Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Friday, February 14, 2014

The "Garlic Ballads" award goes to . . .

. . . the government of Thailand. Congratulations on your rice-purchasing scheme, which threatens to conjure a famine out of plenty.

The Garlic Ballads, a semi-fictional novel by Mo Yan is about just the same topic--the peasants of a Paradise County are encouraged to focus all their efforts on growing garlic, as the government offered to pay a good price for every stalk they could produce. Things went swimmingly until one year, the region produces the bumper crop to end all bumper crops. The farmers see they are going to produce more garlic than ever before; excitedly calculate their forthcoming profits; and plan their spending. Their excitement is piqued as the first farmers to market sell their entire crop, reaping more money than they've ever seen. But before long the warehouses are full, and the government simply announces they won't be purchasing any more garlic, precipitating a riot.

Horrors follow. The county only grew garlic, so those who were unable to sell theirs are forced to try to survive on nothing but their crop of garlic--and the grass, and the bark from the trees--surrounded by the overpowering stench of garlic rotting in the fields and from every room in every house. Famine in the midst of plenty.

 There's no misfortune quite like centrally planned misfortune.

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