For those who have never lived on a large piece of land, keeping it up involves a tremendous amount of work and no small measure of diesel. So far, about 10-gallons into what will be a 20-gallon project, about half of the open part of Uretopia Ranch is looking very much like a state park. Or will when the tractorfying is done.
There is a lot to go, yet. And the “burn pile” is still smoldering after three days of fire. It is astounding how much wood comes down as “deadfall” around here. Plus, this year we had three old trees, perhaps late victims of our drought several years back, that needed to come down.
The test is simple: I put the tractor in compound four-wheel low and smash into it with the loader bucket at about 7-feet off the ground. If it survives 3-4 whacks, then I figure the tree remains are good for another year and not likely to come crashing down on us. But this year, we had some trees that we’re up to tractor abuse. I look at the process as training sessions for an auto accident.
Broinlaw Panama and I hold differing views on old trees. He’s a fan of leaving them for the wildlife. That’s fine, if the residents were restricted to some neat bird species, but once they fall, things like snakes winter-over in them. And to my way of thinking, the fewer dead trees within 500-feet of the house, the lower the odds of snakes.
With the brush slicked off, the hawks and vultures can see anything heading for the house and do their jobs.
Every year about this time, I get started on the project. It’s time and diesel and while the diesel prices are nice, the time is a real pain. And that’s our jumping-off point for this morning’s discussion.
It’s about our shrinking future.
I sometimes think farmers may be the most intelligent people in the world because there is not a lot of interruption when working the land. Uninterrupted thinking time abounds. I spent the tractor-back time working out the next Peoplenomics report. It will cover seven essential skills for the future.
I wanted to get you started thinking about this today with a few reflections on space – the kind of square footage that makes life good. How much is enough?
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To begin with, there is a simple calculation we can do to begin “bounding” the problem of so many people but only this much land.
We look up the amount of land on the planet and divide among the number of people.
A quick Google (because my calculator and I aren’t on good terms until 10 AM, or so) and we find this:
The total land surface area of Earth is about 57,308,738 square miles, of which about 33% is desert and about 24% is mountainous. Subtracting this uninhabitable 57% (32,665,981 mi2) from the total land area leaves 24,642,757 square miles or 15.77 billion acres of habitable land.
Since we know that there are about 7-billion people in the world, we can guestimate that each human has (in theory) a little over 2-acres per person.
If we were alert enough to remember there are 640-acres per square mile, this would mean averaged out, about 300-people per square mile would be a reasonable shot from the hip. You take the arid Nevada country east of Reno which is technically habitable; we’ll stick with the 90-foot pines and 60-odd inches of rain in East Texas, thanks.
Of course, even the land mentioned by the cite is not all useful. A lot of it depends on whether the land gets enough rainfall. A lot of land up in Nebraska or the back-side of the Rockies is pretty dry and not exactly warm and inviting. Not desert, but not fun. Even for those of us with modest means an only a single-engine, this is fly-over country.
That’s why although Tornado Alley has a bad rap in terms of mobile homes being blown around, it also is generally where there’s enough rain to where a family could make a stab as living off the land. They did…and then came Phillips and then came fracking, but another diversion from point.
East Texas, and the huge areas north of the Southern coastal states and south of the Appalachia and west farm lands, is really great property to hold. Although places like Mongolia have amazing grasslands, the climate is less friendly. And except for the mountains east of Salt Lake (the Wasatch) a whole bunch of Utah, Nevada, ands even Colorado and Wyoming is hard-living country.
Eastern Montana, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Minnesota are pretty good, too. Except they have this beast called Winter up that way. Gentlemen don’t do winter.
The mind plays things back when your only job is to turn the tractor around and cut another swath and cast an occasional eye at the burn pile.
The haunting question always comes back to this: How much space does a human need to live an optimized life? And who is doing the optimizing?
The space question is pretty easy to answer. Prisons have that down to something of a science. A really minimalist lifestyle in a 6-foot by 8-foot cell can be done, especially if it comes with bedding and meals done elsewhere.
The interesting thing to note is that humans, like all animals, get to range. Even in prisons, inmates are usually allowed to move around a bit. The showers, the meal areas, the “day room” and so on. Plus a decent exercise yard,. I hear.
