Friday, September 27, 2013

Nuthatches and Brick Porthole Habitats

image: Paweł Kuźniar
Nuthatch or Nöltväcka (Euraisan Nuthatch) is a tiny little tree creeper of a bird we have here in Sweden. I mostly notice them in the early Spring when they like so many other birds are into the Springtime nesting mode. That's when I notice them and other tree creepers doing their thing and darting in and out of some of the most tiniest of holes that you'd ever expect any kind of bird to move in and out of. They're an odd shaped bird and yet cute at the same time. When you walk in the woods here, it's a pleasant surprise to find one working and moving inside and outside of it's tiny hole. I say pleasant because they are so entertaining to watch for a few minutes. Amazingly, their odd little frame just seems to defy gravity which never seems to be an issue when they move all around a tree's trunk and undersides of branches. But it's that diving into a tree and disappearing into a tiny porthole of a nesting cavity that draws your attention at first.
Photo: Mine
I've taken numerous pictures of their nesting holes, but without catching one actually at the porthole. They are just that quick. But I can show one such porthole I took in the Oak woodlands we walked through when I wrote about Gunnebo House & Gardens where we spent the pleasant afternoon with friends. It's still incredible that anything other than a hummingbird would fit in such a tiny little porthole of an entrance. But they do. Interestingly, if they find a hole and like it for a nest, but find the entrance too big, they will building up a mud platform from the bottom up until the proper diameter meets their specifications for safety & security. But they don't always choose tree holes for nesting. They will also seek out tiny crevices within rock walls here or cliffs and even small holes in buildings or bridge foundation structures. At Gunnebo they had a large pond which was rock wall bordered all around. As I was sitting there on a bench mesmerized by the movement of the water, suddenly this little tiny figure flitted into a tiny crevice. I suspected it was a Nuthatch and after waiting for a bit, sure enough a Nötväcka popped out. I have a couple of example videos to show here with the first being a video of a Nuthatch Nesting cavity with parents caring for their babies and also notice the mud platform build up at the bottom of the entrance.
Nuthatch Nesting Video
This next video is also very illustrative of the same behavior of the Eurasian Nuthatch's nervous foraging habit of investigating by flitting in and out of cracks a crevices of stone walls or rock piles. But this little bird is different, yet similar in some habits. It's called Gärdsmyg or common Wren. This particular video caught my attention because the Önskevädersgatan Trolley Stop where I wait to ride to city center, I wait at the rail along side a rock line drainage ditch and invariably there are these little Wrens popping in and out of the rocks near the water's edge. The Nuthatch will often to the very same thing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35tZUqKrh2g
What actually got me interested in writing a piece about this little bird was something I saw a Magazine article about creating a nesting cavity in a brick wall. As natural habitat components for cavity nesting birds become fast disappearing with more and more human development, many of these birds fall into decline. The designer is Aaron Dunkerton, a student at Kingston University in England, who claimed to have found solution and solve the problem with the Bird Brick, a fire-clamped cavity brick that could be built into walls and buildings to provide a sustainable nesting site for the birds. It was a perfect fit for these little cavity nesting birds and could be easily duplicated by anyone who is intuitive enough imagination to replicate such designs. But here is a quick view of what I'm talking about as far as nesting holes incorporated into a brick wall. The Bird Brick is a fire-clamped cavity brick that can be built into walls and buildings to provide a sustainable nesting site for sparrows.


Image: Aaron Dunkerton

The Bird Brick is made from five different bricks that assemble to create an opening for the birds. To clean the cavities, you simply twist the stopper and pull it out. Designer Aaron Dunkerton suggests doing this every two to five years, though sparrows typically take care of it themselves. I remember this was one of my concerns when I first was intrigued with this idea. How in the world could it be maintained and kept hygienic ? I was also curious as to how it could attract other birds like the one on my topic which are much tinier. While there are Sparrows here in Sweden, mostly they are in the cities and not overly numerous in numbers like they are in warmer climates. The other birds like Wrens and Nuthatches are everywhere around my house since we are at the edge of the woods. I really don't know if I've ever seen a sparrow in our yard period. Below is the illustration of the clean out. 


Image: Aaron Dunkerton

Dunkerton’s design consists of five hand-made bricks that assemble to create a small, round opening that’s plugged with a brick stopper. At the bottom of this post I've posted his website link for further details. The hole is 1.25 inches diagonally, which makes it large enough for a sparrow (or other smaller bird varieties) to nest comfortably, but small enough to keep out unwanted visitors. The idea is that builders would install a cluster of three or four Bird Bricks during the construction of new buildings. Ideally, the bricks would sit anywhere from 6 to 15 feet from the ground. Dunkerton says this about sparrow communal habits:  
“House sparrows are extremely sociable birds and like to nest in small little colonies.” 
But have you ever noticed that many of the cavity nesting Birds build nests in the oddest of places. I saw this very thing this past Spring when visiting a friend in Anza California. A family of Mountain Blue Birds had set up house in an old telephone utility box on a light pole that my friend Patrick never got around to using. Amazing, I should have photographed it, but we stood there a gazed at the for along while coming and going, both parents. This artificial nesting site set up was also mentioned by Dunkerton.
“You often find them nesting under loose tiles or in old broken vents in the side of buildings” 
But as buildings are patched up to improve insulation and green space disappears due to urbanization, sparrows are losing a sizable chunk of their nesting options. Apparently, over the last three decades, in the U.K. the house sparrow population has decreased around 70 percent as he shows on his website below, and the bird has found itself on the growing list of endangered species. Seriously, who ever thought Sparrows would become endangered ? 

Anyway, the idea he came up with intrigued me and triggered all manner of other ideas for creating artificial nest habitats. Not just for Sparrows, but all sorts of other birds. This set up would be perfect for garden walls and not just buildings. And of course the size of the hole could be made smaller to accommodate the tinier native Song Bird's like Sweden's Nuthatches. This larger size of course would be shortened up by the Nuthatches with mud, but still, Sparrows and Martins could get there first if the hole was just their right size. Nuthatches collect various nuts and wedge them into tree bark or in holes in walls and will even cover secret larders with bark or moss. Who knows, maybe some of these brick bird holes could become winter storage catches for them. They are just such funny looking birds besides their cuteness. 
Other people have come up with some more elaborate brick bird habitat Uptopias, but the one above by Aaron Dunkerton seemed the easiest to replicate and incorporate without being overly flashy by drawing attention to the area. Below is one beautiful but more complicated one and a link to this company. If a parson has the money and the creative time and patience, there is no limit as to what they can accomplish. Then below this image example, there are some other interesting reading references webpage links if further interested in more creative ideas.


designer Chooi-leng Tan.
Nature-Loving Bricks Bring Wildlife Straight to Your Walls


Nuthatches are endangered in many areas. Especially in the United States where people are obsessed with cutting down any snag for firewood. They are cavity nesting birds and only really need about an inch hole for entrance. Here below is another video of 10,000 Nuthatch Nest Boxes being built for the north Carolina Brown Nuthatch recovery programs there.


Pay close attention to this next video and notice as in the preceding video above, how a metal plate is covering the entrance so that larger birds do not invade and make the hole bigger to make it their own home.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DrVDf5B97w
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Some Interesting Reading References:
http://www.aarondunkerton.com/bird-brick.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/How to Help the Birds
http://inhabitat.com/pixelated-birdhouses-sprout-on-city-trees-in-london
http://vimeo.com/Brick Biotopes
Brick Biotopes: Micaela Nardella & Oana Tudose


