Monday, July 21, 2008

Cooking is Powerful!

from freeacre

I had to go to the grocery store yesterday to pick up meat for our dog, and to purchase those things that we don’t produce around here. But, as time goes on, I notice that I am skipping whole aisles. No need to buy eggs, cookies, much of the produce, bread, and so forth anymore. I still have not made my own cheese. Our green peppers and cucumbers aren’t ripe yet. Mushrooms are pretty impossible, even though they pop up by themselves in the garden. It feels like I’d need a degree in botany to figure out which mushrooms are poisonous and which are edible. So, I buy them. After the collapse, I’ll either learn, trust somebody else to know, or give them up.

But, now I can plan my meals around what is available in the garden, and then fill in the blanks from the store. Yesterday I spent about $60 on food for the two of us and our dog. Here’s what we’ll be eating this week:

- A salad made with an orange and avocado on a bed of musclun lettuce with almonds and citrus dressing; served with some pork loin stuffed with garlic.

- Homemade egg rolls stuffed with shrimp, plus egg, cabbage and scallions from the garden; served with snow peas (also from the garden).

- White bean dip and salsa on crisped pita bread with a salad.

- Steamed kale from the garden with butter and vinegar; served with red snapper

- Creamed Swiss chard and mushrooms served over crepes (or noodles) with a yogurt/ fruit cup

- Tuna and pasta salad with coleslaw from the garden. We’ve grown a sort of leaf cabbage from Tuscany this year that we’ve never had before.

- Cheese enchiladas with a plate of tomatoes and scallions on the side. I just got a tortilla press in the mail that I am anxious to try. We’ll see how much better homemade tortillas taste.

In addition, I also have tofu, yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit for breakfast and lunches – and ice cream, two for one sale. I’m making homemade bagels, too, so I bought cream cheese.

Not bad for sixty bucks, I’d say. And, most of it is organic.

Gads! I feel like a post-collapse Martha Stewart! Don’t worry – I won’t advise washing your toilet with home-grown rose petals.

Now, admittedly, all this takes time to prepare. Especially if you are starting with a rototiller…. But, what a project to accomplish together! Whatever your family configuration – single friends; mom, dad, and the kids; older collective, whatever, this is a project that will help to bond those who participate into a “family.” And, you need not be a gourmet cook. Even if you just put these natural ingredients in a blender with some water and ate them raw, it would still sustain life. Beyond that, it is just a matter of talent and practice.

Think of the navel-watching, self-absorbed, integrity-challenged yuppie (scum) on Seinfeld. If they had to pull together to produce meals like this, they’d either have to get over their issues or they would starve to death.

Ras has a terrific post on her blogsite, My Flight From the Grid, entitled “Is Localvorism Anti-Feminist?” It’s very good question. And, I agree with her. It is not.

Learning and practicing how to produce one’s own food and cook from scratch could be the difference between being happy and well, or being miserable, sick, or even dead, when the shit hits the fan and the trucks stop rolling in with food from California, Guatemala, and points South.

Not only that, but anybody who thinks being a wage slave locked into the daily commute and the compulsory day care center hassle is some form of “liberation” is nuts. Buying fast food, eating out of a bag, driving endless miles, shopping for those imported slave-made clothing and products, and credit card debt, only serves THE MAN (even if she is a woman nowadays).

I remember vividly the days when no matter what a woman did, it was discounted and devalued. That was sick and wrong. But now, the “feminist”movement has morphed into women as well as men living to serve the corporations, the pharmaceutical industry, and the military. That is not liberation. That is a pimp job.

The damage it that has been done to society is obvious when you look around and see the fragmented families, gangs, dangerous neighborhoods, greed, alienation, sickness, and injury to the planet that has occurred in the last 30 years or so. We should have known something perverse was happening when Gloria Steinham started to date Henry Kissinger. Come to think of it, Kissinger advised Nixon, too, when he went to China. . . Who is this friggin’ Kissinger, anyway, the “slavery czar”? Somebody needs to stick a bag over his head and stick him to a wall before he can do any more harm.

Localization is powerful. It is healing. It requires equality between men and women, and mutual respect. It requires that everyone do what they can, not based on what sex they are, but what their talents and abilities are. In our home, murph can’t cook much. But, he can do the dishes. And, I am worthless at fixing a water pump, but I can water the garden. We each do what we can.

Now, that things are tough and getting tougher, maybe we’ll learn to value each other more than our jobs. We’ll learn to value the gift of the top soil, and not pave it over to make a mall. We’ll learn to respect our children or grandchildren and what they can contribute, not just feel compelled to haul them around and buy them stuff. We’ll learn the value of keeping our word and our commitments. You can’t bullshit the garden. If the seeds don’t get sown, or the plants don’t get watered, or the animals don’t get fed, or the firewood is not chopped, everybody will be in a world of hurt. Those not able to be in integrity will not last long in a relationship or a community.

Well, I am not saying that everything is going to fall happily into place and we can all hold hands and sing “Kumbaya.” But, take it step-by-step. Localization is a great step and a great responsibility – and it is empowering. It will give healthy structure to the confusion and chaos ahead. I believe that the rewards will be real clear real soon.

Now, to get that meal on the table…

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Drom Belgium,

You have done it now Freeacre, the whole clan will turn up on your front door expecting to be fed. I hope that you included five loaves and three fishes on your shopping list. I did notice at the beginning of your post that it was animals first and then people second.

I had an aunty once, now long dead, who was divorced before it became popular. She worked permanent nights cleaning the insides of busses, didn’t want to live off the state and alimony was a joke when you can’t find the guy. She did her work, got on with her life and never knew the word feminist. Over here about 20% of the bus drivers are women. If they want to do it they do and if they don’t they don’t. The war not withstanding, those who have created the twin spectres of desire and inflation have had a lot to do with mobilising the female work force sometimes causing the disastrous results you mention.

You know that I am neither a city slicker nor a country hick. I am a ten miles out of town slicker hick with a foot in both camps. Living in a n apartment does have its limitation so far as permaculture is concerned. Last week I was at a local market and bought a dozen lettuce and half a dozen celery seedlings. I planted them in four inch pots and stuck them out on the balcony against the wall of the building. Then I realised that I had not planted for succession and they will all come out at the same time. I will probably finish up giving half of them away. Anyway it is more of a feel good factor than anything real. The land laws are a nightmare over here but I thought of advertising for the use of an unused garden on a shared crop basis. Maybe I will get round to it, maybe.

In the very unlikely event that I do turn up on your front door and the even more unlikely event that you point me in the direction of the kitchen and tell me to throw something together then you are going to have to have a metric kitchen scale. Working in cups after you have been used to grams is like working on the church clock after you have been used to fixing ladies watches. And you will have to have to have a word with Lyle and the Supremes and tell them that they have to start laying metric eggs. Lol.

RAS said...

I want to make it clear that I'm not advocating a return to traditional gender roles in my post. Not just no, but hell no. There are several reasons for this. A) Those were wrong to begin with. B.) I think all adults should have more to their lives than domestic duties and child rearing. C.) I think child rearing is a sacred responsibility that should be carried out equally by both parents, and ideally by the rest of the community as well. and D.) there will always be men who enjoy and are good at taking care of kids and the house and women who should, to be stereotypical, out hunting instead of caring for kids.

