Monthly Archives: June 2016

“Southern Sweet Potatoes,” by Alpha Unit

Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard was a military officer who became the first brigadier general of the Confederate States Army. In 1987 at Louisiana State University Dr. Larry Rolston, an entomologist and Civil War enthusiast, came up with a high-yielding, disease-resistant strain of sweet potato that saved the sweet potato industry in Louisiana. He named his variety after General Beauregard, of St. Bernard Parish. It remains one of the most popular varieties.

Sweet potatoes, a type of morning glory, come in over 400 varieties grown around the world. Louisiana’s soil and climate are ideal for growing sweet potatoes. But Louisiana sweet potato growers have some great competition in Mississippi. The Mississippi Sweet Potato Council will tell you.

No other sweet potato can compare to the ones we grow in Mississippi. We produce premium Number One sweet potatoes bursting with flavor and freshness. The rich, fertile soils of North Mississippi make our sweet potatoes appealing both inside and out.

Last year Mississippi planted just over 23,000 acres of sweet potatoes. About 500 of those acres produced organic sweet potatoes, mostly for baby food. Ricky and Jamie Earp are second-generation sweet potato farmers who run the operation their father started in 1968 near Houlka in Chickasaw County. About 60 percent of their crop are Beauregards.

As with almost all other growers in the country, labor is of prime concern to the Earp brothers (pronounced ARP, as in “sharp”). But unlike so many other growers you talk to, the Earps say they have a reliable local labor supply made up of people who have worked with them consistently over the years. Jamie Earp says that his wife and Ricky’s wife also help in the business.

Sweet potato farming is not highly mechanized. About his labor force Jamie says:

For planting, we’ll need 20 to 22 workers for about two and a half weeks, and at harvest 30 workers for about eight weeks. We have three harvester machines, each requiring eight workers. Then there are those who run the tractors and forklifts and other operations. Some of those same people help out in packing and shipping throughout the year.

Danny Clark of Vardaman, Mississippi, is in the same business. He is a third-generation sweet potato farmer. He says that sweet potato production is very hands-on labor-intensive, and that a lot of growers in the area use H2A workers, who are mostly Hispanic and work seasonally. But like the Earps, he says that most of his labor is local, mostly women who have been with his operation for many years.

At harvest time he operates digging rigs that move through the field at less than 1 mph, scooping sweet potatoes onto conveyor belts on each side of a trailer, where an eight-person crew sorts them into bins according to grade. It’s still going to be a while, though, before the sweet potatoes are ready for market.

The thing about sweet potatoes is that you don’t want them “green.” If you eat a green sweet potato you might be convinced that you don’t like sweet potatoes. Between 15 and 20 percent of the sweet potato harvest in the US is washed, packed, and shipped immediately after harvesting. These freshly dug sweet potatoes aren’t very sweet or moist.

Unlike a lot of other freshly harvested produce, sweet potatoes have to “set up” to be really enjoyable. They are cured by storing them at 85-90 degrees F and about 90 percent humidity, for 5 to 10 days. This is when they start developing their sugar-creating enzymes. This process also heals any bruises or skinning that occurred during harvest and allows the sweet potatoes to be washed and packed with less outer damage.

Afterwards the sweet potatoes are stored at 55-60 degrees F for six to eight weeks. The sugars continue to come to life. In due time the harvest is ready for packing and shipping. When you get them home and put them in the oven, the sugars really kick in.

You can’t tell by looking at a sweet potato whether or not it’s been cured. But a lot of growers assure you that they only ship cured sweet potatoes – especially those sold from September to the end of the year, when they sell the most. Edmondson Farms of Vardaman says through their highly advanced storage method they can provide consistent and exceptional quality sweet potatoes year-round.

Edmondson grows mostly Beauregard sweet potatoes in northern Mississippi and in Oak Grove, Louisiana. They’ve clearly got the best of both worlds.

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Filed under Agricutlure, Alpha Unit, Guest Posts, Labor, Louisiana, Regional, South, USA

Heidegger, Feynman and a Bird

You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird…So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing – that’s what counts.

– Richard Feynman

Sounds like Feynman is channeling Heidegger here. Heidegger is pretty damn hard to understand, but I do understand some of his ideas.

In Being and Time, he talks a lot about meanings. He differentiates between surface meanings and deep meanings.

