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31 August, 2010

Global Coal Supplies: It Might Be Worse Than Anyone Thinks

Global Coal Supplies: It Might Be Worse Than Anyone Thinks - Scitizen: "A new study on global coal supplies suggests a worldwide peak in production from existing fields in 2011.

Claims that the world has 200 to 400 years of coal left at current rates of consumption have blinded policymakers and the public. The claims are based on two questionable notions: 1) That official coal reserve estimates are accurate and 2) that the world will experience no growth in the rate of consumption of coal over the period cited.

In a new study published in the international journal Energy researchers Tadeusz W. Patzek and Gregory D. Croft suggest that actual historical coal production is a better indicator of the future trend of worldwide coal output than stated reserves which are notoriously unreliable. They note, for example, that the state of Illinois, despite its rank as second in reserves in the United States, has seen its production decline by half over the last 20 years. In the meantime Illinois' estimated recoverable reserves have actually increased from 32 billion tons to 34 billion tons between 1987 and 2006.

They mention the work of David Rutledge at the California Institute of Technology who has detailed the sharp downward revisions in the official reserve estimates in recent decades and who believes ultimate production will fall far short of the current reserve estimates. The trajectory for reserves, Rutledge shows, has largely been down as planners include constraints both technical and practical such as coal in seams too thin to mine economically or the presence of a large city over a shallow coalfield. Rutledge also applies Hubbert Linearization to the production data to obtain a truly startling picture of ultimate future recoveries: 50 percent less than current forecasts..."


Not Just Oil: U.S. Hit Peak Water in 1970 and Nobody Noticed

Not just oil: US hit peak water in 1970 and nobody noticed: "The concept of peak oil, where the inaccessibility of remaining deposits ensures that extraction rates start an irreversible decline, has been the subject of regular debate for decades... having a better sense of when we're likely to hit it could prove invaluable when it comes to planning our energy economy. The general concept of peaking has also been valuable, as it applies to just about any finite resource. A new analysis suggests that it may be valuable to consider applying it to a renewable resource as well: the planet's water supply..."


30 August, 2010

We Are Following The Same Food Supply Patterns As Previously Collapsed, Failed Societies

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." -- Albert Einstein


Why our agricultural empire will fall - Sustainable food - Salon.com: "In an age of super-sized meals and obesity epidemics, food-shortage doomsday scenarios always seem a little surreal. Backed by half a century of agricultural abundance, it's easy to imagine that cheap food will permanently abound. But in a new book, 'Empires of Food,' academic Evan Fraser and journalist Andrew Rimas show us that we are not the first advanced civilization to have a hubristic, misplaced confidence that we'll always be fed.

By tracing the rise and fall of a number of preindustrial empires, the authors show us just how much trouble we're in. The Romans, the Mesopotamians and the medieval Europeans, for example, all had agricultural systems that, much like ours, were yoked to complex technology and highly specialized trade networks. And each of those societies eventually failed because they hadn't accounted for soil erosion, growing overpopulation and weather changes. Climate change, anyone?

Fraser and Rimas propose no easy solutions, advocating instead that we learn to store surplus food, live locally, farm organically and diversify our crops.

Salon spoke to Evan Fraser over the phone about agricultural patterns through history, the instability of our food system, and whether the solutions he proposes are ultimately unaffordable for the world's poor..."


29 August, 2010

Oliver Stone Agrees With Us

Oliver Stone’s New ‘Wall Street’ Film: Market-Timing Signal for ‘Crash of 2010?’ Or the ‘Death of America’s Soul?’ Michael Lewis Discovers Both for Vanity Fair - Wall Street Warzone: "...It’s the collapse of capitalism and the collapse of our society. It is. Our way of life is going to change.”

The 'collapse of capitalism?' Yes, Stone’s predicting the 'collapse of capitalism.' Not just a stock market crash, the 'collapse of capitalism.' He’s predicting the 'collapse of our society.' Worse, Stone’s predicting: 'Our way of life is going to change.' Is this really a market timing signal? Hey, it was in 1987. Will history repeat? The odds say yes..."


2 Days of Food Stretched More Than 2 Weeks By Trapped Miners

2 days of food stretched more than 2 weeks in mine - Yahoo! Finance: "Each of the 33 miners trapped a half-mile underground lived on two spoonfuls of tuna, a sip of milk, a bite of crackers and a morsel of peaches. Every other day.