On other topics, I ran a red light yesterday. Not a whim; the thing was broken. But I was surprised at how good it felt to break a rule. Something is wrong when running a red light feels like a major act of rebellion.
Also, I am one of those people who turns into a total *itch when she doesn't eat or get enough sleep. Right now I'm going on about 20 hours of wakefulness and its showing. To say I'm in a bed mood is an understatement. The only reason I'm awake is my food is still cooking. Anyway, I stopped at Wal-mart on the way home from work a few minutes ago because there were some things I really needed and that was the only place on the way to get them. I got oil while I was there, the same 5-qt bottle I always get there or anywhere else. And I didn't put it in a bag, as usual. Well, the little girl at the door thought I'd stolen it and treated me like I was a thief. I gave her a look that could have melted paint at fifty paces and she actually backed up a step or two and looked around like she wanted to call security. I handed her the receipt meekly, while I literally had to bite my tongue to keep from saying "Listen sweetheart, here's a tip for you and your masters: if I was going to steal something, it would be in the god damn bag!
grrr...

Anonymous said...

freeacre,

Your fresh tucker gourmet menu sounds delightful like a bed and breakfast place only dinner or like a 5 star european hotel brunch. You've inspired me to return to the kitchen with a new attitiude. And ditto on the kissenger remark what a slug-thug he is. mrsp

murph said...

ras,

I agree with much of your points on gender roles. Men can learn to take care of kids, just as women can learn auto mechanics.

Your first point would take some documentation. Gender roles may very well have some survival benifit, I don't know. But branding all gender roles as being wrong I am not so sure about. Also, gender roles did not begin with the industrial revolution. There is rather full documentation on this back for 5000 years. The severity of the social gender roles varied with the society and and would change with time. If you want to see the real history of gender roles and male domination, read about the Greek history. In that empire, women were about on the same level as livestock and very much feared by the male dominated society. That was the beginning of the absolute male domination over the female in a large and complex society.

I would also hope that you are not maintaining that there is absolutely no difference between the physical and psychological
makeup on a gender basis. Sure seems to be a lot of science that says there is. And, that is not to say that either is more important or better than the other. Just that there are differences, and in my opinion, thank goodness.

And then we might want to deal with the concept that there is a male and female side to all humans. How much of this is societal pressure and values is open for discussion.

Somewhere I have a short essay on "you may be an anarchist and not know it". Little acts of disobedience, rebellion, and non adherence to a law. Yup, it's a good feeling in a way.

I love your thoughts at the WalMart. LOL. In the bag, or in my coat or pocket or in my pants , certainly not out in the open. lol That is priceless.

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

These comments seem to have imperceptibly changed tack from food to feminism.
Are you guys aware of this article:

“Women are now equal victims of a poor economy”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/22/business/22jobs.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

It claims the 30 year or so modern feminist movement of burn your bra, get out into the workplace and kick some ass, is breaking down for economic reasons and not for maternal or other social reasons, as was previously thought. Aaron Ruso claimed that Nick Rockefeller confided to him that the feminist movement was started by the PTB so that they could tax two incomes instead of the more usual one. Now women are staying at home because after working for $15 - $20/h they have problems to get out of bed to work for $7 - $8/h, interesting.

freeacre said...

Belgium,
Regarding all your lettuce maturing at the same time: I keep doing the same thing! But, I find that when I pick it, cut only about half the leaves of any one plant, and it will continue to replenish itself with more new leaves. If you do kill the whole plant, pull the whole root out and just stick a new seed into the ground where it was. They ought to last a long time.
Additionally, our measuring cups actually have metric readings on the back side. Nobody ever reads them, but you could be the first! And, what in the heck is a metric scale??

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Hey that’s a pretty interesting idea about the lettuce, I once did gardening for a living (there are so many strings on my bow there is no place to fit the arrows) and I never knew that. You bet I am going to try it.

Pleased to see God’s units are finally making their way stateside, you will get the hang of them one day!

I know it is a novel concept but some people measure their ingredients by weight instead of volume, given enough time it could catch on.

I sure have some tongue in cheek fun with you guys and I am whispering now but pounds and ounces and pints and ounces are much more sensible units than dividing everything by ten. You just get used to the conventions of where you live.

Dave said...

I find cooking very therapeutic and relaxing. Although superficially it seems to take longer than going out to eat, it really doesn't, especially if you make enough for leftovers. Most of my meals take one hour to prepare, eat, and clean up after. It would take much longer to go out to eat and I wouldn't enjoy the atmosphere as much and the food quality wouldn't be as good.

Even though some dishes do take a long time to prepare - I made lasagna a few weeks ago and it took a couple of hours - it doesn't matter to me because time is what I have plenty of. And like I said, it's very therapeutic to cook, so the longer, the better. But in the case of lasagna I had at least ten leftover meals that I could prepare merely by putting a piece of lasagna in the oven to warm up. Spreading the two hour initial cooking time among ten meals reduces the time per meal to merely 12 minutes. And the cost was about $2 or less per meal.

Last night I made a simple pasta dish with basil and tomatoes from my own garden. I also harvested some onions and potatoes, which I have yet to use. I also noticed that I've got half a dozen cantaloupes and at least three watermelons growing out there, so I'm looking forward to those.

It's a lot of fun to grow your own food. One gains an appreciation for the cycles of life. But if one is a good cook, then home grown food is the perfect compliment to home cooked food.

freeacre said...

Good input, Dave. You are right - leftovers do really reduce the preparation time for each meal. And, they are always good for lunches or to grab a quick meal when some activity comes up that eats into meal times. Those cantaloupes and watermelons sound yummy...

Boy, we may be needing all the therapeutic tricks we can muster. The news on the financial, food, warfare, and political fronts is pretty disturbing. Even got the astronaut saying that aliens are real!

RAS said...

I met a midwife last night. It was pretty cool. I commented that I was under the impression midwifery was illegal here. Her respone? "It is. That's never stopped me from practicing."
Good for her!

My garden is coming into full production. I keep looking at the squash plants and going yum! I love to cook. Unfortunately, I don't much care for cleaning up afterward, lol. I'm one of those odd people who's rather clean a bathroom than do the dishes.

Murph, first I'd like to say I was talking about the 1950s gender roles specificially. I've studied gender roles extensively, both formally and informally. You can trace the domination thing back 5,000 years but not before -odd that, since human societies have existed for at least 35,000 years.

I'm not about to say there aren't any differences between men and women. There are, and that's a good thing. But the interesting thing about those differences is that they are all normal overlapping curves, with the averages only a few percentage points apart. Some are in one direction and some in the other. For instance, men, on average, are stronger than women, but women, on average, have faster reaction times than men. But the curves overlap to the point that you have more variation among women and among men than you have between women and men. That's why you have men as pretty as Miss America and women who can break some men in half.