Surface meanings are like those 6,000 words for the bird. As a good general rule, the name or names of a thing (what we call it) tells us little or nothing about that thing. Imagine that we had no language, but we were as smart as we are now. We would see birds flying about and doing their thing all the time. We would observe those birds and we would form a lot of ideas about what that bird is and what it does. We would do this even if we had no word for the bird whatsoever. Follow?

So what we call the bird or object does not mean a whole lot or even tell us much if anything about what the object is. The name of the bird is the surface meaning of the object that is that bird. Surface meanings, as I mentioned, don’t mean a whole lot. They are more a means of classifying objects in our brains so we can think about them more easily and quickly and so we can communicate about them with other humans.

Many objects have more than one name and actually have many different definitions. Some of the definitions that we have of objects not only don’t tell us much important about the object, but in some sense, while they are technically correct, they are often wrong because they sort of give a false meaning to the object and distract us from the meaning that makes them important.

There is a difference between objects and what I call essences. Often we think of things not in terms of the names or (often lousy) definitions of them but instead we think of these objects in terms of what the essence of the object is. The true meaning of an object lies in its essence, not in any surface definition we give to it, which in a lot of cases is no more important than a “tag.”

We have objects that we can “tag” in all sorts of different ways according to whatever definitions the object has. But those definitions are just tags and some are even contradictory as an object can be two contradictory things at once when it has a surface definition or tag of one meaning but has a deep meaning or essence of the opposite meaning.

This is why definitions are inherently problematic. We studied Semantics a bit in my Linguistics studies. One of the main principles of Semantics is that the definitions we give to words are in many cases incomplete. In other words, it is often impossible to give a full definition of a word that describes the meaning of the word perfectly.

Getting back to Feynman here, all of those words for that bird probably do not tell us a whole lot about the bird. They are just “tags” or surface meanings so to speak that we use to categorize that bird in our brains so we can store information about that bird in our brains better. In other words, Feynman says, who cares what the damn bird is called! It’s got 6,000 different names all over the world world! As I noted, objects can have more than one surface meaning or tag. In the case of this bird, it has 6,000 different tags on it, none of which tell us much about the bird!

If we wish to understand the bird, Feynman notes, we forget about whatever it is called (its surface meaning) and instead focus on what it is doing – let’s observe the behavior of the bird. By observing the actions of the bird, we can come to understand it better by uncovering its deep meaning, or essence. This is what the bird really means and what it is really all about.

This seems a bit long-winded, but this is very important to know. Don’t pay a whole lot of attention to what something is named. Particularly in politics, things are often given names that are the exact opposite of what they are. Forget about what surface definitions people give to objects, actions or events because they are often misleading and even flat-out wrong. Instead, pretend that you have no word for the object, action or event and try to understand the deep meaning or essence or what something is or what happened. If you put these Deep Meaning googles on, the world starts to look like a very different place, and you can think about the world in a completely different, and better way.

I will have a bit more on this later on. This should be plenty for now. This was a bit of a mouthful here.

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Filed under Metaphysics, Philosophy, Science

Blowback in Turkey

Here.

It is such a terrible thing to say, but they really did ask for that airport attack. If you play with matches, you might just get burned. Turkey was playing with fire, and it got burned.

One might wonder why ISIS would even attack Turkey in the first place. Although of course ISIS networks are still huge all across Turkey, the state has been carrying out some raids recently. Quite a few jihadis have arrested, some have been tried and a few have been convicted and sentenced. A number of others have been thrown out of the country.

The MSM says that Turkey has been fighting ISIS in Syria since last year, but that is not really true, and Turkish jets surely do not attack ISIS in Syria. However, Turkey does allow its airbases to be used by the US and especially the West to bomb ISIS in Syria.

And perhaps most importantly of all, Turkey just completed a major security cooperation deal with Israel. No sooner had the ink dried on that document, a mere eight hours later, ISIS unleashed its attackers, one from Chechnya, another from Kyrgyzstan and another from Uzbekistan. They had probably been in a safe house in Turkey for some time, waiting for instructions to set off the hit. With the Israeli peace deal, the order came down from ISIS headquarters in Raqqa to unleash to jihadis to punish Turkey for cooperating with the Israelis.

The area is swarming with US intelligence and Turkish intelligence is also good and pervasive. But neither US, Turkish nor Israeli intel nor were able to intercept the go- ahead. These ISIS guys are pretty evil, but they’re damn good. Give em some credit. ISIS has possibly become one of the most skilled and deadly terrorist groups in recent history.