They were so careful in eating what was supposed to be a two-day emergency supply that when the outside world finally reached them 17 days after a mine collapse, they still had some food left.

The discipline the men have already shown will be essential during the four months it may take rescuers to dig a hole wide enough to get them out of their shelter. The first communications with the trapped miners, now able to talk through a fixed line with their rescuers above -- show how determined they have been to stay alive..."


Convert a Bike Pump into a Manual Vacuum Pump

Convert a Bike Pump into a Manual Vacuum Pump: "Vacuum pumps, while expensive, have a ton of uses, like vacuum sealing food or saving space with items in storage. Instead of buying one, though, you can convert an old bike tire pump into a vacuum pump for just $20..."


28 August, 2010

DIY Hydroelectric Power For the Homesteader

I have always been intrigued by microhydro electricity. Be advised: in addition to what you will see below, there are even more diverse possibilities.


FCIV 'S- Homesteader's Notebook: "Large scale hydroelectric power has been used worldwide for a long time to generate huge amounts of power from water stored behind massive dams. Small scale hydropower has been used for hundreds of years for manufacturing, including milling grain, sawing logs and manufacturing cloth. However, it can also be used without a dam to generate electricity for home scale remote power systems. These so-called micro-hydro installations can be a very good complement to a solar power system, as they produce electricity 24 hours a day..."


Homestead Hydropower: "Home-scale hydroelectric power systems offer an opportunity for humans to forge an intelligent and sustainable partnership with sunshine, rain and running water. Sometimes dubbed “microhydro,” this approach uses low-impact mechanical systems to harness moving water to generate clean, reliable electric power. Unlike the intermittent power from wind or solar systems, hydroelectric power can flow night and day from year-round streams.

A hydroelectric system converts the force from flowing water into electricity. You take the kinetic energy of water flowing downhill from a stream or river and direct it onto a wheel in a turbine that converts the rotational energy to electricity. The amount of power produced depends on the volume of water flowing onto the turbine and the vertical distance it falls through the system. Equipment costs range from about $1,000 for the smallest, to $20,000 for a system large enough to power several modern homes..."


Few May Imagine What Is Coming

Few May Imagine What Is Coming — Rick's Picks: "... No person not directly from a Great Depression family is prepared for what will come. That means that unless your parents where born no later than 1920, you cannot have any basis to form an understanding for the potential pain of a real collapse...

... There is one great difference between the Great Depression and today where The People are concerned. Nearly everyone in 1920 knew how to take care of him or herself. They knew meat came from a cow, and milk did not come from a bottle. And yet today, the young cannot imagine a milk bottle delivered to the door by the milkman. Nor have they ever imagined a family coming together to butcher a steer and can the meat because there was no freezer...

... Is it time for the Super Depression? Probably, because the majority who have lived through that kind of pain are all dead and gone...

... And what of us hard-currency nuts?... But Steve, you say: there are so many suffering without jobs today. True enough. But in 1934, there wasn’t any unemployment in the place where my dad pulled a crosscut saw for $1.00 per thousand, part-time. (That’s about 50 cents a day, since there was someone on the other end of the saw)..."


10 Day Survival Pack For Your Vehicle For Just $25

10 day survival pack for your vehicle for just $25 by Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #104: "It seems like every winter there are news stories of people getting stranded for weeks in bad weather while driving through the many remote areas of our country. In fact, this past winter, our nation held its breath waiting for news of James Kim and his family who got lost traveling the snowy roads of Josephine County in Oregon, not far from where this magazine is published. While his wife and daughters, who stayed with their vehicle, were eventually found alive, he succumbed to the cold as he hiked through snow looking for help for his family. And there are also many cases of people trapped for days in their vehicles after skidding over a bridge embankment, even though they were only a few hundred feet from a busy highway.

I have written many articles about how to prepare your home for a power outage or national emergency, but today I want to address how to be prepared for an emergency when traveling in your car or truck..."


27 August, 2010

Seven Women Brazenly Steal From A CVS Store

I thought I should bring this to light by way of showing that our society is devolving around our ears...


YouTube - Seven women steal from CVS


The Most Isolated Man on the Planet

The most isolated man on the planet. - By Monte Reel - Slate Magazine: "The most isolated man on the planet will spend tonight inside a leafy palm-thatch hut in the Brazilian Amazon. As always, insects will darn the air. Spider monkeys will patrol the treetops. Wild pigs will root in the undergrowth. And the man will remain a quietly anonymous fixture of the landscape, camouflaged to the point of near invisibility...

