Jeff McFadden Profile picture
I am kin to all life. The faster you go, the more you miss. Living slow with donkeys in full public view, YouTube link below.
eDo Profile picture folk will gulp down everything Profile picture Mary Joan Koch Profile picture infinity10 Profile picture STEPHEN Profile picture 21 added to My Authors
3 Aug
5. That is the "business as usual" plan. I acknowledge that we are probably going to follow that one, but we don't have to, so that's why I offer a different one.
6. Science has known for years, decades, that the more fertility is in a piece of land, the higher the body weight of wildlife it can support.
Fertility is not, ever, a fixed quantity.
All fertility on Earth, all the soil wrapped around the ball of rock and fire under your feet -
7. Life made that.
It took life billions of years to make it. For the first billion or more years of life on Earth, the entire planet's carrying capacity for life in the aggregate was probably a few kilograms. Total. Worldwide. Literally. All the rest, the incredible richness
Read 9 tweets
2 Aug
The Interstate Highway System was declared to be completed on October 14th, 1992, but in reality there has not been a day since it was authorized in law on June 29, 1956, that it has not been under construction, including today.
2. 36 years and change, to design and lay a system of concrete flatwork with some aerial structure, from Canada to Mexico and coast to coast.
I was almost 9 years old when that law was passed. We drove surface highways from Kansas City to Council Bluffs twice a year, and we
3. Traveled to Colorado, to Florida, to other parts of Missouri, and all that existed were surface streets. 2 lane concrete or blacktop. I can remember when they put white lines down the outer edges. Saved a zillion lives. Thank God for the man who put the white line on the hiway
Read 28 tweets
24 Jul
Mea culpa.
I am guilty.
I have contributed extensively to an entirely unproductive conversation about climate change.
We have been discussing what outcome societies look like. Selling visions of potential futures.
All visions of the future are wrong. This is a fact.
2. The only thing we can directly influence, any of us on the whole planet, is what we do next. That's it. Everything else is contingent.
But we can influence what we do next, starting from where we are, often. Not always. But often.
3. I have said, over and over, we need to work towards a society that looks so-and-so. Defended the rationality and doability of that society.
OK, I like the vision, and I don't renounce it, but... It's really not relevant.
What we need to do is, right now today, reduce emissions
Read 14 tweets
13 Jul
There are any number of public arguments about opening schools, bars, The Economy™, and people making pronouncements of fact and fiction, but at the same time, there are - I just read that 34% couldn't pay their lodging bill this month, rent or mortgage. I don't know "% of what"
2. But if a third of the people who were supposed to write checks to stay in their homes in July, didn't, that's a significant data point.
3. I've read (lately) 30 million and 40 million unemployed. In the US economy as it runs, rideshares and 3 job juggling jobs, I doubt any number could say how much money is moving from hand to hand in the economy. There's a hole in the activity. That's another data point.
Read 16 tweets
6 Jul
If today's news was about the construction of a building, say a free standing garage, you would never see the plans. Nobody would ever mention the existence of the building. You wouldn't see the site preparation or the concrete flatwork.
Just "Here's a nail."
"Here's a 2x4."
⬇️
2. Donald Trump would measure and cut a roof truss, and nobody would say, "Roof truss."
"The President cut 3 - 2x4s and four plywood triangles this afternoon."
This matters.
What he is building is civil warfare.
One nail is not the story.
This is *not* accident or coincidence.
3. If I reported to you my farm actions in the same way your "news media" reports current events to you, you'd have no idea I cut the grass to make hay, or that I needed the hay to power my donkeys.
Just events, no context.
"He cut some grass."
Read 6 tweets
4 Jul
Addressing this reply from a systems viewpoint.
True, not all the founders had slaves. Does that tell you some were morally superior to others?
Maybe. But there was another difference. See below.
2. Maureen's answer below is not inaccurate, but to me still misses the critical point.
Once again, these things did not exist in a vacuum, as separate uncaused things. They were all system outputs.
Massachusetts had plenty of farms, but no slaves. Why?
3. John Adams didn't have slaves because he was a lawyer. Massachusetts agriculture did not have slavery because it was subsistence agriculture, not commercial agriculture.
The Adams family farm was 9½ acres. One family could farm it productively.
Read 19 tweets
4 Jul
Why did the founders have slaves?
Not "Because they were assholes." Lots of assholes don't own slaves.
What was the systemic, structural reason for slavery? Has it been eliminated?
No.
2. Slavery was a direct outgrowth of the economic system which said "success" was measured by how large a piece of Earth one man could grab, take, and hold.
