Blog

A selection of our writings from 2009 to the present. If you'd like to keep up to date with our latest posts, please subscribe below.

Hot chips & cigarettes (or, how government regulators fail us, again and again)

A post by Dr Patrick Jones, audio version (approx. 5mins)

 

There’s a common argument in polite Australia that goes something like this, ‘Governments regulate industry and all is well in the world. We don’t need to watch corporate activity, our regulators have that all covered.’ But is this assumption naive and hazardous to our health?

I accompanied Blackwood and some friends to watch the cricket at the MCG last week. The advertising at the ground that bombarded us throughout the day included fast food, alcohol, gambling, and microbe extermination products. You can see this for yourself if you watch the highlights.

During the day, Blackwood, now a confirmed cricket tragic like his dad, was kindly offered a bucket of hot chips, and I agreed to let him have it. Although cigarette companies are banned from sports advertising (which took decades of activism including Australia’s own unique chapter, BUGAUP), this week I discovered that this small bucket of chips that Blackwood consumed may have had the same level of toxins as him smoking a bunch of cigarettes.

I’ve been invited to write a paper on environmental poisons for an Italian academic journal, which is providing an opportunity to update my research regarding environmental pollutants and toxins in both bodies and biomes. So, I thought I’d use this period (over the next several months) to share snippets of my research and publish interesting morsels here for readers.

This week I’m taking a look at the humble potato chip (or French fry, if you’re from the US), from the vantage point of a 2018 study on fried food toxins.

Our taste receptors are excited by salty and fatty foods. The fast food industry exploits our weak spot for such nutrients or chemical compounds, which were not so prevalent as we evolved into a species with unique human taste abilities.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’m probably not telling you anything new. However, if you’ve been looking for research to back up your hunch that fried hot chips are likely very toxic in the body, then please read on.

Our family has been avoiding hot chips bought at a store for many years now, preferring to grow our own spuds and animal fats organically and cooking them at home. But, every now and then (like at the cricket) we soften our stance and indulge. Is this such a stupid thing to do?

A study entitled, Chronic non-communicable disease risks presented by lipid oxidation products in fried foods (2018), although limited in its frame of reference – i.e. it would have been more useful to switch butter for ghee, and add animal fats as part of the trial – it is nonetheless a good indicator of what we have suspected, intuitively for some time, that is – if you are buying hot chips from fast food outlets, perhaps don’t.

The study finds that in a “154g potato chip serving [the] aldehyde contents are not dissimilar to those arising from the smoking of a (daily) allocation of 25 tobacco cigarettes…”

That there exists cell-damaging, carcinogenic aldehyde toxins in supposedly benign foods like fried potato chips is yet another example of government regulation not serving people, but rather serving the profit interests of industry foremost, while simultaneously eroding human health.

Of course anyone paying attention knows governments and industry now sleep in the same bed, and as we saw so outstandingly with the Covid response, there is no longer even a covering up of their flagrant lovemaking.

To have fried foods duly regulated by government oversight is never going to occur within a political system that has been captured by every large industry across the globe. Such oversight can only come from individuals, households and communities getting informed from sources they can trust, and acting on what they find out.

But if we cannot trust, or haven’t got the time to research the things we consume, then living by a simple precautionary principle, like ‘if it’s fast it’s probably toxic,’ is going to serve us well, and keep us from the ever grubby hands of the pharmaceutical or illness industry.

Your comments, research and experiences with environmental toxins that have been enabled by falsely regulated industries and corporatised journalism, are most welcome here.

And lastly if you’d like to listen to a couple of sweet evolutionary biologists discussing the scientific paper mentioned in this piece, head here.

(The citation for the paper referenced is: Grootveld M, Percival BC, Grootveld KL. Chronic non-communicable disease risks presented by lipid oxidation products in fried foods. HepatoBiliary Surg Nutr 2018;7(4):305-312. doi: 10.21037/hbsn.2018.04.01)C

I’m closing out this post with a peg of Blackwood harvesting spuds in our home garden last year. Growing our own food is always the best medicine, and it means that low-income households like ours can afford organically grown food that is non-reliant upon the vulgar boudoir of the state-corporate nexus.

In honour of Meg ‘Magpie’ Ulman

We gathered a few days ago to celebrate Meg’s 50th orbit around the sun, neopeasant village style.

