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Author Topic: The Evolution of Pretty  (Read 2710 times)

Rob C

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2018, 01:36:52 pm »

I was this close to becoming a DJ in highschool and in hindsight i should have made the choice. Considering the disposable incoming relative to the required iq, it must be the easiest money that lack of gray matter can buy. I'm not talking about the top of the EDM scene. That's hard work and being lived. I'm talking about the talking heads on the radio glueing together half played songs with really bad jokes.

Unfortunately, when i was in highschool there was a general tendency towards the idea that making good grades and finishing school, preferably in a direction like technology, would land you a decent and safe job with ditto salary.

Of course, trying to push a creative into a bourgeoise straightjacket is a sure fire way to failure. I'm certain, Rob, you came closer to living the dream with the choices you made, then any of the non-creatives you mention.


My last school was the same: when I joined it, my family was discouraged from letting me continue with my art lessons from the previous school because in the new school's opinion, art was "for those less capable students" which, in reality, simply meant that the school wanted to have higher public annual ratings for its university entrants than for incidental entrants drifting onwards into art college. Stupidly, or perhaps simply because 50s kids usually did as they were told, I didn't think of kicking up hell. Mea culpa, I now realise.

Yes, I can't deny that regarding photo career, I did live "the dream" to some extent, but the weakness was always going to be in the fine print: at the end, as Cooter once wrote, you need to have more to sell than some light stands... what the hell does a photographer have left, after his allotted 15 mins. that's marketable when his idea of stock as pension plan turns to dust?

On a brighter note, and completely the reverse of an earlier stated frame of mind, I took myself for a walk today and not only managed to get Moira to take some carrots from my hand (she has been banished to a restricted, but dry, patch of "pasture" where the electric fence does not cross over an iron gate, which she seems to know is a safe spot to touch and over which to take treats), but I went on to make a few snaps of this and that in the port. Felt like quite a novel experience...

:-)

John Camp

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2018, 05:18:22 pm »

Re. GMOing crops, there's a short-term gain to be had from such tweaking: a crop is made more disease-resistant or produces more of the desired grain/fruit/etc. per plant. But long term the GMO'd species will genetically vary just as with non-tweaked species. The designed-in gains could well diminish or even lead to undesired side effects. So once you start on the GMO path you also need to embrace your continuing responsibility for maintaining the species you've modified. You "break" it, you own it.

This is a really complicated subject. GMO crops have probably saved millions of lives, and have probably lifted millions of people out of poverty. But of course, there are problems, especially unanticipated problems with such things as corn that is resistant to specific insecticides, which actually works quite well, but then we find out that the insecticide kills a lot of possibly beneficial insects that weren't the target -- but the efficiency of the basic system is so high that farmers will never stop using it. So then you have to take another step, with more unanticipated results. And it's not only GMO species. Old-fashioned selection produced cultivars that were better than the diverse cultivars formerly used, and wound up being used almost exclusively -- hence the possibility that we may not be able to save bananas as a crop because of banana (Panama) blight. But the basic question becomes, is GMO much different than normal evolution, except faster?
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John Camp

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2018, 05:29:13 pm »

I base no.3 on the observation that all of the many people I know, who are devoid of creative urges similar to mine, seem to be every bit as content - or more so - with their lot than do I. For a start, they all appear to enjoy far more disposable income in their dotage!

Rob

One of the problems with being creative is that you also tend to be discontented, and IMHO discontent is almost essential to significant creation. I'm not sure of this, but I also think depression is endemic among creatives, which exacerbates things.

As you grow older (I'm now officially old) you of course still think you're 35, but you're not. And you want to behave like a 35 year old, including all those things that cost money that you now don't have. But...even though you may now be unhappy with the state of your income, would you really rather have spent those years between 20-60 sitting in a cubicle somewhere processing some paperwork/screenwork  shlt you never cared about, so that when you turn 65, you can have a better income? When you start to feel that kind of discontent, lean back in your easy chair and think about all the great blonde tits you got to see, that you never would have seen in a cubicle processing shlt.
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32BT

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2018, 03:20:55 am »

When you start to feel that kind of discontent, lean back in your easy chair and think about all the great blonde tits you got to see, that you never would have seen in a cubicle processing shlt.

