Sunday, March 25, 2007
Unfortunately writing is learned skill that can be used to the advantage of whoever is writing the paycheck. A story can "prove" just about any point the buyer wants to make. That is why advertising works so well; skilled writers suggest facts based on what they are hired to sell, so we see phrases like, "gets clothes 40% cleaner" 40% cleaner than what??? According to who??? What water temperature did they use???. The statement is based on someone's evaluation and may be true, but isn't a scientific fact that has been proven using accepted scientific practices. This is called "Junk Science"
"Junk Science" covers a whole range of company sponsored tests, studies and panel reviews, as well as unrepeatable clinical studies. Several large pharmaceutical companies have been in the news lately for using Junk Science to get bad drugs approved for human consumption. All science is not created equal and all news stories are not created equal either.
Some of the current sources of information include:
CNN and other news channels.
Discovery and other science based entertainment channels
Internet, including everything from personal websites to Published Scientific Journals
Printed Newspapers such as Seattle PI
News magazines such as Time and Newsweek
Charitable Infomercials like Feed the Children and CBN
Professional Journals like JAMA
News is news right? All news story details should be correct and presented in an unbiased manner right? WRONG! Most news gathering agencies are driven by advertisers that direct what is acceptable news for the publications they support with advertising dollars. Charities present "News" that supports the greatest chance of contributions. Professional Journals publish stories that meet Peer Review and so shun new and revolutionary ideas. Newspapers commonly print full page advertorials that may or may not have the "paid advertisement" notice depending on the paper's policies. Reporters regularly inflate or over-emphasize numbers to create interest in their stories. Most "news" is just hype, created to cause distress in the consumers and profits for the Media, period.
The next time you see a disturbing news story, ask yourself, "Who is profiting from this?" Then, check the citations to see where the journalist got the information. If there are no citations then the writer could have just written it without any facts at all, therefore, the information is useless. If citations are given, consider the sources. Are the sources web pages, blogs, charities, pharmaceutical companies or is the story based on University based clinical studies?? Does the information come from water-cooler gossip or the CDC?
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Source evaluation is the skill of analysing information sources in order to assess their credibility. The ability to assess different sources of information is highly relevant to the task of operating within a complex information society. Engeldinger (1998) uses the term information literacy in order to describe the ability to recognize information when it is found, and further to determine if it is the best, most accurate, or most current information available.
To understand the news:
1) Look for citations.
2) Check to make sure the citations exist and have been used accurately.
3) Do the math & check it twice.
4) Think for yourself & use logic to decide if the story even makes sense.
For example the website for Inconvenient Truth includes this page:
It lists a group of "facts" about Global Warming and at the bottom gives the citations(Italics are my findings concerning the source cited):
1 According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), this era of global warming "is unlikely to be entirely natural in origin" and "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence of the global climate." The IPCC is completely devoted to "Special Report on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and Global Climate System: Issues Related to Hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons (SROC/SROCF) "The IPCC does not carry out research nor does it monitor climate related data or other relevant parameters." In other words, IPCC is not interested in or paying attention to Global Warming. In fact IPCC is monitoring GLOBAL COOLING due to hydrofluorocarbons.
2 Emanuel, K. 2005. Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years. Nature 436: 686-688. Online here: http://www.mindfully.org/Air/2005/Cyclone-Increasing-Destructive4aug05.htm A well written study but I have to point out that the author cites his own works and this is a big no-no in scientific circles. Also the material covered in the paper only goes back 70 years total so there is no way to know if this trend is new or part of a global cycle.
3 World Health Organization This is an incomplete citation. I did a search and found 600 documents on the web that use this same citation but when I searched on WHO's website not a single article supported this idea. Instead, "Malaria occurs in many regions of the country: the Pacific Coast Region, the Amazonian Region and the Central Region, and it is closely related with population movements resulting from the social situation in the country."
4 Krabill, W., E. Hanna, P. Huybrechts, W. Abdalati, J. Cappelen, B. Csatho, E. Frefick, S. Manizade, C. Martin, J, Sonntag, R. Swift, R. Thomas and J. Yungel. 2004. Greenland Ice Sheet: Increased coastal thinning. Geophysical Research Letters 31. Original Article Not Found.
5 Nature. Incomplete citation. Although 32,000 web pages seem to present this statement, proof of the original study is not available and without knowing what "Nature" refers to, we have no way of finding it.
6 World Health Organization This is an incomplete citation. A search of WHO's website showed no information on deaths caused by Global Warming at all
7 Washington Post, "Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change," Juliet Eilperin, January 29, 2006, Page A1. This is taken out of context. The paragraph this is quoted from:
Princeton University geosciences and international affairs professor Michael Oppenheimer, who also advises the advocacy group Environmental Defense, said one of the greatest dangers lies in the disintegration of the Greenland or West Antarctic ice sheets, which together hold about 20 percent of the fresh water on the planet. If either of the two sheets disintegrates, sea level could rise nearly 20 feet in the course of a couple of centuries, swamping the southern third of Florida and Manhattan up to the middle of Greenwich Village.
8 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. 2004. Impacts of a Warming Arctic. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Also quoted in Time Magazine, Vicious Cycles, Missy Adams, March 26, 2006. This paper is available online as part of a 1200 page document. The Article "Vicious Cycles" is available here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1177014,00.html
and says "sea levels could rise nearly 220 ft. (72 m). That's a worst-case scenario." Missy Adams is an internet-research journalist that specializes in short essays (375 words seems to be her limit.)
9 Time Magazine, Feeling the Heat, David Bjerklie, March 26, 2006. Quote: One study estimates that more than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by the year 2050 David did not give a citation so I have no idea who did the study. This is the ONLY thing he has written for TIME.
This is a very good case for Junk Science. The Author of this page has used very bad citations and in doing so invalidates the points given on the page.
In closing: Please START THINKING FOR YOURSELF!
