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Jason Hernandez

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since May 15, 2016
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Recent posts by Jason Hernandez

Kat Ousley wrote:Thank you so much for all of your replies! I really appreciate all of the input.

It's just really hard to come to terms with since up until my Americorps job I have only worked jobs solely for the money and felt really unsatisfied and disillusioned with life, even while volunteering and pursuing passion projects on the side.

You're young yet. I felt the same way when I was young, and I made some (arguably) poor decisions as a result -- as in taking seasonal jobs that were in line with my interests over steady jobs that were not. Do I regret it? Yes and no. Yes, because it meant that I never did get "established" in life, nor did those gigs lead to what I really wanted to do. And no, because the adventures I had as a result would not have happened if I had been a career man.

I would ask you this: when you were working those jobs just for the money (and pursuing passion project on the side), was it part of a plan? Or was it just an expediency for survival? I believe that the choices I made could have worked for me better if I had had a plan at the time, rather than just a dream.
3 months ago
Lately I have discovered the YouTube channel, "Mother the Mountain Farm." The premise is a good one: permaculture life in the Australian rainforest. But of course, like all media production, these videos are edited for content and narrative, and I can't escape the impression that they have a rather dream-like quality. Lots of images of cuddling with cute animals or playing at the swimming hole, not many images of actual income-generating activity. It looks like such an idyllic life, but, knowing how narrative video works, we of course ask ourselves, what are they NOT showing us?

Of course, if a YouTube channel is popular, then making videos can, itself, be an income-generating activity. These two young women always remember to thank their patrons, and some of their videos contain paid product promotions. Sure enough, in one of their videos, they answer that very question:

You can almost miss it in the elaboration, but yes, they admit that they make a living off their YouTube channel.

Well, it's wonderful that they've found a means of living the dream, and that their feelings about life are expressed in such happy videos. But as a promotion of the permaculture life, it leaves some questions open, don't you think? If living a life like theirs requires a YouTube channel popular enough to earn them a living, then it isn't really scalable to permaculture as a movement. We can't all have YouTube channels; even if we did all have YouTube channels, the inherent competition of the market means that we couldn't all support ourselves off YouTube. Plus, it tends to suggest that permaculture can only be done by subsidizing it with non-permaculture ventures.

On second thought -- a lot of us subsidize our permaculture ventures with non-permaculture activities. Affiliate links from this site being just one example.

I lke the concept behind these videos, which is why I have watched several of them. I think that as far as promoting the permaculture life and values, showing happy things like this is a good way of attracting people's interest. Gotta love that duck! I also think, though, that there needs to be more of an indication of how to make a living at it besides YouTube. What if there were videos about the kinds of products we produce -- the fruits and nuts from our food forests, maybe nutmilks if we have the equipment for that, eggs from those ducks or milk from those goats? How can we balance portrayal of the dream with portrayal of the practicalities of making it happen?
3 months ago
I suppose more ideas for passive income would go in the "More coin please" category? Affiliate links may be fine for someone who has a website that gets visitation, but I don't see as we can all do that.

Dale Hodgins wrote:Punishment or the threat of punishment when he's in that state, would not be appropriate.

I tend to think of punishment as never being appropriate; but I recognize that is my own past trauma.

Dale Hodgins wrote:My oldest brother is autistic. When he was 11 they decided the demons needed to be cast out of him.

Oh, I've been there, only it wasn't my family, but some roommates. It took me some years to figure out that the exorcism was bogus, just me reacting to manipulation. Autistic people are more susceptible to abuse, I am told, be cause we don't know how to recognize it when we see it.

But that's not what I want to add to this discussion. This thread has reminded me of my late mother. As often happens, we had no idea of her mental health issues when we were kids; it was something we only came to understand as adults. She would go through these strange phases, often, though not always, food-related. For instance, in her Shrimp Phase, her lunch every single day was a baking sheet of shrimp. Until she got a bad batch -- and for the rest of her life, she never again ate a shrimp.

But her bigger issue was hypochondria, and possibly Munchausen disorder as well. By the end of her life, she had more than 100 different prescriptions for all kinds of different things. I really do think that her unnecessary prescriptions caused her to die before her time -- my dad is around the same age as she would have been, and he only just retired, whereas she basically lived as an invalid for close to twenty years before expiring.

What would have been the compassionate thing to do here? Once I was an adult, I always was skeptical of all her meds; but in my autistic lack of social graces, I did not know how to be tactful about it, and that created some friction between us. When my oldest sister oversaw her move to the nursing home, she worked with the geriatrician to taper mom down to maybe two or three prescriptions; the geriatrician was surprised that mom had talked so many doctors into prescribing so many things. I sure would have liked to be able to do this earlier; I think she would have had a better quality of life as well as a longer life. Going along with her, I would not consider ideal. But when someone has a mental health issue, you can't apply normal reasoning.

