My mom taught me this simple trick several years ago. As a fan of vintage furniture it has come in handy again and again. Like magic, watch as a single walnut covers up the small dings and scrapes in your wooden furniture. We aren't promising miracles here, but with a project this easy it is definitely worth a shot.
What You Need
Ingredients [OR] Materials
dinged up wood furniture
1. Identify areas of your wooden furniture that are unsightly because they have been bumped or scraped.
2. Get your walnut.
3. Rub the walnut on the damaged area.
4. Watch in amazement as the damaged area begins to darken.
5. Step back and admire your work. Hey, you didn't even break a sweat!
Greenhouse is a Go! - I'm getting antsy to start planting! If the difficulty I had ordering from Johnnyseeds.com was any indication so are a lot of other folks.
I've made a deal to sell starts at the local feed store this year. We decided to compete with our little greenhouse in town and the big stores 20 miles away by only selling "heirloom" plants mostly. Along with that we are expanding our garden out to market size - maybe an acre this year. Plus putting in some brambles...
Anyway, the GH project is to a place we can at least get started. Here is the south side with the recycled storm windows finally installed: ...
"Some terms defy definition. "Sustainable agriculture" has become one of them. In such a quickly changing world, can anything be sustainable? What do we want to sustain? How can we implement such a nebulous goal? Is it too late?" ...
Photo courtesy of Trends Updates (this is not a picture of the actual turbine)
In an attempt to make offshore wind farms more profitable, Norway plans to build the world's largest turbine standing 533 feet tall with a rotor diameter of 475 feet. It will also be the most powerful by generating 10-megawatts to power over 2,000 homes, making it three times more powerful than current turbines.
"We are aiming to install it in 2011," said Enova's head of new technology, Kjell Olav Skoelsvik. The prototype will cost $67.5 million to build and Enova's committed to $23 million of it. ...
"The guru of the permaculture movement came to Duke last week. To hear him tell it, Toby Hemenway is an ordinary guy. To see him in person, you get the sense nothing could be further from the truth. The 300 people that crowded into Love Auditorium underscored that with a standing ovation for his talk on 'How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and the Earth but Not Civilization.' The lecture was jam-packed with information ranging from human evolution to gardening and delivered by a far-from-ordinary guy."
Canadian Gasifier, is a biomass to energy gasifier, design and pilot project, build & research company.We Design and build small to mid-scale "Fuel / Heat / Cogen" Gasifiers.These gasifiers are used for various functions, they can be mounted on trucks & cars, or used to heat water for "district heating" of a home & shop or larger applications like a large farm operation or small business, or even run an electric generator for (off grid) applications, or, selling back to an electricity utility company.What is a Gasifier ?
Gasifiers (our gasifiers in particular) run on a clients feedstock, usually consisting of types of grasses or woodchips from a renewable perennial planting of hay or wood(generally switchgrass or willow) the client has made the commitment to themselves to be "as green as can be" or is simply tired of the energy companies always having a "hand in their pocket".
Gasifiers generally run on a portion of the supplied feedstock as well as converting the balance of it to a fuel for other applications by a process known as "thermally driven, chemical reduction of biomass" or in easier terms, they burn part of the feedstock to attain the heat needed to reduce the rest of the feedstock into elemental gases, like hydrogen (H2), Methane (CH4), Ethane (C2H6), Ethylene (C2H4), Argon (Ar), and Nitrogen (N2). this mixture of gases is much the same as natural gas or propane, and burns with almost the same power. All of our gasifiers, are of the downdraft style, and are self fueling, require only small amounts of electricity, (under 15 amps) they need little to no maintenance other than a routine check, and periodic feedstock bunker (fuel) re-filling (like filling your car). ...
If I were to ask 10 random people what they would expect would be a sign of the arrival of “peak oil”, I would expect that all 10 would say “high oil prices”.
Let me tell you what I think the symptoms of the arrival of peak oil are
1. Higher default rates on loans
Furthermore, I expect that as the supply of oil declines over time, these symptoms will get worse and worse—even though people may call the cause of the decline in oil use “Peak Demand” rather than “Peak Supply”.
This post is also published at Oil and Gas News.
