

Speerville’s Whole WHite isn’t a typical white flour: they sift it differently so that some of the germ remains whilst most of the bran is sifted out. They do not publish percentages or other technical information but it looks to me like it is about 85% extraction vs. the usual white-white which is is 75% or less. (These figures should be checked since milling is not my area of expertise.) It has a rich, golden colour. It’s really, really good.

In any case, I will now be paying more. But that’s not really what this post is about, nor is it about a general flour shortage in Canada due to problems with silos, train deliveries etc. in the Great Prairies out West, since that shortage doesn’t effect either of my organic suppliers except indirectly perhaps. No, this is a heads-up about wheat and food prices in general from a hard-hitting – and often controversial – financial blog, Washington’s Blog.

Looks like either gold is going down, or wheat is going up. Personally, I hope its the former but I suspect we are going to get a massive rise in food prices soon. We have had low interest rates and cheap money since the early 90’s. That’s a long time. At some point food and basic will go up given a boom-bust cycle is pre-programmed into the banking cartel financial system we have all consented to live under wherein monies are issued for public use by profit-earning private cartels in a way that is essentially a scam, and according to many is the source of many of the world’s evils and relative lack of authentic societal progress the past couple of centuries. Certainly their profits constitute a hidden tax and also make inflation a virtual certainty, meaning there is no simple way to save over a lifetime of earning which hollows out family continuity and dignity amongst many other things. Yes, there has been much material progress, most a result of technological advances that happen naturally over time, along with population growth which such advances furthered by making larger-scale urbanisation more easily possible, but culturally, spiritually, socially, we have been going downhill steadily for quite some time, and most likely this is because the social contract, including how we raise families and earn livings, has been degraded by the over-reliance on market forces, profit motives, private corporations, crony capitalist politicking and all the rest of it, most of which I never bother to bring up on this little bread-related blog. But hey! Wheat prices might be going up big-time soon, and I believe it’s good to realise that these sorts of things, including a serious threat to the viability of my little organic bakery, don’t happen in a vacuum and most certainly are not due to over-simplifications like ‘the law of supply and demand’.

( )

Anyway, this is a heads up for my readers here: in this Year of the Wood Horse (and Wood is the energy of green, growing things), prices could get wild. I won’t be able to pass on costs to my customers for a while since this is a small town with most people on limited budgets, meaning I will take a hit of 5-10% to annual income from changing flour types, but I am happy to do so because I really like the flour in question. And this year it’s a new type which I believe only one farmer in the region is growing (again, I don’t have specific information unfortunately), namely Acadia wheat, a heritage variety developed in the 1930’s which specifically thrives in Maritime climates. I believe I have posted about this already. It is regarded as a landrace variety, i.e. is not a modern hybrid. It is soft, rises nicely, has a light, rich flavour and aroma. I like it.

I am REALLY looking forward to baking with Speerville’s Whole White Acadia, and having to pay more for it, though a tad painful, is something I don’t regret in the slightest. It’s worth it.

One last link from this blog describes modern American (and essentially Western including Canadian) class structure:

I am a proud member of the new, and last class, what he terms the ‘Mobile Creative’ class, who are by and large independent and self-employed and the only one of the other eight identified not essentially bound to current system. So I guess I must be doing something right!

Rise of Artisan Bread – traditional Miche in NYC

A friend in the States just shunted this link along about Artisan Bread:

The artcicle is about his miche but I suspect this is a generic photo; in any case, can’t tell which one is the miche.

I was making I pretty good 1.5 kg Miche last year but people stopped buying it, no doubt because it’s just too expensive. I make many hearth loaves weighing around 680g/1.5 lbs which are essentially similar, but mine don’t take 60+ hours to make, ‘merely’ about 30. I suspect that quite a bit of that time is dough soaking in a cool walk-in (which I don’t have) but the article doesn’t explain.

In any case, it’s always good when articles pop up praising what I think of as ‘real bread’. And unfortunate that so many people still aren’t exposed to it or don’t understand it’s significance when they are, how basically an almost miraculously delicious and healthy food has been transformed into something that barely even resembles the authentic article. So much so that when chatting about this with my fresh fish man last week at the market, he confessed that he much prefers ‘traditional bread’ to mine – and of course by ‘traditional bread’ he means the supermarket imitation he and most people nowadays think of and are used to and even enjoy as ‘bread’.




Global EcoVillage Network

Baltic EcoVillage Network – an EU-govt-aided initiative

Some manuals written by the Baltic EcoVillagers about their experiences, methods (energy conservation/technology, farming, construction etc.)

About the project

Project “Ecovillages for sustainable rural development”

Nowadays people start thinking about changing their living habits towards being more socially, economically and ecologically responsible. One of the possible ways to do this is proposed by Ecovillage movement. Ecovillage principles aim to combine social–cultural environment with a low–impact way of living. Choosing to live in the ecovillage is choosing an alternative way to the individualistic, materialistic and consumer-oriented lifestyle.

