Anti Christ

golden rice

I remember driving my friend, Roger, home from college. For over an hour he told me of the most evil thing he knew of that week. Some insidious man – he called him an anti-Christ – had bleached and refined healthy wheat flour. He had removed the wheat germ. And then to disguise his evil machinations, he had enriched it with vitamins. This manipulation of food was a great evil in America.

I didn’t tell Roger that the best I could tell, that man was Dad’s first or second cousin.

To defend a cousin whom I never met, I cannot see the evil in this. If children will not eat coarsely ground whole wheat, if I find Bronze Chief flour impossible to make rise and creates a dense, chewy bread, if pastries of whole wheat are repulsive, does that mean white flour is evil? Is it evil to feed children that which they will eat? Is it more evil to enrich it with vitamins? I know a man whose wife hates iodized salt. He lives in the middle of the continent where seafood and iodine are not prevalent. He sneaks in iodized salt for his kids. Is he evil? Iodine deficiency can cost six percent of one’s adult IQ.

When I was a boy a local museum had some cavalry uniforms from the 1870’s. My class noticed the uniforms were too small for us at age twelve. The people who wore those uniforms were genetically very similar to the boys and girls who were looking at them. There had not been time enough for natural selection. Before refrigeration and decent transportation there were severe dietary deficiencies in the middle of the continent.

I graduated school a touch over average height. I am now more above the current average. I have not grown. I blame it on health food. For decades foods were more and more enriched. People got taller. This fell out of fashion,

Here are the nutrition labels for Froot Loops and Kashi Go Lean. Froot Loops are of no intrinsic merit, but kids will eat them. Kashi is a very fashionable choice among the healthy set, yet one has more vitamins.

Nutritional deficiencies are subtle. Vitamins were discovered when it was found that living just on rabbits one could grow fat and die from something missing. I remember when folic acid was not recommended, and then recommended only pregnant women.

I am larger than my father was. My father than his. He was larger and healthier than the Civil War generation. Something was going right. Nobody speaks of things going wrong, but I suspect it is. It is not limited to enriched food. I know people who seek out unpasteurized milk not for the cream but for conspiratorial reasons. I am willing to believe there may be something lost by pasteurization, but I know there is considerable risk. These are not the only choices. I have friends who fear vaccines more than the diseases which they avert. I don’t wish to decide the future of our health, but I wish such decisions be based on more than fashion trends.

This brings me to Golden Rice. Vitamin A deficiency is a big problem. Half a million children go blind every year from lack of Vitamin A. Half of those die. It is especially a problem in countries where rice is a staple. This is not fated. A rice was made that has vitamin A. The plant always made vitamin A but not in the ‘rice’ part of the plant. For a decade and a half environmental groups fought a battle to stop Golden Rice. It was said to have been finally approved this year. Greenpeace was violently opposed to Golden Rice. It is not for sale anywhere.

Once again I am not sure I oppose the Anti-Christ.

A wise woman once set me up in conversation. The human papiloma virus vaccine was then controversial. She thought I would be opposed. She asked me if I thought it was smart to give girls the HPV vaccine. ‘Of course not,’ I replied. ‘If we only treat our daughters, we miss half the viral reservoir. We must treat the boys as well.’  I am not wise. Cold-blooded, maybe. We know that HPV causes cancer in females. Want to bet that we find another cancer it causes? These arguments must be solved by reason rather than sentiment.


Addendum:

I received this in the mail:

contact@goldenrice.org

Dear David,

Your points are all correct. But still we are not at the point of being able to proceed. I see that our last interaction was in 2014 (I admire your persistence – as you have noted, an important trait in this project!)

I attach some more updates.

Please continue your support.

Best wishes

Adrian

To: Adrian <contact@goldenrice.org>
Subject: Re: golden rice availability.

Sir,

NOW can one get golden rice? The news makes it seem a done deal, but I cannot believe the opposition has collapsed.

I would like to support this project.

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Faith in the System

About $1.20

 

I can solve Venezuela’s hyperinflation in a season. Any fool could. It wouldn’t be a great solution, but one must staunch the arterial bleeding first.

Mint silver coins. Pick a purity – 90% 92.5% 100% – and stick to it. Keep minting the coins until their economic value matches the silver price. That is it. It takes nothing more.

No one with the brains God gave a rutabaga trusts the Dictator Maduro with either their lives or their fortune. So don’t trust him. A 15 gram coin is worth $7. Nobody cares who made it. I have here a 1939 silver coin of King Farouk of Egypt. He was a real piece of work, a general disgrace, but the coin is worth its silver content. About seven dollars. It is worth that almost anywhere in the world. There are places where it is worth more for collectors, but there is a floor to its value. Why does Mr. Maduro not do this? He would give up control. People could flee with their wealth. Their money would be hard to track. People he does not like could keep their wealth. Mostly, people could store their wealth. Mr. Maduro tried to establish a currency backed by oil. It is complicated, unproven, and vulnerable to manipulation. Silver coins could be taken over the border and retain their intrinsic value. Inflation in metallic currencies is a long term hazard which moves at glacial speed. Devaluation is much quicker. One can tell when the silver content is reduced. Picture a hick biting a coin.

