Hesitate!

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Quick decision-making might seem bold, but the agony of indecision is your brain’s way of making a better choice.

Whether lingering too long over the menu at a restaurant, or abrupt U-turns by politicians, flip-flopping does not have a good reputation. By contrast, quick, decisive responses are associated with competency: they command respect. Acting on gut feelings without agonising over alternative courses of action has been given scientific credibility by popular books such as Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink (2005), in which the author tries to convince us of ‘a simple fact: decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately’. But what if the allure of decisiveness were leading us astray? What if flip-flopping were adaptive and useful in certain scenarios, shepherding us away from decisions that the devotees of Blink might end up regretting? Might a little indecision actually be a useful thing?

Read on…………

The Influence of Soils on Human Health

http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-influence-of-soils-on-human-health-127878980

By: Eric C. Brevik, Ph.D. (Department of Natural Sciences, Dickinson State University) & Lynn C. Burgess, Ph.D. (Department of Natural Sciences, Dickinson State University) © 2014 Nature Education

Citation: Brevik, E. C. & Burgess, L. C. (2014) The Influence of Soils on Human Health. Nature Education Knowledge 5(12):1

 

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Introduction

Soils are important for human health in a number of ways. Approximately 78% of the average per capita calorie consumption worldwide comes from crops grown directly in soil, and another nearly 20% comes from terrestrial food sources that rely indirectly on soil (Brevik 2013a). Soils are also a major source of nutrients, and they act as natural filters to remove contaminants from water. However, soils may contain heavy metals, chemicals, or pathogens that have the potential to negatively impact human health. This article will summarize some of the more important and direct relationships between soils and human health.

Quality Food Production and Food Security

Quality food production and food security have several components, including the production of sufficient amounts of food, adequate nutrient content in the food products, and the exclusion of potentially toxic compounds from the food products (Hubert et al. 2010). Soils play a major role in all of these areas of quality food production and security.

Influence of Soils on Crop Yield and Food Security

Food security is achieved when all people have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2003). Food security is central to human health (Brevik 2009a; Carvalho 2006), and the ability to produce nutritious crops in sufficient amounts depends on soil properties and conditions. In particular, soils that have well-developed structure, sufficient organic matter, and other physical and chemical properties conducive to promoting crop growth lead to strong yields and are thus important for food security (Reicosky et al. 2011; Brevik 2009b). Soil degradation, which includes soil erosion and loss of soil structure and nutrient content, decreases crop production and threatens food security (Brevik 2013b; Pimentel & Burgess 2013; Lal 2009) (Figure 1). Soils that contain substances such as heavy metals, which may be toxic to humans, can pass those substances on to humans through crop uptake, leading to unsafe foods that compromise food security (Hubert et al. 2010; Brevik 2009a).

Soil degradation along the top of the hill has left the soils unable to support strong plant growth. Soil degradation over large areas may threaten food security.

Figure 1: Soil degradation along the top of the hill has left the soils unable to support strong plant growth. Soil degradation over large areas may threaten food security.

Photo by Gene Alexander, USDA NRCS

Read on………

http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-influence-of-soils-on-human-health-127878980

 

Soil: The Foundation of Agriculture

http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/soil-the-foundation-of-agriculture-84224268

Throughout human history, our relationship with the soil has affected our ability to cultivate crops and influenced the success of civilizations. This relationship between humans, the earth, and food sources affirms soil as the foundation of agriculture.

Human society has developed through utilization of our planet’s resources in amazingly unique, creative, and productive ways that have furthered human evolution and sustained global societies. Of these resources, soil and water have provided humans with the ability to produce food, through agriculture, for our sustenance. In exploring the link between soil and agriculture, this article will highlight 1) our transition from hunter-gatherer to agrarian societies; 2) the major soil properties that contribute to fertile soils; 3) the impacts of intensive agriculture on soil degradation; and 4) the basic concepts of sustainable agriculture and soil management. These topics will be discussed to demonstrate the vital role that soils play in our agriculturally-dependent society.