A US intelligence official said about Turkey,

“The summer of our discontent has begun.”

Before the US idiotically invaded Iraq in its Nazi-like war of aggression and conquest, the Arab League presciently warned,

You are about to unleash the gates of Hell.

Arabs are not stupid. They know their people better than we do. After the US conquered Baghdad, Robert Fisk said,

A modern Western Christian country has just conquered one of the most famous and powerful cities in the Arab Islamic World. This is a breathtaking event, stunning on a world scale. This will set into motion some very powerful forces. We will not see the end of this in my lifetime.

Fisk knows the region as well as the Arab League does. Fisk is still alive, but so far he is right.

First the US played with matches by invading and conquering one of the most powerful and legendary cities in the Arab Islamic world. The US played with fire and it got burned.

Then Turkey played with matches by letting the Hellspawn created by that insane invasion set up camp in its country. Turkey played with fire too,. They not only got burned, but they set off a nasty brush fire that will be very hard to put out.

If you don’t want to get burned, don’t play with fire!

You are about to unleash the gates of Hell…

We will not see the end of this in my lifetime…

The summer of our discontent has begun…

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Filed under Europe, Geopolitics, Iraq War, Islam, Israel, Middle East, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Syria, Turkey, USA, War

Grizzlies Kill Another Human in Montana

Here.

Sorry. These things are like Great White Sharks. They are pretty much incompatible with humans. That doesn’t mean we should drive that shark species extinct, but it does mean that swimming humans should not share the water with these particular sharks. It’s humans over here, Great White Sharks over there, and never the twain shall meet! Separation. Divorce. Boundaries. Borders. And on land, fences and walls.

I did a lot of research on these bears recently for a big article I wrote. They had maps showing human-bear conflicts in the last 10 years. The conflicts were red circles on the map. Everywhere there were Grizzly Bears, there were red circles. Where there were lots of Grizzly Bears, there were lots of red circles. Lots of red circles. I mean you could barely even see the map anymore.

So in other words, whenever you have Grizzlies and humans, you have these things called “Grizzly-human conflicts.” And the conflicts are pretty serious. “I saw a Grizzly Bear and got scared and ran away,” doesn’t count. Like ghetto Blacks, these things can’t really live with (other) people without causing a lot of problems, if not a bit of mayhem.

Yes, there are ways around it. Pepper spray works great, if you can get it out and hit the bear fast enough with it. Problem is these huge animals are stealthier than you think, and you would be surprised how many times the damn things come out of nowhere charging at you from way too close.

Guns are even better. I know people in Alberta, Canada who tell me that they do not even go outside their homes without a loaded gun. Why? To concealed carry to protect themselves from criminals? Hell no. There are hardly any criminals up there anyway except for Indians and they’re usually too drunk to commit a violent crime against you. There are Grizzly Bears all over where these people live in rural Alberta, and they tell me it’s not even safe to go outside your backyard without a gun. Even with a gun you might get nailed if you can’t get it out fast enough. Quite a few hunters get mauled or even killed.

I was shocked at the number of actual bear attacks in the US in recent years and stunned at the number of fatal attacks. I cannot give you any figures, but it’s not unusual at all up there to have people killed by Grizzlies. Maybe one a year in Montana and Wyoming each.

What happens when they kill you? Well it’s pretty awful, but let’s face it, it doesn’t matter to the dead person how they died, and it surely does not matter to them what happens to them after they check out. Well, you get eaten. The bear has you for dinner. Ugh. Gross.

For instance, a hunter went missing southeast of Yellowstone (northeast of Lander) recently. That’s not a good sign up there. They searched for him for a while, and finally they found his partially eaten body. That means he got killed by a bear because no other animal out there is going to kill you and munch on you for lunch.

I do not mind these bears expanding out of their habitat though. If they want to expand, let them expand. Wyoming officials are trying to draw some lines beyond which bears may not cross in their state, but it’s not working. The Yellowstone population is at capacity, so that means that the population is expanding outwards. It’s not so easy in the modern West to keep a wild animal from expanding their range. If they want to do it, they will do it. I realize that means more problems, but I am in favor of wild animals doing whatever they want to in the US within reasonable means.

Bears are collared up there and most of them have numbers. Managers know each bear individually. If a bear gets into a conflict, managers often trap it and put it somewhere wild a ways away. If it meanders out again and gets into more conflicts, this is considered to be the bear equivalent of a hardened criminal, a bear that has not learned to stay away from humans. These bears are often killed by managers.