Monday, September 23, 2013

Degefors Cykeldressin (Day Excursions & Rail Cycling)

photo: Mine
For the past year or so, my wife and I have been coming up to the small town of Björneborg which is over an hour's drive north of Gothenburg, to care for her father who is now almost 90 years old and with cancer. He is now doing much better as he has moved out of his home and living in a care facility. But along the way to his town and back, we always past by this sign which said Högberg. I always joked let's stop, because we have friends with the same last name. This place of course is not really a proper town or city, but merely a tiny country rural community with store, some residents, etc. But back in July, we finally made the turn and drove down the narrow gravel road which went through tall trees and finally opened up into meadows and pasture lands. I made my wife get out and take the photo with her Mobile Phone. We didn't expect taking pick & Camera was at home.
image: Mine
One of the other (selfish) reasons I always wanted to stop here is that there is an abandoned narrow gauge railing line which runs through here whose tracks we always crossed to the north of here and saw along the highway further south. I'm an old railway nutcase. I love anything trains after plants. So this gave me an opportunity to see if there was any older train station along the tracks running through this village. There wasn't any, but there was a typical Swedish Rail Crossing warning sign which we did see ahead like the one pictured to the left. These signs are everywhere and collectible to German Tourists who like to steel them on their way driving back home. Actually the German favourite sign to take is the Moose Crossing warning signs. But I have previously been to other locations where abandoned former railway sections have been turned back into running Stream Engines again. It was fun.
This one intrigued us however because we could see as we crossed the railroad crossing that the rails were somewhat shiny as if the were used on a regular basis. On the way back towards the rail crossing again, we saw a family of three riding and almost bicycle pedaling this three rail wheel contraption with ease on down the rail line. Wow, that looks kool. I wanna do that. But where do you pick up these cars for cycling ? There was nothing around here and it looked as if you had to drive back up north towards Björneborg or further north to find out. So we drove up to a farm and turned around and went inside and old General Store turned into Crafts and Nick-knack shop to ask what where and how can we do this too.
We went back to the Store to inquire about the Rail Cycling we just saw and the woman explained there was a rail station stop in the town north of there called Degefors. The converted General Store to gift shop had many antiques and crafts. Out back of the store in the meadow were several Alpacas for which they made rugs and other things from the wool to sell in the store. We only purchased an ice cream each and sat on the benches outside watching the animals and then headed for Degefors. At least I finally had the satisfaction of seeing what Högberg was all about after so many trips up this way and being told we don't have time for side trips. It was fun though.


Image mine 2013

We've often only traveled through the city of Degefors to visit my Father-In-Law when he was sent to hospital just north of there at various times. But this was the first time we actually slowed down and turned left instead of blowing straight through to the north. We made it to a Degefors Public Park and beyond that out in the country again was a little red quaint Rail Station House next to the old narrow gauge train tracks. I parked the car on a grassy car park and walked up to the railroad crossing and photographed north up the track a ways where they had all the Cykla Dressin vehicles park and ready for release. I really wished we had had more time to engage in this activity, but there was no time, we had to get back home to Gothenburg. But we vowed one day soon.


Image mine from 2013

Surprisingly there were several families who had taken off from here on their way south to Ottersbäcksbanan. You can stop along the way and the cycle cars are light and easy enough to take off the tracks to allow others to pass from either direction. Many stop along any point on the right of way to have their pack lunches. Looking at the people using these cycle cars and the modest way they were dressed just brought back some memories of the kind of things families did back in the 1950s. That kind of outdoor adventure entertainment often seems to get a hands down with most modern younger generations who normally have to be forced to leave city life and get out in the country into an activity they often view as boring. Below here are some close up photos of the light rail cycle cars and close ups of the maps and prices with rules.


image: Mine


image: Mine

image Mine
Map of rail right of way route along the lake


image: Mine
 Booking Rules. Rent by the hour or whole day.
Below I've given a couple of links to this type of fun entertainment for families. The bottom link is most extensive in that it reveals around this entire region there are other abandoned rail right of ways which are now used for this purpose. Lots of photographs and explanations, although they are in Swedish, but it doesn't matter. The pictures are worth a thousand words. Here also is a nice Youtube video, in Swedish of course with music.
Youtube-Video: "Dressincaching i Gullspång"
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Some reading references for Tourists:
Youth Hostel and Train Station for Cykla Dressin at the southern end in Gullsspång
http://www.gullspangsvandrarhem.se 
Here is a site referencing all the Cykla Dressin places to visit in Sweden
http://anders.hultman.nu/dressin

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Science: the religion that must not be questioned


It's time for the priesthood to be taken to task
 – and journalists aren't up to the job

Henry Gee Senior Editor of Nature: "Scientific experiments don't end with a Holy Grail so much as an estimate of probability. The Truth, with a capital T, is forever just beyond one's grasp"
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I actually found this interesting and so familiar. I wrote something almost identical a while back based on similar findings and observations of my own. After being at odds much of my life with religious leaders over controversial subjects, I found that most all of the dogmatism of conventional religion has become the mirror image script of choice championed by those claiming not to be religious. Incredibly, the very Secular elements now in charge of worldview promotion, who claim to have replaced religion and appointed themselves as the official mouth piece for Science, seem to have torn the pages right directly out of the Christendom playbook for making their case. I wrote about this earlier in a piece I called,  
A Paradigm Shift (revolutionary science) or More of the Same ?
 Below are a few choice quotes from Henry Gee's article today, but I'll leave the link to his article at the bottom. Ironically, the readers and commenters of his article who vehemently disagreed with him actually make his case for the subject in their zealot styled comments as would any good Church defender. Dir-Hard religious zealots are a scary bunch to face. I know, I've been at odds with the historical conventional religious zealots most of my life. Who would have thought a future Secular version would have appeared promoting themselves as the "Change", but yet steal pages from the old Christendom Hierarchical Ecclesiastical Structure playbook and accept them as their own ? Here are some selected paragraph quotes below:
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"One thing that never gets emphasised enough in science, or in schools, or anywhere else, is that no matter how fancy-schmancy your statistical technique, the output is always a probability level (a P-value), the “significance” of which is left for you to judge – based on nothing more concrete or substantive than a feeling, based on the imponderables of personal or shared experience. Statistics, and therefore science, can only advise on probability – they cannot determine The Truth. And Truth, with a capital T, is forever just beyond one’s grasp." 
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"None of this gets through to the news pages. When pitching a science story to a news editor, a science correspondent soon learns that the answer that gets airtime is either “yes”, or “no”. Either the Voyager space probe has left the solar system, or it hasn’t. To say that it might have done and attach statistical caveats is a guaranteed turn-off. Nobody ever got column inches by saying that Elvis has a 95% probability of having left the building." 
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"Why do we (it’s the royal we this time, do please try to keep up at the back) demand such definitive truths of science, but are happy to have all other spheres of human activity wallow in mess and muddle?"
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"I think it goes back to the mid-20th century, especially just after the second world war, when scientists – they were called “boffins” – gave us such miracles as radar, penicillin and plastics; jet propulsion, teflon, mass vaccination and transistors; the structure of DNA, lava lamps and the eye-level grill. …"
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This last quoted paragraph is very illustrative of the consequences of anyone who deviates from the conventional norm regarding today's religious faith in Science as the modern day infallible cure for all that ails mankind. In that sense they've claimed to have replaced conventional religion with the new enlightened secular version. (Europe's present failure should be a clue to it's failures). But take a look at the conclusion of the article. READ: (source)
"Why is this? The answer, I think, is that those who are scientists, or who pretend to be scientists, cling to the mantle of a kind of religious authority. And as anyone who has tried to comment on religion has discovered, there is no such thing as criticism. There is only blasphemy."
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Wikipedia
Again the zealotry and intolerant attitude by those claiming to be the defenders of Science is more reflective of a conventional evangelical fervor from the Dark Age past, as opposed to the much advertised newer enlightened world of open minded free-thinkers. One of the more hilarious & double standard aspects of those Free-Thought Gang movements is that you are free to think whatever you wish as long as it conforms with the prevailing belief system of the free-thinker collective. Think outside their version of the  intellectual box and you are figuratively burned at the stake with all manner of insults, sarcasm, mockery, vulgarity and character assassination all of which were once the hallmarks of Dark Age Inquisition promoters whom the modern free-thinkers have claimed to have replaced. Such behavior has become the new popular way for discussing science now days. Many are card carrying members of that ever so popular site: "I F**king Love Science" club. I like to illustrate it this way. Back when I use to visit some of those popular time wasting combat forum websites, if one individual from the collective detected in any way that your thinking or beliefs weren't in line with prevailing dogma, they'd almost point the finger and alert the rest of the collective to your infectious presence. Almost like that creepy genetically engineered Pig Squeal reminiscent of that remake of the iconic Sci-Fi flick "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" staring Donald Sutherland. Remember that freaky sound ? And once one member chimes off, it alerts the rest of the cult-like followers to chime in as well. Disagree with the cult leader in any way and the squealing from other members begins. Some things have clearly got to change and the Earth's bad leadership has to definitely be removed, but this new age sciencey gang isn't the answer either. I appreciate I'm probably not scoring many points with either side of the ideologue aisle here, but it is never the less my personal opinion. Seriously folks, please ponder this. I can only imagine that things will continue to degrade and protest and revolution against normalcy will get worse as time pants onto the end!


