Bare Bones Biology 233 – Organic Gardening

Sorry, I need to rush the production this week as a result of tending to my own health, which is always a problem. Medics of all kinds require man-made chemicals to ply their trade, and of course, man-made chemicals are chemicals, and chemically sensitive people may or may not be sensitive to any particular man-made chemical. Because there are hundreds of thousands of man-made chemicals – and to my knowledge nobody is studying how they affect chemically sensitive people — this is a very difficult balancing act for the people who need to get treatment without getting sicker than they would be without the treatment.

 We all know (
bare-bones-bio…arden-recycled) that the best way of being healthy is to not use, eat, breath or drink man-made chemicals, but it’s not always possible. Yesterday – I goofed. So now I will finish this off in a hurry and then I’ll take two whole days to relax and recover.


Organic gardening. The healthy way to grow, is the art and craft of growing a garden without adding man-make chemicals. The word “organic” means the way nature does it in living organisms. It might be stated as the Biosystem way or even God’s way of growing living organisms. Originally, organic gardening was about growing healthy food by imitating the way food grows in nature.


141027-Abiquiu-ASC_2563RLSs copyHowever, that’s not the Government’s definition of organic, and now that the Government certifies organically grown products in the supermarket and elsewhere, we also have a government definition that must be followed by anyone who claims to be selling organic products. And our government is not God, nor the Biosystem, nor nature. So it has its own definition. If you grow food for yourself and your friends, it doesn’t matter and it’s a lot easier to use my definition – grown without man-made chemicals. When you are buying products, the government label really does help us to avoid foods that are unhealthy.


So, yesterday I was reading labels in a local supermarket, trying to find a healthy cereal. We can say right off that in our culture, more sugar is not healthy. We get more than enough sugar of all kinds, natural or unnatural.


That’s another way the Government helps us out. Food manufacturers are required to provide labels on foods. I once thought that meant they are required to tell us EVERYTHING that’s in the can, but that turns out not to be so. T he producers are allowed to add things that are not on the label, if they are added in very low amounts. Especially if they are believed to be harmless.


But there’s that problem again. The government (or often industry) gets to decide what’s harmless and what is not, and most of the time the government doesn’t really know whether a thing is harmless or not until after a lot of people have eaten it. But here is a short version of the government definition of organically grown. I found this on the back of a package of Nature’s Path cereal: “ . . . certified organic products are guaranteed to have been grown without chemical herbicides and pesticides, and there are never synthetic preservatives or additives.”


A study at Stanford University (Smith-Spangler et al., 2012) suggests that organically grown foods really do contain a much lower level of pesticides and herbicides, and that’s good news, because those things are poisons.


However, in the long term, we have to take responsibility for our own health, based in the principles of healthy living. Or, grow your own food. It’s much less confusing and very much more healthy for all the levels of life, to just not add the chemicals in the first place. Grow your own organically, or whatever you call it, using healthy soil, healthy water, healthy air and healthy additives with no poisons, no plastics, no sugar, no hormones. It doesn’t need a fancy name. Call it healthy.


The podcast of today’s blog may be found at:…arden-recycled

Crystal Smith-Spangler, et al. 2012. Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives? Ann Intern Med. 2012;157:348-366.



Bare Bones Biology 232 – Healthy Body

Imagine that you are a woman sitting in a covered wagon that someone else is driving through the wilderness into an unknown land. How do you feel? We Americans should certainly be able to imagine back that far, it’s what we learn in school. The oxen pulling the wagon huff and puff, their nostrils just above water, trying to keep their footing in the flood. If we make it to the other side, we will be the first humans, or a least the first anglos, ever to see this new land.

The men in the driver’s seat, are working themselves into a frazzle trying to believe they are in control of the situation, but the reality is they don’t even know what rocks, holes or eddies are hidden under the swirling waters that might sweep away the wagon with us inside.

Usually when we have that kind of daydream, we imagine ourselves in total control, like a TV movie. Really, we have no control over the river, the rocks, holes and eddies; and not much control over the men and the oxen. But we can control what we do about the situation.

