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"Much of the table talk was on whether the true function of universities is to expose us to a wide array of vivid role models, so we could reject most of them and accept a few, thereby giving us a motivated path forward in life.  One implication of this is that (lower-level) university athletics might be undervalued, because coaches and even fellow athletes can serve as useful role models in a way that most professors cannot.  The question also arises whether we might have more efficient ways of exposing people to vivid role models than through college or university attendance.  The “so many professors” approach of the university seems stifling and inefficient, not to mention lacking in diversity, once you view the question in these terms."

Perhaps they are variations on the theme of cautionary examples.
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"With no real cure available, the British crown outfitted four captains during the 1760s with various potential cures in an attempt to find a reliable method to prevent scurvy through trial and error."

"How do you keep fruit fresh on a sailing ship that could be at sea for months at a time? You don’t."

"Captain James Cook, one of these four captains, was given several different experimental foods to try aboard his ship the HM Bark Endeavor when he left England for the South Pacific in 1768. Among them, as noted in the victualing minutes — the log of provisions put aboard — was 7,860 pounds of sauerkraut."

"Made by fermenting thinly sliced cabbage in its own natural juices, sauerkraut is rich in vitamin C, which — although unknown at the time — is the key to preventing and curing scurvy."

"While raw cabbage contains moderate levels of the vitamin, the process of fermentation sees these levels rise considerably."

"“The bacteria create vitamin C and certain B vitamins as by-products of their metabolism. They digest parts of the cabbage and as part of their digestion the vitamins are made,” says Alex Lewin, fermented food guru and author of “Real Food Fermentation.” “So you get more vitamin C from sauerkraut than just from cabbage, it’s sort of a super raw food in that way.”"

This is one of the strains of current foodie tech. Everything from meat to cabbage is fermented to improve digestibility and nutritional value. It's sort of an "exo-gut" for digestively challenged humans.
How 8,000 pounds of sauerkraut helped defeat the scourge of the seas: Scurvy.
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"In the opening plenary session, Dr. Walter C. Willett, a Harvard epidemiologist who has spent many years studying cancer and nutrition, sounded almost rueful as he gave a status report. Whatever is true for other diseases, when it comes to cancer there was little evidence that fruits and vegetables are protective or that fatty foods are bad."

"About all that can be said with any assurance is that controlling obesity is important, as it also is for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke and other threats to life. Avoiding an excess of alcohol has clear benefits. But unless a person is seriously malnourished, the influence of specific foods is so weak that the signal is easily swamped by noise."

There are a lot of morose nutritionists these days. Most of their playbook is in tatters.
The gap grows between food folklore and science on cancer.
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"To take a particularly absurd example, in January a Bergen Community College professor was placed on leave after he posted on Google+ a photograph of his young daughter wearing a "Game of Thrones" T-shirt with the quote, “I will take what is mine with fire & blood.” An administrator deemed the photo a disturbing threat of violence."

"The cumulative effect of even such apparently minor incidents is pernicious. Students learn to keep their heads down and express their views only when they are sure to have a friendly audience. The competition among ideas, on which education and the advancement of knowledge depends, withers."

I'm sympathetic to the idea of open inquiry, free speech and a competition of ideas, but it isn't that it has ever been that way, and so it is misleading to see decline. Universities have always been closed minded, punitive and anti-intellectual. The particulars change over time, but the stifling atmosphere is a constant. 
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Jim Lai
 
BYU is hardly Ivy League in its outlook.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/2009/06/29/brigham-young-university-lifts-youtube-ban-after-3-years/
Quote: YouTube has its own filters for porn, but BYU added it to the list of Web sites blocked by campus online filters in 2006 because administrators felt there was too much content that could violate the school's strict, conservative standards. The university's software also blocks pornography, adult content and violence from other sites.
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""Our other hope is that the bureaucrats will get off their derrieres and open those pumps and let us have some water," Collin says. "We don't need a ton of water.""

I wonder if this year will change the direction of water politics in California. 
For the first time in six years, many California farmers have been told they'll get little or no federal irrigation water. And as farms run dry, workers are deciding to pack up and move away.
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probably, if they want to keep a state
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"The way I see it, Piketty and Solow work with models that incorporate homogeneous workers (with no differences in human capital) and homogeneous capital (with no differences in ex ante risk or ex post returns). The real world is so far removed from those models that I simply cannot buy into the undertaking."

Well, but the purpose isn't to be "real", it is to weave a narrative that supports cherished political objectives. The wage earners who are supposedly the focus of concern are pawns in the struggle of bureaucrats to extract more wealth and power from entrepreneurs. 

The problem is that wage earners would be victims too. The bureaucrats define "good" as "good for them", and let the devil take the hindmost.
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"Randomness in the model does, however, mean that individuals can jump from one class to another."

