Mar 10, 2012

Ancient Kauri Extraction and Today's Uses in Live Edge Applications - Videos

Uploaded by ancientwoodltd on Mar 18, 2009
A short video clip displaying the extraction of a Ancient Kauri Tree, some of which have been carbon dated at over 50,000 years old. For more information visit

Nice work with cracks... epoxy bark... !  Monte Hines

Related Links:

The Biochar Revolution - ABC Queensland - Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Image courtesy of PNNL
10 March 2012 , 2:23 PM by Rob Minshull

The Climate Change Commissioner, Professor Tim Flannery, has described it as representing the single most important initiative for humanity's environmental and agricultural future.

He was talking about something called biochar and, this weekend, biochar advocates, professionals and enthusiasts are getting together in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast hinterland for a two-day workshop to talk about biochar and its potential.

One of the key speakers at the events is Dr Paul Taylor, author of The Biochar Revolution. He spoke to Warren Boland about biochar and how it works.

Download the audio file

Geoff Moxham Final Full Lecture - Biochar Lecture - 90min on Vimeo

Full Story and Video Link:

This is the final full lecture given by Geoff before his fatal accident in August 2009 and the public release of this video is intended as a second anniversary remembrance tribute for 27/8/2011.

It was part of the ongoing workshops held at The Castle on the Hill in Uki near Mt You can explore all Geoff's work on his website a collection of videos demonstrating various pyrolysis and Biochar production techniques.

This extended 90 minute talk shows Geoff in great form, complete with a supportive slide presentation, pyrolysis gadgets, him munching on Biochar samples, pyromania and his usual, unique Mad Scientist sense of humour.

It's easy to see his skill as a qualified Industrial Arts teacher showing through and his early fascination with Professor Julius Sumner Miller on the TV show 'Why Is It So?', which he watched religiously in the early 60's.

It is also beautiful to watch his sense of fluid movement as he describes his concepts with his whole body and energy field. As a Tai Chi master you can see many of the Tai Chi set moves incorporated into his presentation.

Geoff was the second speaker at The Castle that day along with John Davis from The Rainbow Power Company in Nimbin who gave an overview of solar power.

This Vimeo video copy is Part Two of a DVD filmed and produce by Paul Tait from Gaia Films in Nimbin who has kindly given permission to upload Geoff's part of the lecture in full and make it publicly available at no charge. The full DVD, including the talk on solar power, is still available from Paul for a very nominal price.

You can find out all about the Biochar movement now from the primary person who continued Geoff's work by exploring Paul Taylor's website with links to purchase his new book (in paper and PDF) which contains a formal dedication to Geoff.

Paul Taylor appeared at The Castle after Geoff's accident and Paul Tait also filmed his lecture which is available from Paul Taylor or Paul Tait

Please note that this current Vimeo video version here was extracted at a lower resolution from the original DVD to fit here in full and the image has degraded slightly from the original DVD in the processing. It has developed strange artefacts (speckles) in the very bright sections, particularly on the white projection screen. These do not appear on the original DVD if you purchase it and a 'cleaner' copy will be uploaded here if it becomes available.


Geoff Moxham R.I.P. 1950-2009

Geoff was an Industrial Arts Teacher in 1977, teaching at North Ryde, just down from the Psychiatric Hospital. But when the deputy refused permission to show the rather subversive 16mm film he and the kids made, in the last 2 weeks of the year, he resigned on that the last day of the year, and went out and hired a projector to show them their film.

Then he went to the first and best Confest at Cotter River ACT, with hundreds of ecstatic naked dancing hippies. It was a germinal event for life-path decisions.

Since then Geoff traveled Australia in a Kombi, stayed on several communities, stayed in a Tibetan monastery for 4 years, then settled in Terania Creek, after being asked to revisit the site of the protest he participated in, which culminated in the first rainforest rescue from protest in the world. He lived on an intentional community there since1982.

Always an inventive type he lived amongst piles of debris collected from the activity of his alter-ego Prof Pullaparts. This delighted his three year old son and seven year old daughter and frustrated the shit out of his wonderful spouse.

He detested money and compulsively 'un-tainted' his pockets upon walking in the door. He was #4 in the local LETS system, and was at the first meeting (how else could you get that number?) in 1987. In 2000, he launched a local folding cash currency using waterproof notes which was the first inter-LETS currency in the world.