... He's an Indian, and Brazilian officials have concluded that he's the last survivor of an uncontacted tribe. They first became aware of his existence nearly 15 years ago and for a decade launched numerous expeditions to track him, to ensure his safety, and to try to establish peaceful contact with him. In 2007, with ranching and logging closing in quickly on all sides, government officials declared a 31-square-mile area around him off-limits to trespassing and development. It's meant to be a safe zone. He's still in there. Alone..."


26 August, 2010

Artificial Meat? Food For Thought By 2050

Sadly, I believe the coming struggles will remedy the situation described below...


Artificial meat? Food for thought by 2050 | Environment | The Guardian: "Artificial meat grown in vats may be needed if the 9 billion people expected to be alive in 2050 are to be adequately fed without destroying the earth, some of the world's leading scientists report today.

But a major academic assessment of future global food supplies, led by John Beddington, the UK government chief scientist, suggests that even with new technologies such as genetic modification and nanotechnology, hundreds of millions of people may still go hungry owing to a combination of climate change, water shortages and increasing food consumption..."


25 August, 2010

18 Signs That America Is Rotting Right In Front Of Our Eyes

18 Signs That America Is Rotting Right In Front Of Our Eyes: "Sometimes it isn't necessary to quote facts and figures about government debt, unemployment and the trade deficit in order to convey how badly America is decaying. The truth is that millions of Americans can watch America rotting right in front of their eyes by stepping out on their front porches. Record numbers of homes have been foreclosed on and in some of the most run down cities as many as a third of all houses have been abandoned. Unemployment remains at depressingly high levels and the number of Americans on food stamps continues to set new records month after month. Due to severe budget cuts, class sizes are exploding and school programs are being eliminated. In some areas of the U.S. schools are even going to four day weeks. With little to no funding available, bridges are crumbling and street lights are being turned off in many communities. In some areas, asphalt roads are actually being ground up and turned back into gravel roads because they are less expensive to maintain. There aren't even as many police available to patrol America's decaying cities because budget problems have forced local communities across the U.S. to lay off tens of thousands of officers..."


Even Tony Robbins Is Warning That An Economic Collapse Is Coming

Even Tony Robbins Is Warning That An Economic Collapse Is Coming: "It seems like almost everyone is warning of a coming economic collapse these days. Do you remember Tony Robbins? He is probably the world's best known 'motivational speaker' and his infomercials dominated late night television during the 80s and 90s. He was always urging all of us to 'unleash the power within' and to take charge of our lives. Well guess what? Now Tony Robbins is warning that an economic collapse is coming. In fact, he has issued a special video warning about what he believes is about to happen. Considering the incredible connections that he has at the highest levels of the financial world, it makes a lot of sense to consider what he is trying to warn us about. Robbins says that a 'major retracement' is coming to financial markets and that the coming collapse is going to be a 'painful process' as we go through it. Those familiar with Tony Robbins know that he always goes out of his way to stress the positive, so if even he is openly warning the public about a coming economic nightmare than you know that things are starting to get really, really bad out there..."


15 Signs The U.S. Housing Market Is Headed For Complete And Total Collapse

15 Signs The U.S. Housing Market Is Headed For Complete And Total Collapse: "The U.S. housing market is dying. You will only hear hints of this on the mainstream news and from the politicians in Washington D.C., but as statistic after statistic continues to roll in, the reality of what is happening is becoming very difficult to deny.

Up until the end of April, the giant tax credit that the U.S. government was bribing home buyers with helped stabilize the real estate market, but now that the tax credit has expired the decline of the U.S. housing market has resumed. Mortgage defaults continue to set new records. Foreclosures continue to set new records. Home repossessions by banks continue to set new records. The number of homes being constructed and the number of Americans applying for home loans is at stunningly low levels.

For decades, owning a home has been touted as the very heart of 'the American Dream', but today that dream is out of reach for an increasing number of Americans. Why? It is because there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone. Without a jobs recovery, there simply is not going to be a housing recovery. Unfortunately, as the U.S. economy continues to come apart like a 20 dollar suit, even more Americans are going to lose their jobs and the U.S. housing industry will continue to experience a very painful decline..."