Cigarettes are poison, Chocolate doesn’t store well in the tropics. Liquids spill and evaporate. Bottles of scotch work well. Gold comes in too large chunks. Silver has two things going for it: The mental malfunction which has convinced many people in all culture that it is money, and that most silver is made by refining copper to a purity for electrical conduction. The quantity of silver in the world is very roughly in accord to the wealth of the society. Not as well as aluminum. But it is hard to convince anybody that aluminum is wealth.

Commodities are not good currencies. I trust them.

Reasserting Equilibrium

A series of horses passing by is a cavalcade. A series of columns is a colonnade. [That’s a double ‘n’ so as not to mean a series of colons.]

A series of cannon shots is, of course a cannonade. Rifle shots, a fusillade. Pistolade. Motorcade.

To me a used car dealership is a lemonade.

This year has been a a diabolade. Just one damn thing after….

The Evil of Vaber

There are many simple, intuitive ideas that are wrong. Heavy things fall faster. Objective realities are really just ‘social constructs’ which may be defied by will. We may impose whatever society we please on our fellows. Love conquers all. I can run through a brick wall. A single city can run an empire. Ignore relativity since it makes no sense.

Much mischief and suffering comes from imposing lies on people.

One of my pet brick walls is the idea attributed to Max Weber:

‘A legitimate government has a monopoly on violence.’

Sounds good, No?

Weber didn’t really quite say that, but such is the lesson the smart set learned. I shall ascribe it to Vaber.

The Vaber Dictum immediately declares all of the countries one would care to live in to be illegitimate. Also most of the frightening cesspools. Anywhere the common people rose up and overthrew an oppressive tyranny is illegitimate. Such tyrants did not amble away when they were opposed. More, those who evict an evil government may be heroes, not evil insurgents.

Let’s look at some regimes which were legitimate by the Vaber Dictum.

Hitler and the National Socialists were elected to positions of great power fairly. Legitimate. When Hindenberg died, Adolph assumed greater powers through legal means. Legitimate. The enabling laws were passed by a duly empowered legislature. Legitimate. All people who were not fully in accord with the German Government were disarmed by strict gun control. Highly legitimate. Jews, homosexuals, and other pesky groups were declared less than citizens. Legitimate. Such groups were disarmed. This was the apotheosis of legitimacy. Foreign bodies which can considered enemies of the state are not to be allowed the means of violence. Vaber demands the government have that monopoly. Such enemies are sequestered in ghettos or camps. Legitimate. Such places were ideal for medical and social experiments which could not be done on citizens or subjects in good standing. Such disarmed and neutered enemies were killed by the legitimate government. Herr Vaber asks. ‘What problem do you have with a legitimate government?’ Even the legitimate government had shame. Death rooms were disguised as showers with stone soap. Those who ran the camps had shame. Vaber has no shame. As a socially despised philosopher said, ‘The will to a system is a great evil.’

Lenin and his accomplices who removed the Czar were not legitimate. Once they became the government, Stalin legitimately took over after Lenin’s passing. Cruelly, bloodily, evilly, but legitimately. The gulags were set up in a legal manner. The show trials were legal. Most confessed. Rummel says 39 million were killed excluding the wars. The people could not fight back successfully. Vaber says they could not fight back legitimately.

Victorian England was the first civilization to eliminate slavery. Under the trappings of Monarchy there was a real democracy. The government was of long standing. The right of the people to bear arms was not questioned. Illegitimate. More, there were laws on the books, unenforced, which required people to maintain private arms. Vaber is aghast. Somehow for seventy years this culture grew in strength, virtue, freedom, and peace. But Vaber says it is illegitimate.

This Thanksgiving I thank God I don’t live in a place that is legitimate under the Vaber Dictum.

 

 

 

 

 

Follow the Gleam

 

Merlin and the Gleam

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I.

O YOUNG Mariner,
You from the haven
Under the sea-cliff,
You that are watching
The gray Magician
With eyes of wonder,
I am Merlin,
And
I am dying,
I am Merlin
Who follow The Gleam.

II.

Mighty the Wizard
Who found me at sunrise
Sleeping, and woke me
And learn’d me Magic!
Great the Master,
And sweet the Magic,
When over the valley,
In early summers,
Over the mountain,
On human faces,
And all around me,
Moving to melody,
Floated The Gleam.

III.