You're defintiely right that both men and women have "feminine" and "masculine" sides. I would say that the expression of those sides, for most people, is determined by cultural rather than biological forces. The reason is the more I see of gender roles, the more mutable they become. When you look outside mainstream western society you see a much larger range of possible expressions. I've observed this especially in the LGBT community but also in others. And its been observed in many different cultures.

Anonymous said...

been so busy like most and just finished reading the last post and a few things really stuck out on the comments, one being this,
''Something else. Go to TED and look up a talk by Steven Hawking. He asserts that the scientific community is in agreement that the universe could have created itself out of nothing and then goes on to denigrate all who claim to have seen ufo's as "cranks and weirdos."

well... my hands are on my new hips, my lips are perched, my right foot is tapping and i say,'' this one has already reported the sighting the other night of the most amazing thing i have ever seen as something that was constructed by the hand? claw?. tentacle?.....whatever, it was not something created by any thing in nature,//so being a crank and a weirdo i can attest that those attributes have nothing to do with what one is privileged to have been blessed with in observation of the night skies. also in talking with langosta, she says that the steven is a beautiful brother fastened to a chair on wheels and he has a bent frame and sometimes his thinking gets bent too as a result of this infirmity? and about the universe she says that the universe was not just created out of nothing, its is still created out of that same nothing, only she goes on to say that that nothing isn't just any old nothing, it is a nothing that is something amazing and wonderful and that at some point in the evolution of the two-leggeds the sensory apparatus needed to perceive that nothing will come into being for them,........and goes on to say that the only thing standing in the way of that gift of the spirit is the denial of ones own self and that as soon as that little ditty is taken care of it will manifest.
of course i'm a little askance at these utterances coming from a creature with two inch long eye brows and said so , but also asked her if the folks here at this site were included in this mystical awaking of the senses? of course she said.

got to go water my marijuana plants
peace to all of you mysterious ones
mf&b

ps still trying to catch up with you guys, and will be around to join in with your excellent sounding words later.
also goddam i will say it agin, lets all go live with freeacre and the murphinator.

comrade simba said...

Our favorite pastime at the dinner table is figuring how little money we have spent on that meal. Usually comes out to, like, 20 cents or something for the noodles.
Noon and 95 degrees again. In a half hour a piece of the garden goes into shade - weeding task of the day.

Dave said...

While reading some of the comments an irony struck me. While many progressives today decry that much of the world lives on $2 per day or something like that, many of us here are trying to scale down our lifestyles to just that figure!

While I don’t begrudge developing countries trying to enjoy the same material benefits that we’ve enjoyed here for many decades, I personally think that their attempt to mimic our way of life is a mistake. Our efforts to balance comfort with a light footprint on the planet is the more progressive path.

Dave

murph said...

Dave,

Not so sure in our economy $2/day is realistic at all, even at subsistence. Either that or your going to be dumpster diving for food, which there are people that do that, but for most of us, not either practical or desirable. Producing own food is much more viable I think.

It is rather amusing to see it from your perspective though. But, if what we figure is coming down happens, it will be a mute point. We will all be forced into some rather radical changes in how we live.

One critical (I think) question about raising standards of living is does the world actually have enough resources to do it for everyone? It would be interesting to see a study on just what living standards were possible with 6.5 billion people all living the same and what that would look like. I suspicion it would not be so good.

RAS said...

Murph, there has been such a study. I've seen it but can't recall where. (I want to say in something of Bill Mckibben's but I'm not sure.)
At any rate, what I remember was that it would only work if we all were living at subsistence level and all the earth's resources where shared equally. Even then, we'd still be drawing down our 'natural capital'.
The same study said that to give all of us an American style of living we'd have to have 8 or 9 planets. We're headed for a major population reduction; I don't see anyway around it at this point.

In brighter news, I made homemade blueberry buckwheat pancakes this morning with fresh picked blueberries -yum! A few days ago I cooked chicken fajitas and every ingredient but the chicken and the fajita shells came from my garden. Yay!

Anonymous said...

this observation brought to you by ztcsmmev...

murph.... It would be interesting to see a study on just what living standards were possible with 6.5 billion people all living the same and what that would look like.

by the time the study was complete there could likely be 8.5B people!

aside from that little prob, switching gears is do-able. IF the people have the will, get our shit together and get to work. we can address food, water, energy, environment, and economy all at the same time.

i'm digging into david blume's 600 page "alcohol can be a gas". its a how-to, a history lesson, and a manifesto all rolled into one. chock full of bio-chemestry and synergistic systems and hundreds of damn solid ideas... some tested, some extrapolated. 30 years of research and experience coupled with 4 years of re-writing the original book written in the 80's but never published (thats a story in itself).

we can, as better than 70% of americans are now screaming for, drill offshore for more oil and still have to deal with what we're going to do when the tank runs empty. and likely will. or we could build the 45 nuc plants the experts say will solve the demand prob and create more probs than we already got without addressing the real issues. i can't think of the first food that can come from nuclear as a direct product or byproduct.

or...

With alcohol fuel, you can become energy-independent, reverse global warming, and survive Peak Oil in style. Alcohol fuel is "liquid sunshine" and can't be controlled by transnational corporations. You can produce alcohol for less than $1 a gallon, using a wide variety of plants and waste products, from algae to stale donuts. It's a much better fuel than gasoline, and you can use it in your car, right now. You can even use alcohol to generate electricity. Alcohol fuel production is ecologically sustainable, revitalizes farms and communities, and creates huge new opportunities for small-scale businesses. Its byproducts are clean and valuable. Alcohol has a proud history and a vital future.

that para is a clip off the front page of blume's site... http://permaculture.com/.

i only have one prob with his claims... it damn sure can be controled by transnationals and was early in that proud history. one way is to spin the disinfo mill and turn it into a demon in the minds of the public. this is already happening with corn and other feed stocks.

so we need to get to work to make sure this doesn't get hijacked. the myths are many and the truth gets buried and forgotten. how many of us know our cars began running on alcohol? you could tool off into the countryside and pull into just about any farmer's yard and fill-er-up with home brew. or go around to the alley back behind the baker's shop or any number of urban businesses and do the same.

gas came later. henry ford, who when asked why he continued to build alcohol cars said, "there are alot more stills in this country than gasoline stations", never intended to build gas guzzelers.

but ole henry lost. so did we. we can thank that off-his-rocker-faller for this. and us who ultimately cut our own throats. rockefeller funded the women's christian temperance union who guilt triped our durnken lawmakers into forwarding a constitutional ammendment to prohibit alcohol production. it passed effectively shifting the paradigm to fossil fuels.

i want to emphasize one sentence of blume's claims... Its byproducts are clean and valuable!! to get just a taste of how clean and valuable click on this... http://www.alcoholcanbeagas.com/
book_menu/489/231/359

the lighting sucks at the opening but gets fixed in 2 minutes. pop some corn, open a cool one, sit back and prepare to be enlightened! and as you watch, keep in mind he's talking about the same cool one yer sippin on!!

...p out ztcsmmev!

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Ras, Why is midwifery illegal, I just thought that was a normal job?

P, The problem with alcohol from biomass is that it doesn’t leave enough cereals for the 6.5 bn people to eat.