Geoff has played with parabolic solar but weather here in the sub-tropics tends to limit direct insolation. Charcoal making, however, can go on rain or shine, and makes fertile soils good for the seventh generation in just 4 years. That was the current project....

Regrettably, on Thursday afternoon, 27th August 2009, Geoff was fatally injured in a freak accident in the forest on his community at Terania Creek. While cutting pole trees for the new kiln roof rafters, some vines that were entangled in a nearby tree behind him, pulled down the top of that tree which then fell where he was standing.

Recently, Geoff had started referring to himself as a "RAD Hippy" meaning 'Radical, Adamant and Determined'. He will be missed.

Full article:

"Born Free" - Wayne Keith Woodgas - Burn Free - YouTube Video

Uploaded by waynekeith01 on Mar 9, 2012
Gotta love Wayne Keith innovation and accomplishments... Love the "ATTITUDE" and the "AMERICAN SPIRIT"...  Great Video Wayne...!!!       Monte Hines

Related Links:

Jul 22, 2011
Wayne Keith Wood Gas, On the Road ‏! .... Wayne Keith Wood Gas, On the Road ‏!!! News Corp: Company or Crime Syndicate?‏ · Biomass Power and Thermal | 24 tons per day each o... Murdoch Empire "Pummeled" by ...
May 22, 2011
Need more people like Wayne Keith...!!! Innovative sustainable energy... Monte. Posted by Monte at Sunday, May 22, 2011 · Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ...
Apr 06, 2010
March 26, 2010 presentation — Wayne Keith runs a small cattle ranch in St. Clair County, Alabama. Wayne has developed gasification technology that enables Dodge pick-up trucks which are normally fueled with gasoline, ...

Planting Tomatoes Horizontal - Epson Salt - Basil - Marigolds

Uploaded by TheWeekendgardener on May 8, 2011
Best method to planting tomatoes. Horizontal planting
by Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Mindy has a graduate degree in Agriculture Education from Purdue University and is presently finishing her Masters from the University of Louisville in Environmental Education and Urban Planning.Check out her website and YouTube channel HomeGrownVideos1.

While growing tomatoes can be an easy task, making them taste good is another matter. The secret to growing great tasting tomatoes consists of two parts and when you find out what these are you will be very surprised.

The first secret to growing great tasting tomatoes is growing them with good neighbors. This technique is referred to as companion planting and entails planting plants side by side that get along. Getting along can mean several things and includes protection along with improving quality. This is where tomatoes come into play. While there are several plants that are companions to tomatoes, only one improves flavor and that plant is basil.

How basil improves flavor is somewhat a mystery but it really boils down to something simple and that is basil helps keep the tomato plant healthy. A plant that is not under stress produces better fruit.
The aroma of basil deters many tomato pests so that the plant can concentrate on flowering and fruit production.

The second secret is to growing great tasting tomatoes is a substance that can be found in any drugstore, superstore and even in a grocery store. This substance is Epson salt. Yes, I said Epson salt, that great substance that you put in your bath when you are stressed or need to detoxify. It is also used as a first aid treatment for sprains but you may be surprised that it also works wonders in the garden.

Epson salt is actual magnesium sulfate, which is very important to bloom production and when we talk about tomatoes this is what we want. Increasing tomato blooms means more fruit but how do you use this miracle found at the drugstore?

Epson salt needs to be used throughout the garden season until a killing frost. To start this process one must broadcast it over the garden area. There is no need to till it in since it is so water-soluble but you can mix it in with a rake or wait until you water. The process of watering will be enough to carry the Epson salt down through the soil.

Once this is done, the next step is to dig the hole or trench for your tomato plant. Before you place the plant in the hole, add one cup of Epson salt and then plant the tomato plant. After the plant has been planted, add a topdressing of Epson salt around each plant and water in. Then once a week, add additional Epson salt to the garden space and water in.

Do not be afraid of any buildup or affecting other plants. Magnesium sulfate is water-soluble and what is not used percolates down through the soil without harm. On the other hand, the only plant that does not benefit from Epson salt is sage. When it comes to this plant, the application does not hurt or help the plant.

Another perspective on Epson Salt Use:

Published on Nov 10, 2011 by expertvillage
An epsom salt mix can make a great fertilizer for tomatoes. Learn how to use an epsom salt mix as fertilizer with help from a garden teacher and expert in this free video clip.

