Episode-1174- Listener Feedback for 7-29-13 — 44 Comments

  1. Can’t wait for my long ride home! The feed back shows are perfect for my hour and half commute!

  2. @Jack
    Regarding the question about the Nitrogen fixing plants, if I am to trust the words that are written it says specifically “Plant seeds are coated with these bacteria “. From this I would deduce it works like any of those other coated seeds. (Last week I think, you were asked about some seeds covered in an herbicide). Same deal.

    Now I caveated my statement by saying if we can trust the words they’re saying. I’m reading the words literally as they’re written, and that doesn’t mean that’s exactly whats going on.


    • I should further say, by their statement you could say the same thing about putting inoculation on legume seeds. You’re coating the seed in live bacteria (what they’re saying it does).

      The way all of these statements reads to me is essentially this guy found a particular nitrogen fixing bacteria that spreads throughout the cells of the major crops. Their idea is to coat seeds with this bacteria so that its effectively inoculated, not to actually do modification to the seed, or anything like that. The particular bacteria doesn’t exist just out the outside of the plant (like rhizomes in the soil), but rather throughout the plant. (So consider this some sort of “beneficial” bacteria living through the plant itself). I could certainly see trying to patent this bacteria, like they do with all forms of life… or particular genes…. ha After all this is being developed by a company, not the university. Straight from their own website at “Azotic has an agreement with the University of Nottingham to commercialise this technology. ” Great.

      You can tell that the article referenced is definitely not scientific and is using terms very loosely. It states that it would give the cells the potential to “fix nitrogen”. It says just a few more paragraphs later that its the bacteria doing the fixation. Reads completely like a PR statement.

    • @Mike it isn’t that simple man! First they jack with the cells THEN they add the bacteria to the seed coating. It isn’t just a coating, it is an intracellular manipulation.

      • Yeah I would have to agree with the above comments. As long as they weren’t lying, they didn’t say anything about genetically reducing the plants ability to fight of invading bacteria. All plants have their defenses, but apparently these plants have developed a symbiotic relationship with these nitrogen fixing bacteria probably like how the bacteria that became mitochondria and choloplasts started. They are providing nitrogen to the plant while the plant is providing a safe haven for the bacteria. Now I think this innoculation probably won’t work the way they want with other plants that these bacteria weren’t “naturally” found in. I bet other plants would fight this bactiera off or at least attempt to. Another issue is what happens when these bacteria mutate as they all do? Could get out of control fast….

        Anyways I had to throw my two cents in. I do techinically have a biology degree (focused on molecular) but am not using it in my current profession. So go figure if that means anything (my husband would dismiss it).

    • I’m not a biologist by trade or school but I did take o-chem, inorganic, and molecular bio during college. So with that limited knowledge base I did find the original journal in “In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology”. The term they used in the journal was “inoculating the seed” which results in colonization of the roots. The intercellular part supposedly occurs by the bacteria releasing an enzyme that weakens the cell wall allowing the bacteria symbioticly inhabit each plant cell. But that’s like you said if we believe what they say.

      • As a nurse practitioner, I can’t help but think of this as an infection. Yes, it starts out with good bacteria fixing N2, but what happens when the plants or bacteria develop resistance? Your thoughts are right, first they mess with the cells, INFECTING them with the beneficial bacteria. I cant help but think this will end badly. What are the effects of this bacteria on whatever consumes the plant and this bacteria? Our bodies can handle certain amounts of beneficial bacteria, but what would this do to our internal bacterial ecology? What will this do to the other beneficial bacteria the plant has growing in and on it? Will this throw the plant’s bacterial balance out of whack? Probably. What happens long term for these plants and bioaccumulators further along the food chain? Will this beneficial infection be passed down through the seeds of the plants? I doubt it. I think you are right, Jack. This is like putting a band aid on an arterial laceration or gangrenous wound. We need to treat the source of the problem, not the symptom. Fix the farming system, not the plants.

        • Thats exactly what I kept thinking of. I don’t know why i didn’t think of the word infection. I came coming up with maybe it’ll act like a virus (obviously virus’s do completely different things).