Dave I find cooking therapeutic too but these days I seem to just make something to eat.

Ras We are opposites, hate cleaning the bathroom but don’t mind the washing up, you can keep your hands busy while you switch your brain off.

murph said...

Palooka,

Went to the site you linked to. I have some questions on his stats. Also, you do realize alcohol reduces mpg, I have tested that. Here in Oregon, the 2% mixture decreases in our vehicles by 3-4 mpg. It is also corrosive to certain materials that gas is not.

The article also does not go into how long it would take farming to get off the oil habit in land fertility and pesticides. The new GM corn actually takes more water and oil products than non GM seeds.

I sure don't have all the information I figure is available, but there are a lot of questions concerning his claims. He does not go into the problems with mono culture farming and Gm seed stocks.

The article impresses me as being another defense of our rather excessive use of personal transportation, and I do question his $1 per gallon figure. I would sure like to see how that was arrived at, nor how much liquid alcohol you get from a bushel of corn.

Please forgive my skepticism. Everytime I read an article that presents a panacea for any problem I get suspicious. I've heard of panaceas for various problems all my life that never seem to deliver as claimed or have totally unintended consequences.

I gather your using the word verification as identification? lol Hadn't thought of trying that one. jemwygv he he

RAS said...

Palooka, even if all those claims are true, ethanol is STILL wrong, because converting our topsoil and food into fuel can never be right -it breaks the cycle of nature and draws down on our natural capital.

Belgium, lol, do you want the official reason or the real reason? The official reason is that its "too dangerous" to have a baby anywhere outside a hospital with a licensed doc (I'd say that having a baby *in* a hospital is too dangerous; I'll take a birthing center anyday.) The real reason is that midwives compete with OBs and you can't have that -especially since they're cheaper and most of them are women. Oh, and pregnancy is a disability and birth is an illness, don't you know, so therefore you have to a doctor to treat it, right? Horse hockey. Many insurance companies do literally define pregnancy as either a disability or an illness. How f*cked up is that?

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Ras

I can accept that as information, I guess that is why they refer to it as falling pregnant.

Anonymous said...

converting our topsoil and food into fuel can never be right -it breaks the cycle of nature and draws down on our natural capital.


tell me how that works please. thx... p

Anonymous said...

murph...

article? i intended to link a video.

he agrees with you that mpg is reduced at high alcohol to gas ratios such as E85 and above. 3-4 less on 2% is pretty drastic though. i'm running E10 and have seen no reduction. i get about 14+ in my 3/4 ton chev van local. liz just put 2500 road miles on it burning E10 more than not and clocked just under 18. where are you guys getting E02? why would they even go to the trouble to blend 2%?

i've read and heard of the corrosion objection elsewhere. i checked the index and he does address it.. "ethanol at 190 proof or above will have none of these (he'd been talking about corrosion, etc from methenol) effects on virtually all fuel system components in vehicles made after 1983. at 160 proof, 80% alcohol is quite capable of causing significant corrosion."

there may be more to that but i only read part of 1 page. there are over 20 pages of index and glossary each. hundreds of footnotes but i have no count as they come at end of each chapter and they are 29 chapters that contribute to 6 seperate books in one. also hundreds of visual figures. and enough biochemistry to fry my brain. this is one of them 9 X 11 monsters. my paperback weighs in at 4 pounds!

how long it would take farmers (and all the rest of us) to get off the oil habit is more up to us than anything else. i don't know if he attempts to address this or not. but one things fer sure... a model of some sort would be helpful.

as for the GM's, i've already read some stuff that will make yer skin crawl! not only does he go into GM seeds but he goes in depth into a lotta going's on in the biotech field rushing to solve the mystery of breaking down cellulose using GMO's for example. and i've only read 3 chapters.

no mention of monocroping? the guy was a permaculturist (and still is) before getting into experimenting with alcohol. started fiddling with that 25 years ago. monocroping is one of the permaculturists bad guys where its referred to as monoculture. this is bass-akerds to permaculturing.

"I would sure like to see how that was arrived at" lotta this in the book murph.

having said all that, i share your concerns and questions come to mind that he does not address. for example, he speaks at length of a biogenic system for secondary sewage treatment ponds where cattails feed on the nutrients and produce massive amounts of starch and cellulose feedstock with the highest known yield per acre per annum on the planet. managed crop from starch alone... 2500 gal. in sewage including the cellulose... a whopping 10,000. the spent fuel becomes liquid organic fertilizer.

so the first question in my mind was... how the hell do you harvest this stuff in a pond of sewage on a large scale? and.... okay, thats a crop. crops mature and then are harvested. a short period of time to process a massive amount of stock. which means a BIG piece of hardware and all the goodies to support it!! what's that equipment doing the rest of the down time? maybe questions like this get answered along the way. dunno yet.

he claims there are 500 small local projects in operation right now. the 10,000 may be a projection though as the cellulose side of things is still somewhat of an enigma. brazil is using weak acid hydrolysis and he is a proponet of that process. its here where biotech is trying to engineer smart pills that i DO have some major concerns as mentioned above re GMO bacteria, etc.

what i've read i'm reading with one foot in the state of missouri and one foot in the state of hope. it sure would be nice if something held some promise to significantly help in weaning ourselves from oil. and even better if that something was independent of the system, a vehicle for de-centralization and re-localization, had a positive impact of the environment and the planet AND the food supply, and empowered local entrepreneurship and small local businesses all at the same time. this appears to be blume's message in what i've read so far. right now i'm off the book. its over with one of my guys who i refer to as the doctor... pgbiyyve

murph said...

P,

Lol that's quite a comment there. I am quoting what I think I remember on the gas pumps. We go to the gas station so seldom that they have changed personal most times anyway. You can see that we do very little driving anymore. Some of those old fart stay at home types. But, I have kept tract of gas mileage and the last pump in Oregon has ethanol blend in regular now. Nest trip into town I will try and check it out again. 2% is what I remember. Shall see.

I try to look for transcripts of videos if I can find them when information content is at stake. Generally I can read faster than the video can play. I think I remember seeing a button for transcript of the video, but have to go to the site again to be sure.

I didn't see any reference to a 29 page download, what I saw must have been a synopsis. Have to go back and look around a bit more.

Also haven't seen a 600 page book by David Blum. I will investigate that also.

P, I think the two of us are approaching this from opposite sides of perspective. I am looking at personal transportation as having been horribly abused, and horribly expensive in terms of money and social consequences. I don't condemn it totally, but what our society pays to keep up what we have now, from my perspective, is horrendous. What it is doing to family structure I don't think is good, and I personally see a lot of psychological problems to it also. As a consequence I tend to look askance at solving the oil problem so we can keep up what we have going now.

It may very well be that ethanol is capable of doing that, but I ask the question, is that a good thing or not? If you take the view that all this personal extreme mobility is good and desirable, I can understand that. And maybe we can find a way to stay married to this system of transportation. Personally, I think we ought to get a divorce and unless a substitute to oil is indeed found at an affordable price, a divorce will be forced on us.

I like to keep in mind that the corporate structure that we rail against so much is responsible for what we have going on is this area, and they also control it. They will control ethanol also if that proves a viable substitute.

