30 Jul 14 ~Question of the Day~ Fruit

What’s your favorite fruit to eat, and why? What’s your favorite fruit to LOOK at, and why?

Hard question. My liking of fruits is mostly about flavour.

I love vine ripened blackberries, and vine ripened purple passion-fruit.

And I like most berries, water-melons.

Bananas are probably my greatest single source of energy.

And it is so hard to buy ripe fruit. Most people pick it green and then chemically ripen it, and it never tastes as good as something ripened on the vine or tree.

Braeburn apples are a favourite, so are Satsuma mandarins, and navel oranges.

Do melons qualify as fruit? They have the most aesthetically pleasing shape to this bloke. ;)

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29 Jul 14 ~Question of the Day~ Donate to?

If you could donate a significant amount of money tomorrow, where would you direct it to go? – so that I could guarantee an abundance of all the essentials of life to everyone on the planet.

[followed by]


If my project ever gets under way, it will utilise the energy of the sun, which while finite, is vast enough to give every person currently alive as much energy as humanity as a whole currently uses (though not on this planet – most of the heavy energy use will need to be off planet).

It would also guarantee all the water, food, housing, sanitation, communication and transportation needs of every person, and would go a long way towards meeting medical needs (as medicine involves other living organisms, it will always be an open science with life exploring new ways to take advantage of options available, and we are close to medical break-throughs which will give vastly more security than anyone experiences today.

One of the key concepts of my project is that it acknowledges the reality that real security can only be guaranteed (in as much as any guarantee is possible) by decentralisation and massive redundancy in all systems – which is exactly contrary to the incentives of any market based economic system.

[followed by]


There is nothing in my project that doesn’t already exist in a sense, and it does require putting all the connections together in a way that works reliably.

Having spent much of the last 40 years of my life designing and developing software systems, I have a fairly good feel for just how complex that task is, and I am also clear it is doable with an appropriate team of people.

So while I get it seems far away to most people, to me it seems to closest and easiest of the possibilities I have encountered and investigated.

I am also clear that not only is there no market incentive to do the project, there are massive market incentives to prevent the project from ever being allowed to complete. So there are serious issues with the project, and they are not technical, they are social (which is not to belittle the technical issues – it would be the largest single software project ever attempted by a significant margin, and there are lots of engineering issues that require optimisation at scale).

[followed by]

Hi Torch

I’ve tried growing food myself, and I am just not good at it. I don’t love doing it.

Last year I probably grew about 30% of my food needs – planning on upping that to 50% this year. Have a couple of almond trees and a couple of olive to put in as soon as I can.

We have tried setting up community gardens here in Kaikoura, and none of those most in need of the produce showed any interest.

There are several possible ways of stabilising the current system, and several of them are being tried.

What is not being tried is a complete replacement system that ensures abundance for all, because it would end the current system.

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All that Glitters is Not Gold

Have you ever experienced “all that glitters is not gold?”

Hi Laurie

Far more times than I could recount in a day.
Being conned by James Power was one such.

Having quite consciously and intentionally spent over 40 years trying out as many different things as I deemed prudent in as many different domains as I deemed prudent (which to many occurred as extremely imprudent), I am very clear that our senses and our brains are quite easily fooled by a large number of different phenomenon (most of which most people seem unaware of).
Thus the majority of people can be quite easily influenced in particular directions of thought and behaviour by the metaphorical equivalent of “glitter” to our neural networks. The science behind advertising and politics is quite amazing in this respect (and a big part of why the last newspaper I bought was in July 1984).

Training all aspects of mind to be alert for the glitter can involve immersion is aspects of glitter.

And yes – expectations can be a major issue, at every level. Maintaining the discipline of questioning our expectations, even our most tried and tested expectations, at all levels, is difficult, and not something attempted by very many. It seems that most people prefer to live in the certainty of a world of shared illusion rather than face the fundamental uncertainty that seems to actually underlie this existence we find ourselves in.

The fundamental attraction of certainty (at all levels of brain) is powerful. The logic and mechanics of why this is so are clear enough, yet the experiential reality of living it is something quite different from the intellectual understanding. Discipline, at any level, holds its own dangers – no easy way out of the “glitter trap”.

