Richard Kastanie

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since May 26, 2010
Missouri Ozarks
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Recent posts by Richard Kastanie

It is known that islands that are closer to other land where species disperse from end up with higher biodiversity, other factors being equal. This website on island biogeography sums it up with this quote,

A modified version of the classical island biogeography model proposed by MacArthur and Wilson (1963) is depicted above. The model considers the interaction of two main parameters, colonization and extinction, and then considers island size and distance from mainland as predictors of the species richness found on each island. Both colonization and extinction can be thought of in terms of rates or probabilities, and the size and isolation of islands impacts the probability of colonization and of extinction. Simply, Islands close to the mainland will more readily receive colonists from that mainland and, similarly, probability of colonization of large islands will be higher than that of small islands. Thus the larger the island and closer to the mainland, the more potential species will arrive. Species will also more readily go extinct on small islands than large, due to factors such as smaller population sizes and less available habitat. These parameters go hand in hand predicting that species richness will peak in large islands near mainlands, and be lowest in small islands far away from the mainland.

I have seen a few aggressive invasive species that do decrease biodiversity in the patches they take over, although oftentimes the claims are exaggerated (I've seen areas labeled monocultures of an exotic species that I can see quite a few other species growing in). However, we are glimpsing a very small period of time, as well as one with a lot of other human-induced factors that are changing the environment, so its no surprise that different species are thriving in the changed conditions. Humans have greatly accelerated the movement of species around the world, but there has always been a certain amount of movement, and I think the above example of island biogeography shows that more migration tends to increase biodiversity overall. That doesn't mean that none of the new species caused the extinction of species that were previously present, but the number driven extinct must end up fewer than the number of arrivals.

I've heard from some nativists the idea that certain exotic species will never find a balance and simply take over and leave much of the planet as near monocultures. If that were true, I'd think the islands with more migrating species would end up with less biodiversity, as periodically an aggressive species would come through and wipe out most of the others. Herbicide companies do love it when people have this view of exotic species, and have been known to support native plant groups and push them toward chemical use to eradicate exotics.

There was a time in early American history when peach trees were aggressive enough on parts of the east coast that some people worried they were taking over the landscape in places. That was before pests and diseases caught up with them, some imported themselves but others adapting from native wild stone fruits. Now there are occasional naturalized peaches but they don't appear on any invasive species list. I imagine the same will happen eventually to the invasives of most concern today, more pests and diseases will come after them and balance the populations out, how long that will take is the big question, my guess is that species that have native relatives will have more pests/diseases move to the new species more quickly.

While I'm generally not in the nativist camp, there are certain aggressive species that I would never spread to new areas, because even if they will eventually come into balance, in the meantime I wouldn't want to chance it by adding one more stress to all the others going on in this era.
1 week ago
I'm in zone 6B, and as far as blueberries go I've had the best luck with rabbiteye varieties and a few southern highbush types. Northern highbush types are more fickle in these hotter summer climates. The ph does need to be acidic for them as has been mentioned. Hidden Springs Nursery is in your area, I've had good luck with their plants and they aren't too expensive either, they don't have all that wide a selection of varieties but the ones they do have tend to be good for organic growing in our zones.
2 weeks ago
I'm in MO just north of the AR border. I ordered and planted twelve from Foxgreen Farms in 2015. Only 3 survived the first year, although they were a bit neglected. Those three grew well in 2016, after I cleared and mulched around them. Since the Foxgreen plants are unsexed I wanted to get more to ensure we had both male and female for pollination, so I planted two more last spring (2017) from Indiana Berry. They started to grow and then unfortunately  died shortly thereafter, shortly after a period of torrential rains, the soil is well drained where they are but maybe all that water weas still too much for them to handle at that vulnerable a stage. The three older plants looked good through the spring and were 3-4 feet high by summer, but then in late summer what had been the biggest, healthiest looking one suddenly had half its growth die off, and the rest not look so great. The other two plants didn't look that well in the late summer/fall either. There was plenty of moisture at that time (it got dry later in the fall) but not excessive, and the summer was cooler than that of 2016 which the same plant thrived in, so I'm not sure what caused that. I'll see if any of them still look good next year, if they don't then I doubt I'll try them again unless I can find some that have thrived in a climate similar to or hotter than ours, everyone who I've heard has success with them seems to be in cooler climates. I'd love to try the fruit if any of them ever get big enough to produce.
2 weeks ago
Interesting Thread,