Expert: Jessica Craven
Bio: Jessica Craven has extensive experience working with school gardens, horticultural therapy gardens (for physically and developmentally disabled adults), as well as serving as a garden teacher.
Filmmaker: Alfredo Rodriguez

Series Description: A tomato garden can be both a fun and ultimately rewarding addition to hour home. Find out about tomato gardening with help from a garden teacher and expert in this free video series.
Related Links:

Climate Leadership at University of Illinois - Video

Uploaded by Illinois1867 on Mar 9, 2012

Monsanto - Nominate Your Mom For Farm Mom Of The Year

Funny how big corporations, who are stealing nature from us and our future generations, figure out cheap ways to buy unsuspecting hearts and minds... Monte Hines

Related Links:

Monsanto's Roundup Shown to be Ravaging Butterfly Population | Natural Society

Mike Barrett
March 6, 2012

Monsanto’s Roundup, containing the active ingredient glyphosate, has been tied to more health and environmental problems than you could imagine. Similar to how pesticides have been contributing to the bee decline, Monsanto’s Roundup has been tied to the decrease in the population of monarch butterflies by killing the very plants that the butterflies rely on for habitat and food. What’s been shown to be an even greater threat to the population, though, is Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn and soybeans.

Roundup Ready Crops and Glyphosate Leading to Downfall of Insect Populations

A 2011 study published in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity found that increasing acreage of genetically modified Roundup Ready corn and soybeans is heavily contributing to the decline in monarch butterfly populations within North America. Milkweed, a plant butterflies rely on for habitat and food, is being destroyed by the heavy use of glyphosate-based pesticides and Roundup Ready crops. Over the past 17 years, the monarch butterfly population in central Mexico has declined, reaching an all-time low in 2009-2010.

“This milkweed has disappeared from at least 100 million acres of these row crops,” said Dr. Taylor, an insect ecologist at the University of Kansas and director of the research and conservation program Monarch Watch. “Your milkweed is virtually gone…this [glyphosate use on RR crops] is the one main factor that has happened…you look at parts of the Midwest where there is a tremendous use of these crops and you see monarch populations dropping. It’s hard to deny the conclusion.”

According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2011 94 percent of soybeans and 72 percent of corn grown in the United States were herbicide-tolerant. Due to this increase, the amount of Roundup used on crops in 2007 was 5 times higher than in 1997, only one year after Roundup Ready crops were available.

Another study published int he journal Crop Protection and conducted by Robert G Hartzler, an agronomist at Iowa State, found that milkweed on farms in Iowa declined 90 percent from 1999 to 2009. Additionally, his study found milkweed only on 8 percent of corn and soybean fields surveyed in 2009, which is 51 percent lower than in 1999.

Although the butterfly population may be suffering, humans are taking heat from Monsanto’s creations as well. Past research has shown that Monsanto’s Roundup ready crops are leading to mental illness and obesity, primarily by destroying the amount of good bacteria found in the gut. The corporation’s Roundup, containing glyphosate, has also been shown to cause infertility and birth defects.

Glyphosate is so present today that it has been found to be polluting the world’s drinking water through the widespread contamination of aquifers, wells, and springs. What may be most shocking is that very high concentrations of glyphosate have been found in 100 percent of urine samples tested in a recent study.

Explore More:
Monsanto’s Infertility-Linked Roundup Found in All Urine Samples Tested
Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Crops Leading to Mental Illness, Obesity
Monsanto’s Best-Selling Herbicide Roundup Linked to Infertility
Monsanto’s Carcinogenic Roundup Herbicide Contaminating Water Supply
Monsanto’s Roundup Spawns Superweeds Consuming Over 120 Million Hectares
USDA: Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide Damages Soil

Read more:

Grow More Food & Fight Climate Change: Black Revolution by jaramburu — Kickstarter

Full Article:


Black Revolution is a soilless growth media for plants containing biochar, coconut husk and compost. Biochar is a charcoal soil amendment made from waste that improves nutrient retention, offsets CO2 and has the potential to help feed our growing planet. Black Revolution is the world's first carbon-negative replacement for soil made entirely from waste. It's lighter than traditional soil, so it works great in rooftop or urban environments. The potting soil and chemical fertilizer industries are traditionally some of the most environmentally destructive in the world. Chemical fertilizers require massive amounts of fossil fuels and pollute our rivers and streams. Potting soils contain peat moss and vermiculite: non-renewable resources mined from endangered areas around the world.