Project aims at fostering ecovillages development as more sustainable way of living in rural areas of the Baltic Sea Region

Duration and budget
Project is implemented from 2010 to 2013. It is working under “Baltic Sea Region programme 2007-2013” and has total budget of 1.333.426 EUR, funded by European Union as well as contributed by project partners.

Main outputs
• 3 manuals based on case studies, covering guidelines for:
– Eco-settling practices;
– Environmentally – friendly technologies;
– Community living and social development in ecovillages.
• An ecovillage socio-economic sustainability assessment on-line tool;
• Recommendations for decision makers concerning ecovillages proper development;
• Ecovillage road for the Baltic Sea Region including ecovillages which are ready to introduce tourists into ecovillage life as well as pursue internship programs.

5 partners from different Baltic Sea Region countries are implementing the project. Project also has 10 associated partners.

Lead partner
Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics,

Project partners
MTT Agrifood Research Finland,
Latvian State Institute of Agrarian Economics,
The West Pomeranian Business School,
Suderbyn cooperative society,

Associated project partners
GEN Europe,
GEN Finland,
Centre for Independent Social Research, www.cisr.u
St.Petersburg Forest Technical Academy,
Permaculture in Sweden,
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences,
Ekoboforeningen Njord,
Council of the Baltic Sea States, CBSS Baltic 21 Unit,

Ash Comments:  I am currently mulling over ideas around the notion of what I am now calling ‘Village Farms.’ There are single-family farms, small scale farms, agribusiness farms. This idea is simple: a working farm or farms around which are developed a residential population, varied in age and livelihood, which both enjoys living in a rural, farm atmosphere and also supports the farm operation by purchasing its produce, helping at harvest times, and some of them have independent secondary production operations (like cheese-making, bakery etc.), whilst many do not do farm-related work at all, rather are doctors, lawyers, consultants, drive to work at nearby town or whatever. There could also be financial anchors such as a retirement home which has both residents on fixed income and also hires staff from the village and elsewhere.

Rather than being organised mainly around a philosophy or political cause (environmentalism, a particular religion etc.) this idea is very simple and secular: it is simply a population clustered around a working farm operation. In this way, it is hoped that more people can make a go of it in rural areas, which is not currently the case due to an almost complete abnegation of rural society by current governments throughout the developed world, who have basically ceded the most important policy decisions (how we live, our economic system etc.) to multinational corporations who in turn have foisted agribusiness on all of us using corporate ‘supermarket’ distribution points (aka ‘Big Box Store model’) which drive out local operations and turn small towns everywhere into dying wastelands which young people can’t wait to leave, meaning there is no generational continuity and therefore really only 3 classes: the chronically poor and usually unemployed; the employed but really just working to afford a basic lifestyle and with no generational continuityin terms of place or family fortune; the rich, many of whom also have no continuity, but some of whom – the super-rich – do. It’s not a very advanced system, unless if you count the raw numbers involved which indeed are greater than at any time in known history.

I am thinking of trying to mount a web-based drive to raise money to make in-depth studies of the bad effects of the Big Box model, but more importantly to analyse various hierarchical/organisational models for such a village, finding success and failure examples in places like the EcoVillage initiative highlighted above. Also maybe raise funds via IndieGogo or other methods to pay for studies from cyber-bases analysis services to project ideal population numbers in various climate zones (how many villagers per X-sized farm), also research the legal and funding issues, and also maybe come up with a plan to start 5 model Village Farms in Cape Breton, which plan including

a) how to fund them

b) how to organise them both in terms of project development and subsequent actual ongoing living management

c) how to actualize them

d) how to maintain ongoing interest and networks so that lessons are learned and more such Village Farms can be facilitated – if they prove worthy – in a wide range of terrain and jurisdictions throughout the world.

Ambitious? Yes, I guess. But really this is a one-step-first approach which mainly involves chewing over this idea and seeing if there is an affordable way to come up with a plan for how to go forward with 1-5 Village Farms on Cape Breton Island. That hardly qualifies as hugely ambitious.

A correlated idea is to launch a global ‘Think Tank for the 99%’, i.e. a cyber-funded Think Tank that tackles issues like this Village Farm example, both in terms of funding but also in terms of participation, in that they vote with their dollars as to what to study next. There could be many other topics (Common Law, organic farming methods in colder climates, various small business model templates to help people with start-ups, a research operation that takes peoples business ideas and spits out a comprehensive business plan for them (often the main stumbling block for startups) along with a funding initiative from within the 99% Think Tank community). Now this is ambitous and probably too hard to put into practice, but with all the automation possible nowadays, who knows. If I have time and ongoing interest, would like to look into this sort of thing further if for no other reason than the market numbers have been falling of late in Sydney (both during but also before the bad weather) and it is getting harder and harder to survive here in this situation with deteriorating economy and declining population. A recent Commission reported that this sort of thing is probably going to happen throughout Nova Scotia (not just the rural areas as has been the case for decades, and with urban Sydney the past 20 years), in which case things are going to get tough. And since the Commission did not look favourably on small business inititiatives (if I understood the 120 page report recommendations correctly), rather big business solutions (chiding us for not being Big Business friendly), and since big business has no real reason for being here really, I am not holding my breath that they will do anything substantive.

