Jul 7, 2012

Rocket Stove powered BBQ Smoker

Published on Jul 7, 2012 by broaudio

Smoking ribs on my Rocket Stove powered BBQ. The Rocket Stove allows me to use wood to obtain a clean, hot burn without needing to make or purchase charcoal briquets. I was going to build a traditional smoker until I realized I'd be buying charcoal every time I cooked, so I went about trying to accomplish smoking on my rocket stove. These ribs were probably the single best dish I have ever cooked. I'm thrilled with this, hope it inspires some folks out there to experiment.

Jul 6, 2012

Glyphosate Failing !!! --- Ford Baldwin of Practical Weed Consultants, LLC, in Austin, Ark., says Midwest growers are just two years away from losing glyphosate as an effective herbicide --- Midwest Farmers Are Approaching Weed Control “Train Wreck” | Farm Journal Magazine

Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses known to compete with commercial crops grown around the globe. Initially patented and sold by Monsanto Company in the 1970s under the tradename Roundup, its US patent expired in 2000. Glyphosate is the most used herbicide in the US.[3] Exact figures are hard to come by because the US Department of Agriculture stopped updating its pesticide use database in 2008.[4] The EPA estimates that in the US during 2007, the agricultural market used 180 to 185 million pounds (82,000 to 84,000 tonnes) of glyphosate, the home and garden market used 5 to 8 million pounds (2,300 to 3,600 tonnes), and industry, commerce and government used 13 to 15 million pounds (5,900 to 6,800 tonnes), according to its Pesticide Industry Sales & Usage Report for 2006-2007 published in February, 2011.[5][6] While glyphosate has been associated with deformities in a host of laboratory animals, its impact on humans remains unclear.[6]

Published on Jun 27, 2012 by CornSoybeanDigest


Ford Baldwin of Practical Weed Consultants, LLC, in Austin, Ark., says Midwest growers are just two years away from losing glyphosate as an effective herbicide -- just as Southern farmers already have. "It's now a grass herbicide in the South," said Baldwin, who was speaking on "Weed Resistance 2.0" during Beck's Hybrid Media Day in Atlanta, IN. "We can no longer build a herbicide program around it.
"It's not just a broadleaf weed (herbicide) anymore."

In the Midwest, he sees the same resistant weeds and the same denial agronomic practices need to change. "The same mentality is in place. ... That's just two years away from a train wreck," he says.

Midwest Farmers Are Approaching Weed Control “Train Wreck” | Farm Journal Magazine
Video: http://www.agweb.com/article/midwest_farmers_are_approaching_weed_control_train_wreck/
JUNE 28, 2012
By: Rhonda Brooks, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor

Respected weed expert says the days of easy weed control practices are over.

Well-known weed expert Ford Baldwin says his typically optimistic outlook on weed-control issues is downright pessimistic today regarding the future of glyphosate (Roundup) use as a foundation for Midwest farmers’ weed-control programs.

"It will be a grass herbicide in the Midwest in two years," contends Baldwin, owner of Practical Weed Consultants LLC, Austin, Ark., and former University of Arkansas Extension weed specialist.

Baldwin made the gloomy prediction during the Beck’s Hybrids media day in Carmel, Ind., earlier this week.

Baldwin says he has worked and traveled throughout the Midwest the past four summers and has seen the same issues there that predated the weed resistance explosion in southern states.

"I’ve been all over the Midwest, and the last three or four summers you’ve got everything we got—the weed patches, streaks of weeds and grown-up fields," he notes, adding, "People want to sit back and say this problem is a southern problem, but I just say where does the South end and the North begin."

Baldwin talks further about his weed-control outlook and recommends some practices he believes would help farmers more effectively address weed issues.
- Kind of Expected by Some of Us!!!
                                                  ... Monte Hines

Related Links:
Herbicide Resistant ‘Superweeds’ Revive an Old, Highly Toxic Herbicide : 2,4,D (Remember Agent Orange?)

Billy Bragg - Woody Guthrie, I Ain't Got No Home In This World Anymore (Wien, 1.6.2012) - YouTube

Woody Guthrie song is as true today as when it was written 70+ years ago for a lot of people... 
Oh, the gamblin' man is rich an' the workin' man is poor, 
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore ...Monte

Published on Jun 3, 2012 by enolala74

I ain't got no home, I'm just a-roamin' 'round,Just a wandrin' worker, I go from town to town.And the police make it hard wherever I may goAnd I ain't got no home in this world anymore.
My brothers and my sisters are stranded on this road,A hot and dusty road that a million feet have trod;Rich man took my home and drove me from my doorAnd I ain't got no home in this world anymore.
Was a-farmin' on the shares, and always I was poor;My crops I lay into the banker's store.My wife took down and died upon the cabin floor,And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.
I mined in your mines and I gathered in your cornI been working, mister, since the day I was bornNow I worry all the time like I never did before'Cause I ain't got no home in this world anymore
Now as I look around, it's mighty plain to seeThis world is such a great and a funny place to be;Oh, the gamblin' man is rich an' the workin' man is poor,And I ain't got no home in this world anymore

Wien, Flex
Billy covering Woody Guthrie
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Woody Guthrie at 100: Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg, Will Kaufman Honor the "Dust Bowl Troubadour"

 File:Woody Guthrie 2.jpg
"Dust Bowl Troubadour" - Sometimes history repeats itself... Monte

Full Story


Commemorations are being held across the country this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the country’s greatest songwriters, Woody Guthrie. Born on July 14, 1912, in Okemah, Oklahoma, Guthrie wrote hundreds of folk songs, including "This Land Is Your Land," "Pastures of Plenty," "Pretty Boy Floyd," "Do Re Mi" and "The Ranger’s Command." While Guthrie is best remembered as a musician, he also had a deeply political side. At the height of McCarthyism, Guthrie spoke out for labor and civil rights and against fascism. In this one-hour special, you will hear interviews and music from folk singer Pete Seeger, the British musician Billy Bragg, and the historian Will Kaufman, author of the new book, "Woody Guthrie, American Radical."