Economists sometimes note this too. It's not secret or even controversial but I think that it isn't well understood by most people, and is actively hushed up by, well, activists. Yet, it is important for forming a realistic picture of life. Note that random jumps happen in all directions, all the time. A class may be durable, but the individuals in the class are not.
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"You might be cell grazing if…"

"You are using at least 10 paddocks per herd.  It takes a minimum of 10 paddocks just to stop the overgrazing.  14-16 are required to support decent animal performance and it’ll take 25 or more if you want to see rapid range improvement.   Ranchers using fewer than 8 paddocks are not rotationally grazing.  They are rotationally overgrazing."

Pratt worked with Stan Parsons, who was Savory's old partner. When Parsons went back to Zimbabwe Pratt bought the business and still runs it.

Worth reading.
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Cool story.

"Acting collectively, the Haida voted to form the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, financed it with $2.5 million of their own savings, and used it to support the efforts of American scientist-entrepreneur Russ George to demonstrate the feasibility of open-sea mariculture — in this case, the distribution of 120 tons of iron sulfate into the northeast Pacific to stimulate a phytoplankton bloom which in turn would provide ample food for baby salmon."

"The verdict is now in on this highly controversial experiment: It worked."

"In fact it has been a stunningly over-the-top success. This year, the number of salmon caught in the northeast Pacific more than quadrupled, going from 50 million to 226 million. In the Fraser River, which only once before in history had a salmon run greater than 25 million fish (about 45 million in 2010), the number of salmon increased to 72 million."

It may not surprise you that they sort of remind me of grass farmers who have turned their attention from the livestock to the forage, and so get a lot more livestock. 
Geoengineering could turn our long-barren oceans into a bounty.
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or the center of the earth is cooling down;-) 
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Don't know much about history.

"To explain more Edward Soméus, an environmental engineer with Terra Humana Ltd and Refertil project coordinator showed us some bones."

"“You can see here food quality pork bones, which are rich in phosphates and other minerals. By burning this material we can create charcoal that can be used as a phosphate supply in bio-farming,” he said."

"The bones are burnt at an average temperature of 600ºC, in an oxygen-free vacuum. No gases are emitted into the atmosphere."

"The resulting product, known as bone biochar, is rich in minerals and, unlike agro-chemical fertilizers, it is virtually free of heavy metals."

"Seemingly, an ideal organic phosphorous fertilizer, according to the researchers."

Bone, blood and feather meal have long been used for fertilizer. There's no need, or benefit, to burning it first.

A bit of history: http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/crops_04.html

"By 1815, England was importing so many bones for bone meal that people on the Continent starting complaining:"

""England is robbing all other countries of their fertility. Already in her eagerness for bones, she has turned up the battlefields of Leipsic, and Waterloo, and of Crimea; already from the catacombs of Sicily she has carried away skeletons of many successive generations. Annually she removes from the shores of other countries to her own the manorial equivalent of three million and a half of men... Like a vampire she hangs from the neck of Europe.""
Is it possible to produce fertilizer from animal bones? And what are the potential benefits for agriculture and the environment? To find out Futuris went to a test plant in Hungary, where an unusual…
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Someus is a biochar activist. You see his stuff on the mailing lists all the time. Activists are always looking for something to char, though as in this case they don't quite grasp that the material already has a higher use.

There are some materials that are better charred than not, but they are local and temporary, and that means that the systems must be mobile. An example is slash from forest clean up. Leave it on site and it's a fire hazard. Hauling it off is too expensive. However, char is much lighter than wood so it's cheaper to haul.

It does make a good soil amendment.
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"The simple fact is that large wealth taxes do not mesh well with the norms and practices required by a successful and prosperous capitalist democracy. It is hard to find well-functioning societies based on anything other than strong legal, political, and institutional respect and support for their most successful citizens. Therein lies the most fundamental problem with Piketty’s policy proposals: the best parts of his book argue that, left unchecked, capital and capitalists inevitably accrue too much power -- and yet Piketty seems to believe that governments and politicians are somehow exempt from the same dynamic."

"A more sensible and practicable policy agenda for reducing inequality would include calls for establishing more sovereign wealth funds, which Piketty discusses but does not embrace; for limiting the tax deductions that noncharitable nonprofits can claim; for deregulating urban development and loosening zoning laws, which would encourage more housing construction and make it easier and cheaper to live in cities such as San Francisco and, yes, Paris; for offering more opportunity grants for young people; and for improving education. Creating more value in an economy would do more than wealth redistribution to combat the harmful effects of inequality."

What Tyler misses, or politely declines to state, is that the brute force confiscation of wealth - looting IOW - is the true objective. It's not about inequality so much as what has been called "function lust". Brutes lumber through the world seizing what they can get away with seizing. That's what they do, what they are good at, and so they want to do it more. In a sense it is no different than a musician who wants to make music because they are good at it and feel most whole and centered when they are doing it.

The fact that politicians and bureaucrats would be, have been,  as bad or worse is thus not a concern. Piketty and his supporters imagine themselves as the new powers. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
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