141019-sky_color-ASC_2498RLS-posterize copyNow imagine that river of Life is our rampaging corposystem. How do you feel? Oh, that’s the wrong question. We know how it feels, because we are living in that wagon. The better question is: “How, in these circumstances, can we live a healthy life?” How can we rise above our circumstances and build a healthy future?Assuming we don’t drown straight away, we need to first envision what we mean by healthy life. If we can’t picture it, we can’t work for it. So let’s say the healthy life is one that can recycle itself so as to stay in balance: body, mind and soul, while pioneering that unknown river of Life.

Most of us were raised to believe that our corposystem culture will sit up there in the drivers’ seat and make sure that we are given what we need to be healthy. Sadly, this is no longer true. We feel betrayed, and we will feel very insecure until we learn to take charge of our own welfare in our brave new post-corposystem world. We need to learn how to grow our own healthy environment. Or micro-environment. And an excellent place to begin is taking charge of our own healthy bodies.

What the body needs are the resources to recycle itself, over time, more and more healthy. It needs clean air to breath, clean water to drink, and good, healthy food. Therefore, to have a healthy body, we need to give it clean air, clean water and good healthy food.

The basic rule of thumb in trying to accomplish this is to understand that most man-made chemical molecules not good for your health. In building our personal healthy micro-environment, we should avoid chemicals that are not natural to the whole earth environment, unless they are chemicals that are essential, for example for medical reasons.

141019-sky_color-ASC_2486RLSs copyIn general, we cannot grow a healthy environment by adding man-made chemicals. We are much more likely to make it unhealthy, because the natural pure clean air, water and soil are more healthy than anything that we can add. This is why, in your own back yard or your windowsill, using good healthy soil, you can grow food that is far more healthy than anything you can buy in the supermarket. And save money while you are doing it.

Fortunately, for most people, health is not a yes-or-no gift of Life. There are all kinds and degrees of healthy and unhealthy, and you can move yourself toward healthy quit easily if you know what to look for. First, of course, avoid unnecessary man-made chemicals. Look for the labels organically grow and non-GMO.

But remember, whatever you feed your plants may eventually become a part of your own body, and that includes toxic chemicals that may be in the air and water, as well as those in the soil. To avoid toxic chemicals in groceries, look for the labels “organically grown” and “non GMO.”

Beyond that, the more you know about healthy soils and clean air and water, the better you can treat your own body.

And that is exactly what you need to begin. Healthy soil. We’ll talk more about that next time, or if you can’t wait Google Organic Gardening/soil.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM, in Bryan, Texas. A download of this podcast may be obtained at:


More commentary below the references:

Recommended References
Greg Horn, Living Green (who survived a severe case of MCS – multiple chemical sensitivities) has written this guide to healthy living.
Bill McKibben, eaarth
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything
Center for Ecoliteracy <>

There are now hundreds of thousands of man-made chemicals, so we can’t pinpoint certain chemicals to avoid. For this reason, I have identified classes of chemicals that make me sick, and I suspect if they make me sick they probably are not be good for you. My four biggest poisons are: pesticides; most plastics; perfumes, including all candles and incense; and pollution from engines, especially diesel.

If you can’t for any reason begin to create your own healthy micro-system by growing your own food, you should seriously consider taking the time and effort to support those who do grow clean food by putting your mouth and your money on organically grown food that can be obtained in the farmers’ market, where it promotes your community as well as your health and your pocketbook. Make sure it is grown nature’s way, without pesticides or artificial fertilizers.

If you don’t have a farmers’ market, or a health food store, then ask your local supermarkets to carry organic produce and canned goods. You will need to make some trade-offs because I also recommend that you try to not put anything into your body that was packaged in plastic. The science is not in on this yet (at least nobody has told me, and they probably never will) but if you get to be as old as I am, your body might by that time also be so sensitive to the plastics that you just might end up living in the bottom of a canyon somewhere near the Continental Divide. Lovely air, but not very many people to talk to.

And then as a long-term goal, you can work with your local communities to clean up your air and water. For example, fracking is a major health hazard. As are asphalt plants.