"Woody’s original songs, the songs that he wrote back in the 1930s ... with these images of people losing their houses to the banks, of gamblers on the stock markets making millions, when ordinary working people can’t afford to make ends meet, and of people dying for want of proper free healthcare, you know, this song could have been written anytime in the last five years, really, in the United States of America," says Bragg, who has long been inspired by Guthrie.

Guthrie’s most famous song, “This Land Is Your Land,” was written in 1940 in response to Kate Smith’s "God Bless America.” "Woody saw ['God Bless America'] as a strident, jingoistic, complacent, tub-thumping anthem to American greatness,” Kaufman says. “And now, he had just come from the Dust Bowl. He’d just come from the barbed-wire gates of California’s Eden there. He’d seen the Hoovervilles. He’d seen the bread lines. He’d seen labor activists getting their heads busted. And so, he’s thinking, what — God bless — what America, you know, is Kate Smith singing of?” In 2009, Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen performed “This Land Is Your Land” for the inauguration of President Obama. [includes rush transcript]

'Do-or-die' time approaches for corn crop

'Do-or-die' time for the corn crop
Jeff Caldwell 07/05/2012 @ 1:37pm

"Hot or cold, wet or dry, price the crop before the 4th of July."

That's the old adage that Agriculture.com senior contributor Red Steele says he's considered in the past when marketing grain. But, this year, that's all out the window.

"Today has proven this old adage wrong...the question now is by how much and when the screw turns," he says.

The grains have traded sharply higher the last few days as more and more market attention is focused on the growing drought in corn and soybean country. The current soybean price for the July contract marks a 4-year high, while July corn was, on Thursday, sitting at a 10-month high.

The market commotion comes as the red continues to spread on the U.S. Drought Monitor map. Red color signifies "extreme" drought conditions on that map, and on the latest version, updated Thursday, virtually all of Missouri and Kansas are under either severe or extreme drought conditions, while the amount of land in the latter category has expanded immensely in the southern Corn Belt in the last 2 weeks.
See more of the latest from the Drought Monitor

While the driest parts of the Delta and western Plains could see some relief in the coming days, the 6- to 10-day outlook shows conditions will likely continue to spiral downward in the heart of the Corn Belt, where mounting drought losses have some farmers already calling this year's crop a failure.

"The continued dry pattern across the central Midwest will allow drought conditions there to increase further," says MDA EarthSast Weather senior ag meteorologist Don Keeney. "The 6-10 day outlook offers more improvements across the Delta, Southeast, and southern and western Plains, while further reductions in moisture are expected across the central and western Midwest and east-central Plains."

New information out Thursday shows just how much those "further reductions" could trim this year's corn yield. Trend yields are out of the question for a lot of farmers this year. That doesn't come as a surprise to many, including those in the eastern Corn Belt who say they may not even see a corn crop this fall.

A new estimate from Commodity Weather Group (CWG), LLC, out Thursday shows just how far below trend the crop could wind up this year; it shows from the central Plains to the eastern Corn Belt, much of the corn crop could fall further than 10% below trend.

According to CWG, farmers in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas will likely raise a crop that's between 6% and 10% below trend yield, while those in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama will struggle to raise a crop that's within 11% or more of trend. Farmers in Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa still have a a chance to make a crop "near trend," the CWG report shows, while at this stage in the year, North Dakota farmers could still raise an above-trend crop. Altogether, these numbers yield a national average forecast 7% below trend.

"Taking these factors into account, our current U.S. corn yield estimate is 152.2 bu/ac. This remains just over 3% above last year’s yield at the moment but is about 7% below trend," according to CWG. "Using the current USDA acreage estimates, this would give a total U.S. production of 13.52 billion bushels."

Marketing Talk: 4th of July corn pics
Also: 'Hot or cold, wet or dry...'
'Now it's a drought'
$14 cash soybeans from the combine?
'1988 revisited?'
Farm Business Talk: How rough will 2012 be?

Even though CWG meteorologists see an easing of the heat by the latter half of July in the most drought-stricken parts of the nation's midsection, it's likely coming too late to reverse the damage done, making plenty of room for that 152-bushel/acre yield estimate to slip in the coming weeks.

"There is still more risk to the downside of our current yield estimate than the upside, as the information shown here is a point forecast and does not factor in forecast conditions for the balance of July," CWG's report says. "Notably above trend yields are expected to be limited to fringe acreage in the Eastern U.S. primarily."

Yes, yields will continue to fall. So, what's it doing to the corn plants out there? Right now, pollination's underway in the heart of the Corn Belt, but bad timing between corn plants' release of the pollen and uptake by silks means there will likely be a lot of ears with far fewer kernels than normal, if the pollen takes and doesn't abort altogether.

“In some fields, more pollen is being shed in early afternoon than in the normal mid-morning period. The problem comes when the temperature is above 90 degrees when the most pollen was being shed. At such temperatures, silks are often not as receptive as they would have been at 70 to 75 degrees earlier in the day," says University of Illinois Extension agronomist Emerson Nafziger. “We also expect that silk numbers may lag due to water shortages. If plants are struggling to take up enough water to push tassels out above the leaves, we can expect silks to struggle as well, at least those that emerge late. We remain optimistic that kernel numbers will be OK in many fields, but in the past two years we have had a great deal of kernel abortion, and there is every reason to believe that this will recur in 2012."

But, in some areas, simply surviving through pollination may be a monstrous feat for drought-starved corn plants. In parts of Indiana, corn plants anywhere from 2 to 5 feet tall are tasseling. When they're that small, it's a sign that a natural defense mechanism has kicked in and photosynthesis is "going downhill very fast." When that's happening at this critical juncture of plant growth, the consequences can be major.