Let’s think about what happens when oil prices try to increase. From the perspective of a consumer who is already spending pretty much all of his income, it seems to me the result is something like this:" ... click post header for more...
Gail E. Tverberg
Gail E. Tverberg graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1968 with a B.S. in Mathematics. She received a M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1970.
Ms. Tverberg is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. Much of her early career was spent with CNA Insurance Companies in Chicago, Illinois. There she was involved in both pricing and reserving of casualty insurance coverages. Her later career was spent with the Tillinghast business of Towers Perrin in Atlanta. At Towers Perrin, she performed consulting services, primarily for organizations writing medical malpractice insurance.
Ms. Tverberg began writing articles on finite world issues in early 2006. Her first article, discussing the reasons to expect oil shortages expected impact on the insurance industry, was published under the title "Oil Shortages: The Next Katrina?" in Emphasis Magazine, published by Tillinghast business of Towers Perrin.
More recently, in May 2007, she wrote the wrote the lead article in Contingencies Magazine, published by the American Academy of Actuaries titled Our Finite World: Implications for Actuaries
Since March 1, 2007, Ms. Tverberg has been working for Tverberg Actuarial Services on finite world issues. She is also a frequent contributor to the TheOilDrum.com website, under the name "Gail the Actuary". Her web articles have been published by TheOilDrum.com andEnergyBulletin.net.
Gail often writes on energy-related websites under the name "Gail the Actuary" or "GailTheActuary"."
Jeremy Rifkin: The third industrial revolutionMy sense is that we're nearing an endgame for the modern age. I think we had two singular events in the last 18 months that signal the end. First, in July 2008 the price of oil hit $147/barrel. Food riots broke out in 30 countries, the price of basic items shot up and purchasing power plummeted. That was the earthquake; the market crash 60 days later was the aftershock. It signaled the beginning of the endgame of a great industrial era based on fossil fuels. The second event, in December 2009, was the breakdown in Copenhagen, when world leaders tried to deal with our entropy problem and failed.
John Michael Greer: Why factories aren't efficientLast week’s Archdruid Report post fielded a thoughtful response from peak oil blogger Sharon Astyk, who pointed out that what I was describing as America’s descent to Third World status could as well be called a future of “ordinary human poverty.” She’s quite right, of course. There’s nothing all that remarkable about the future ahead of us; it’s simply that the unparalleled abundance that our civilization bought by burning through half a billion years of stored sunlight in three short centuries has left most people in the industrial world clueless about the basic realities of human life in more ordinary times.
It’s this cluelessness that underlies so many enthusiastic discussions of a green future full of high technology and relative material abundance. Those discussions also rely on one of the dogmas of the modern religion of progress, the article of faith that the accumulation of technical knowledge was what gave the industrial world its three centuries of unparalleled wealth; since technical knowledge is still accumulating, the belief goes, we may expect more of the same in the future. Now in fact the primary factor that drove the rise of industrial civilization, and made possible the lavish lifestyles of the recent past, was the recklessness with which the earth’s fossil fuel reserves have been extracted and burnt over the last few centuries. The explosion of technical knowledge was a consequence of that, not a cause.
The 2009 Bio eConference—“Growing the Bioeconomy: Solutions for Sustainability”—is a 12-state alliance of simultaneous state conferences. These co-host sites will be sharing content through high-speed communication systems to promote agriculturally-based sustainable solutions to global climate change and energy supply. The conference will tackle the sustainability challenge by:
Exploring a systems perspective on biorenewables.
Offering solutions to current questions regarding grain ethanol.
Examining the potential role of biochar as an agent for carbon sequestration.
Discussing the implementation of new ideas for land stewardship with biofuels agriculture.
Keynote address: James E. Lovelock, Ph.D.
One of the world’s most renowned thinkers on global environmental science, Dr. Lovelock has called upon farmers to convert agricultural residues to biochar for incorporation into the soil as the only solution to global climate change.
University of Illinois researcher Dr. Tom Voigt is standing next to a test plot of miscanthus, an ornamental grass that scientists say may be a new plant source for creating ethanol. Long used in landscape design, miscanthus can grow more than 12 feet tall. Tom points out, "It's been used on golf courses to divide fairways from driving ranges. It's been used in large landscapes because it can be quite dominant. I've always said that this is a great grass if you've got a neighbor you don't like."