Some misguided persons want to put these Great White Land Sharks back in California because they used to live here. I am dead-set against that. If they want to wander back on their own, they are welcome to, but that may take decades. They will not make it here in my lifetime. Grizzly Bears expand their territory rather slowly. They are not wolves.

But putting them here is a mistake. I have spent a lot of time in the wilds of California hiking, and the woods are dangerous enough as it is. There are plenty of ways to get in trouble out there, not including wild animals. There are not many wild animal dangers in California, but there are bears and mountain lions, and they are not harmless. Every time I go hiking in California, I carry a very long wooden stick in case I meet up with a mountain lion. I’ve been in the woods my whole life, living and hiking in the wilds, and I haven’t seen a mountain lion yet. They’re all around, but you never see ’em, even when you live right in their midst. They don’t like people much and unlike Grizzlies, they tend to avoid us.

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Filed under Animals, Bears, California, Canada, Mammals, North America, Omnivores, Regional, USA, West, Wild, Wyoming

Football Is Inherently Dangerous

There’s apparently no way whatsoever to make the game safer. They have tried everything at this point, and nothing works. The only way to make the game safer is to not play it in the first place. They are talking mostly about head injuries. No matter how they make the helmets, football players still get head injuries. And those who play it for a long time apparently end up brain damaged, just like boxing. There’s new data on this just starting to come out now.

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Filed under Biology, Health, History, Illness, Medicine, Neuroscience, Science, Sports

Democratic Platform Is Still a Landmark Document

Despite its problems, this is the most progressive, leftwing platform that the party has ever produced. The Left is winning! Slowly but surely, we are advancing in America. Perhaps Marx was right that the march of history towards progressive is nearly a law rather than a theory. Anyway, I guess history isn’t over yet, despite proclamations by Fukuyama etc. that clocks now run backwards or freeze and the minute hand and the hour hand no longer move forwards as they always have. I believe the moral here is that as humans, and as individuals in our own lives, we always need to be moving forwards, not backwards into regression and barbarism and not freezing in what we think is equilibrium but is really stasis.

As humans, onward and upward.

As individuals, forward, march!

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Filed under Democrats, Environmentalism, Global Warming, Left, Politics, US Politics

Anti-TPP Statement Taken out of Democratic Party Platform

Taken out to appease Obama and not to be seen as undermining him at this late date. Just as I suspected and wrote the other day.

Obama put heavy duty pressure on them to take it out and the delegates do not want to seem to be undermining a popular Democratic President this late in his term. Some of the delegates promoting neutral language in the platform are actually anti-TPP. Bernie has been pushing very hard to get anti-TPP language in the platform. He met with Obama the other day and pushed his point of view, however, Obama was adamant that the language must stay in.

Obama did say in a speech that free trade was causing lots of problems for workers in First World countries, but that their solutions like Brexit were not appropriate. This is good though because it is the first time that Obama has acknowledged that free trade is anything less than sugar and spice and everything nice for Western workers. We’re getting them to talk to the talk! Good! See, politics can work in the US, sort of…

Well what solutions should there be then, Obama? Obama says the solution to the problems posed to Western workers by free trade is apparently more free trade! These politicians crack me up; their discourse is so irrational! I can’t believe how many people are fooled by these silver-tongued clowns.

I now feel better about this and am less worried about Hillary trying to sneak the TPP through when she gets in. However, I know that Obama is going to try to do exactly that during the lame duck session of Congress coming up. Boy, Obama is really adamant about this TPP nightmare, isn’t he? As I wrote the other day, these elites just don’t get it. Or maybe they do get it, but they don’t care. They don’t care how opposed we are to their insane neoliberal globalization crap. It’s good for the corporations and the rich, so they don’t care if most of us are against it, and we can do pound sand. Breathtaking. The only solution for these arrogant aristocrats is to toss as many of them out of office as possible.

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Filed under Democrats, Economics, Government, Labor, Neoliberalism, Obama, Politics, US Politics

Polynesians and Amerindians

Found on the Net.

AMERICAN INDIAN HLA GENES ON EASTER ISLAND

Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 19 March 2012 vol. 367 no. 1590 812-819

The Polynesian Gene Pool: An Early Contribution by Amerindians to Easter Island

Erik Thorsby

Abstract. It is now generally accepted that Polynesia was first settled by peoples from Southeast Asia. An alternative that eastern parts of Polynesia were first inhabited by Amerindians has found little support. There are, however, many indications of a ‘prehistoric’ (i.e. before Polynesia was discovered by Europeans) contact between Polynesia and the Americas, but genetic evidence of a prehistoric Amerindian contribution to the Polynesian gene pool has been lacking.

