Aug 18, 2012

A oldtime plow day demonstration. - YouTube

Published on Aug 18, 2012 by revieck

A plowing demonstration at a neighbor's farm around 1962 or 63. A display of the most modern farm equipment for that time!... Getting the plowing finished was one of the most time consuming chore on the farm. It also put great ware on the tractors and tires. Movie filmed by my Grandfather.

National Drought Summary -- August 14, 2012

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National Drought Summary -- August 14, 2012
The discussion in the Looking Ahead section is simply a description of what the official national guidance from the National Weather Service (NWS) National Centers for Environmental Prediction is depicting for current areas of dryness and drought. The NWS forecast products utilized include the HPC 5-day QPF and 5-day Mean Temperature progs, the 6-10 Day Outlooks of Temperature and Precipitation Probability, and the 8-14 Day Outlooks of Temperature and Precipitation Probability, valid as of late Wednesday afternoon of the USDM release week. The NWS forecast web page used for this section is:
This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw a few notable improvements and some serious degradation.  One storm dumped much needed rain through the Midwest improving the drought conditions there from Iowa through Ohio.  Other areas, such as the Southern and Central Plains, were not as lucky and continued to dry out.  Another changed that helped alleviate the drought in some locations was the easing of the heat.  Many areas from the Midwest to the South saw highs in the 80˚s F this week instead of the 100˚s F they had been experiencing.  As of last week, 87% of the U.S. corn crop, 85% of soybeans, 63% of hay, and 72% of cattle areas were experiencing drought.  Over half of the corn and soybean areas are experiencing Extreme (D3) to Exceptional (D4) Drought.  This has led to both reduced yields and earlier harvests.
The Southeast: Rains in the Southeast this helped to improve drought conditions through Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.  Exceptional Drought (D4) was eradicated in Alabama and reduced in Georgia while Extreme (D3), Severe (D2), and Moderate (D1) Drought were all reduced, as was Abnormal Dryness (D0).  In South Carolina, improvements in areas of Extreme (D3), Severe (D2), Moderate (D1) Drought and Abnormal Dryness (D0) were experienced. Minor changes were made improving Abnormal Dryness (D0) in parts of the south, and expanding Abnormal Dryness (D0) in the north of North Carolina.
The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Most of this area received enough precipitation that drought conditions held status quo with minor reductions in Abnormal Dryness (D0) in Maine.   
The South and Southern Plains:  In Oklahoma, large swaths of Exceptional Drought (D4) were introduced as the impact of the lack of rain and hot temperatures parched the state’s soil moisture.  Texas also saw minor deterioration of conditions with the expansion of Extreme Drought (D3) in the south, Severe Drought (D2) in areas of the center and north, and in Moderate Drought (D1) in the west.  In Louisiana, Severe Drought (D3) expanded in the north.
The Central and Northern Plains and Midwest: Widespread rains in the Midwest alleviated some D1-D4 Drought as well as Abnormal Dryness (D0) in a swath from central Iowa, across northern and central Illinois and Indiana, and into western Ohio and southern Michigan.  North and South Dakota also experienced beneficial precipitation, alleviating Abnormal Dryness (D0). Exceptional Drought (D4) expanded in the western and central parts of Nebraska and through central and eastern Kansas and into western and central Missouri.
The West: Areas of Exceptional (D4) and Extreme (D3) Drought generally expanded in Colorado where rain showers were largely absent again this week.  In Idaho, Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded and wildfires were on the rise. Other areas of the West remained status quo.
Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: Drought conditions remained unchanged in Alaska and Puerto Rico and Hawaii this week.
Looking Ahead: During the August 16 - 20, 2012 time period, there is an enhanced probability of precipitation from the extreme South, through the Southeast and mid-Atlantic and through New England. From the West through the Great Lakes, there is a suppressed chance of precipitation.  Below normal temperatures are expected from the center of the country eastward.  The West is expected to see above normal temperatures.
For the ensuing 5 days (August 21 - 25, 2012), the odds favor normal to below normal temperatures from just east of the Rockies to the east coast and also along the Pacific Coast.  In a narrow band along the Rockies and in New England, the odds favor warmer than normal temperatures. Above normal precipitation is expected from New England, through the South and into the extreme Southern Plains.  Normal to below normal precipitation is expected over the rest of the lower 48 states.  In Alaska, temperatures are expected to be below normal in the south and above normal along the Arctic Ocean while precipitation is expected to be above normal in the south and below normal along the Arctic Ocean.
Author: Michael Brewer, National Climatic Data Center, NOAA
Dryness Categories
D0 ... Abnormally Dry ... used for areas showing dryness but not yet in drought, or for areas recovering from drought.

Drought Intensity Categories
D1 ... Moderate Drought
D2 ... Severe Drought
D3 ... Extreme Drought
D4 ... Exceptional Drought

Drought or Dryness Types
S ... Short-Term, typically <6 months (e.g. agricultural, grasslands)
L ... Long-Term, typically >6 months (e.g. hydrology, ecology)

Updated August 15, 2012

Aug 17, 2012


Published on Aug 13, 2012 by karinmoveon

Is the GOP employing a racist strategy to get Mitt Romney into the White House? 

A Pictorial Review of The Hope Mine Biochar Restoration Project 2010 - 2012 - YouTube

Published on Aug 10, 2012 by Morgan Williams

This short presentation gives an overview of Morgan Williams and Andrew Harley's biochar restoration work at The Hope Mine in Colorado. In 2010, the team installed the world's first fully scaled biochar mine reclamation trial at an historic silver mine 7 miles outside of Aspen, Colorado. Blended biochar soil amendments (made from dead pine trees), were applied to the mine waste rock piles to increase moisture retention and re-vegetate the steep slopes at the site (zero irrigation, 35 degree slopes, 8,000+ feet in elevation, and only 80 continuous frost free days).

The film offers a short pictorial review of project results to date. Both qualitative and quantitative measurements will continue indefinitely.

See for more information.

Project partners include: The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, For The Forest, The US Forest Service, Pitkin County, and Flux Farm.

Power Searching with Google

Google Search makes it amazingly easy to find information. 

Come learn about the powerful advanced tools we provide to help you find just the right information when the stakes are high.

Log stoves - by Emma Walker @

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You cut slices down the log like cutting a pie leaving a small hole down the middle of the log. Stuff the hole with some paper, kindling and lighter fluid get the inside of the log burning then put a cast iron skillet on top.

Would be great fun for camping.

Swedish candles / hobo stoves

Resistance To Cry3Bb1 Confirmed in Illinois - Farm Progress

University of Illinois entomologist Mike Gray released the news, today, at Agronomy Day.
Published on: Aug 16, 2012

Last year, Iowa State University's Aaron Gassmann confirmed populations of western corn rootworms that are resistant to the Cry3Bb1 protein. At today's University of Illinois' Agronomy Day, U of I agronomist Mike Gray announced that he'd confirmed the exact same thing in Illinois.

Gray says a variety of factors account for the rapid adaptation of western corn rootworm populations to the Cry3Bb1 protein. Released in 2003, it was the first Bt protein on the marketplace. Rootworm populations have been grazing on Bt-protected roots for almost 10 years now.
Resistance To Cry3Bb1 Confirmed in Illinois

Second, like other rootworm Bt proteins, Cry3Bb1 is a low-to-moderate-dose event. Gray says this differs from the use of Bt proteins in protecting against European corn borer. Though these hybrids have been in the marketplace since 1996, Gray says the high-dose event has helped protect against resistance evolution in European corn borer.

Next, it's a poorly-kept secret that refuge compliance is not 100%, Gray says. Adding to that, Gray notes many growers are disregarding the tenants of integrated pest management, and have been for years. An over-reliance on Cry3Bb1 technology, and only Cry3Bb1 technology, has been a primary cause for this technology's failure in parts of Iowa and Illinois.

