...Why scientific programming does not compute

mikey
mikey
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RE: Again one is tempted

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Again one is tempted to say they are satisfied with subsistence level living.

Clearly there is something different between the west and the developing world. What it might be is anyone's guess.

Oh lots of people have guessed but no one has been able to fix it. The problem is multi-fold, from lack of a willingness to change, to a lack of extra people willing to work in the fields to do the extra work required to double or even triple crop production, to farmers unwilling to change varieties of their crops, to other non specified problems. Increasing the yield of a plot of land is not as simple as planting more seeds, it involves alot of things. I am NOT a farmer, but my wifes family was and I learned alot from them. They wanted desperately to change from a chemically fertilizer based system to an organic based system but could not afford the 2 to 5 year cycle in reduced crops, and the resulting income loss, to do it. Chemicals produce more yield for the same plot of land if the land is of poor quality, but organic CAN produce the same yield IF the land is of a high enough quality. The easiest way to produce more crops from the same piece of land is to introduce new varieties that have a higher yield. The biggest problem with that is that alot of people do NOT like the idea of GM foods. Even though EVERYTHING has been GM since cross pollination was developed back in the Egyptian Pyramid building times!! To be fair modern GM has very little relationship to what the Egyptians did though! What they can do now is just amazing and is a tribute to what Science can do, and yes Engineers were involved too! Scientists maybe able to dream it but it takes an Engineer to make the tools to make it happen. In other words...cooperation!!

Rod
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RE: RE: Again one is

Quote:
Quote:

Again one is tempted to say they are satisfied with subsistence level living.

Clearly there is something different between the west and the developing world. What it might be is anyone's guess.

The problem is multi-fold,


The Major Problem..

Fairer Markets..

In the west's infinite wisdom supported a change from indigenous crops to varieties that were to generate more cash. For instance maize. Of course maize is a thirsty crop and local climates change.

They are looking for solutions.

Drought Tolerence.

That is just one example, how the west screwed things up.

There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. - Aldo Leopold

mikey
mikey
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RE: RE: RE: Again one

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:

Again one is tempted to say they are satisfied with subsistence level living.

Clearly there is something different between the west and the developing world. What it might be is anyone's guess.

The problem is multi-fold,


The Major Problem..

Fairer Markets..

In the west's infinite wisdom supported a change from indigenous crops to varieties that were to generate more cash. For instance maize. Of course maize is a thirsty crop and local climates change.

They are looking for solutions.

Drought Tolerence.

That is just one example, how the west screwed things up.

That is why not all change is for the better and sometimes studies really are important!

Matt Giwer
Matt Giwer
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RE: RE: RE: Again one

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:

Again one is tempted to say they are satisfied with subsistence level living.

Clearly there is something different between the west and the developing world. What it might be is anyone's guess.

The problem is multi-fold,


The Major Problem..

Fairer Markets..

Many years ago a wise man noted, any free trade agreement over one sentence isn't.

The general observation that any interference by anyone in anything distorts the market. In the real world even farmers will do anything to make a buck and screw the markets so the question comes down to should farming be regulated by individuals in secret or by government with published laws and transparent enforcement. Even Libertarians would choose the latter if drawing and quartering of market manipulators is considered illegal for some strange reason.

Quote:

In the west's infinite wisdom supported a change from indigenous crops to varieties that were to generate more cash. For instance maize. Of course maize is a thirsty crop and local climates change.

They are looking for solutions.

Drought Tolerence.

That is just one example, how the west screwed things up.

If the west did no encourage it one has to ask just how dumb the locals would have been not to switch to more profitable crops.

The west just happened to be in place when technology shuffled the relative values of crops. For example, since way back when oranges were a staple but local crop in Palestine. Then along came steamships and shipping not only became faster but perhaps more importantly predictable. The number of days to get from A to B was the same regardless of the winds. This made it possible to get oranges to the European market. The Palestinians all on their own created the orchards and the marketing. They were so successful that Floridians hired Palestinians to get the Florida orange industry off the ground. (Obligatory political comment -- then the Zionists arrived and invented it all, e.g. the Jaffa orange developed by Palestinians and is today grown on the land of Palestinians with Palestinian labor.)

If you want to play soc.history.what-if there would certainly be some differences in which country grows which crops if the Europeans had not been largely running things. But given the market demand every tropical country with decent sized mountains is going to have coffee as a cash crop. Without Europe/US Hawaii might not be such a huge source of pineapples but some other place(s) would fill the demand.

So unless one still buys into the 18th c. European nonsense of the noble savage held by philosophers who never met one the locals were most all illiterate backwards dirt farmers just like the ones in Europe. Living in harmony with the land is romantic fantasy.

The interesting thing is the technology that made really efficient exploitation possible also made it uneconomical and it all happened in about 70 years.

I sort of like to draw attention to things with unknown causes which may about a bit off the wall. Let me give a very concrete example.