With your help, we can get Black Revolution into gardens, raised beds, urban farms and houseplants across the country. Not only will you get to grow more food but you'll also be helping us reduce atmospheric carbon!


"If you could continually turn a lot of organic matter into biochar, you could, over time, reverse the history of the last two-hundred years."-- Bill McKibben

"Biochar, produced in pyrolysis of residues from crops, forestry, and animal wastes, can be used to restore soil fertility while storing carbon for centuries to millennia."-- Dr. James Hansen (NASA climate scientist).

"There is one way we could save ourselves and that is through the massive burial of charcoal."-- Dr. James Lovelock (Climate scientist and originator of the Gaia theory)

"Biochar is an excellent way of getting a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere."-- Sir Richard Branson

Biochar is charcoal produced at high temperatures (400 C or greater) from waste products (wood waste, crop waste etc). It was developed by ancient farmers in the Amazon Basin nearly 3,000 years ago. These farmers successfully fed cities of millions of people by growing food on marginal croplands upgraded with biochar.

Biochar grabs onto nutrients and water in soil that would normally just wash away and holds them right where plants need them. It improves soils ability to grow food up to 200%. Unfortunately, raw biochar is a bit hard for most novice gardeners to use without training. That's why we've created Black Revolution, the world's first carbon-negative replacement for soil. The biochar is already prepared and blended into the product, creating the optimal growing media for your plants.

Biochar is also one of the most exciting tools we have to fight global climate change. Biochar is made from waste products (wood chips, corn husks, stalks etc) that are normally burned or left to rot in the field. Traditionally, these waste products will decompose and release carbon into the atmosphere (CO2 or methane) which contributes to climate change. However, if we convert these wastes into biochar, they can't decompose back into CO2, since microorganisms are not very efficient at breaking down charcoal. On a global scale, biochar has massive potential to roll back the effects of climate change. A 2010 study in the scientific journal Nature shows a potential to offset 12% of global CO2 emissions via biochar!


Black Revolution outperforms traditional potting soil in nutrient retention, water retention and yield. The mix of biochar, coconut waste and compost acts like a magnet for nutrients and water, keeping them right where plants need them. It is also pH-balanced for optimal growth, and improves cation exchange capacity (a complex soil science term-- it means it makes it easier for plants to take up nutrients).

Plants love Black Revolution, roots love it and so will you. Use it as a soil amendment or in place of soil. Just add seeds, water and grow food. You can even grow plants directly in the burlap sack in your apartment or fire-escape. No additional fertilizer or modification required.

We've been working with subsistence farmers in Western Kenya for the past year to learn as much as we can about biochar and black revolution. We've found it can help them grow up to 200% more food.


Each bag of Black Revolution contains enough carbon-negative biochar to offset significant CO2 emissions. Our smallest bags are equivalent to rolling back the emissions from 5-6 miles of driving a US automobile. For our larger bags, the offset is approximately 61 miles. While these numbers are only a small part of our annual emissions, every little bit helps. A revolution starts with a first step.


Now, we want to find out how well biochar can work in domestic gardening and small-scale farming. We seek growers of all sizes (potted plants up to small farmers) and all skill levels to test out Black Revolution on their crops and report back to us. By backing our campaign, you will become part of the biggest trial in the US to evaluate the effectiveness of biochar for domestic farmers and gardeners. We will ask backers to measure the height and yield of their plants at multiple points for publication into a comprehensive study. We will also determine how much carbon we have all offset through the use of Black Revolution. All backers will receive results of the study upon completion and name recognition in the full-length draft of the study.

Depending on your desired level of participation and pledge, you will receive a corresponding supply of Black Revolution (see rewards for details) along with planting instructions and support during the study. You will receive your bag in time for the fall season of planting. A limited number of rush bags are available for spring and summer planting. We expect to publish the results of our study by January 1st 2013.


We can build distributed biochar production facilities inside 20' shipping containers. This means we can send production equipment directly where the demand exists. If we can raise $5,000 on Kickstarter, we can produce a run of Black Revolution for a far-reaching and impactful test here in the United States. However, if we can raise $22,000 or more, we can actually build a new production container right in the thick of demand, and kickstart production of the product. This means truly local production and reduced transportation. Your support will determine how we scale!


