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 BLOG >> December 2014

Maximum Power Principle [Economics
Posted on December 26, 2014 @ 10:27:00 AM by Paul Meagher

Today I want to begin discussing the maximum power principle. Credit for the maximum power principle as I will be discussing it is due theoretical biologist Alfred Lotka and was more fully elaborated by systems thinker Howard T. Odum.

A bit of context first.

There is a maximum power theorem in electronics that I do not claim to be an expert on but which provided some inspiration to Mr. Odum. Mr. Odum also uses the Atwood Machine in some of his explanations of the maximum power principle, where an Atwood Machine is just a heavy weight placed on the down size of a rope with pully. You are then asked to imagine what happens when you put couterbalancing weights of different mass on the other side of the rope. Maximum power in the system is achieved when you select a counterweight that delivers the maximum amount of work in the shortest amount of time - a counterweight that is around 50 to 60% of the weight of the heavy weight on the other end. Power output is reduced when the weight is so light that considerable power is lost as heat when the heavy weight crashes down to earth. Power output is also reduced then the counterweight is so heavy that is moves very slowly up the other side of the Atwood Machine. Maximum power is achieved when the loading is optimal relative to the energy available to drive the system (the potential energy in the heavy weight on the other end of the pully).

Mr. Lotka and Mr. Odum originally proposed the Maxiumum Power Principle as a 4th law of thermodynamics, a law that would provide for a physical interpretation of why natural selection occurs. The physical principle that natural selection might be satisfying is to cycle power from the available energies in the system at a maximum rate.

The physicists have so far not jumped on the idea that there might be a fourth law of thermodynamics that might serve to explain much more about why the natural world is organized as it is.

The idea that we as individuals, as a business group, as a nation, or as a species are adapted to maximize power consumption in order to survive and compete has a certain amount of plausibility and explanatory power to it. It is worrying to some who see our maximum power tendancy as hard coded into our DNA making us unable, as a species, and as a market economy, to slow down our drive to exploit as much energetic power as we can in as short a time as we can. Humans are the supreme power maximizers and our effects have lead many to call the current era "The Anthopocence Era".

Discussions of the maximum power principle can quickly shift from physics to sociology which makes some physicists uncomfortable with the idea, but an increasing number of writers are starting to wrestle with the implications of the maximum power principle (see Kurt Cobb's Greed Explained article), how we should understand it, and perhaps counteract the tendency to exploit power at maximum rates. Some Buddhist teachings have recognized the tendency, that maximum power does not produce maximum happiness, and encourage disciples to live more contemplatively and less acquisitively.

The final observation I will make today about maximum power is whether there is a corresponding aesthetic which goes with it. The designed landscape, either around the home, the garden, the farm, and the park might be most preferred when the power output of that landscape appears to be maximized. In a forest garden, the idea is to plants trees at every level of the understory from the top canopy layer, to the small trees, to the shrubs, to the vines, to the tall plants and short plants. Productive ecosystems like this will sometimes occur in nature, but will probably not contain all the edible plants we might want to see in a forest garden understory. If one were to encounter such a garden, my guess is that most people would find it aesthetically pleasing. Is it because all the colors, textures, smells and edibles are pleasing at many levels, or is there an additional and significant principle of maximum power cycling that is also being appreciated?

Maximum power may not be so bad as we think if we understand it to mean the harnessing of available energies at a maxium power rate in a way that is more sustainable. To be more sustainable we must be more intelligent about how we harness the available energies to create landscapes that are less energy intensive. We are still maximizing power but the amount of power could be voluntarily set at a lower set point which would require us to re-organize our ways so as to live within a new energy envelope. Producing more of our own food and goods ourselves and locally, travelling less intensively, buying smarter, recycling more, wasting less energy, and sharing more are few ways to lower the energy envelope in a way that maximizes power in the context of lower overall energy usage. Strategies like this can lead to better individual and group-level resilience in the face of whatever the future might hold.

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Merry Forest Days [Agriculture
Posted on December 24, 2014 @ 10:22:00 AM by Paul Meagher

When I take the time to get out for a walk in a forest, I often have to pause while I notice how easy it is to breathe, how clear my nostils and chest feels. Walking through a forest gets the body working and helps clear passage ways, but over and above that I'm pretty sure the forest is helping because of the higher oxygen content of the air, as well as a nice humidity. If you are walking through the forest near a stream, then you might even be getting higher doses of oxygen in each breathe you take as dissolved oxygen is released in the stream bubbles.