But there are lots of things that researchers here do like about miscanthus. According to Tom, once planted the thick stands of fast growing grass spread quickly through root- like structures called rhizomes. "We plant the rhizomes at about 42 to 43 hundred per acre. At that planting density, we can start to get a harvestable crop at the end of the third growing season."
This joint research project between the University of Illinois and the University of California at Berkeley uses sophisticated equipment to monitor growth and field conditions. Dr.Voigt says researchers suggest miscanthus offers real options for energy alternatives. "It produces large volumes of biomass is another reason why we're looking at this species. It's adapted to our part of the country. So it's a grass that fits into the scheme of things here in Central Illinois."
Illinois is one of the top corn crop producing states in the nation, a significant portion of which already goes into ethanol production. So why grow miscanthus instead of more acres of corn? American will consume nearly 400 million gallons of gasoline everyday so replacing even some of that with ethanol would be an important part of the picture. Scientists in Illinois say that an acre of corn will yield about 475 gallons of ethanol while an acre of miscanthus will yield about three times that amount.
Researchers Tom Voigt and Dr. Stephen Long spend a good deal of time in the test fields. They are assessing everything from moisture needs to photosynthesis and also, how cellulose in the plant's woody stalks can effectively be chemically converted to sugars to create ethanol, just like corn. Dr. Long says, "You break that complex down to the sugars, then you ferment those to alcohol in the same way, of course, that we make beer. Once you've made the beer, you then distill off the alcohol and that is the fuel. And, of course, already in the Midwest about ten percent of our gas is ethanol from corn grains."
Researchers say while corn can yield more than 160 bushels per acre for ethanol, miscanthus yields 17 tons of material. In addition, it requires less work from farmers.
And according to Dr. Long, there's another benefit for growers, "For corn, you've got many more inputs. You've got to till the land every year or at least you've got to plant your corn every year. You've got to add a large amount of nitrogen. With miscanthus, we've achieved this 17 tons per acre without any of those inputs, so the cost to the farmer in the long term is a great deal less." Dr. Long maintains there are significant other benefits to grass alternatives like miscanthus, "A lot of motivation for growing a potential crop like this is to help to mitigate global change. So we're growing a renewable fuel, but we also want to add carbon to the soil as well. If we get a carbon gain into the system that is offsetting carbon we're adding to the atmosphere."
Miscanthus has been grown as a fuel in many parts of Europe for more than a decade. But there, the woody stalks that look like bamboo are harvested, burned and used to generate electricity. Doctors Voigt and Long say this research could reveal exciting new options. Dr. Voigt says, "My wife gives me a hard time because when I told her I wanted to study grass, she thought that was going to be somewhat of a frivolous pursuit and it's come back now to be much more positive than either of us ever anticipated." Dr. Long adds, "I think for 19 years, people thought I was crazy and now they're beginning to think. Perhaps there's something in this."
Illinois Fuel Facts
Illinois farmers already play a major role in "crop to fuel" alternatives. 17 percent of Illinois corn goes into ethanol production. That corn is used to make some 40 percent of the ethanol consumed in the United States.
Biochar Engineering builds biochar production equipment. We design, develop, and deploy industrial equipment that uses waste biomass, such as agricultural or forestry residue, to produce biochar. According to NASA climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, biochar is one of the key ways to remove net carbon from the atmosphere. Biochar increases soil fertility and decreases net carbon in the atmosphere. The company is currently producing small first-generation field-scale units for research in agricultural soil fertility, mine tailings reclamation and forest management. We will scale-up to shipping container-sized systems next year, and to larger portable and relocatable installations for biochar production in coming years. BEC's technology mimics nature's intelligence creating valuable co-products, ultimately including biochar and process heat with or without electricity or liquid fuels.
Since we posted on the growing debate over biochar, the Internet and the twitterverse have ignited into a firestorm of controversy over biochar. In general, it seems that a lack of information is pervading both sides of the debate. As a seasoned group of biochar enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and researchers, re:char presents the following items which we believe will clear up the most common misconceptions about biochar. We urge our readers to link to this article, as anti-biochar crusaders have resorted to unacceptable tactics such as spamming notable scientists like Dr. James Hansen and Prof. Johannes Lehmann. Read Whole Post ...