The first agricultural revolution, dubbed the 'neolithic revolution,' was the domestication of food crops around 10,000 BC. The second agricultural revolution was the 'green revolution' in the 1930s and 40s which led to the development of chemical fertilizers produced from fossil fuels. Biochar is the next great tool in the world's agricultural toolkit, and will help shape a revolutionary future of abundance, fertility and climate-stability. And it turns your soil black :)


When Should I Not Use WD-40?

When Should I Not Use WD-40?
WD-40 was first used by the military in the '50s to clean up Atlas missile parts. Today, it's used by people everywhere to clean up virtually everything in need of a gleam. But don't go spraying the stuff just anywhere. WD-40 can cause more harm than good to certain household items. The DIY enthusiasts at Stack Exchange chime in.
Photo by Jorge Barrios.
Question: It seems like WD-40 can be used to lubricate just about any moving metal part. But is this true? Are there instances when WD-40 can be harmful?

WD-40 isn't actually a true lubricant. WD stands for "water displacing" and its main use is as a solvent or rust dissolver.

The lubricant-like properties of WD-40 come not from the substance itself, but from dissolving components. And the effect doesn't last.

WD-40 can be a good substance to start with — it can help clean up rust or other grime. But depending on what you're working with, you should probably follow up WD-40 with use of a true lubricant such as one based on silicone, grease, Teflon, or graphite.

Full size

Firearms - You should never use WD-40 to clean or maintain firearms. WD-40 ishygroscopic and will attract moisture to the firearm which will result in rust.

Full size

Drive chains of any type - Because WD-40 isn't a lubricant, it really will not work well on drive chains of any type.

Full Article: Lifehacker-when-should-i-not-use-wd+40

FRESH - World's Wildest Supermarket Permaculture Research Institute

Full Article:
by Kenneth Gronbjerg November 17, 2011

A holistic and most outrageous concept being turned into reality in Denmark.

From: Sepp Holzer’s Permakultur, Leopold Stocker Verlag, 2008

Fresh is the concept for an organic, living supermarket in cities and villages, where instead of taking the items off the shelf, the customer harvests the produce directly from raised beds!

It is a system that works with nature rather than against it.

By harvesting, the customer contributes to the work of producing to such a large extent that the produce can be offered at a never before seen quality and price. It’s almost for free. This is what you may call a win win win situation!

Man is the only creature that has to pay for living on planet earth. All other creatures get their food directly from nature and the ecosystems they are part of. We share many essential conditions for life with both plants and animals. We share for instance soil, water, air and sun light. Our food comes from nature, and the only reason why we process our food is business. We grow our food in rows on fields. We remove weeds, harvest, store, package, transport and sell our food to process it further.

The system is designed out of economic interest and thus fails to address the fundamental values of food. During production, the essential living conditions for the actual crops are removed. The crops therefore turn sick and are affected by various diseases and pests, which subsequently are controlled with poison. As the produce finally appears in the shelves of the supermarkets, it lacks the quality of proper food.

All processing of food diminishes its quality, whether it is the tilling of the soil or the processing of the actual crop. Nutrients diminish from the moment of harvest, so that the food, once it is delivered to the customer in the supermarket, has lost most of its nutritional value.

FRESH is a highly productive place offering the totally fresh and healthy produce at low and sustainable cost. It is an experimental site for the conceptual development of urban farming systems for the future. It is a centre for exchange of knowledge in growing systems, companion planting, plant’s interactions with nature and their use for man. It is a centre for courses offered to schools, institutions, associations, companies and private people… with courses in food preparation, nutrition, herbs, medicine, cosmetics, growing systems, and the use of plants, etc.

From: Sepp Holzer’s Permakultur,
Leopold Stocker Verlag, 2008

To be established
A raised bed area in a forest garden environment for intensive cropping and self harvest.
A place to experience and teach ecology.
The physical framework for education in plants, healthy food and medicine.
Literally, an experience of growing with nature, the discovery of old and new crops in mixed settings with plants and animals, where people can become part of the system.

The basic construction
Import of wood (partly as tree trunks, and partly as wood chips) and mushroom mycelium as a basis for the establishment of the raised beds and to start the decomposition process.
Planting of a forest garden including the planting of fast growing trees for sustainable production of biomass.
Establishment of a species-rich seed collection from breeders and seed collectors.