In areas where forest and stream meet, there is an especially high concentration of negative ions. Exposure to negative ions has some mood altering effects so one form of therapy for people with negative affect is to spend time in the forest. Here is some info on what negative ions are and their health benefits.

So here are two potentially powerful reasons for spending a bit of time in the woods over the holidays if you can arrange it. My own view is that the negative ions are a more hypothetical benefit, but the air quality part is not. If you don't believe me, just go for a forest walk and evaluate the quality of the air. How moist is the air? Do you feel more alert than usual? How do your lungs and passageways feel?

Another fun and useful thing to do while you are ambling through the forest understory is to measure wind direction with your face. Feel the air as it presses your face from many directions at the same time. From this mass of air pressures, try to assign it a direction. Not necessarily a direction as in east, west, north, and south, but where is it flowing from and to in the landscape. You can use this information to help read a landscape, to understand, for example, why snow tends to accumulate on the forest floor in the pattern that is does.

May you all have a merry holiday season and I hope you get a chance to inhale some forest air over the holidays. May you enjoy the grace of the forests now and in the new year.


Some Cattails I encountered this morning in my walk.

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Dairy Cow Investing [Agriculture
Posted on December 22, 2014 @ 09:15:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I read a story last night about a dairy farm that is next door to the farm I grew up on. We eventually got out of the dairy business during the "get big or get out" phase but our neighbor (my uncle) stayed in the business in part because he had sons and daughers who were more enthusiastic about the dairy business. My father liked construction and moved more into that field, but always made some side income of the farm to help raise 8 kids.

The neighboring farm in question is located in the middle of rural nowhere so I was impressed to see that our neighbors were breeding some prize winning Holstein cows at a higher level on the international stage than before. They have been breeding prize winning Holsteins for around 15 years now and got into some advanced artificial breeding techniques early on (e.g., insemination, transplants, cloning, etc..). I don't know the details. What I do know is that they have one 4 hr old Holstein cow that they have fully sold off (no more shares in it) that is one of the top showing dairy Holsteins in the world. As it progresses through the ranks in judging competitions, new investors come in and buy out shares in the cow. There are a suprisingly large number of investors involved in this one Holstein cow (between 10 to 15, not sure how many are still in).

They did quote one dollar figure in the article. If you have some prize winning Holstein genetics and sell it as a two year old that shows well in competitions, then that Holstein cow could be worth between 200 and 250 thousand dollars. This might be formatted as a corresponding number or shares available to investors. The owners of the genetics might opt to sell only a fraction of the shares to investors so they might enjoy a larger share of any potential jump in market value beyond 250 thousand dollars.

I also find it interesting that these rural farmers don't spend much time on the internet (they put in long hours in the barn) and don't get to show their cattle as much as they would like to because of their remote rural location. They are nevertheless leaders in the information technology business, but the information they are selling are genetic programs that produce award winning holsteins. While they are very humble and unassuming farmers to talk to, they are gradually honing in on the prize - to be a top-tier supplier of dairy cow genetics to farmers around the world. Their brand/motto is to be "the future of dairy".

I should mention one more detail that might be important in the whole dairy cow investing business. To produce an award winning Holstein cow you want to use the best combination of genetics you can find. My neighbors made a point of complimenting the local dairy farming community for producing high quality Holsteins so it is my theory that they are mixing some of their own genetics with the genetics of top Holstein cattle in the local area. It would be interesting to know more about their artificial selection processes.

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Natural Capital [Economics
Posted on December 17, 2014 @ 09:20:00 AM by Paul Meagher

In a previous blog called The Energese Language I stated my intention to begin exploring the work of ecological systems thinker Howard T. Odum. One of the aspects of his work that appeals to me is his facility with using diagrams to express ideas and create insight into systems. In today's blog I'll focus on a diagram he used to explain the idea of natural capital. The diagram below comes from his The Emergy of Natural Capital article. The diagram is worth studying for awhile.

What I hope this diagram makes clear is how the wealth generated in our economic system is completely dependent upon the natural capital supplied by the environment. I don't think I could make this point any clearer than this diagram does.

Herman Daly has written a recent article called The Use and Abuse of the "Natural Capital" Concept in which he discusses some misconceptions surrounding the Natural Capital concept. One common misconception is evidenced in Dieter Helm's report The State of Natural Capital: Restoring our Natural Assets:

As the White Paper rightly emphasized, the environment is part of the economy and needs to be properly integrated into it so that growth opportunities will not be missed.