As individuals or in small groups we spoke our praise of Magpie in heartfelt words and song, including ‘Clearing the inbox’ to the tune of Waltzing Matilda, created and performed by Meg’s frolleagues (friend-colleagues) at Melliodora – David, Ostii, Catie, Beck and Su.

We ate nourishing, potluck, home-tended/crafted food while we kept warm by the fire.

There were also many potluck poems, stories, and honourings shared into the night, including by Ruth,

and Trace,

and Maya,

who, like Catie, shared gratitude and love in a hand drawn card. Did you notice Catie’s worm font?!

Thanks Kim and Jordan for taking these pics, especially this one Kim, capturing Magpie in her nest of love ones.

We each expressed our love uniquely for Magpie, who’d returned that morning from three days and nights fasting and listening in the nearby forest by herself. While she was away, Patrick wove a love poem as long as Meg is tall, attempting to portray a little of her love- and lifemaking adventures, and their shared collaborations. (9min listen)

 

Four things about this recording: Firstly, if you haven’t heard of The Decameron referred to in this piece, you might want to get to know it, if only for the horny monks and nuns in 14th century plagued Europe. Secondly, Patrick’s piece ends with a recorder solo performed by Meg, which is situated towards the end of a newish Artist as Family song called Fish, which we’re still working on. Thirdly, in the piece, Patrick is referring to a virologist in Beijing called Dr Song, who he has been corresponding with. Maybe more on that in a future post. Fourthly, here is the bunny merkin-sporran Patrick made for Meg as an accompanying gift with his poem, which is mentioned (indirectly) in the piece.

Now, back to this Neopeasant Queen (née Jewish Princess).

Another piece delivered on the night was written by our old friend Pete O’Mara, who was MC for the night and who’d predicted Meg and Patrick’s suitability even before they’d met, 18 years ago, when Meg was just new to Djaara Country.

Thank you for the warmth and radiance you bring to life, Meg. You are a lit and giving hearth in the rebuilding of our village, and your love reverberates out into the living of the world.

Overcoming fear in the New Year (news, views and crews from the neopeasant home front)

You can listen to Meg and Patrick reading this blog post here (9 mins):

 

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been a while. We hope your social season has been a time of reflection, growth and joy, and if there’s been pain or grief in your world we hope you have both support and inner resources that are aiding you.

We’ve been away visiting friends and family and have returned to an abundant garden with all the rain a Djaara Country summer could hope for. Here is a vista of Tree Elbow University in early January 2024:


We’d like to share a few things with you in this post and ask you some questions about the year ahead.

First up, we’d like to introduce you to our brilliant mate, Catie Payne’s new podcasting project. Here is the second episode in which Catie and Meg have a spirited yarn.

Catie’s podcast, Reskillience, is a weekly dive into the lives of those around the world who are observing civilisational collapse and are acting in a colour wheel of ways that are contiguous with village rebuilding and living a more beautiful world. Or, in Catie’s words, it is for people who are interested in how “…remembering our place in nature’s systems, re-learning traditional skills, and re-claiming our wildness can calm apocalyptic fears and create a healthier culture that produces less emissions/zombies.” We highly recommend you subscribe, share and support her efforts.

We have collaborated with Catie before, and greatly admire what she brings to the world.

We have also been reading useful Substacks such as Why the Great Reset will fail and eloquent and wise stacks such as Deep Resistance: Philosophical Practices of Sanity (Part 1). We’ve been observing the growing threat to dissident thinkers and commentators such as CJ Hopkins and tuning into Bret Weinstein again, one of the most articulate biologists of our time (who thankfully isn’t staying in his lane). Here he is giving his take on the post Covid moment in this interview with a former Fox-News-gone-rogue journalist. While you’re over on Rumble, you might also like to check out Useful Idiots.

Another dissident voice we think worthy of our attention, is Whitney Webb, whose focus is on investigating power and corruption. Like others (including from inside the establishment), Webb is predicting an orchestrated ‘cyber pandemic’ that will likely be blamed (at least by the establishment) on nefarious actors like Iran and co., which may (for some amount of time) bring the internet down, give more cause for governments to re-instate a state of emergency, and thus again the opportunity to erode human rights under the banner of ‘making us all safe’ with ‘safe and effective’ measures.