This Economy Is Ripping The Dignity Of Millions Of Unemployed Americans To Shreds

This Economy Is Ripping The Dignity Of Millions Of Unemployed Americans To Shreds: "If you can still put a roof over your head and food on the table for your family, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate. There are millions of Americans out there right now that are really, really suffering. The cold, hard reality of it is that there aren't even close to enough jobs out there for everyone right now. It is almost as if we are all caught in a really bizarre game of musical chairs where the losers get stripped of their tickets to the middle class. What this horrible economy is doing to the dignity of millions of middle class Americans is incredibly saddening. There are a lot of very highly educated and very hard working Americans who cannot seem to get jobs no matter what they do and now find themselves doing whatever they can just to survive. It can be really hard to keep your dignity when you played by all the rules and you worked as hard as you could all your life and now you find yourself a half step away from being homeless. Those of us who are still doing okay should never look down on those who are struggling in this economy, because the truth is that any of us could be next..."


24 August, 2010

Peak Oil Alarm Revealed By Secret Official Talks

Peak oil alarm revealed by secret official talks | Environment | The Observer: "Speculation that government ministers are far more concerned about a future supply crunch than they have admitted has been fuelled by the revelation that they are canvassing views from industry and the scientific community about 'peak oil'.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is also refusing to hand over policy documents about 'peak oil' – the point at which oil production reaches its maximum and then declines – under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act...

... A spokeswoman for the department insisted the request from [DECC] was 'routine' and said there was no change of policy other than to keep the issue under review...

... But documents obtained under the FoI Act seen by the Observer show that a 'peak oil workshop' brought together staff from the DECC, the Bank of England and Ministry of Defence among others to discuss the issue...

... a letter in response to the FoI request written by DECC officials and dated 31 July 2010 says it can only release some information on what is currently under policy discussion because they are 'ongoing' and 'high profile' in nature..."


The Big One

The Big One: Study shakes up scientists' view of San Andreas earthquake risk - latimes.com: "Researchers find major quakes on the southern section, on average, every 88 years — three times as often as previously thought. It's the strongest evidence yet that we're overdue for a massive quake.Southern California is long overdue for a major earthquake along the San Andreas fault, according to a landmark study of historic seismic activity released Friday.

The study, produced after several years of field studies in the Carrizo Plain area about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles, found that earthquakes along the San Andreas fault have occurred far more often than previously believed.

For years, scientists have said major earthquakes occurred every 250 to 450 years along this part of the San Andreas. The new study found big temblors on the fault every 88 years, on average.The last massive earthquake on that part of the fault was in 1857, leading scientists to warn that another such temblor is likely in Southern California.

'The next earthquake could be sooner than later,' said Lisa Grant Ludwig, a UC Irvine earthquake expert and co-author of the study, which was published online in the journal Geology. 'It was thought that we weren't at risk of having another large one any time soon. Well, now, it might be ready to rupture.'..."


Free Land: Build Your Homestead Without the Debt

Free Land: Build Your Homestead Without the Debt: "If you were inspired by our Firsthand Reports Off the Grid and Thriving or Learning to Live a Self-Sufficient Life but don't have the funds ready to move to your own homestead, opportunities for free land and other big incentives might revive your dreams of self-sufficiency.

Echoing the Homestead Act of 1862 which offered settlers ownership of up to 60 acres in exchange for (and after) farming it for five years, small towns looking to boost or stabilize population are giving away free housing lots. This practice, dubbed mini-homesteading, attracts residents and businesses to dwindling rural communities. Free land has drawn folks from across the country and, for a few communities, has saved small town businesses and public schools from closing.

In some cases, the town will suspend property taxes for a few years or help with the down payment to build your house on the land..."


23 August, 2010

Are You Ready For A World Without Antibiotics?

Are you ready for a world without antibiotics? | Society | The Guardian: "Antibiotics are a bedrock of modern medicine. But in the very near future, we're going to have to learn to live without them once again. And it's going to get nasty

Just 65 years ago, David Livermore's paternal grandmother died following an operation to remove her appendix. It didn't go well, but it was not the surgery that killed her. She succumbed to a series of infections that the pre-penicillin world had no drugs to treat. Welcome to the future.

The era of antibiotics is coming to a close. In just a couple of generations, what once appeared to be miracle medicines have been beaten into ineffectiveness by the bacteria they were designed to knock out. Once, scientists hailed the end of infectious diseases. Now, the post-antibiotic apocalypse is within sight.