Here is Daly's observation on what is wrong with this statement:

If the Chairman of the UK Natural Capital Committee gets it exactly backwards, then probably others do too. The environment, the finite ecosphere, is the Whole and the economic subsystem is a Part – a completely dependent part. It is the economy that needs to be properly integrated into the ecosphere so that its limits on the growth of the subsystem will not be missed. Given this fundamental misconception, it is not hard to understand how other errors follow, and how some economists, imagining that the ecosphere is part of the economy, get confused about valuation of natural capital.

The field of ecological economics exists because there is so little mainstream recognition in economics of the overriding importance of natural capital in providing any wealth that we enjoy. Howard Odum was a pioneer in this field of ecological economics and I think it is worth noting in his diagram the need for "Payments for Restoring Natural Capital" and the use of these payments to reinforce "Nature's Work Producing Resources". Are we making "Payments for Restoring Natural Capital"? How should these payments be determined and who should pay?

If you want to further explore the complex issue of pricing natural capital then I would encourage you to watch George Monbiot's provocative lecture on Natural Capital called "The Price of Everything".

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Teen Entrepreneurs: Part 2 [Entrepreneurship
Posted on December 15, 2014 @ 08:43:00 AM by Paul Meagher

In my last blog, Teen Entrepreneurs, I discussed my own approach to trying to foster some entrepreneurship in my son and daughter. In today's blog, I want to offer up a case study of a successful teen entrepreneur, Jonathan Dysinger, so that we might reflect on how he achieved his success. Johnathan Dysinger was 15 when he started work on designing the Quick Cut Greens Harvester which now sells for around $500 and is currently sold out. There is a very bright future ahead for his company, Farmer's Friend, and his first product, the Quick Cut Greens Harvester. Here is the official promotional video for the product.

The magazine Growing For Market has a story on how Johnathan came up with the idea and what was involved in bringing it to market. I'm not going to repeat these details here. I just want to comment on what general lessons might be gleaned from this example.

The first lesson is that teen entrepreneurs are no different than other entrepreneurs insofar as they are interested in solving problems that are deeply meaningful to them. In the case of Johnathan, he spent long hours harvesting greens and was very interested in finding a way to harvest greens more easily. Many teens these days are not as involved in the work of their parents and it is something to consider whether this is an element of developing entrepreneurial capability in your teens.

The second lesson has to do with the discovery and validation of an entrepreneurial project. The idea for this project was suggested by Elliot Coleman who is a highly-respected pioneer in market gardening (Elliot is the gray haired fellow in the video above). While Johnathan may have had the latent desire to solve the problem of harvesting greens more easily based upon his experience, it took the suggestion of a mentor for him to realize that it was a real problem, that it was not being currently solved, and that it would be quite valuable to those who work in the area that he was involved in. So the discovery and validation of entrepreneurial projects for teens does not necessarily originate in the teen and might be best fostered by putting them in contact with a mentor who is involved in the area that they are involved or interested in.

A third lesson has to do with getting support for your idea. In this case, his parents were able to offer support for the initial development of his prototypes. Once the idea reached a more advanced stage, the parents were again able to marshal support for the idea by going through their network to raise additional funds for manufacturing. So the development of teen entrepreneurship is not just a matter of letting the teen go off on their own to design and develop a product or service, the parent will probably need to be involved financially all the way through. It may be a losing proposition for most parents but if they stay involved and provide capital and support at the right times and in the right amounts, then maybe such projects will stand a better chance of being successful. Also, at a certain point, the parent may need to recognize that the idea has reached a level beyond their ability to finance. The parent will need to help raise funds to take the project to another level by tapping into their business network.

Finally, there are some advantages to being a teen entrepreneur. I think society notices a bit more when a teenager makes the leap into entrepreneurship and I think society might be there for them a bit more than they would be for even young adult entrepreneurs. The media picks up on these stories, mentors might be more open and supportive of young entrepreneurs with startup ambitions, and financing might be more available because there is so much potential that, if fostered correctly, could help both the financier and society for a long time to come. Investors want to get in early when they see potential and you can't get in much earlier than supporting a teen in a startup, especially when that teen is surrounded by parents who are also supporting him/her financially and in many other ways.