          Infection. ya. This just makes me shrug and go, shouldn’t they just be doing proper farming practices instead of trying to figure out how we can keep bad practices going?

      • Base on a few study abstracts (I’m too cheap to buy the articles), it sounds like the bacteria is injected into the cytoplasm of seed cells where they multiply on their own, then the plant cells replicate (by splitting) and the bacteria ends up in both new cells, henceforth all new cells. Since the plant cells replicate DNA inside the nucleus and the bacteria remains outside the nucleus, the two do not mix.

        The plant DNA is not manipulated, like with the GMO crapshoot, the bacteria just goes along for the ride and replicates on its own, inside the plant cells.

  3. The only way I think they could get around saying it was not GMO is because they are tampering with the cell and not the DNA itself. The cell is the macro vs the DNA which is the micro. I still think this is splitting hairs and I am no biologist by any means, but that’s my take Jack.

  4. I just can’t stand what’s going on in our country/world. Its hard to read the news anymore because there is nothing I can do in the large scale. The only thing I can do is build my life the best way I can and do my best to keep my liberties.

    BTW. Jack you sound so much happier when you’re discussing gardening.

  5. When I was a hotshot driver, single driver no trailer I made $1.35-$1.50 a mile, so basically they are destroying the trucking and delivery driver business

  6. Regarding the nitrogen fixing, I am struck once again by the hubris of modern people and especially scientists.

    I’m an engineer, my job puts me in contact with lots of people who think they have great ideas that noone has ever thought of before. Occasionally they do, but probably 95% of the time I wind up explaining “Your idea is nothing new there’s a reason you’ve never seen it before, it doesn’t work, costs too much, violates legal laws, violates physical laws, or etc…” I hear about this story and immediately have to ask “hasn’t SOMEONE stopped to ask why only certain plans fix nitrogen and others do not? What negative consequences might arise from this? How do you know this isn’t a TERRIBLE idea”.

    Whether you believe God crafted our world or it came about by random variations selected for fitness or anything in between… you have to agree that life and elaborate inter-dependencies of thousands of life forms are much much more complex than anyone or even all of us together can understand. I cannot fathom the arrogance of someone who says “Our world has existed and thrived for untold generations in this manner, I find certain aspects of it’s workings inconvenient, therefore I will monkey around with the way my world exists (the small sliver of it which I understand) to reduce the inconvenience to me. There’s nothing to fear! I’m a scientist!”

    • I was literally saying the same thing last night to my wife. Who is a scientist. (Although a geologist)

  7. Regarding the VM Tax…….

    These guys are clueless. Either A. They’re completely incompetent (we know this is true), and/or B. They’re doing this intentional for purely power grab. Why do I say this?

    Uhm… if you tax by mile…. the obvious way to pay less taxes is to…. DING! Drive less! (they say themselves). Now exactly how is that going to solve the TAX PROBLEM? They’re somewhat intending on having that side effect for people to think more about their mileage….. therefore less commerce, less of a reason to drive places, less of a reason to go to the failing malls, less of a reason to pay TOLLS, less of a reason to order goods (if people don’t realize that USPS is bankrupt, wait till we see what happens with Amazon, considering they’re fast tracking towards a bankrupt business model as we speak), etc etc etc.

    Regardless about going into “peak oil” the analysis on the effect on modern economies as gas becomes more expensive, is quite obvious. Make gas more expensive and get ready to see the oil model fail. Aren’t they proving this point entirely by the whole hybrid thing? One government boondogle after another.

  8. Jack, I have been noticing that over the last several months you have been saying a lot more things that sounded “anarchist”. It’s nice to know that I wasn’t just imagining things!

  9. I wrote a blog post about this N-fix. You can read it here:
    Because there is no info about how it works, it cannot be evaluated scientifically. It states that is is based on a naturally-occurring bacterial strain, but who knows if those cells have been (or will have to be) subsequently modified to work like they want it. It should just act as an innoculant like any other, but there just isn’t enough info to say.