It seems clear to me that the “glitter” of certainty is the most dangerous thing facing humanity at this stage in our evolution; and quite possibly for some considerable time to come.
Years of experience in boats on the surface of the ocean can help to prepare the mind for uncertainty at a particular level, and it sets up its own expectation functions promising certainty at another level – an infinite nest of certainty glitter, all illusion.

Every distinction we make holds the possibility of a “glitter trap” in this sense, as the probability that reality is in fact as we distinguish it is actually rather low in many cases. Cultivating skepticism at this level can be very hard on relationships with people firmly attached to certainty – it leaves very little in the realm of interpretation that is shared.

So yes – a powerful analogy to contemplate and act upon at all levels of thought and awareness and being.

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My Way and friendship

28 Jul 14 ~Question of the Day~My Way

Would you be willing to lose friends and family in order to live your life the way you believe it should be lived?

I just live my life.

I try and avoid losing people, and it is rather difficult to lose family, though I have about 30 cousins I haven’t seen in 30 years.

I don’t think I have ever intentionally lost anyone, and I don’t intentionally track many people. People just come and go pretty much as they please.

I welcome most back when they show up, and I am usually rather busy.

[followed by]

Hi Judi

I kinda look at it the way an old West Coaster is reported to have replied to a reporter when asked if he had ever been lost – his reply:

“No, aint ever been lost. Been a might befuddled for a few days, but always found my way home!”

For me, friends and family can be like that too. I have cousins I haven’t seen in over 40 years, and sometimes life is like that. They aren’t lost, we are simply on different paths for the moment (and for some time). I have a few cousin’s I keep in regular contact with, and through them get news of others.
And I don’t class anyone as lost. I may be quite consciously on a different path at present, and there is always the possibility of intersecting paths in the future, and always the memories of shared paths from the past.

And sometimes people’s names come to my awareness, like Roger Flowers, whom I haven’t seen in close to 20 years, and seems to have dropped off the radar – a somewhat eccentric objectivist millionaire, whom I shared quite a few fishing expeditions with, and whom I helped build some of his house on Pumpkin Hill, and had many a philosophical discussion with.

[followed by]

I am totally aligned with you here Torch.

It is our ability to create free will, to the degree that we are able, acknowledging all of the physical and biological and cultural influences upon us, that defines us at the highest level of being.

And within that individual freedom, the needs to be acknowledgement of our communal and cooperative nature, and the power of cooperation as an empowering tool for individuals.

And most cultures seem designed to diminish that awareness to the greatest degree possible.

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27 Jul 14 ~Question of the Day~ DETOX

What are some good detox tips?

All good advice from OM and Mendy Lou.

When I went hard against the cancer, I ate only vegan organic.

I would have juicies, made from an apple, a beetroot, and 3 carrots, often with a large handful of spinach blended in, at least 3 times a day.

Two important things mentioned are water and air.

We are very fortunate with both here.

Our water supply is underground, with the source uninhabited land; so it is about as natural as you will find anywhere on the planet.

We live on top of a peninsula sticking out into the ocean – so for 270 degrees, the wind is from the ocean, and the nearest land for 180 degrees is several thousand miles away. The nearest industry is over a hundred miles away in any direction, and all of our dominant wind directions are from areas without human influence for over a thousand miles. So we have some of the best air on the planet.

And I am in the habit of running taps long enough to let all the water that has been in contact with the metal of the taps flow through before I place my cup in the flow. A small thing, and lots of small things can add up.

In the kitchen, I ensure I have the extractor fan running whenever I have a heat source operating, and for as long as anything is above 60 degrees C.

Since teaching myself to free dive 40 years ago, I have been in the habit of practising deep breathing most days. I usually use a square breathing technique, in, hold, out, hold – for equal lengths. For me, I start at 8 second legs, and build out to 20 second legs. That takes a while to develop. Work out what is comfortable for you, start there, and extend into the zone of discomfort – and the zone will move. When I was in dive form I could maintain 90 second legs for an hour, can’t do that now, and don’t really have a need to reach that sort of extreme.

And the detox power is in getting the maximum flow turbulence and maximum gas exchange. It is not just oxygen going in, but also getting the exhaust gasses, CO2 and a vast number of other volatile aromatic compounds from within the body.