So these are just a few lessons we might draw from this case study. Another high profile case study of a young entrepreneur might be Parker Schnabel (pictured below) who is one of the featured miners on the popular TV series Gold Rush Alaska (one of my favorite shows on TV now). I think you see some of the same dynamics playing out if you were to do a case study on Parker (i.e., entrepreneurial ideas originating/validated with his grandfather mentor, ongoing financial support from parents, good media coverage owing to age, relative ease of raising capital because of early potential and family involvement). Parker is more accurately classified as a young adult now but was a teenager when he started up his own mining venture. One challenge that Parker's case illustrates more clearly is the problem of being taken seriously by adults. In Parker's case, I think that his grounded self-confidence and work-ethic are big factors in gaining respect from his seniors and would be important personal attributes for successful teen entrepreneurs to possess as well.

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Teen Entrepreneurs [Entrepreneurship
Posted on December 11, 2014 @ 11:28:00 AM by Paul Meagher

My daughter will be finishing high school this year and will be deciding in the new year what university she will be attending in 2015-2016. She is not sure what career she wants to pursue but likes the sciences and will likely enroll in that program. Usually when career discussions come up various ideas are put forth regarding jobs for which there will be future demand. I've contributed to such discussions but increasingly I find myself arguing the case for using university as a springboard to starting a business rather than, or in addition to, finding a job. I suspect that even if your goal is to learn what is required for a job that your prospects of finding a job would be increased by having some experience in trying to start a business. If you have two candidates with equal academic qualifications, but one has also tried to start a business, then I think most employers would consider the entrepreneurial candidate over the career-focused candidate.

I probably should have had some of these discussions before now regarding the entrepreneur career option. Better late than never. My son is in grade 10 so I'll have more opportunity to discuss this option with him and perhaps assist him in starting something while he is still a teenager.

Discussion will only get you so far with teenagers because what is important to them and me are not the same. You can talk about entrepreneurship but if it doesn't jive with their interests and hormones, then your talk goes in one ear and out the other.

So one idea I had yesterday as to how I might get them to think about entrepreneurship was to buy each of them a .com web domain that uses their first and last name as the domain name (e.g,. johnsmith.com). This will be an Xmas gift to them this year. I have web servers for my business that I can host them on so that expense is not there for them. I might put up a Wordpress site on the domain to get them started. It will give me an opportunity to discuss with them why people have personal-brand websites, how they might use their personal-brand website, what branding is, how they might drive traffic to their website, how they can collect payments from their website, etc.... Hopefully I can provide some business/technical support for any ideas they might want to bring to life for their personal-brand website.

When you purchase a personal-brand domain name (also called a vanity domain) for a teenager you save them the effort of coming up with a company name or business idea. That can be worked out later. In the case of my son, he has gotten good enough on the bagpipes that he can probably start offering his bagpiping services at funerals, weddings, reunions, and various other events. A personal-brand website would be a useful tool for him to have if he wants to pursue that option. Incidentally, my wife recently read that bagpipers are in demand because there are so few bagpipers available relative to the number of events for them to potentially play at. We will see.

So one idea for developing entrepreneurial capability in teenagers is to buy them a personal-brand domain name, have discussions about how they might use it and provide them with any support they might need to get some venture started on that website. Xmas is a good excuse to buy your teenager a personal-brand website. The website then becomes an avenue to have discussions with them about using their website in an entrepreneurial way.

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Law of the Minimum [Growth
Posted on December 4, 2014 @ 08:21:00 AM by Paul Meagher

According to Wikipedia, the law of the minimum states that "growth is controlled not by the total amount of resources available, but by the scarcest resource (limiting factor)". The law of the minimum is the modern basis of nutrient management for soils and in practical terms means that if your soil is low in nitrogen then your plants will be nitrogen limited until you correct this deficiency by adding nitrogen. The plants will not grow well until you meet the minimal nitrogen requirements for your plants. The growth of you plants is dictated by the level of nutrient that is in shortest supply. This situation can be visualized using Leibig's Barrel (after Justus von Leibig who popularized this law based on the work of Carl Sprengel).

The law of the minimum can also be applied at a higher level than nutrients. You can also talk about sunlight, water, heat, and nutrients as the main factors and formulate a law of the minimum in terms of these higher level factors. The growth of a plant is determined by which high-level factor is in shortest supply.