Gray notes the potential loss of Cry3Bb1 technology has implications for Bt-protection against corn rootworm across the Cornbelt. Today, farmers can choose between three Bt traits: Cry3Bb1, mCry3A and Cry34/35Ab1. Gray notes mCry3A is very similar to Cry3Bb1. In many cases, growers who've lost Cry3Bb1 as an effective option may be down to only Cry34/35Ab1.Gray says the lowering of refuge requirements from 20% to 5% could be a major problem. If Cry34/35Ab1 is the only effective Bt trait in parts of Iowa and Illinois, the selection pressure is significantly magnified in these 5% refuge-in-a-bag situations. Gray, along with 21 other university entomologists, authored a letter to EPA pointing this out in March. The EPA has yet to respond.

Aug 16, 2012

A Ride Around the IMCA Super Nationals - YouTube

Published on Aug 16, 2012 by xsantv

6 Days, 850+ Cars, More Heat Races then you can shake a stick at, some good times, and some excellent racing. Take a ride with us around the IMCA Super Nationals held in Boone, IA every September.

Cameras provided by DRIFT:

Can't make Boone in 2012? Watch LIVE online at:

Related Links:

VOTE BISON: Elect Our National Mammal

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Published on Aug 16, 2012 by WCSMedia
This election year, we have the perfect nominee for the coveted position of national mammal. The iconic bison is impeccably qualified to join the bald eagle as a symbol of the United States.

Truely, US's most magnificent mammal! Monte & Eileen

Future Science: Why Most Ambitious Project Isn’t in US - Videos

Future Science: Why Most Ambitious Project Isn’t in US from The Aspen Institute and The Aspen Institute on

Hadron Collider: Solving the Great Questions of Physics

Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, acknowledges that there are still a great many cosmic unknowns to discover, even after the purported finding of the Higgs Boson "God Particle" at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

Complete video available for free at

McCORMICK / FARMALL Tractors International History Video

Uploaded by 125mccormickmtx on Mar 26, 2009

McCormick tractors history.

Source Link:

Source Link:

RFD TV Show Direct TV, Ch 379, about the Rock Island Farmall plant which is being torn down. Max Armstrong interviewed people like Spike O'Dell (radio personality) and former workers and buyers of Farmall tractors. They had a parade of the restored old tractors run through the assembly line area (50 acres where they made up to 350 tractors a day) for one last time.
Great Program!

Kind of sad, but brings back a lot of good memories about a time of American workers sense of pride, prosperity, and "better times for middle class".

Making Biochar for Small Farms -update - YouTube

Published on Aug 13, 2012 by JohnRogers57

Gang burning four 55 gallon TLUD gassifiers loaded with wood chips. No retort is used. The feedstock is the fuel as it becomes the char. The primary air is drawn through the column of chips by the natural convection of the flue that sits atop the mixing chamber.

Janaka shot and edited this shorter update to invite the viewer to burn four TLUDs at once rather than in a staggered sequence as shown in my earlier video. I explain how I apply the biochar to my garden and "charge" it (with nutrients) in place.

Aug 15, 2012

Organic Crop Rotations: Conservation Benefits - 85 Minute Video

Published on Aug 15, 2012 by NCATATTRA

The USDA Organic Rules require a soil-building crop rotation that controls erosion, maintains or improves soil organic matter content, manages deficient or excess plant nutrients, and provides for crop pest management. Sod, cover crops, green manure crops, catch crops, and various mulches are included in the rotation to perform these functions, which correspond to the purposes for NRCS Conservation Practices such as Conservation Crop Rotation, Cover Crop, Strip Cropping, and Nutrient Management.

Because organic producers do not use synthetic fertilizers and can use only a very limited list of pesticides or fungicides, they depend to a greater degree on crop rotation with its diverse soil biology to manage nutrients, pests, and diseases. On the other hand, exclusion of herbicides (no carry over from year to year) maximizes flexibility in designing crop rotations that enhance biodiversity, improve soil, and perform nutrient and pest-management functions, while also meeting the farmer's particular market needs.

This webinar discusses crop rotation strategies that many types and scales of organic farms can use to meet conservation objectives, market needs, and USDA Organic requirements. Specific strategies used by organic farms in different parts of the United States are given.

Preserving the Tastes of Summer

Created 2011-09-08
Full Article:

Sure, you want to put up some of your harvest so you can enjoy it all winter long. But you don’t want to spend the last of the summer indoors, laboring in the kitchen. The solution? Freeze and dry your bounty. Both methods are easier (and cooler) than canning. Here’s the scoop, crop by crop.


Before freezing, remove the tomato skins. Immerse your fresh tomatoes in boiling water until the skins crack, then plunge the fruits into very cold water for another minute. Take them out, peel off the skin, and pack them whole or quartered in plastic freezer containers.

A faster method is to freeze whole, unpeeled tomatoes. When you’re ready to use them, put the frozen bag under hot water briefly, until you can remove the tomatoes. Then stick the tomatoes under the hot water for a few more seconds to loosen the skin, which will easily peel off.

Dehydration removes all that messy water and leaves you with pure tomato flavor. And almost any kind of tomato—even cherry types—dries into a sweet, chewy chip. Some people say that meaty paste tomatoes work best for drying, but others prefer to dry the big, sweet beefsteak types.

Cut slices about 1⁄2 inch thick (cut cherry tomatoes in half) and set the slices on the dehydrator trays. Don’t let the pieces touch. Most machines will dry them in about 4 hours, but many people let them go overnight (they’re done when the pieces are leathery and flat). You can store them in tightly lidded jars or put them in bags in the freezer. After drying, a bushel of tomatoes takes up very little space. (To keep the dehydrator from heating up your house, run it outdoors in a sheltered area.)

To get a taste of summer sweetness in the middle of winter, freeze some of your corn. First, blanch the ears by boiling them for 3 to 4 minutes. Plunge the blanched ears into cold water. After the ears have cooled, scrape the kernels off the cob. Put meal-size portions of the cut kernels into plastic freezer bags. You can eat the corn lightly steamed, right out of the freezer (don't defrost it before cooking it). If you prefer your winter corn on the cob, blanch the fresh ears for 6 minutes, then freeze the whole ears. When you're ready to serve them, just steam the frozen ears for another 6 minutes.

Peppers (both hot and sweet) freeze beautifully without blanching. Just chop or slice them, freeze the pieces on a cookie sheet until they’re solid, and then transfer the pieces to plastic freezer bags. When you’re cooking, just scoop out what you need.

Thin-fleshed peppers will dry outside, hung on a string or set on a screen lined with brown paper in an airy, shady spot, as long as your weather is still hot and dry. (Cover the peppers with cheesecloth to keep off insects.) Thick-fleshed peppers require a food dehydrator. Small, hot peppers will dry just fine whole, but larger, thicker peppers should be cut into 1⁄2-inch slices. They’re dry when the skin becomes papery or crackly when you touch it. Store them in jars with tight lids. Mix your dried peppers into winter chili, stir-fries, and other dishes in need of a little punch. Or grind some of the dried peppers (hot or sweet) in a blender or food processor. Use the flakes as a shake-on seasoning.

Prompt freezing will well preserve your homegrown beans’ vitamin content. The key to successful bean freezing is carefully timed blanching. First, bring your water to a rolling boil. Then add no more beans than the water will take and still remain boiling. After 3 minutes (not a moment more, or they’ll be limp when they come out of the freezer), remove the beans and immerse them in ice water. When they’re cool, blot dry and pack into meal-size portions in plastic freezer bags.

Like beans, peas should be frozen quickly after harvesting. Blanch shelled peas for 1 1⁄2 minutes and sugar snaps and snow peas for 2 1⁄2 minutes—not any longer, or they’ll be mushy when you cook them later. Cool them in ice water, blot them dry, and then store them in freezer bags. Don’t defrost them before cooking.

Shelled peas are easy to dry. Use dried peas in soups and stews. Forget about drying the edible-podded ones; they’ll lose their crispness and become chewy and pulpy.

Freeze a few cukes at the end of the season to use later in chilled soups or for a cool summer drink. Peel the cukes, chop them into chunks, drop them into plastic bags and put the bags in the freezer. For a thick off-season slushie, puree the frozen cucumber chunks along with a splash of fruit juice, a few chunks of frozen melon, some honey, and a pinch of pineapple sage.