Agriculture and Human Society

Human use and management of soil and water resources have shaped the development, persistence, decline, and regeneration of human civilizations that are sustained by agriculture (Harlan 1992, Hillel 1992). Soil and water are essential natural resources for our domesticated animal- and plant-based food production systems. Although of fundamental importance today, agriculture is a relatively recent human innovation that spread rapidly across the globe only 10,000 to 12,000 years ago (Diamond 1999, Montgomery 2007, Price & Gebauer 1995, Smith 1995), during the Agricultural Revolution. This short, yet highly significant period of time, represents less than 0.3 % of the more than four million years of human evolution as bipedal hominids and ultimately Homo sapiens. In agriculturally-based societies during the last ten millennia, humans have developed complex, urban civilizations that have cycled through periods of increasing complexity, awe-inspiring intellectual achievement, persistence for millennia, and, in some instances, perplexing decline (Trigger 2003). In many cases, stressed, declining civilizations adapted, or reemerged, into new or similar complex cultures (Schwartz & Nichols 2006). Through such fluctuations, we have remained dependent on a relatively small number of crop and animal species for food, and on integrated soil-water systems that are essential for their production. There is no doubt that our modern human society has developed to the point that we cannot exist without agriculture.

It is clear that agriculture sustains and defines our modern lives, but it is often disruptive of natural ecosystems. This is especially true for plant communities, animal populations, soil systems, and water resources. Understanding, evaluating, and balancing detrimental and beneficial agricultural disturbances of soil and water resources are essential tasks in human efforts to sustain and improve human well-being. Such knowledge influences our emerging ethics of sustainability and responsibility to human populations and ecosystems of the future.

Although agriculture is essential for human food and the stability of complex societies, almost all of our evolution has taken place in small, mobile, kin-based social groups, such as bands and tribes (Diamond 1999, Johanson & Edgar 2006). Before we became sedentary people dependent on agriculture, we were largely dependent on wild plant and animal foods, without managing soil and water resources for food production. Our social evolution has accelerated since the Agricultural Revolution and taken place synergistically with human biological evolution, as we have become dependent on domesticated plants and animals grown purposefully in highly managed, soil-water systems.

Read On:…………    http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/soil-the-foundation-of-agriculture-84224268

Organic Growing with Worms

Organic Growing with Worms

 

Source: http://www.brightsunpublishing.com/index.php

 

PrimePublishersworms

Snapshot

Come with David Murphy while he takes you through the influence worms had on human migration in times long past, how worms can make or break civilizations, how smart farmers like David Davidson who uses worms to double the carrying capacity of his land, or Bert Farquahar who could write out a cheque for $10,000,000 to buy another farm because of the canny way he used worms.

See how David Murphy is able to take what the worms produce – on its own, a super plant booster – and quadruple its plant growth value by very simple means and how to blend it with rock dust to make the complete low impact but effective biological fertiliser for a few dollars only per tonne.

Find out why worms ain’t worms, but then add David Murphy’s extraordinary knowledge and you have the key to super prosperity by a sustainable means.

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The Sections

Worms for Everyone
Worms for Gardeners
Worms for Farmers
Worms for Worm Farmers
Worms for Greenhouse
Worms for Waste Managers

A word from the Author

We live in a crucially important time. We are told to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gas, yet the demand for coal-based energy increases at light speed. We can change light bulbs to LED, install solar panels on our houses – we can strive to do our bit – but at the same time China commissions a new coal-fired power station almost weekly.

Our individual efforts just go out the window. For every wind farm we build there has to be a backup (coal, diesel or gas) generating capacity to step in instantly the wind stops – as it does, often. Nobody mentions the biggest emitter of CO2 – the soil of the earth. From there, more CO2 than every other source combined ! Mark that ! Every other source combined ! Reverse soil emissions and the problem is better than solved ! Professor Alessandro Piccolo (Università Frederico !!, Naples) stated (in personal conversation) that if we raised the organic matter in soil from less than the current 1% world average (it used to be minimum 20%) to 5% to plough depth, 150 billion tonnes of CO2 would be locked into the soil.