The law of the minimum is called a law because it is believed to have a wide range of applicability. It would also appear to have applications to understanding business growth as well: "the growth of a business is controlled not by the total amount of resources available, but by the scarcest resource (limiting factor)". So if you parcel up your company into various factors that contribute to its growth such as capital, equipment, labor, market, management, and so on, the factor that will control the growth of your company is the resource in shortest supply. If you want to grow a company, then you need to 1) identify what your limiting factor is (e.g., capital, equipment, labor, market, management), and 2) take actions to correct that deficiency.

The limiting factor changes as a company grows. At first capital and markets may be the main limiting factors, but as the company grows capital, labor, management might become the main limiting factors. At each stage in a company's growth it has to re-identify what the limiting factor is and takes steps to address the deficiency. The process of growing a company is a process of overcoming the limits to growth.

The role of capital in limiting the growth of a business plays a special role insofar as capital can affect the level of the other limiting factors by adding more equipment, more labor, more advertising, and better management. Working capital is required to stay ahead of the bills but capital over and above the requirements of working capital can be used to grow the business by overcoming current limiting factors. Mind you, new equipment can also reduce the need for labor so there are some equivalencies among the other factors, but capital has the most equivalencies (or ability to change the levels of the other factors). Capital alone can't fix a broken management structure or a wasteful production line so it is not limitless in what it can do and it is not always the limiting factor for a business.

So keep the law of the minimum in mind the next time you think about the requirements of growing your business. What is the most limiting factor now and how can I correct that deficiency? Once that deficiency is corrected, what is the next most limiting factor. Growing a business is much like gardening, ever attentive to possible deficiencies, attending to them, and then noticing or wondering about other possible deficiencies and attending to them. If you want to transition from home gardening to market gardening, then a new list of limiting factors comes into play. Your limiting factor is either capital, labor, equipment, market, or management or some combination thereof. You need to figure it out in order to make a successful transition to the next level of growth. So don't just keep an eye on where you want to go with your business, make sure you also attend to what factor might be holding you back the most in your present circumstance and perform the necessary corrective actions.

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Forest Farming Entrepreneurs [Agriculture
Posted on December 3, 2014 @ 07:40:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I came accross this video which consists of interviews with various successful forest farmers. The video provides some ideas for how forest farming entrepreneurs are making money along with some of the business wisdom they have accumulated along the way. Informative and entertaining.

If you are interested in learning more about Forest Farming, then you can watch this lecture by Ken Mudge who has done considerable research in this area.

Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel have recently released a book on forest farming called Farming the Forest (2014).

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Selecting For Cooperation [Agriculture
Posted on December 2, 2014 @ 11:28:00 AM by Paul Meagher

Ford Denison, in his book, Darwinian Agriculture: How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture (2012) discusses some interesting research on breeding for cooperation among chickens which is reported below. Richard Dawkins recommended this study to him which was originally reported in William M. Muir, 1996, Group Selection for adaptation to multiple-hen cages: selection program and direct responses. Poultry Science, 75, 447-445.

Over much of their evolutionary history, hens have competed among themselves. Those who were more aggressive tended to get more than their far share of food, allowing them to lay more eggs and have more descendants. Although success in fighting increased the relative egg production of the most-aggressive hens, it decreased egg production by the losers even more, thereby reducing total egg production.

So Muir took a novel approach to selecting for increased egg production. Rather than breeding from the individual hens that laid the most eggs, he bred from the groups - four hens per group, raised together - that laid the most eggs. The most-productive groups turned out to be those where hens had less genetic propensity to peck each other. In only six generations of selection, there was a major decrease in fighting-related injuries and a 30 percent increase in the percent of hens laying an egg each day, from 52 percent of hens to 68 percent.

Selection based on group-level traits, like egg production per group, are know as group selection. Group selection deliberately imposed by humans (as in the chicken example just discussed) can have major evolutionary effects. p. 140

The study offers us a nice parable regarding the virtues of cooperation. It also provides a good example of what group selection refers to in the context of evolutionary theory. Group selection is not believed to be a very big factor overall in the evolution of plants and animals as most biologists view evolution as operating at the individual or gene level rather than the group level; however, group selection can be carried on by humans over the plant and animal world as exemplified by this study. The study provides some insight into how production can benefit (e.g, total eggs) when management selects for group-level attributes in addition to, or instead of, individual-level attributes.