Once one man owns hundreds or thousands of acres of Earth, he "must" have some low-cost system of maintaining his control.
3. Climate change is, among other things, an outgrowth of the same imperative that "required" slavery.
If you can't have slaves to enable you to hog more land than you can productively manage, you have to have concentrated (fossil fuel) energy machines to do it.
Read 10 tweets
2 Jul
When I was in Vietnam I was in the infantry in the Central Highlands, an old worn-down mountain range about like the Appalachians would be if they'd never been logged off or mined. We moved pretty much every day, and spent our nights in portable shelters we carried on our backs⬇️
2. Ancient forest, trees big as Volkswagens, sometimes undergrowth, sometimes open under the canopy. Up there it wasn't Viet Cong, VC, it was the North Vietnamese Army, NVA. They always knew where we were. For one thing, every 3 days typically they'd resupply our food. Helicopter
3. It's not hard to hear a helicopter land. Plus, every night we'd clear a field of fire, chop down every tree and shrub in a ring about a hundred feet wide around our perimeter where we spent the night. That's noisy.
We never knew where they were, not us grunts, but the brassdid
Read 11 tweets
22 Jun
My friends and readers, my Twitter family, may I suggest a short reading to you?
My approach to climate change, my approach to pretty much everything, is based on what is called "Systems theory." I apply this to the system which made the climate.

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_t…
Read in particular the Key Concepts section. Where we are today is defined by every one of those.
I came at this backwards. I didn't go to a formal school that talked about these concepts. I went to telephone company schools that taught me what goes on between you deciding
3. to call your friend, and the two of you hearing one another's voices. There is this system which lays over the entire planet Earth, and everybody's mouths and ears are hooked to it.
It's impossible to do that sort of work and not already have figured out that systems are all.
Read 12 tweets
4 Jun
I would bet that most people think I am anti machinery. Because I encourage people to slow down.
I enjoy machinery.
This is all about energy.
Every spot on Earth evolved to run on the total available energy at that spot.
Energy is like waaaaaay slippery and hard to grasp.
2. Before I go on, let's agree on using one possible definition of "people", which is humans who as a species use tools to make other tools, called technology.
That takes us back about 3 million years, to Homo habilus / erectus.
But go with ol' Homo sap, say a quarter million +-
3. And ol' H. sap lived on the current energy budget of the particular part of the planet she lived on.
At the very bottom edge of South America where the energy budget was so stingy that it wouldn't support clothing, there was a human society who lived naked. Still human.
Read 16 tweets
4 Jun
It appears to me that most Americans think the Constitution begins with the First Amendment.
That's not how this works.
The Constitution was written as a design for a government, after a decade's experience with the impossibility of an ungoverned nation.
2. When the states ratified the Constitution it had ZERO AMENDMENTS.
They're secondary.
Important, but secondary.
3. The Constitution designed a government in which the legislature, representatives of the people and of the semi-autonomous states in separate Houses working together, made all decisions, all laws, all rules, all taxes, all expenditures.
Read the damn thing.
Read 8 tweets
4 Jun
I'm not making excuses for cops - not even close. But think for a minute...
Over the past 50 years, Republicans have turned half a sentence in the 2nd Amendment into a nationwide armed mob. Every time a cop approaches a citizen there is a real danger that person is an armed crazy
2. So cops started wearing body armor.
So "Second Amendment people" started demanding cop killer bullets.
Because "freedom."
So now you've got a bunch of white racists with guns and body armor who go through life scared they're about to get shot.
What did you expect?
3. "Shoot first, find out if they're armed later."
Every day, in every way, at least since Reagan, Republicans have made this country worse, and deadlier.
It's gotta be working for them or they'd quit it.
--out
Read 3 tweets
4 Jun
1.
Racism.
Genocide.
People tell me all the time that the United States was founded on genocide, slavery, and stolen land.
Yup.
Why?
Do you think skin color caused it? Melanin deficiency?
Nope.
We did it because our system required them both.
Everyone. Ignores. The. Cause.
2. We - white people from Europe - brought "agriculture" to the "new world."
We were smaller than the locals, because our food system produces shitty food.
It still does.
The only thing we had going for us - our Superpower - was that we were sickly but we could survive smallpox.
3. When "agriculture" - killing every living thing on the surface of the earth so we could grow annual grass on its corpse - finishes killing off its home biome, its practitioners begin to starve.
Rather than starve they go take someone else's land and kill *that*.