Saturday, March 24, 2007
My ancestors came from Ireland, England and Germany mostly in the 1870's and 1880's. Both sets of ancestors eventually made their way across the country to Oregon and then to the Pacific Northwest. When my mother's parents got here the first thing they did was buy a small piece of land and then built a home. The home wasn't fancy, it wasn't huge but it lasted for over 40 years and never carried a mortgage. The oldest part of the home was a log cabin built from the trees on the property. Later additions were added in stone and in salvaged lumber as space was needed and materials could be purchased.
When my grandfather had an especially large project, he would call on all the neighbors...to raise a ridge pole or lay cedar shakes or to build a stone addition for the new summer kitchen, just as the neighbors would call on him when there was work to be done at their places. Community was built along with homes and great friendships were forged that have endured a lifetime.
This last spring, my partner and I moved into a tri-plex. We have been here over a year and can only recognize 2 of the other tenants here and do not know any of our neighbors. The apartment is expensive and eats up about 1/3 of our income to offer 2 bedrooms, 1 tiny bath and a tiny kitchen, all built and finished to the standards of 1970's slum housing. We are not alone. Here in Seattle, housing is always at a premium. I would love to fix the place up but my lease says otherwise.
Homes do not exist for renters, instead we live in drywalled shoeboxes, but the cost of buying a house is impossible to manage. I would love to follow in my grandfather's footsteps and buy a lot and build a house but I suspect that building a log cabin in Seward park would probably get me a visit from the planning department and maybe even the police. The Seattle building department, like most other building departments, have set rules concerning building materials and methods that can be used to build a house.
To quote: In order to obtain a permit for new construction, additions and remodels, customers must provide
King County with the following:
A. Affidavit for Application Form;
B. Property Tax Account Number;
C. Legal Description of Property (three copies);
D. Proof of Legal Lot;
E. Site Plan (or Plot Plan) (on DDES template, to an engineer's scale, with no brokenlines. See text; three copies.);
F. Working Drawings (See text for requirements; two copies.);
G. Information on Heating Systems, Fireplaces and Stoves;
H. Critical Area Designation Approval (If installing new septic or well system)
I. Certificate of Sewer Availability and Related Documents;
Obtaining A Residential Building Permit
J. Certificate of Water Availability and Related Documents;
K. Valuation for Special Site Items;
L. Fees for Reviews Completed Before Permit Approval;
M. Contractors Registration Number OR Affidavit Regarding Contractor Registration; and
No wonder we do not build our own homes anymore. Just the paperwork is worth paying someone $400,000 to do it for us...right?
In reality most of the "rules" are in place not to protect a perspective owner/build but rather to protect home buyers from shady contractors. The "rules" list has been expanded every time a person has been injured in their home, or when quality complaints start coming in. The rules are in place to protect home buyers from bad workmanship, cheap materials, and corner cutting but what these "rules" have really done is isolate the home owner from the process of building the home. Most homeowners can barely clean out their gutters, let alone replace a window or add a room. Nearly all the maintenance and repair of the modern home must be handed over to "professionals" because the homeowner has no idea what may be inside the walls or in the eves of their own home.
America has mostly given in to the pressure by buying stick made homes, built by professionals, and by calling a contractor every time something leaks, rattles or breaks. The result of this is that people no longer feel any connection to their homes. Homes have become something to trade up or flip. And, ironically, home construction is just as bad as it ever was. Cheap spec homes are put on the market everyday. They are built by day laborers, using cheap materials. Then everything is drywalled and painted "contractor-white-flat-latex", and the future buyer thinks they are getting a great house. Wrong! They are getting a house that will not last as long as their mortgage and in most cases they do not care because they are going to sell it in 5 or 10 years anyhow.
Personally, I am not buying it. I miss the days of building a home from what ever materials were available whether it be a soddy or adobe or straw bales or stone. Building a home built connection to the world and community we live in and respect for the nature of our planet. We are much poorer beings for having lost this.
More information on Handmade Homes:
Building with Cob:
Friday, March 23, 2007
These issues are both on America's social mind now as we are bombarded daily with the possible scenarios associated with each. I propose a new idea that connects the two issues to create a more probable scenario: Petroleum reserves will run out before the climate is substantially changed for the worse.
We have all seen the movie by Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, and according to that idea, our use of Petroleum products is causing global warming. This idea states that by the year 2100 the sea levels will rise 110 to 770 mm (0.36 to 2.5 feet), causing widespread flooding.The world average temperature will go up by 2 to 5 degrees celsius causing widespread famine.
I see a few problems with this whole notion:
1) This assumes that we will still be using petroleum in the year 2100 when all forecasts show that oil is running out and world use of it will have to decline over the next 90 years until finally it will be too expensive and too scarce to be worth using. According to the Hubbert Prediction oil usage in the year 2100 will be about the same as the usage in the year 1930 and by 2150 98% of the world reserves of oil will be gone causing usage to drop to preindustrial levels.
As people look to other methods of energy production, petroleum will be phased out. Assuming that newer technologies and energy sources will be inherently less likely to produce CO2 and other greenhouse gases, then naturally the CO2 levels will even out and begin to drop.
2) Temperature increases of 2 to 5 degrees will actually add thousands of acres to the worldwide supply of arable farmland. This acreage is already beginning to show up in the northern United States and Southern Canada in the form of longer growing seasons and hotter summers. With a 5 degree increase in temperate these areas go from 220 frost free days to 265 frost free days. This part of the US and Canada represents vast tracks of land that is too cool for farming now, but becomes the world bread basket with just an additional 5 degrees climate change. As desert lands, already depleted and marginal, become unable to grow food, huge fresh tracks will become farmable.