If your region has mild winters, the best way to keep your carrots is to leave them in the garden under mulch until you’re ready to use them. In colder regions, pull up your carrots before a hard frost sets in and freeze them (sliced or diced) after 2 minutes of blanching. Besides using the carrots as a cooked vegetable, you can use them in muffins and cakes. For these baking uses, first grate the carrots, then give them a quick dip in boiling water. Freeze the grated carrots in recipe-size portions.

You can dry sliced carrots into chips. You can either eat the chips or grind them into flakes. The flakes add sweetness to stews and soups.

Firm, pungent storage onions will keep for months in a cool, dry basement, and even longer in a root cellar. But Vidalias and other sweet, mild onions don’t store well. To preserve their goodness, just chop them up and freeze them in plastic containers.

You can also dry 1⁄2-inch-thick onion slices in a dehydrator, then grind the dried slices into flakes or powder to use as a seasoning.

Freezing preserves broccoli’s taste, texture, and nutrients. Cut up the heads into small florets so the pieces blanch uniformly. Blanch cut-up florets and little side shoots only for a minute before freezing. Cool the blanched broccoli, then pack it into plastic bags and freeze.

Many pumpkins will store until spring in an ordinary cool basement. You can also cook the pumpkins, then freeze the cooked flesh in plastic freezer bags. Cooking pumpkin is simple: Just cut it in half, remove the seeds, put the halves cut side down on a baking sheet, and bake at 350ºF for 20 to 40 minutes (it’s done when the skin begins to turn brown and you can easily push a fork through it).

Scoop the flesh out of the skin and either puree it or just mash it up with a fork. You can spice some of it with cinnamon, allspice, and apple juice concentrate before freezing. Then it will be ready to make into a pie later.) Pack the cooked pumpkin in plastic freezer bags in 1 or 2 cup quantities—that makes it easy to use in recipes later.

Summer Squash and Zucchini
Tender summer squash and zucchini get mushy in the freezer. So puree yellow and green summer squash in your blender or food processor, then freeze the puree to use in cakes, breads, and soups.

Dried zucchini chips are great with sandwiches or dips. Before drying, slice them into 1⁄4-inch-thick rounds and quick-blanch them (just a few seconds in boiling water). Then dry the rounds overnight in the dehydrator. They're ready when they snap in half when bent.

Coat slices of fresh cut eggplant with an egg-and-bread-crumb mixture, bake until almost tender, let them cool, and then freeze them in plastic bags. You can use these breaded slices as a kind of crust for pizza—top them with dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, and cheese and then bake until the eggplant is crisp and the cheese is melted.

Strawberries are highly perishable, so preserve them quickly when they’re at their peak. Let the berries freeze solid on a baking sheet, then move them into plastic bags. You can also crush, puree, and freeze them. Thaw, then pour this supersweet treat into punch or over desserts.

For chocolate-covered strawberries, slice a big batch of fresh strawberries, roll the slices in a powdered instant hot chocolate mix, then dry them overnight. Delicious!

Watermelon and Cantaloupe
Freeze chunks of watermelon or cantaloupe. For a thirst-quenching slushie, simply puree the frozen chunks. (If you’re using cantaloupe, you may want to add lemon juice or honey.) Or puree fresh watermelon, then freeze the puree in ice cube trays to add to cool drinks later on.

Better yet, cut the melon flesh into long, thin slivers and dry them. With the water evaporated, you get a fruit-leather-like sticky, chewy candy. But don't cut the slivers any thinner than 1⁄2 inch or so, or you won't get them unstuck from the dehydrator trays.

Ripe berries don’t last long, so put any excess into long-term storage when they’re fresh from the garden. Freeze unwashed berries on a baking sheet. When they’re firm, pack them into freezer containers to use later in desserts. Or simply fill the blender with berries, puree, and then freeze the puree in plastic containers. For a very special cake, add a pint of puree to chocolate cake batter.

Raspberries also dry very well. Just a few hours in the dehydrator and they're ready to put into tightly sealed jars or in a bag in the freezer.

Blueberries are a snap to freeze. Pick out any bruised or not quite ripe berries, remove the stems, and rinse gently with water. Put the best berries into a freezer container. They’re great on cereal, thawed or frozen, and excellent on ice cream.

Peaches and Nectarines
Sliced or halved peaches and nectarines are a snap to freeze. Remove the skin, dip the slices in ascorbic acid solution or citrus juice to preserve their color, and then freeze them in sweet syrup. The sugar acts as a preservative and helps them hold their texture. (But you can eliminate the sugar solution, if you'd prefer.)

Both fruits also dry well in the dehydrator. Just be sure to dip the cut pieces in citrus juice or honey first to preserve their color. Or puree either fruit with honey or pineapple, then dry the puree into a fruit leather using a special insert available for your dehydrator tray. Kids love it!

Aug 14, 2012

Jonathan Haidt, "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion", Authors at Google

Published on Aug 13, 2012 by AtGoogleTalks

In his new book, "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion", Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of morality and its basis in politics and religion. In this talk, given during his visit to the Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA, Jonathan provides an introduction to the core themes of the book, particularly as they apply to the "hive-like" mode of operation of Google, Zappos, and many other successful organizations. He investigates the question of why some successful organizations operate like wolf packs, others like beehives. And he links several theories from the natural sciences, religion, and philosophy to try to explain how and why humans can be far more "groupish" than "selfish".

Jonathan Haidt is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and a visiting professor of business ethics at New York University's Stern School of Business. He is the author of "The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom.

Interesting!  Lot of plausible concepts that can be learned from nature... One smart dude... Thanks for that Jonathan Haidt...  Monte & Eileen Hines

Related Link:

Deron Williams, Team USA Win Gold Medal Over Spain - From Russia With Dunk

Illini Great Deron Williams - 2nd Gold Medal

Aug 12th, 2012 at 1:13 pm by Jonah MarsNets 

In the gold medal game for Olympic basketball this morning, Team USA defeated Spain 107-100 behind 30 points and 9 rebounds for Kevin Durant. This was an excellent game and Spain only trailed by 1 heading into the 4th quarter. They had a chance to pull off the upset, but the US just made too many plays, including a clutch 3 from Lebron James, down the stretch.

The Spaniards were led by Pau Gasol, who had 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. He kept Spain in the game and they needed him to play every minute. Spain also had 21 points from former Memphis Grizzly Juan Carlos Navarro, 17 points from Marc Gasol, and 12 points and 9 rebounds from Serge Ibaka off the bench.

For the Nets, Deron Williams only played 10 minutes and scored 6 points on 2 3′s. Along with Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Lebron James, and Carmelo Anthony, Deron has won back-to-back gold medals at the Olympics. He joins an elite group of athletes to do this. Deron did not play great in these Olympics, but he did not need to. I am glad that he did not get injured or play too many minutes and still won the gold medal. He is also the first Net to ever win a gold medal in the Olympics.

Even though this group of Americans may not be quite as good as the Dream Team in 1992, they accomplished their goal of winning the gold medal, and that should be good enough for any basketball fan.

Jonah Mars is the lead editor for From Russia With Dunk.

Aug 13, 2012

Part 3/3 UMass Permaculture Documentary Series - YouTube

Published on Aug 13, 2012 by UMassPermaculture
3/3 Video

Great work of UMass students is continuing and educating thousands in permaculture techniques... Monte & Eileen Hines - 2/3 Video - 1/3 Video

UMass Amherst transformed a 1/4 grass lawn on campus into a thriving, abundant, permaculture garden during the 2010-2011 academic year. Learn how this student-led project can be easily replicated and spread to other campuses, institutions... any piece of land for that matter. UMass Amherst is one of the first university's undertaking a project like this, directly on campus, and supplying the food to its dining commons.

Related Link:

Hines Farm Blog: University of Massachusetts Amherst proudly...
Jun 23, 2012
The University of Massachusetts Amherst proudly announces the Permaculture Your Campus Conference held at the UMass Amherst campus June 20-22, 2012 with special keynote speaker Frances Moore Lappé, author of ...