Read 17 tweets
3 Jun
I got this in reply to one of my other tweets. She states my thesis here in professional terms.
2. Agriculture - by which she means, and I mean, the system of permanent annual food production which is just "how it's done" and "created civilization" - annual grass seeds, about 5, Corn, wheat, rice, oats, millet, feed the entire "developed" world.
This *really* matters.
3. You know that racism you hate?
That particular, economic, brutal, racism lives and dies on annual grains agriculture, private ownership of vast swaths of Earth for a few, exclusion from the Earth for the many, ghettos, murderous cops?
That one?
It is structural to our system.
Read 17 tweets
3 Jun
So, based on your responses, some mower progress. Here's what it looks like down off the tractor lift.
2. The mower has to have a tongue or shafts sticking out the front to engage the animals. This is someone else's pic just so you can see it.
Here's another view. The tongue / shafts bolts on under the boxy mechanism near the left wheel, off center visually but centered to the working load.
Read 8 tweets
2 Jun
@Lawlerpalooza You still have this bizarre fixation that I am against technology. Can you seriously not see the difference between a system that operates on a daily basis worldwide on pure surface level power, sunlight, grass, biological processes, and stripping the biome off the planet for 💰?
@Lawlerpalooza I try every day to think up new solutions to the problem of operating with total local energy, no imports.
It takes smart technology to attain one's goals with maximum energy efficiency, to get the most good for ourselves out of the production and energy available here.
You waste
@Lawlerpalooza The entire high-tech world, which modestly claims to itself total ownership of the word "technology", is based on wasting unimaginable amounts of energy, a practice which has undisputed degrading processes on the planet you just birthed a kid to -
You have the wrong metric.
Read 10 tweets
1 Jun
This tweet has received, so far, 33 likes, which is pretty good for one of my tweets. I'm going to spin a little thread off it.
2. I was just in a twonversation (Twitter conversation) with a friend and mentioned the All Creatures Great and Small series of books by a vet in Yorkshire in Britain. I'll bet a lot of my readers here have read those books.
Late in that series antibiotics came on the scene.
3. All the doc's patients suddenly started saying, "Just stick 'er, Doc." Antibiotics, penicillin, had redefined Earth. It was after WWII. Right after.
Pretty much everything which defined the post-WWII evolution of global society was invented to help kill people.
It works.
Read 18 tweets
1 Jun
This is gonna be risky. Any new readers who might stumble on this and instantly brand me a racist need to understand my background. Please read at least my pinned tweet for perspective.
You've probably heard about "40 acres and a mule," that was proposed for freed slaves.
Didn't.
2. The foundations of today, one set of foundations, lie in the horrible way the slaves were freed.
"OK you're free. Get off my property or pay me rent."
No tools. No money. Lots of skills. No access to resources. Mostly never taught to read - it was a crime to teach.
3. I have read much criticism of the "40" part, because white people could get 160, but - 160 is too much.
A smart capable family could prosper on 40 acres with a work animal and some modest tools.
Most slaves knew how to farm. Better than their "owners" did.
Read 12 tweets
31 May
This object is called a "knife head." It's a sickle mower part. Parts like it in function are still parts of modern farm machinery including even the most expensive combine harvesters.
It has a ball on one end, which forms the ball part of a ball and socket joint which is necessary to move the knife back and forth.
Just as an example, here's part of a sickle knife with knife head, different, newer design. This one fits a Case-IH combine.
Read 9 tweets
31 May
When you have a complex system, say a large commercial telephone system or a multi-hospital computer network, go down, it is not always possible to return directly to full function as at the time of failure.
It can be necessary to start at first principles. Is it plugged in?
2. Good. Unplug it. Is the outlet hot? Right voltage? Good ground?
First principles.
I'm not kidding. This is how you fix big things.
You oughta be the IT "manager" (desktop seat-of-the-pants solo act computer tech) in a rural hospital when the Mothership's network goes down.
3. If it doesn't all work, none of it works.
Life's pretty strange in the 21st Century Developed World. I think we oughta go back to first principles.
Read 10 tweets
30 May
Let me explain why I write threads like this:
If white society, white people overall, benefit from racism, then racism is, in economics terms, "rational."
Immoral, but rational.
This matters.
2. The discussion about stopping racism comes down to, you wanna do the rational thing or the moral thing?
Your kids are hungry. You'll probably choose "rational."
But that's a trick.
We've got to rephrase the question.
3. I almost never discuss racism in my tweets because I can count on this reply.
Read 10 tweets