 Okay now, let's see how many out there Squeal, alert others in the herd and make my case.
A Paradigm Shift (revolutionary science) or More of the Same ?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Incredible Piece of Engineering Found with Biological Mechanical Gear



Credit: Malcolm Burrows
Scanning electron micrograph image of the gears 
  
Every so often you stumble across some thing that truly amazes. This is the case with an insect which for the most part probably goes totally unnoticed by most people, including me. Fortunately, there are some people out there in the world whose particular field of interest sheds light on some amazingly incredible mechanisms which demand our attention and respect for the way the Natural World has been put together. It behooves all of us irrespective of how we think or believe it all came about, to educate and replicate such mechanisms when it comes to rebuilding the Earth. This step by step and bit by bit dismantling of the Earth's living ecosystems and the  mechanisms within has got to come to a halt soon or total collapse may result which cannot be put back together. Read below here and deepen your appreciation for the work of Malcolm Burrows, a Zoologist at the University of Cambridge and the lowly Issus Nymph.
"With two diminutive legs locked into a leap-ready position, the tiny jumper bends its body taut like an archer drawing a bow. At the top of its legs, a minuscule pair of gears engage—their strange, shark-fin teeth interlocking cleanly like a zipper. And then, faster than you can blink, think, or see with the naked eye, the entire thing is gone. In 2 milliseconds it has bulleted skyward, accelerating at nearly 400 g’s—a rate more than 20 times what a human body can withstand. At top speed the jumper breaks 8 mph—quite a feat considering its body is less than one-tenth of an inch long."
"This miniature marvel is an adolescent issus, a kind of planthopper insect and one of the fastest accelerators in the animal kingdom. As a duo of researchers in the U.K. report today in the journal Science, the issus also the first living creature ever discovered to sport a functioning gear."
Read more: The First Mechanical Gear in a Living Creature  – Popular Mechanics Follow us: @PopMech on Twitter | popularmechanics on Facebook Visit us at http://www.popularmechanics.com 
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Here is a photo of the Issus Nymph which is a sort of Leafhopper over on the left and this followed by a couple others clips. The article did attempt explanations for how such incredible gears came about. Some of the scenarios were a bit humorous, but still, one has to wonder. Incredibly, the gears are in the young but absent in the Adult. The explanations for this weren't exactly etched in stone, but the speculative story lines were entertaining anyway. But it is  interesting that if just one of these gear teeth break, the whole system collapses and fails. The little Adult  leafhopper will never spring again. Burrows said, "Just as a stripped transmission won’t help a Hudson-ful of Oklahoma bank robbers outrun the cops, a stripped gearbox would not help a leafhopper avoid getting eaten." Again while some of the speculations were loaded with metaphysics, the attention brought to us by the research does deepen our appreciation for the way Nature is put together.




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Nature had it before Humans did ?
wikipedia

Antikythera mechanism
Remember the ancient analog computer designed to calculate astronomical positions ? It was recovered in 1900–1901 from the Antikythera wreck, but its significance and complexity were not understood until a century later. Jacques Cousteau even visited the wreck in 1978, but although he found new dating evidence, he did not find any additional remains of the Antikythera mechanism. The construction has been dated to the early 1st century BCE. Technological artifacts approaching its complexity and workmanship did not appear again until the 14th century CE, when mechanical astronomical clocks began to be built in Western Europe
Professor Michael Edmunds of Cardiff University, who led a November 2006 study of the mechanism, said:
"This device is just extraordinary, the only thing of its kind. The design is beautiful, the astronomy is exactly right. The way the mechanics are designed just makes your jaw drop. Whoever has done this has done it extremely carefully ... in terms of historic and scarcity value, I have to regard this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa." 
This example of the leafhopper shows the importance of biomimetics. In the planthopper gear example, what we thought was a human invention turns out to have been scooped by an insect.  But what do you know, Nature had it first. Still, you have to wonder, did those ancient Greeks observe something already in existence ? Many many creatures and other living organisms did exist on a far grander scale than what we have in our own modern present day of the age of modern intellectual enlightenment and understanding. Still, one wonders what inspired them with this invention.


"Four centuries of change in northeastern United States forests"


photo by David Foster & Harvard Forest Archive

A view of the Swift River Valley in Central Massachusetts, photographed in 1890 is on the left. The image shows extensive forest clearing for homesteading and agriculture.  The same view photographed today is on the right. Forests have made a similar recovery in many parts of the Northeastern U.S.  

photo John Burk
Maple and pine trees dominate this modern scene of Harvard Pond in Petersham, Massachusetts. Maple numbers have risen by more than 20% in most towns since the colonial period. One of the things I found interesting about this statistic is that Sugar Maples were supposed to be on the decline from the introduction of earthworms from northern Europe where make a fast meal of the forest floor liter and the seeds were unable to germinate with no leaf mulch. At least that's been the story. This apparently contradicts that theory since they are increasing in the very area it was always said they were in decline. Over here in Sweden, there are billions upon billions of Earthworms and I have never noticed a hindrance of seed germination of young Maple seedlings. Oh well, who knows for sure.


JACKIE RICCIARDI FOR THE GLOBE
David Foster, director of Harvard Forest, stood near a rock wall that had been a fence in a pasture during the 1800s, in an area now overtaken by trees. Now I have to say, this photo really intrigued me because in the vast dense woods around Gothenburg Sweden were I reside, there are all manner of ancient large stone walls running all through Swedish Forests on Hissingen. I've always wondered why we have so many of these walls in our forests over here which are actually centuries old boundaries that have no meaning today. Well, now I know why and for the very same reason as the info from this study and historical photographs.



photo: Mine

This is an old stone wall in the Forest around Biskapsgatan in Hissingen across from Göteborg Sweden. This particular view inside the forest is just in the woods behind my house. These walls can literally be found running through the woods everywhere and with no apparent logical direction or reason why someone would put the effort into them in the first place. Of course the woods are dense and it's always been a mystery to me why farmers would have bother centuries ago to build walls in deep dense forests over awkward terrain. Trees even grow up out of some walls. Two days ago I was asking a neighbour and some other in the know about the history of the area. They said Hissingen had been stripped in many parts a few centuries back for agriculture. Funny, I always thought some land grabbing Viking Clans did it in competition with each other. Well at least now I am a little wiser as to their origin thanks mostly to Harvard School of Forestry. This isn't the first time I've been impressed with some of their articles and research.
Below here are the references you'll need for further reading 

Reading References:
Press Release: 400-year Study Finds Northeast Forests Resilient, Changing
PLOS ONE paper: "Four centuries of change in northeastern United States forests"
http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/press-resources-witness-tree-story-94

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Traditional Swedish Fences

(The Old versus the New in fences)
NM Gärdesgård (Fence)

http://www.nmgardesgard.se/

I'm not a fan of many things in this part of the Earth. I hate the cold [not even a fan of cold in California when it visits], hate the dense overgrown weedy green everywhere[I'm a Desert Rat @ Heart], the Mosquitos are hideous when you go for walks in the woods[never going blueberry picking again] and I've never seen so much wet in my life.[Desert thingy again] and last but not least, Northern European food[I lean towards Mexican]. But once in a while I warm up so to speak to something that does capture my attention and that is the traditional Swedish fences or Gärdesgård. I like things older and traditional. Though the modern culture here has lost most of it's traditional values when it comes to the traditional artistic styling and architectural design to the modern Socialist influenced generic Soviet Styling of everything having to be equal. But some things never change, like the traditional country fences which can often be seen just outside of the cities in suburbs. Click on the link above under the photo which takes you to the site of N.M. Gärdesgård which is also the Swedish word for fence. They got many beautiful examples of traditional fence photos they have built around the country. Most all the construction materials come from local sources. The actual fence poles are made of local pine (which is actually Pinus sylvestris or Scots Pine) and interestingly, the oldest recorded Scots Pine (700 years old) seems to have been in Sweden. The larger sections are lashed together by what a guy who just installed new windows this morning upstairs on the second story of my house, said is called Gran grenar (Fir branches) soaked to be flexible so that it can be tied as illustrated. I've also seen the fences tied together with long slender Spruce branches which are slightly burned over a fire and water to make them pliable for tying the fence poles together. The resulting natural tie ropes are referenced in Swedish as vidjorna.