You say-- how long it would take farmers (and all the rest of us) to get off the oil habit is more up to us than anything else. i don't know if he attempts to address this or not. but one things fer sure... a model of some sort would be helpful.

I am going to posit that this is another area where desire hasn't anything to do with it. It is the land that is the problem. We have significantly fucked up a massive amount of farm land with our farming practices. We are losing top soil at a tremendous rate. I have mentioned before that when I lived in Iowa, where there was cultivation of mono crops, it sure appeared that nothing lived in the soil. It appeared to be flat out sterile. That is a very long way from permaculture practices, and I have made the same observations wherever I have lived for the last 20 years or so. Restoring the land to fertility is a long arduous process, taking years, not days or months. Without oil and its by products, we couldn't produce shit on this kind of land, plus the huge amount of water that it will take to grow fuel. We already are using marginal farm land that takes huge amounts of water, and it is contributing to what appears as the next great problem, availability of water. The huge Ogala aquifer has been drawn down over 50 feet in some areas, which can be seen by the land dropping. Colorado river isn't a river anymore. Any solution to the water problem is going to take massive amounts of capital to solve and have to be done very quickly, which flat out isn't going to happen. We got wars to fight anyway, got to put our resources and manpower where it is needed most.

No matter what we decide is the most viable for ethanol production, corn or cattails, I cannot see it happening on a massive enough scale to be a solution. We simply do not have the resources to do it, nor the political and social will. That is the problem with addictions. A few will change, most do not. A particular addiction on a social scale ends when the availability goes away. We have tried substitution for addiction with generally disastrous results. I am drawing on the Opium Wars and the situation for meth and alcohol in this country. I see our addiction to mechanized personal transportation much the same way. Humans seem to generally operate at extremes and this is one extreme that is unsustainable, no matter what, is my contention.

Your last paragraph is right on in my perspective. However, a gradual transition to localization is not going to happen soon enough, it will be forced on us if it happens at all. My reading of history suggests that forced changes of significant size from any source result in periods of chaos.

Got to admit I sure would like to live long enough to see how it works out.

freeacre said...

Well, p, I'd rather be stuck in a car full of vodka with a jar of olives, than one full of gasoline, that's for sure! I love these permaculture people! They come up with all this really cool stuff to apply the gifts of nature in so many inspiring ways. Who knows what the eventual outcome will be? But, at least joining their efforts will be emotionally satisfying and physically fulfilling as well. Sure beats working in a cubicle and watching "Big Brother."
I know I feel good about transforming our little patch of ground. When we started, it looked like the set of a spaghetti Western - all volcanic ash & pine needles- dry as a bone. Now we have all these veggies growing out of it.
Friggin' golf courses use about a million gallons of water a day for each one! I'd like to see those go away.

RAS said...

P, ethanol destroys our topsoil in two ways. One is direct and one is indirect. The direct is due to the type of farming practiced in this country. Industrial agriculture causes untold acres of topsoil to wash into rivers, lakes, and streams every year. Topsoil takes eons to form but can be lost in a very short time. When the first settlers started farming in Iowa there was over a foot of topsoil. Today that is down to a few inches in most areas. You can actually look at pictures of old buildings and see how the land around them has sunk.

The other way it destroys topsoil is indirect and much more complex. The cycle of nature is very complex and is meant to be closed. Nutrients are supposed to be recycled over and over again. Everything that grows in an area depends on the topsoil; it sucks in nutrients and releases them when it dies. If something harvests a plant those nutrients become lost, unless they are added back in some other form (such as manure). Artificial fertilizers won't cut it. When you make ethanol, your are preventing the return of all those nutrients to the soil -instead they are literally burned. Over time the soil becomes less and less fertile and breaks down into dirt. We are literally putting the planet's topsoil into our gas tanks and reducing the long-term viability of the planet and our own species.

This is the case with ALL of our mechanically and industrially farmed fields. It is just that much more of a sin* with biofuels, because at least the other farms actually produce food.

Sin*: I have a very strict definition of sin. The only things I consider sins are those actions which deliberately harm another person (or an animal, in the case of someone torturing animlas for sport in the like) or harm our biosphere and our capacity to sustain ourselves.

Anonymous said...

ras... thx for your comment. sorry 'bout the length of this but i consider this improtant. i grew up on a farm in iowa and am well aware of the points you raise re soil depletion and poisoning and agree. blume is too and would too. in spades. aside from being an expert on brewing alcohol, he's an activist, an ecologist, an organic farmer, and well anchored in permaculture practices. his website is permaculture dot com and he's one of the pioneers in that field. we owe all those permaculture pioneers a great debt and a big thankyou for blazing the trail for symbiotic systems that lead us back to nature's cycles. if there was ever a way for humans be get back to becoming one with those cycles without reverting back to the stone age, permaculture is that way imo.

the goal here is to reverse what we have done. not only to our food production lands but to all our lands. and the water. and the air. and yes, what we've done is being furthered in the rush by big ag, big business, big gov and, believe it or not, big oil into ethanol production in many cases. this is NOT the fault of the concept of distilling alcohol and not what blume has in mind. though the book is titled alcohol can be a gas, this is just a part of the larger picture thats a model to re-localize and return to nature based on taking individual responsibility and pro-activism in dealing with our challenges which are far from limited to energy. but energy, and particularly from alcohol, is a big part of the story.

its unfortunate that alcohol as a gas (not the book, the concept) is being turned into the bad guy when it can be an effective spoke in a synergistic wheel to drastically reduce our dependency, wean us from our addiction, grow healthy foods, and clean up our lands, aquifers, rivers, oceans and air at the same time. note i said spoke. not axis as in center of the wheel. the wheel is a symbiotic, living entity where every part is contributing to the whole.

i know that you know the value of such a wheel. i really think if you spent some time reading blume's website and reviews of the book you'd see a different view of how alcohol can be a viable part of that wheel and about the many myths, misinformation, misunderstandings and propaganda around it. here's just one of those reviews... http://permaculture.com/book_menu/360/277/380/403 its by albert bates from the farm whom i think you're familar with.

now to your 2nd point and what you refer to as the "sin" of biofuel production... yes, IF the production is in the stream of industriaized farming and all the down stream activity that goes on from there, then i would agree with you to a large extent. blume would too! on the other hand, i wouldn't say mechanized farming is, by definition, to blame though its certainly made industrialized farming possible. the machine is not to blame for this. the people who make them and use them in the ways they choose to are responsible.

blume might agree with you though. he ran an organic farm for years producing as much as 100,000 lbs/acre on terraced slopes. no tractor. hand tools only.

i'm a little familar with the cycles of nature and i understand its a closed system. being an old river paddler i was always amazed at the thought that the water under me on any given day could have been in the chuya in siberia 3 weeks before or the amazon a year ago. nutrients in the food cycle are no different and i have a basic layman's understanding of photosynthesis and that plants have root systems that take up nutrients from the soils and store them in their body. before they were in the soil, those nutrients were in the water cycle. then other living orgainsms, people, animals, bacteria, yeasts, enzymes and so on feed off those and pass on to the system as waste what they don't use as energy in the metabolic process or store in body. and in ALL cases the organisms become food themselves. eventually. either for something up the ladder in the chain or next door or, in the case of the death process. In every case, sooner or later what it ate and drank, what it became and didn't, ends up back in the soil. unles its isolated from that in some way.

so i'm with ya on the cycle part darlin! but none of what i said above makes a hill of beans and none of what blume sez does either if what you say is true that...