I look back at our experience living on the boat (11-years before the mast) and while I was living in less than 200-square feet, my range was miles and miles: to multiple stores, pubs, pool halls, shops, libraries (*this was back in the paper book era) and what-not usually within a mile, or five, of the boat. My office was downtown most of the time, so that was 6-miles each way.
The big apartments of my youth have becoming modern-day luxury dwellings. My kids are all living in micro-housing (like 200-400 square feet which is the new “normal”).
To make up for their version of small cells, they have very large ranges. George II, for example, has a nice though small studio, but since he’s either working, studying, or sky-diving, he wouldn’t really use additional square-footage, even if he had it.
Even in our rebuilt mobile/modular home out in the woods, which is a very eclectic space, indeed, the rooms we spend the most time in are the bedroom, kitchen, and living room. Areas like the dining room are only used when we have guests, which isn’t often. Half a dozen times per year.
And even that number seems likely to decrease since we are spending a lot of time with the kids on Skype which is faster and cheaper than an airline ticket.
Elaine uses the second bathroom as “hers” but it’s not like the other bath “mine” wouldn’t accommodate us. We’ve just learned that if rooms are not used, they become stale and begin to deteriorate. Elaine has used the second bedroom a time or two – when I have a bad snoring event which is rare…
Back to point: Got an interesting note on point from a reader in North Carolina, who has something of a radio addiction, as I do. Ideally, a radio property is a full wavelength down on the 160-meter band. 260-feet on a side, or about 1.6 acres.
Well, he’s been thinking along the same lines: How much is enough?
“Thou hast spake as follows:
“Who needs a computer room, or a library, or a den when you have
a tablet with Win-10 and all spreadsheets synched, a zillion eBooks,
Some years ago I was involved in some studies that identified and
tried to quantify a human need for “snug-ness.” For “enclosed
privacy.” For “apart-ness.” For something like “secret personal
isolated protected nest-ness.”
It’s related to a feeling of security, but is a quite different thing — a “cut-off-edness” if you will.
This can be reflected in dens, reading rooms, “studies,” private
inner offices, man-caves, and similar “quiet” retreats.
Most notably, cats, but other pets as well often need nest boxes,
or hidey-holes to nap in. People seem to have a closely related
desire for such secure retreats with some isolation.
Some people are very self-conscious when speaking on the phone,
even if the conversation is totally mundane and with other people
anyone overhearing wouldn’t care in particular about. The self
conscious feeling is not about secrecy, or surreptitiousness, or
guilt, or anything like that; it’s more like some guys can’t pee with
somebody watching. (Ask any nurse who has to collect “samples”
for drug testing.)
The whole “open office” plan is very uncomfortable for these
people, although few can articulate why.
Some others could never conduct completely innocent and
routine social media communications with even close friends
while sitting in the kitchen or living room with family members
they have no problems with — “exposed to everybody.”
I don’t understand it, but it’s there. I suggest for many people
it’s a Necessary Thing for one reason or another.
I like my combo “computorium,” “audio-video editorium,” and
ham shack all in one spare bedroom. It’s my retreat / den, I guess.
At last we arrive at the deep point of this morning’s meander:
Elaine and I live on 1.253 million square feet of land. Yet on a daily basis, we only use a tiny fraction of that, perhaps 1,000 square feet in a particular day. Yet we do range around the property a good bit. But, as we were sitting outside with our afternoon adult beverages, looking at the park-like setting, I found myself asking a nagging question.
If I had all the money in the world, would I be appreciably happier with even more?
I don’t think I would, frankly. And therein lies the point: At what point do each of us sit back and acknowledge that we have achieved suitable sufficiency and say “Enough!” ?
There are seven related skills to this, as it turns out. I call them The Future Seven and its tomorrow’s Peoplenomics.
And no, I won’t regale you with plans for monstrous traveling-wave antennas once the land is slicked off. But that’s the kind of thought that passes between the ears, possibly amplified by the scent of diesel and smoke from the burn pile.