There is a chance they will allow the Ports Sydney PanamaxPlus container initiative to go forward, but with Chinese shipments down steeply this year, it could be one of those things that gets put on hold for 5-10 years – a very short time globally, but a long time for a local region in systemic crisis.

Meanwhile, although I have no doubt that it will never happen, also I have no doubt that if it did many of the world’s problems today would be solved by: simply banning agribusiness operations and making all farms authentically organic. This would bring rural to urban population ratios back into line (with more people living on or near farms than in cities), end chronic unemployment (and bad minimum wage for corporations employment) and generally promote a saner, healthier society and culture, which in turn would naturally revive a people and economy less beholden to corporate banking and other related cartels (energy, medicine, science, education etc.). It could work, although realistically speaking as we all know, it is highly unlikely.

Still, it says something about the current state of our societies in the developed and developing world that a high probability of success initiative seems so hopelessly out of the question. Indian farmers have been fighting back. And winning yield-per-acre prizes across the board using small-scale, non-agribusiness-input methods. Hopefully more people around the world, like the ecovillagers at top of this page, will make further progress.


Let us hope and pray they, and we, can do so.



Global Risk Assessment of GMO’s – paper

The paper:

Excerpt: “In a new study, which is still in draft form, this professor of risk engineering from New York University uses statistical analysis to make the case that GMOs, by their very nature, will disrupt the ecosystems of this planet in ways that mankind is only just beginning to comprehend. Because they represent a systemic risk rather than a localized one — GM traits are known to spread unconstrained throughout the environment — GMOs will eventually breach the so-called “ecocide barrier,” leading to catastrophic ecosystem failure.

“There are mathematical limitations to predictability in a complex system, ‘in the wild,’ which is why focusing on the difference between local (or isolated) and systemic threats is a central aspect of our warnings,” Taleb is quoted as saying by, noting that it’s essentially impossible to contain the inevitable spread of GMO traits far and wide.

“The [precautionary principle] is not there to make life comfortable, rather to avoid a certain class of what is called in probability and insurance ‘ruin’ problems,” write Taleb and his colleagues in their paper. “For nature, the ‘ruin’ is ecocide: an irreversible termination of life at some scale, which could be the planet.”

GMOs are not ‘scientific,’ and nearly every argument used in their defense is flawed

Besides using math and risk-based analysis to show that GMOs simply cannot coexist with nature as is commonly claimed — GMOs will eventually contaminate the natural world around them — Taleb also deconstructs many of the “arguments” used by GMO advocates to defend the commercial use of untested transgenic materials, including the oft-repeated lie that GMOs are no different than natural organisms.

“Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs fall squarely under [the precautionary principle]… because of their systemic risk on the system,” explains Taleb. “Top-down modifications to the system (through GMOs) are categorically and statistically different from bottom up ones (regular farming, progressive tinkering with crops, etc.).”

“There is no comparison between the tinkering of selective breeding and the top-down engineering of taking a gene from an organism and putting it into another. Saying that such a product is natural misses the statistical process by which things become ‘natural.'”

Taleb also draws attention to the deceitful strategies of biotechnology companies in trying to legitimize the continued use of GMOs through fear. Claiming that famine, starvation and widespread crop failures will occur if we all fail to adopt GMOs is no different than playing Russian roulette in order to get out of poverty, claims Taleb — such an approach is hardly scientific or logically sound, and yet these and other tactics are the basis of the pro-GMO agenda.”

Ash Comment: it continues to amaze me how arrogant all these large businesses are, and also how little they seem to care for the lovely world we all live in. They are what are called ‘asuras’ in the buddhist six realm cosmology, people aspiring to be gods living a life of perfect ease, delight, unbroken happiness, stress free etc. but not being so, hence they are involved in perpetual achievement struggles, either clambering over those below in order to get to the top, or pulling down those they see as higher up, they are continuously and forever paranoid, greedy, selfish and essentially humourless – unless laughing at another’s misfortune or lack of asura skills. So although their goal is peace and stillness, their means to achieving that goal perpetually engenders the opposite – strife and stress.

GMO’s, quite simply, should be banned. Monoculture and agribusiness farming should be banned. As organised societies with governments for which ultimately we are responsible – not matter the system – we should do better at preventing this asura mentalility from dominating our cultures and ruining our beautiful world. They are heartless and do not deserve the degree of influence and control our complacent naivity has been affording them this past century or so.

Will it ever end? I keep hoping that young people all over the world will rise up and overthrow the old order we have given them. Peacefully if possible, of course, but thoroughly and without compromise. Maybe if more of us prayed for that every day, it was magically unfold.

Well, I for one will start praying every day, and maybe soon will offer such a prayer here on the blog….