Author Archives: coviller

To bite, to fast, or to test my food first – and how?

“What happens when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?”

Just today I’ve seen two blatantly fake and misleading news stories circulating my Facebook bubbles. As usual, they gain momentum on the fringes (political extremes) and become more widespread by grabbing the attention of any fish that’ll bite and get hooked. Let it go – it ain’t even food!

The problem highlighted by this article has two ferocious prongs:

> On one end, we have the “fake news” itself and all the misled steps that can follow it. I’ll let that speak for itself.

> On the other end, we have the potential for reasonable people to start casting broad and blind blankets of doubt over any information they encounter – perhaps rightfully so!

While the latter can seem safer at first, consider how disturbed the lives of extreme conspiracy theorists are by the single behavior of excessive skepticism. If you cannot have confidence in any data, you are left only to your biases or data-less decisions and conclusions. Skepticism is a key part of science, but science progresses with skepticism *AND* increased confidence through verification.

Verification is quite important then. How do we verify information we receive, from the news, from the Internet, from your own senses? Do we verify some things more than others? Do we do the meta- level task of considering _how much_ verification is needed for certain information?

For that matter, how can you verify that anything in this post has any basis in reality? And before we even go there, … is this food? Bon voyage.

The more chickens, the merrier?

On differences between human population limits and those of other organisms,

“Both the jayhawk and the man eat chickens; but the more jayhawks, the fewer chickens, while the more men, the more chickens.” – Henry George, in the Criticism section of

“[T]he more men, the more chickens” can pan out in a few different ways, and the pros and cons of those ways will probably write the future history of our population. This highlights a great potential we humans have for bringing about heaven or hell here in Middle Earth. A key metric distinguishing the two: agricultural externalities. The food you eat, where does it come from? How it’s grown, what does that do for all creatures involved and affected?

“It’s not like it grows on trees” – actually..!

Musing on

When people say “it’s not like it grows on trees” I always cringe about how much *does* literally grow on trees yet goes unnoticed, underutilized, and unappreciated. I think whether by our wise choices or lucky last minute adaptations, that can change and be of massive benefit to us and our surrounding creatures of all kinds locally and afar.

This reminds me of a critique against a vision I find beautiful – a vision of widespread forest gardens ‘in every backyard’ so to speak. The critic’s point – and they’re a permaculture-style farmer with shared hopes for that vision – is that people in modern western society don’t exercise or realize uses for the vast majority of products and benefits we can get from forest gardens, therefore the value of the forest garden diminishes to the point where people choose to have lawns instead.

Fair point. Here in NY I don’t know anyone who uses local trees for clothes, paper, or chemicals – except for people living in structures incompatible with local building codes, but they’re a precious few set of outkasts. There are rare cases of trees used as food and medicine, and thankfully local wood does get a decent amount of use as fuel or in construction. But why don’t we use trees for more chemicals, clothes, or even simply for more food, medicine, fuel, fodder, construction material, and … fun? There’s been “cheaper” alternatives for some time – will that remain the case, or how long will it last? Perhaps new technology like that described in this article will return wood to the “cheaper” alternative, or perhaps what’s currently cheaper will become (and/or appear) more costly.

Times are changing, with economics and ecology experiencing disruptions we cannot fully foresee. What we can count on is that we’ll benefit from having resilience – increasingly a buzzword in environmental work, and for good reason – as it ensures we can ‘weather any storm’ and potentially even thrive in the face of changes. How do we get resilience? I got two answers for you: trees and diversity. I’d be happy to discuss either with ya – please comment if ya got some thoughts to share on the subject.


1. net neutrality – ah what a tangled web we weave
skeptical of mega corporations
skeptical of big government
skeptical of unauthenticated opinions (be it via paid trolls or simply simpletons)
thankful for the spiders
time to decentralize
theorize: what could the internet be like?
we’re probably only a hop and a skip (rather a wireless transmit) away from mesh networks being able to turn cloud computing into fog
2. and in other news from the caverns of the internet:
bitcoin and other cryptographic currency was meant to be a currency(!) but has become a penny stock.
distributed ledgers, contracts, and authentication technology could no doubt prevail, but would it be as bitcoin? ethereum? …jp morgan’s version of ethereum? in any case, let’s hope it’ll be open source, at least for security’s sake.
in the mean time, good game & congrats to those who made bank on the wobbling web, and to the rest interested – hold on! (“The price was the least important thing about Bitcoin when I first read the whitepaper. It still is.” – Emin Gün Sirer)

Awesome Elements of a Campout

At a recent campout with friends and family, I experienced two different instances of incredible complementary polar forces: Sky and Earth; Fire and Water.