He would have seen them all right, but they would have been photographed by someone else...
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Rob C

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2018, 03:53:02 am »

One of the problems with being creative is that you also tend to be discontented, and IMHO discontent is almost essential to significant creation. I'm not sure of this, but I also think depression is endemic among creatives, which exacerbates things.

As you grow older (I'm now officially old) you of course still think you're 35, but you're not. And you want to behave like a 35 year old, including all those things that cost money that you now don't have. But...even though you may now be unhappy with the state of your income, would you really rather have spent those years between 20-60 sitting in a cubicle somewhere processing some paperwork/screenwork  shlt you never cared about, so that when you turn 65, you can have a better income? When you start to feel that kind of discontent, lean back in your easy chair and think about all the great blonde tits you got to see, that you never would have seen in a cubicle processing shlt.


I have to accept that this is laced with more than a modicum of truth.

The fact is that of the really, really seriously rich I have known through my life, not one was a happy guy either. (Nor were the wives.) Granted, they did have the toys I could but envy - until I realised those toys were, in fact, liabilities even to them - making me wonder if the truth is that happiness is always but a dream, an illusion that forms part of the force that keeps us truckin' even when little proof exists to make us believe the effort remains worth it.

There may also be a difference betwen male and female ideas of contentment, not that contentment is happiness, exactly, but perhaps a kind of sub-section of it. My own wife seemed to be entirely removed from any visible or otherwise discernable sense of envy at any stage of her life, and I met her when she was fifteen. It would be a delightful conceit to think myself the source of that satisfaction, but reality tells me that it was all part of her state of mind, her spiritual makeup, as it were, one of the very facets of her being that attracted me in the first place. I remember that during the first flushes of some kind of business success I bought her a Rolex; years later, during a trip on a friend's boat down to Gibraltar, we were walking through that dismal port and I bought some Ray-Bans. I saw a Rolex dealership and we went in to compare prices with there and Mallorca, and I asked her if she's like to trade her watch for another, more expensive one. She looked at me in surprise and asked why? The one she had was perfectly good, and meant something to her already. I felt a bit stupid, like I'd somehow missed the point of it all. But she also made me feel very happy that day.

Regarding depression: I gather that some believe it to be a clinical state rather than a passing phase; my own manner of looking at this is a graphic: a straigh line running left to right (or the other way around if nature made you a left-hooker) represents the normal state of being. Points that find you above that line indicate happiness and those below it unhappiness. If life forces you to spend a lot of time below the datum of norm, then you are entitled to feel depressed; if you find yourself living on the datum line, then you are living the normal life of most, and if you find that you spend much of your time above that line, then you are either very fortunate, on something or just deluded.

Whether a mild depression drives creativity, I can't say; but I do know that dissatisfaction with life in Glasgow led me to seek out or, rather, create for myself client assignments that took me travelling abroad. I'd travelled a lot as a kid, so perhaps it didn't seem as unlikely a situation to me as perhaps to others who had always remained where they had been born. Travel, too, becomes a sort of compulsion, and I can remember myself, several times during flat years, gazing up at aircraft and wishing like hell I was airborne too, and off somewhere to work.

And they say there is no God?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 10:32:38 am by Rob C »
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Alan Klein

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2018, 09:36:26 am »

Rob, you should get down on your knees every morning and thank God for giving you such a smart and loving wife. 

Alan Klein

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2018, 09:37:33 am »

Maybe I should do the same.

RSL

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #27 on: October 22, 2018, 10:00:14 am »

I'll join you guys. Twenty six years ago I wrote this: http://www.russ-lewis.com/Poetry/Poems/FortyYearsLater.html. It's still true, and I thank God every day that it is.

