Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mid-May Late Week Links

More good reads for you:

Gov. John Kasich wants to crack down on phosphorus runoff that feeds Lake Erie algal blooms – Cleveland Plain Dealer.  This isn't going to magically go away.

Warming Planet Could Mean Bigger Corn Crops for American Farmers – Bloomberg.  Just what we need-more corn.

California is turning farms into carbon-sucking factories – Grist.  Farmers might be in for fighting climate change if it means more sweet, sweet government handouts.

Warming Waters Push Fish To Cooler Climes, Out Of Some Fishermen's Reach – The Salt

NASA Satellites Reveal Major Shifts in Global Freshwater –

Louisiana Wants To Use The Muddy Mississippi To Build Up Its Coast – NPR

The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy - The Atlantic

The Untold Story of Robert Mueller's Time in Combat - Wired.  Who would you rather your children turn out like: Robert Mueller or Donald Trump?  If you said Trump, I sure hope you don't have kids.

Sulfur Dioxide Damages Lungs, and Scott Pruitt Is Letting More of It in Our AirMother Jones  It is ridiculous that existing plants sometimes never have had to meet most environmental regulations.

Too Big To Fine, Too Small To Fight BackTexas Observer.  Sometimes it seems when Republicans are in charge they really work to make government the enemy.

Which Poor People Shouldn’t Have to Work for Aid? – The Upshot.  I'll give you one guess.  More on Michigan's plan for letting rural poor folks stay on Medicaid without meeting work requirements. 

‘Blue Wave’ Has Been a Trickle Outside Largest Cities - The Daily Yonder.  Yes, rural areas are responsible for Trump.

Trump vs. “The Deep State”The New Yorker.  More like Trump vs. competent governance.

A Wildfire Likely Spawned a Severe Thunderstorm in Texas – DAMWeather

Sunday, May 13, 2018

End of Planting Links

We had a number of setbacks that ate up a few perfectly fine days, but the weather was extremely cooperative, and everything is in the ground.  While we were working on it, I came across some stories I thought were interesting:

Who is basketball's GOAT - Lebron James or Michael Jordan - Boston Globe and Cavaliers are surviving in the playoffs despite the dilemma of LeBron James' rest - ESPN.  I'm extremely biased, but I think Lebron would be the best teammate to play alongside.

The Big Ten’s Big Business - Slate.  "Amateur."  What a crock.

The Art of Icon Writing - Baltimore Sun

Why We've Been Fighting About Milk for 10,000 Years - Time

Maple Syrup Cartel Has a Plan to Cover Shortfall - Bloomberg.  I can't get enough of the maple syrup cartel and their strategic maple syrup reserve.

The Colonel In The Kitchen: A Surprising History Of Sous Vide - The Salt

Alan Turing’s chemistry hypothesis turned into a desalination filter - Ars Technica

How the 50-mm Lens Became ‘Normal’ - The Atlantic 

The water war that will decide the fate of 1 in 8 Americans – Grist.  People who move to the desert southwest are insane.

Tech Envisions the Ultimate Start-Up: An Entire City – The Upshot.  Umm, no thanks.  I'm not sure how Beta versions of cities would work.

Kansas' Medicaid Data Is So Bad, Analysts Can't Even Tell If It's Working - Governing.  Kansas is pretty much Republican "governance" in its purest form.

Nonprofit Liberty University's "lucrative enterprise" - Marketplace.  Gaming regulations targeting for-profit colleges.

Trump is no longer the worst person in government - George Will.  On Mike Pence. Let's not get crazy, George.  Both suck in tremendously different ways.

Donald Trump declares trade war on China - Financial Times.  This will probably hit farmers hard.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Derby Day Links

More stories squeezed around planting, fixing the planter and working at the town job:

 Eating Dirt on Kentucky Derby Day - Bloomberg

The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code - Bloomberg

These Stories Of Horse Racing Gamblers Will Get You Psyched For The Kentucky Derby - Bloomberg.  It's a podcast, but as you can see, Bloomberg is all-in on the Derby.