SÅGKVARNS GÅRD


Sand Dune coastline beaches at Haverdal
While I like the traditional look and the natural materials used, I've also seen some clever style incorporating the traditional with the modern improvements for stronger longer lasting benefits. This past summer, we went down to a small town north of Halmstad called Haverdal which is very touristy in a Swedish way for the beaches here. I don't think many 'auslanders' know about this area. Mostly it's a native Swede getaway place. Many charming small beach cottages everywhere here. The coastline looks more like something from New England wit rolling sands dunes with bunch grasses everywhere. The only other area I've seen like this is over in Dänemark at the very northern tip of that country called Skagan. Anyway, I took some photos of many examples of modern fence designs around the neighbourhoods there in Haverdal. Here are a few below.


photo: Mine
This house was the home and garden of my wife's ex-inlaws and we came here to pick up both her kids who stayed at grandma & grandpa's place. I actually loved their house and thought about asking to take photos of the beautiful older style of architecture and interior decor, but decided it might be pushy, besides we don't know each other that well. But what impressed me is that their place unlike most Swedish residents is so Un-IKE[oh yeah, not an IKEA fan either]. But at least I got a couple shots of their own 'DIY' Hornbach [equivalent to Home Depot or Lowes] home improvement project. What you will notice with many outdoor building projects here are the hardware components will be steel as are some of the infrastructural skeleton for the fencing, even if a more rough natural material is added as the finishing exterior decor to the fence. One of the greatest challenges here is to counteract the degrading effects of mold and rot made worse by the continual wet climate. So the steel footings and post caps help. But often times the wood also has to be treated with a Copper-Sulfate which gives it that slight green tint-


photo: Mine

photo: Mine
These next two photos, the one above and to the right, are actually around the block from the kid's grandparent's house. While they show the same traditional Swedish style which is popular here, they incorporate a more modern milled lumber look which was purchased from the local Home Improvement Store as opposed to the tradition of going out into the Forest and gathering all manner of Sapling poles which seem at times to number into the millions everywhere you look or venture out into for a walk. But never the less, it still works for me.

photo: Mine
Back home in Gothenburg we took a day to visit this year's look at the Göteborg Botaniska Trädgård and stumble upon something newer they have done to the older ornamental iron fence of the Botanical gardens. As you can see, they appear to have used long slender willow sapling branches in their fence weave pattern. I've seen quite a bit of this natural wood used and I suspect it is willow much like the pliable willow wood furnishings some create in the U.S. I've also seen what appears to be commercially raised willow orchards when we drive up from Gothenborg to Stockholm for various reason on a visit or holiday. Nevertheless, the wood seems very tough and durable in withstanding this climate.


photo: Mine

Closer back view of the iron structure of the fence and
the weaving pattern of the willow decor used for screen

photo: Mine

This is simply a close up shot of the natural material used
which for me still looks to be Willow. What do you think ?

photos: Mine

This is a close up of the weave pattern they did around the
interior metal poles and the wooden split veneer to hide the
steel post and keep the wooden look even.

photo: Mine
This next series of final photos is going back to Hissingen where we live and the fencing which was built earlier this year to border around what is called in Swedish a Dagis (Child's Daycare Center). This is just east of the major Eketregatan Bus & Trolley Transfer Station. This fencing also had a strong steel infrastructure with the woven overlay of the willow (Vide) branch stems. I've taken several shots to reveal not only the design, but also the interior hardware used if someone out there may be looking for design ideas. As you can see in the photo to the left, the steel or aluminum post framing won't rot inside and the structure will be far more sound as a result. All manner of molds and fungus do a number on things here. Even mosses and lichens will eventually be found on all exterior surfaces no matter how much precaution is taken. I really wish I had stopped when the workers were constructing this and gotten a better perspective on the methods used. I have to assume that the weave around the horizontal poles was done from the top down with the ridge cap being installed last.

photo: Mine

This is the daycare playground fence around where the
children play. I had no idea when I watched them build
this fence that they would train up vines to grow up on it.

photo: Mine

This of course is a close up view of the slender wood pole
strips. The difference here from the view of the botanical
Garden fence is that they have utilized a wood ridge cap.

photo: Mine
This is a close up shot of the corner view of this combination modern metal and natural wooden pole fence structure. Notice the design and hardware they are using which is not over done to detract from the natural aspect of the design they were looking for. I suppose the challenge for folks in the southwestern United States would be to find where you could harvest the willow poles without incurring the displeasure of authorities of eco-activist types. Also, I'm not sure willow would even be the correct material for a drier location, although I see willow garden furniture everywhere. Mostly, like here in Sweden, you'll want some type of steel frame infrastructure to lift your project far above the soil line. Termites are the bigger issue there and it may surprise many to know they don't really have Termites here for the forest recycling program, but rather Wood Ants which build giant wooden pyramid structures with millions of small sticks and twigs the carry back to the Ant mound. Of course the fungus and lichens and other Biological Soil Crusts on steroids here do the rest, but mainly these wood ants are aggressive organic material recyclers.

photo: Mine


Another close up view of the post and the hardware being
 used here for tying the structure all together. These two
poles are actually separate and come together at the same
point, but other poles went straight through.

photo: Mine


Again, just some close up shots of how the aluminum pole was
introduced into the wooden post through a hole bored all the
way through the post to the next post. This had to be precision
accomplished as these poles used appear to be rather long.

Other Visual Artistic or Creative Designs for Fence Weaveing
Images from Pinterest

Reading References for Design and construction:
Swedish Traditional Gärdesgård from an Italian perspective
http://www.nmgardesgard.se/
Video: Building a Gardesgård (Swedish with english subtitles)
http://www.olhermans.com/
This next video is interesting and fun in a sort of comical way. Seriously, tell me this old guy doesn't remind you of the old Lars Norquist character from the John Wayne and Stewart Granger movie "North to Alaska"
HELGE KARLBERG HÄNGNAR GÄRDESGÅRD


Monday, August 12, 2013

A Paradigm Shift (revolutionary science) or More of the Same ?


Personal Memo: This post is a collection of my own personal observations as I have witnessed them in my almost close to 60 years of living. This is not a slam against anyone's religion or ideological worldview take on life, but a reality check of some things I have observed and researched over some decades and taken personal flack over for most of my life. People everywhere are going to have to start questioning their cherished traditional beliefs, because the Earth simply cannot handle any more of the ongoing degradation which is plunging our globe into eventual ruin. Clearly, when it comes to science, these influences has had a major damaging effect, but you'd never know that from listening to all the Ideologues from differing sides.
“Ideas that require people to reorganize their picture of the world provoke hostility.”  ― James Gleick
“We sense that ‘normal’ isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a new normal: a new kind of society, a new relationship to the earth, a new experience of being human.”  ― Charles Eisenstein
The crises of our time, it becomes increasingly clear, are the necessary impetus for the revolution now under way. And once we understand Nature's transformative powers, we see that it is our powerful ally, not a force to be feared or subdued."  Thomas Kuhn  
(Please Note: any paradigm shift should imply that the former paradigm has become invalid or obsolete.) The words/term, "Paradigm Shift" is the terminology used by Thomas Kuhn in his influential book,  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)  to describe a change in the basic assumptions, or paradigms, within the ruling theory of science. What made me think of this is the public relations promo we are fed daily about how different Science is today compared to the times of the Dark Ages. Although there is no doubt or argument that Science has come a long way in various forms of development and understanding, I personally find no difference in Science in the  leadership sense. In fact, it was actually something very unscientific that I found and read from Live Science some time ago which stood the hair up on the back of my neck, but more on that later on down the page. Yes of course there are amazing modern day innovations provided by today's scientific discovery that make modern life more comfortable for most people in Industrial countries, but incredibly there still exists much of the same identical religious meta-physical philosophies that drive and influence modern science which has NOT changed much from when Christendom's Ecclesiastical Hierarchical structure ran those Institutions of Higher Learning in Europe back in the historical past. In many ways we have the same Clerical "Guild" of Academic Philosophers influencing & running things, but with a different set of wardrobe. And sadly, like the bad science of yester-year, the present bad science hasn't done much better when it comes to responsible custodianship of our planet Earth. This post has zero to do with some of the benefits normally promoted in defense of science. Even conscientious science defenders are disgusted with the lack of ecological direction being taken by mainstream Industrial Science. Now before the ideologues of both sides get hot with me here, this is NOT gonna be some stupid evolutionist verses creationism debate normally fought on some time wasting worthless Public Combat Forum. Funny thing is, when I use to question Clergy years ago on say, subjects like Trinity, I was called Anti-Religious. When I question some of the irresponsible technologies like GMOs, I get labeled Anti-Science. See what I mean ? I can never win. But follow along and see if you can't agree with some of the leadership flaws that still exist and rather than help Science, they have actually hurt and hindered science as opposed to liberating it. In some cases, there are some ideological arguments used against the conventional Religious Fundies that have backfired terribly. The reality is, they have backfired on Nature which has taken the brunt of the consequences associated with these newer worldview arguments. So pay close attention and see if perhaps you don't walk away with a different perspective on where things are headed in this world.