"In addition to not using as much water under stress, you are not allowing as much carbon dioxide in the plant in order to keep photosynthesis going. Leaves will deteriorate, plants stop growing in height and stalk elongation stops. You will see evidence that chlorophyll is degrading. you can see patches begin to fade and almost turn a gray color," says Purdue University Extension agronomist and corn specialist Bob Nielsen.

Even if the trend reverses now and rains start to fall in places like Indiana where the rainfall shortages are some of the most severe in the Midwest, that's not a guarantee that the plants will recover.

"Drought stress is really so severe that, even with rain, on a field like this, pollen shed is so far advanced now that a good soaking rain would have minimal effect because so much damage has already been done," he says.

Independence Day (Live - Paris, 07/04/12) - YouTube

Published on Jul 5, 2012 by BruceSpringsteen

"The Boss" can deliver a song like no other... Monte


Well Papa go to bed now it's getting late
Nothing we can say is gonna change anything now
I'll be leaving in the morning from St. Mary's Gate
We wouldn't change this thing even if we could somehow
Cause the darkness of this house has got the best of us
There's a darkness in this town that's got us too
But they can't touch me now
And you can't touch me now
They ain't gonna do to me
What I watched them do to you

So say goodbye it's Independence Day
It's Independence Day
All down the line
Just say goodbye it's Independence Day
It's Independence Day this time

Now I don't know what it always was with us
We chose the words, and yeah, we drew the lines
There was just no way this house could hold the two of us
I guess that we were just too much of the same kind

Well say goodbye it's Independence Day
It's Independence Day all boys must run away
So say goodbye it's Independence Day
All men must make their way come Independence Day

Now the rooms are all empty down at Frankie's joint
And the highway she's deserted clear down to Breaker's Point
There's a lot of people leaving town now
leaving their friends, their homes
At night they walk that dark and dusty highway all alone

Well Papa go to bed now, it's getting late
Nothing we can say can change anything now
Because there's just different people coming down here now and they see things in different ways
And soon everything we've known will just be swept away

So say goodbye it's Independence Day
Papa now I know the things you wanted that you could not say
But won't you just say goodbye it's Independence Day
I swear I never meant to take those things away

Jul 5, 2012

Drought hits 56 percent of continental US; 'significant toll' on crops - U.S. News

More than half the nation is caught in an intensifying drought, with record-high temperatures and thousands still without power. The deadly heat has taken an especially big toll on corn crops, sending prices skyward. NBC's John Yang reports.

By Miguel Llanos, msnbc.com
Full Article

Drought conditions are present in 56 percent of the continental U.S., according to the weekly Drought Monitor. That's the most in the 12 years that the data have been compiled, topping the previous record of 55 percent set on Aug. 26, 2003. It's also up five percentage points from the previous week. An Arkansas auction house has seen a jump in the number of cattle put up for sale as many ranchers are unable to afford to feed the animals due to an ongoing drought. The drought hasn't been long enough to rank up there with the 1930s Dust Bowl or a bad stretch in the 1950s, David Miskus, a meteorologist at the weather service's Climate Prediction Center, told msnbc.com. "We don't have that here yet," he said. "This has really only started this year." But for a single year it's still pretty significant, not far behind an extremely dry 1988. While 1988 saw much drier conditions and an earlier start to the drought than this year, said Brad Rippey, a meteorologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2012 has its own interesting qualities. "This year the high temperatures have certainly played into this drought," he told msnbc.com. "There's a lot more evaporation ... and crop demands for water."

US Drought Monitor - Updated July 3, 2012

Crop Conditions Continue to Deteriorate... Monte Hines

Large Image

National Drought Summary -- July 3, 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: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/forecasts/.

Weather Summary: Overall, this week featured the expansion and intensification of dryness in large sections of the country, with only southern Texas reporting some improvement. Light precipitation (0.5 inch or less) fell on most areas of dryness and drought, with only scattered areas reporting more than an inch, primarily in the northern Plains, lower Mississippi Valley, southernmost Great Lakes region, Appalachians, mid-Atlantic region, and southern Texas. This despite a couple of thunderstorm complexes that pushed rapidly from northern Illinois east-southeastward through the mid-Atlantic, including one on June 29 that caused significant damage, knocked out power for millions of customers, and took 2 dozen lives. Unfortunately, where rain did fall (outside southern Texas), it was not enough to make up for blistering heat that covered the Nation’s midsection, reaching the central and southern Atlantic Coast by the end of the workweek. Both the number of record highs in the past week, and the areas with record and near-record dryness over the last 1 to 3 months, are too numerous to mention. Daily high temperatures averaged above 100 degrees in the central and upper southern Plains, extending eastward into parts of Missouri and Arkansas, and average temperatures for the week were 8 to locally 15 degrees above normal from the Ohio Valley and upper Southeast westward through most of the High Plains. The dryness is beginning to take a significant toll on some of the Nation’s crops, pastures, and rangelands. In the primary growing states for corn and soybeans (18 each), 22 percent of the crop is in poor or very poor condition, as are 43 percent of the Nation’s pastures and rangelands and 24 percent of the sorghum crop. In addition, the area scorched by wildfires expanded significantly. Over 1.9 million acres have been engulfed since the start of the year, and increase of 38 percent in just the past week.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Despite a couple of thunderstorm complexes that brought light to locally moderate rain to parts of the region, the late-period hot weather across the mid-Atlantic and a return to dry weather over the last couple of weeks allowed D0 conditions to expand through much of this region, with a few patches of moderate drought showing up. Farther north, there was some limited expansion of D0 and, in western Pennsylvania, D1 conditions.