I felt drawn to climb a tree. I made my way ~18′ up a sturdy looking white pine and admired the forest. I zoomed in on the tree itself and all the life it harbored in and around it. I zoomed out beyond the forest I could see to the vast forest it was a small part of. In this effort I became in awe of the vastness of the sky, and how the sky overhead continued all around the world. Looking out into that blue sky I recognized that the same Sky was present over those in far away lands, and over all sorts of lands, that Sky watched over the wide variety of All experiences on Earth. With that, I thought of the Earth. The ground beneath me is solidly connected with the ground beneath all others on this planet, held together by the attraction of its heart itself.

After the sun set, we had a campfire going and saw lightening flashes in the distance. Sensing the approaching storm we setup something of a small tarp town for the ~10 campers present. The team work and adventure involved in rigging up tarps was a wonder in itself. Later in the night, soaked and exhausted after having fun through heavy rains, I sat with my love and observed an awe inspiring feat of nature: the rain pounded down on the tarps, on the ground, and all around. All the while, the blazing wood pile stood firm and blew flames high up above it. Both elements made a similar but subtly different crackling sound – the impacts of raindrops on wet tarps, ground, trees, and all that goes with that, accompanied by the snapping, popping, sizzling, and crackling of a raging fire which pressed ever onward, upward. The water poured down and the fire roared up. Where the two met was a mysterious gradient – I’m sure there was perfect peace at some place there. For myself, I wandered between being wet or baked by rain or fire.

Awesome. Bewildering. Simple – a Forest between Sky and Earth, a Space between Fire and Water. An Observation.

Real recognize real

Unless we learn to recognize and accept all parts of ourselves – dark and light, near the surface and in the depths – we may be destined as a world to a prejudice far worse than what we face now, due to more extreme conditions in the near future testing our patience about ourselves.

What to do with the dark parts of ourselves we cannot reconcile with? I think it depends on perspective. All things have a place in nature, eating someone and being eaten by someone else; those things which have no place can cease to exist, eaten and not returning, or migrating to a more suitable habitat. What is the force of succession within us? What are your internal ecosystems, where your light and dark exist? Are they at peace, or are they troubled and troubling?

The task at hand – the sort of psychological progress Carl Jung focused on – is a deeply personal one. Yet, it may be a critical work for the future of humanity.

I & I


Imagine a world of wonder



a world of wonder

where friends and community members are the public servants we all occasionally need; therapists, counselors of all kinds, even police for relatively minor issues, with serious issues responded to by a force of law and order well trained in deescalation
where conflict is resolved as in a championship game of _________
and where reasonable design & decisions, along with just laws, guide us to minimal conflict in the first place

where problems are preferably solved with evolving perspectives rather than expanding equipment
where doctors and spiritual guides are one in the same, both aspiring for you to aspire and be well, and with a healthy system to help them help you
where medical prescriptions are more a matter of what ingredients you’ll be enjoying for the next couple of weeks than anything else
and where forests and gardens are called upon for to aid our health more than pharmacies or gadgets

where our snacks come from our window sills, our staple crops from plants that grow greater every year rather than having to be killed and (with increasing difficulty) renewed each year, and where meat is seasonal and from animals we live in peaceful harmony with rather than as slave masters of

where decentralization, regenerative designs, and scaled down systems make wars in resource rich places next to obsolete

where empathy enables one another to be fluid, flowing toward being the best one can be


what do these things mean? surely they are not perfect; how can they be improved?

Beats mes – the world is a web of complex adaptive systems.

Here’s hoping to see you in a world of renewed intention and more perfect priorities.
שלום שלום שלום, אהבה אחד

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