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Poor Will's Almanack: June 24 - 30, 2014

Nate Swart
Flickr Creative Commons

It seems this time of year that the garden weeds always get out of hand. They follow their own mind, jump the boundaries I've established, and the heat convinces me to let them do it.

And I believe that there are more weeds than there used to be. Since no one ever actually does an annual weed count, I can't prove there are more, but experience leaves no doubt in my mind.

It makes sense, of course. Even the most fastidious gardener misses some dandelions, thistles, plantain, crab grass, ragweed, pokeweed and the like each year. For every plant that's allowed to mature, hundreds or thousands of seeds fall to the ground and germinate.

Some people say that, given the unequal proportion of humans to weeds, the weeds will push the people off the face the land by the year 2050. They say that, even with modern herbicides, there is little hope for the flower and vegetable aficionado or the farmer. The weeds will simply flat-out win.

A similar threat exists from information. Here in the 21st century, information is growing faster that weeds, and soon it will be impossible to learn even a small fraction of what has been discovered, identified, and decoded. By the time weeds take over the planet, there will be so much to learn that people may simply give up and allow the earth to be swamped by pigweed and facts.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of middle summer. In the meantime, go ahead: think about weeds and information.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.