We have no idea why the industrial revolution happened nor why it happened when it did and we do not have the least idea why it continues. It started in England. Just across the channel France was not all that much interested for several decades. Germany didn't take it seriously until the late 19th c. Japan jumped in with both feet the instant they saw it. India still isn't all that interested. As for Africa, it might as well have never happened.

We can invoke all kinds of ex post facto explanations for everything but we have no explanation which is predictive which is the essence of a theory as a theory must explain facts and in the future refined not displaced by a new theory. It happens one place but not another. It happens at different times in different places.

In contrast there were the bronze and iron ages. They spread about as fast as communication permitted in those days. And they spread to everyone. There was no reluctance. No one insisted upon keeping to their stone tools nor their bronze tools. When the technology spread it did not leapfrog geography that was "uninterested" in the new metals. It has been the same in recent times with guns.

Gadgets spread like syphilis. Whatever the industrial revolution is it is not a gadget. It does not naturally spread. There is no competition as to who can make the most of it.

Again there are ad hoc explanations for individual failings such as the failure of aggressive use of fertilizer in India appears to be related to the ways farm loans are made. Problems in the beginning are to be expected. We do not expect the problem to exist for half a century with no end in sight.

Rod
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In my opinion there is a

In my opinion there is a difference between free markets and fair markets especially when governments are the market manipulators.

Quote:

If the west did no encourage it one has to ask just how dumb the locals would have been not to switch to more profitable crops.


I would not say dumb I would say lack the resources for effective change.

There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. - Aldo Leopold

Matt Giwer
Matt Giwer
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RE: In my opinion there is

Quote:
In my opinion there is a difference between free markets and fair markets especially when governments are the market manipulators.
Quote:

If the west did no encourage it one has to ask just how dumb the locals would have been not to switch to more profitable crops.

I would not say dumb I would say lack the resources for effective change.

Let me take coffee as an example. It does reproduce well from seed unlike apples and such. It takes nothing but coffee seeds to start an industry. It is not a matter of resources for coffee.

It does mean that if I have enough seeds to start a dozen trees it means in a few years I have a dozen trees producing thousands of seeds each and in a few more years I have an export crop.

It is the same with sugar cane.

There is hardly a lack of resources in these two products and they are the main cash crops. If you mean pineapple then yes, there is a serious investment in starting cultivation. But with coffee any peasant can grow a dozen trees from seed and then have thousands of seeds per tree in a few years -- I think it is three years but nothing any peasant could not do on his own land.

It is the same with sugar cane. It grows in clumps. You cut up the clumps to make more clumps and this is a division that is done at least once a year.

No capital investment is required for either for them to adopted locally.

Other than marijuana and cocaine so far as I am aware coffee and sugar are the only other export cash crops.

Now if we want to talk about exploitation no problem for me as long as the talk addresses the facts. And all colonial powers did it with local assistance and if that required executing peons with unauthorized coffee trees so much the better.

mikey
mikey
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RE: RE: In my opinion

Quote:
Quote:
In my opinion there is a difference between free markets and fair markets especially when governments are the market manipulators.
Quote:

If the west did no encourage it one has to ask just how dumb the locals would have been not to switch to more profitable crops.

I would not say dumb I would say lack the resources for effective change.

Let me take coffee as an example. It does reproduce well from seed unlike apples and such. It takes nothing but coffee seeds to start an industry. It is not a matter of resources for coffee.

It does mean that if I have enough seeds to start a dozen trees it means in a few years I have a dozen trees producing thousands of seeds each and in a few more years I have an export crop.

It is the same with sugar cane.

There is hardly a lack of resources in these two products and they are the main cash crops. If you mean pineapple then yes, there is a serious investment in starting cultivation. But with coffee any peasant can grow a dozen trees from seed and then have thousands of seeds per tree in a few years -- I think it is three years but nothing any peasant could not do on his own land.

It is the same with sugar cane. It grows in clumps. You cut up the clumps to make more clumps and this is a division that is done at least once a year.

No capital investment is required for either for them to adopted locally.

Other than marijuana and cocaine so far as I am aware coffee and sugar are the only other export cash crops.

Now if we want to talk about exploitation no problem for me as long as the talk addresses the facts. And all colonial powers did it with local assistance and if that required executing peons with unauthorized coffee trees so much the better.

Agave is turning into an export product in some parts of the World, Agave is the plant that they use to make Tequila. I believe it also grows from the stumps as sugar cane does. But I have no idea as to how long it takes to make a sustainable crop.

Matt Giwer
Matt Giwer
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RE: ... Agave is turning

Quote:
...
Agave is turning into an export product in some parts of the World, Agave is the plant that they use to make Tequila. I believe it also grows from the stumps as sugar cane does. But I have no idea as to how long it takes to make a sustainable crop.

Agave has potential but it is not quite the same as coffee. First off there has to be an increased demand for tequila. The only increase has been for better blended and longer aged tequila. And that is the difference.