Wikipedia - Isaac Newton
I'm reminded of the early days of Science when Clerics had an iron fist control over Academics in Europe for Centuries. Examples of institutions like the well known Cambridge University and two well known famous men, both friends and colleagues, Sir Isaac Newton and William Whiston. Of course with Isaac Newton everyone knows his scientific research work on gravity and such like. But what most people don't know is that Newton actually wrote more about religious matters than science. For example: "An analysis of all that Newton wrote reveals that out of some 3,600,000 words only 1,000,000 were devoted to the sciences, whereas some 1,400,000 were on religious topics." (The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, edited by H. W. Turnbull, F.R.S., Cambridge 1961, Vol. 1, p. XVII.) Don't be shocked or alarmed here, most people don't know this, the majority of whom surprisingly are the conventional religious folks. One of the most controversial academic works on religion he was noted for was discovery through scholarly research and translation of the Greek text in older manuscripts, were specifically two verses in the New Testament of the King James Version of the Bible which were deliberately changed from what were found originally in the oldest known manuscripts to prove of all things, Christendom's "Holy Trinity" (belief that Jesus was God on Earth) which was something Newton never believed in. But actually, he proved this  fraud from the Church's own Holy Book the Authorized King James Version of the Bible. The texts at 1 John 5:7 & 1 Timothy 3:16 were actually proved to be spurious. The oldest then known manuscripts and texts did not have such a rendering as found in the King James bible. Interesting!


William Whiston
But there is more. His colleague William Whiston, also a scholar is most known for his work in translating the writings of Jewish Historian Josephus. But Whiston also refuted the Church's "Holy Trinity", something that went against the Religious Orthodoxy at Cambridge University.  He also had the same EXACT identical conclusions as Newton. Unfortunately, Newton’s friend William Whiston lost his professorship at Cambridge for this reason in 1711, for publishing his findings. You see, Whiston actually published his work in his lifetime and tried to change the status quo. The consequences for telling or exposing a truth are not only unique to those times back then, but also happens even today if one is viewed as a rogue heretic by not going along with the modern scientific orthodoxy. So why did Newton not publish these findings during his lifetime? A glance at the historical background of the times and the way the Clergy controlled Universities of higher learning can shed light on the why. Those who wrote against the doctrine of the Trinity were still subject to persecution in England. Some even lost their lives. As late as 1698 the Act for the Suppression of Blasphemy and Profaneness made it an offense to deny one of the persons of the Trinity to be God, punishable with loss of office, employment and profit on the first occasion, and imprisonment for a repetition. Some were even beheaded like Thomas Aikenhead. Unlike William Whiston, Sir Isaac Newton was more concerned about keeping his Academic position and career intact. Fear of man or Peer Pressure is even common today. Nothing has changed in that regard. Even when Whiston pleaded for his friend Newton to come to his defense, Newton refused, which is sad really. However,  Newton DID eventually make arrangements for his findings to be published, but ONLY after his death and in French. BTW, as a side point, the work of both of these men helps in proving the Book of Mormon as a religious hoax. Joseph Smith was basically illiterate and ignorant of some pertinent facts about the Bible. When he formulated and invented his Book of Mormon, he knew nothing of the Scholarly work of Newton and Whiston. He had no idea these verses were spurious fraudulent errors manipulated to promote a doctrine which was always mysterious to the average church goer. What he did in a number of texts within the Book of Mormon was to copy the exact same, word for word, spurious texts of both those two verses mentioned in the King James in a number of places in the Book of Mormon. Even modern day Christendom acknowledges the spurious nature of these texts, but allows them anyway. Just an interesting side point.


Yet another scientist out there who came to the same conclusions as Whiston & Newton, was a Joseph Priestley, born 1733, in Leeds England. Priestley was a Chemist and a Theologian. He was also a good friend of Benjamin Franklin and although he'll always be remembered for his important scientific discoveries, very few will remember the work he did in scholastic research which proved the Holy Trinity, Immortality of the Soul and the use of religious images as all lies manipulated by both Catholic and Protestant Churches of his day. He eventually had to flee to America for these literary discoveries and revelations because clergy inspired mob violence burned his house down and threatened him with death. I do appreciate neither ideologically opposed groups of conventional religious and Secularist will like what this means, but there are more like these men out there who arose to the same conclusions as I did and for the same literary reasons. Lying by the powerful who are in charge, will always be rationalized as necessary for the greater good if it furthers a believed true cause, no matter who's pimping the latest religious worldview. In her book "Chemistry", by Biologist Katherine Cullen, she had this to say about Priestly:
“If science is the pursuit of truth, then Priestley was a true scientist.”
Credit: Huffington Post 

Anyone really see a difference ?
I suppose the point of all of this is to point out that today we have this same modern orthodoxy which runs and controls science which is the mirror image of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchical structure like when  Christendom ran Academia and it's the modern Secular Version today that controls academia. Like the Christendom of old, the modern Secularist Authorized Version doesn't like anyone questioning it's core beliefs or authority. Go against any long held cherished beliefs or doctrines of science and one runs the risk of ridicule and/or loss of employment. From that point on, character assassination and reputation smearing and being blackballed from any further employment in any field of Science are often commonplace. For example, it's often uncanny how many of the arguments given for evidence of evolution by it's well known ideologically driven promoters[not necessarily Scientists] will often use religious arguments for there supposed proofs. (not condemning TOE belief, just the flawed arguments used, remember ?) Again, an example. Evolutionist, PZ Meyers, was once quoted in an L.A. Times as stating this argument: 
(Source - LA Times 2009)
"We go right to the central issue of whether there is a god or not. We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does." 
PZ Meyers, L.A. Times, 2009

First off let me just say this, I have to be honest here and state correctly that this is actually a very valid argument and a great question or rather observation. It makes sense in the light of the way the world around us exists in it's present sad state of affairs and given the historical Church's horrible conduct which seems to prove otherwise. You know as a side point here, incredibly, just before I left in 2006 to come to Sweden, Billy Graham was asked this very similar question on this very same subject in his very last Crusade (anywhere) there in San Diego by a TV News Reporter. His response was lame (no offense believers, but it was) in the light of what his own Holy book says on the matter. His response when asked why God allows so much badness in the world, was that he didn't know, but that was the first question he was going to ask God when he got to heaven. Again, very lame. However, it should be noted that PZ Meyers question was not a scientific argument, it's actually rather more of a religious one than a scientific one. I mean seriously, there is absolutely no way, PZ Meyers nor anyone else with like beliefs can set up a Scientific Method experiment about an intelligent entity for which he says does not exist and tell us all what this entity would or would not do. You couldn't even peer-review such a thing. I myself cannot write a research paper utilizing scientific Rules of only Naturalistic & Physical explanations to explain the why or the how a Supernatural Intelligence would or wouldn't do something.  For that matter, I couldn't even explain to you how blind and undirected natural forces of physics and chemicals accomplished a single complex organism without injecting some sort of faith statements into the paper. I can't possibly explain because I was NOT there way back when. Even if I was, I still would be ill-equipped to explain anything. I recognize my own limitations in this. Okay, but now let me get back to that article I alluded to at the top of this post from a few days ago. One of the biggest and I have to be honest, lousiest arguments they use against Christendom Creationists or Intelligent Design Gang (whom I do not support) is the argument of "Bad Design" which is once again a mere religious argument and not a scientific one. [Now pay close attention here Ecology promoters] This is the claim is that Nature is imperfect and that all manner of flaws are to be found everywhere we observe it. Clearly in their view, as the flawed argument goes, any Designer wouldn't do such and such that way. Numerous examples of flaws of imperfect Nature are presented as proof against a designer. Once again, here is that article that I referenced to above. Now, for both sides of this issue, put aside the "If you're not for us, you're against us" attitude [otherwise known as the False Dichotomy Fallacy ] and just read on further.