Hines Farm Blog: UMass Permaculture Committee took first place
Mar 21, 2012
Live from the White House: Fourteen UMass Amherst students are congratulated by President Barack Obama on their new roles as national Campus Champions of Change. On March 15, the university's student-led

Hines Farm Blog: UMass Permaculture Wins White House Campus ...
Mar 06, 2012
The UMass Permaculture Initiative (UPI), one of the first university permaculture initiatives in the nation, has helped put UMass Amherst on the sustainability map in less than 18 months. We can't fully predict what this will ...

Hines Farm Blog: UMass Permaculture Needs Your Vote to Get to ...
Feb 27, 2012
The UMass Amherst Permaculture Committee, a student group that I am working with, received some incredible news this week! We received a call from The White House and we've been notified that we're selected as 1 of 15 ...

Hines Farm Blog: Permaculture Goes to the White House... With...
Feb 24, 2012
UMass Amherst Permaculture is a student group that educates the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus and the local community about ecological permaculture solutions by demonstrating edible perennial

Bt Toxicity Confirmed: Flawed Studies Exposed

Researchers confirm Bt toxicity to non-target beneficial insects and show how experiments claiming to refute their results were designed not to find the effectDr Eva Sirinathsinghji

A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here

Please circulate widely and repost, but you must give the URL of the original and preserve all the links back to articles on our website. If you find this report useful, please support ISIS by subscribing to our magazine Science in Society, and encourage your friends to do so. Or have a look at the ISIS bookstore for other publications

A new study confirms that the Cry1Ab Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin present in genetically modified (GM) crops kills the larvae of the two-spotted ladybird (Adalia bipunctata L.), a species that GM supporters claim to be unaffected by the toxin [1].

The study raises questions regarding the integrity of previous work published by GM proponents, whose experimental protocols were re-tested and shown to lack the scientific rigour required to pick up signs of toxicity even in target insects that the pesticide is designed to kill.

Bt toxins are present in many GM crops including cotton and maize. Monsanto’s Mon 810 Bt maize is currently approved for cultivation in Europe, although it has been banned by individual nations including Hungary, France, Austria, Germany, Greece and Luxembourg due to health and environmental concerns. Many previous studies have found effects on health and the environment (see [2] Bt Crops Failures and Hazards, SiS 53, [3] More Illnesses Linked to Bt Crops,SiS 30).
Previous Bt toxicity studies slandered by GM proponents

GM proponents claim that certain Bt toxins are effective against limited orders of insects, with Cry1Ab killing only Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) such as the common maize pest the European cornborer. However, a peer-reviewed study published by Angela Hilbeck and colleagues at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 2009 showed increased mortality in ladybirds exposed to the ‘activated’ toxin that had been coated on their food – meal moth eggs [4]; the team had found similar effects in green lacewings previously [5-7]. The activated version refers to the cleavage of the pro-toxin to produce the actual toxin.

In response to their original publication, a coordinated effort aimed at discrediting their findings appeared in the journal Transgenic Research, which included two highly charged critiques [8, 9] and a study led by Jörg Romeis from Agroscope, Switzerland, which failed to detect any toxicity [10]. They concluded that the results of Hilbeck’s team were ‘false-positives’ and artefacts of a poor study design. One critique went as far as suggesting the work was ‘pseudo-science’. Agroscope, a Swiss federal governmental research organisation, is linked to the agrotech giant Syngenta, which along with Monsanto, produces Cry1Ab GM crops. These hostile attacks were triggered by the ban of Mon 810 maize in Germany based on results obtained by Hilbeck’s team among 30 other scientific publications showing harmful effects from the pesticide.
Addressing discrepancies between previous studies

The new work from Hilbeck’s team aimed to address the discrepancies between their own findings and those of their critics. First they conducted a ‘proof-of-concept’ experiment where they tested both their original protocol and Agroscope’s protocol on the target species, the European cornborer.

In the Hilbeck team’s original study, the ladybird larvae were exposed continuously for 10 days to a microbially-produced purified version of Cry1Ab or a microbially produced ‘empty’ version lacking the toxin. They were exposed through coating their food - meal moth eggs - with the toxin. The Agroscope protocol on the other hand, exposed the larvae for only 24 hours at a time through a sugar/water droplet with or without the toxin. As the larvae are carnivorous and cannot survive on a sugar diet alone, they were transferred to petri dishes with untreated moth eggs, thus giving them a period to recover from the exposure. This exposure/recovery was apparently repeated 4 times in total.

So, the aim of the new study was to understand if the differences in these protocols may have accounted for the opposing results obtained by Hilbeck’s team and by Agroscope. By testing target species that the toxin is designed to kill, any weakness in the protocol would become apparent.

Hilbeck’s team repeated the basic protocols by exposing 4 day old larvae to Bt maize as well as near isogenic non-GM maize sprayed with Bt toxins either continuously for 7 days, or for 24 hours followed by untreated non-transgenic maize for 6 days. They found high levels of mortality following continuous exposure as expected (just below 100 % with both types of exposure). The mortality rates dropped by half when animals were exposed to Bt sprayed plants for 24 hours only. Exposure to Bt maize for only 24 hours did not even cause mortality rates to rise above unexposed control groups.

An experimental protocol that cannot detect toxicity of a pesticide on a target species is clearly not fit for testing potential harm to non-target species.

In addition to insufficient exposure time, other flaws in the Agroscope experiments were noted by Hilbeck. Sugar/water droplets to which Bt toxin was added were found to dry up overnight, leaving the levels of exposure undetermined. Only one dose was tested, as opposed to three tested in the original study by Hilbeck’s team [4]. There was no clear description of the number of animals used or the number of times the experiments were replicated, whereas performing 3 replicates is standard in laboratory studies.
Re-testing effects of Bt toxin on ladybird larvae with a new combined protocol

To counter the criticisms aimed at their previous study, Hilbeck’s team adopted a combined protocol consisting of 7 days continuous exposure to a sugar/water solution with or without the Bt toxin placed on cotton balls to prevent them drying up. After 24 hours, instead of allowing a recovery period, the cotton balls were replaced with fresh cotton balls with or without Bt toxin solutions. Additional meal moth eggs coated in the toxin were given to provide an adequate diet and ensure continuous exposure to the toxin.

After only 6 days of exposure, mean mortality rate was 40 % compared to around 25 % in unexposed larvae. The greatest difference in mortality between treated and untreated animals peaked at 4 days where there was around a 20 % increase in mortality over untreated animals, after which it began to level off.

The new work not only corroborates the team’s previous findings [4], but also Agroscope’s failure to detect toxicity on non-target insects [10].

It is important to distinguish the difference between the natural bacterial toxin and the modified version inserted into GM plants. Neither of the original studies by Hilbeck or Agroscope used the versions expressed in GM crops, which are significantly modified. Modifications are made to increase the ‘performance’ of the toxin, including changing the promoter and enhancer elements to increase production of the protein; changes in sequence to increase solubility of the toxin, as well as altering the final portions of the gene to ensure the termination of gene expression.

In reality, it is difficult for researchers to obtain the transgenes made by industry, as there is strict patent laws and resistance to giving permission to conduct independent research on their products. Previous studies have shown that the modified toxin is more toxic than their naturally produced counterparts, with green lacewings suffering from delayed development and reduced survival (see [11] GM Food & Feed Not Fit for "Man or Beast", ISIS Report). The new study from Hilbeck’s team was carried out with Cry1Ab toxin from another independent lab, which is not the same as that produced in Bt maize or those in earlier work that highlights these differences in toxicity. The story remains unclear as to which versions are more toxic, or if there is any non-toxic version. (The variable expression of transgenes found in different Bt crops under different environmental conditions also complicate matters (see [12] Scientists Confirm Failures of Bt-Crops, SiS 28)). Currently, no regulatory body requires testing of the modified transgene, which means that their effects have not been properly assessed in any version.
Attacks on researchers with ‘inconvenient’ results

The attack on scientists who publish data that happen to go against the safety of biotech products are under immense pressure from GM proponents, industry and even regulatory bodies. The work is highly scrutinised in a manner rarely seen in other non-profit-driven subject areas. As Hilbeck said in a comment piece, deliberate counter-studies and confrontational attacks have also been witnessed with other commercial products such as bisphenol A, asbestos and tobacco [13]. The team were never given the opportunity to respond to their critiques.