Hyperbole? Unfortunately not. The highly serious journal Lancet Infectious Diseases yesterday posed the question itself over a paper revealing the rapid spread of multi-drug-resistant bacteria. 'Is this the end of antibiotics?' it asked..."


Property Scouting, My Journey OFF THE GRID

YouTube - Property Scouting, My journey OFF THE GRID


22 August, 2010

Israel's 'Judgment Day' Shelters

Israel's 'Judgment Day' Shelters: "The new railway station being built at the entrance to Jerusalem will turn in times of emergency into an underground bomb shelter which would be able to protest 5,000 people against a chemical or biological attack.

'The State of Israel is preparing to build additional large underground spaces which would be able to absorb tens of thousands of people and protect them from non-conventional weapons for a long period of time,' Major-General Ronny Seri, head of the Home Front Command's fortification department told Yedioth Ahronoth on Tuesday.

The Israel Defense Forces is currently engaged in mapping additional underground spaces for the installment of filters in order to protest thousands of people for long periods of time..."


21 August, 2010

For Lean Budgets, a Plug-and-Play Solar Array

For Lean Budgets, a Plug-and-Play Solar Array - Green Blog - NYTimes.com: "For eco-conscious homeowners who have considered a solar system for their rooftops but have found the cost and complexity daunting, Clarian Power thinks it has an idea.

The Seattle-based clean tech start-up is developing a “plug-and-play” solar appliance called the Sunfish that will generate clean solar electricity for the home. “You bring it home and plug it in, just like a refrigerator, and it will cost about the same,” said the company’s president, Chad Maglaque.

Today’s typical roof-mounted solar power systems start at $10,000 and go up from there depending on the amount of electricity generated and the home’s location. The bigger and more expensive systems can meet most of a house’s energy needs and even put electricity back on the utility grid, essentially turning the meter backwards.

A contractor usually installs the solar power system and turns it over to the homeowner in ready-to-use condition. An electrician will connect the system to the home’s electric panel through an inverter, a device that converts the DC power generated by the solar panels to the AC power used by lights and appliances.

Clarian is hoping to simplify this process through the use of its patented micro-inverter, which does not require a dedicated panel or circuit. In fact, they say that a handy homeowner can set up Sunfish in less than hour without the need for a contractor or electrician.
The company expects to retail a starter kit with one solar panel for $799. The system can handle up to five solar panels with the purchase of add-on kits, which would bring the retail price to $3,000 to $4,000.

Plug the Clarian micro-inverter, which they call the “power module,” into any electric socket in your house, typically an outdoor outlet. Connect up to five solar panels to the power module. The panels can be mounted anywhere on the house with the best sun exposure. Finally, plug in the kit’s circuit monitor into any outlet, and Sunfish will start feeding solar-generated power directly into the home’s electrical system..."

My Response: This looks very interesting, but keep in mind the 150kWh/month they say it will save you is for the 1kW system with 5 panels that will cost $2995-$3995 as opposed to the smaller unit with just one 200W panel at $599-$799. The manufacturers website says the smaller unit will produce 30kWh/month, which we all know actually depends on your area and how much sun you typically get (unless it's capped somehow, which, it better not be).

As for our uses, the manufacturers website has the following to offer:

Can the Sunfish provide backup power in the event of a power outage?
The Sunfish is not intended to provide backup power when there’s a power outage but can provide backup power in conjunction with a certified back-up power system since the safety features built into the Sunfish prevents it from generating power during a complete power outage.

Can the Sunfish be used to charge a battery banks for off-grid systems?
The Sunfish is not intended to charge battery banks for off-grid systems, but can be used to charge batteries or generate power in conjunction with a dedicated off-grid system.


How Much Power Does It Take to Run a Wind Turbine?

This article does a good job of highlight why, though much, much cleaner, wind is not a guaranteed, easy replacement for fossil fuels on a large scale. We are simply going to have to learn to get by using less energy

Small wind turbines, however, are a great augmentation to solar as part of an off-grid system.


Leland Teschler's Editorial: How Much Power Does It Take to Run a Wind Turbine? | Machine Design: "Jerry Graf is a concerned citizen who happens to have a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He recently read an item in his local paper about a school district that contemplated investing over a quarter million dollars in roof-top wind turbines. “There was a quote from someone in charge of school facilities that indicated they had no idea how much electricity the turbines would actually generate. As I got further into the details myself, I realized the turbines would actually produce next to nothing,” he says..."