We may not be able to control that rampaging corposystem right now, but we can prevent it from controlling us and our healthy micro-environment.

Bare Bones Biology 231 – Vote Against the Beast

141104-election-ASC_2609RLSss copy copy141104-Sky-ASC_2610RLSss copy copy

I arrived back home to the belly of the beast a couple of days ago. I talked with a lot of nice people who live here. Yesterday was election day. One of the things we talked about was that all the people here are nice people, but the “beast,” the culture we support, is insane. It’s important to define one’s words, especially when we are using words like insane, so we defined them. When you do things that are obviously suicidal – that is insane. The beast, of course, is the corposystem culture, of which nearly all humans now are a part.

There were two headlines in the local paper the day before we voted. One was a well written report on Climate Change. The other was about Australian Shepherd Dogs. Everyone I talked to read about the dogs first and maybe noticed the report that clearly describes the fact that our current climate change disaster is caused by human behaviors on earth.

I will point out that my expertise, my whole career, has been about biology – that is, the basic biological question of how Life functions to stay alive, that is different from technology and it is different from nature study. Real biological scientists have known for more than 200 years about the real facts of human impact on the Biosystem, including climate change.

If anyone tells you in this culture in this age that they are a biologist, they generally mean one of two things. The first is that they are a technologist trained to believe they can control the laws of nature. These laws are gravity, the laws of thermodynamics and the like. These, plus the laws of Biology, are the laws of nature that respond to human interference by changing the climate of the Biosystem. These laws DEFINE how the Biosystem functions and how it responds to change. They respond to human technologies – well, you have seen it, the laws of nature respond to human technologies by changing the climate. The laws of nature (think of gravity for example) they do not care what we believe.

The second group of people who think of themselves as biologists also often aren’t studying how Life functions to stay alive. They tend to “love” the Biosystem, but they also do not want to learn facts that contradict their beliefs about how the Biosystem functions to maintain its own Life. These people often believe – not so much that humans can control the Biosystem, but that the Biosystem is human and will react to our human belief systems the same way that other humans react. It won’t. Because the Biosystem is not human. It will do what it will do, and it does not care what we believe.

And then there is a smaller group of hard scientists – most of them seem to be physicists rather than biologists, according to the newspaper, but who can believe the newspaper. It is written by people who don’t even claim to understand biology. Anyhow, according to the newspaper, evidently most of the hard science about Climate Change is built around the debate over whether or not humans have caused Climate Change. Basic biology has known the answer for at least 200 years. Why are we arguing about it now?

One of the political people I talked with yesterday, who is not a biologist, is well aware the argument about whether or not we cause climate change is a bait and switch question that is meant to stop us talking about the real question, which is “What are we going to do about climate change that will not be suicidal?” (ref.)

People tend to wring their hands and moan when I say “DO SOMETHING,” so I’ll suggest, minimally, that we should require the “beast” to obey the law. If you are a real American, learn about what made America great. It was not more and better technologies. It was our innovative Rule of Law. If you, and I do mean you. If you don’t make it your responsibility to be sure that our rule of law works to protect the people, then the American experiment will have failed.

Remember that other statement — government by the people and for the people? By the people means everyone is responsible. It does not mean sit around moaning about what the other people are doing that is illegal, and it does not mean go to the polls once or twice a year. It does not mean change the laws to suit the corposystem. It means enforce the laws – international, national and local — that were already on the books to protect the Biosystem.

141019-sky_color-ASC_2458RLSs copyIn our lifetime, there never was any valid question that climate change is real and it is caused by overpopulation of humans, taking the food out of the mouths of the other species of organisms that MAKE the food energy and the soil, and recycle the air and water that we humans require to stay alive. The corposystem DOES NOT and CAN NOT make these things. The Biosystem makes them. The corposystem is destroying them.

The body of the living Biosystem consists of – it IS those other species that are being destroyed to make room for us. THEY make our climate, and when the climate changes enough — when we also run out of food — then we will follow them into extinction, and I mean now – some time early in this century. Real biologists have understood this problem for at least a couple of hundred years but we have nevertheless grown a suicidal corposystem. That is, indeed, insane.