From: Sepp Holzer’s Permakultur, Leopold Stocker Verlag, 2008

Alternative models for possible financial support
Raising of financial support and employment of a group of professional gardeners that establish the first physical framework, e.g. raised beds.
In cooperation between the community and local residents as a socio-ecological project or as an activation program for unemployed people.
Through courses and the active participation of students in the construction.

The mission

Food production does not need to depend on fossil fuel energy, pesticides or artificial fertilizers. The entire chain from production to consumption can work out completely independent of fossil fuels.

Health does not depend on medical care but nutritious food — from healthy crops produced under natural conditions.

Such benefits cannot be offered by any of the existing production systems in Denmark. Only radical new concepts, such as FRESH, can and will create the desired resilience for the future food production and health of consumers.

The holistic view on food generates culture. From soil to soil, from table to table and from mouth to mouth.

FRESH will provide the physical framework for development of growing systems and its subsequent circulation to the public. FRESH will serve as inspiration for social entrepreneurs and companies having their focus on social ecology rather than conventional economy.

FRESH will be of benefit to the society at large, as it will secure food production and resilience independent of the current economic system.

The vision

Fresh will be an ecosystem with plants, animals and humans. Children will learn about essential living conditions as provided by the garden.

Paradise derives from the persian language and means ”fenced garden”, and if the garden is designed properly, it will contain all the essential conditions for life to thrive.

FRESH provides education in entity.

We learn about the needs of plants as well as humans, and we learn about ecology as a sustainable alternative to the current economy.

The knowledge will be explored in an open and integrating process and will be spread through consultancy, practical demonstration and guidance.

The growing system

In nature, plants do not grow is isolation, and neither do they grow in rows or in monocultures. Plants are used to growing with other plants and organisms, and have found in the course of evolution friends, enemies and cooperators.

Some plants are so dependent on the presence of a specific other species, that they depend on each other for survival. But there are also entire groups of plants that support other groups of plants.

Legumes, for example, assimilate, with the help of soil bacteria, nitrogen directly from the atmosphere. Other plants are more efficient in assimilating carbon through photosynthesis. These different groups of plants are able to efficiently exchange their assimilates via a dense network of mycelium, so that both groups benefit from each other’s expertise. There are additional mechanisms in plants and their environment to efficiently share water, light and nutrients.

During evolution, plants have developed specific strategies to circumvent direct competition. Most plants do not thrive well in monocultures. Instead, they are coded to cooperate with other species. And there is a wealth of mechanisms for such cooperation beyond imagination.

FRESH can contribute to exploring these mechanisms and to further the development of growing systems.

We will only be able to study the cooperation between organisms, when we allow the cooperation to take place in the way we grow our crops. Mixed polycultures are therefore the most appropriate way to cultivate plants.

Crops versus weeds

FRESH will challenge our understanding of food and redefine terms such as crops and weeds. Many of the so-called weeds are rather miracles of nature.

Weeds have important functions in ecosystems. It does not make sense to quantitatively remove weeds from the system. Instead one needs to work together with these plants in order for them to contribute to the system with their particular quality.

Stinging nettle is one example of the most neglected miracles among the plant kingdom. Stinging nettles accumulate a large variety of nutrients from the soil such as sulfur, nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron and copper. Stinging nettles contain minerals as well as vitamins (A and C) and are beneficial for both humans as well as the soil.

Stinging nettles clean the blood, the kidneys, the liver and even the cells. But stinging nettles can also be used in surface composting by covering the soil between the crops. Surface composting releases nutrients for other plants thereby contributing to the formation of a natural soil structure. Stinging nettle is a healthy component of ecosystems; healthy in a broad sense.

Extracts of nettles can be used as liquid fertilizer as well as a protectant against pests and diseases.

Nettles have been used for food, medicine and fiber. But nettles also have important functions in the wild nature. More than 30 species of insects feed on stinging nettles and many spiders depend on them for food and habitat.

The mycelium

Mushrooms form a large group of living organism that decompose and feed on biomass. Mushrooms are mostly known for their visible fruit bodies. However, their hidden mycelium is a tight network that penetrates the soil in order to find decomposable organic material.

The mushroom mycelium is the planet’s natural internet. Individual mycelia are known as the biggest individual organisms on the planet and have extended across areas as large as several hundred hectares. The mycelium transports and distributes nutrients and makes them available to soil bacteria and plants. The mycelium decomposes toxic compounds, takes up heavy metals and paves the ground for the establishment of a healthy ecosystem, thus allowing many other organisms to flourish. The mycelium cleans and restores ecosystems from the bottom up, both after natural and man made disasters.