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Darwinian Business [Agriculture
Posted on December 2, 2014 @ 09:57:00 AM by Paul Meagher

In my limits of biotech blog I reported on some of what I had learned from Ford Denison's book called Darwinian Agriculture: How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture (2012). I have to return the book to the library so finished it off this morning as I felt it was worth completing. I am doing a mini review on the second part that I read in the last few days.

The book is a nice combination of scientific and imaginative exploration of where plant breeding is and could go with, and without, the assistance of biotechnology. It discusses agriculture at a very philosophical level, often in the context of the theory of natural selection, and includes both critical and supportive discussion of conventional agriculture, organic agriculture, and biotechnology. He discusses many interesting topics and research in support of his various arguments regarding the limits of biotechnology. I learned towards the end that he is not happy with the way biotech funding has usurped funding for other programs in an agricultural program. Apparently, programs like ecology and evolutionary biology (and applied cousins agronomy and plant breeding), are having a hard time because biotech projects are getting most of the life sciences funding from government these days. I can't confirm this or not, but the book does have this political aspect that I was not aware of until the very end.

Ford Denison sees the natural world as emerging from a seive that operates on the basis of 4 principles - competitive testing, bet hedging, tradeoffs, and plasticity. Species that emerge and persist are the result of brew consisting of competitive testing, bet hedging, tradeoffs, and plasticity. Regarding competitive testing, you don't get to exist just because you have always done so, you have to keep evolving to remain in the game. Regarding bet hedging, that is difficult to explain but I'll point out that diversification is key to hedging bets. Nature needs mutations and diversity to keep evolving. Regarding tradeoffs, we need to view anything that exists as the result of tradeoffs in the design of the plant, animal or microbe. The reason a wheat cultivar yields well under drought conditions but average under moist conditions may be because it needs a slower metabolism to be able to do so and this keeps yield in a conservative range even when water is available. You can't have everything - drought tolerance and high yield at the same time. The best selection is the one with the best set of tradeoffs, not the one with the best score on one dimension. Finally, regarding plasticity, species and businesses exist because they can respond to change. Some species reach the limits of their plasticity and cannot survive any longer. Others may have adaptations that provide the ability to survive under lower or high temperature limits, more or less water, more or less sun, etc... Businesses need to be plastic like plants and animals in order to survive.

If you want to evaluate a business using a Darwinian test, you might rate that business using scales designed to measure:

Competitive testing.

lens, the 4 dimensions that you would peer into would consist of competitive testing dimension, bet hedging dimension, the tradeoffs dimension, and the plasticity dimension.

of your viewplane would consist of competitive testing, bet hedging,

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The Energese Language [Business Models
Posted on December 1, 2014 @ 07:34:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I have started to read a book by Howard T. Odum called Ecological and General Systems: An Introduction to Systems Ecology (1983).

I'm reading it because 1) I'm interested in systems theory generally, and 2) Howard Odum is often cited as having inspired the founders of Permaculture, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, and I wanted to examine one of his books to see why. I'm taking an online Permaculture course and want to examine it's foundations more. Howard wrote many books, some I believe were meant for the general public. This is not one of them. So far the most remarkable feature of the book is the density of diagrams throughout. The book is 643 pages long and it is hard to believe that a person could produce so many detailed diagrams for a book. Many of these diagrams use his special energy circuit language the main elements of which are depicted in the energese diagram below.

.

The book is slow going at first as you learn the energese language and start seeing examples of it being used. The idea is to use these basic symbols to describe all kinds of processes, transactions, and systems in an energy-circuit-based language that consists of drawing various links and arrows from one type of energese symbol to another.

In this diagram the "system" is what is inside the bordered box. The inflows or forcing functions go into the system from outside the box and always dissipates some energy through a bottom energy sink symbol on the diagram. Energy is lost in the transaction as required by the second law of thermodynamics. This diagram depicts everything being lost in various thermodynamic energy transformations but often there are outputs from the system besides just heat or lost energy. It all depends on what you want to box into your analysis and what you want to leave outside of its scope.

I'm on chapter three dealing with "Storage and Flow" now so my goal is to finish that chapter today (20 pages) and browse around the rest of the book some more. There are some general nuggets of wisdom in this book that I hope to share with you this week. Doing so might end up requiring the use of the energese language so I'm introducing that today.

Some music that gave me some energese over the weekend was Matt May's song Ain't that the Truth from his album Coyote which won Rock Album of the Year 2014 at the Juno Music Awards.

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