In the case of Bt toxicity, this is not the first time that the researchers have faced such scrutiny; the publications on lacewing lethality [5-7] drew a similar response from some of the same authors that targeted the ladybird study.
To conclude

Studies into the toxic effects of the Bt toxins are beginning to shed light on the wider effects of Bt toxins to non-target insects. This knowledge is critical to agricultural success with insects like the ladybirds playing an important biological function due to their predation on crop pests such as aphids and white flies. As it stands, the full off-target effects of the Bt toxins are not understood, with a reported 91 % of Bt toxins tested on 10 or less species, most of which are presumed target species [14]. Independent studies have however, also linked Bt exposure to abnormal growth in snails [15] and caddisflies (see [16] Bt Crops Threaten Aquatic Ecosystems, SiS 36) and reduced fitness of water fleas [17]. Off-target effects need to be investigated thoroughly prior to the release of such products. With Bt crops already widely commercialised, we are left with the option of withdrawing them from the market until irrefutable evidence of their safety becomes available

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Hines Coal Creek Farm - Sunsets, Planting, and Landscaping

Eileen Planting and Landscaping Coal Creek Farm August 13, 2012 - Larger Image

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Terry Hawthorne: Proof Positive - University of Illinois - Great Man! Great Story!

Mon, 08/13/2012 | The News-Gazette

Photo by: Robert K. O'Daniell/The News-Gazette
East St. Louis receiver Terry Hawthorne at East St Louis high school in east St Louis, IL Thursday afternoon Nov. 13, 2008.

He walks into campustown's Mia Za's Cafe and goes mostly unnoticed. A sideways glance here and there. Nothing more.

Terry Hawthorne certainly looks the part. He's 190 pounds of muscle on a

6-foot frame. He's got the body fat content of a supermodel.

And he's got the signature play, a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The pick six turned the game in Illinois' favor and earned him the Defensive MVP award.

If only the presumably Illinois crowd knew the importance of the young man, they'd be lining up for autographs and posting pictures on Facebook. Tweeting like they were watching the Olympics.

On this day, they miss the opportunity.

He skips the chance to order lunch and zips upstairs to the larger dining area. He sits down at one of the tables facing the windows. Green Street is below, with Follett's Bookstore across the street. Certainly, there are some No. 1s for sale.

With a tape recorder in front of him, he opens up. He talks about scary fragments from his life and how he avoided trouble. He talks about family, friends and graduation. The December day is just around the corner and he can't wait. But first, there is his senior season, which he could have easily skipped to play in the NFL.

Hawthorne came back. He didn't have to. The pros would have seen him at the combine and fallen in love with his athleticism and speed. And potential.

Why stay? Why risk another injury, which had cost him time earlier in his career?

It's that piece of paper, proof he not only survived college but made it work for him. Something to show the kids back at East St. Louis Senior, especially the ones thinking about dropping out.

"Everyone always says, 'A student from East St. Louis High School can't graduate from college,' " Hawthorne said. "This means a lot to me."

Where he once looked for that role model in his hometown, Hawthorne wants to become the example. Not a footnote or a blip or a "too bad what happened to Terry." He wants to be the story on the wall at the high school with the headline: "Black Cat (his nickname) makes good."


It isn't easy to thrive after leaving East St. Louis. Check out the other Flyers in Hawthorne's recruiting class. Tommie Hopkins signed with Illinois but suffered a gunshot wound during his senior year of high school. His stay at Illinois was short-lived.

Kraig Appleton had scholarship offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Nebraska and others. He settled on Wisconsin. After a three-catch freshman season, he was indefinitely suspended from the team in 2010. In June, 2011, he was shot multiple times in East St. Louis.

Hawthorne said he hears Appleton is going back to college.

"He's trying to get himself on the right track," Hawthorne said.

The two were star receivers for a state title team. They were friends, but didn't run in the same circles.

"I always kept myself with a nice crowd that I knew that I could trust," Hawthorne said.


Hawthorne doesn't complain about his upbringing. He grew up on Bond Avenue, a rough section of East St. Louis close to the Mississippi River. That's where the John DeShield and John Robinson housing projects are located.

As a youngster, he saw things we all want to keep from our kids.

"You will get shootings every night," Hawthorne said. "Shootings in broad daylight. You get people walking to the store in between (the projects) and getting robbed in broad daylight. You never know what you will get out there."

His mom, Diane, did her best to help Terry avoid trouble. There were challenges at home, including Terry's older brother Antonio, who was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at a young age.

Terry hung out with a group of kids that kept themselves active with sports. At a nearby open field, they would play football and baseball. Or they would swim at the local pool.

Did he ever get into trouble?

"No, sir," Hawthorne said.


Diane Hawthorne had some powerful allies when it came to keeping Terry moving in the proper direction. His uncle, Isaac, was there. And so was his godmother, Rebecca Molitor.

"Those three always kept me straight, kept my mind staying focused, kept me active and kept me from running around the projects and getting into things," Hawthorne said.

It would have been easy to make the wrong choice. So many opportunities. But even at a young age, Hawthorne saw the bigger picture. East St. Louis was a starting point, not the end.

Hawthorne looks back and realizes he is one of the lucky ones.


Hawthorne was 7 when he first met Molitor. Recently divorced, she was volunteering with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in East St. Louis.

She was assigned to another young man, whom Molitor got involved in sports. Soon, she was helping Hawthorne, too.

Hawthorne would ask for rides to practices. A lot.

"He was so bothersome that it got to the point where I was just like, 'Don't ask me anymore. I'm coming to get you every day,' " Molitor said. "That's how it got started. He was so determined that he was going to get to the field. He would figure out ways to be where he wanted to be."

One time, at age 7, he walked more than 2 miles to get to a practice. Across a busy highway. Determination squared.

Molitor, a mental health therapist, worked in East St. Louis at the time. She wanted to be involved with children as a mentor and friend.

"I spent all of my late 20s and early 30s being like a soccer mom for baseball and football," Molitor said. "I was at every practice, every game. It was a lot of fun."

Hawthorne's personality made it easy for others to want to be involved.

"He had so much passion as a young kid that he would make people listen and pay attention to him to help him out," Molitor said.

Molitor is part of Hawthorne's support system. If he has a question or concern, she is one of the first he calls.

The commitment between Molitor and Hawthorne has grown since their early meeting. Molitor, who is engaged to retired Illinois State Police detective Joe Bates, travels to every Illinois game, home and away.

"Support is important to him," Molitor said. "It feels good for him, like any player, to have people there."


Hawthorne, the 2008 News-Gazette All-State Player of the Year, had all sorts of college options. Some wanted him as a receiver. Others liked him as a defensive back, his eventual position.

He picked Illinois early and stuck to his choice. Even though his future school struggled to a 5-7 record the year before he arrived. But he liked coaches Ron Zook and Reggie Mitchell. And he believed they would help him.

There was an adjustment to his new home. The pace of Champaign-Urbana appealed to Hawthorne. Mostly.

"The town is a little bit of a change coming from where I'm from," Hawthorne said. "I like it a lot. It's just a different atmosphere than where I'm from."


A week before the start of Camp Rantoul, Hawthorne left the slower pace of Champaign-Urbana to spend some quality time in East St. Louis.

One of his first stops: ESL Senior to catch up with coach Darren Sunkett. They talk weekly.

"He always gives me good advice," Hawthorne said. "He said to look where I am right now compared to the other ones who were in the state game with me."

Hawthorne is royalty with the Flyers after leading the team to a 2008 state title.

Last week, Hawthorne talked with the team and later worked out with the high school players.

And he is becoming a big deal in his hometown, a place known for producing great athlete after great athlete. They saw the interception return against UCLA. They know he is going into his final year and a shot at the NFL is a few months away.

"Even some of the guys out on the street, they still know who I am and they still wish me luck," Hawthorne said.