Here’s a peg of Webb’s most famous book:

Webb, more than us, has felt the brunt of the Censorship Industrial Complex. According to Wikispooks, links to Webb’s domain TheLastAmericanVagabond.com have been “automatically shadowbanned by Reddit at the admin level for some time. In October 2020, YouTube removed the channel of The Last American Vagabond, and in February 2021, the subscription service Patreon banned the site.” She is also a permie and is not just a researcher, but is living the change, in Chile.

If we are not all expecting the next big thing that will attempt to give global power the license to further punish or disappear dissidents and further reward conformists, we are not going to be in a mental state or communitarian position to resist the next stage of totalitarianism as it is likely to unfold in 2024. So it would be wise to organise and collectivise more, whatever the future brings.

What are your strategies for resilience? Do you become immobilised by fear in a crisis, and if so what are you doing now to address this? How reliant are you on money? How much debt are you carrying? Will your employer again coerce you into complying with the global agenda? How will you cope when you’re once again gaslit by friends and family who are following the script? What have you learnt about power during Covid? Where lies the brittleness and dysfunction of totalitarianism, and how can you exploit these, while not breaking laws or exposing yourself to persecution?

With what Webb is forecasting, we are wondering how we might all stay connected, should the internet really go ‘dark,’ or some other ’emergency’ unfolds, when the only ‘media’ available to us here in Australia is, alas, the government operative known as the ABC, or whatever the equivalent is in your neck of the woods. If you haven’t noticed the gradual slide of the ABC from journalism to propaganda over the past 30 years, you might want to place a bullshit filter over the big stories they present, especially anything regarding the pharma-military industrial complex that rules US congress.

Have those of you in Australia noticed how the ABC logo and the word Emergency have become entwined?

~

For the last several years we have been rebuilding our book library and other offline resources that will be helpful in a post-internet world, and we are curious if this is something you’ve been working on too. What are you doing to build information and critical thinking resilience for either an internet-less or heavily censored future? We would be grateful if you share in the comments some of your thinking here.

Going into this new year, in order to control whatever narrative needs to be controlled, those in power (political, financial or ideological) will attempt to further silence dissident voices, and this is why all around the western world governments are bringing in censorship infrastructure in the forms of misinformation bills, while gaslighting dissidents as being spreaders of mis-, dis- and even malinformation – facts or opinions likely to be true but that hurt a government’s reputation and therefore must be censored.

We believe the dissemination of critical and dissident thought will become a greater challenge in the year ahead, which may well lead to a new golden era of political graffiti. The diversity of Covid dissidents and heterodox thinkers from across the political spectrum has been extremely effective at exposing the failures, cowardice and corruption of the state/Pharma nexus during Covid, but how will this occur should we enter an internet dark period?

We are asking a whole lotta questions, but we are not fearing the future. The present and future are filled with possibilities and this year we will again face up to whatever fear or global ’emergency’ comes our way. We will not fear tyranny, we will mock it, dance with it and eventually compost it. And most importantly, we will receive our most critical information not from experts but from Mother Country – the fruiting, flowering, regenerating flow of wisdoms that will help us overcome the unfolding “neofeudal technocratic biosecurity surveillance state,” which in real terms just signals the collapse of global civilisation.

Life cycles before news cycles. Ecological participation before anthropocentric team sports ideology.

Before we sign off, we’d like to end with a joyous introduction to two newcomers at Tree Elbow.

We first met Jordan and Antoinette from Happen Films when they came to film Creatures of Place with us several years ago. That little film about our life, economy and culture making has reached some 2.4 million views and has brought us many volunteers from across the world to labour and learn with us. We have stayed in touch with Jordan and Antoinette over the years and they made another film about our working with goats and neighbours to reduce bushfire risk a few years later.

Jordan is now back in Australia after living in NZ, and will be living with us here at Tree Elbow. We are so looking forward to sharing our life with this thoughtful, talented, switched on and humourous young man.

Here he is helping us with the post rabbit hunt processing. Welcome Jordan!

The other newcomer we are excited to share our space with is Prunella vulgaris, aka Self Heal, a wondrous and useful herb that has invited herself into the Tree Elbow garden.

We look forward to learning from her and from Jordan, and Catie, as well as a rich cohort of diverse specimens, human and more-than, all labouring to make the world a more beautiful, more abundant place.

We hope 2024 is a year in which you too can work towards composting fear and pitchforking into your gardens, balcony pots, farms or community allotments, the psychopaths of world power, and play your part in the step-by-step renewal of eldership, mentorship and village rebuilding.