We recently carried out genomic HLA (human leucocyte antigen) typing as well as typing for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome markers of blood samples collected in 1971 and 2008 from reputedly non-admixed Easter Islanders. All individuals carried HLA alleles and mtDNA types previously found in Polynesia, and most of the males carried Y chromosome markers of Polynesian origin (a few had European Y chromosome markers), further supporting an initial Polynesian population on Easter Island.

The HLA investigations revealed, however, that some individuals also carried HLA alleles which have previously almost only been found in Amerindians. We could trace the introduction of these Amerindian alleles to before the Peruvian slave trades, i.e. before the 1860s, and provide suggestive evidence that they were introduced already in prehistoric time. Our results demonstrate an early Amerindian contribution to the Polynesian gene pool on Easter Island, and illustrate the usefulness of typing for immunogenetic markers such as HLA to complement mtDNA and Y chromosome analyses in anthropological investigations.

Comment: Erik Thorsby’s study appears to be the first clear documentation of a genetic contribution of Amerindians to Polynesians that happened prior to the Peruvian slave trade in the 19th century. He detected two Amerindian-specific HLA alleles (A02:12 and B39:05) among unadmixed Easter Islanders. These alleles complement the otherwise-typical Polynesian pool of Easter Islanders. It’s unlikely that these alleles were more widespread in Polynesia in the past (as Thor Heyerdahl would want to have it).

Thorsby offers a better explanation: in accordance with the findings of chicken remains with Polynesian mtDNA in El Arenal, Southern Chile and the suggestive evidence of pre-Columbian Polynesian ancestry in Mocha Island, Chile, he writes, “There is strong evidence that Polynesians had been in South America early, i.e. in pre-Columbian time. After having arrived in South America, some of them may have returned to Polynesia, including Easter Island, not only taking the sweet potato and bottle gourd, etc., but also some native Americans with them.”

I agree with the findings of this study. This is correct. Polynesians, the greatest mariners of the Ancient World, seem to have sailed all the way from Easter Island to Southern Chile and then sailed all the way back again. They probably picked up some Amerindians to take back with them along with the tuber and gourd. And it looks like they brought some chickens with them to South America.

Polynesians were the most amazing mariners. They had no modern steering instruments. They steered their ships by the stars!

Their genesis of course is from the Lapita people who originated in Taiwan. These people sailed from Taiwan to the Philippines and from there to Indonesia, New Guinea, Melanesia, Micronesia and then Polynesia.

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Filed under Amerindians, Asia, Chile, Genetics, Indonesia, Micronesia, New Guinea, Oceanians, Pacific, Peru, Philippines, Polynesia, Polynesians, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, SE Asia, South America, Taiwan

Mongolian Music

Strange music. Somehow it sounds like Hawaiian steel guitar music or even surf music! It also sounds a bit like jazz. I thought it would be horrible, but I actually rather liked it, though it is weird as Hell I must admit.

Actually, the best thing about this video is the Mongolian chicks in the band. Come to papa!

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Filed under Asia, Babes, Music, Regional, Women

Manlets

This is out of the incel community, where I first heard the word manlet. They make a big deal out of their theory that being short is deadly for men. I do not know. Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, I knew some short guys and one very good short friend, and they all did fantastic with females. Of course they were both very good looking, and two of them were very hot surfers who were for all intents and purposes Alphas

I think this chart is a bit off. According to the chart, I am in the zone where, without a pretty face, I am doomed. However, not one person has ever called me short in my life, and indeed I have had a number of very tall girlfriends, including two who were 5’11 and one who was 6’0. In fact, a recent very good girlfriend who was nuts in love with me was 5’11. So they were all three at least as tall as I am and one was even taller, and none of them seemed to care.

But that chart may not be relevant for my generation. Is it possible that this new young generation is even taller than my generation? Are Americans born in the 1990s’ actually taller than those born in the 1950’s? If so, by how much?

What do you think? Is being short a liability for men these days?

This whole issue is rather sad if it is true, but that poster sure is funny.

9ChlmU2

Click to enlarge. Humorous meme mashup on short men.

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Filed under Gender Studies, Heterosexuality, Little or None, Man World, Sex