THE ARRIVAL AND IMMINENT DEPARTURE OF A SINGULARITY – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #47

A provocative question today that I think currently means very little. It probably meant something 200-years ago, but now? I doubt it.

Here’s the question:

Technological singularity?

Personally? I think we reached it years ago — probably at least 50 years ago — and we are already in the throes of it. It did not need to become a net negative, but because of other issues — politics being the obvious one but also human greed, corporate greed, and a refusal to believe that the world was not made to accommodate us and when we push its boundaries hard enough, it will, in its own way, push back.

We have a dying world. We have a horribly over-inflated belief in humanity’s place in this world. And it will come to pass — is already coming to pass — that we shall discover how unimportant we really are. We are mosquitoes sitting on the back of a world that is getting ready to take a dip in waters lethal to our kind.

We shall be cleaned out and slowly but surely vanish. The planet will survive and recover in its own way. Whether or not that recovery leaves room for our kind? I’m not overly optimistic about it. While we are making enormous progress on one level, we are destroying what needs to be saved at the same time. It won’t do us any good to create a green world when we have already destroyed the greenery.

We can try, but we’d better start trying a whole lot harder than we currently are. Because I don’t think we can call a time out on the changes we have created and the desolation it is likely to bring.

Sorry for not sounding more chipper and cheery. If someone has something chipper and cheery to add that is based on science and not a personal opinion, shout it out.

WHEN IT’S TOO LATE, IS IT STILL PROCRASTINATING? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango:
Procrastinating Until Time Runs Out

PHOTOGRAPHS: OWEN KRAUS

And who amongst us does not procrastinate? I used to do everything ahead of time because I figured if I did whatever I didn’t want to do EARLY, then I could stop fretting about it. This concept died instantly the day I retired. Now, I do everything as late as I can … except when I procrastinate for so long, it’s too late to do it at all.

But then there is Planet Earth and I live in sheer terror that we have been plundering our world for so long that it is already too late. I don’t know why I was sure that the full weight of climate change would wait until finally, we were ready to tackle it. It was a stupid idea, but the full power of this change was more than I was ready to confront. Especially because — other than trying to recycle (pointless in a town that has no dump for “clean” trash — and no recycling facilities of any kind — not even a place to take stuff for recycling elsewhere).

Poisonous swamp near an old factory

Massachusetts, overall, has tried pretty hard to do its best to clean up its own mess. And there has been a pretty huge mess to clean up. As one of the oldest states, it is here that “The Industrial Revolution” began.

The Blackstone River was its power. It’s tight, twisting design and rapid drops were perfect for building mills. And of course, the leftover products of those mills went right back into the rivers.

Never think that “modern” poisons are worse than “natural” poisons. By the mid-1970s, the Blackstone River was one of the top 3 most polluted rivers on this continent. Today, after almost 100 years of fighting the pollution, you can fish in the river and there are even places where it is safe to swim — if you don’t mind getting your toes nipped off by some really gigantic Common Snapping Turtles!

The poisonous earth is, so far, not repairable. Behind each of those dams on the river (there were 46 of them, but I think they managed to remove two of them recently) are tons and tons of poisoned earth. If they take away the dam, all the hazardous soil will pour into the river. Far too dangerous.

You can’t build on it. You can’t cover it with clean earth because the poisons leach upward. Every time they try to build atop one of those deadly areas, everyone in the building gets sick and they have to close it down. This happened relatively recently in Boston when they built the new PP1 station on a hazardous site and in weeks, they had to abandon it. I think, in the end, they imploded the building, dug down as far as the bedrock and took the earth somewhere else.

Where? Is there somewhere that has a use for poisoned earth?

As soon as they moved the foul factories down south to be closer to where the cotton grew, they decided on another terrific idea: “Let’s build some Nuclear Generators!”

Sometimes I wonder why all of us don’t just glow in the dark.

Having had a personal one-on-one tour of the Seabrook Generator, I’m still wondering what they are going to do with those “spent nuclear rods” that run the generators. No one wants them. They hid the nukes behind 30-foot barbed-wire fences and barren green hills. In our lovely green parks. You know there’s a nuke there because of the warning signs telling you to STAY OUT OF THAT AREA. Are we so stupid we don’t know what’s going on? Except when they suggested maybe “Just one more generator?” and angry mobs form in the streets.

We are not quite that stupid, it seems.

Meanwhile, up in Millbury and Worcester, they STILL dump raw sewage into the Blackstone because (are you ready? really really ready?), it would cost every household $1 a month more in taxes to build a water cleaning facility. We may not be that stupid, but a lot of the people who run our towns seem to be.