    • I hope it isn’t true that we can’t find out how it’s made or how it works, but, it wouldn’t be the first time, just look at WD-40, no one knows what it really is to this day

      • Well, eventually there will be a patent application(s). So if anyone can translate both the scientific and legal jargon, the information should be in there.

  10. On maximizing your appreciation value. The best advice I can give is: maximize your appreciation value of life. Not just money, but quality of life. Good luck with your decision!

  11. Jack, as to individuals/ slaveery, I, personally have realized and shared this with Second Luiteants, in the Army, US Army , that is, was that the sole ability of command as, the fact the INdividual was the SOLE personaility that either would agree to or disagree to “Authourity” et al, One LT got it, the other not so much on the spot. the one who did, oddly enough went through West Point.
    however, with that thought process, the one who got it, did well in reducing issues with following lawful orders, Granted E 5s do not , generally “educate” Officers, but it worked, well, Sadly, Most of the U.S.A. Citizens are sheep, not even sheeple. Great Podcast, Keep on ,Keeping on!. Salute to all on the expert council , and for all you do, have done and continue to do.


    This amazing documentary discusses how plants communicate, protect themselves from predators and even protect their young. Certain trees are able to provide their offspring with more nitrogen. Fascinating. God designed nature. All of these people with all of their money and technology think that can just change it around. But mark my words, in the end Mother Nature will win.

    Jack, you have to do shows where you blow off some steam. We’re all frustrated and angry. It’s part of being awake and human. Don’t ever apologize for doing a show like this. This show is every bit as valuable as one on permaculture.

  13. Jack:

    Sounded like you threw a book or something in anger talking about Cali’s money steal. I could not help, but to laugh. I think you need to spread out the politics or you will blow a gasket, to much stupidity going on at once.

    • Actually it was a sharpie marker, LOL. It was totally unplanned and it actually surprised me, I haven’t snapped like that in a very long time.

  14. Hi,

    I’m a biologist and i agree completely with Jakevf on the nitrogen fixing bacteria thing. Although it’s not Gmo how they describe it, it holds similar potential dangers. If it’s used how they intend it will cause similar problems as other invasiv species all over the world. Additionally, cultivating bacteria will always cause new substrains. Similar to the so called superbugs in hospital that adapted to the ever increasing concentrations of antibiotics used in modern medicine. Who will stop a profit oriented company can use artificial selection to “alter” these bacteria to better fit their purposes. This can come very closely to actually manipulating the genome. There are other things like genetransferd between different species of bacteria etc but zhis would lead to far. That are just some thoughts. I didn’t read the actual publication yet.
    Nice work, Jack!

  15. A great and moving ‘cast, especially the second part. It’s so easy (almost as if it was planned that way (sarcasm)) to get lost in the dust of never ending drama and political intrigue.

    BTW, Shela Jackson Lee needs to be deported. She gives Texas a bad name. I’m thinking Chicago, as she would fit right in with the rest of the Sponge Bob Nerf heads. Just my opinion. Cheers!

  16. you nailed it jack,luv it when you get fired up,and u were right last part of podcast was best and I totally agree with you.I’m afraid that nothing will change unless we kick all there asses out and outlaw lobbyist. nothing will change until we change the way money works,keep up the good work

  17. Take a look at

    This at least has the abstract of a real scientific paper on the topic from the same professor.

    Two important things stand out.

    1) In legumes, rhizobia present intracellularly in membrane-bound vesicular compartments in the cytoplasm of nodule cells fix nitrogen endosymbiotically. Within these symbiosomes, membrane-bound vesicular compartments, rhizobia are supplied with energy derived from plant photosynthates and in return supply the plant with biologically fixed nitrogen, usually as ammonia.

    2) Recently we have demonstrated, using novel inoculation conditions with very low numbers of bacteria, that cells of root meristems of maize, rice, wheat and other major non-legume crops, such as oilseed rape and tomato, can be intracellularly colonized by the non-rhizobial, non-nodulating, nitrogen fixing bacterium …

    So what this is saying is that in the normal case that we think of where legumes and other plants end up with nitrogen fixing nodules, the bacteria already end up ‘intracellularly’ and this new technique does the same thing.