When you make ethanol, your are preventing the return of all those nutrients to the soil -instead they are literally burned.

and in your other comment you said that converting our topsoil and food into fuel can never be right cuz it breaks the cycle and draws down on our natural capital. which is another way of saying what b had said about cereals right?

i'm no scientist but what i'm reading is the exact opposite of what you're saying. the biochemisty of stilin plants and their seeds tells a different story as long as the chain isn't broken at that point by dumpin the "waste" as garbage. in permaculture there is no such thing as waste. and in alcohol production as a part of a permaculture model, there is no waste.

straighten me out where i make a fool of myself if you would okay? whats happening is the conversion of sugars to alcohol. starch. what came to the plant from photosynthesis. blume calls it liquid sunshine. the nutrients the plant took up from the soil are still in any stover and seed that didn't go into the process and still in the "spent fuel" of what did go in the process. a high % anyway. well up into the high 90's. this is what the science says from the way i read it. compounds will burn up if enough heat is put to them. water boils at 212F. alcohol at 173F. does distillation to pure water literally burn up the nutrients? no. only if you you keep boiling the water until you run out of water. thats when you start raising the temp if your heat source is higher that 212. until the water is gone you can't raise the temp above 212.

nutritionists tells us that if we boil veggies the nutrients are lost from the veggie right? but they don't burn up as long as there's water there. and as long as there's water in the pan the nutrients are still there too. you're going to start evaporating alcohol @ 173 and gradually go up from there. all the nutrients are going to still be there unless you go on vacation leaving the heat source on and higher than 212.

i agree, what's going on is complex and the story goes on and on. are there transformations going on? yes. but are the nutrients "literally burned"? far from it according to blume, et al. biochemical changes? absolutley. can high concentrations result? yes. that's another reason to not pitch the shit. the bottom line as i read it is nothing from the soil is lost unless you start pitchin shit in the garbage can. we can still let the shit pitch out the back end of cattle but we can also jump into the cycle and do some things that don't rob the cycle much less end it, harvest energy from sunshine by converting the sugars into much needed alternatives to petro based products, and use the so-called spent fuel for co-products such as high protein animal feeds and organic fertilizers in both liquid and solid, actually clean up the environment, and have healthier animals and people to boot.

and speaking of cattle they are not efficient starch processors. foragers by design with 4 stomachs and cloved hooves. feed them corn and much of the kernal is never metabolized and high starch diets contribute to acidosis in cattle. corn is over 70% starch and even higher in some of the new GMO varieties. the magic pill makers answer to this is a particular GMO growth hormone. corn, first processed to extract the starch and then fed, most commonly as DDGS (dry distillers grain with soluables), to cattle generally results in higher food to meat conversions and healthier cattle because the feed, on a pound for pound basis is higher in nutritional value and the form its in more suitable to the cow's system.

no cycle needs to be broken though many detours and diversions are definitly in play. but these certainly do not have to decrease natural capitol and, in fact, likely can easily add to it by making more effieient and purdent use of it.

murph said...

Palooka,

It feels strange to be going to past posts to talk about an unrelated subject to the current post. I don't recall us doing that much at all over the last 2 1/2 years.
Correct me if either my information is incorrect or am drawing the wrong conclusions.

You stated that nutrients are not lost if you heat plant material. What I think I know about this is yes and no. The mineral content probably is not, but all or most of the vitamins and pytomolecules are, enzymes and such. These elements of raw food are essentials for digestion and health. As I understand it, the same is true with microwaving food. Much is lost.

As for the the conversion of sugar to alcohol. I am going to look at this from several directions.

First, the physics angle. You are taking sun produced energy in the form of sugar and converting it to alcohol by the further use of more energy in some form. The original form of the energy is not being returned to the bio system if it is burned in an engine. Plus, you have to add in the amount of energy to do the conversion. In the case of alcohol, I think it is debatable that that the total energy in is on par with total energy out.

The same arguments apply for permaculture to produce the alcohol. But has an added component. In permaculture nothing goes to waste. Good concept. However if food energy is converted to liquid fuels, are you arguing that nothing is lost if you use the wast material from the conversion to the bio system? That makes no sense to me at all. You use bacterial action to convert sugars to alcohol and nothing is lost in nutrients? I don't believe it. Violates everything I think I know about this. The loss will be less than if the by products of the conversion are considered waste and not utilized. No problem.

My one other perspective on this I have mentioned before, the social angle. In our drive to preserve our mechanical civilization, particularly transportation, we keep trying to substitute for oil. Is continuing our highly mechanized civilization a good idea? The arguments over this are hot and heavy and prolific.

I suspect a combination of events is going to force us to downsize most of our mechanized world eventually anyway, how far a downsizing is open to debate. But, so far, viewing alcohol as a panacea for what ails us at the end of the oil age I do not see as valid.

Anonymous said...

B in

HI guys I am jumping in on this one. I don’t want to get too technical on the biomass argument, I just don’t know enough about it. I was trained in chemie and would like to clear up a couple of misapprehensions about boiling the alcohol off a water mixture. You can never do a 100% separation by this method. The best you can ever get is a 95.6% alcohol mixture. I am not going to describe why this should be so, mainly because I can’t put diagrams into the comments section and somebody else has done it better than I could so I will direct you to this site for the explanation.

http://www.chemguide.co.uk/physical/phaseeqia/nonideal.html

If you want to get the rest of the water out then you will either have to use a molecular sieve or a drying agent like anhydrous calcium chloride which will require heat to regenerate it once it is wet. Or fuming sulphuric acid (not recommended). All of these of course have a negative energy audit.

The second point regards the assumption that if you boil water containing vitamins that no changes will occur in their composition. I agree that the elements comprising them will not be lost to the system but if vitamins break down at body temperature to perform some special task required by the body then why should they not react with other molecules contained in the vegetable itself at a higher temperature? I am not saying that they do but it is a faulty assumption to think that they don’t.

b out

murph said...

Belgium,

Yes indeed heat breaks down vitamins and other phytomolecules. That is one reason that a diet compose mostly of canned and processed food isn't good for you at all.

You mentioning fractional distillation got me to laughing. Many many years ago when I was a freshman in college, I decided to make my own alcohol. My dad was a chemistry teacher at the time so I had access to a bunch of lab equipment. I bought 5 gallon carboys of raw grape juice, fermented it and double distilled it through charcoal. As you mentioned, I hydrometer tested it at 96%. Not bad for a basement chemistry experiment, packed a punch too, great for sore throats and bragging rights, a young college students bonanza. I ended up with gallon jugs of the stuff that lasted a couple of years.

Anonymous said...

b...

96/4 as a fuel works. we hear a lotta objection to that. brazil, where the same chemistry applies, runs on it.