Massachusetts is really trying hard to clean itself up. We are the Good Guys! Can you imagine the horrors you are going to find down in Texas and Oklahoma, not to mention all those areas in the deep south where they took our factories and mills and installed them there?  They thought they were lucky to get the work. We thought we were lucky to lose the pollution. But some work would be nice, too. CLEAN work, however.

I have no answers because these are questions too big for me. I can change to green power. I can send my paltry earnings to the National Parks Foundation. I can support zoos and other areas where they breed animals who are going extinct. But overall, I feel helpless. The problems are huge and my abilities to deal with so small.

BUILT ON THE ROCK ~ OCTOBER 28, 2019 ~ MELANIE B CEE

Garry is forever telling me that I do make a difference even though I usually can’t see how. But this is actual evidence that I have made a difference to at least one person and hopefully, a few others. The diagnosis that we are killing the world we need to live in is incontrovertible. It’s not a rumor, it’s not fake anything. It’s real and it is happening now. 

A year ago, I had dozens of birds. This year, I have half the species of last year. We have southern Eastern Equine Mosquitoes killing people and mindless spraying of poison over our woods. Which quite probably explains why the birds are gone. We’ve lost 30 million birds over the past 10 years and stand to lose at least that many in the next few.

There is a mass extinction in progress — and we are as much on the bloc as the now-defunct Black Rhinoceros. If this scares you, terrifies you, haunts you? Find out more. Tell others. Do everything you can to help save the world we know and love.


CONTROVERSIALBADGE

This post will contain two subjects that tend to get people riled.   The first is religion and the second is climate change or whatever trendy name they’ve slapped on that today.

If either really irritates you to the point of stroking out, please feel free to read no further.  It’s okay.


I follow an “LDS” (formerly the Mormons) blog entitled “By Common Consent.” I like it because the hosts allow a variety of opinions and invite some interesting people to write about their experiences.  Not all of them could be counted among the ‘faithful’ and some apparently have had negative experiences with the Church. All that is required of the reader of that blog is to be respectful. Regardless of the content of the piece that’s shared.   They don’t accept writers who are really far out there, extremists and any kind of hate or bigotry writing (speech). It pays to remember that the blog is LDS based though.  Because most of the content is about the LDS Church and beliefs and rites.  

The content today was about the testimony. Now I admit that I naively believed that only Mormons bore their testimonies.  That it might be an odd concept to the person who isn’t a member. I’ve since revised my thinking to include the fact that everyone (religiously-inclined anyhow) has a testimony and that each religion deals with that idea in its own way.   A testimony, in case you don’t know, is (my interpretation, which probably is flawed) the relationship, based in faith, that a person has with God and to a lesser degree, their preferred religion.   

In the LDS Church, one gets up (or has the opportunity to do so) once a month in “Fast and Testimony” Meeting and share their testimony.   To me personally, it’s an opportunity to talk about how one’s life is blessed by having God in their life or influencing their actions and decisions. A chance to humbly thank God for all the bounty He may have provided to the individual. It’s not about who got married, or had a kid, or went to Bura-Bura on vacation.  It’s not for bragging or being entitled or any other close-minded crap that such people tend to think is interesting.

Too often though it is about the latter and not the former. God isn’t thanked at all if He’s thought of. That kind of testimony is one reason **Koff-koff excuse koff-koff ** that I’m not very active in the church currently.   I find the sometimes smug attitude sickening and distracting from why I personally go to church – to improve my relationship with God.

God reminds man though, that we’re not to judge others. We have enough things of our own to worry about (i.e. our own business) without thinking snide things about other people. I sometimes find that hard to do.  

Today the woman writing the BCC post asked the rhetorical question: “So tell me – do you think voicing criticism has the potential to damage testimony, and if so, do we have a responsibility toward each other to take care with how we share it?”   

I have a huge problem with idiots. I think that’s well documented.  And my viewpoint about the question had nothing to do with the author being an idiot. The idiot part comes in from the idea of having politically correct (touchy-feely) censorship of one’s most intimate inner thoughts. Which are what the testimony IS (in my opinion).   

But I get why she asked the question too. There are people in the LDS Church who view testimony meeting as a chance to air every slight and grievance they ever had, real or imagined. To be acid-tongued and sharp with those in alleged authority with whom they take exception. To belittle others. To me?  That’s not a testimony, that’s bile – regurgitated. So sit down and shut up and don’t blast a spiritual event with garbage.