    I think it is pretty fair to not consider this GMO as it looks to me like the DNA of the base organism is likely remaining intact with this technique and what is happening here is that the cells are being ‘infected’ with this bacteria. However, one of Jack’s concerns in the podcast could still be faclid. Specifically, in the typical naturally occurring relationship it appears that the nodules/bacteria end up ‘infecting’ the root system . The abstract here focuses also on the fact that the roots in this new approach are colonized by this bacteria but it does not really go into details about the rest of the plant.

    Of course eating bacteria could be a good thing…or a bad thing. The particular bacteria in question appears to have existing use in fermentation of cocoa …

    Is this good or bad? Still don’t know.

    • These types of bacteria colonize roots. From what I can tell, the scientists can get colonization, but they do not fix nitrogen. The N-fixing/legume endosymbiosis is a complicated relationship, there are many things that must happen for both species to benefit. I don’t know of evidence where this kind of colonization results in a systemic infection of the whole plant, but that would obviously be a worst case scenario. The original press release inaccurately says something about the bacteria “will allow all plant cells to fix nitrogen.” This in inaccurate because the enzyme that fixes nitrogen is destroyed by oxygen produced by photosynthesis. So colonization or infection of the whole plant would not be a good thing for the plant and the project would never make it to market as a useful technology. All of the plants cells would just have access to ammonia made from N2 by these bacteria (in a best case scenario).

  18. Jack, I saw on facebook where you said you didn’t feel this was your best work because you lost it during the show but hoped the final 15 minutes was worth it. First the snap out is justified, I know you are “reformed” on that stuff but we all break, you broke because you are an ACTUAL PATRIOT, someone that really loves what their nation is supposed to be and claims to be vs. what they are. Never apologize for either the truth or righteous anger.

    Next after the final part I need a t-shirt that says, “Jack Spirko punched me in the face and I needed it!”

    Seriously I am paraphrasing you but you hit me like a fricken kick from a mule when you said something to the effect of,

    “Would you want to tell your grand kids 25 years from now that you tried because you voted for the right guy or argued with their uncle”.

    I was working and hit pause, later when I was taking a break I went and sat by a little lake behind our office, rewound it a bit and listened to it all with full intention. I now get it! I get why you focus so much on growing food, sustainable systems, walked away from most politics, etc.

    What the F am I going to tell my son and daughter (I am younger then you and my kids are now 3 and 5) if I don’t do something now? That I voted against Obama and wrote my congressmen about repealing Obamacare as if that alone is why we are screwed, as if it mattered, as if anyone even cared. That I honest to God do argue with their liberal uncle about stupid crap that is never going to change? Seriously what fing good does that do, what good will it ever do?

    What am I to say that I worked for years at a job I completely hate just to pay a mortgage in a neighborhood I don’t want to live in and grew a crop of grass I had to mow instead of playing with them and teaching them about reality? Is that to me by legacy?

    Um, sorry I can’t not say the word this time, FUCK NO! It isn’t going to be what I leave behind. I am not going to be stupid and quit my job tomorrow but I am damn well going to find a better way for myself, my wife, my kids and their kids God willing some day.

    I won’t rot in some stupid hell hole surrounded by backstabbing assholes that want to climb the ladder on the back of people they claim are friends. I won’t tell my kids someday that I fought the good fight, when I know I am lying to their faces!

    Hell no, I will build something that matters for them and future generations. I may never be an entrepreneur like you are, I won’t be a guy teaching Permaculture for a living or anything like that, but I will build quality into my life, my families life and damn it I will build something that lasts longer then I will.

    • Yes!
      If I may post one of my most favorite literary paragraphs, by one of the most misunderstood authors of all time. (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil chapter 2 paragraph 2, yes I have that memorized because I cite it so often).

