Sunday, January 30, 2005

Utilitarianist vs Preservationist - Mouse may jump off endangered list - Jan 28, 2005

The Preble's meadow jumping mouse.

"Environmentalist groups called Interior's decision a political one."

Hell yeah of course! Tracing back the history of environmental movements and the role of science in policy making in the united states, this reeks of manipulated science in the act of trying to get more land for the "Fish and Wildlife Service".

The fish and wildlife service, like the forestry department, claims to be environmentalists who simply want to preserve the land for further human exploitation, be it at a sustainable growth or what not.

1) This study was PAID funded by the fish and wildlife services
2) The mouse has been in their way to developing the area.
3) From "endangered" to "common" overnight!

True, science has been known to screw up but one cannot help but feel that this is a political stint. Sounds just like bush trying to open up the alaska reserve for oil drilling. Bah!

Colorado Front Range - home of the mouse.

"Builders, landowners and local governments have spent as much as $100 million by some estimates protecting the Preble's meadow jumping mouse since it was added to the federal list in 1998 as a species whose survival was considered "threatened."

On the other hand, if it really is a "common critter", think of how embarrassed these big macho developers are going to feel and even if its not really all that common, they'd just go way out to kill them all. It has always been a fight between the cost of being sustainable and conservation. But still, I am sure it hasn't done that all that much harm to take into consideration the environment around them, than not.

Just because there is another species some way away, does not mean that it is really all that common in the world. Of course, unless it's as much of a nuisance as crows, then oh lord, imagine the shame.

Read full article here

Friday, January 28, 2005

Ecology, Complexity, and Metaphor

For you bio/evolution/religious/whats the meaning of life people out there, here's the talk I went for this evening. I think that some of my readers would find it more interesting and more enlightening than me and my cohorts found it. Amazingly I still managed to spit out a question at the end even though the 4 of us was wondering what "stochasticity" was or even how to spell it! *PHEW* It was a rough night on the mind.

Website on Ecology, Complexity, and Metaphor

The talk was by Simon Levin of Princeton and Evelyn Fox Keller from MIT. For you informed people out there, you'd probably have heard of them. Levin is unable to come to our class tomorrow as scheduled due to the fact that, very unfortunately, his father in law passed away yesterday but it'd be nice to have Keller in the class with us! Looking forward to tomorrow already despite my midterm at 11am.

I guess it would have been rude to ask how death amounts into the multicellularity explanation of life and self organization concept. Afterall, in the theory of evolution, humans might just "benefit" ourselves into extinction.

I guess a person can die from having too much fun!

Read full article here

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Walk in walk out

Tomorrow is G.W. Bush's inaugaration ceremony and the students at UCSB is organizing a "Walk Out".

2003 UCSB Student Walk Out in protest of Iraq War

If you're like me and have no clue what a walk out is, well here's what the poor hassled flyer distributer told me when i badgered him with that question.

A walk out is when students walk out of class to protest something, in this case, the inaugaration of the current president of USA. Sounds stupid? Yeah, basically they gather together and march in protest. In 2002, the staff and lecturers walked out, literally walked out of their office and had a strike for 3 days. In 2003, students had a walk out in protest of the war. (I really think it's easier for students to walk out. Afterall, like me, tomorrow during the "walk out", I have no class to walk out from!)

This Walk Out must be what every singaporean dream's the freedom of speech! Just think of flouting that illegal gathering and public protest law in Singapore will get any long deprived of political activism Singaporean into a rabid frenzy.

... Ok so maybe not but hey it's my only chance to experience a rally and "peace march" even if it is a complete waste of time. It's so much a waste of time that I'm seriously consider walking out of the walk out.

Read full article here

Monday, January 17, 2005

Mushroom Hunting

At this moment in time, I really do not think I am ever cut out to be a hunter gatherer. In fact, to prove the point of survivor of the fittest, considering how difficult it is to find food in the wild, it really takes superb ability and skill, observation and stamina to be able to survive as a hunter gatherer. Therefore, our ancestors (that is assuming we were not evolved from the parasite of the community), must have been the best of the best in order to have us in this form today. Talk about gene pool!