Alan Klein

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2018, 10:32:31 am »

Nice poem. Very loving.  Getting back to photography and poetry I've done is this little one:

When you look at a picture of someone you love,
You fall in love all over again.
 

Rob C

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2018, 10:35:36 am »

Rob, you should get down on your knees every morning and thank God for giving you such a smart and loving wife.


Truth to tell, Alan, it happens several times every day, mornings but one such occasion. I also ask why me? What have I done in some past era to be so blessed in this one?

Rob

Rob C

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #30 on: October 22, 2018, 10:38:33 am »

I'll join you guys. Twenty six years ago I wrote this: http://www.russ-lewis.com/Poetry/Poems/FortyYearsLater.html. It's still true, and I thank God every day that it is.

I wish I'd been able to write that, and give it to mine.

Rob

Alan Klein

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2018, 10:58:10 am »


Truth to tell, Alan, it happens several times every day, mornings but one such occasion. I also ask why me? What have I done in some past era to be so blessed in this one?

Rob
Maybe she thinks the same thing about you.  Have you asked her?

Telecaster

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #32 on: October 22, 2018, 05:41:24 pm »

But the basic question becomes, is GMO much different than normal evolution, except faster?

Good points made prior to the part I've quoted. GMO'ing is a kind of targeted shortcut to changes we could also achieve "normally" but less directly and quickly via selective breeding. This is a point I've often made when discussing GMO with people who are dubious about or even hostile to it. Genetic modification is just part of the process of life. No species in its untouched-by-humans state is "pure." But the targeted nature of direct genetic alteration also means undesired side effects may manifest more quickly. Thus IMO the wisdom of a curator approach to GMO'ing.

-Dave-
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32BT

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #33 on: October 22, 2018, 06:51:08 pm »

Good points made prior to the part I've quoted. GMO'ing is a kind of targeted shortcut to changes we could also achieve "normally" but less directly and quickly via selective breeding. This is a point I've often made when discussing GMO with people who are dubious about or even hostile to it. Genetic modification is just part of the process of life. No species in its untouched-by-humans state is "pure." But the targeted nature of direct genetic alteration also means undesired side effects may manifest more quickly. Thus IMO the wisdom of a curator approach to GMO'ing.

-Dave-

The problem with GMO'ing is as follows: there are broadly two types of questionable GMO'ing which are:
1. Making crop more resistant to glyphosate or some other herbicide
2. Making crop more resistant to some particular disease

#1 is a problem because it is meant to enable increased use of poisons just before harvest. The idea to inject extra poisons during the initial and most precarious part of the foodprocessingchain is just utterly ludicrous.

#2 is a problem because targeting a single mishap says absolutely nothing about the flexibility of the crop in the complete context. The problem is: we do not (yet) fully understand the complete context. I doubt we ever will. Therefore you can never define GMO crop as superior.

I do however agree with one thing: human ingenuity in manipulation of the genepool is simply part of evolution. However, meddling with a billions of years old equilibrium and thinking in terms of "manipulation" and "superior" is a dangerous type of arrogance for which you must be prepared to accept the consequences if the equilibrium disagrees.

I'm mentioning this, not because i wanted to start off a political discussion, but because apparently there might be an equilibrium that perhaps provides us with the appreciation of universal beauty as well as the determination of universal stupidity. I determine then by the intuition bestowed upon me thru mother nature in her invinite wisdom using billions of years worth of evolution that GMO is dangerously close to universal stupidity and i equally appreciate autumn colors as coming dangerously close to universal beauty.
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James Clark

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #34 on: October 22, 2018, 09:44:44 pm »

I'll join you guys. Twenty six years ago I wrote this: http://www.russ-lewis.com/Poetry/Poems/FortyYearsLater.html. It's still true, and I thank God every day that it is.