Ask a reporter about Hawthorne and the first word you are likely to hear is "shy."

Those who know him best laugh at the idea.

"He initially is very reserved and quieter," Molitor said. "But people who know him would not describe him as being shy or quiet."

Hawthorne doesn't mind meeting with reporters. He is always pleasant. But you sense it isn't his favorite part of college football.

"I'm not a talkative person," Hawthorne said.


Hawthorne thinks back to his first few weeks at Illinois. He wasn't prepared for the college workload.

"I was stressing," Hawthorne said.

Throw football on top of that, including a move from offense to defense, and Hawthorne was soon thinking about going home.

He talked to Molitor, who kept him calm and convinced him to stay.

"I thank her for that," Hawthorne said.

"I remember we had that conversation," Molitor said. "I said, 'What are you going to do? Your options are limited. You have a choice to continue in school and do whatever you have to do to finish or look around and you tell me what you're going to do in East St. Louis.' "

School has remained difficult at times. But Hawthorne has attacked his classes the way he attacks a tipped pass: all out.

He was struggling with a concept in one of his courses and went to the professor for extra help. It wasn't a move that all athletes would have made.

"That's something I had to learn to do," Hawthorne said.

He tries to pass along the lessons. He gets in the ear of the incoming freshmen, reminding them what they should and should not do.

No. 1 on his "don't" list: "Thinking you are all that."

"They just think it's easy," Hawthorne said. "I let them know how it is. You can come in with the intention of starting as a freshman. But don't come in with a big head."


If the NFL doesn't work out, Hawthorne's got a plan. One that might surprise his teammates: joining the Air Force.

"Just to stay disciplined and stay on top of everything," Hawthorne said.

Plan C is for coaching, another long-term possibility for Hawthorne. Or helping run a rec facility.

When Hawthorne was younger, the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center was booming in East St. Louis. Lately, the center has fallen on hard times. Maybe Hawthorne rebuilds it to its past prominence.


If you want to find Hawthorne during the summer or after practice, check the place he shares with defensive tackle Akeem Spence.

It's a good bet they will be perched in front of the television, playing "NCAA Football '13" and "NBA 2K."

"I would say the majority of our free time that's what I do," Hawthorne said. "I'm better (than Akeem)."

Spence disagrees.

"I win both games," Spence said. "I like playing (NCAA Football '13) with Virginia Tech."

Other than the video game arguments, they get along.

"We're so compatible," Spence said. "We keep the place clean. We both like to cook."

When Hawthorne does leave the house, he'll go bungee jumping or jet skiing. Really.

"I love it," Hawthorne said.

He doesn't have a significant other. Check back later.

"I'm really not looking for the girlfriend thing yet until I graduate and get on with my life," Hawthorne said. "I want to know what I'm doing before I settle down with someone."


He swears the individual awards, the All-America honors, don't mean a thing.

Hawthorne cares about the rubber bracelet he wears, which reads, "12-1-12." That's the date of the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis.

"That's a big stage in your college life," Hawthorne said. "That's something I'm looking forward to doing my senior year."

Genetic Roulette Movie Trailer - YouTube

Published on Aug 8, 2012 by GeneticRoulette

This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.

The movie website can be viewed here:

Pre-order Genetic Roulette - The Gamble of Our Lives:

More information about GMOs can be found on the Responsible Technology website:

The Best and Worst Ways to Cook Vegetables

Created 2012-06-12

Think a raw-veggie diet is the best way to go for optimal nutrition? Think again. Cooking vegetables helps to soften their tough fibrous exteriors and loosen up all the nutritional good stuff that lies inside. In fact, some vegetables, such as tomatoes, are actually more healthful if you eat them cooked, because the process of cooking them boosts their levels of the potent antioxidant lycopene. The only problem is, not all cooking methods are the same. Some boost nutrient content; some take it away. Some add unwanted fat, while others add the crucial amount for your body to absorb all the nutrients in vegetables.

Here’s what you need to know about cooking your veggies for optimum nutrition:
1. Microwaving

When in doubt, microwave your veggies for maximum antioxidant preservation. According to a Spanish study of how various cooking methods impact vegetable antioxidant capacity, microwaves reign supreme in prepping vegetables to retain their nutrients. Exception: Keep cauliflower out of the microwave; it loses more than 50 percent of its antioxidants if nuked.

Photo: Photodisc

2. Griddling

Beets, celery, onions, Swiss chard, and green beans cook particularly well on the griddle—yes, that pan you pull out only for Sunday-morning pancakes. Griddles allow vegetables to retain as many antioxidants as microwaving, according to the Spanish researchers. Word of caution: Griddles are often coated in nonstick chemicals that make cooking and cleaning convenient but may contain toxins linked to cancer. Shop for one without the coating, or use a thick frying pan with no oil.

Photo: (cc) Jeremy Keith/Flickr

3. Baking

Baking, or roasting, is hit-or-miss. Based on the study results, bake your artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, and peppers, all of which retained their antioxidant values, but not your carrots, Brussels sprouts, leeks, cauliflower, peas, zucchini, onions, beans, celery, beets, and garlic, which all saw decreases in nutrient levels. Where baking really shines is with green beans, eggplant, corn, Swiss chard, and spinach, all of which saw their antioxidant levels increase after baking. Toss a handful of those veggies into your next casserole.

Photo: (cc) Leon Brocard/Flickr

Extra Delicious: Eggplant & Mozzarella Rolls

4. Frying

It’s probably no surprise that this method fails the test when it comes to antioxidants and nutrition levels. In addition to adding way too much fat to your meal, it caused a loss of between 5 and 50 percent of each vegetable’s nutrients.

Photo: Bananastock Ltd.

5. Pressure cooking and boiling

Generally speaking, don’t use these methods if you want to retain antioxidants in your vegetables. “In short, water is not the cook’s best friend when it comes to preparing vegetables,” says lead researcher A.M. Jimenez-Monreal. Peas, cauliflower, and zucchini are particularly susceptible to losing nutrients through boiling. If you do need to boil your vegetables, save the nutrient-rich boiling water and use it the next time you make a soup or sauce.

Of course there are always exceptions, and in this case, it’s carrots. A 2008 study from Italy found that boiling carrots boosted their carotenoid content more so than steaming or frying them.

Photo: Photo Alto

Learn More: How to Use a Pressure Cooker

6. Steaming

Those same Italian researchers found that steaming is the best method for preserving antioxidants found in broccoli and zucchini. But contrary to what you may think, this may not be the healthiest way to prep vegetables anyway. Many of the vitamins and nutrients in vegetables are fat soluble, meaning your body absorbs them better in the presence of fat. If you prefer steaming your vegetables, toss them with a small amount of olive oil before serving to boost nutrient absorption.

Photo: Rodale Images

Growing Guide: Zucchini

7 Sautéing

None of the studies on nutrient levels and cooking techniques have included sautéing vegetables over high heat in a little bit of oil. However, the process of sautéing is similar to that of microwaving: cooking your vegetables over high heat in a short amount of time. That minimizes nutrient loss, and the oil in which you’re sautéing them helps your body absorb more of the nutrients.

Photo: Mitch Mandel

Continue Reading: Grow a Good Mood Garden
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Root Simple: Digger Bee Video

This beautifully shot video shows why it's important to leave some of your land open as habitat for solitary bees like the digger bee.
Via Bug Girl's Blog.

Aug 12, 2012

A Conversation with Wendell Berry

A Conversation with Wendell Berry from Rob Farr on Vimeo.

Lots of knowledge and wisdom from a wonderful man... friend of Wes Jackson...  Monte and Eileen Hines

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Is the era of oil nearing its end? | McClatchy

Full Article:

A fisherman and dolphin share the waters with a distant oil platform off Elmer's Island, Louisiana. | Emily Michot/Miami Herald/MCT

Colin Campbell, the 80-year-old retired Irish petroleum engineer who founded the peak oil movement, says that oil drove the modernization of civilization, but now come the shortages of the second half of the oil age, "which is about to dawn, which just undermines this whole world system under which we're now living." |

By Greg Gordon | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — After nearly a decade of warnings that the world’s oil supply was running out, Americans now are hearing about technology breakthroughs that can unlock vast U.S. deposits of natural gas, help reverse a 40-year slide in domestic oil production and perhaps transform America into the next Middle East.