A specific group of mushrooms, also known as saprophytic mushrooms, are able to decompose a broad spectrum of the most toxic compounds in our environment, such as PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), or the explosive TNT. The same mycelia can decompose all fractions of oil including products derived from oil. In addition, the mycelium of specific mushrooms can take up heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, copper and lead, as well as contaminants such as arsenic and radioactive cesium.

The mycelium is a dynamic network that communicates with other organisms, shares and transports nutrients across large distances, while keeping toxic heavy metals out of reach for other organisms. Several mushrooms are known as toxic because of their capacity to accumulate toxic concentrations of specific heavy metals.

A natural soil structure is the most promising way to reestablish the intelligent system mycelium. Tilling the soil destroys the immune system of the soil and releases toxins.

Obviously, the quality of soils cannot be monitored by merely analyzing its elemental composition. The soil is an ecosystem with dead and living organisms in a dynamic and evolving process. It is the healthy state of the soil that determines, whether and how much toxic compounds are taken up from the vegetation above. The quality of the soil can only be determined by the vegetation. Its content of essential minerals versus toxic contaminants.

It is further obvious that naturally built soils must not be disturbed repeatedly by ploughing, because tilling the soil destroys its natural structure. Permanent, perennial and mixed polycultures are therefore the most appropriate form of cultivating plants.


Long before the discovery of the American continent, the Amazon basin was inhabited by one of the largest agrarian civilizations.

The Chibcha people practiced a method that became known as ‘slash and char’ to create and maintain cropping systems in the rainforest. The soil that has resulted from this culture is known as ‘terra preta do indio’ and is still, 500 years after the disappearance of the culture, stable and exceptionally fertile.

Char – or biochar – is a morph carbon which is the product of a fractionated burning (pyrolysis), where, instead of burning the biomass all the way down to ashes, only the light and volatile compounds of the biomass become oxidized, whereas most of its carbon skeleton remains.

Biochar has a gigantic surface structure providing a habitat for mycelia and bacteria, keeping moisture, and binding both nutrients as well as toxic contaminants.

The addition of biochar to soils contributes to the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere, while at the same time serving to increase the soil’s fertility. In turn this creates conditions for better growth and further assimilation of carbon dioxide.

Biochar can be produced from all kind of dried biomass with simple technology. Biochar bears many potential applications and can for instance be used in the foundation of growth areas such as raised beds. Here it can serve as a filter to prevent unwanted contaminants rising into the upper soil layers, while at the same time reducing the loss of nutrients into the ground water.

Health – body, mind and soul

Standing strong against chronic diseases including depression, stress and burn-out is a great need. Our body is our temple. A healthy body is required for health of mind and soul.

We are genetically coded to live in and from nature. Man has eaten food produced in and from nature for 250.000 years. Consequently, our body needs nutrients and metabolites from the soil primarily via plants.

The definition of disease from the school medicine’s perspective refers often to a functional failure with the result that symptoms are treated rather than diseases. The body turns sick if it is not provided with the necessary minerals, vitamins and metabolites.

Today, we treat such symptoms with medicine. However, we can also choose to treat the patient and his or her disease, if we instead take a holistic view on the matter and provide the body with the necessary nutrition of healthy food. In fact, then we activate the body’s natural healing mechanisms.

The garden is known as a place for therapy. In reality however, it appears that people get sick as they are taken out of nature and the garden.

Initiators of FRESH
Kenneth Grønbjerg, cabinet maker, ecological farmer, permaculturist, activist and guerrilla gardener, growing food with focal aspects on health. E-mail: kermitgaard (at), tel.: +45 20778644
Thomas Paul Jahn, PhD, biologist, former associate professor in ‘Agriculture and Ecology’ at KU-LIFE, active consultancy in growing systems with core area in soil restoration using mycoremediation. Guerrilla gardener. E-mail: thomaspauljahn (at), tel.: +45 22314540
Filip Micoletti, permaculture horticulturist, artisan, musician. E-mail: tuvieni (at), tel.: +45 60904966

Caroline Fibæk, naturopath in biological medicine, book author, presenter and educator.
Jann Kuusisaari, biologist with focal area in edible weeds, gardner.
Julie Dufour Veise, architect, field guide.
Ginda Hirslund, green cook and nutritional therapist. Educator at the school of ecological production, Copenhagen (den økologiske produktionsskole).