3) As Co2 levels rise, temperatures rise. As temperature and CO2 increase, plant growth increases and absorbs the CO2. The higher the CO2 concentrations is the faster plants will grow. Commercial greenhouses actually supplement CO2 levels by burning methane or propane. Plants absorb CO2 continually during their growing periods in amounts equal to about 90% of the plants mass, so a plant weighing 10 pounds has absorbed about 9 pounds of CO2 to achieve that mass. A tree will absorb tons of CO2 over it's lifespan. As more land becomes capable of growing trees instead of just grass, more CO2 is locked into these long term storehouses.
Peak oil and Global Warming are intertwined in a way that each will be affected by the other. As Oil runs out more and more crops will be grown for bio-diesel. These crops will lock hundred of thousands of tons of CO2 into the green mass and will recycle the current CO2 levels back into usable fuels. Bio-diesels release 45% less CO2 than conventional fuels so the more we use the less CO2 will be released. I can actually see a point in the far future where low CO2 levels become a problem.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The best way to feel hopeful about our looming energy crisis is to get active now and prepare for living arrangements in a post-oil society.
Out in the public arena, people frequently twang on me for being "Mister Gloom'n'doom," or for "not offering any solutions" to our looming energy crisis. So, for those of you who are tired of wringing your hands, who would like to do something useful, or focus your attention in a purposeful way, here are my suggestions:
1. Expand your view beyond the question of how we will run all the cars by means other than gasoline. This obsession with keeping the cars running at all costs could really prove fatal. It is especially unhelpful that so many self-proclaimed "greens" and political "progressives" are hung up on this monomaniacal theme. Get this: the cars are not part of the solution (whether they run on fossil fuels, vodka, used frymax™ oil, or cow shit). They are at the heart of the problem. And trying to salvage the entire Happy Motoring system by shifting it from gasoline to other fuels will only make things much worse. The bottom line of this is: start thinking beyond the car. We have to make other arrangements for virtually all the common activities of daily life.
2. We have to produce food differently. The Monsanto/Cargill model of industrial agribusiness is heading toward its Waterloo. As oil and gas deplete, we will be left with sterile soils and farming organized at an unworkable scale. Many lives will depend on our ability to fix this. Farming will soon return much closer to the center of American economic life. It will necessarily have to be done more locally, at a smaller-and-finer scale, and will require more human labor. The value-added activities associated with farming -- e.g. making products like cheese, wine, oils -- will also have to be done much more locally. This situation presents excellent business and vocational opportunities for America's young people (if they can unplug their Ipods long enough to pay attention.) It also presents huge problems in land-use reform. Not to mention the fact that the knowledge and skill for doing these things has to be painstakingly retrieved from the dumpster of history. Get busy.
3. We have to inhabit the terrain differently. Virtually every place in our nation organized for car dependency is going to fail to some degree. Quite a few places (Phoenix, Las Vegas, Miami ...) will support only a fraction of their current populations. We'll have to return to traditional human ecologies at a smaller scale: villages, towns, and cities (along with a productive rural landscape). Our small towns are waiting to be reinhabited. Our cities will have to contract. The cities that are composed proportionately more of suburban fabric (e.g. Atlanta, Houston) will pose especially tough problems. Most of that stuff will not be fixed. The loss of monetary value in suburban property will have far-reaching ramifications. The stuff we build in the decades ahead will have to be made of regional materials found in nature -- as opposed to modular, snap-together, manufactured components -- at a more modest scale. This whole process will entail enormous demographic shifts and is liable to be turbulent. Like farming, it will require the retrieval of skill-sets and methodologies that have been forsaken. The graduate schools of architecture are still tragically preoccupied with teaching Narcissism. The faculties will have to be overthrown. Our attitudes about land-use will have to change dramatically. The building codes and zoning laws will eventually be abandoned and will have to be replaced with vernacular wisdom. Get busy.
4. We have to move things and people differently. This is the sunset of Happy Motoring (including the entire US trucking system). Get used to it. Don't waste your society's remaining resources trying to prop up car-and-truck dependency. Moving things and people by water and rail is vastly more energy-efficient. Need something to do? Get involved in restoring public transit. Let's start with railroads, and let's make sure we electrify them so they will run on things other than fossil fuel or, if we have to run them partly on coal-fired power plants, at least scrub the emissions and sequester the CO2 at as few source-points as possible. We also have to prepare our society for moving people and things much more by water. This implies the rebuilding of infrastructure for our harbors, and also for our inland river and canal systems -- including the towns associated with them. The great harbor towns, like Baltimore, Boston, and New York, can no longer devote their waterfronts to condo sites and bikeways. We actually have to put the piers and warehouses back in place (not to mention the sleazy accommodations for sailors). Right now, programs are underway to restore maritime shipping based on wind -- yes, sailing ships. It's for real. Lots to do here. Put down your Ipod and get busy.
5. We have to transform retail trade. The national chains that have used the high tide of fossil fuels to contrive predatory economies-of-scale (and kill local economies) -- they are going down. WalMart and the other outfits will not survive the coming era of expensive, scarcer oil. They will not be able to run the "warehouses-on-wheels" of 18-wheel tractor-trailers incessantly circulating along the interstate highways. Their 12,000-mile supply lines to the Asian slave-factories are also endangered as the US and China contest for Middle East and African oil. The local networks of commercial interdependency which these chain stores systematically destroyed (with the public's acquiescence) will have to be rebuilt brick-by-brick and inventory-by-inventory. This will require rich, fine-grained, multi-layered networks of people who make, distribute, and sell stuff (including the much-maligned "middlemen"). Don't be fooled into thinking that the Internet will replace local retail economies. Internet shopping is totally dependent now on cheap delivery, and delivery will no longer be cheap. It also is predicated on electric power systems that are completely reliable. That is something we are unlikely to enjoy in the years ahead. Do you have a penchant for retail trade and don't want to work for a big predatory corporation? There's lots to do here in the realm of small, local business. Quit carping and get busy.
