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Kerrick McCoy

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since Dec 01, 2009
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Recent posts by Kerrick McCoy

Thanks for the pointer to the PRI forums.

I am concerned, Paul, that you are quick to moderate people who take a position that differs from yours, but you let people you agree with engage in behavior that I would not support in an ally of mine. It's your right—it's your board, and you put in a lot of work. I appreciate that work, because it makes this a good place to exchange resources, and to discuss things with people you agree with or who don't feel constrained by the necessity of avoiding certain topics and letting certain unsupported statements stand without question. I'm glad that so many people get so much from this board, and I'm grateful for what I have gotten while I've been here. And I would still prefer to use my time to participate somewhere that works differently—perhaps on a site where there are multiple moderators who can work together despite differences of opinion on contentious issues.

I will at least be taking a step back for awhile. If anyone from this board wishes to find me, feel free to send me an email or a comment through
It's alarming to me how many parents seem to be saying they would rather see their child die from an infectious disease than be autistic. Autistic kids and adults don't necessarily suffer from autism as much as they suffer from social prejudice about autism. Profoundly autistic people who are very smart but lack the ability to communicate are abused in mental institutions because non-autistic people think they are things and not people. Given a communication assistive device, these folks generally show themselves to be very intelligent and capable. They may need help with motor control, and they may have very different sensory perception. Or they might just be mildly socially disconnected. These are lives worth living, and worth supporting in a better way than we now do.

We have to stop acting like people with autism are living some kind of fate worse than death; that's prejudicial. It's like saying you'd rather have an abortion than risk having a gay kid. That's to say you would hate your child if they were autistic or gay.

If it were a case of choosing between risking a life-threatening infectious disease and risking developing an autism-spectrum condition, I'd go with autism. As it happens, there's no evidence that supports that vaccines cause autism in any form. I know people with autism who haven't received vaccinations, too; where do you suppose they got it? My guess is there have been people with autism since there have been people, but in the past a lot fewer of them lived to adulthood, and a lot of the ones who did were either shunned or shamans. Now we've medicalized it. While more autistic people are living to adulthood, and understanding the differences between the way autistic people and non-autistic people perceive sensory input has been very helpful in making accommodations to support autistic people, I don't know that naming autism a pathological condition has resulted in any improvement in the lives of autistic people.

This is not to say that vaccines can't be made safer. To the extent that there are toxic chemicals in some of them, yes, they can and should be.

Finally, it amazes me that the same people who support taking a minuscule dose of a toxic chemical to improve their body's general resistance if it is called homeopathy will not support taking a minuscule dose of a biological agent to improve their body's specific resistance if it is called a vaccine. I don't understand it. Vaccines are basic homeopathy at its most demonstrably effective.
9 years ago
I don't use anything, and as long as I wash every day or three (depending on how much I'm sweating) and wear a clean t-shirt, I don't get any complaints. For awhile I left some California bay leaves in a bottle of baking soda and then put the baking soda on my pits; it smelled nice and bay-y. But I kept forgetting to do it and no one seemed to notice. Maybe I just don't have much smell.
9 years ago
I've had all my shots and participated in an experimental vaccine study. I am not autistic, and aside from some respiratory allergies (my mom is a smoker) I have no chronic health complaints. My sister has had all her shots, too, and then some since she's a public school teacher. She is also not autistic and has no chronic health complaints.

My uncle had polio as a kid. He's permanently brain damaged. The polio vaccine was developed shortly after it could have prevented his sickness.
9 years ago
Here as elsewhere it appears a few people seem really set on forcing every position into one of two sides of an oppositional binary.

You have a 101F fever. Which of these solutions is correct?
a) go to Walgreens and open random boxes of chemicals, eating a few handfuls of whatever has a label with some numbers attributed to a scientific study on it, or you've seen on a commercial recently, then book an appointment with a surgeon for a foot amputation.
b) hang upside down by your knees, rub cayenne powder all over your body, and consume huge quantities of random weeds. After a few weeks of this treatment, if you have not yet recovered, blame "western medicine" for putting chemicals in your drinking water or radiation in your underwear. Do not go to a hospital even if you start bleeding from your eyeballs.
c) something else.

Personally, I would take some acetaminophen and an herbal remedy which has had a few studies done on it for safety and efficacy, and monitor my fever to make sure it goes down. And if it doesn't, I'd call a doctor. Let's not sacrifice our health on the altar of ideology; pretty much everyone is some variation of (c), really. It galls me when people disregard evidence-based medicine just as much as it galls me when people dismiss the use of any plant product as superstitious twaddle. Oppositional binaries are dangerous things to regularly fall into, because they blind you to such a huge range of possibility, within which the truth very often is to be found.

Here are two interesting (and longish) posts from Greg Laden at ScienceBlogs discussing skepticism towards herbal medicines and how it sometimes goes overboard.
Does Cranberry Juice Help Prevent UTIs?
There is a follow-up as part of the next article:
Fetishistic Thinking in Relation to Skepticism
9 years ago
Talk to some leather tanners and find out if any of them are doing natural bark-tanning. They might need a source of tanoak chips.
9 years ago
Jook is a good breakfast. It's basically a cooked-overnight rice porridge; in the morning, you can add meat or eggs or veggies or go the sweet route with fruit and cinnamon. Most recipes use white rice, but brown works fine. You basically bring rice up to a boil with plenty of water for fifteen or twenty minutes—I don't know the precise proportions for this method; might take some experimentation—and then cover it and stick it in the oven or a haybox overnight. In the morning, just add whatever you feel like adding to it. You can do that the night before, too, if your flavorings won't suffer from being warm all night, but I often don't know what I'll be in the mood for until I get up.
9 years ago
If you look at a hilly slope that's had cattle on it for a long time, you can see the beginnings of wear lines on the hillside parallel to contour—i.e., horizontal. Cattle tend to prefer to walk parallel to contour, not up and down. I think you could actually do "cowline plowing" if you were to reinforce this natural tendency with, as Deston says, some creative fencing.

Chickens probably wouldn't mind the slope, but make sure the downhill fence is tall enough—if the slope is steep enough to give them an altitude boost and they get a flapping start, they can get over higher fences than they normally could.

Of course, key to preventing erosion is having a good rotation plan. You do not want to overgraze that hillside; you'll lose a lot of topsoil and potentially endanger structures below.
9 years ago
That would be great, Deston. I'll look forward to hearing how your plans take shape, and I'll keep the board updated about ours.
9 years ago
Hi, Deston, I'm really sorry to hear about your rough year. I hope you find what you're looking for. I can certainly relate to a need for more community—I've begun to find that, myself, and I'm really hopeful about it all coming together for me. I'm sure something will work out for you, too.

I'm just starting to look for a place now. I've acquired a business partner with a little bit (a very little bit) of startup capital, and we're looking for a long-term lease or partnership deal somewhere within reach of San Francisco. Our plan is to build a community funded by a cooperative permaculture-based market farm and CSA and an educational center with workshops and youth programming. We've been gaining speed and picking up more partners with great skills, but what we haven't found yet is the right land. We're just getting started, but our ambitious goal is to be on a site in the spring. A lease seems like a good option for us for now, because we may realize we need more capacity or different facilities once we get going and see how things are shaking out. We've also realized we not only want to build community on the land, but we need to be within reach of population centers for this to work out.

I'd love to brainstorm with you about how we might be able to help each other. If nothing else, I'd be happy to keep an eye out for you for leads on places that could meet your needs.
9 years ago