A couple of thoughts,

Not everyone thrives on the same diet. Diets were diverse even 10,000 years ago, depending on the environment that people lived in, there are many things in modern diets that weren't around 10,000 years ago, but there wasn't any single paleolithic diet. Evolution and adaptation of humanity never stopped and is continuing, but it can't keep pace with the rate of change in our modern world. Also, agriculture spread to different regions at different times, so depending on your own ancestry, you might have ancestors that were hunter-gatherers more recently than 10,000 years ago. The last 150 years have seen a particularly rapid change, adding so much toxic stuff to the environment, antibiotics to alter our microbiomes, and changes of food processing away from traditional ways (an example, before the introduction of baker's yeast, sourdough bread was the norm). I agree with Rebecca Norman that changes of diet aren't the only factor in food issues, other changes in our environments need to be looked at. Just talking to people of different generations in America is very revealing, the prevalence of food allergies have exploded in recent years, along with other conditions of immune dysfunction, such as autoimmune diseases. The microbiome has already been mentioned, that's huge, one issue rarely discussed is aluminum adjuvants in vaccines, there's increasing evidence that they're involved in conditions of immune dysfunction. Aluminum adjuvants are used specifically to stimulate the immune system, it's not too surprising that they end up stimulating it in unexpected ways as well.

I have to disagree with the idea that survival after reproduction means nothing in human evolution. That would be true in a species that don't take care of their young, but in humans there's often going to be a big difference in the welfare of a child with living, healthy parents than one with sick or dead parents. In the harsh times that shape evolution the most, the children with healthy parents will be at a particular advantage. While much less important than parents, surviving grandparents may even give an evolutionary advantage as well, as they can be helpful to the survival of the family as well, they can take care of grandkids and share their knowledge from a long life experience.
1 month ago
I give this nursery 2 out of 10 acorns.

I've had a similar experience, albeit not quite as bad, I did actually get my plants. They came way later in the year than they said, during the middle of an exteremely hot droughty summer, and most of them died soon even though I was watering them regularly. The surviving hazelnuts and chestnuts from Badgersett have not done as well as ones from other sources including Oikos Tree Crops that I planted the same year. They wouldn't respond to me either, I won't be ordering from them again.
In areas which have runoff from heavy downpours, swales capturing the water could provide pockets of more moisture for trees. I've only briefly been to the high plains, but noticed a lot of heavy clay in places which seemed like it could hold water well. However, in that sort of climate I wonder if building and restoring the soil in the landscape overall would mean there wouldn't be much runoff anymore to fill the swales. Cities/suburbs are a different matter since they have so much impervious surface area such as roads and roofs, which if diverted into the areas that still have soil would increase the soil moisture in those areas greatly, provided they have the soil to hold the extra captured runoff.

What could be done with the vast plains landscapes is an interesting question, and since most of my experience is in wetter climates I can't say for sure, it would be interesting to hear if anyone has gotten edible savannas to establish in such a climate. Prairies historically grew in many places that were wet enough to grow a variety of trees, Iowa for instance, and were kept open by a combination of fire and grazing herds of bison and elk. The plains of Colorado are much drier than Iowa, but even western Nebraska has some national forest areas that were planted on what was plains. I'd personally think that the most sustainable way to manage the expanses of the high plains would be predominantly as grassland with holistic management practices, with trees concentrated in the wetter parts of the landscape, both natural watercourses and pockets created by earthworks. The krater garden sounds like it could work well in windy areas of the high plains that are cold enough to get blowing snow in the winter that would tend to settle in the krater garden, which would include trees. Windbreaks also reduce water loss substantially in windy areas.