6. We will have to make things again in America. However, we are going to make less stuff. We will have fewer things to buy, fewer choices of things. The curtain is coming down on the endless blue-light-special shopping frenzy that has occupied the forefront of daily life in America for decades. But we will still need household goods and things to wear. As a practical matter, we are not going to re-live the 20th century. The factories from America's heyday of manufacturing (1900 - 1970) were all designed for massive inputs of fossil fuel, and many of them have already been demolished. We're going to have to make things on a smaller scale by other means. Perhaps we will have to use more water power. The truth is, we don't know yet how we're going to make anything. This is something that the younger generations can put their minds and muscles into.
7. The age of canned entertainment is coming to and end. It was fun for a while. We liked "Citizen Kane" and the Beatles. But we're going to have to make our own music and our own drama down the road. We're going to need playhouses and live performance halls. We're going to need violin and banjo players and playwrights and scenery-makers, and singers. We'll need theater managers and stage-hands. The Internet is not going to save canned entertainment. The Internet will not work so well if the electricity is on the fritz half the time (or more).
8. We'll have to reorganize the education system. The centralized secondary school systems based on the yellow school bus fleets will not survive the coming decades. The huge investments we have made in these facilities will impede the transition out of them, but they will fail anyway. Since we will be a less-affluent society, we probably won't be able to replace these centralized facilities with smaller and more equitably distributed schools, at least not right away. Personally, I believe that the next incarnation of education will grow out of the home schooling movement, as home schooling efforts aggregate locally into units of more than one family. God knows what happens beyond secondary ed. The big universities, both public and private, may not be salvageable. And the activity of higher ed itself may engender huge resentment by those foreclosed from it. But anyone who learns to do long division and write a coherent paragraph will be at a great advantage -- and, in any case, will probably out-perform today's average college graduate. One thing for sure: teaching children is not liable to become an obsolete line-of-work, as compared to public relations and sports marketing. Lots to do here, and lots to think about. Get busy, future teachers of America.
9. We have to reorganize the medical system. The current skein of intertwined rackets based on endless Ponzi buck passing scams will not survive the discontinuities to come. We will probably have to return to a model of service much closer to what used to be called "doctoring." Medical training may also have to change as the big universities run into trouble functioning. Doctors of the 21st century will certainly drive fewer German cars, and there will be fewer opportunities in the cosmetic surgery field. Let's hope that we don't slide so far back that we forget the germ theory of disease, or the need to wash our hands, or the fundamentals of pharmaceutical science. Lots to do here for the unsqueamish.
10. Life in the USA will have to become much more local, and virtually all the activities of everyday life will have to be re-scaled. You can state categorically that any enterprise now supersized is likely to fail -- everything from the federal government to big corporations to huge institutions. If you can find a way to do something practical and useful on a smaller scale than it is currently being done, you are likely to have food in your cupboard and people who esteem you. An entire social infrastructure of voluntary associations, co-opted by the narcotic of television, needs to be reconstructed. Local institutions for care of the helpless will have to be organized. Local politics will be much more meaningful as state governments and federal agencies slide into complete impotence. Lots of jobs here for local heroes.
So, that's the task list for now. Forgive me if I left things out. Quit wishing and start doing. The best way to feel hopeful about the future is to get off your ass and demonstrate to yourself that you are a capable, competent individual resolutely able to face new circumstances.
James Howard Kunstler is a leading writer on the topic of peak oil the problems it poses for American suburbia. Deeply concerned about the future of our petroleum dependent society, Kunstler believes we must take radical steps to avoid the total meltdown of modern society in the face looming oil and gas shortages. For background on this topic, read Kunstler's essay, "Pricey Gas, That's Reality."
See the original post at: http://eartheasy.com/article_ten_ways_post_oil.htm
"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope that we don't have to wait 'til oil and coal run out before we tackle that." — Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931)
2 c Flour
4 ts Baking powder
1 ts Salt
2 tb Olive Oil
2/3 c Sweet milk
Sift dry ingredients together. Rub in oil, add
milk all at once. Mix to a smooth dough, roll out
1/2" thick. Cut with biscuit cutter. Handle as
little as possible to make light, flaky biscuits.
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes.
1/4 lb ground meat
1 med onion, chopped fine
2-3 large button mushrooms, chopped fine
16 oz can of chicken or beef broth.
3-4 tb all purpose flour
Brown the ground meat, add onions and mushrooms and sautée together until tender.
In a bowl, whisk broth and flour together until all lumps are gone. Add broth mix to ground meat and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To Serve: Split a biscuit in half and pour gravy over. Serve sliced tomatoes on the side.
Would Vegans buy a leather belt, purse or shoes at a thrift store??? Why not? This could be considered recycling.
Are Vegan's pets vegans as well???? This is cruelty to animals!! Both Dogs and cats are naturally meat eaters.
Vegan Cat Food: complete nutrition
Of the many nutrients that cats require, taurine is the one that is traditionally the hardest to get when eating a vegan diet because it usually comes from fish. Without taurine cats can go blind and even succumb to heart disease. As with changing one's own diet, it's important to understand nutritional requirements before jumping into any new food products.
Taurine can also be derived from yeast, which is a living organism but not sentient as far as current knowledge can tell. This would qualify it as a vegan source of taurine. I say that I could make a pretty good argument that most vegans are not "sentient". We have no idea what yeast thinks or talks about....we have no idea what fish think or talk about so this is not a valid way of picking proteins.
Wear wool???? Sheep! Buy cosmetics with lanolin??? Sheep!!!
Do Vegans get immunizations???? Almost all are animal protein based.
Gonna ever need penicillin or ampicillin???? It is a living creature you know!
Do you make sure that the veggies you eat are not grown in manure(an animal product)?????? Even if you do not consider the poop to be non-vegan....do you know for sure that the animal never ate hydrogenated protein??? That is a meat product that is passed in the manure. It is also about 75% of the food fed to most animals in feed lots....and feed lots are the primary source of manure for farms.