19 August, 2010

Guest Post: 5 Things To Have Ready for an Emergency

by Louise Baker

No one ever dreams that they might be the victim of a natural disaster or a catastrophic event that may cut them off from normal services, but every year, people fall victim to tragic circumstances, often finding themselves unprepared for the situation. In these kinds of events, preparation can mean the difference between life and death, or at the very least major inconveniences. Here are the top five things to have ready for an emergency situation.

1. Water

The most important thing that you need to have ready for an emergency is a supply of fresh water. In a disaster scenario, emergency management agencies recommend at least one gallon of water per person per day. The best way to obtain water for emergency rations is by storing commercially bottled water. At the very least, you should stock a three day's supply of water. In addition, you can purchase extra plastic containers that you can use to store other sources of water that you can purify later. For example, if you are without running water for a period of time, but have access to a freshwater stream, you can collect the water in that container. It is also helpful to have a small amount of household bleach on hand to purify water. To purify fresh water, add 15 drops of bleach to a gallon of water, letting it stand for 30 minutes before drinking. Although one gallon of water per day is the recommended amount, people with certain medical conditions, the elderly, and the young may require more water. Also, if you live in a warm climate, you will also need more water in your emergency supplies.

2. Food

In addition to water, you will need to keep 3 days worth of canned and non perishable, dry foods. Do not forget to include food for pets and to consider special dietary needs. Also, packing a can opener is helpful.

3. First Aid Kit

In the event of a disaster, there are likely to be injuries. Having a fully stocked first aid kit can help to mend the wounded. Include sterile gauze, medical tape, bandages, scissors, antiseptic creams, and rubbing alcohol in your kit. Also include a 3 day supply of any medications that you or anyone in your family must have in the event of an emergency.

4. Identification

After many disasters like storms or earthquakes, police or other authorities may block access to your home neighborhood to keep looters and non-residents away. The only way you may be able to get back to the site of your home is to have proper identification on you that show your picture and address.

5. Shoes and Clothes

Many people don't think about this, but in the event of a natural disaster, there will be pieces of broken glass, metal, wood, and other debris that can make it dangerous to walk around. By having a pair of sturdy, well fitting shoes ready, you can be prepared if a disaster strikes and you find yourself in a situation where there is a lot of rubble on the ground. Finally, be sure to pack an extra change of clothes in case yours are damaged and you do not have access to any others.

Louise Baker writes about online degrees for Zen College Life. She has recently also wrote about the best schools online.

Letter Re: Food Security is An Integral Part of National Security

In response to this article, Lawrence wrote:

"It IS high time to can, garden, freeze, dehydrate, stock-up, and prep for food shortages.

Pick a situation:
-food inflation
-Drought based food shortages
-food riots
-oil based fuel shortage leading to food shipment collapse.

Name it-it is there!

We ALL are facing this. WAKE UP NOW!
The time is short...due to global complexity (regardless of conspiracy theories and food warfare plans) and global food demand, we face major challenges to maitain enought to eat.

Reemmber also that there are those idiots out there who think a "good crisis" should NEVER be wasted...and we will ALL suffer if that happens.

Best wishes.


03 August, 2010

Food Security is An Integral Part of National Security

When discussing national security and threats thereto, one would do well not to forget the importance of how and where their food is grown and by whom. The old saying still rings true; an army *does* march on its stomach as does the entire nation to which it belongs. As human beings, we require food in certain quantities and meeting a certain level of quality in order for our bodies and minds to function properly in the short-term and to continue living in the long-term. Thus, the issue of food security must never be forgotten.

But, I fear that we don't think about it nearly often enough. Consider the following quotation from a recent ABC Australia report:

"While people discuss the threat of obesity in the suburbs and in the seat of power, nobody talks about the threat of global food scarcity. No one in Government seems worried about where the world will source its food or the consequences of shortages. Few are concerned about land being bought by overseas interests, about farmers being driven from the land by low farm gate prices and trade rules which discriminate against Australian growers. In fact, the Labor government in its 2010-11 budget cut programmes for natural resource management and land stewardship in the face of climate change and peak oil.

The reality should be very different. The world has embarked on a dangerous era of food insecurity and imperialism which will fuel conflict and famine if it is ignored. Australia is not immune. Land and water should be treated as strategic resources by us as they are by many in the world. The Greens want Australia’s food producing land secured in terms of ecological sustainability and ownership, and the men and women on the land appropriately rewarded for producing food.

This country needs a food security plan and it needs it now."