I asked a question today on SYW about where the line is drawn between honest debate and hate speech (verbal bullying).   I’m interested to see what people say about that too.   Where do we stop being overly sensitive and start with real disagreement with someone’s harsh words?   Is that censorship too?

As a good blogging buddy used to write:  “No answers here…”


The second part of this post is about a personal terror.   The very idea scares the crap out of me and keeps me awake nights.  Wakes me up in a cold sweat. I’ve heard a huge variety of opinion on climate change and what that is going to mean to the world I once knew (because she’s a’changin’ and she ain’t gonna be the same).   

The video clip I shared is about 5 minutes and the fellow speaking is a sensible person (IMHO) who has a realistic manner and speech.   What he said in this video clip scared me silly.   He wasn’t even trying to frighten.  He was stating facts, backed up by scientists and really incredibly smart people (well, presumably).   I don’t know who Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even is, never heard of her before today. Another benefit (I suspect) of living a largely mushroom life.  I don’t CARE who she is just to be clear. Don’t let the title of the video mislead you. But be prepared for a shock.

Judy Dykstra-Brown is the one who brought the blog and video clip to my attention.  I’m not sure whether to be grateful or horrified that what I’ve thought for a lot of years now is coming true. And that right soon. Dang.

One of the points made in the video has been supported (unwittingly) by Marilyn of Serendipity and her blogs over the summer about the mosquito problems in her area.  

The things talked about in that video are real. As Beau says “It’s not fake science and it’s not fake news.  It simply IS.”   

How these two subjects overlap in one sense is that the LDS Church has cautioned its members for YEARS (longer than I’ve been alive) to start saving at least seven years’ worth of food, and obviously water.  Mormons have been ridiculed and poked fun at for being “dooms-dayers” and weird because they allegedly stockpile that way. Well, who is laughing NOW?  

This ought to cover my posts on Pet Peeve Monday – even though it’s not a pet peeve, it’s quickly becoming part of my social phobia/anxiety disorder.

Also, this post might fit into the 31 Days of October Challenge.   If the material shared isn’t a horror story, I don’t know what might be.   

Can we stop the world long enough for me to get off?   I think I’ve had enough of this particular Tunnel of Terror ride. 


https://bycommonconsent.com/2019/10/28/testimony-and-its-opposite/

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2019/10/28/beau-of-the-fifth-column-and-climate-change/

https://beckiesmentalmess.blog/2019/10/28/the-monday-peeve-7/

https://lavent69.blog/2019/09/30/the-31-days-of-october-challenge/

IT’S GLOWING TODAY BUT TOMORROW, THE RAIN WILL COME – Marilyn Armstrong

Driving home from River Bend, I was still — after all these years — breathless at how beautiful this area is. It’s love at the river and even in town, but as you turn down our street, it’s just so much color, it’s hard to even absorb it.

I didn’t think there were any more pictures to take, but the trees are much brighter today than they were yesterday. The maple is redder and the yellow has turned to deep orange. The yellow just makes your eys go “pop.”

Looking south on Aldrich Street

Down the driveway

Northbound on Aldrich Street

Maple in front of the house

I had to take a few more pictures. By then I was so tired, I could barely stand up, but I did it anyway because Autumn doesn’t come every year and rarely looks as glorious as it did today!

Upward from the house to the road

Bright yellow maple

Behind the green lawns, a tractor is on the way

I bought a new pair of Minnetonka little shoes AND I bought them half a size too big so there would be room for socks. And they wouldn’t fit. I finally realized my feet were so swollen from all the walking, I just stuck a pair of shoe trees in them and went back to socks. They ALWAYS stretch. I’m fondly hoping that those suede Minnetonka’s will stretch too!

SPIDER, SPIDER – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Spider

I have always had a deep fear of spiders which wasn’t improved when Garry got bitten by a brown recluse and spent a month on antibiotics — and then I discovered we have wolf spiders all over our woods.

Our own wolf spider and he is bigger than he looks!

Spiders love our front door. No matter how many times you sweep it clear, the spiders and their webs are back in less than 24 hours. I have developed a very ambiguous set of emotions about them, too. I’m not less afraid of them …. but I also recognize that they eat other bugs that I hate even more than spiders. Okay, the gigantic black wolf spider on my back door — that was war. But he was the size of a dessert dish and I tried knocking him down to the deck, so he had three chances to run for the woods before I brought out the spider spray. And they aren’t poisonous. Just HUGE.