Washington, D.C.– re:char was recently named “Top Innovation” at the Carbon Economy conference, organized by The Economist Magazine. Founder Jason Aramburu presented the re:char concept, along with a short video explaining the promise of biochar, to 200 government and business leaders, and an additional 400 online participants. The Economist has previously covered biochar, describing the technology as a “new growth industry.”
Leftovers, blast them with pyrolysis (high heat, low oxygen), and what you get is a crumbly, black matter that could save the world. Making biochargenerates clean energy, and at the same time sequesters carbon dioxide in a charcoal-like substance that just happens to work fertile wonders on crops and gardens. Jason Aramburu is the young whit behind Re:Char, a fledgling startup developing micro-scale reactors, which he hopes to see pumping out biochar on every continent. (He also provided TreeHugger with a special report on mountaintop removal last June.) Jason was a Social Innovation Fellow at this year's Pop!Techconference, which is where we caught up with him and got the scoop on biochar and his new venture.
RE:char concept, and how biochar and pyrolysis can change the world
Dr. James Hansen on Biochar and Storage of Carbon in Soil
The Traditional Agricultural Carbon Cycle: According to the traditional agricultural carbon cycle, carbon stored in agricultural waste biomass is eventually returned to the atmosphere as greenhouse gases. When combined with other anthropomorphic sources of GHGs, such as emissions from fossil fuel combustion, these GHGs can contribute to global warming.
the re:char concept: The re:char concept disrupts the traditional agricultural carbon cycle. By converting agricultural waste into biochar, the emission of CO2 via decomposition is prevented. By using biochar as a long-term soil amendment, farmers and producers can lock emissions into soils for thousands of year. With the re:char concept, we can fight climate change while improving the quality of degraded soils.
A Smarter Electric Bill
During his recent talk at the TED conference, David Cameron, the leader of the conservative party in the UK, talked about many things like how to do more with less money, how to measure well-being and not just GDP, etc... But there's one idea that stood out as a particularly clever. It's not something new, and certainly not Cameron's idea, but it's worth highlighting because it's a low-hanging fruit in energy efficiency and would certainly be less expensive than big infrastructure changes.
Image: Screen Grab from TED Talk How it Works
The basic principle is simple: Instead of only telling people how much energy they used (f.ex. 100 kWh in the past 30 days), you tell them how much they used, but also how much their neighbors used and how much the most efficient of their neighbors used. This small tweak changes a lot psychologically.
Instead of just having an abstract number without much context (most people have no idea what a kWh really is), you get a relative number. This makes thinking about electricity consumption more active, rather than the passive approach of just paying the bill.
If you're doing much worse than your neighbors (who usually have houses of similar size), this shows you that you can do better. If you're doing better than average, this encourages you to keep going. It's the healthiest kind of competition, and if it's done right, it isn't paternalistic or moralistic. It just gives you extra context and a benchmark to aim for. It's Already Implemented in Some Places
The USA Today recently had a short piece about this: "More than 1 million U.S. households now receive reports on how their energy consumption compares with their neighbors as utilities encourage conservation, some with smiley faces for those doing well."
So far the reductions in electricity consumption in the houses that have those bills has been relatively small (2-3%), but that number is expected to keep climbing, and there are not doubt ways to make the bills have an even bigger impact (f.ex. you could print a different energy-saving tip of them each time, give URLs to websites with tips, etc). There's also a good chance that when the recession is over, more people will be willing to spend money to make their houses more energy efficient (insulation, electronic thermostats, Energy Star appliances, high-efficiency furnaces, etc).
If something as simple as printing a bill differently helps reduce a household's electricity consumption by around 5%, that would be pretty significant since buildings are #1 when it comes to energy use (and thus CO2 emissions).
By PJ Francis
Posted Feb 16, 2010 @ 05:51 PM
Freeport, Ill. —
Professor John Ikerd spoke to about 70 people Monday at the Highland college student conference center, relating his decision to convert from a “traditional agriculture economist,” to an educator who now espouses sustainable agriculture. “For the first 15 years of my academic career I was a very traditional agricultural economist,” Ikerd said. He told farmers they should get big or get out of farming to be competitive. ...