The people I talked to yesterday seem to understand this reality. I don’t know what they are doing about it, but I have stopped voting FOR anyone, rather I voted against the corposystem – against overpopulation and every other sort of effort to dominate the Biosystem, because none of them will work, and because I care about your children and grandchildren and the horrors that will happen to most of them if we continue on this path.

The Biosystem is by far a bigger beast than the corposystem, and it does not care what we believe. It will simply spit us out.

Its methods will be starvation, disease and war, caused by Climate Change.


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan Texas.

To obtain a podcast that contains the meat of this message, go to:


Bare Bones Biology 278 – Tower of Babel

Probably I haven’t talked before about the Tower of Babel method. Some people use this method to win arguments by changing the subject, and the corposystem has raised it to an art form to make money and to prevent us from taking control over our own choices. For example, I just looked at the TV screen that said the explosion of the shuttle the other day caused “no environmental effects.” Do people really believe this garbage? If there was no effect we could not have photographs. So how do they define effects? They just change the definitions of things they don’t want to talk about.

The second reason I think this is a technique used to confuse us is because it is one of the ploys to the increase profits in a supermarket. Move things around, change the definitions, change the subject. So, I don’t want to waste my time looking for things in the supermarket that I already knew where they were, but the corposystem knows if they change things around people will probably buy something they didn’t intend to buy. Creating confusion stirs things up, while at the same time maintaining the balance of power. It’s a good ploy if your goal is to maintain your power, but it doesn’t accomplish anything. Just stirs the pot.

141029-sunrise-ASC_2591ssGenerally, when this is happening, I simply refocus on my own goals, which in fact does at least give me power over my own goals, and is the first and most important step toward accomplishing them, because I will never accomplish my own goals by just jumping into the ocean of options that are provided by my opponent. The corposystem understands all of its goals better than I do and is prepared with a response. That reaction simply empowers my opponent’s goals.

So, in brief. These are the questions I ask myself to reconfirm my goals, in order of their importance.

First question. What do you want to succeed at? Very precisely define your one primary goal. I’ve been told that a goal is not a mission and a mission is not a goal. If that’s true, which it was not in my day, but if it is true now, then describe your mission. A mission is not required to be possible, but of course you can’t succeed at accomplishing a big mission, so the primary value of a mission is that you don’t end up confused and fulfilling some mission that is different from what you really want to do.

Second Question. Which is more important to you – making a name for yourself, or changing the culture? If you only got one choice?

a) Do you primarily want to be important, a leader, or do you primarily want to create uproar, whether or not the uproar is the most effective way to change the culture? Because it isn’t. Uproar empowers the corposystem, the system will join you in playing the game of make-believe change, and you will both be happy. It’s relatively easy, but it won’t change the corposystem, because that’s already the ethic of our corposystem. We always start a war whenever we want people to believe we are trying to change something, but war in our corposystem is routine; therefore it does not change anything. Just different wars against different things. You will not change the social system using uproar — because that is the social system we already have. But you might get more power for yourself within the system as it already exists.

b) On the other hand, do you genuinely want to create a new social breakthrough? Then you must be able to visualize a SUSTAINABLE society that is different from the one we have, and to do that you will need to understand HOW the corposystem uses 20th century ideals to empower itself (for example, why did the Tar Sands issue disappear instantly from the agenda of the internet. Where is Occupy? Who pulled Obama’s teeth?) What happened is the corposystem was and is ready to deal with 20th century ideals, that are really the ideals that grew out of the original axial age. If you really want to change our societies in this new axial age (an enormous mission), you will have to learn HOW the corposystem controls us, and you will have to then work against the weak points of the corposystem model – not its strengths. This will require hard work to learn the differences between facts, corposystem power, and weaknesses that the corposystem tries hard to prevent you studying.

Here’s an example that is based on what we know already about the weak spot of the corposystem. The weaknes141028-sunset-ASC_2590ss of the corposystem is that it requires growth of human populations to maintain its power over us. This is a weakness because growth is not sustainable beyond the available resources. Therefore the corposystem will crash sooner or later. Sooner would be better for the welfare of Life on earth. What is the most effective way to bring this about with the least suffering?