But despite the euphoria, there’s a major problem: The looming American oil glut may simply not be enough to sate the United States and the rest of motorized humanity.

Experts say soaring demand from China and India is sure to send oil prices back above $100 a barrel. A supply disruption in the coming years, they say, could trigger panic, gasoline hoarding and perhaps lead to lines at the pumps akin to the 1973 Arab oil embargo and the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Global shortfalls of other fuels also could develop sooner than many people think, as a planet of nearly 7 billion people and more than 1 billion gasoline-gulping vehicles strains the limits of combustible energy resources that are the underpinning of modern civilization.

While oil industry officials take strong issue with these dim views, critics charge that governments here and abroad have been less than candid about future oil supplies and the ramifications of failing to shift to alternative fuels.

One outspoken Energy Department consultant, Robert Hirsch, alleged that the administrations of both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have engaged in a coverup of the likelihood of an oil shortage. Hirsch predicted a shortfall will hit in the next four years and send shockwaves through the world economy, possibly leading to gasoline rationing.

Few governments have implemented intensive conservation programs to stretch out supplies during a decades-long transition to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Instead, critics say that even as oil prices nearly quadrupled from 2003 through 2011, government and industry leaders have played down the world’s worsening energy predicament.

For example:

While U.S. industry officials have trumpeted new drilling techniques that can recover huge deposits of previously unreachable oil and natural gas, most say little about the likelihood of surging Third World demand overtaking supplies, causing shortages and skyrocketing prices.

Industry watchdogs say that some U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts have been wildly optimistic, especially a projection that between 2011 and 2035, global production of liquid fuels will see a 21.6 million-barrel rise in daily output – the equivalent of the current reserves of the five biggest Middle East oil producers.

Other projections and policies by the Energy Information Administration, which is the Energy Department’s independent information arm, as well as the Paris-based International Energy Agency and even the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, have masked mounting risks of shortages of oil and possibly natural gas, several experts say.

A McClatchy computer analysis suggests that proven reserves of all of the world’s primary fuels are likely to diminish much faster than the EIA and the IEA have suggested, begging questions about how long mankind can continue to increase consumption of finite resources.

Researchers at the International Monetary Fund, while not yet speaking for the fund, predicted in May that rising oil demand would drive prices to nearly $200 a barrel, “permanently,” within a decade. Commodities speculators could exacerbate a price surge if they echo their behavior in recent oil spikes.

The world must accept “the outlook for flattened oil supplies” and “the reality that the era of abundant cheap oil is over,” said Sadad Al Husseini, a former No. 2 executive for Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, Aramco. In emails to McClatchy, he called for worldwide energy conservation measures.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s deputy chief, Henry Gruenspecht, defended his agency’s main global oil supply forecast as stemming from “careful consideration of a wide range of factors.” He noted, however, that there’s “significant uncertainty” about future supply and demand of liquid fuels and a lack of transparency regarding some nations’ reserves.

An international group of scientists and energy experts argue that global oil production has peaked or soon will as the second half of the oil age begins. The experts, known as peak oil advocates, say that the output of 500 existing giant oilfields that provide most of the world’s liquid fuels has begun a gradual decline that will create a 17 million-barrel daily deficit by 2035.

If they’re right, and if the Energy Information Administration has accurately projected future demand, liquid fuels production must fill a daunting, 38.6 million-barrel daily void to keep pace – an amount equal to more than 40 percent of the current global output.

“We’re facing a situation that is real hard for anyone to grasp,” said Kjell Aleklett, the Swedish president of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil.

Oil industry officials strongly disagree.

Industry consultant Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said that peak oil advocates have underestimated technology advances. While the costs are high, adequate supplies exist “if they can be developed in a reasonable time frame,” he said.

Yergin, whose latest book, “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World,” details the worldwide scramble for fuel, pointed in an interview to an almost 25 percent increase in U.S. oil production since 2008 and major new discoveries in the North Sea and off the coasts of Brazil and Ghana.

Exxon Mobil’s chairman and chief executive officer, Rex Tillerson, told the Council on Foreign Relations recently that high oil prices have spurred the industry to “develop resources that were previously not accessible.”

The latest technology will enable recovery of trillions of barrels of oil embedded in underground shale in Western states – enough “to carry us well into the latter part of this century at current production rates,” he said.

“There’s no question the world is running out of cheap oil,” said Brookings Institution scholar Charles Ebinger, who has advised 50 countries on energy matters. “Are we running out of expensive oil? I’m not convinced.”

Aleklett countered that, in a global context, most recent oil discoveries have been modest. For example, he said that if Norwegian oil company Statoil’s new discovery in the largely tapped North Sea amounts to a billion barrels, “that’s what the world consumes in 12 days.”

Indeed, a computer calculation shows how fast an energy-hungry planet could theoretically devour all of the proved reserves – those with a “reasonable certainty” of being recovered economically – of the world’s primary energy sources.

The Energy Information Administration’s 2011 outlook says that at current production rates, the world has 126 years of coal reserves and 60 years of natural gas. Using the same “reserves-to-production ratio,” the 1.47 trillion barrels of global conventional oil reserves, as estimated by Oil & Gas Journal in 2011, would last for 46 years.

But this yardstick fails to factor in annual growth in energy consumption – neither the agency’s conservative, 1.6 percent projected rate until 2035 nor the 2.2 percent rate of past decades.

To get a truer picture of the world’s supposedly guaranteed fuel supply, McClatchy compiled the raw energy content, in British thermal units, of the estimated proved reserves of oil, natural gas, coal and uranium.

Subtracting from that figure the total BTUs that the Energy Information Administration projects will be consumed each year from those four energy sources, and factoring in yearly consumption growth, shows how long the fuel might last.

Using the EIA’s modest 1.6 percent growth rate, all proved reserves of oil, natural gas, coal and uranium would be gone in 56 years.

Here’s another jaw dropper: If oil consumption increased at the Energy Information Administration’s average overall growth rate, albeit higher than the 1 percent at which the agency says liquid fuels use will grow, global supplies would last 36 years, a decade less than the agency’s ratio suggests.

Analyzing proved reserves doesn’t tell the full story, because the discovery of additional reserves has kept pace or exceeded annual depletions for years. Nor do global reserve figures include unconventional oil discoveries since 2009 – those from deep-water ocean drilling, Canadian sands or U.S. shale.

On the downside, if global oil supplies begin to shrink, Russia and other leading oil-producing countries would probably curb exports to preserve their oil, Aleklett said. Further, physics laws limit the flow of oil from each field to about 6 percent, meaning that rising demand only can be met with new discoveries, he said.

How much more oil can be found? The U.S. Geological Survey’s first global assessment in a dozen years of yet-to-be-found conventional oil hardly looks bullish. The agency estimated this spring that undiscovered oil, including oil far too expensive to retrieve, fell to 681 billion barrels, 51 billion less than in the year 2000. Recovery of half of that oil would fuel the planet for about a decade.

The USGS hasn’t finished the world’s first-ever government estimate of “undiscovered” unconventional oil. It could alter the picture significantly, though it’s unclear how quickly or at what cost that oil could be pumped.

Hirsch, the Energy Department consultant and co-author of “The Impending World Energy Mess,” said he’s so convinced that fuel constraints will force radical lifestyle changes that he’s divested his stock, sold his sports utility vehicle and moved within a short walk of a grocery.

The United States should have begun a crash program 10 to 20 years ago to replace gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles in its fleet of more than 250 million cars and trucks with smaller, more fuel-efficient models, he said. Instead, his blunt reports for a national energy laboratory during the Bush administration on how to mitigate the effects of peaking oil production led to an Energy Department order halting research on the subject, he said.

If he’s right, the nation has lost crucial time. In May, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report that the United States would have “very few near-term options for responding” to an oil shortage because it lacks spare production capacity and “cannot rapidly reduce its consumption of oil products.”