Through it all, I continued to love her with a fierce intensity. I came back from the Dominican Republic to the States to fulfil her dying wish to see me one last time, and once she was gone, I felt lost for nearly two years -- lost, as in, "what am I going to do now?" A person with mental health issues can still be very important to someone.
1 year ago
Okay. I haven't been around here much, because I needed time to think about whether I can even contribute meaningfully under the publishing standards. (Not that I would expect to be missed if I left; I know that's not how forums like this work). Here is some perspective.

In the thread called "CENSORSHIP - Paul Wheaton Requested," there were two opinions expressed as to how an internet forum ought to be run; one by Henry Coulder, the other by Paul Wheaton. Now, from my perspective, I would not hold these two opinions as having equal weight -- and not because Paul owns the website. Suppose I was thinking of starting my own online forums, and was interested in best practices as to how to do that. I come here, and see that Henry had no experience running forums, and Paul had many years of such experience. That bit of information would cause me to weight Paul's opinion on the matter more heavily. More so when I additionally find out that Paul originally tried it Henry's way and found that it didn't work.

Anyway, the trouble I got into over the topic of this thread was induced by my impressions of that jungle known as social media. My impression of the social media ethos is: "If someone somewhere believes it, it's true -- unless it's established science." To cite actual research scientists on social media is to invite accusations of being sheeple or worse. I feared that this site had bought into that same ethos.

So what you're doing is unconventional, but you can show me practically that it works? Great. That actually fits my definition of science -- it's an experiment. In Spanish, the verb, "to experience" is experimentar. All of us permies who try things out to see what works and what doesn't are on the most basic level actually doing science. Which is why I do not understand anti-science sentiment -- the disdain for people who make a career of doing essentially the same thing, just on a larger scale and with more funding and better equipment.

Scientific consensus is simply the sum total of all experimental results, which is why it sometimes changes when different experiments are done.

Henry had no experience running online forums, Paul had many years of such experience, and that affected my weighting of their differing opinions on the running of online forums. How is this different from, say, a scientist who has studied viruses for many years, and a blogger who has not? Why wouldn't my weighting of their differing opinions on viruses follow the same pattern?
There is some species of native guppy in the Rio Magante, although I have yet to identify it exactly. The dominant male of each group has orange fins, but otherwise, they are not colorful. I have been thinking that I would like to try them in an aquarium, and since they are native, they should be well adapted to conditions.
1 year ago
Well, you could try the experiment with just one -- one that you wouldn't mind losing if it turns out not to work.
1 year ago
There's that word "should" again, I know. I saw an article on Mongabay: Can Palm Oil Be Grown Sustainably? Research Suggests It Can, and Without Chemicals. Well, okay -- but then there is the question of whether oil palm, even if grown sustainably and without chemicals, is an appropriate crop to be growing, considering its uses. Junk food and the chemical substances people put on their bodies?

On the other hand, it does have potential as a biofuel, too, which would help to cut down on carbon emissions?

So what do you all think? Do you see oil palm having a place in tropical permaculture? Or is this a side track we could do without?
1 year ago
Data can be problematic around here, I know, because it creates a temptation to use that forbidden f-word. Still, data (and that forbidden word) are what I understand. And as research mounts, it turns out that there is increasing data to support our Permie principles. Mongabay ran a story on cacao farming in Indonesia, comparing hand-pollination with the more usual toxic-gick methods, and as it turns out, hand pollination, even with the increased labor cost, outperformed toxic gick in generating income.

Getting Hands-on with Pollination Can Boost Cocoa Yields

To summarize: usually, only 5-10% of cacao flowers are pollinated. By pollinating by hand, cacao farmers find that yields increase anywhere from 51% to 161%, which is enough to make the labor-intensive technique worthwhile. The Indonesian chocolate-growing region is already a fertile soil area, so it no real surprise that chemical fertilizers make little difference there. It makes me wonder why chemical fertilizers became prominent in the first place; but I suppose a likely explanation is that such products are presented to farmers as being necessary, and they might not look beyond "received wisdom."

Hopefully, this will spread to other cacao-growing regions of the world.
1 year ago
I could post a link, but those of you who can answer the question do not need one. The website is trying to sell product, so of course it is going to post the rave reviews. I am looking for perspectives from people who have no vested interest in selling this product. Those of you who have used the Almond Cow, is it worth it?
1 year ago