If you want to change the corposystem, what is the most effective conceivable way to do so?
(A) Devote your life to trying to feed the people who are suffering from hunger (for example); or

(B) Devote your life to reducing and rebalancing the populations of people on earth, so that there will be enough food for all the organisms required to maintain life in reasonable comfort on earth (including the other species that are required to grow the food and generate and maintain the air and water cycles); or

(C) Both

(A) will not change the corposystem ethic, which is based on growing the human population in order to make more money. The corposystem does not care whether or not the money it makes (that is, the money you spend) is created by human suffering. Therefore, your efforts to comfort/feed suffering people will be reinforcing the goals of the corposystem rather than changing the corposystem. And because the growth will continue – therefore the suffering will be increased by your efforts. Because caring for more people makes money for the corposystem. Thus your work will cause more harm than good (assuming you believe unnecessary suffering is harmful). (A) will not change the corposystem. On the contrary, it will make the corposystem more powerful. And of course, you will be rewarded.

(B), by reducing the population rather than permitting it to grow, will FORCE the corposystem to change its goals, or at least it’s methods of making money. You will not be rewarded, because the function of any system is to maintain itself, not to reward people who are effectively changing it.

(C), Both would be nice, but if you can’t do both, I claim that changing the corposystem is more important, clearly more likely to lead to a sustainable human life style. SUSTAINABLE means FOREVER — less suffering forever, and will reduce more suffering even in the short run than (A). The corposystem rewards its “heroes” because they are benefiting the corposystem – even the activists are benefiting the corposystem, with extremely few exceptions. Even if that is not their intent.

(A) makes other people treat me like a hero, but (B) is far the more noble aspiration.

To download the podcast of the first part of this blog go to:

Bare Bones Biology 277 – Healthy Living

Ah such luxury! I had to make a quick run to Santa Fe, actually to pick up some pills – it’s a long story, but nothing out of ordinary – only one more example of our loss of what we claim to be our “inalienable individual rights,” “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” and right now I’m thinking more about the luxury of staying overnight in a reasonably healthy motel.

At dinner, the tables were crowded, and I ended up briefly sharing with a couple from the West Coast who live in what they call the “last of the old-timey seaside villages.” The very last? Surely I was raised in a similar place. But now the place of my raising is covered in asphalt, and I have retreated to a basically unhealthy shack in the canyon — in an effort to enjoy good health.

The young people from the West Coast found it hard to comprehend that feeling healthy can be more important than having neighbors — or that it has become necessary for some of us to choose between the two lifestyles.   They thought it was sad.

140920-sky-ASC_2518RLSsI guess it’s hard for most people to imagine that me feeling healthy, and their children BEING healthy is in conflict with their own desire to have the lifestyle they were raised to believe is — healthy.

I guess it’s the essence of being human, to be working together – as families and as human communities (ref community) to fulfill our common human potential. I remember that feeling. It explains why/how the “greatest generation” was great. Everyone working together toward a common goal. It explains why our leaders keep trying to make us believe we are in a war against one thing or another – to keep us fulfilled and working together under their control.

My father used to say, as often as possible, that our own “inalienable rights” end where the other fellows’ rights begin. But the results of his “Greatest Generation” reductionist ethic are sad, indeed. I am living in a canyon because I want to feel healthy; and our food, energy and communications have been taken over by the corposystem that is not primarily working together with us to fulfill our common human potential, but rather is teaching the youth to work for goals that are neither achievable nor sustainable. And the grandkids have not been taught to understand the difference between needs, wants, rights and the facts of life. And as a result it is now sadder than sad that we have reached the point where we must choose between our aspirations and the common welfare.

To be fair to the great-grandkids, my father didn’t see it either. He and others of the “Greatest Generation” worked very hard to bring the dream to all the people. A healthy lifestyle in which everyone has a right to basic medical maintenance resources and crisis treatment without discrimination. Everyone has a right to a source of healthy food to eat, healthy water to drink, and healthy air to breath. Everyone has the right to a healthy place to live and a healthy place to work, and a safe, warm and healthy place to spend the night. And “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” but in fact we have no right to these things unless we fulfill our obligation to them. I think most of our young people do know this. They just don’t understand how they are repeating and recycling the mistakes made by the Greatest Generation, and intensifying them by using the greater power of modern technologies.