To cut the long story short, I didn't manage to get a single mushroom.

You must be laughing right now because most of you who know me will know that I'm really not too good physically and maybe as erkie said, I'm really an urban girl afterall. I could go up a hill but I can't come down one. But then I already know this about myself in Thailand. Hey I'm really trying to work on this. I do love being in the "wilderness". I did find a lot of other type of mushrooms but I didn't find the one we were looking for (which is this gourmet Chanterelle Mushrooms which cost $15/lbs supposedly). At least I wasn't the only one. Perhaps I was just one step behind the entire time. I only go to places after another had gone and honestly, those were the people with the big bags! 20 mushrooms/bag while I had nothing but an empty bag with a plastic knife which never saw any action.

Still, I had so much fun today! You wouldn't believe it. Probably the first time since I'm here that I really had fun. Honest to goodness fun. Good natured, clean healthy fun! Hiking, talking about organic food, farming, environmental issues, fishing without a license on a longboard(!) It's just a crazy crazy day! I am glad I was in a car pool with some really interesting people. Yingchuan managed to come with us too! Hopefully I didn't really leave him out in my eagerness to know more greenie people. I definitely talked too much today. Too eager. Like an over enthusiastic golden retriever puppy you know? Slobbering all over.

Even then, I think I made an ok impression. We even went wine tasting at Los Olivos (I didn't, one of the guys Aaron did) which is the setting for the movie Side Ways!!! I even downloaded the map of the different wineries and vineyards that the characters went in the movie and too bad I didn't have it with me today! It was so exciting. Everything was a dream. The landscape was so incredible and it was just stupid that I left my camera behind. Still, here are some photos that Yingchuan took today!

We found a wild boar skull! That's Aaron with the blue shirt and tied up hair. Soumil my classmate blocked by the skull. Alison the Chair of EAB with the hat and Christine in the white shirt back facing us who found A LOT of mushrooms. Oh yeah, it was Aaron who found the skull really.

Number of animals saw today:
1) Horses
2) Miniature ponies
3) Cows
4) white tailed kite(?)
5) deer (i saw the trail and bed and Ed the video guy filmed it!)
6) wild boar (just the skull! see photo)
7) rats (at the newman co-op, somebody had them)
8) cat (a very fat beautiful calico cat at the wine tasting room)
9) dog (a very big golden retriever type dog)

Number of times the word organic was mentioned:

I went to the Co-op in Isla Vista (IV) today and I just saw so many fresh produce and incredibly amount of organic product that it's crazy!!! They even have the products that erkie uses which I almost had to buy online! One short point is that - it cost a bomb.

Since I didn't get any mushroom in the field today, I'm going for the cook-out/cook-off? at Newman in about 30 minutes. Newman is a housing co-op that most of the people in the Environmental Affairs Board (EAB) lives at. It's really cool. Quite cheap and internet, waste and water is paid for. You only have to pay additional gas and electricity.

Also found out that there is such an acitivity called WOLFing which is where you work in an orchard picking fruits and I guess you get to take the fruits! Basically, it's a fruit picking thing. Got to remember to check back with this girl Shelly about this.

Kameron, the guy who was sitting beside me in the car, also introduced me to this great lecture series on sustainable food productions. It's just once a week and I'm gonna go take some notes for erkie since she's really interested in such thing. However, I don't think I'm gonna do it for credits even though I could squeeze in one more. heh. I'm nuts. Turning into HQ and his 9 modules! *grin*

Sedgwick Reserve - 6000ha of land gifted to UCSB. It's a dream.

Most of these people are really interesting and I just can't wait to learn more from them! I also introduced them to the Sedgwick volunteer thing and hopefully I can see some familiar faces when I go for the training sessions starting 28 Jan. It was just so amazing how beautiful Sedgwick is. I am glad I am going to be volunteering there and even without the mushrooms, today was a good introduction to the area.

Enough of me now. BTW, I've heard so many comments from all of you (at least 5 persons now) that my blog now looks really zen! Honestly, it's not intentional. I was just going for plain and generic! I guess minimalism can always pass off for class.

Read full article here