The Tennessee Valley, Southeast, Deep South, and lower Ohio Valley: Brutal heat and only light to locally moderate rain engendered a broad expansion and intensification of dryness and drought. Most of this region recorded less than half of normal precipitation during the last 30 days, with under 25 percent of normal falling on the lower Ohio Valley, much of Kentucky and northern Tennessee. Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee each have 45 to 50 percent of their corn crop in poor or very poor condition as well as 34 to 49 percent of soybeans.

The Mississippi Valley Westward to the Pacific Coast: Another hot and dry week led to rapid deterioration and expansion of dryness and drought from the Rockies eastward. The only exception was southern Texas, where many locations recorded 1 to 3 inches of rain, leading to areas of improvement in the widespread D1 to D3 conditions. Farther north, D0 to D3 conditions expanded, with exceptional dryness (D4) developing in parts of north-central and east-central Colorado. In New Mexico, 59 percent of the Sorghum crop is in poor or very poor condition, and much of the region’s rangeland is in similarly bad shape, including 74 percent of rangeland in Arizona, 77 percent in Colorado, and 89 percent in New Mexico. In addition, the now-infamous Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado, though partially contained, has been called the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history by local officials. Farther north, the Nation’s largest wildfire rages in Montana’s Custer National Forest, having consumed approximately 186,000 acres as of this writing. Dryness and heat were less exceptional from the Intermountain West westward to the Pacific Coast. No changes in dryness or drought were introduced there.

Hawaii and Alaska: Between 1 and 3 inches of rain fell on east-central Alaska while little or none fell on the state’s northern tier. This engendered some slight improvement in southeastern sections of the D0 region, but it seems insufficient to have completely eliminated that region’s dryness. In the dry areas across Hawaii, many locations reported 1 to locally over 3 inches of rain in southwestern sections of the Big Island, east-central Maui, and some of central and southeastern Oahu. Other D0 to D3 areas reported only light precipitation, if any. The continuing dryness in the southeastern half of Kauai, where cattle ranchers are reporting that drought stress has started, was degraded to moderate drought (D1), and the rest of the state was unchanged.

Looking Ahead: In general, July 4 – 8, 2012 doesn’t look promising in terms of relief, though the intense heat should subside somewhat. One area that could see relief would be from the central and southern Rockies into the northern Plains, much of which is forecast to receive over an inch of rain. Totals near or above 2 inches are expected in the central Dakotas. One to perhaps 3 inches are also anticipated along and near the central Gulf Coast. Elsewhere, light rain at best is expected, with little or none forecast for the lower Northeast, the mid-Atlantic region, the upper Southeast, the Ohio Valley, much of the Mississippi Valley, and the central and southern Plains. Seasonably dry weather is expected in the West. Modest improvement is forecast for most areas that have endured the recent heat wave, but most locations from the Plains eastward are still expected to be warmer than normal. Temperatures could average over 6 degrees above normal from the mid-Atlantic region westward through the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys to near the Mississippi River.

The ensuing 5 days (July 9 – 13, 2012) bring enhanced chances for below-normal rainfall from the Tennessee and middle Mississippi Valleys northward through the Appalachians, Great Lakes, and northern Great Plains. In contrast, the odds favor above-normal rainfall along and near the southern half of the Atlantic Coast and in the southern halves of the High Plains and Rockies. Below-normal temperatures are expected to settle into the Northeast, but continued above-normal temperatures are anticipated in the southern halves of the Mississippi Valley and eastern Plains, and from the northern Plains, the central Rockies, and the desert Southwest westward to near the Pacific Coast.

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 July 3, 2012

Related Link:

Physicists Find Elusive Particle Seen as Key to Universe - NYTimes.com

Scientists in Geneva on Wednesday applauded the discovery of a subatomic particle that looks like the Higgs boson. Pool photo by Denis Balibouse

July4, 2012

ASPEN, Colo. — Signaling a likely end to one of the longest, most expensive searches in the history of science, physicists said Wednesday that they had discovered a new subatomic particle that looks for all the world like the Higgs boson, a key to understanding why there is diversity and life in the universe.

Like Omar Sharif materializing out of the shimmering desert as a man on a camel in “Lawrence of Arabia,” the elusive boson has been coming slowly into view since last winter, as the first signals of its existence grew until they practically jumped off the chart.

“I think we have it,” said Rolf-Dieter Heuer, the director general of CERN, the multinational research center headquartered in Geneva. The agency is home to the Large Hadron Collider, the immense particle accelerator that produced the new data by colliding protons. The findings were announced by two separate teams. Dr. Heuer called the discovery “a historic milestone.”

He and others said that it was too soon to know for sure, however, whether the new particle is the one predicted by the Standard Model, the theory that has ruled physics for the last half-century. The particle is predicted to imbue elementary particles with mass. It may be an impostor as yet unknown to physics, perhaps the first of many particles yet to be discovered.

That possibility is particularly exciting to physicists, as it could point the way to new, deeper ideas, beyond the Standard Model, about the nature of reality.

For now, some physicists are simply calling it a “Higgslike” particle.

“It’s something that may, in the end, be one of the biggest observations of any new phenomena in our field in the last 30 or 40 years,” said Joe Incandela, a physicist of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a spokesman for one of the two groups reporting new data on Wednesday.

Here at the Aspen Center for Physics, a retreat for scientists, bleary-eyed physicists drank Champagne in the wee hours as word arrived via Webcast from CERN. It was a scene duplicated in Melbourne, Australia, where physicists had gathered for a major conference, as well as in Los Angeles, Chicago, Princeton, New York, London and beyond — everywhere that members of a curious species have dedicated their lives and fortunes to the search for their origins in a dark universe.

In Geneva, 1,000 people stood in line all night to get into an auditorium at CERN, where some attendees noted a rock-concert ambience. Peter Higgs, the University of Edinburgh theorist for whom the boson is named, entered the meeting to a sustained ovation.