“The farmers who were having problems were the ones had been doing what the so-called experts, including me, had been telling them to do,” he said. That advice was farming for the bottom line. Ikerd’s observations and experiences caused him to have a change of heart. He now believes sustainable agriculture is the way of the future. “We substituted cheap fossil energy for the past 50 or 60 years for the natural productivity of the land,” Ikerd proclaimed. “If you are going to sustain productivity over the long term you have got to take care of the land, the air, the water. Agriculture must not only produce large quantities of food but food that is healthful and nutritious.” Ikerd believes responsible agriculture must combine stewardship of the land, the value of community and economics working in harmony. ...
Enough sunlight bathes Earth's daytime half in an hour to meet all human energy needs for a year. Sadly, there are several problems with meeting human energy demands by tapping such abundant, free solar power—not least of which is the cost of making semiconducting material that can cheaply harvest the power in sunlight. But material improvements from the California Institute of Technology and IBM might just lower the cost of solar power.
Graduate student Michael Kelzenberg and other materials scientists at Caltech employed vertical crystals of silicon—microwires, like "blades of grass," Kelzenberg says—to capture as much as 85 percent of the full spectrum of incoming sunlight, the researchers report in the February 14 Nature Materials. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) Their efficiency is almost as good as that of traditional silicon wafers, yet they require just one percent of the silicon in such wafers.
SILICON BLADES: Novel silicon microwires can harvest nearly as much light as traditional photovoltaic wafers, with just one percent of the total silicon. COURTESY OF HARRY A. ATWATER
TreeHugger founder Graham Hill presents his idea at TED 2010; Photo via TED.
Chef Jamie Oliver is a TED Prize winner, and he's made a great wish: 'I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.' The plan is to create an organization that pushes forward a movement inspiring people to improve how they eat. We TreeHuggers are no strangers to the idea that we need a big change in how we raise and consume food - not only will the change improve our health, but it's a primary way of improving the health of the planet. Luckily, Graham Hill is at TED 2010, and gave a three minute talk on his concept for weekday vegetarianism - just such a concept that can go far in granting Oliver's wish."
From JOHN IKERD
Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO – USA
Local foods have replaced organic foods as the most dynamic sector of the retail food market. Sales of local foods grew from $4 billion in 2002 to $5 billion in 2007 and are projected to reach $11 billion by 2011.[i] Organic food sales are still far larger, more than $20 billion, but the rate of growth in organic food sales seems to be slowing while local food sales are accelerating. For many people, local has become more important thanorganic. In fact, the word “locavore” was chosen by the New Oxford American Dictionary as their 2007 “word of the year.” The term was first associated with the “100-mile diet,” but is described more generally as someone who shows a strong preference for foods that are locally grown, seasonally available, and produced without unnecessary additives or preservatives
Iowa State.Two Iowa State research teamshave received $11.81 million from the Iowa Power Fund, USDA and the Department of Energy. One team received a $2.37 million grant from the Iowa Power Fund, to replace natural gas in ethanol projects with heat and power produced from biomass using gasification technologies. The second grant, $944,000 from USDA and the DOE, will support a project at Iowa State using fast pyrolysis, gasification and nanotechnology, to produce ethanol. Among improvements: new catalysts are solid nanospheres with honeycomb channels, loaded with a metallic catalyst and other species.
Test burn of bio-oil made at Mississippi State's Sustainable Energy Research Center (SERC)
"Plans are under way to build a $250 million biomass plant near the Shelton Airport with an objective of turning 600,000 tons of wood debris into enough electricity to power 40,000 homes.
A joint venture of Duke Energy and a global energy firm called Areva has a long, long way to go to get the plant off the ground, but it’s exciting to think about the potential to turn mounds of leftover logging debris — stumps and tree limbs — into electrical energy."
So How Do YOU KNOW How Green Something IS - REALLY????
Everyone is talking "Green" these days.....
But even a frog knows, It's not (that) easy being green!!
