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Mega-Farms Have To Go

July 6, 2010

Sometimes I feel like a stuck record, raving on and on about how we’re destroying the environment and need to change the way we live.  Even so, I’m sorry; I just can’t help it.  Only 5% of our farms in this country are “mega-farms”, which may sound like a small number, yet they produce 50% of our animal produce.  So what’s a mega-farm look like?

These cows are unable to move freely, stuck in metal cages.  Giant hoses spray their little concrete cages to clean out the manure.  Disease can be rampant as there’s so many animals unnaturally crammed so close together.  These animals have to be pumped with all kinds of antibiotics just to be able to live in these conditions.  All the manure is shipped off to waste lagoons which are disease breeding grounds.  Millions and millions of flies gather breeding in the nastiness.

These cows produce 23x the waste of a human being.  Combined, the amount of waste involved in one mega-farm is equivalent to that of a city with 186,000+ people.  Yet, unlike a city where the waste is treated in sewage plants, this waste is just thrown out onto the countryside as fertilizer.

Soil tests around the mega-farms surrounding area show dense concentrations of e. coli, salmonella, listeria, cryptosporidium, and other pathogens, all of which are disease causing pathogens.

And you want to know how they kill these cows?  They herd them up in a line and then lead them into this room with a swinging iron bar, which is sort of like a pendulum.  Then they bash the cow’s head against the wall, crushing its skull and splattering its brains all over the wall.  It saves them the cost of a bullet.

Cows aren’t the only animals treated this way.  Chickens and pigs are subjected to similar treatment.

Families who live near these places complain about the hydrogen sulphide, which is a gas given off by these places.  It causes nausea, neurological damage, and unbearable odor.  You’ll hear stories about families where the children keep getting sick and they visit the doctor.  The doctor then tells them they need to move because the child’s immune system can’t handle living near the mega-farm.  When these farms move in, everyone who lives in the area tries to move off as the air becomes unbreatheable, but they’re never able to sell their homes.

But you want to know the bigger problem?  There’s too many people on this planet.  Where do you think all those Hardees cheeseburgers and McDonald’s chicken nuggets come from?  This is where all that cheap meat and chicken comes from.  Hardly anyone buys organic food, so where does the non-organic stuff come from?  The majority of it comes from mega-farms. We couldn’t even support our population without using these cruel and terrible techniques.

And you know what’s so ironic?  I’ve planned never to have children because I feel ethically convicted about the Earth’s over-population.  But, I was with family over the fourth of July holiday and I was talking with some family friends and relatives.  One guy was talking about a distant nephew of his who has seven children.  SEVEN.

Sometimes I just want to throw my hands up in the air and just yell out, “Whatever…” and walk off.   Honestly, I feel like I’m living in that movie Idiocracy.

I spent today watching a series of lectures on the physics of the impossible.  Some of the lectures were on chaos theory and talked about how difficult it is to predict the future.  Even in a deterministic universe, just small degree of imprecision in starting condition measurements can lead to major inaccuracies in distant predictions.  Predicting the future becomes impossible because we can never measure our starting conditions with infinite accuracy.  You get things like the infamous ‘butterfly effect’, where a butterfly flaps its wings in a jungle somewhere in Brazil, which eventually leads to tornadoes in Texas.  Other lectures were on quantum mechanical effects experienced at absolute zero.  Another lecture was on statistical mechanics and the extraction of energy from heat engines and reflections on whether it’s possible to beat the efficiency of a Carnot engine.

Then I go out for a walk to exercise and listen to economics lectures and history.  Then I come back inside and study some Cosmology.  I feel connected and one with the universe, reflecting on it all.  The problems of this world become clearer and clearer to me each day, even though I still have a lot to learn.

Then I start to get too tired to study further.  I open up Firefox and start reading the news, or looking around YouTube or go out shopping.  Everything around me is mindless.  When you go to the store, whether it be the books or the magazines or the newspapers… it’s all dumbed down for people with an IQ of 20.

This world is absolutely insane.  People are blowing each other up over religious superstition.  They’re watching UFC fights on their television for entertainment.  They listen to mindless propaganda, hatred and racism from the mainstream media.  They go to the movies and it’s all violence and blowing things up.