It may sound absurd but we can do this with simple, humble, worms ! More in the book 

Serious Praise

Here’s a line from what Peter Cundall wrote “This is an amazing and a very motivating book” and from Dr. Peter Ellyard “David Murphy is passionate about returning the earthworm to its rightful position. His approach is the horticultural equivalent of a doctor who works to heal using homeo-pathic or natural means. This book is part of his “mission”, and I am sure it will find readership amongst the growing number of people who want to work with nature rather than against it”. More in the book …

A word from the Worms………

Worm Farm Waste Systems

March 15 at 11:24am ·

“I must recommend this great book ‘Organic Growing with Worms’ by David Murphy to all our followers. It is full of extremely interesting and valuable info on these amazing little creatures”

http://www.organicgrowingwithworms.com.au/

Alex Blythe

General Manager

Worm Farm Waste Systems

What Others Say

 There have been a lot of books written about worms, but, ORGANIC GROWING WITH WORMS is the best without question!! There is just so much valuable info in it. I use it all the time on the family farm and in the garden at home. I wouldn’t be without it. Its a great and easy read – Peter Cundall was right when he said ‘… this book is amazing and inspiring’. My new bible, thank you !”

    Robert Watt, Farmer (Ret’d) Hampton.

 Greetings David and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family ! This is my second copy of your wonderful book. I loaned my original to a friend who has taken off with it, lol. As it is my bible on all things worms I decided, just in case it never returns, to treat myself to a spare. Thank you for the effort and work to get such a marvelous book out to the public. Kindest regards

   Ruby Harris

“From my very early days in Vermiculture, David Murphy’s book has been my “bible”. Not only for the scope of information, but also the readability. I have read many books and articles on worms since, but it is still head and shoulders above the others. The sub-title says it all…A handbook for a better environment.

    David Davidson. President Australian Wormgrowers Association. Vermiculture Inc.

“Over many year’s David’Murphy’s book has been a best seller in our store. It is a great resource and we believe it should be on every grower’s bookshelf. We are thrilled with his revised edition ! It is proving even more invaluable for home gardeners and large scale farmers alike”.

    Farming Secrets (Hugo & Helen Disler)

  I have been in regular contact with David Murphy since 2006. Our inexperienced group approached him then to help us learn more about vermiculture, as we had been immensely impressed with his book Earthworms in Australia. He has since written a much more extensive book, Organic Growing with Worms, which is widely used by many of our 2000 members.

    Ken Reid, Founder and National Coordinator of the Earthworm Interest Group of Southern Africa

 “Thanks David ! This is my second copy of your fabulous book.  I lent my first copy to a “friend” and he never returned it.  Eventually I had to get another one.  I need that book within easy reach!  Thanks for writing it.”

  Kindest regards, Christene Sanders

 

Renewable interconnectors to “span the globe,” as costs fall, technology improves : RenewEconomy

The distribution of solar and wind energy from one side of a continent to the other, and even between continents is now “eminently feasible”, a leading energy researcher has claimed, thanks to rapid improvements in technology and falling costs.

Speaking at last week’s APVI Asia Pacific Solar Research Conference in Melbourne, ANU professor Andrew Blakers said high voltage DC transmission technology was “moving ahead in leaps and bounds,” while costs were coming “down and down.”

This was a trend, he said, that was largely being driven by China, where wind, PV and hydro were in the west, while most of the people were in the east: “there’s 3,000km in-between, and the span is being bridged with high voltage DC.”

“Intercontinental and intracontinental-scale transmission is now eminently feasible,” Blakers told the conference on Thursday

http://reneweconomy.com.au/renewable-interconnectors-to-span-the-globe-as-costs-fall-technology-improves-53844/

How Two Guys and an Internet Forum Built a Kickass Computer | WIRED

THE CHINA TRIP was only supposed to last 10 days. For Konstantinos Karatsevidis, the 23-year-old CEO of a new gadget maker called Eve, it was just a quick check-in to make sure production was rolling smoothly on his latest product. Karatsevidis and the rest of the nine-person Eve team have spent the last few years building the V, a laptop-tablet hybrid in the mold of the Microsoft Surface, working in remarkable concert with a teeming community of users and fans to create the exact product they wanted. All that was left to do was make it, perfectly, tens of thousands of times in a row. Which Karatsevidis learned is harder than it looks.