Mar 8, 2012

Polaris Ranger EV / EV LSV Videos / Polaris EV Platform | David W Hodo

Polaris Ranger EV / EV LSV Videos 
  • 15 Videos --- 59:06 minutes duration
  • Be sure and checkout portions of Remote Controlled (Driver-less) EV and Track EV Videos
  • Best to play full screen
  • Playlist -
  • These electric vehicles will be the future, especially when batteries (heavy weight and corrosion effects) will be replaced by capacitors.
Related Links:


Unexploded Ordinance

Polaris EV Platform / | David W Hodo

The AUXOS software has been ported to a second platform. A Kairos Pronto4 autonomy system was used to automate a Polaris Ranger electric ATV.

The ATV is capable of covering rougher terrain than the Segway platform and is also able to tow larger payloads (up to 6 EM61 coils) to cover more area with fewer passes. 

The electric Ranger EV was chosen due to its smaller geophysical signature than traditional combustion engine ATVs. 

A waterproof, shock-mounted server rack made by SKB is mounted in the bed of the vehicle. The rack houses the computer, communications, and positioning equipment and also has space for geophysical sensor electronics.


AUXOS Project


According to a 2003 report by the Department of Defense (DoD), there are currently more than 10 million acres of land on around 1400 DoD sites that are thought to contain unexploded ordnance (UXO). Clearing this land of unsafe materials is currently a very time consuming and expensive task. It is estimated that it would cost tens of billions of dollars to check and clear all of the possibly affected land. The DoD currently spends more than $200 million a year on UXO related problems.

Auburn University in partnership with the Army Corp of Engineers Huntsville Center with initial funding from the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) and with continued funding from the Huntsville Center’s Innovative Technology Program have developed a robotic digital geophysical mapping (DGM) tow vehicle. The goal of the project is to increase safety, productivity, and accuracy of the geophysical survey process by using autonomous vehicle technologies. The platform is capable of towing an array of industry standard DGM sensors in either tele-operated or semi-autonomous modes. It has been used to collect geophysical data with Geonics EM61-Mk2 time domain metal detectors, Geometrics G-858 magnetometers, and the GAP Geophysics TM-5Emu but is capable of towing most any sensor package.
AUXOS Software System

The AUXOS software system consists of two main applications. A server app written in C++ that runs on the vehicle and handles sensor interfaces, vehicle control, and data logging. A second user interface application written in C# and runs on a remote PC. This app allows the system to be configured and controlled, data and video from the vehicles to be displayed, and provides mission planning capabilities. A screeenshot of the user interface in mission planning mode is shown in the image above.

A TCP/IP connection using a custom interface is currently used to communicate between the user interface and vehicle. The system is, however, currently being converted to use the JAUS standard. This will allow interoperability with additional vehicles in the future as well as making the system more easily extensible.
Path planning

The mission planner include in the AUXOS user interface application allows for paths to be specified in multiple ways. The main methods for planning paths is by defining waypoints for the vehicle to drive through or polygons for the vehicle to survey. The system also has the capability to generate more specialized paths that are specific to geophysical surveying (such as 6-line tests). The planner also allows polygonal obstacles to be defined and avoided. Obstacles are avoided by searching a visibilty graph using a Dijkstra search algorithm. An example path that covers two grids while avoiding obstacles within them is shown in the image below.


The AUXOS software system has to date been used to control two hardware platforms. The original platform was a Segway RMP400. Recently the system has been ported to work on a Polaris Ranger EV. The integration is currently being completed by another GAVLAB member, Lowell Brown. Additional information on both platforms can be found by following the links below:
Segway RMP400
Polaris Ranger EV
Project News

ESTCP Project Page

Auburn Engineering 2006-2007 Annual Report

Robots to the Rescue

Project Mention on

Daniweb News Article
UXO Links


Army Environmental Command

Woodworking - Making Picture Frames with a Sliding Mitre Saw - YouTube

Uploaded by knecht105 on Mar 7, 2012
Making picture frames with a sliding mitre or chop saw is easy when you know the secrets of frame making and understand how to set up the saw to make perfect cuts.

University of Illinois Quad - Photosynth

University of Illinois Quad - Photosynth
University of Illinois: Virtual Campus Tour