Confirmation of the Higgs boson or something very much like it would constitute a rendezvous with destiny for a generation of physicists who have believed in the boson for half a century without ever seeing it. The finding affirms a grand view of a universe described by simple and elegant and symmetrical laws — but one in which everything interesting, like ourselves, results from flaws or breaks in that symmetry.

According to the Standard Model, the Higgs boson is the only manifestation of an invisible force field, a cosmic molasses that permeates space and imbues elementary particles with mass. Particles wading through the field gain heft the way a bill going through Congress attracts riders and amendments, becoming ever more ponderous.

Without the Higgs field, as it is known, or something like it, all elementary forms of matter would zoom around at the speed of light, flowing through our hands like moonlight. There would be neither atoms nor life.

Physicists said that they would probably be studying the new particle for years. Any deviations from the simplest version predicted by current theory — and there are hints of some already — could begin to answer questions left hanging by the Standard Model. For example, what is the dark matter that provides the gravitational scaffolding of galaxies?

And why is the universe made of matter instead of antimatter?

“If the boson really is not acting standard, then that will imply that there is more to the story — more particles, maybe more forces around the corner,” Neal Weiner, a theorist at New York University, wrote in an e-mail. “What that would be is anyone’s guess at the moment.”

Wednesday’s announcement was also an impressive opening act for the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s biggest physics machine, which cost $10 billion to build and began operating only two years ago. It is still running at only half-power.

Physicists had been icing the Champagne ever since last December. Two teams of about 3,000 physicists each — one named Atlas, led by Fabiola Gianotti, and the other CMS, led by Dr. Incandela — operate giant detectors in the collider, sorting the debris from the primordial fireballs left after proton collisions.

Last winter, they both reported hints of the same particle. They were not able, however, to rule out the possibility that it was a statistical fluke. Since then, the collider has more than doubled the number of collisions it has recorded.

The results announced Wednesday capped two weeks of feverish speculation and Internet buzz as the physicists, who had been sworn to secrecy, did a breakneck analysis of about 800 trillion proton-proton collisions over the last two years.

Up until last weekend, physicists at the agency were saying that they themselves did not know what the outcome would be. Expectations soared when it was learned that the five surviving originators of the Higgs boson theory had been invited to the CERN news conference.

The December signal was no fluke, the scientists said Wednesday. The new particle has a mass of about 125.3 billion electron volts, as measured by the CMS group, and 126 billion according to Atlas. Both groups said that the likelihood that their signal was a result of a chance fluctuation was less than one chance in 3.5 million, “five sigma,” which is the gold standard in physics for a discovery.

On that basis, Dr. Heuer said that he had decided only on Tuesday afternoon to call the Higgs result a “discovery.”

He said, “I know the science, and as director general I can stick out my neck.”

Dr. Incandela’s and Dr. Gianotti’s presentations were repeatedly interrupted by applause as they showed slide after slide of data presented in graphs with bumps rising like mountains from the sea.

Dr. Gianotti noted that the mass of the putative Higgs, apparently one of the heaviest subatomic particles, made it easy to study its many behaviors. “Thanks, nature,” she said.

Gerald Guralnik, one of the founders of the Higgs theory, said he was glad to be at a physics meeting “where there is applause, like a football game.”

Asked to comment after the announcements, Dr. Higgs seemed overwhelmed. “For me, it’s really an incredible thing that’s happened in my lifetime,” he said.

Dr. Higgs was one of six physicists, working in three independent groups, who in 1964 invented what came to be known as the Higgs field. The others were Tom Kibble of Imperial College, London; Carl Hagen of the University of Rochester; Dr. Guralnik of Brown University; and François Englert and Robert Brout, both of Université Libre de Bruxelles.

One implication of their theory was that this cosmic molasses, normally invisible, would produce its own quantum particle if hit hard enough with the right amount of energy. The particle would be fragile and fall apart within a millionth of a second in a dozen possible ways, depending upon its own mass.

Unfortunately, the theory did not describe how much this particle should weigh, which is what made it so hard to find, eluding researchers at a succession of particle accelerators, including the Large Electron Positron Collider at CERN, which closed down in 2000, and the Tevatron at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab, in Batavia, Ill., which shut down last year.

Along the way the Higgs boson achieved a notoriety rare in abstract physics. To the eternal dismay of his colleagues, Leon Lederman, the former director of Fermilab, called it the “God particle,” in his book of the same name, written with Dick Teresi. (He later said that he had wanted to call it the “goddamn particle.”)

Finding the missing boson was one of the main goals of the Large Hadron Collider. Both Dr. Heuer and Dr. Gianotti said they had not expected the search to succeed so quickly.

So far, the physicists admit, they know little about their new boson. The CERN results are mostly based on measurements of two or three of the dozen different ways, or “channels,” by which a Higgs boson could be produced and then decay.

There are hints, but only hints so far, that some of the channels are overproducing the boson while others might be underproducing it, clues that maybe there is more at work here than the Standard Model would predict.

“This could be the first in a ring of discoveries,” said Guido Tonelli of CERN.

In an e-mail, Maria Spiropulu, a professor at the California Institute of Technology who works with the CMS team of physicists, said: “I personally do not want it to be standard model anything — I don’t want it to be simple or symmetric or as predicted. I want us all to have been dealt a complex hand that will send me (and all of us) in a (good) loop for a long time.”

Nima Arkani-Hamed, a physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, said: “It’s a triumphant day for fundamental physics. Now some fun begins.”

Farmdocdaily: Where Should We Be Now With Corn Yield Expectations?