Eat veggie burgers at restaurants???? Cooked on the same grill as murder-burgers! Same thing for French fries....cooked with fish and whatever else the restaurant deep fries. Even restaurants that say the have a vegetarian menu.....most do not have separate cooking facilities.
Kill a spider or fly???
Own any feathers?
Eat honey or cucumbers or peppers or apples???? All most all of these veggies are coated with bee's wax.
Eat "color added" products? -- violates a number of religious dietary restrictions, may cause allergic reactions in susceptible people, and comes from an unusual source. Cochineal extract (also known as carmine or carminic acid) is made from the desiccated bodies of female Dactylopius coccus Costa, a small insect harvested mainly in Peru and the Canary Islands. The coloring is used to tint everything from grapefruit juice to lipstick.
Oh for a glass of wine......but not before you read about the chicken and eggs added: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-wine28mar28,0,2778959.story?page=1&coll=la-home-food
I personally consider veganism to be one of the most self-destructive eccentricities that anyone could develop....unless you grow your own veggies, and process them yourself....you are not a vegan....there is so much that goes into food processing that you can never be truly vegan.
Someone mentioned B12....and yes you NEED IT. But it is only from animals.
Signs, symptoms, and health problems associated with vitamin B12 deficiency:Characteristic signs, symptoms, and health problems associated with vitamin B12 deficiency include anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
Deficiency also can lead to neurological changes such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
Additional symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are difficulty in maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue.
Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency in infancy include failure to thrive, movement disorders, delayed development, and megaloblastic anemia.
Last of all....If you have kids....are you going to Breast feed when your child are born??? Or are they going to be Vegans too???? Do not forget that you are an animal too....so do not bite your nails ....or swallow spit..... or mucouse...never trade fluids with your spouse.....and never never skip a period....your body would be eating itself!
I am seeing quite a few restaurants that fail to disclose their calorie counts: TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, etc. Seems like these places are actually hiding the nutritional information on most of their foods. At least McDonalds has the balls to be honest about 600 calorie burgers! TGIF has a Jack Daniels Cheese Burger that serves up 1750 calories!!! Super-Size Fries are lightweights (570) compared to Cheesy-Fries (3015). Love pasta? Olive Garden keeps most of their menu secret...why? Because Pasta Alfredo and 3 breadsticks is 2250 calories and their chicken salad is over 1000. Denny's does have their info online...Country Sausage Platter is 2100 calories and has 4 ounces of pure fat!
The harder people try to maintain or lose weight, the worse the options become for healthy dining! It is scary to think that McDonalds may be one of the healthiest menus available only surpassed by Subway (which is actually going out of their way to offer healthy foods.)
Since the 1950's we have been eating out more and more and as a group we are gaining weight. Now I see why....to get our patronage these restaurants stuff their foods full of oils and calories and then refuse to talk about nutritional info!
Resturants defend their non-action by saying that low calorie items are available as well as splurge items but the problem with that is how are diners supposed to tell the difference? For many years I have ordered appetizers instead of full meals thinking that I was getting lower calories and now I find out that the meal STARTERS are over 2000 calories by themselves! As if that isn't bad enough similar entree's calorie count varies widely between different chains. At your typical Mexican restaurant, the two plate-sized (white) fl our tortillas stuffed with melted cheese and with sour cream and guacamole on the side can run you 900 calories but at On The Border a very similar meal hits a whopping 1860 calories.
Some of the “X-Treme Eating” options highlighted in the March issue of CSPI’s Nutrition Action Healthletter include:
• Ruby Tuesday’s “Colossal Burger.” Ruby Tuesday actually became the first big chain to put nutrition information on its menus. Unfortunately it scrapped that initiative, presumably because it meant the sale of fewer Colossal Burgers. With 1,940 calories and 141 grams of fat (more than two days’ worth!), one of these megaburgers is equivalent to about five McDonald’s Quarter Pounders.
• Uno Chicago Grill’s “Pizza Skins.” “We start with our famous deep dish crust, add mozzarella and red bliss mashed potatoes, and top it off with crispy bacon, cheddar, and sour cream,” says the menu. The menu doesn’t disclose that this fusion of pizza and potato skins—which is meant to precede a meal of pizza—packs 2,050 calories, 48 grams of saturated fat, and 3,140 milligrams of sodium (more than a day’s worth). “Even if you split it with two other people, it’s like eating dinner before your dinner even hits the table,” Jacobson said.
• Ruby Tuesday’s “Fresh Chicken & Broccoli Pasta.” Pity the poor diner who thinks this healthy sounding entrée is on the light side: Thanks to its Parmesan cream sauce and layer of melted cheese, the 2,060 calories and 128 grams of fat make it the equivalent of two 12-ounce sirloin steaks, two buttered baked potatoes, and two Caesar salads. (CSPI calls this dish “Angioplasta.”) At least Ruby Tuesday has the guts to give out menu information!
Eat at Ruby Tuesdays?? Try the Point Reyes Blue Cheese Chips as an appetizer, Alpine Swiss Burger, Fries with ranch dressing, fresh strawberries and ice cream for dessert. Split that between 2 people and serve with a glass of wine apiece. Even split in half it's 1750 calories EACH. Thats right 1 "meal" can be 3484 calories!
• Cheesecake Factory’s “Chris’ Outrageous Chocolate Cake.” There’s room enough on Cheesecake Factory’s sprawling menu for advertisements, but evidently no room for nutrition information. If one is undecided among brownie, pie, or cheesecake for dessert, this 1,380-calorie menu item helpfully provides all of the above. It’s the equivalent of eating two Quarter Pounders plus a large fries—for dessert.