Credit: Live Science

Designing Life: Should Babies Be Genetically Engineered?

I'm not going to elaborate on this flawed unscientific debate point which can't even be proven through any experience except within the minds of those secular folks whom I also find religiously inclined, but it's illustrative of where things go wrong and can infect real science the way it was intended to be. Like the irresponsible GMO Bio-technologies for profit, which has terrible science written all over it and is a direct consequence of this flawed religious view. As the article clearly admitted, in common genetic engineering studies and research, there are a horrendous amount of mistakes and experiments with helpless creatures that have gone terribly wrong which must in the end be thrown away and discarded. There are clearly ethical reasons for not doing this on human beings, but hey, as we all know, never say never. This world's leadership keeps surprising us in many terrible ways and quite often it's all done anyways in the name of Scientific Progress. But it's the articles that came out just days before this one above that actually motivate & later justify such research in areas they shouldn't going into. Notice how some of these same tactics are being used in the Bad Designer Arguments which in reality are nothing scientific, but are truly mere religious assumptions.

Here are the earlier articles which employed the commonly used  "Bad Designer" argument. Please bare with me as the use of this argument has actually hurt Science more than it has helped it. There were two articles which came out on February 15th, 2013, 3 days prior to the one referenced above. One from Phys-Org:  'The Scars of Human Evolution' briefing explores physical fallout from 2-footed walking  and the other from Live Science:  Aches and Pains: You Can Thank Evolution for Them  Both articles offer the same unscientific faith statement assertions by a couple of researchers who insist there is no intelligent designer because the human body is so poorly designed and that in itself is proof of this intelligent entity's nonexistence. Bruce Latimer who is an Anthropologist from Case Western Reserve University, along with Alan Mann of Princeton, attended a recent conference on Human Evolution. They claimed that the human body is poorly designed, despite the fact that it is the dominant primate form in the world today. Here's a quote from Physorg:
"If an engineer were given the task to design the human body, he or she would never have done it the way humans have evolved," Latimer said. "Unfortunately, we can't go back to walking on four feet. We've undergone too much evolutionary change for that - and it is not the answer to our problems."
Seriously ? A modern day human engineer's intelligence knows something more than a God or Nature in designing a human body ? Wow then, that must explain all the cures we have today for what historically has ailed mankind. Isn't it wonderful that cancer  [sorry, sarcasm alert here] and all other diseases and medical problems that have plagued mankind for centuries have been solved by this collective genius today ? Right ?  Maybe this is where Hollywood's entertainment myths of Cyborgs come from. In any event, these are actually mere faith statements from personal bias and worldview promotion, not a neutral scientific stance. Keep in mind the earlier article by Paleoanthropolgist Mike White in writing about his own field of Anthropology's inability to self regulate itself and the "taxonomic exuberance" story propagates itself by mere assumptions and assertions.  UC Berkeley: Tim White  Then there is this gem of a quote in Live Science:
"If you want to look for examples of how we're not the result of intelligent design, you don't have to go far, just look at the complicated, uncomfortable way we have babies," anthropologist Karen Rosenberg at the University of Delaware told Live Science.


*Sigh* Here's the bottom line kicker. This line of reasoning they have unwittingly utilized is also a religious argument. It's hardly a neutral scientific argument devoid of any bias or prejudice. I get the strong dislike of many things religious and/or fundamentalist in our world today and of their own membership doing horrific things in the name of it's god or gods. I get all that and so do most other modern day folks. But dismissing what they think is bad religion and installing another bad modern religious concept under the guise of modern day intellectual enlightenment isn't the answer either. First off, in the above statements, there is no scientific experiment to prove those biased prejudicial statements true. They insist that you take it on faith that they as the University enlightened experts in their respective fields know exactly what they are talking about. Geeez, this is exactly what centuries ago the conventional old time religious Clerics used to do. Like clerics of the Dark Ages, try and question these modern Secular Clerics and you'll most likely be personally attacked with all manner of insults. Suddenly, filthy foul language & personal attacks have become the new vocabulary of choice with modern intellectuals proving their point in educating the masses. Over the decades, I've gotten the same flack from Christendom's Clergymen when I've pointed out Newton's and Whiston's scholarly research. I was told that I couldn't possibly tell them (clergy) anything because I never went to a reputable Seminary School of Higher Learning. Seriously, is this not the very same mirror tactics employed by today's modern Secular Clerics ?  


photo: Simon Reeve

Spitting Contests between Intellectuals
 goes absolutely nowhere and furthermore
accomplishes nothing!
Once again, this is NOT a post written to take sides in any spitting or poop throwing contest between Creationists versus Evolutionists. If that is what you think, then you've missed the import of this post's message. This post is meant to reveal how the badly flawed arguments like the Bad Designer argument by those now in charge of today's Science has gone way too far in the opposite direction and mutated to a point of where NOW, NATURE itself is now viewed and included as a Bad Designer and how today's Scientists know far better how to rearrange the natural world in their own biased imperfect imagination which in reality is the result of an often times used ignorant and uneducated view of Nature. For me personally, Nature has always been perfect in it's complexity of sophistication, harmony, and balance. I have always without fail, based most of my own personal methods for habitat restoration, landscape installation and maintenance along with gardening programs on personal observation and replication of the perfect model found in our Natural world. Today's science with a view to flawed design and nature as a bundle of compromises has invented artificial means of maintaining the natural world by imagining they are improving upon it. But the damaging effects of their disastrous "Green Revolution" and now modern genetic manipulation of organisms are proving Nature had it right all along, irrespective of how anyone thinks it all originally came about.