Corn Yields Will Likely Fall Short of USDA Estimates
Jul 2, 2012
Based on an analysis of the recent trend in the U.S. average corn yield and a near record early planted crop, the USDA’s May and June WASDE reports indicated prospects for a record U.S. average corn yield of 166 bushels in 2012. With much of the Corn Belt crop now entering the critical stage of the growing season, this seems to be an appropriate time to re-assess yield prospects.

To date, weather conditions have been generally favorable for crop development in a portion of the Northwest Corn Belt and in some far eastern growing areas. This is reflected in the crop condition ratings included in the USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report. As of June 24, 71 percent or more of the crops in Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota were rated in good or excellent condition. Weather conditions have been far less favorable in the areas traditionally identified as the Eastern Corn Belt and in a few states in the western Corn Belt. As of June 24, 51 percent or less of the crops were rated in good or excellent condition in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee. Ratings were especially low in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. The rest of the states included in the weekly report (Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, and Wisconsin) had 60 to 68 percent of the crops rated in good or excellent condition.

The 18 states included in the Crop Progress report represent nearly 92 percent of the acreage intended for planting, as reported in the USDA’s March Prospective Plantings report. About 38 percent of the acreage in the18 states is in those states with near average crop conditions, 23 percent is in states with very good crop conditions, and 39 percent is in states with below to well below average conditions as of June 24.

Based on growing season weather to date and current crop conditions, what level of yield should now be expected? First, we should note that an above-trend corn yield requires timely planting and very favorable weather conditions over a very wide area throughout the entire growing season. Most important are weather conditions during the reproductive and grain filling stages of the growing season, about late June through August in much of the Corn Belt this year. Above average precipitation and below average temperatures during that period are most conducive for high yields. Most recently, these type of conditions prevailed in 2004 and 2009. Based on weather and crop conditions to date and the hot, dry near term forecast, an above trend yield is clearly not in the cards this year.

What about the chances for a yield near trend value? To achieve a trend U.S. average yield, high yields in those states with very favorable growing conditions would have to offset low yields in those states with unfavorable conditions. That currently seems highly unlikely for two reasons. First there are currently 72 percent more corn acres in those states experiencing very poor growing conditions than in those states with very favorable conditions. The second reason is that the yield impact of weather is not linear. That is, poor weather tends to reduce yield proportionately more than good weather increases yield. That can be seen in Figure 1 which shows actual U.S. average yields and the linear trend of those yields from 1960 through 2011. Deviations from trend tend to be larger when yields are below trend (bad weather) than when yields are above trend (good weather). The non-linear impact of weather is also illustrated in Figure 2 which shows the impact of the level of precipitation in July on the state average corn yield in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. The relationship is derived from a crop weather model of corn yields in those three states published in this report. Notice that the average July precipitation in each state (marked as X) is near 4 inches. Yields tend to fall rapidly as precipitation declines below 4 inches, but increases slowly for precipitation levels above 4 inches. A similar, but less distinct, relationship exists for June precipitation as well. These relationships suggest that yield losses in those states with less than average summer precipitation in 2012 will be greater than the yield gains in those states with above average precipitation. The result would be an average yield below trend value.

In addition to the yield implication of the magnitude and distribution of summer precipitation is the yield implication of summer temperatures. The weather models reveal a negative, but linear, relationship between monthly average temperatures in July and August and state average corn yields (illustrated in Figure 3). If the current and upcoming period of above average temperatures extends further into the growing season, additional yield losses would be expected.


Current conditions point to a U.S. average corn yield below trend again in 2012, but the extent of the yield shortfall will remain uncertain for another 10 weeks. With the large increase in corn acreage this year, an average yield above 150 bushels would require minimal rationing during the year ahead. Based on current and upcoming weather conditions, however, there is risk that the average yield will fall below that level, requiring higher prices to ration the crop. The USDA’s June 29 Acreage report, on-going weather conditions, and weekly crop condition ratings will be followed closely in order to assess production prospects. The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will provide the first survey-based yield forecast of the season in the August 10 Crop Production report.

Issued by Scott Irwin and Darrel Good
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
University of Illinois

Jul 4, 2012

Bill Moyers Essay: Thomas Jefferson's Betrayal | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

June 29, 2012

In this video essay, Bill reflects on the origins and lessons of Independence Day. We should remember, he says, that behind this Fourth of July holiday are human beings, like Thomas Jefferson, who were as flawed and conflicted as they were inspired, who espoused great humanistic ideals while behaving with reprehensible racial discrimination. That conflict — between what we know and how we live — is still a struggle in contemporary politics and society.

Be Wary Of Insect 'Clean-Up' | CropLife | CropLife IRON | Article

There are concerns and consequences associated with adding an insecticide to the spray mix just to "clean up" any insects that may be present. Have you talked with your grower-customers about these?

Glass Is Half-Full: Floods Reduce Insects

There are concerns and consequences associated with adding an insecticide to the spray mix just to “clean up” any insects that may be present. Have you talked with your grower-customers about these?

Lurking in every soybean field, all season long, are low numbers of various species of spider mites and aphids. These pests are rarely noticed when conditions remain “normal” due to the actions their natural enemies. However, treating fields with an insecticide may tip the balance in the favor of potential pests, according to Purdue University’s John Obermeyer, IPM (integrated pest management) supervisor and Larry Bledsoe, research assistant. This is because natural enemies recover more slowly from broad-spectrum insecticides compared with mites and aphids, which have an extremely rapid generation time.

Dry conditions exacerbate crop damage from mites and aphids. One major reason for this is because pathogens that cause insect diseases do not flourish in dry environments, the pair say. Just as crop diseases are more likely during wet/high humid conditions, so are insect diseases. An epizootic is quite impressive, as potentially damaging populations of mites/aphids are quickly and thoroughly wiped out.

Fungicides sprayed for crop diseases also control these beneficial pathogens. This is one reason why high-value crops, e.g., fruits and vegetables, receiving prophylactic (calendar sprays) of fungicide and insecticide often have spider mite flare-ups.