Federal MEAL Acts were introduced in the U.S. House and Senate in the last Congress, but restaurants in New York have avoided the menu guidelines so far, stating, "It's is impossible to fit enough information on the menu to be useful to consumers." Nutritional front runner, Subway has taken the step toward menu labeling with little effort, new menus feature the calories counts of each item.
Truth is that you can drive the same old car for 20 years (or until we run out of gas) and it will not have as large a "Carbon Foot-print" as you create when you buy a new car. The energy to produce a new car far out weighs the carbon savings of an old car. If we all stopped buying new cars we would cut out carbon emissions by 2/3 in 1 single year.
The same goes for replacing a working appliance with a new "energy efficient" model. The carbon cost of the new one by far out weighs the savings produced of replacing the old one.
Of course the government and big business do not want us to REALLY conserve by getting more life out of our older cars and appliances...just the opposite- THEY WANT US TO SPEND MORE AND MORE!
No one seems to suggest we should not use fire extinguishers or that we shouldn't drink Coke and dry ice is so common now that we can buy it at SafeWay. Yet all 3 of these products release concentrated CO2 directly into the air.
So who is fooling who? Think about this: The more CO2 levels rise....the better plants grow. The plants absorb the CO2 and eventually lower the levels in the air. The best thing you can do to help the planet is not buying a hybrid! The best thing you can do is plant more greenery including a home garden and trees where appropriate.
If you really care about the health of the environment then stop watching the media magic-show and learn to think about real solutions instead of buying into the never ending consumerism.
NUCLEAR WASTE CAN BE RECYCLED??
* Reprocessed uranium
* Minor actinides
* Fission products
* Activation products
The problem is that we produce much, much more than we can ever recycle. 99% of all nuclear waste is stored, waiting for future disposal... currently our "Big Plan" for nuclear waste is to leave it for our kids to deal with. At Hanford, here in Washington State, we cover waste with a layer of cement 1 foot thick every three years. By the time this waste is inert, the layers will be 2 MILES deep(unless we run out of cement first--and, cement is a NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCE, just like oil.)
No energy source that produces such long-lived waste is going to be a viable option. As long as people try to take the easy way out, we are making trouble for future generations. Our planet has energy that we can use without long term waste products or atmospheric complications: hydrodynamics, geothermal, wave dynamics, solar, and aerodynamics. We have so much to choose from, why spoil the future for our children????
Cement is based on limestone which is a naturally occurring substance based on marine organisms. There is a limited amount in nature and it is getting as hard to find as new oil deposits.
1) Cleaning rags. Use the soft items to make into cleaning clothes. I
make mine about 12x12 and stuff them into a bag to keep them neat. I
also moved my paper towel dispenser to the inside of the cabinet where
I keep the rags. This reminds me to use the rags instead of paper
towels whenever possible.
2) Save the seams and sew them into a long strip. Then crochet or knit
the strips into rag rugs. You can use polyester scraps but try to keep
the cotton at least 75% of the rug so it is absorbent.
3) Cut old jeans and make shopping bags, car seat covers, furniture
throws and pet beds. These sell very well at Farmer's Markets and
4) Cut down on kitchen cleaning by covering all your counter top
appliances. When the covers look dingy, toss them in the wash.
5) Cotton prints make beautiful patchwork quilts. Make the quilt in
2x2 foot blocks and work on them while watching TV or during waiting time.
6)Use fabric blocks to sew book covers in assorted sizes to protect
books from spills and hand oils. Even paperbacks benefit from having a
book cover while you are reading it.
7)Use bright scraps to add embellishments to other clothing. Add a
tiny faux pocket to a plain sweater or a bright red collar to a black
shirt. Add fancy patches to jeans to cover stains!
8)Sew funny teeshirts into pillows for the floor or sofa.
9)Recycle lacy lingerie into sachets stuffed with potpourri to keep
linen closets and drawers smelling nice.
10) keep a bag of rags in your car in case you have to change a tire
or need a little traction in the snow.
-Vic in Seattle
Read the whole story here: http://www.lvbusinesspress.com/articles/2007/03/05/news/iq_12851348.txt
While I read the story, I had some thoughts and questions. As a few of you may have noticed, I am pretty anti-technology, and I do not believe that projects like this will help the problem of energy over-use.
First of all, this project is only possible because the companies involved are required by law to get 20% of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2015. The project is expensive and the power it produces is projected to be more than twice as expensive and the current natural gas powered electric sources.
Secondly, the project covers 300 acres of land with expansion planned in the future. The property is leased from Boulder City for $550,000 per year once it begins operation. Why lease land? They could buy 750 acres for about 9 Million http://www.landsofnevada.com/nevada/index.cfm?detail=&inv_id=43344 and save 11 million in the 40 years they will be leasing. Or better yet, instead of buying or leasing from a city, lease land from the Federal Government. This agency handles over a million acres of land available for lease: http://www.nlrc.com/
Third, this is a heat exchange system where oil is heated by the sun to boil water to run turbines. Heat exchange systems work very well when the product is used directly such as using the sun to heat water that is then pumped into storage tanks to supply hot water or heat for homes. The efficiency of the system takes a nose dive when you run turbines off the heated water. Heating water to 120 degrees for household use is nearly 100% efficient. Heating water to 212 degrees to run a steam engine drops the efficiency down to 50% or less. A lot of energy is lost by heat escaping to the environment and to friction on the engine parts.
Fourth, this plant was built brand new from scratch using absolutely no recycled materials at all, and while the idea of "free energy" is appealing, the carbon-footprint created by 300 acres of mirrors is appalling.
Fifth, the project was originally built in a partnership between
North Carolina-based Solargenix Energy and Spain's Acciona SA. Last year Acciona bought out Solargenix. What is the difference between buying foreign energy or paying a foreign company to capture the energy inside the States? The result is the same....the energy is used here and the money goes there.
OK, I have ranted enough....I will be watching this project in the future.