Our own personal Gypsy Moth caterpillars

But they eat other insects and lord knows we have plenty of bugs for them to gorge on. Just please, not in my house. Stay outside. I can cope with outdoor bugs. Just not in my house.

More ot those hideous caterpillars

We have also conquered the army of carpenter ants who were trying to take over the house and this year, finally no Gypsy Moth caterpillars.

I’m making peace — or trying to make peace — with the multi-legged universe of insects that surrounds us. I could do without the poisonous mosquitoes, though. They make me twitch.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis mosquito – Massachusetts variety

I fell in love with Blue Jays when I discovered they are one of the ONLY birds that really love eating Gypsy Moth caterpillars. May man of them come and live in our woods. We need you! Come home!

And I’m still waiting for the return of the bats. One bat eats more than double his weight in mosquitoes every night.

Welcome, Blue Jay!

THE ZOO ON THE DECK – Marilyn Armstrong

They announced on the news that another 2 or 3-degree rise in temperature will cost us about 3 million birds over the next year, especially sea birds like seagulls as well as eagles and hawks.

Growing chipmunk

I don’t want to think about it. I knew from the number of birds I’m NOT seeing this year that the weather is already killing them. They are here, but in greatly reduced numbers and many birds are missing.

Chipping Sparrow

Downy or Hairy? Could be either!

We have quite a little zoo going on out there. We have the usual birds. We have a couple of nervous squirrels (they will calm down and refuse to budge) and now, every day our little (but growing fast) chipmunk.

Carolina Wren

Titmouse in the Autumn leaves

Mostly, I’m seeing Rose and White-breasted Nuthatches and several kinds of woodpeckers. Also a few wrens, titmice, and Goldfinch. None of the little red finches have come back. No doves. I saw one Blue Jay. No Robins.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

We have lost 30 million birds over the past decade and stand to lose another 30 million during the next five if we don’t get the temperature down.

I feed them, but it’s not nearly enough. Please, if you have any room, put up feeders. The birds are not doing well and backyard feeders make a huge difference in the birds’ ability to survive, especially in colder climates!

BUT WHAT KIND OF BIRD IS THAT? – Marilyn Armstrong

We were up early yesterday (doctor) and early again today (dentist). This gave me the opportunity to get some pictures of the morning birds. I had been noticing unfamiliar birds this year. Birds I saw a lot of last year I haven’t seen at all this year … but there are birds this year I don’t recognize. They may be juveniles of birds I only know as mature birds, but I spent a lot of time going through the bird book and the only birds that look like what I’m seeing are rather rare birds.

With birds, the general rule is that if you see something rare, you’ve probably got the wrong bird. But whatever it is, it is some kind of sparrow.

It isn’t the Chipping Sparrow because they are quite a bit smaller than these. The only things these look like part of a group called “Grass Sparrows.” All of these birds look a lot alike. Some shade of golden brown with speckled or streaked wings. Some have a striped or speckled breast while others are solids. But all the juveniles look very much the same.

The only one of these sparrows considered “common” is the Savannah Sparrow. But there aren’t many of them in this part of the country. They do live here, but it isn’t one of their major regions. Mostly, they seem to be concentrated in the southern states.

Grasshopper Sparrow and a Hairy Woodpecker?

One more of the sparrows and a Woodpecker.

Climate change brings changes to all of our wildlife, so it’s possible that warmer weather in the north has brought more of them into our area. The bird looks rather more like a Grasshopper Sparrow. While these do live in this region, they are uncommon — possibly even scarce.

Take a look at the picture and let me know if you recognize it. Also, there’s another solid brown-orange bird that doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before. It might be a Tennessee Warbler which can be common in this area. You’d think from its name they’d be from the south, but I sometimes am baffled by whoever named the birds. Or maybe birds just move around more than we think.

A very fat Chipping Sparrow? Rather an odd color …

Something new or just a juvenile of something more familiar?

I know that between the older bird book I had from the 1980s  and the new one I got last year, there’s a huge change in the location of many birds. There are also a lot fewer birds than there used to be. As we ruin our living environment, we’re killing off birds, fish, and many small mammals that were once very common.

Good look at tail feathers of the brown sparrow.

The only things we aren’t short of are bugs — plenty of THEM — mice and rats. Even rabbits who used to sun themselves on our lawns and the chipmunks who used to chitter at us as we went into our house have vanished. The robins, following their death by Monsanto’s RoundUp weedkiller never came back either.

What a sad world it would be without the birds to sing us awake with their cheery morning calls!