Ron Hammond, Ohio State University field crops entomologist, adds another point to this consequences list. Pollinators, specifically bees, are present in soybean fields. Though soybean are self-pollinating and aren’t reliant on these beneficial insects, bees will often visit fields. Pyrethroid insecticides are deadly to bees and a multitude of other pollinators. With the recent woes -- e.g., mites, colony collapse, etc. -- of the honeybee, further reduction in populations in only adds to the injury.

Lastly, it must be emphasized that insecticides do NOT increase yield, they only preserve it, say Obermeyer and Bledsoe. Any yield enhancing claims with insecticides are not only misleading but against the law. This one fact alone should make retailers and producers wary and monitor fields before treatments are made.

Japanese beetles? "They're nasty!"

Full Article

Spider Mites Inhabiting Drought-Stressed Soybean Fields - CropLife | CropLife IRON | CropLife | CropLife IRON | Article


Whitefly Infestations Reported In Some Northern Illinois Soybeans - CropLife | CropLife IRON | CropLife | CropLife IRON | Article


Time for a New Declaration of Independence? 36 Year Old Message... Something to ponder and act on...?!

Published on Organic Gardening (http://www.organicgardening.com)
Created 2011-06-27 

Source URL: http://www.organicgardening.com/living/new-declaration-of-independence 

Celebrate Independence Day with some truly independent thinking. From factory foods to foreign oil, Americans are more dependent than ever on large entities beyond their control. Robert Rodale's guide to greater personal freedom and smart localization holds as true today as it did in 1976.

September 1976

How Independent Am I?
That’s a good question to be asking yourself in this year in which we are celebrating our 200th anniversary of the independence of our country. If you are like most Americans today, you will have to admit that you are not very independent. You are free, in the sense that you have liberty to say pretty much what you want, to worship as you please, to move about freely, to own property, to have a fair trial, and so on. Independence, though, is something else. To be independent means that you have a basic liberty of existence. You are not tied to others when you are independent. You are able to support yourself, working with your own resources. The person who is truly independent will live well no matter what happens to the rest of society.

Total independence, of course, is almost never experienced by anybody. Even in primitive cultures, where people live by hunting animals and gathering wild foods, the individual depends on the family or tribe for support. But a small group of people can be independent, as long as they are content to use only food produced in their own area and things that they make themselves. I am not citing that as a desirable kind of life for anyone to aspire to, but only as a point of reference, a benchmark of our past independence as people.

Prior to 1776, when we were still a colony of England, our people were much more independent individually than you and I are now. America then was a country of small farmers, craftsmen working in their own shops, and storekeepers enjoying primarily local trade.

Few organizations of any kind existed in our society, and there was not even much communication or trade from one region to another. People made their own way. They built their own furniture and houses, produced much of their food, wove cloth for their clothes, and usually entertained themselves. Acts of God, like storms, drought, or fire, were a greater threat to their security than today’s people-caused problems like layoffs, business failures, inflation, and governmental corruption.

Now, by contrast, hardly any American does anything without leaning on hundreds of other people in some way. Even simple acts, when examined closely, reveal connecting threads leading to unexpected places. Consider picking your teeth. A couple of hundred years ago, gaps between molars were cleaned with a sliver pried from a convenient piece of firewood. The “tool” for the job was made on the spot by the user, at no cost. Today, toothpicks are items of commerce. You can choose between many types, plain or flavored, colored or natural, plastic or wood, and so forth. Toothpicks are made in factories, packaged, advertised, sanitized, and entered in the gross national product. Probably a thousand or more people are occupied doing dozens of jobs related to the toothpick trade.

Look at a more complex act, like eating a slice of bread, and the web of interdependence expands dramatically. Not far from where I live today is a small stream, the Little Lehigh, which was a center of grain milling during Revolutionary times. A dozen water-powered mills dotted its banks, grinding local wheat and corn into flour and meal. People who lived in this area then grew their own grain, or bought it locally. No power other than the falling water of the stream was needed to process it, and wood was used for cooking. Making bread then was simple—an almost personal act.

Today, bread flour is shipped here from the Middle West, where its production calls into play a stream of complex resources. Chemical plants in several states churn out the emulsifiers, preservatives, colors, and other additives used by modern bakers. Truckers living in at least 10 states are in some way involved with the supply of bread to the Lehigh Valley. So are advertising people in New York, economists in Washington, machine builders in Chicago, and plastics plant workers all over the place. Eating bread in America today is an act of faith in the smooth functioning of one of the most complex food-supply systems ever conceived.

I am not advocating that we turn back the clock. As much as anyone, I enjoy choosing just the kind of toothpick that works well for me. And you and I both know that the world has changed so much since 1776 that there’s no way we can feed everyone bread today with water-ground wheat.

There is plenty of value, though, in looking carefully at the state of personal independence (or lack of it) of the average American. Few people have done that in the past 200 years. The thrust of industry and government has been to develop the country in the fastest way possible regardless of the consequences. That has meant creating new products, building more homes and factories, improving transportation, and trying to keep as many people as possible employed. Those goals have been paramount, and few people have seemed to care that in achieving them we have tied ourselves together in a tight net of dependence. And even fewer people have dared to think about what effect this growing dependence is having on our national character. My opinion is that many of the social faults that we now see in ourselves are the result of the almost total elimination of personal independence as a quality of American life.

What We Can Do
For the moment, though, let’s look at the positive side of independence. What could we do better if there was a national program to help people become independent, as individuals? Just as a start, I’ve jotted down a few thoughts, although this list could certainly be expanded and amplified.

1. If people tried to be more independent, they would begin to see more clearly what their real needs for support from others are. Now, most people take for granted the availability of anything they need, in the way of materials and services.