It's irrelevant for the sake of argument here how it all came to be perfectly so, the Natural world nevertheless has always been organized with checks and balances. It only becomes disorganized and out of balance when contaminated by the Human stain. I'm not going to list all the the bad Nature design arguments here, as they are too numerous to recount and would be a waste of time to label here anyway. The fatal flaw in the bad designer arguments in this obsession with worldview promotion is that they have unwittingly infected the thinking of Corporate Industrial Science which has resulted in the justification of certain technological innovations or horribly flawed Earth management policies for which we all now pay an ecologically ruined price tag And this has happened for no other reason than, Nature is considered imperfect, flawed and a mere bundle of compromises. The main arguments above are enough to illustrate my point. But seriously, dump your unjustified anger here for a moment and meditate on this. This grossly flawed argument itself has mutated now and turned into "Nature is the Bad Designer" and WE (human Scientists shackled by Corporate Interests) can do a much better job is the main justification message behind several of the presently bad scientific schemes, innovations, plans, programs and other flawed technologies which are now ruining this planet. While there is all manner of bad technology mankind has invented for which the natural world is paying the price for, for me one of the worst innovations are the GMO technologies brought to us by the Corporate run Biotech  Industry. There is no way to turn back and correct genetic pollution they have unleashed on our world. Seriously, how would anybody do this even if they wanted to try ? This technology might be more believable had Corporate Science attempted to actually first replicate the way Nature accomplishes things with Mycorrhizae, beneficial bacterial and other Natural checks and balances for controlling disease, pests and other general productivity strategies. But that never happened because of this view of Nature as having major flaws. Plus, there is no money in it.  When you consider many of the excuses given for these GMOs talking points for being necessary for mankind's benefit, the underlying feel you get is that most of those flawed technologies are patterned and influenced after many of these stupid Origins debates and the condemnation here is against both sides. First and foremost of these flawed doctrines is JUNK DNA. This religious assumption basically assigns worth only to genes that code for a protein and ultimately ignores genes which may have function in guiding, directing, controlling and regulating how the manufacture of a protein is utilized. When Monsanto took the gene which codes for BT Toxin from a specific bacteria which produces it, they assumed that all that would harmlessly be accomplished is a crop that would be toxic for the bad insects to taste. So they identified and extracted that specific gene which has the blueprint for the manufacture of a specific toxin and in a very sloppy way, inserted it into the DNA of another completely unrelated organism like Corn or Soy.  But in so doing, they broke the barrier or genetic constraints of that bacteria which are present in all living things which allows for the normal order we see in all life and they left behind the other genes which control, direct and guide the manufacture of this toxin. Hence in the corn or Soybean plants, every single cell of those organisms produces this toxin in an uncontrolled potentially hazardous manner. I generally illustrate what has taken place in using plants in the nightshade family which do produce chemical compounds which are toxic to us. Take as an example Potatoes and Tomatoes. Now the foliage of both plants is highly toxic, but the fruit and tubers that we eat are fine. Why is that ? Because clearly there are other non-coding protein manufacturing genes which have other information which instructs, guides and directs where, how and why this toxic chemical is produced and where it ends up. There are no such instructions available in your basic Patented GMO plant. That's right, those assumed junk genes were left behind and they were left behind because it is blindly believed that those other genes are nothing more than Junk DNA. In research done by Doctors, Bélin Poletto Mezzomo, Ana Luisa Miranda-Vilela, Ingrid de Souza Freire, Lilian Carla Pereira Barbosa, Flávia Arruda Portilho, Zulmira  Guerrero Marques Lacava and Cesar Koppe Grisolia, they discovered the following below.
Dr. Mezzomo and his team of Scientists from the Department of Genetics and Morphology and the Institute of Biological Sciences, at University of Brasilia recently published a study that involved Bacillus thuringensis (Bt toxin) and its effects on mammalian blood. According to the study, the “Cry” toxins that are found in Monsanto’s GMO crops like corn and soy, are much more toxic to mammals than previously thought. The study was published in the Journal of Hematology and Thromboembolic Diseases
(Source: Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases) 
So why is the toxicity levels of the "Cry" gene in the genetically engineered crops much more potent and toxic than is found in the bacteria from which it came ? Because nobody bothered to take their time and find out the function of mythical Junk DNA and it's purpose in the grand scheme of things. These schemes are not mere child's play like just some Tinker or Lego Toys. And yet that is exactly how these irresponsible researchers moved forward and justified their mutated creation. One of the flawed arguments for using BT Toxin is that it has been used already as a spray in the organics practice. Sure, but that washes off or degrades on the outer skin of the crop through various environmental forces. Now with these gmo plants, have every single cell manufactures this toxic junk with absolutely zero instructions from noncoding DNA  for responsible control for it's manufacture throughout the plant including the edible parts of the crop which humans and animals eat. This toxin is a time bomb waiting to explode. Now there are some people who are chemically more sensitive than others and will show immediate allergic food allergy response, but most people won't. Most effects will show up years later in the form of toxic build up in the organs. Like cigarettes, nobody dies in the beginning, but over time there is toxic buildup in the body's organs and that is what effects health later in life, usually cutting life short prematurely. Although, like cigarettes, there may be some folks who are more sensitive and develop allergies to this junk they have invented. Others may even have a cast iron tolerance. In my work of interviewing doctors and researchers with regards specific pharmaceutical drugs and adverse events, this is what they have noticed with many patients experiencing an increase of food allergies in our modern times, but as yet been unable to determine the source. Yes, no one has died, but that is yet to reveal itself and it can and will happen, especially when they are also engineered to be drenched in other toxic pesticides. 
Updated News March 17, 2014
After years of predicting it would happen — and after years of having their suggestions largely ignored by companies, farmers and regulators — scientists have documented the rapid evolution of corn rootworms that are resistant to Bt corn.
“Once we had legal access, resistance was documented in a year,” Shields said. “We were seeing failures earlier but were not allowed to test for resistance.” 
(source) 
The other health issue with GMOs besides creating plants which manufacture their own toxins, are the genetically modified traits engineered into plants which allows farmer to actually drench plants with more dangerous chemicals like the weed killer Glyphosate. I used to use RoundUp quite often and effectively in much of my former profession as Landscape Supervisor and habitat restoration and felt comfortable in doing so because it was labeled right on the informational material that once it came into contact with soil, the chemical became inert and biodegradable. But you'll notice some labeling changes in recent times. Those claims are gone. Why ? Because clearly such claims were false and misleading (in other words they lied). Here is a thought, if Glysophate isn't biodegradable after all when coming into contact with the soil, how inert do you think it is after crops & other produce receive multiple drenchings as required by Monsanto for it's seed to have success ? In view of the recent research  findings on the horrible side effects of glysophate on human and other animal health, how confident are you with the Science behind the Biotech Industries & their Public Relations boys and girls ?

The Biotech advocates-defenders insist that opponents of GMOs are somehow anti-science and ignorant. They argue that if they would just educate themselves about GM technologies that any objections would simply fall away. The fact is for me personally I have educated myself and have been able to see past the Corporate Profiteering which is really behind the scientific innovation smokescreen. This has never been about Science. If anything it is religiously motivated and dogmatically defended in the face of real evidence, not only by the usual celebrity ideologues, but the layman followers who dogmatically defend science, for no other reason than it's science, even WHEN it's bad science. Some of the celebrity people who claim to speak for Science that I have mentioned above like PZ Meyers have actually said that those opposed to GMOs are anti-science. But so has Richard Dawkins, Larry Moran, Penn Jillette, Neil degrasse Tyson, etc and others within the Science Defenders movement who dogmatically claim that anybody against GMOs are anti-science. But being opposed to GMOs has zero to do with with being anti-science or for that matter being a kool-aid sucking Rightwing Fundie which is who these Chaps are usually fond of targeting. People from all walks of life and beliefs are suspicious of the GMO Industry which gets free passes and "Get Out of Jail Free" cards from many political allies. The Biotech Industry has often times not been held to the same jumping through hoops and red tape requirements that other business entities are made to adhere to. That's because their industry provides a tool for politicians which creates wealth and holds onto power. It's not about just wanting to feed the people. The major problem with modern Science is that it does not strictly adhere to the definition we have all been force fed in School. It is not neutral, unbiased or without greedy self-interest. Modern Science is run by people with the same identical imperfections and flaws as any other human being on the planet is subject to. Scientists are not above any of that anymore than any clergyman is. Modern Science and Academia in general,  carries with it all the same ideologically driven politics and philosophical religious baggage that has plagued mankind from the very beginning.
This is why I am more interested in the discipline of "observable science" as science originally started out. And I follow this by utilizing another discipline called biomimetics or biomimicry. This is where you adhere to following  observed Nature and replicating what Nature accomplishes successfully. This is where Biotech gmos and the chemical giants who own them have gone wrong. They have never once attempted to biomimic nature when it comes to industrial agriculture. Everything is about taking short cuts and acquiring patents for profits. It never truthfully was about wanting to feed mankind. Over a decade now with GMOs and the failure is glaring.

Recently the Discovery Science channel dealt with a program series called "Project Earth" and the issues surrounding "Global Climate Change" and the asinine absurd innovative solutions being proposed of ridding the atmosphere of CO2s. One such crackpot invention being explained to billionaire investor and entertainment series "Dragon's Den" investor, Kevin O'Leary was creating machines which would be called Air Scrubbers. After explaining the supposed science behind how it could work, Billionaire Kevin O'Leary's shouting demand to the researcher on board this ship was, "Yeah, but can we make money off this ?" I'm sorry, make money ? This is more about doing the right thing, not some other failed profit venture which has gotten our planet into trouble in the first place. But this is where failed and flawed science is leading mankind. It's all about the corporate run science, not the science of wonder and discovery anymore.