After devoting fields to agave a fermentation and distillation plant is needed and then kegs and warehouses to store the stuff for years. All of that takes money invested for years before the first payoff. And before that first payoff there is bottling, labelling and getting a distributor. And if a year's production turns out to be crap the only thing useful to do with it fortify pulque if allowed and pay bribes if it is not.

Coffee requires no more care than any other tree. The coffee cherry only needs be crushed and sun dried as the unroasted seeds (beans) are the desired product. After seasonal picking there is only a need for crushing, an area set aside for a few weeks for drying and separating the bean from the dried pulp.

Every bean can be sold for something every year as it is a commodity. Many countries such as Columbia buy up everything, mix it into big lots and sell to major manufacturers. Even the lowest quality robusta from the lowlands will sell to instant coffee makers.

Certainly there are going to be years where it is not worth the effort to harvest and haul to the market but that is the same risk for all crops.

mikey
mikey
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RE: RE: ... Agave is

Quote:
Quote:
...
Agave is turning into an export product in some parts of the World, Agave is the plant that they use to make Tequila. I believe it also grows from the stumps as sugar cane does. But I have no idea as to how long it takes to make a sustainable crop.

Agave has potential but it is not quite the same as coffee. First off there has to be an increased demand for tequila. The only increase has been for better blended and longer aged tequila. And that is the difference.

After devoting fields to agave a fermentation and distillation plant is needed and then kegs and warehouses to store the stuff for years. All of that takes money invested for years before the first payoff. And before that first payoff there is bottling, labelling and getting a distributor. And if a year's production turns out to be crap the only thing useful to do with it fortify pulque if allowed and pay bribes if it is not.

Coffee requires no more care than any other tree. The coffee cherry only needs be crushed and sun dried as the unroasted seeds (beans) are the desired product. After seasonal picking there is only a need for crushing, an area set aside for a few weeks for drying and separating the bean from the dried pulp.

Every bean can be sold for something every year as it is a commodity. Many countries such as Columbia buy up everything, mix it into big lots and sell to major manufacturers. Even the lowest quality robusta from the lowlands will sell to instant coffee makers.

Certainly there are going to be years where it is not worth the effort to harvest and haul to the market but that is the same risk for all crops.

Sounds like a little research can alleviate alot of problems down the road!! Coffee does indeed sound like a better choice than Agave!

Matt Giwer
Matt Giwer
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RE: ... Sounds like a

Quote:
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Sounds like a little research can alleviate alot of problems down the road!! Coffee does indeed sound like a better choice than Agave!

Absolutely. And there is a growing market in quality and boutique coffees a bit of which I posted earlier.

http://einsteinathome.org/node/195324

The interest in quality coffees takes a bit more effort but not really all that much. The big thing is to grow taller trees to shade the coffee trees and there are several food trees which will work. Next there are some pruning techniques that improve quality and yield but nothing more difficult than done for apple or olive trees.

The big thing to increasing earnings is getting plugged in to the developing the boutique market. Not the pansy kind of boutique but simply producing enough quantity of a unique taste to attract buyers. That means local villages have to start co-ops and preferably buy some kind of mechanized pulping system and have an area wide drying method so there is a single taste in large quantity.

Neat thing about taste is that coffee is completely responsive to local soils in producing a unique taste. But even if it is in itself uninteresting coffee blends have been around for a very long time with mocha-java perhaps the oldest and one that everyone has likely had at some time knowingly or not. Anyway there is a market for uninteresting single flavors in interesting blends. The average tastes of those called mocha and java separately have different flavors and together cover the full spectrum of the flavors in coffee.

The big hitch to this one is all the varietal work has been done on arabicas which require mountain sides in the tropics. The lowland robustas have had no attention at all. Maybe people have tried and nothing works -- I doubt it. The robustas are generally considered commodity only but lots of people like their "hot and bitter" so no complaint from me. On the other hand the lowlands are where the rebels for agrarian reform get their recruits so the question of what to grow for earnings is a secondary issue.

Writing a follow up to that article is on my to-do list having been at it for more than a year and tried a couple dozen varieties. It has been worth the modest extra cost. In fact the premium would have to be a lot higher before I would start looking for a "good enough" coffee at a lower price. Meaning, if I am any indication peasant farmers can earn a lot more before they reach a market threshold on costs. It only takes getting the word out to coffee drinkers that there are much better coffees than what they are drinking.

Anyone willing to get screwed over for a Starbuck's price is definitely a market at maybe $0.70 per 12 oz cup at home. BTW: I deal with peetscoffee.com and they claim to be investing in developing supplies of unique, aka interesting, coffees meaning they work with the peasant growers to help them produce what they can sell to folks like me. True or not what they offer as monthly specials are always interesting. I may not like them all but I can't say I have disliked any of them. Usually I find them too bland requiring more coffee per cup to make then acceptable -- which might be my elderly and much abused taste buds rather than the coffee.

First this starts in number crunching, gets moved to science and now belongs in the cafe. Talk about drifting threads ...

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