2. More personal independence would boost productivity. Not everything is done most efficiently in big, complex ways. That is hard for some people to believe, conditioned as we have been to accept the production line concept that equates bigness with efficiency. Home production, our Organic Gardening and Farming editorial theme for 1976, is only one of many examples of how independent effort can lead to increased efficiency. Much more production of food and services could be done in the home if there was a strong effort in that direction.

3. Independence would provide a resilient reservoir of strength in case of hard times. We're beginning to sense how vulnerable our complex economic system is to threats from within and without. The lesson of the Arab oil boycott has been lost, and we're now using more imported oil than before. If we don't begin to work for more personal independence, we'll be in far worse shape the next time a threat like that occurs.

4. Innovative thinking and action would be encouraged by more personal independence. Most large organizations today are actually afraid of new ideas, because they could make profitable products obsolete and disturb established business partners. People working more independently would open up whole new veins of creativity and thought, which are now being stifled.

5. More diversity would be provided in our culture. The easiest way to sense our lack of independence today is to travel around the country and see how alike all parts of America have become. We have gone national in almost everything, from food and beer to housing and entertainment. While that sameness is being justified now on the grounds of efficiency, it is cutting us off from the pleasures and pride of individuality.

Gardens of Liberty
The garden is the best place to start looking for ways to help people become more independent. A garden is both the symbol and reality of self-sufficiency—especially an organic garden, which recycles organic wastes of the yard and household, permits the production of significant amounts of food with only minimal reliance on outside resources. Any campaign to boost personal independence should start by helping people become gardeners—teaching, motivating, and making land available.

Liberty doesn't end at the border of the garden, though. Home production of a variety of goods and services extends the idea of gardening. Both gardeners and non-gardeners can also grow their own bean sprouts, make some of their own clothes, become proficient at crafts, improve insulation of their home, and do similar home production tasks. Each such activity you learn makes you less dependent on others.

Alternate-energy production is one of the most promising areas for improvement of personal independence. The whole idea of alternate energy is to offer people the choice of using less energy from public utilities, or avoiding them altogether. What you eat, whether or not you smoke or drink, how much you exercise—those are all independent decisions that bear on how early in life you will get degenerative disease, which is the most troublesome of all health problems.

Even treatment of disease could be improved by fostering a greater spirit of personal independence. We need to learn more about how to take care of ourselves during illness. Any doctor will tell you that an intelligent patient, who knows how to observe and evaluate symptoms, can be treated with fewer drugs, and is therefore less likely to have side effects and will probably recover faster. Being totally dependent on the doctor is the worst way to act when sick.

Another area where personal independence can pay big dividends is transportation. Walking and cycling are the most independent ways to get from one place to another, and it’s no accident that they reward us with dollar savings as well as better health and more enjoyment. I’'m not saying that we should walk or cycle everywhere, but walking and cycling are perfect examples of how increased personal independence can strengthen us as people and strengthen our country as well.

Needed—A Politics of Independence
Personal independence is an idea with profound political importance, yet it is a non-partisan concept. Whether you are liberal or conservative in your thinking, or middle of the road, you can make good use of greater personal independence. Any free political philosophy that a community chooses to emphasize will work better if its citizens have greater independence. Perhaps that’s because a government of independent people is by definition a smaller government, and is called on to provide fewer services. A government that is smaller can be observed more clearly, and is easier to manage, no matter which party is in charge.

Can the political system be used to help us become more independent? I think it not only can, but must be used for that purpose. We are so tied up now by centralization, especially centralization of government functions and programs in Washington, that in spirit of peaceful revolution we must petition for loosening our present bonds of dependence. Only by sticking to a positive approach can we mount a unified effort for personal independence that will have the support of people of all political views.

As a start, we should ask for a research program in personal independence. The development of new techniques and advanced technology is a potent force which has shaped our present society in many ways. Many millions are now being spent in research which is helping large institutions become bigger, and which as a result is squeezing out what little independence is left in us.

We need a comparable effort to develop techniques that will help people work on their own, and do things for themselves. All the activities I’ve mentioned so far (plus more) could be helped immeasurably by a research program in independence. We need more study of improved methods of gardening, alternate energy production, health promotion, transportation, personalized home building, home production, and so forth. I can even visualize a National Institute of Independence, whose sole function would be the development of ways that the American people could partially unhook themselves from the web of dependence that has been created during the 200-year history as a nation. Someday we could even have a Secretary of Independence in the cabinet, presiding over a department that would be working for personal independence in a wide variety of ways.

That may sound somewhat odd to you—asking Washington to help us become independent of the forces Washington represents so clearly, and even having an agent in Washington working toward that end. But the simple truth is that our dependence has increased to the point where we have to ask for help in changing the direction of our lives. It's also true that you and I, when aroused to write letters to our representatives, can get them to take note of our needs and maybe even take some action. Asking for a research effort to make personal independence more practical is really not such a big thing, and should be possible to achieve.

36 Year Old Message... Something to ponder and act on...?! Monte & Eileen

Related Links:

Jul 3, 2012

Hines Farm Project Activity / Nature Viewing July 2, 2012

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Eileen watering 33 new fruit trees purchased for planting.

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Our ducks checking out new arrival fruit trees to farm!

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Hines Farm Homemade Seed Screens - 10 sizes --> #16 fine thru #2 course (half-inch)
We made our own out of scrap 2x4s ripped to 2x2x12 1/2 and purchased standard stainless steel screen set. Used Kreg screws to assemble and placed on Harbor Freight Cart for mobility. Saved a bunched compared to "store bought".

Related Link: http://www.permies.com/t/15751/homestead/Homemade-Seed-Screens-Sifting-Your#139120

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Cooling off from hot day, standing in "COOL" Coal Creek water observing nature...! It does not get any better...