Consider these factors to know how Green something is on a global scale:
1. What is the initial investment? (what is the cost, environmental impact, time involved...)
2. How local is the product? (where is the product from, who was paid for the resource)
3. How credible/responsible is the manufacturing? (what chemicals were used, what labor was used...)
4. How far was the product shipped.
5. How durable is the product (what is the lifetime)
6. What is the cost of operation?
7. What is the cost of maintenance?
8. How available is service?
9. What is the ownership of the company that sells the product? (where does YOUR money go?)
10. What components are recyclable at the end of service? (what ends up in the landfill?)
11. What jobs were supported by the product?
12. Who makes the claim that this is a 'Green' product?
One good feature doesn't make a product green.
We need to step back and look at the total product in a global perspective.
"Buy Local does not mean buying cheap imported stuff on sale at your neighborhood big box store. Buy Local does not mean buying cheaper imported stuff over the internet, while lounging in your PJs at your computer.Folks - We are not ‘living better’ today because most people flock to the Big Box Store to “save money”. We must stop exporting our resources, our jobs, our money, and our future."
The Value of Manure worksheet shows the amount, and cost/lb unit of N, P, and K in various livestock manure. Simply select your fertilizer types and type your cost per ton (Yellow cells), and the tool automatically adjusts the value of the manure.
The Ohio State University Manure Rate Calculator is a complement to the tool above. This allows you to select various inputs, and uses to give you a manure rate calculation. The OSU Manure Rate Calculator was developed by the OSU AgCrops.
The Custom Rate Calculator calculates a more accurate portrayal of the current Custom Rates based on the increase in fuel prices. Using the cost of fuel during the time of 2008 Custom Rate Survey collection, this will calculate newer custom rate numbers based on current fuel prices. Simply type the current diesel fuel costs, minus taxes in the yellow box at the top to see the new custom rates.
The Machinery Rental Rates Calculator takes user input to determine the recommended rate for renting material. This uses the 2008 Custom Rates Fact Sheet, and/or the Custom Rate Calculator above to get the current custom rate data to determine these recommendations.
... In summary, the backbone of a solution to the climate problem is a flat carbon emissions price applied across all fossil fuels at the source. This carbon price (fee, tax) must rise continually, at a rate that is economically sound. The funds must be distributed back to the citizens (not to special interests)--otherwise the tax rate will never be high enough to lead to a clean energy future. If your government comes back and tells you that it is going to have a "goal" or "target" for carbon emission reductions, even a "mandatory" one, you know that it is lying to you, and that it doesn't give a damn about your children or grandchildren. For the moment, let's assume that our governments will see the light.
Once the necessity of a backbone flat carbon price across all fossil fuel sources is recognized, the required elements for a framework agreement become clear. The principal requirement will be to define how this tax rate will vary between nations. Recalcitrance of any nations to agree to the carbon price can be handled via import duties, which are permissible under existing international agreements. The framework must also define how proceeds of carbon duties will be used to assure fairness, encourage practices that improve women's rights and education, and help control population. A procedure should be defined for a regular adjustment of funds' distribution for fairness and to reward best performance. Well, what happens if, instead of accepting the need for a rising carbon price, our governments continue to deceive us, setting goals and targets for carbon emissions reductions?
In that case we had better start thinking about the Venus syndrome. James Hansen - Wikipedia
I was raised on a small farm in Illinois. My wife, Eileen and I and family have worked together hand and hand on this farm (and adjoining land we bought) since 1966. I attended and graduated University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL. I received a Bachelor of Science Degree (Cum Laude)in Agricultural Engineering in 1970.
I worked as a registered Professional Engineer for the Rock Island District, US Army Corps of Engineers for 33 years, before retiring. I held several supervisory positions while at Corps: Chief, Regulatory Branch, Assistant Chief of Operations Division, Chief of the Lock and Dam Branch, and Mississippi River Project Manager. One highlight of my career was developing NIC (Google "NIC - Navigation Information Connection") during the early 90's, in a joint effort, with the District's Information Management personnel and Navigation Industry Representatives.
My wife and I have 2 grown children and 4 grandchildren. We have businesses associated with farming, "live edge" furniture making, vegetable produce, and graphics. We enjoy pursuing our hobby interests.