https://www.wired.com/story/how-two-guys-and-an-internet-forum-built-a-kickass-computer/?mbid=social_fb_onsiteshare

How to Talk to a Science Denier without Arguing – Scientific American Blog Network

How to Talk to a Science Denier without Arguing

Credit: OpenClipart-Vectors Pixabay

It’s the holiday season, which means plenty of opportunities for uncomfortable interactions with friends and family who are science deniers, from people who believe the moon landing was faked to those who believe vaccines cause autism or who think that humans did not cause significant global climate change. How can you deal with such science deniers effectively?

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/how-to-talk-to-a-science-denier-without-arguing/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sa-editorial-social&utm_content&utm_term=policy_blog_

The Dialogues: Illustrated Conversations About the Most Thrilling Frontiers of Science by Theoretical Physicist and Self-Taught Artist Clifford Johnson – Brain Pickings

From black holes to the multiverse, a cosmic comic celebrating the endangered art of human conversation.

The Dialogues: Illustrated Conversations About the Most Thrilling Frontiers of Science by Theoretical Physicist and Self-Taught Artist Clifford Johnson

“Words are events, they do things, change things,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in extolling the magic of real human conversation. “They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.” Such unsurpassed amplification of understanding is why dialogue has reigned as monarch of thought-transformation at least since the days of Plato. It is not coincidental that Galileo reconfigured our understanding of the universe in a revolutionary treatise he titled Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, nor that it was in dialogue James Baldwin and Margaret Mead reached insight into the question of race tenfold deeper and more nuanced than anything today’s ping-pong of opinions produces

https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/12/07/the-dialogues-clifford-johnson/

How the Economics Profession Is Coming to Terms with Its Role in the Great Financial Crisis – Evonomics

By David Orrell

Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a pioneer in the field of grief counselling, identified the five stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This extract from Economyths draws on her model of grief as inspiration to chart the long, arduous, but ultimately healthy and healing (we hope, it’s not over yet) process as the economics profession slowly comes to terms with its role in the Great Financial Crisis.

The ten years since the first tremors of the crisis began in 2007 have been a difficult journey, not just for the world economy, but also for the economics profession. The status of the field had never been higher than in the two decades preceding the crisis, during what Ben Bernanke and others called the Great Moderation. Inflation and macroeconomic volatility seemed to be under control, and total national income was growing at an almost steady rate (the fact that total debt was growing even faster was less remarked upon).

http://evonomics.com/economyths-five-stages-economic-grief/

Galileo on Critical Thinking and the Folly of Believing Our Preconceptions – Brain Pickings

“To divine that wonderful arts lie hid behind trivial and childish things is a conception for superhuman talents.”

Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564–January 8, 1642) was born into a world without clocks, telescopes, or microscopes, where superstition and anthropocentrism moored the human mind in tyrannical dogma — a world that saw itself as the center of the universe. By the end of his lifetime, over the course of which he pioneered modern observational astronomy, invented timekeeping, and even inspired Shakespeare, Galileo’s work had seeded the most significant scientific revolution in human history.

In 1632, nearly two decades after he defended truth in the face of ignorance in his spectacular letter to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Galileo penned an impressive book titled Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican (public library), which he dedicated to his patron, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Structured as a series of conversations between a layman and two philosophers, it is at heart a timeless manifesto for critical thinking.

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/10/08/galileo-dialogue-critical-thinking/

Retiring baby boomers are going to have a huge impact on the economy | World Economic Forum

The first Baby Boomers turned 70 last year. At the same time, the US fertility rate is at its lowest point since records began in 1909.

This disastrous combination means by 2030, those aged 65 and older will make up over 20% of the population.

https://amp-weforum-org.cdn.ampproject.org/c/amp.weforum.org/agenda/2017/09/retiring-baby-boomers-are-going-to-have-a-huge-impact-on-the-economy