Local Dallas Sportscaster Goes Viral For His 'Unplugged' Commentary - All Things Considered.  The part about his racist dad saying the one black family he knows is good and different from all the blacks he doesn't know is pure Midwestern bigotry.  I don't know if I could count how many times I've heard that. Sometimes it includes a statement that that black person or family agrees with that person about other blacks.

The innovation turning desert sand into farmland - BBC

Minnesota experiment upends notions about how plants will offset rising CO2 - Minn Post

On The Hunt For The Elusive Morel Mushroom In Ohio's Appalachian Country  - The Salt

Here's why Michigan Medicaid work requirements will kill people - Detroit Free Press.  Exemptions for rural counties, but not for poor urban areas.  That's the Republican party for you.

How Criminals Steal $37 Billion a Year from America’s Elderly - Bloomberg.  I would like to know what countries' GDP are smaller than the total economic activity generated in the US by crime and fraud.  I would guess it is the size of a medium-sized developed nation

Paul Ryan Just Got Trounced By a Priest - Charles Pierce and Ryan reverses, will keep House chaplain in place - Politico.  As if I needed to add anti-Catholic bigotry to my reasons to hate the GOP.  I did enjoy that more than one political commentator said that the moral of the story is that you don't fuck with a Jesuit (or The Society-God bless Catholic culture).

A Pruitt Aide's Attack on Zinke Angers the White House - The Atlantic.  So the cabinet secretary I hate the most had an underling try to undermine the cabinet secretary I hate the second-most.  That seems about like what I'd expect from the Trump administration.  Even they can understand who the assholes are.

This Map Shows Every State's Biggest Export - How Much (via Ritholtz).  Not too hard to figure out where Poet is based.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

On Farming

It was about 9:15 this evening when it really hit me.  We had just finished planting the corn on our first farm, and I was walking from the north field back to my truck about a quarter mile away.  It was approaching the end of the gloaming, and in the general stillness the slightest wisp of breeze would kick up a tiny chill.  It would pass, and then I would feel the warmth of the soil radiating the stored solar energy of a beautiful May Day. That happened four or five times as I made that 5 minute walk. It was a good day.

It didn't start that way.  If you talked to me as late as 2:30, I would have had a tale of woe and frustration that stretched days as we'd managed to get 10 acres planted while neighbors seeded hundreds.  I was trying to repair yesterday's breakdown, and had just discovered that the part I ordered and that dad picked up this morning was the wrong one, and wouldn't work on our machine.  At that point, I was looking for a quick fix and dad, while expressing that immediate retirement was looking pretty attractive, said that we had waited this long, we might as well wait a couple more hours while he went to get the right part and do it right.

"Good enough never is."  That is the sales slogan at my town job, which also happens to be our family business.  It is a potent motto, but from this jaded engineer and farmer's perspective, good enough is good enough.  Dad left to get the part, and I went to work on my quick fix.  From my perspective, we could do the proper fix tomorrow when it was forecast to rain (although that may get pushed back to Thursday [and dad is right, we need to fix it correctly when we can, which I will try to do in the early morning]).  Within a half-hour we were up and running, and with minor slowdowns, were able to complete what we could reasonably expect to get done in what was left of the day. 

That is what I love about grain farming.  When you decide to try something that might not be ideal, you don't have to answer to anyone except family and maybe the banker.  Also, unlike almost every other job, there is a definite start and finish to crop production.  Sure, we are barely a sixteenth of the way to completing our seeding labor, but we got most of that done in less than seven hours from our lowest point at 2:30 to that moment where I felt the last remnants of the sun's work escaping to the atmosphere in the beautiful transition from day to night.  Few other jobs blend that physical feeling of accomplishment with the opportunity to experience nature in all its wonder and beauty.  I got to feel the warmth of the May sun, watch that sun set, and watch the moon rise.  And I got to feel the subtle shift of our work from frustration to success.