Once at the croak of a Raven who crost it,
A barbarous people,
Blind to the magic,
And deaf to the melody,
Snarl’d at and cursed me.
A demon vext me,
The light retreated,
The landskip darken’d,
The melody deaden’d,
The Master whisper’d
“Follow The Gleam.”

IV.

Then to the melody,
Over a wilderness
Gliding, and glancing at
Elf of the woodland,
Gnome of the cavern,
Griffin and Giant,
And dancing of Fairies
In desolate hollows,
And wraiths of the mountain,
And rolling of dragons
By warble of water,
Or cataract music
Of falling torrents,
Flitted The Gleam.

V.

Down from the mountain
And over the level,
And streaming and shining on
Silent river,
Silvery willow,
Pasture and plowland,
Horses and oxen,
Innocent maidens,
Garrulous children,
Homestead and harvest,
Reaper and gleaner,
And rough-ruddy faces
Of lowly labour,
Slided The Gleam.–

VI.

Then, with a melody
Stronger and statelier,
Led me at length
To the city and palace
Of Arthur the king;
Touch’d at the golden
Cross of the churches,
Flash’d on the Tournament,
Flicker’d and bicker’d
From helmet to helmet,
And last on the forehead
Of Arthur the blameless
Rested The Gleam.

VII.

Clouds and darkness
Closed upon Camelot;
Arthur had vanish’d
I knew not whither,
The king who loved me,
And cannot die;
For out of the darkness
Silent and slowly
The Gleam, that had waned to a wintry glimmer
On icy fallow
And faded forest,
Drew to the valley
Named of the shadow,
And slowly brightening
Out of the glimmer,
And slowly moving again to a melody
Yearningly tender,
Fell on the shadow,
No longer a shadow,

But clothed with The Gleam.

 

VIII.

And broader and brighter
The Gleam flying onward,
Wed to the melody,
Sang thro’ the world;
And slower and fainter,
Old and weary,
But eager to follow,
I saw, whenever
In passing it glanced upon
Hamlet or city,
That under the Crosses
The dead man’s garden,
The mortal hillock,
Would break into blossom;
And so to the land’s
Last limit I came–
And can no longer,
But die rejoicing,
For thro’ the Magic
Of Him the Mighty,
Who taught me in childhood,
There on the border
Of boundless Ocean,
And all but in Heaven
Hovers The Gleam.

IX.

Not of the sunlight,
Not of the moonlight,
Not of the starlight!
O young Mariner,
Down to the haven,
Call your companions,
Launch your vessel,
And crowd your canvas,
And, ere it vanishes
Over the margin,
After it, follow it,
Follow The Gleam.


Arthur and Beowulf, and ,so it seems, Merlin were phenomena of a certain time. Decayed and falling Rome pulled out of Britain. The Angles and Saxons arrived to make a new civilization on the bones of the old before the fires had cooled.

The was a mixing of Pagan and Christian and Heathen. Of Celtic and Roman and Germanic. Of freeholders and serfs. As a child I saw tragedy. No more. Now I see the Dark Age that followed as a needed thing. A Civilizational slash-and-burn. The grandeur which was Rome had failed. It had never broken the foundational cruelty and hubris of its birth. It was still a civilization of greed and the present moment. Christianity and the hope for the future had arrived but not matured. There was a Phoenix spark which could not grow without the ashes of the failed system of the World. Three centuries would pass before the gleam which was Charlemagne. After the thousand years of Classical civilization, it would be another thousand years of work until the Renaissance.

History is a slow farmer. It is a tragedy that it took so long. History’s method has always been to burn the fields before replanting.

We are only five hundred years into the new civilization, and it is showing signs of decay already. Perhaps we should keep an eye on that gleam and nourish it.

 

 

 

 

 

Sublety

I fail at being subtle. Fortunately, most people are oblivious. For some time now, I have been using this as my symbol. May I explain a small part?

When I designed this, I was making a figure/ground illusion. One can see with equal validity A blue Maltese cross, a white Maltese cross, a white Greek cross, or a blue Greek cross. There are equal numbers of blue and white pixels, and there is no preference of one image over the other, except in your mind. Most such illusions are fuzzy things and are highly dependent on orientation. This is clean, geometrical, and highly symmetrical. I was rather pleased to have designed a four in one figure/ground image. So I showed it to a good friend. Elizabeth saw a compass rose. Sigh. Five in one. There is a bit more to it, but that is enough.

Most figure/ground illusions are fuzzy things of no universality.

I am happy with this little design of mine, but never has anyone volunteered a comment on it. Do they not see or think on it? Or do they fear that it is an esoteric symbol of some strange group? I know of no other person or group which has used it.

Submitted for your consideration.

 

 

 

 

A Year Later

Piano

By D. H. Lawrence
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.