🍎The Evil Apple, The First US Decentralized City, and Hacking Tractors!

Fix your tractor hacker style

Hello! How are you this frigid week?

I’ve returned from the tropical climate of Mexico to the frigid land of Tennessee. We’re having one heck of an ice storm this week, and it sure looks like a week long freeze!

Fortunately we managed to go grocery shopping today, so we won’t have to resort to making water pies or anything or singing the metal version of Wellerman until we die of Scurvy. (Haha I’m joking. I’m originally from the North).

Speaking of groceries, I still haven’t found the elusive new Coke with Coffee that was released a few weeks ago. I still want to try it!!

I did have some great tacos down in Cancun though. We stayed with some good friends all week, and they have a pretty cool house. Architecture is very different than what I’m used too. Lots of open space, an emphasis on nature, and so much concrete!

Like - everything is made of mostly concrete blocks and rebar.

Speaking of rocks, there are little piles of rocks along the highways in Mexico and I cannot figure out what they are. If you know - let me know.

Well, let’s hop on into today’s topics shall we?

🍎 The Evil Apple

Under our eyes, an evil has been taking over our grocery stores. Perhaps you noticed. Perhaps it lurks in your cupboards like an ill omen.

Like the Shinigami of Death Note infamy.

What am I talking about? Why, the wretched Red Delicious apple.

Red Delicious: alluring yet undesirable, the most produced and arguably the least popular apple in the United States. It lurks in desolation. Bumped around the bottom of lunch bags as schoolchildren rummage for chips or shrink-wrapped Rice Krispies treats. Waiting by the last bruised banana in a roadside gas station, the only produce for miles. Left untouched on hospital trays, forlorn in the fruit bowl at hotel breakfast buffets, bereft in nests of gift-basket raffia. (Source)

I resonate with all of those descriptions. Do you?

In her article, The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious, Sarah Yager describes the rise and fall of the Red Delicious, which was once the most popular Apple in America.

For at least 70 years, the Red Delicious has dominated apple production in the United States. But since the turn of the 21st century, as the market has filled with competitors—the Gala, the Fuji, the Honeycrisp—its lead has been narrowing. Annual output has plunged. (Source)

Maybe you’ve noticed all the apple varieties clamoring for your attention - or maybe your eyes are always drawn to the beauty of the Red Delicious.

Then - you buy it - eat one - and let the rest go to waste. Surely they used to taste good, right?

They did! Selective breeding ruined the apple over time.

But as genes for beauty were favored over those for taste, the skins grew tough and bitter around mushy, sugar-soaked flesh. Still, by the 1980s, the Red Delicious made up 75 percent of the crop produced in Washington. By the time selective breeding had taken its toll, according to Burford, a few big nurseries controlled the market, planting decisions were made from the remove of boardrooms, and consumers didn’t have many varieties to choose from. (Source)

Pretty sad right? I kinda want to taste a Red Delicious from say - the 40’s or 50’s. I bet those apples tasted pretty good.

Personally, my favorite Apple variety is the Jazz apple - or - if I’m feeling real wild - a Granny Smith.

Now - I bet you’re wondering - why the heck am I talking about something as mundane as apples? Well, partially it’s because I have an axe to grind with the cursed Red Delicious. I’ve hated the darn things and this article finally gave me insight into why the heck they’re still around.

And - It gives me a chance to talk about the little things in life. Even something as mundane as picking an apple at the grocery store can be interesting - if you’re willing to take the time.

I have a challenge for you this week. When you go to the grocery store - check out the Apple section. Try a new variety you’ve never eaten before.

Oh - and Grapples are weird but they taste a darned sight better than the Red Delicious.

🌃 The US Decentralized City

In Nevada, the times are a changing.

The first USA decentralized city may break ground in 2022.

Jeffrey Berns hopes to found the experimental city on 70,000 acres of land in Nevada - and to do it - he’s gonna need some special permissions from the state.

“There’s got to be a place somewhere on this planet where people are willing to just start from scratch and say, ‘We’re not going to do things this way just because it’s the way we’ve done it,’” Berns said. He wants Nevada to change its laws to allow “innovation zones,” where companies would have powers like those of a county government, including creating court systems, imposing taxes and building infrastructure while making land and water management decisions. (Source)

It’s a difficult question to consider. Should companies have the power to have state like functions? In an era where companies like Facebook or Google have turned us into products, it’s a very relevant question.