For me, there is a very definite meditative quality to breathing. When I am out at the long end (over a minute per leg) there is very little oxygen left at the end of the cycle, and very little awareness available for anything other than breath – there is only breathing – nothing else exists in awareness. And at that level, it has nothing whatever to do with detox, it is actually increasing the oxidative stress on one’s systems – hence my suggested limit of 20 seconds for detox.

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26 July 2014 ~Question of the Day~ Sense Ancestors

Did you ever have ( a feeling ) about your ancestors, even though you have no direct knowledge of anything that far back ?

Probably not, and its really hard to be really confident about anything like that.

There were so many stories from the past in my early childhood, stories from my grandparents (all born in the 1890s) about their grandparents (from the early 1800s) and further back.
Then there were all the stories I read, and saw and heard and otherwise became aware of in life.

Sorting out whether anything I feel is a result of my subconscious doing some creative recombination from all the material available to it, or is something else is not something I can say with confidence; and I strongly suspect the former.

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Complete food

25 July 2014 ~Question of the Day~Complete Food

If you were able to bring just one food to the starving children of the world, what would that food be?

No single food is adequate for nutrition, so I refuse to accept an unacceptable condition ! ;)

A diet based solely on spirulina, other than being boring, would lead to long term deficiencies of several nutrients – most particularly Vit C – not acute deficiency, there is enough there to avoid scurvy, but not enough to allow our systems to adequately combat cancer or viral invasion.

We have evolved for a varied diet, high in fruits and vegetables and nuts. Most particularly high in green leafy stuff. Without such a varied diet, we will be prone to all sorts of sub optimal long term outcomes, particularly if the diet is encountered early in life.

Poor diet is exceptionally stressful on mothers, as evolution favours the next generation, and our biochemical systems will strip nutrients from the mother to feed the child, provided it doesn’t actually kill the mother.

So there is no single food that is adequate.

The whole concept of single point, “magic bullet” solutions needs to be abandoned (however much they are favoured by corporate advertising gurus, and however appealing they are to our juvenile binary neural networks).

What we require is broad spectrum solutions, with much room for individual and group diversity within the spectra available, and with as much redundancy as we can build into every level. As far as I can tell from my investigations that is the only mathematically stable approach to security. It does not appear possible to deliver any significantly useful probability of long term stability in open systems with narrow focus centrally controlled solutions – there is just too much variability that cannot be constrained. If we have central systems that promote and sustain individual and group diversity, that appears to be a stable arrangement.

We can have global abundance.

At the global level there are 2 hectare (Ha) of land per person, a third of which is desert due to heat or cold. If we reserve a third of what is left for nature reserves, that still leaves us with just under a hectare each, which is 2 acres (roughly). You can grow a lot of veges on 2 acres. The global average for food production is about 6T/Ha (we can do much better than that with enclosed gardens providing optimised environments for the plant communities within). If we allow for each person eating about 1.5Kg of food per day, that is half a ton per year. Allow another half ton per year for security (required redundancy, that can be recycled to the non-human ecosystem in normal circumstances) – which leads to a requirement of 1T food per year, or 1/6th Ha (1/3 of an acre per person per year) of non-reserve land – for non-animal food production.

So giving people the tools to store water, and protect crops from animal and insect predation, seems to be the most effective way of feeding everyone.
The mathematics says that if people are prepared to adopt a vegan diet, we can feed 6 times the earth’s current population (and maintain a year’s food reserves with constant turnover) while still leaving a third of every ecosystem (and all the deserts and ice lands) in an undisturbed natural state.

We are not short of resources.

We can easily do it.

We have the technological capacity to have it done within 2 years – every person on the planet housed and fed in sustainable sanitary conditions. (Current global cement production in sufficient to allow us to construct new secure monocoque design dwellings for every person on the planet in two years – if required.)

We will never do it if we rely on market incentives, because markets always value abundance of anything at zero, and guilds (at all levels) will protect their market share – so there can never exist any market incentive to provide abundance to all. Markets only ever provide abundance to a very small group at the top of the system (but human optimism means most people think they will make it into that small group, but don’t).

So – a bit of a twist to the question, and an attempt at a stable broad spectrum solution to a major human issue.

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