Russ, that's lovey.  It was a pleasure to read.
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Alan Klein

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2018, 10:46:57 am »

The problem with GMO'ing is as follows: there are broadly two types of questionable GMO'ing which are:
1. Making crop more resistant to glyphosate or some other herbicide
2. Making crop more resistant to some particular disease

#1 is a problem because it is meant to enable increased use of poisons just before harvest. The idea to inject extra poisons during the initial and most precarious part of the foodprocessingchain is just utterly ludicrous.

#2 is a problem because targeting a single mishap says absolutely nothing about the flexibility of the crop in the complete context. The problem is: we do not (yet) fully understand the complete context. I doubt we ever will. Therefore you can never define GMO crop as superior.

I do however agree with one thing: human ingenuity in manipulation of the genepool is simply part of evolution. However, meddling with a billions of years old equilibrium and thinking in terms of "manipulation" and "superior" is a dangerous type of arrogance for which you must be prepared to accept the consequences if the equilibrium disagrees.

I'm mentioning this, not because i wanted to start off a political discussion, but because apparently there might be an equilibrium that perhaps provides us with the appreciation of universal beauty as well as the determination of universal stupidity. I determine then by the intuition bestowed upon me thru mother nature in her invinite wisdom using billions of years worth of evolution that GMO is dangerously close to universal stupidity and i equally appreciate autumn colors as coming dangerously close to universal beauty.

How is GMOing different than selective breeding?

32BT

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2018, 11:36:33 am »

How is GMOing different than selective breeding?

Selective breeding is *selecting* what the equilibrium provides as mutations, therefore it is guaranteed to conform to its inherent optimisations. There is simply no reasoned way this can be guaranteed in GMO.


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Alan Klein

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2018, 02:23:50 pm »

Selective breeding is *selecting* what the equilibrium provides as mutations, therefore it is guaranteed to conform to its inherent optimisations. There is simply no reasoned way this can be guaranteed in GMO.



But in both cases the hand of man not God nor natural selection is imposing the results.  Wouldn;t both methods be fraught with difficulties? Why is one better than the other?

Telecaster

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #38 on: October 23, 2018, 04:37:16 pm »

I do however agree with one thing: human ingenuity in manipulation of the genepool is simply part of evolution. However, meddling with a billions of years old equilibrium and thinking in terms of "manipulation" and "superior" is a dangerous type of arrogance for which you must be prepared to accept the consequences if the equilibrium disagrees.

Thus the need for a responsible curatorial strategy. GMO'ing isn't gonna go away. So best to be as smart, informed and aware as possible in the use of it.

-Dave-
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John Camp

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Re: The Evolution of Pretty
« Reply #39 on: October 23, 2018, 06:07:14 pm »

But in both cases the hand of man not God nor natural selection is imposing the results.  Wouldn;t both methods be fraught with difficulties? Why is one better than the other?

There are a lot of factors. One is speed. If a plant has been naturalized for centuries, and the selective breeding changes are (by nature) small, then other organisms have time to adapt and humans have time to consider consequences. When the changes are as fast as GMO makes possible, then you can have a radical change with unintended consequences and no real time to think about them before the changes are in effect  -- as in the case of plants made immune to certain poisons. I'm not sure whether this was ultimately determined to be the case, but I remember not long ago people were talking about the collapse of the mid-continent Monarch butterfly population because of the overnight and widespread use of a specific insecticide to which plants had been made immune.

But those things are not the only things that GMO does. GMO also makes possible more productive plants even without those specific negatives. New wheat and rice varieties probably helped reduce famine in Indian, parts of Africa and parts of China, simply be being more productive. If you look at a painting called "The Harvesters" by Pieter Bruegel, probably painted in 1565, you can see people harvesting a wheat crop in which the wheat is literally as tall as the people. That's an accurate rendition, and meant that the wheat grains themselves were a small fraction of the actual plant, and the rest of the plant, straw, had few uses other than things like horse bedding. Our current wheat is barely knee high, and much more efficient in all ways. That's fairly rapid selective breeding, and I don't see the harm however that is done.
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