      “Take care, ye philosophers and friends of knowledge, and beware of martyrdom! Of suffering “for the truth’s sake”! even in your own defense! It spoils all the innocence and fine neutrality of your conscience; it makes you headstrong against objections and red rags; it stupefies, animalizes, and brutalizes, when in the struggle with danger, slander, suspicion, expulsion, and even worse consequences of enmity, ye have at last to play your last card as protectors of truth upon earth—as though “the Truth” were such an innocent and incompetent creature as to require protectors! ”

      There is nothing more off putting than becoming obsessed and distracted with politics PARTICULARLY at the federal level. Meanwhile completely ignoring what goes on around us. Its just yet another distraction that prevents us from focusing on real tangible things that we can change and influence in our own lives. And yet we slave away to destroy friendships, potential trading partners, our family life and ourselves over opinions on federal politics.

      I can change my life today. I can make my life better now. I can choose at what level of support I am willing to give to the system that destroys me.

  19. Jack, sorry to make you blow your gasket on the California article- but you did call it!
    Couldn’t agree more on your comments about S. J. Lee. Proof that we Texans still have some work to do in our governments.

  20. The last 25ish min of this show was the most powerful 25ish min I have ever heard. Well said Jack………Amazing.

  21. I really enjoyed this episode, specifically the last 20 minutes or so.

    Thanks for the great message about the difference between actively and passively protecting the future.

  22. just launched yesterday by monsanto, dupont, basf, bayer, etc.

    Reeks of desperation trying to gain public support.

  23. PLEASE keep the permaculture content coming! For 4 years I wanted to love permaculture but felt the poverty-loving purists didn’t want me. Your approach is what got me hooked on TSP! Thank you Jack.

  24. Jack,

    Regarding the “tax by the mile” issue, I think there is a positive way to look at this.

    Certainly, it will be an attempt to collect more net taxes, which is definitely a Bad Thing, but it could be ultimately used as the way to delegitimize government control of the roads.

    The roads have always been one of the classic cases held up as a reason why we need government and taxation. “Who would build roads if we didn’t,” they say. The argument is that there would be no way for a private provider of roads to reap economic benefit without making the system so cumbersome with toll booths and the like that it becomes too inefficient. But the technology exists now to make that argument obsolete (if it was ever valid).

    If I was a private owner of a road, I would charge for use based on some pay-for-use model that would take into account all of the things you mentioned in your podcast: miles driven, time of day, type and weight of vehicle, etc. That seems only logical.

    The problem isn’t that type of payment system; the problem is that the wrong entity owns the roads and has no competition to moderate prices. And, now they can’t even make a case for the necessity of public ownership.

    I believe the answer to this is not to oppose pay-per-mile, but to start attacking the public control of the assets.

    Thanks for letting me give my two cents.


    • See the thing is you think this is actually about taxes, it isn’t. If it was they would just raise taxes. Don’t buy into the bullshit that they can’t, that it is too hot a political issue, etc.

      Notice they raise every other tax every time they want to?

      Also while the federal gas tax hasn’t gone up in a long time local and state gas taxes have been raised many times in the past 20 years in fact many local gas taxes were actually created in the last 20 years.

      No this is a way to track and tax your movement. Of course it will cost us all more in the long run, I mean it wouldn’t work if it didn’t, but that isn’t the goal, tracking us is.

  25. Jack,

    That’s true. And, it is another great reason for attacking government ownership of the roads, not focusing on the taxation method. I don’t think it is about taxes. Government is fundamentally about control, not money.

    Systematically delegitimizing what government does (roads, “defense,” monetary control, etc.) is, I think, the way to weaken its hold.


  26. Jack – the last few minutes of this podcast were just what I needed to hear. I’ve been working hard this summer to expand my garden and do other projects to increase my ability to provide for my family. At this time, my family consists of my wife, daughter who is seperated from her husband, and her three kids at least half the time. I was feeling a bit burned out from all the efforts and wondering if it’s all worth it. Your closing comments were a real consolation and helped me focus on the future I’m working to create for all of us. Thank you!