Got Food? The tighter the budget, the more you will have to rely on basic foods such as beans, rice, flour & canned goods that supply a lot of nutrition for the dollar. You can increase the health and quality of life of your family right now if you buy less prepared and packaged food and do more cooking from basic ingredients. Bonus points: you save money and people will ask, "How did you learn to cook like grandma?" Store as much food as you can. If a disaster doesn't happen, with extra food on hand, you'll spend less time in the grocery store.
The suggested food storage list:
30 cans of meat (15 tuna, 15 chili)
8 pounds oatmeal
40 pounds white rice
40 pounds flour
15 pounds corn meal
30 pounds pasta
10, 26 oz cans of spaghetti sauce (or 30, 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce & some spices)
30 boxes macaroni and cheese
30, 15 oz. Cans Mixed Vegetables (15 Oz. Cans)
4, 3 pound cans shortening (or equivalent in oil)
15 pounds sugar
3, 32 ounce jars grape jelly
5 pounds dehydrated hamburger (see recipe below)
12 lbs dried milk (60 quarts liquid)
12 lbs dried beans or peas
salt, bouillon, pepper, some hard candy, spices, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa
My amended Food Storage List: Feed 2 for 30 days with lots of left overs toward the next month.
20 cans of meat (5 tuna, 5 chili, 5 Spam, 5 Canned Whole Chickens)
5 pounds quick-cooking oatmeal
5 pounds Minute rice (much faster to cook....saves fuel.)
10 pounds flour
5 pounds Pancake Mix
5 pounds corn meal
5 pounds pasta
15 packages of Ramen style noodles
5 pounds instant mashed potatoes
3 pounds dehydrated onion flakes
12 assorted cream soups-tomato, mushroom, celery etc.
5 boxes instant macaroni and cheese
30, 15 oz. Cans Mixed Vegetables (15 Oz. Cans) Include some spinach, canned beans, carrots, corn. Avoid "watery" veggies like green beans, okra, or potatoes.
32 oz olive oil or grape seed oil.
5 pounds sugar
4, 8 ounce jars assorted jelly
5 pounds dehydrated hamburger (see recipe below)
3 lbs dried milk (15 quarts liquid)
1 pound Cheddar Cheese Powder
6 lbs dried beans, legumes or peas (Plan on soaking beans for 24-48 hours to save cooking time.)
3-4 Dozen Eggs, store in the fridge and rotate. Eggs will keep in refrigerator for 6 months. Eat first in case of loss of refrigeration.
salt, assorted bouillon, pepper, some hard candy, spices, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa
3 cases of energy drinks(for energy and Vitamin B and C)
Seven days of meals for about $20:
Breakfast-Rehydrated Hamburger & egg scramble, Handcakes*, Jelly
Lunch-Sandwiches using meat, soup
Dinner-Red beans and rice*, homemade bread
Breakfast-Potato Pancakes, eggs, toast, Jelly
Lunch-Sandwiches using meat, red beans & rice.
Dinner-Canned Chicken,veggie, rice, homemade bread
Breakfast-Oatmeal, Toast, Jelly
Lunch-Leftover Chicken & Rice Soup, Bread
Dinner-Tuna Casserole homemade bread
Breakfast-Fried Oatmeal, eggs, Toast, Jelly
Lunch-Tuna Casserole(Cook Mac and Cheese and add 1 can of tuna and 1 can drained mixed veggies) with bread.
Dinner-Spam Hash, homemade bread
Lunch-Sandwiches using meat, soup
Breakfast-Egg scramble with onions and cheese sauce, Handcakes*, Jelly
Lunch-Ramen Soup with veggies
Dinner-Red beans and rice, homemade bread
Breakfast-rehydrated Hamburger & egg scramble, Handcakes*, Jelly
Lunch-Sandwiches using meat, soup
Dinner-Corn Chowder, homemade bread
Got dehydrated fried hamburger? Fry until well done, drain grease, blot dry, rinse the hamburger under hot running water, clean and dry the skillet thoroughly, put fried hamburger back into the skillet (add onions and favorite seasonings), fry again, drain any remaining grease and blot dry, line the dehydrator trays with wax paper, add hamburger and dehydrate until it is thoroughly dry and resembles little hard rocks (how many hours depends on the dehydrator, if you don't have a dehydrator, use the "oven method" Set it to 140 degrees, spread food in trays, prop the door open a little, check frequently. Consult your local home extension office or library for more information.). Store in airtight ziplocks (double bagged) or in clean mason jars, in the dark. To rehydrate: soak in hot water until soft, add to a favorite recipe (casseroles, pasta sauces, etc.)
Handcakes: 2/3 of 1 cup of pancake mix
2 Tbsp Milk Powder
Water to make a thick batter.
Mix together and drop by spoonfuls into an oiled frying pan. Makes about 6 hand-sized cakes.
Everyday Redbeans and Rice: 2 15 oz cans of red beans
spices to taste
4 cups cooked rice.
(Makes 2 meals for 2)
1) Learn to do more with less.
2) Pay attention to the news as a oracle of things to come.
3) Keep supplies needed for your family and rotate your supplies so that everything stays fresh.
4) Learn where to get things in an emergency or survival situation.
5) Keep basic skills up to date (First aid and CPR skills for example)
6) Keep learning new skills and use those skills to make life more fun and easier now. (I have recently taken a cooking class and I am now learning about hydroponics.)
My personal goal is to learn to be happy with less. Others may choose their own personal goals that will lead to their personal fulfillment. I do not believe the "world is coming to an end." I am preparing for lean times because it gives me personal satisfaction. If we could each approach our lives with the idea that we do not need to change the world, only ourselves, to make a difference.
My personal goals include:
Change over to energy saving devices when such devices need replacement anyhow. Recent purchases--27 watt florescent bulbs @ $1.22 each---A Steal!!!!
