Getting kicks at 66

Getting kicks at 66:

Funny, a few months back my 16-year old son asked what the point of “range” was with radio. He’s a digital native who is used to being zero distance from everybody else on the Net, including every broadcaster.

[I grapple with this all the time, as even my 8 year old has a different reality about music and video.]

Meanwhile here I am with a giant pile of trivia in my brain about how AM and FM broadcasting works. It’s like knowing about steam engines.

[I know a lot about various steam engines as well… sigh. At least the development world keeps me honest about the newer stuff.]

But mostly I keep living in the future. That’s why I’m jazzed that both VRM and personal cloud development is rocking away, in many places. Following developments took me on three trips to Europe in May and June, plus two to California and one to New Zealand and Australia. Lots of great stuff going on. It’s beyond awesome to have the opportunity to help move so much good stuff forward.

Speaking of distance, the metaphor I like best, for the birthday at hand, is “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.” Composed in the ’40s by Bobby Troup, the jazz composer and actor, it has been covered by approximately everybody in the years since. The Nelson Riddle sound track for the TV show Route 66 was evocative in the extreme: one of the best road tunes ever written and performed. In addition to that one I have ten other versions:

  • Erich Kunzel
  • John Mayer
  • Chuck Berry
  • Nat King Cole
  • The Cramps
  • The Surfaris
  • Oscar Peterson & Manhattan Transfer
  • Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby
  • Manhattan Transfer
  • Asleep at the Wheel

My faves are the last two. I’ll also put in a vote for Danny Gatton‘s Cruisin’ Deuces, which runs Nelson Riddle’s beat and muted trumpet through a rockabilly template of Danny’s own, and just kicks it.

Anyway, my birthday is happy, so far. Thanks for all the good wishes coming in.

[Because any blog post that mentions Radio, Route 66, *and* Danny Gatton is a sure winner. Bless you Doc! Many happy returns.]

Source: Doc Searls Weblog

Is there a good monoculture?

Ants are laying siege to the world’s chocolate supply – Ed Yong – Aeon:

P infestans is only one of the many plant pathogens that changed the world. Back in the 19th century, Britain’s drink of choice was coffee, and its colony Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) was the world’s greatest coffee producer. That all changed with the arrival of the East African coffee rust fungus, which found a ready-made feast among Ceylon’s dense, back-to-back plantations. The British government sent Harry Marshall Ward, another pioneering plant pathologist, to deal with the problem. He issued a now-familiar warning: planting crops in vast monocultures is an invitation for virulent epidemics. No one listened. Within two decades, the fungus had slashed Ceylon’s coffee production by 95 per cent, forcing the industry to relocate to Indonesia and the Americas. The crippled plantations were replaced by tea bushes, and tea displaced coffee as the quintessential British beverage.

If Marshall were around today, he would probably be disappointed that his advice still goes unheeded. We still tie the fortunes of entire regions to single staples. Around 90 per cent of the world’s calories come from just 15 types of crops, most of which are highly inbred monocultures planted over sprawling acreage. These monocultures skew the evolutionary arms race in favour of pathogens, and create the conditions wherein old threats can easily evolve into new virulent strains.

[It appears that monocultures are “unnatural” in the most significant sense… they run counter to evolution. Diversity seems to win every time.]