2nd point (and murph)... sure there's a reaction. full eclipse this morn. good time the check the tea leaves. here's what owl sez..

It depends what temperature you heat to and for how long you keep it there. each and every different chemical (nutrient) will have a different boiling point and different thermal decomposition temperature (the temperature at which the chemical will decompose). If the temperature you raise the water too is below both the boiling point and thermal decomposition point of the chemical (nutrient) in question, then that nutrient will stay in solution (ie: stay in the plant, or stay in the water you are heating the plant in) and will stay unchanged. There are however, many, many chemicals (nutrients) in plants, and then it is likely that some sensitive chemicals (nutrients) will be destroyed or changed due to a lower thermal decomposition point--take enzymes for instance. It is not very likely that there will be many volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in the plant which will be removed due to having a lower boiling point than water, although perhaps there may be trace amounts of such chemicals.

If a chemical (nutrient) is thermally decomposed, it will be broken into smaller chemical building blocks. However, these smaller chemical building blocks will likely still have a higher boiling point than water and will most likely stay in solution as well (ie: stay in the plant, or stay in the water you are heating the plant in). So, if you thermally decompose a chemical with nitrogen or phosphorus (important elements for fertilizers), then the nitrogen or phosphorus will most likely still be in solution, just as part of a smaller chemical building block, rather than the bigger chemical (nutrient) you started with.

Energy from sun + CO2 + water yields sugars. Yeast takes sugars and will convert to ethanol with no additional energy input needed. However, to optimize the reaction, we do input some additional energy in the form of heat and making the wort just right so the yeast are happy and will perform the best. We then also need to expend energy of some sort to drive distillation. Energy calculations can be very complicated and the degree to which you get analytical can have a big impact on the final results. There are differing opinions on energy analysis of ethanol. The energy analysis can also vary greatly depending on your process.

Sugar, in general, is not considered a nutrient. Nutrients are generally consider minerals and inorganic compounds. We are NOT arguing that nothing is lost in terms of energy between a sugar solution and the end product. Sugar solutions have a much higher degree of biochemically utilizable energy than the left over sugarless solution at the end of the conversion process. The mash has been depleted of biochemical sugar energy compared to the wort. However, the nutrients, meaning the trace elements necessary to support plant growth, are still in the mash, even though it is depleted of biochemical sugar energy. You can dump the mash on the ground, then the plants that are growing there, or re-grow there, will have all the trace element nutrients they need to grow up and utilize the sunshine to make more sugar so the process can repeat.

When you heat something, there is an increased possibility for chemical reactions to occur, so you can also lose sensitive chemicals (nutrients) to heating this way (see comment to ras)... You would need to examine each chemical you are curious about to see it's boiling point, thermal decomposition point, thermal stability, acid stability, base stability, etc.

Hypothetically, we could disregard all outside forces and come up with the highest EROEI known to man... probably from specific single cell algae in a closed loop photo bioreactor. But we know that is where the real EROEI story just begins. And where the debate begins on the social angle, environmental consciousness, and a sustainabiliity of our planet. It would not be a new dilema would it since this is exactly where we were when the first drop of oil was converted to consumable energy.

Back then we didn't know the consequences. Will we demonstrate that we've learned from it?

... ykblzlrz

Anonymous said...

B

P,

That has added extra clarification to your earlier comment but doesn’t negate the simple points I made and if Brazil can run vehicles on 96.4% that’s fine. You have talked about boiling points of various things and said that thermal decomposition can take place to form simpler building blocks, also true but you have not talked about the possibility of reactions taking place within the system as they do in the body to form more complex molecules by perhaps a condensation reaction or some sort of double decomposition. I have not studied this and so don’t know, but the possibility of this eventuality must be recognised. In fact in most bio ‘cycles’ this is so.

Throwing the wort on the ground as a form of mulch will return goodness to the soil. Often some nitrogen containing chemical is also included to give the reaction a kick start but it is often not necessary for the overall working of the process. As you say this relies on sunlight as a source of energy which we regard as free but when the same reaction is done in a chemical plant then the heat is usually from some secondary energy source and must be paid for.

I don’t think we are too far away on this but you have not to my mind addressed the main point that we need most of the available agricultural land to feed the 6.5 bn people we now have and with that figure likely to grow at about a billion / decade depletion of agricultural land to produce alcohol for fuel requires choices to be made. It is a question of balancing fuel for infrastructure against feeding a sustainable population. We have limited choices about the first but nobody has come up with a serious solution to limit the second half.

There was some talk years ago of harvesting sea kelp apparently the fastest growing plant on the planet which doesn’t take up land space and can be grown in the warmer Pacific waters say just north of the Monterey trench but like so many other things it seemed to wither on the vine.

Anonymous said...

Also forgot to mention that a portion of the produced fuel will be needed to run the fractionating process so the overall efficiency will be reduced

b

Anonymous said...

good points b. i'll check with the tea leaves and get back to you on the science part.

in meantime... the main point... using food production land and crops to produce fuel when we can't even feed an ever increasing flock. i was preparing a comment about this as part of a re to someone along the line but i didn't finish it. by that time other objections had entered the debate and i saw no point in it without addressing other things first. this is a pretty complex issue and lotsa stuff hasn't been addressed yet.

i don't know what the starvation and underfed numbers are now but it can be checked. whatever they are, its a disgrace. a cryin shame as my grandma used to say and from about every angle i can think of including how the number has gotten so big in the first place.

you see idustrialized eth production from foodstock as exacerbating that. i agree. in spades! thats my view and my assesment of blume's as well.

so the short answer is this... alcohol FROM FOOD CROPS on an industrialized scale is a bad idea. period. those are high vol, high investment, specialized operations that can't adjust on the fly. feedstock from monocroping is the only way they can be supplied UNDER THE CURRENT SET-UP AND SYSTEM. it don't have to be that way but that's the way it is in form right now.

we didn't need eth plants to teach us monocroping is a bad idea. so its lose, lose, lose. lose food. lose land. lose the planet.

some cash food crops produce surplus which lead to depressed markets for them and these can be used to take the pressure off oil demands and prices. thats what started it all and its gone down hill from there. thats not the fault of the hypothosis, its the fault of the way its been handled. everybody sees $$$ and jumps in. i know farmers bulldozing wetlands (projects they got paid to put in) to grow corn. its insane.

but what if we're talkin small localized micro operations that use wastes from local food processors? or surplus perishables? these aren't a panacea for the oil prob or the starving babies prob. this is a completly dif pix. and thing is, feedstocks from foodstocks is a very small part of the larger pix that is the universe of potential feedstocks.

how bout stuff that comes from sources that have nothing to do with tillable lands? stuff that amount to massive amounts and generally considered nuiscence? like kudzu here in the SE. or mesquite in the southwest. there are 70 million acres of it. grass clipings? there's 30M acres of lawns in this nation.

and then there's there's the stuff that grow in waters and wetlands. like catails in secondary sewage trtmt ponds. and hydroponics. like that kelp you mentioned.