Yes, this has a total bearing on economic life since once we know our range, and can achieve that, what is the point of additional work? The very paradox of progress then comes into focus.
And we like paradoxes. Give the mind something to do besides getting bounced around and turning this way, or that.
A Useful UFO Reference
In the Monday column, we went completely overboard on the question of ancient aliens and are these referenced in religious foundation materials?
Our long-suffering reader (dating back to my pre-spell-check era) was kind enough to send along a detailed list of citations of bible references to UFO’s.
No, there will not be a quiz, but it is a far longer list than I was expecting:
“In addition to the Ezekiel’s Wheel passages, there are many more in the Bible suggestive of ET/UFO experiences. I may have included you in their distribution in the past, but here are the ones of which I am aware:
Genesis 28:10-12 – And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them down for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending it. (Jacob is so impressed by the experience that he anoints the pillow rocks with oil he was carrying in a sacred ritual and names the place Bethel [“God’s House” in Hebrew], which later becomes an ancient town).
Genesis 32:24-30 – And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, what is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
2 Kings 2:1-10 – And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Beth–el. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth–el. And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth–el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
(Note that, once again, that the key event in this story, Elijah’s departure with God, takes place at Beth-el, the same spot that Jacob encountered the UFO with its occupants going up and down the ladder into “heaven.”)
2 Kings 2:11-12 – And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
2 Kings 6:14-20 – Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria. And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
Genesis 11:1-9 – And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. (Interesting aspects of this passage are that “Shinar” was the Biblical name for ancient Sumer, where the first known ziggurat-style pyramids were constructed [and were indeed constructed as described in this passage] and one has to wonder whom “God” is addressing in saying “let us go down,” making it seem like a joint enterprise with other heavenly beings, and, finally, the characterization of God’s role vis a vís men, wherein he expresses a concern that men will become too powerful for his taste, echoing the concerns of the Sumerian gods in the Epic of Gilgamesh, which features the Great Flood as one godly group’s solution to the threatening progress of humans on the earth. It is a rather strange concern to be harbored by the All Powerful Creator of the Universe, making one think that ancient people saw God as rather more limited in and possessive of his power.)
Genesis 6:4 – There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
And some might argue that there are others as well, that even the tale of the creation of Adam and Eve is basically about genetic engineering.
As for the Bible being a history book, there is ample room for doubt on that score. While there is a modest amount of possible archeological confirmation of a few Biblical passages here and there, most of the Bible appears to be made up of whole cloth by its three groups of authors, intended more as a cultural and religious unification device, as a sort of national touchstone of identification, i.e., this is what sets us apart.
But, as with all ancient texts, whether it is the Mahabharata or the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Chronicles of the Pharaohs, or whatever, is that every once in a while there are passages that clearly are subject to a UFO/ET encounter interpretation (some quite matter-of-factly, such as when the Chronicles flatly report that a fleet of smoking UFOs flew into the Nile River Valley and took up a static formation, hovering over the Valley and giving off noxious fumes for several days, giving much concern to the authorities, who gathered Pharaoh’s armies about him for his protection, after which the craft departed, or the Mahabharata reporting that two off-word civilizations came to Earth in competition and did battle here with what appear to be nuclear weapons and aircraft.)
Keep up the fight,”
As I mentioned, it’s a longer list than I expected. And the notion that we are all part of a UFO/Off-World geo-engineering project is at the core of the bible retranslations up at www.thechronicleproject.org.
While there is much to be debated, there is one item which I’ve never heard a physicist adequately answer, although if you have, please send it along:
“Why does the Moon not appear to rotate and show only one face to the Sun? It seems a mighty big damn coincidence that it would have a rotation speed equal to its orbital period…”
Seems to me the odds of that are a) either very low or b) we don’t know jack about physics because passing objects don’t just wander by and not rotate.
I’m not the first to ask. There’s a dandy article over here that admits that some moons rotate off orbital period, but others do. But as to the reason (I mean something that is presented in a neat, tidy formulaic way), that’s a little more sketchy.
You don’t suppose the synchronous moons have been placed that way for a reason, do you?
I mean like stepping stones?
OK, another too long, so so long…and?
Write when you break-even