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Real Life Farmville 117 117

arkenian writes "The BBC reports on a farm in the UK to be run by online subscribers to the MyFarm website voting on which crops to grow and livestock to rear. For a £30 annual fee, 10,000 farm followers will help manage Wimpole Home Farm, in Cambridgeshire. They will be asked to make 12 major monthly decisions during the course of the year as well as other choices. The National Trust says its MyFarm project aims to reconnect people with where their food comes from."
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Real Life Farmville

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  • by kvvbassboy (2010962) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @12:26AM (#36032006)

    What? I personally thought this was a great idea to build upon. In the country I come from, there is a huge economic gap between the farmers who live in the villages, and the consumers in the metropolitan cities. The government tries to subsidize the farmers by giving them money and infrastructure, but it's just not enough.

    If social experiments in Facebook, Twitter and Anonymous have shown us anything, it is that the general public likes to participate in making major decisions (which makes then feel important), and are willing for this. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

    However, it is crucial that the trolls be weeded out by some means.

  • Re:My brain... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @01:37AM (#36032260)

    And many children think milk comes from factories, not cows. Particularly those living in cities.

    Western societies have it worse than Asian. Well, sort of. In China many restaurants have their food on display: various birds, snakes, fish and other sea animals, turtles, sometimes even dogs and cats.You point out which animal you want and they'll cook it for you. Killing if you prefer can be done under your watch.

    Markets here often have large parts of cows, pigs and other large animals hanging on display. Such as complete rib cases, lungs, and tails (with the skin and hair in place preferably). The heads too. It doesn't need much fantasy to see which part of the animal it was.

    Fowl like pigeons, ducks and chickens are also sold alive (though in Hong Kong at least that's quickly disappearing over bird flu fears). You choose the animal, hands-on if you like, the shop keeper will slaughter it while you're waiting. Fish, seafood and turtles are also routinely sold alive. I have had a dead fish jump off the kitchen sink an hour or so after being killed and gutted... that scared us mainly because the movement was so sudden and unexpected. A dead fish still jumping in the bag I've had quite often.

    In the west indeed there is not much left of the original shape of the animal - many people dislike the idea of seeing what animal it used to be. You won't see a row of pig's heads in the butcher's display, for example. Fish is commonly sold dead, preferably sliced or processed as fish fingers or so. The head is typically tossed out, while the Chinese consider that the best part of the fish. Once when I cooked fish complete with head and tail a friend commented "I don't like my dinner to be watching me!".

    So all in all, yes you're totally right. Most people don't know where their food comes from. They wouldn't know how a potato plant looks like (OK that's a non-obvious one). They may recognise corn plants, when grown full.

    Knowing where one's food comes from is good I think. Makes people think more about their planet, the value of a clean environment, and how all that dirt we spew out in the air comes back to haunt them quite directly. Health is related to food: you are what you eat, and when you eat dirt, well that can't be too healthy either. And even if just 10,000 people can join a project like this may well generate a lot more general interest. Curious to see how it's going to play out.

  • by testadicazzo (567430) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @03:59AM (#36032882) Homepage
    I find it dismal how effectively you, and others in this thread have been brainwashed with anti-democratic sentiment.

    You mean: weed-out the un-educated (in the subject of agri-business)? Weed them out and the experiment is pointless.

    Here, in the case of running a farm, it makes a certain amount of sense to value experience, and education in farming. A great many people however would characterize farmers as being uneducated in a broad sense. Still, an "uneducated" farmer will likely make better farming decisions than your average physicist, lawyer, doctor, political scientist, computer programmer, etc etc.

    On the other hand, considering there is a buy into the program, it might be reasonable to assume that only people with an interest in farming will take place. In that case they might take the effort to educate themselves into the real life consequences. In such a situation crowd sourcing might be effective.

    One failure you make in thinking is your unquestioned assumption that educated people make better decisions than uneducated people. In the case of farming, a good farmer will probably make better decisions than a non-farmer, but from your language it's clear that you have an elitist, anti-democracy attitude which I would like to attempt to disabuse.

    Consider for example the jelly bean experiment. If you take a jar of jelly beans and ask people to guess the number of jelly beans in the jar, the average guess will converge toward the actual number of jelly beans in the jar. The more people participating in the experiment the better. You won't get a better distribution by restricting yourself to people with PhD's.

    Your elitist attitudes also require you to neglect the fact of association bias. Individuals who are successful within a given society, who have the largest share in the bounty of that society, tend to associate themselves most with that society, and are most inclined to support whatever policies, however idiotic and injust. A clear example from our own history is support for the Vietnam war, which was very strong among educated elites. The "uneducated" masses however were strongly against America's mass bombing of poor agrarians in a small country that never did us no harm. The "educated" elite bought into the Gulf of Tonkin incident and turned into bloodthirsty savages willing to blast poor farmers who wanted nothing more than to get rid of colonialist oppression (much as we had done some 175 years earlier). The "uneducated" masses were mistrustful and thought it was all a line of bullshit. The "uneducated" masses in America were educated to the fact that the really elite in our country were thinking only of their own selfish and short sighted interests, while the "educated" were trained in sophisticated methods of rationalization to excuse a foolish and evil misadventure. This trend applies quite generally, to our invasion of the bay of pigs, the Afghan war, the Iraq wars, the civil rights movement, etc. It's not unique to American culture either. It's a pretty uniform trend. The high ranking Nazis were typically very well educated, for example, and look how that turned out.

    It is telling and ironic that you ridicule the fact that the single highest issue in the United States, when the government asked for reform ideas, was the repeal of Marijuanna prohibition. Legalizing drugs in general was of course discussed, but ending all drug prohibition across the board remains a fringe issue and was nowhere near the top. Ending Marijuanna prohibition and replacing it with a system of taxation and regulation similar to what we do with Tobacco was however right at the top, by far in the number one place. This is yet another example of where American policy would benefit from more democratic processes. The current system of Marijuanna prohibition is completely retarded and does not serve the interests of anyone besides the law enforcement community, paramilitaries, and of course the illegal drug cartels. Eve

In any problem, if you find yourself doing an infinite amount of work, the answer may be obtained by inspection.