As I type this, this good day passes into the next one.  I am looking at an early start to a day that may bring rain, will definitely bring a careful balance of labor between the town job and the one that is done more for love than money, and may bring more frustration. But I am looking forward to another feeling of accomplishment as this new day fades into the next one. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

End of April Weekend Links

I was finally ready to start planting this afternoon, and wouldn't you know it, we had a technology malfunction and I didn't get a single seed in the ground.  I did find these stories over the last few days, though:

The history of the song "Louie Louie" - Marketplace.  An important FBI investigation.

EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides - Guardian

Rural Lands At Risk As Ranchers Prepare For Retirement - The Salt

Rural Kansas is dying. I drove 1,800 miles to find out why - The New Food Economy.  It goes a little over the top, but brings up some brutal statistics.

Rural Teachers Working Second Jobs, Struggling To Make Ends Meet – CBS Denver

The last man who knew everything – The Week

A High Schooler Has Upended a Fundamental Chemistry Theory - Inverse

Did Math Kill God?The New Republic 

There Are Holes In Elon Musk's Plans To Tunnel Through L.A. With Boring Co. - Forbes

The Myth That Markets Get Prices Right Won’t Die – Bloomberg.  Goddamn vampire theory. Pound a wooden stake in its heart.

Life on the Oil Frontier - Longreads

Annual Figures Show Slight Rise in Rural Jobs, But Gap With Metro Widens – Daily Yonder

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Now That's Big

Last of April Mid-Week Links

More stories for you:

The Mobster Who Bought His Son a Hockey TeamThe Atlantic.  This is as good as it sounds.

ESPN Fawns Over The Intelligence Of Trevor Bauer, Who Is A Big Dumb Asshole - Deadspin.  I really have no opinion about Trevor Bauer, but this made me laugh, and the twitter exchange is amazing.

Yangxiang aims high with sows on many floors – Pig Progress.  I have no idea if this is true, but if it is, it sounds like a horror show.

Remembering the ‘Spooky Wisdom’ of Our Agrarian Past – The American Conservative.  I still don't think the phase of the moon has anything to do with setting fence posts.

Bosch Says It's Made a Breakthrough That Can Save Diesel Engines – Bloomberg

The Key to Everything - New York Review of Books

The Renegade SheriffsThe New Yorker

Church of the Donald – Politico and Maybe It’s Time to Admit That The “Grotesque Caricature” of White Evangelicals is the Reality - Religion Dispatches.  These bother me more than most things Donald. 

Why Trump Gets Away With Lying – Bloomberg.  This makes an important point.  I have a hard time talking about Trump without saying, "dumbfuck" or "suckers," but that isn't going to sway any of his supporters, and probably will just make them dig in their heels deeper.  That's a challenging situation that requires more of me (and is one of the reasons I haven't written much about Trump).

Mick Mulvaney Says the Quiet Part Out LoudThe Atlantic.  Yeah, draining the swamp.  

The Reinvention of America – James Fallows.  He's more optimistic than I am, but that is a good thing (honestly, it is often hard to be more pessimistic than me).

This animal kills more people in a day than sharks do in a century – Gatesnotes.  Trump is far from alone when it comes to freaking out about sharks.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Chart of the Day - Earth Day Edition

We are screwed:

Late April Weekend Links

More stories for your perusal:

The Man Who Brought Down Lance ArmstrongThe Atlantic  

Iowa's minor league baseball teams team up to help repair the vandalized Field of Dreams infield - Des Moines Register

Local Courts Lift Arkansas Weedkiller Ban, Creating Chaos - The Salt.  Chaos seems to be standard for agriculture right now...

Exclusive: U.S. sorghum armada U-turns at sea after China tariffs - Reuters

The Maraschino Mogul’s Secret LifeThe New Yorker 

OLPC’s $100 laptop was going to change the world — then it all went wrong - The Verge

Canary in the Coal Pond - Propublica
Engineers Are Leaving Trump’s America for the Canadian Dream – Bloomberg.  MAGA is effectively MAWA.  No greatness about it.

Palantir Knows Everything About You – Bloomberg

Ranked: The Best and Worst State Economies - Visual Capitalist.  If there is a correlation between tax rate and ranking, it appears to be a positive correlation.