In fact, our world now is far less healthy overall, in spite of all the work of my father’s generation, because we have been working for the common potential of humans — without regard to the needs of the greater community of the Biosystem that gives us our food, water, air and energy. What makes this a new problem is that we have now overtaxed the productivity of the Biosystem.

Until we understand this fact, all our efforts will make matters worse rather than better.

The couple I spoke with last evening do not have the healthy-living perks that my father’s generation tried so hard to give them, but they don’t know it yet, so maybe they are happy. The people on the internet who are screaming at the world because they can’t have whatever it is they want that someone else has – they do know something is wrong, but they believe it’s someone else’s fault and if they could only figure out who is to blame – what? They don’t even know what they want – they want someone else to give it to them, whatever it is.

140920-sky-ASC_2531RSRSsMany people see the selfishness and greed all around them and they believe that the failure of the dream is caused by a failure of compassion. I disagree. I believe the failure of compassion is just another symptom of the failure of our reductionist ethic that builds human power but ignores the needs of the whole. The greater community of the Biosystem of which we are apart – the Biosystem that we require for our most basic sustenance (ref).

If we want to get together to grow a healthy human culture, then it will be necessary to screw up our courage and address the deepest CAUSE of our malaise, which is the relationship between Biosystem productivity and human consumption of resources. We must ALL work for two things at the same time – first of course we should use our own skills as best we can for our own welfare and the welfare of our human communities. That innate capacity is the glory of our humanity. But as we have seen through all the generations, if we do this without regard to the needs of the Biosystem that gives us sustenance, we will fail. Again. To succeed it is essential that we reduce the human “footprint” on the Biosystem, using any available humane technologies.

Many people believe that Healthy Gardening may be one way to achieve that kind of lifestyle. I agree, but only if we use our healthy gardening technologies to grow our understanding of how the whole biological system functions to stay to stay healthy. Whatever technology we pursue, be it gardening or something else, we must dedicate ourselves to — my health, within my healthy community, within our healthy Biosystem.

If we truly want to succeed, we must be very careful not to cause more harm than good with our good efforts. We must ALL address BOTH – the common human welfare, and the common welfare of Life itself, the Biosystem. There is no longer any other humane, sustainable way to work together for the common human welfare.

And now I will enjoy the selfish luxury of a strong hot shower after a warm night in a reasonably healthy motel – I expect they would rather I call it a resort — using soap that is healthy for me and for the Biosystem, before heading back to the canyon to prepare my soil for next year’s healthy garden.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio 89.1 in Bryan, Texas.

The short version of this podcast can be downloaded at:


Recommended References: On right side of page look under “chapter” and download the pdf…-127-community/…28-¬-community/…0-community-iv/

Hey Texas! Show Your Support for the Open Internet

The debate on Net Neutrality is coming to Texas — and this is your chance to speak out.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is holding an open forum on Net Neutrality at Texas A&M University in College Station on Tues., Oct. 21. Don’t miss out on this chance to show a key decision maker that you support real Net Neutrality.
Here are the details:
What: Rally and Speakout for Net Neutrality
When: 9 a.m. on Tues., Oct. 21
Where: Outside Hagler Auditorium, Annenberg Presidential Conference Center, 4347 TAMU, 1002 George Bush Drive W, Texas A&M, College Station
Bring: Bring a sign expressing your support for Net Neutrality.
Note: Right after the rally we’ll head inside Hagler Auditorium at 10 a.m. for the commissioner’s forum.
Commissioners rarely leave Washington to meet with the public, and as of now this event is the only one of its kind on the calendar. But Pai’s hardly a Net Neutrality advocate — in fact, he’d be happy to let a few mammoth companies lock down the Internet and charge us more money.
That’s why we need you there on Oct. 21.
RSVP today to tell Commissioner Pai that you’ll stand for nothing less than real Net Neutrality.



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