blume... "do you think i'm proposing an outlandish scheme? in looking at kelp for methane production, the american gas assoc, hardly a wild-eyed utopian group of tree huggers, estimated somewhere near 23 quads (23 quadrillion BTU) a year of methane from kelp just from the cal coast. if kelp was first fermented to make alcohol and the remaining mash was then fermented a second time for methane, to be used primarly for alcohol plant energy, about a third of that energy would be recoverable as alcohol. this might be almost 90 billion gallons of fuel from the cal coast alone.

the remaining two-thirds of the energy as methane would provide all the alcohol plant process energy plus a huge surplus of gas/electricity. that's roughly half of the transportation fuel the US currently uses per year. add to this the potential production from the oregon and washington coasts, the nutrient saturated dead zone of the gulf, and possibly the outfolw from chesapeake bay. looks like we've replace all the transportaion fuel for the US just from marine algae as well as the lion's share of natural gas and electricity, as well. all withou using a square foot of farmland.

so then all we'd have to do is nationalize the now-useless oil pipelines to send some of the alcohol and all of the digested kelp to fertilize our nations' agricultural heartland. of course, building such kelp farms would be a massive undertaking. but if building 41,000 miles of highways to carry our vehicles or mounting a 500 billion war for oil in iraq doesn't intimidate our congress, then neither should a project like this - which neatly solves many problems in one stroke."

solves? sure sounds like... and murph is gonna love this... a panacea to me! but the point is eth from food stocks is a drop in the bucket compared to the larger view.

that said, i have serious concerns. not over the scheme. over how it would, just as corn to eth, be handled. for a number of reasons. potential for unintended consequence aside, one is psychopathic biotech. that one connects to my main concern...

blume again... ""With alcohol fuel, you can become energy-independent, reverse global warming, and survive Peak Oil in style. Alcohol fuel is "liquid sunshine" and can't be controlled by transnational corporations."

can't be controlled by big bid'ness? bullshit!! it sure as hell can be. it already is. mostly quietly all the while making ethanol out to be the bad guy in the brew-ha-ha around rising commodity prices. wanna know how to win? play both sides. thats how and thats exactly how the powerful play the game. transnationals are powerful! its not 1983 anymore and blume and his backyard buddies are no longer alone.

that "can't be controlled" statement of his is where, imo, he needs a reality check. blume does give us ideas for alcohol as a gas that are soundly rooted in synergistic system thinking and models for decentralization and localized empowerment. and he brings sound argument to challenge the many myths and misinterpretations. its not that the grander ideas like farming kelp are bad ideas in theory in my view. its just that the chances of pulling them off without making bedfellows with the sharks are remote given the level of power and control of the system already in place. free marketry? hell, i'd argure thats where the myth lay! and the level of alignments on the part of the masses who really don't give a shit what they support with their money as its cheap. or as long as it turns a profit. or where things come from as long as they keep coming. your current topic brings this home. in spades!

lord knows we got major probs with oil for energy, that we need to clean up the environment, and we gotta do something about population all the while something about feeding what we have. among other more realistic ideas, blume presents such a plan. but we damn sure better understand that it was how we capitalized cheap energy that paved the way for the road we find ourselves on. and we damn sure better understand that its likely to be not even remotely possible to pull off such a plan without making bedfellows with the dirty bastards.... if you get my drift.

as most who are aware may have surmized by now... the new deal mobilized a nation of people but really didn't heal a damn thing. it just delayed the inevitable. we have to realize where we the masses are in bed with the sharks through our alignments and denials and realize that it is our denied power that is empowering them. this is not going to happen with the stroke of a brush. it has to start with individuals making hard decisions and choices to not feed the monster.

i would agree with blume's assesment of his own book, it is... "...a broad, sweeping vision with intricate detail." and though i think he has fantastic ideas that by and large could be made to work for us, i also think they are likely to lead to bid'ness as usual unless we change our ways. if we want to heal what's killing us we have to stop doing what made us sick.

... jvynna

Anonymous said...

b,

P

Now that I can accept as information! Probably the reason we have not heard much about it is that you can research and do all the trials for continuity you want but if you have put your money into one thing and it is a nice little earner, you don’t want to kill the golden goose before it dies of old age. I have a feeling that the Tesla stuff is also pretty well developed but under wraps. Keeping a cap on the pop is the big head scratcher of the day. There may be more political will to provide instant solutions to this problem than to develop the continuity science. Time will tell.

b.

Anonymous said...

b... thx!

excellent point on the goose that laid the golden egg.

on tesla stuff coming to light... when i refer to consulting the tea leaves i'm talking about consulting doctor J. when blume's book came on my radar i ordered 2. gave one to doc and said... doc, tear this thing apart. tell me where this guy is full of shit. he hasn't read it all yet... 600 pages is a
formidable challenge. but so far, doc sez the shoe fits the science. blume was formally educated as a biologist. but he's got a pov to justify and everybody cherry picks to do that to some extent. so part of the question is, just how much is blume doing it and to what extent does that skew things?

anyway, doc is formally educated with a BS degree, major in chem and minor in physics. and though he drives nails with us and is our IT guru as well, he's never wandered far from the science. he eats it for lunch. he's dead on top of the so-called free energy stuff for well over 10 years now and has major probs with many of those claims (i.e. beardon). having said that, he's very excited about the prospects of randy mills' blacklight power. which means he's not closed minded when it comes to outside the box thinking and classical physics.

point is, he's verrrry discriminating about science claims, has great instincts, and will spend weeks of spare time digging for dirt. the doc is deep into analysis of mills work and sez the guy is definitly on to something. i may have commented about this at some point but here's BLP's url.... http://www.blacklightpower.com/ click on the press release.

venture beat published a piece in wake of the release... http://venturebeat.com/2008/05/30/blacklight-power-claims-nearly-free-energy-from-water-is-this-for-real/

mills proposed a 5th force in his book for peer review. as you know, this is another veeerrrrry controversial field. whats science and whats pseudoscience and what's hocus pocus? doc studies it from the chem and quantum chem view. it also has to be scrutinized from the EM view.

i asked him.. care to speculate the 5th force will turn out to be a counterpoint to G?

doc...

No speculation required. It is thoroughly detailed in Chapter 35 of Volume III of his book. It provides a force in opposite direction to gravity and is of a much larger magnitude. Counterpart is an interesting word... Randy has discovered, however, that both the force of gravity and the fifth force are related and caused based on the dimensional curvature of fundamental particles, like the electron.

Calculations and engineering for a fifth force propulsion device are
provided in Chapter 35. Initial calculations demonstrate that the fifth force can be utilized to provide vertical propulsion orders of magnitude more effectively than conventional rocketry as well as providing for effective horizontal propulsion. The aviation industry can expect some major changes in the coming decade.

he tells me a really good read is a book on mill's bio which includes quite a story about the pissin contest in classical physics re so-called free energy, cold fusion, and so on in the contxt of mills' work. book contents are reviewed here...
http://homepage.mac.com/tstolper/
.Public/TOC%20%26%20Index.pdf

this is a subject we've had several discussion about here around the campfire. so anyone continuing their look into it might want to take a look at the historical story of mills and BLP and keep an eye on BLP as we move along.

zemjoozg

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