At the same time - there’s something to be said for enabling an experiment like this. Why not allow it to essentially run as its own government in order to create innovation?

Here’s the rub. It could take decades before we see the benefits of blockchain enter the mainstream. However - with a project like Blockchains LLC - we could see those benefits take place within half a decade or so.

Removing red tape often allows for innovation, after all.

Here’s a quote from Blockchains story

Blockchains is dedicated to innovating with unlimited velocity; so, our efforts do not stop at software. We envision a world transformed by blockchain technology, in which the distinct line between digital- and real-world interactions no longer exists; or at the very least, all of our actions are interwoven. Blockchains plans to build a real-life sandbox in northern Nevada, where we, along with others, will prove out this transformation and truly change the way we live, work, and play. (Source)

It sounds very inspiring - but inspiring words are nothing without actions, so to speak. “Boots on the ground” and all that.

What do you think? Will this blockchain city ever come to life?

I’ll leave you with one of their campaign videos. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to see it spring to life someday!

🚜 Hack Your Tractor

Once upon a time, tractors were nothing more than an engine, a metal frame, and wheels.

Now, all the new models have advanced computers. Heck, a lot of tractors can basically drive themselves. Heck, some of them are starting to drive themselves.

Though the tech may change, the philosophy of running equipment as long as possible does not.

"In agriculture, we run things 'til they're dead, and then we run them a little bit more after that," farmer Tom Schwarz explained to Freethink. "We don't dispose of things on the farm. We keep 'em running forever. It's important to us as farmers in order to keep our costs down that when we buy something, we need to run it a long time to make it pay out," Schwarz continued. Equipment that's in constant use also requires constant maintenance. Relying on dealer techs to diagnose issues that might cost little to nothing if dealt with on the farm runs contrary to the thriftiness and resourcefulness inherent in running a successful farm.

So - what do Farmers do when the software glitches out? In the farming industry, there’s not much time for taking a few days off to visit the ole dealership OR the budget for the people to fix it.

Crops won't schedule themselves around a 40-mile repair trip to a specific company's dealership. Mother Nature does not care about John Deere's terms of service. Farmers say that they need to be able to repair their own ag equipment on their own terms—either themselves or through independent mechanics—as they have always done.

So - farmers have been turning to hacking their own tractors to get them to work properly. It’s a fascinating little known part of the internet. I had no idea there was a black market for pirated tractor software.

I have no idea how to even get to that part of the internet without knowing the right person. 😂

The pirated tractor firmware still goes through a black market of paid, invite-only forums, according to Freethink. Much of it comes from Eastern Europe, and the sites themselves can be hard to access. Once there, farmers can find the electronic data link servers, diagnostic programs, license key generators, speed-limit modifiers and even reverse-engineered cables they need to keep their equipment running. 

Isn’t that wild? The philosophy of “fix it yourself” has carried over from the wrench and WD-40 to the computer and usb cable.

Read the article at the link!

Tractor Pirates!

🐙 The Land of Random

Well well well if we haven’t made it to the most random links I could find for you.

Unsettling Vaporwavey Vibes

This empty furniture store has some unsettling vibes. Don’t worry. Nothing jumps out in this video.

Horror Movie Vibes

The ULTIMATE Laptop

A Laptop with 7 - that’s right -7 screens? Say no more . . .

ALL THE SCREENS

Sea Fever

There’s nothing like a good horror movie at sea. Well, hopefully it’s a good movie. Looks interesting!

Vaporwave Sub-genres

Do you know your Vaporwave sub-genres? I didn’t know half of these.

A Free Plan?

Should you offer a free plan for your product, app, or service? The default answer is most often yes these days - but this article makes a good argument against it.

To Free or not To Free

Relive 90’s TV

This clever site will take you back to the 90’s through its curated video selection, retro white noise, and channel selections. It’s quite fun!

Take me Back!

Government Confiscation Auctions

Ever wondered where all the confiscated knives from TSA go? Well, this is where you can go to buy them by the box and lots of other cool stuff.

🎶 TikToks You Can’t Miss

Hahaha I remember watching this back in 2015. Was too broke to buy BTC at the time.

Wait. An Edible Tide Pod?

So not all the dark reviews are sarcastic

Fried Chicken Ice Cream . . . But not

Speaking of Serial Killers

Tony Hawk is the real MVP

Noooooooooooooooo

This is the sweetest lady ever

Welllll, that’s all for this issue friends! I’ll see you next time. If you're willing, share this issue with a friend or two. 😁