Obama broke a decades-long logjam to win adoption of a new, 50 mile-per-gallon average fuel-efficiency standard for fleets of light-duty vehicles. But the standards don’t fully phase in for 13 years – a transition that Hirsch said “just won’t be fast enough to make reasonable, painless changes.”

The Energy Information Administration’s own forecasts show that conservation progress is at a relative crawl. The agency projects that by 2035 the United States will have 79 million alternatively fueled light-duty vehicles on the roads – an increase of 65 million. However, it also projects that the number of gasoline-powered vehicles will rise by 8 million.

Since China began snapping up commitments for oil supplies in 2004 and sending prices sharply higher, oil companies have scoured the planet for new plays, drilling far offshore, miles below the ocean surface, and finding ways to extract petroleum trapped in rock. New discoveries in Canada, North Dakota and Texas, and off the coasts of Brazil, Argentina and Africa, have eased concerns.

But while oil prices rose as much as 400 percent since 2003, conventional oil production from traditional wells rose 4 percent, said Al Husseini, who has shared his energy assessments with the U.S. government.

A nearly half-trillion jump in global oil reserves over the last decade stemmed mainly from technology improvements that are heightening recoveries from known reservoirs, said Mark Finley, a senior economist for British oil giant BP. He blamed government obstacles around the world for the lack of more new discoveries.

Against this backdrop, the Energy Information Administration’s forecast for a 30 percent increase in liquid fuels production from 2008 to 2035 has drawn deep skepticism, especially given that some of its past prognostications have been notoriously high.

Al Husseini dismissed the EIA’s latest central forecast as “not credible,” saying it would amount to “the consumption of . . . about 100 billion barrels more oil than the entire proven reserves of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran and the United Arab Emirates.”

The projection is “not plausible . . . just part of the whole politics of trickery that’s going on,” said retired Irish petroleum geologist Colin Campbell, who founded the peak oil movement in the late 1990s after analyzing secret industry data.

While defending the forecast, among a range of projections based on varying price scenarios, the EIA’s Gruenspecht said that “it is reasonable to be concerned about oil supply depletion beyond 2035.”

The International Energy Agency, which represents 28 countries from South Korea to the United States, also has been assailed for rosy oil forecasts, especially its projections in 2004 and again in 2008 that worldwide production would reach 121 billion barrels of oil equivalents per day by 2030.

Since being skewered by Aleklett and his team of researchers at Sweden’s Uppsala University, the IEA cut its latest outlook to between 99 million and 107 million barrels. That’s still unrealistically high, Aleklett said in a new book, “Peeking at Peak Oil.”

International Energy Agency officials declined to respond to emailed questions.

Separately, critics say that a rule change by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the waning days of the Bush administration has made it more difficult for the public to reliably determine the extent of U.S. oil companies’ oil reserves. To address under-reporting of reserves, the agency scrapped 30-year-old requirements that companies only count as proved reserves oil and gas deposits that have been tested and adjoin already identified reserves. Critics allege, however, that the new rules allow companies to use computer projections to overstate their reserves. Producers also now report their reserves not as oil, but as “oil equivalents,” a category that co-mingles oil and gas.

In the United States, warnings about the worldwide fuel supply have been mostly drowned out amid excitement over a natural gas boom spawned by a controversial new technique that combines horizontal drilling with hydraulic rock-fracturing. The process, known as “fracking,” crushes shale deep below the surface to free oil and gas.

Branded “a total game changer” for natural gas recovery by USGS Director Marcia McNutt, fracking has already ignited such a drilling frenzy that both natural gas and coal prices have plummeted

Brookings’ Ebinger said fracking also marks a “fundamental change” in the U.S. oil production outlook. Coupled with Canadian imports, he said, the United States could cut its daily oil imports from 9 million to 3 million barrels within a decade.

By 2035, the International Energy Agency projects, the world population will grow by 1.7 billion people, and 850 million more cars will be on the roads.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that oil demand from China and India will have zoomed from a combined 3.5 million barrels per day in 1991 to a projected 25 million barrels per day in 2035.

In the face of these trends, no one has yet explained how the planet will meet enormous increases in energy demand. Hirsch said that cleaner alternatives such as solar power, wind power and electric- and natural gas-powered vehicles still are too flawed and expensive to win broad acceptance.

“Without an urgent and radical change of policy direction, the world risks locking itself into an unsustainable energy future,” International Energy Agency executive director Maria van der Hoeven warned last fall, calling for a $38 trillion investment by 2035 and a shift to low-carbon technologies.


Read more here:

Meet Paul Ryan: Climate Denier, Conspiracy Theorist, Koch Acolyte | ThinkProgress

By Brad Johnson, campaign manager for Forecast the Facts

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, is a virulent denier of climate science, with a voting record to match.

A favorite of the Koch brothers, Ryan has accused scientists of engaging in conspiracy to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” He has implied that snow invalidates global warming.

Ryan has voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting greenhouse pollution, to eliminate White House climate advisers, to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture from preparing for climate disasters like the drought devastating his home state, and to eliminate the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E):

Paul Ryan Promoted Unfounded Conspiracy Theories About Climate Scientists.In a December 2009 op-ed during international climate talks, Ryan made reference to the hacked University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit emails. He accused climatologists of a “perversion of the scientific method, where data were manipulated to support a predetermined conclusion,” in order to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” Because of spurious claims of conspiracy like these, several governmental and academic inquiries were launched, all of which found the accusations to be without merit. [Paul Ryan, 12/11/09]

Paul Ryan Argued Snow Invalidates Global Warming Policy. In the same anti-science, anti-scientist December 2009 op-ed, Ryan argued, “Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow.” Ryan’s line is especially disingenuous because he hasn’t been trying to sell climate action, he’s been spreading disinformation. [Paul Ryan, 12/11/09]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate EPA Limits On Greenhouse Pollution. Ryan voted in favor of H.R. 910, introduced in 2011 by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas pollution. [Roll Call 249, 4/7/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Block The USDA From Preparing For Climate Change. In 2011, Ryan voted in favor of the Scalise (R-LA) Amendment to the FY12 Agriculture Appropriations bill, to bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture from implementing its Climate Protection Plan. [Roll Call 448, 6/16/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate White House Climate Advisers. Ryan voted in favor of Scalise (R-LA) Amendment 204 to the 2011 Continuing Resolution, to eliminate the assistant to the president for energy and climate change, the special envoy for climate change (Todd Stern), and the special adviser for green jobs, enterprise and innovation. [Roll Call 87, 2/17/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate ARPA-E. Ryan voted in favor of Biggert (R-IL) Amendment 192 to the 2011 Continuing Resolution, to eliminate the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E). [Roll Call 55, 2/17/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate Light Bulb Efficiency Standards. In 2011, Ryan voted to roll back light-bulb efficiency standards that had reinvigorated the domestic lighting industry and that significantly reduce energy waste and carbon pollution. [Roll Call 563, 7/12/11]

Paul Ryan Voted For Keystone XL. In 2011, Ryan voted to expedite the consideration and approval of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. [Roll Call 650, 7/26/11]

Paul Ryan Budget Kept Big Oil Subsidies And Slashed Clean Energy Investment.House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2013 budget resolution retained a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while slashing funding for investments in clean energy research, development, deployment, and commercialization, along with other energy programs. The plan called for a $3 billion cut in energy programs in FY 2013 alone. [CAP,3/20/12]

In short, Paul Ryan stands with Big Oil against scientific fact and the future of human civilization.

This piece has been updated.

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Paul Ryan And His Family To Benefit From The $45 Billion In Subsidies For Big Oil In His Budget

Hines Farm - "Paul" trying to get acquainted with "Easy" and "Easier" - YouTube

Published on Aug 12, 2012 by HRT87

Hines Farm
Our new male duck, "Paul"
trying to get acquainted
with our 2 female ducks,
"Easy" and "Easier"

Monte & Eileen

Snowstar Improvement Construction - Andalusia, Illinois

Larger Photo August 9, 2012
Snowstar, Andalusia - Project Activity - Grading - Water Retention Pond filling

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