Stock up on food when the price is right and only on the stuff your family actually eats. My family eats fresh meats, veggies and fruit plus homemade breads. I have a freezer and a pressure cooker which I use to preserve foods for long term storage.
Cut down on total miles driven and turn off lights. This should be second nature by now, but I still need to remind myself to do it.
Grow as much food as you can. This isn't as easy here in Seattle as it was when I lived out in the country but I am doing as much as I can. It started with fresh herbs and is expanding into a full garden this year even though my patch of dirt is only about 100 square feet that I have reclaimed from the ivy.
Recycle and reuse as much as you can. Why throw away used plastic bags and then buy new ones by the box? Why toss away yogurt containers and then buy Ziplock food boxes? I am trying to buy less and re-use more, then recycle the rest.
Make what you need whenever possible. So many skills are being lost because it is so easy to buy what we need instead of making it. Some things I did recently:
winter hats-hand crocheted
bread and rolls-baking skills
seat cover for my car-sewing skills
reusable shopping bags-sewing skills
canned stew-home food preservation
Rosemary and garlic flavored cooking oil-food production
fixed work jeans-mending skills
pillowcases-embroidery and sewing skills
Spend some time thinking about what you know and how you can share that knowledge with others. The future will depend on keeping as much info alive as possible. Here are some basics that everyone needs to know:
How to plan for emergency food storage, what to store, how much, how to store it.
Home food preparation and preservation.
Growing safe food in the space you have available.
Local wild foods, what is safe and nutritious.
Basic tool maintenance and repair.
Basic animal husbandry for chickens, rabbits and goats.
Some examples of Energy-Dieting would be:
Getting organic produce delivered from a farm. Seems like a great idea; fresh veggies, support the farmers, encourage more organic farming. Downside is that the veggies need to be transported, organic farming is very labor intensive, which diverts very good positive human energy away from actually solving the problems that produce the need for organic veggie delivery, and organic veggie delivery is at least 4 times more expensive than run of the mill produce so consumers must work more to be able to afford it.
Compare home grown organic veggies that use compost and residual heat from our homes to organic veggies grown in greenhouses, artificially heated and lit, and then delivered to customers up to 50 miles away, every week. Eventually, most consumers drop out of the delivery program after a few months or a couple of years and go back to more conventional methods. BUT, here is the problem-now consumers accustomed to getting highest quality must travel far and wide to get what they want so they have actually INCREASED their energy use.
Another example of Energy Dieting is installing solar panels to make electricity. Solar panels seem like a great idea; they have gotten cheaper, more efficient, and easier to retro-install on existing houses. The downside--Pre-built homes are all running on 120v. 120v is VERY tough on solar produced energy so to get the best use of your new panels you will need to install 12 volt lighting and electrical systems alongside your 120v systems. Another downside is is that the production of solar panels and the extra electrical system is not a clean manufacturing process. Just the amount of acid used to make and clean a 2 foot by 4 foot solar panel is enough to kill 2 full acres of land. Yes, the companies do recycle the byproducts but the very fact that they are needed should be a red flag to carbon-conscious consumers and the carbon foot print of a single solar panel can never be made up for by energy savings. All we have done by purchasing a solar panel is to move the carbon emissions to someone else's back yard.
Another example: Buying a new hybrid or bio-diesel auto. These have the same basic problems as solar panels: the initial carbon cost can never be made up for by energy savings. The mess of production is left where the car is produced and is adding to the global problem no matter how efficient the auto is to operate.
To really make a difference in our use of petroleum products we must forget everything we have been told about Energy Star appliances, Solar panels, Cars of the Future....every one of these items is designed to get the consumer to BUY MORE STUFF. The problem of Global warming and the end of petroleum reserves will never be solved by BUYING MORE. The only way to solve the problem is to use what we have more efficiently, make replacements intelligently, and working on problems with a more personal approach.
Examples of Low Energy Living that really work:
Grow as much of your own food as possible using available methods. I am growing about 600 linear feet of garden this year, the equivalent of a quarter acre of garden but I am growing it all in pots, and tubes using hydroponic methods. It may not work out, but it is worth a try. Total cost of the project so far is $120 for lights, growing medium, plant stands, etc. Even if you only have room for one 5 gallon bucket sized planter you could grow 3 or 4 salads a week(total cost for system is under $30.00.)
Buy less and get more. I admire the people who do the Stop-Buying-for-a-Year thing but I haven't been able to stick to that yet. I do have some other ideas that work for me:
Advertising makes products seem very appealing but it also accounts for up to 50% of the cost of the items. Designer clothing is a great example of this. If you look for stores and products that do minimal advertising you can save huge amounts on the items you need. I try to buy cleaners, spices, and household items as cheaply as possible, usually at Dollar Stores.
Stock up when items are on sale. For example, last week McPherson's Produce Market had ORGANIC broccolini on sale for 39 cents a pound(usually $2.99 a pound!) I now have enough of it in my freezer to last 6 months.
Keep a notebook of who has the best prices on what you need.
Make what you buy last longer by taking care of it.
Buy at thrift stores, especially on things you are not familiar with. Example- I bought a super high end juicer at a thrift store for $10.00. It worked great but juicing is not really my thing after all. I saved at least $190 by getting the cheap one first. (BTW, I have an Acme Challenger Juicerator for sale....$10.00 Works great!)
Sorry that this post has gone on so long but as you can see, I have a passion for this subject. I would love to hear from others concerning hydroponics, food preservation, saving energy, using less, and being generally happier.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Most building projects in this area seem to be designed to help traffic move more smoothly but the truth is that we need to discourage traffic from moving at all. We need to pay more attention to mass transit and to ending our need to commute. Affordable housing near work sites makes much more sense than building more roads to get people to work.
No-Drive zones need to be established that pair affordable parking with sensible mass transit. Currently the few parking lots that offer this are expensive and crowded. There is no incentive to park and ride when parking is $12.00 per day and buses are 15-30 minutes apart.