Our culture is just depraved and empty and no matter how hard I try I can’t escape it.  I’ll be in the waiting room someplace for an appointment, or out buying groceries and I hear music like this:

Shawty had them apple bottom jeans (jeans)
Boots with the fur (with the fur)
The whole club was looking at her
She hit the floor (she hit the floor)
Next thing you know
Shawty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low
Them baggy sweat pants
And the Reebok’s with the straps (with the straps)
She turned around and gave that big booty a smack (hey)
She hit the floor (she hit the floor)
Next thing you know
Shawty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low

I ain’t never seen something that’ll make me go
This crazy all night spending my doe
Had the million dollar vibe and a body to go
Them birthday cakes they stole the show
So sexual
She was flexible professional
Drinking X&O
Hold up, wait a minute, do I see what I think? Whoa

….

– FLO Rida feat T-Pain, Low

I feel like a prude, but man, this music belongs in a dumpster somewhere and doesn’t need to be polluting young people’s ears.  It certainly doesn’t belong in waiting rooms.  Whatever happened to say John Lennon’s Stand By Me, or Fat Domino’s Blueberry Hill.  What happened to popular music?  It’s degenerated into mindless trash.  Just compare that video to popular music not too long ago.

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we see
No I won’t be afraid
No I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

John Lennon, Stand By Me

I found my thrill
On Blueberry Hill
On Blueberry Hill
When I found you

The moon stood still
On Blueberry Hill
And lingered until
My dream came true

The wind in the willow played
Love’s sweet melody
But all of those vows you made
Were never to be

Though we’re apart
You’re part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill

– Fats Domino, Blueberry Hill

The last movie I watched, just to try to stay somewhat in touch with society, was Iron Man.  It was terrible, especially compared to a much better film like H.G. Wells The Time Machine, the 1960 adaptation.  Iron Man is mindless action, no thought, and all special effects.  The Time Machine delves deep into the problems mankind faces.

In The Time Machine, similar to Iron Man, the story focuses around a brilliant inventor.  Unlike Iron Man however, where Tony Stark is an egotistical idiot, the main character of The Time Machine is a concerned scientist disgusted with war and the age in which he lives.  The government is trying to enlist him to create weapons and he just wants to live in a world where humanity lives in peace and harmony.  So he plans to build himself a time machine and warp out of there.  He then warps himself 20 years into the future, to 1920.  There’s more wars and destruction.  He then warps to 1960.  He finds atom bombs and wars.  So he keeps warping further and further into the future, hoping to escape humanity’s madness.  Eventually he ends up in the year 800,000 AD.  I won’t ruin the plot.  You’ll have to watch it for yourself.

And I can see people now, “Oh Jason, you just don’t know how to have a good time…”  No.  Humanity is messed up in the head.  I’m not the one messed up.  I entertain myself peacefully, reflecting on quantum mechanics, thinking about time travel, wormholes, the origins of the universe, and other meaningful things.  I hope to help contribute toward research in clean energy and superconductors.  I don’t watch violent films and don’t think about violent things.  You shouldn’t either.  There’s better ways to entertain yourself that don’t require violence.

I did see one film which had a good theme behind it – Avatar.  It was pretty good.  I just saw it the other day.  It actually somewhat reflected on the things modern neuroscience is pointing to.  I think nervous systems of animals can be linked together, just like in that film.

I really get depressed thinking on all of this.  I’ve had a lot of ambitions in my life, wanting to accomplish this and that, but nowadays my primary concern is advancing science and just helping bring awareness of the dangers we face in the future.  These mega-farms just being one of many things we need to change, not to mention a restoration of decency and basic morality.

We must disarm nuclear missiles.  We have to stop using these pesticides on our crops.  We can’t keep using these antibiotics and other chemicals which we’re pumping into our livestock.  CO2 emissions have to cut back dramatically or we’ll be facing massive crop failures with climate change.  We have to stop deforestation of the Earth, and stop burning coal, which acidifies the oceans killing the plankton.  Well, that’s not the only thing killing the plankton.  They also face increased UV exposure with decreased ozone and oil spills.  Without the greenery, the trees and the plankton we all suffocate.  Keep that in mind guys.

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