I'm a tree lover but also recognize more trees isn't always the answer. I'd think there could be more trees than there are now on the plains but the landscape will probably remain largely open (assuming the climate doesn't get unexpectedly wetter).
2 months ago
The book "Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land" by Gary Paul Nabhan may be of interest to you. He's studied desert farming in the American Southwest and has a lot of info about capturing runoff in dry climates.
2 months ago
My father has gout that started twenty years or so ago, he's gotten it almost completely under control without any medication. He's vegetarian but not vegan, he also avoids other high-purine foods to a certain extent and eats a lot of cherries (mostly dried), as well as generally avoiding junk food. He's a type O+.

I'm a type A+ and haven't had any gout, although I'm on the watch for it later in my life, it started for my father when he was about five years older than I am now. I don't do well of a vegetarian diet however, at least at this point in my life.

That's why I'm skeptical of the blood type diets, because according to the theory my father should need meat and I should be the vegetarian. However it may still be more likely for certain blood typed to need certain diets.
2 months ago
OK, I understand your position better now. As for my own position, I don't believe that vaccines "are evil and should be illegal", I advocate for informed consent rather than government mandates. I started researching the issue carefully in 2015 when California passed much more restrictive mandates. I don't live in California, but the saying "as goes California, so goes the nation" has proven right enough times that I realized the potential was there for an encroachment of medical tyranny in other states or at the national level. So far nowhere else in the country has done as much in that direction California, but there have been lots of attempts to with a lot of money behind them, and other countries such as Australia and Italy also are going in that direction.

As for your question of whether safe vaccines could be formulated, I'd say we don't know for sure, it all depends on your definition of safe and what risks are worth it. Already, certain vaccines cause a lot more adverse reactions than others, the HPV vaccine seems to be turning out to have particularly nasty side effects. I would be much more hopeful if the CDC and thee media would tackle the CDC whistleblower story head on and not try to keep any mention of vaccine injury from the public. If you have any doubt that's being done, check out what happened when Robert de Niro tried to get the film" Vaxxed" shown at his Tribeca festival, and how all the mainstream media reviews seem like they're almost copied from one another, and they don't even mention the CDC whistleblower at all, which is the main focus of the film. There are plenty of critics of vaccine policy with a lot of different opinions and levels of knowledge, the media lumps them all under the "anti-vaxxer" label.

I disagree about homeopathy because of my experience and research. I was pretty skeptical too, until I fell in a way that should have given me a bad bruise but didn't because someone gave me homeopathic Arnica. That first time didn't completely convince me completely but intrigued me, and i've used a number remedies since. There's one I use fairly regularly that gives me noticeable relief from some chronic issues I deal with, although it isn't a cure-all. As for as studies go, the assertion by so many that there are no studies that show homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo is not backed by the research I've done. There are some that show that, many seem to have been contrived out of either ignorance of some of the basics of homeopathy or a desire to have a negative result. Others do show a positive result, as this site documents. It's true there's no mechanism currently known to science that explains it, but that doesn't really trouble me because objects fell from the sky long before Newton formulated his theory of gravity.

As far as the medical kidnapping goes, I'm thinking of stories like this one. The debate about what are the rights of the family versus the state isn't one with any cut and dried answers, but I gather I'm a lot further toward the rights of the family end of the spectrum than you are. When I've had these sorts of debates with others it rarely results in anyone changing their opinion because so much if it comes down to a difference of values. For myself, if i look at is from a historical perspective i see that throughout history there have been lots of people that believed they knew the right way to live, and invariably other people came along later with sharply differing ideas. I don't believe there's one right way to live, raise a family etc, although there are ways that tend to work better than others, and some ways that worm fine for certain individuals in certain situations but not others. Humans have always had cultures as well, and there's always a push to conform to cultural norms. However in this increasingly globalized world where increasingly similar mandates and regulations are pushed in many countries around the world, we run the risk of greater disaster from anything that has unintended consequences. And, while corporate greed certainly magnifies the risk of harm, even the most well-intentioned efforts are knowh to have unintended consequences. I personally consider the naming of humans Homo sapiens to be an act of arrogance, Homo ignoramus would be better, even the geniuses among our species know little compared to the vastness of all that is. Erring on the side of more freedom for people and their families seems sensible to be, more people trying different things there's more chances for better solutions to be among there somewhere.
2 months ago