 Let me give you some other great illustrative examples using my own absurdities, sarcasm and satire to get my point across by way of illustration. Once again, Sarcasm alert here!
"If Nature were truly a good designer, it would have equipped plants with better defense mechanisms to ward off pests and other disease"  
 "No problemo, We can fix that!"  
"If Nature were truly a good designer, then it would have built a bigger fruit, given it brighter colour, more alluring fragrance and addicting flavours" 
"Are you kidding, We've corrected that!" 
"If Nature were truly a great Designer it would never have created lower end boring & mundane plants like "Chaparral as a“dull green” or “mundane” landscape lacking in variety that continually “impedes” the public’s ability to enjoy the natural landscape", but instead would have only created Pines, Oaks, Firs, Maples, Ficus, etc, etc, etc" 
"No problem, we can fix that too with our Scientific Prescribed Burn Programs!"  
 "If Nature were truly a great Designer, it would never have created slow growing trees with so much lignin which hinder making good quality paper where harvest takes several generations of 100+ years as opposed to the harvest in 25 years we've intelligently engineered into it by  utilizing GMO technologies & Chemical dumping by helicopter over millions of acres of forests" 
"We (Abor-Gen & SweTree) have fixed that!" 
 "If Nature were a great designer, it would never have created a system of gradual progression in it's rebuilding mechanisms after a catastrophic event. It would have bypassed the use lower plant life progression and fast forwarded immediately to final end results quicker like with land stripping and plowing the ground to bare soil with tree seedling plantation establishment" 
"Never fear, we know how to fast forward and manipulate that also" 
 "If Nature were truly a good Designer, it would never have created worthless desert wastelands for which there is no purpose or value, other than one we now assign to it (solar/wind farms to reference a few)" 
"We've got a fix for that too!"
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 GMO Updates which reveals the glaring failure of Biotechs to Biomimic anything regarding replicating Nature for Profit, this is not science
Everyone should understand that the following links come from my personal experiences in habitat restoration and commercial landscaping as a supervisor what productivity and plant health did not come from utilizing convention chemical science practices to achieve a balance in the systems I worked with. These same basic fundamentals and practices can be applied in commercial agriculture, but corporate interests globally are opposed to anything that dooms their business monopoly. 
INTELLIGENCE SQUARED DEBATES: "Genetically Modify Foods" - the Winners & Losers
Industrial Agriculture: Rejecting Nature's Tool-Kit
Genetic Engineering: More ruthlessly & Ideologically driven than you can possibly fathom
Diversity of Flowering Plants Imperative to Pollinator & Predator Health
Biotech's simple defense of Genetic Modification for the Lay Person: "Just Add Water"
Using Nature's Mycorrhizal Tool-Kit to compete with Weeds vrs killing them with Glyphosate
Attracting Wild Bees & Wasps to Landscapes & Farms is the best Insurance Policy
How to construct the best Insurance Policy for your Agricultural Business Venture


Credit: Runaway Train Movie
The absurd reasoning and asinine justification coming from Corporate Industrial Science is endless and unfortunately it's like a runaway freight train loaded with dynamite. We are at a point in time where major mechanisms which allow life to exist, move and flourish on our planet are now in jeopardy. Sometimes emotionally charged passionate arguments go way too far as does this 'Bad Designer' argument has.  In arguing that Nature is flawed, imperfect, displays bad design, it's almost like a blank Cheque has been offered to those [Corporate Science] presently in charge to do as they so please. Again, I think everyone gets the disgust with the historical bad religious record. There is no disputing that bad religion on Earth from it's very beginning is arrogant, self-righteous, dogmatic and intolerant. But if people on both sides of the argument are honest with themselves and stop pointing accusative fingers at one another, they will acknowledge that both the religious and secularist science have had leadership that is dishonest, incompetent, exploitative, and shackled to all the same human failings that are common to all mankind. Like yesterday's Religious Fundamentalists, modern day Scientific Fundamentalists do not recognize or perhaps refuse to acknowledge that many of their opinions are also based on blind faith which are also dogmatically defended. Today's pop culture of charismatic Secular Clerics claim to represent everything about science,  yet dogmatically state that only they have the truth and that the new found secular version of science has already solved those fundamental questions about life, with only time needed to work out the details. Our planet's Natural World doesn't have that kind of time. Neither does human society. Putting the same flawed historical business model with all the same old flawed components in it's place under the guise of a new religious cloak isn't going to correct anything either. Remember guys, you're supposed to be different than they are, right ?!
ebay.com
You know, as a kid, I use to visit my Dad's former farming State of Iowa in the summer months to stay with my family back there for School vacation. I was always at odds with that part of the family as everyone there was always about "God & Country" and/or "if you're not for or with us, you're against us". You know how it is. Well I didn't exactly have their certain Religious & Nationalistic convictions and I most likely I would have gone to prison for refusing military service. (Vietnam War was still raging). Take their justification for supporting War from the image to the right. If you do a research, this illustrative symbol has to do with taking up Arms and going out and killing another human beings with a religious justification. They once brought over and invited this Presbyterian Reverend to convince me otherwise. I was informed by this, I have to presume well educated man, that I had never been to Seminary School, so how could I possibly understand his biblical texts or teach him anything ? My response has always been this:
"It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford to look up words/terms in well respected Bible Dictionaries or Hebrew and Greek Lexicons"
He left upset and of course I was in hot water by the folks and punished by the family with the old silent treatment. Sadly, history shows us that the majority of mankind from all walks of life have never gotten that point either. I get the same response today if I perhaps disagree with this newer supposedly enlightened way of thinking which has become the New Secularistic Paradigm with the same, "if you're not for us, you're against us". Funny, for all the preaching of modern enlightenment and change, many of the old  die hard religious tactics never go away.  But the fact is I still find very little difference between the old Cleric Guard and the New Age Secular Activism. Here's the main challenge to the newer Secularist Movement. You say you love and appreciate Nature and that's what all of this (among other issues) is about ? The problem is, when you get foul mouthed, insulting, belligerence, arrogance, etc, you don't gain converts anymore than the other side did when they employed the same business model and ruled with an iron fist. You must also realize that if the planet is to actually heal (and that is looking more and more impossible as time pants on to the end), then you have to question your motives and ask yourself honestly:
"Is my LOVE of Nature more powerful than my HATRED of anything conventionally Religious ?"  
Now, if you think globally for a moment, then you must be honest and acknowledge that the modern Secular enlightenment movement is still outnumbered, well that is, as far as the numbers game. You must also acknowledge that healing the earth is NOT about advanced technological innovations, but about changing people's minds & hearts (figuratively speaking of course). It must also be acknowledged that it is imperative that every man, woman and child has to be on the same exact eco-page in showing respect for the Earth in order for your healing program of the planet to succeed. So here's another honest soul searching question that should come up and be meditated upon:
"Am I truly interested in Persuasion or do I still get this satisfaction and kick out of disrespectful Alienation ?" 
I can't answer that question for you, Only You can! But remember, you don't have that much time to prove that this world's human leadership can make a difference in correcting the Nature of things on Earth. Some of you, but certainly not the majority of you already know this. The Political Leaders and Scientific Community have actually been holding back as to how dire things truly are. I understand why. Panic and chaos in the streets is not something any leader wishes to deal with. But even this will be revealed more and more in the future as even a U.S. government intelligence website forecasts by the year 2030 [it's actually now becoming worse than what they said]
Modern Science is intrigued and in love with their computer projection simulations which are often based on data as they know it at the present time. Update: Climate Change: Should we put our trust in Computer Models ?  So they forecast events based on data as they perceive it to be at present, then the very next year these must be changed because the data was flawed in the light of newer findings. This has often happened with climate change models that often forecast doom and gloom way way into the far future, only to tweak & adjust the model each year by bumping up the disaster scenario timeline closer than was originally thought because of newer data. Recently, NASA modeled future increasing wildfire events by simulating a time of higher temps and increased drought events. Here is their model Potential Evaporation in North America Through 2100 . They went from a timeline starting from 1990 to the year 2100. That's 11 decades with two already gone and nine left. I'm going to go out on a big limb here and in my own personal opinion mind you, and I'm going to dramatically narrow things down saying one year for one decade. The present Orthodoxy has approximately a little over 9+ years to correct things before total ecological collapse.  
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
—Max Planck


Unfortunately, most of mankind has been sitting around in the Darkness for such an awfully long time waiting for this world's leadership who promise that some day, somewhere, somebody will actually shed light on the things that have historically perplexed Humankind. Can you spare a dime for the new enlightened  paradigm ? Be warned of  what took place back in the Dark Ages ? Don't get sucked into purchasing their New Age Promissory Notes of new enlightenment. Thomas Kuhn was right. The Science community*cough-cough* I meant Orthodoxy, works happily within today's paradigm. The one in which they've manufactured. This paradigm is not open to debate. In Kuhnian science, anomalies are supposed to pile up to the point where mavericks question the paradigm. Like the myth of  "Science is Self-correcting," fat chance of that ever happening when it comes to paradigm shifting any time soon.
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The Reference links above are in bolded in blue, but I'll report them here for you in case you missed them:
PZ Meyers: "Why is Charlotte Allen so mad at atheists?"
Designing Life: Should Babies Be Genetically Engineered?
PHYSORG: 'The Scars of Human Evolution' briefing explores physical fallout from 2-footed walking
Live Science: Aches and Pains: You Can Thank Evolution for Them
UC Berkeley - Mike White: "Paleoanthropology: Five’s a Crowd in Our Family Tree"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Structure_of_Scientific_Revolutions