And, in my estimation, they are not the only ones in need of such planning. Here in the United States, 22.5% of our nation's children live in households where they are experiencing food insecurity. (source) In fact, 14.6% of all U.S. households in 2008 were unsure where their next meals were coming from, a number up from 11.1% in 2007 (source); and, most people are having an even more difficult time making it in this economy than they were then, so it is undoubtedly even worse now.

Other nations are likely experiencing the same thing or at least they must recognize the need to prepare against it. Consider the quote from the same ABC Australia source cited above with regard to governments buying up agricultural land outside their own borders to be used, not to feed local populations in the event of a shortage, but instead as agricultural colonies that ship everything they produce back to the home country. As stated in the ABC piece, they will "send their own workers to those countries to produce the food [on the land they purchased] – and if necessary employ security forces to protect it." Africa is currently a huge target for this kind of agricultural colonization, but it isn't the only place it is happening.

Imagine for a moment you are the president of a nation with a starving populace, meanwhile a scant few miles away a foreign power is loading cargo ships full of grain to ship overseas, away and out of your grasp forever: Do you seize it? If so, how far would you be willing to go? Would you authorize the use of force and risk harming or maybe even killing agents of another country during the commission of what many will undoubtedly see as an unlawful action?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the next great wars will be fought over natural resources, and food is one of the most important resources we must secure for ourselves as human beings.


02 August, 2010

Enormous Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) Headed for Earth

SpaceWeather.com: "On August 1st around 0855 UT, Earth orbiting satellites detected a C3-class solar flare. The origin of the blast was sunspot 1092. At about the same time, an enormous magnetic filament stretching across the sun's northern hemisphere erupted...

... The timing of these events suggest they are connected... Despite the ~400,000 km distance between them, the sunspot and filament seem to erupt together; they are probably connected by long-range magnetic fields... a shadowy shock wave (a "solar tsunami") can be seen emerging from the flare site and rippling across the northern hemisphere into the filament's eruption zone. That may have helped propel the filament into space.

In short, we have just witnessed a complex global eruption involving almost the entire Earth-facing side of the sun.

A coronal mass ejection (CME) produced by the event is heading directly for Earth... High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras when it arrives on or about August 3rd..."


NASA - Coronal Mass Ejection Headed for Earth: "... Coronal mass ejections (or CMEs) are large clouds of charged particles that are ejected from the Sun over the course of several hours and can carry up to ten billion tons (1016 grams) of plasma. They expand away from the Sun at speeds as high as a million miles an hour. A CME can make the 93-million-mile journey to Earth in just three to four days.

When a coronal mass ejection reaches Earth, it interacts with our planet’s magnetic field, potentially creating a geomagnetic storm. Solar particles stream down the field lines toward Earth’s poles and collide with atoms of nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere, resulting in spectacular auroral displays. On the evening of August 3rd/4th, skywatchers in the northern U.S. and other countries should look toward the north for the rippling dancing 'curtains' of green and red light..."


Nasa scientists braced for 'solar tsunami' to hit earth - Telegraph: "... Scientists have warned that a really big solar eruption could destroy satellites and wreck power and communications grids around the globe if it happened today.

Nasa recently warned that Britain could face widespread power blackouts and be left without critical communication signals for long periods of time, after the earth is hit by a once-in-a-generation 'space storm'...

... It remains unclear, however, how much damage this latest eruption will cause the world’s communication tools.

Dr Lucie Green, of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Surrey... said... 'It looks like the first eruption was so large that it changed the magnetic fields throughout half the Sun's visible atmosphere and provided the right conditions for the second eruption...

... 'This means we have a very good chance of seeing major and prolonged effects, such as the northern lights at low latitudes.'

A Nasa spokesman was unavailable for comment..."


The part I don't get is there seems to be little consensus as to how serious this event might turn out to  be. This disconnectedness is evident in reading the quoted text above and then delving a little deeper with your own research. For instance, it seems to have all been set in motion by the eruption of a "C3-class solar flare," which according to this "are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth."

Personally, I believe everything will be fine and we will experience only minor disruptions, if any at all. However, it is an intriguing preview for what might be headed our way in a few years when our newly-awakening sun reaches the climax of its current cycle.


How to Convert a Flash Light to Mini Maglite

Following the steps outlined in the linked article will allow you to convert a regular flashlight into a more efficient and brighter Maglite-esque LED unit.

How to Convert a Flash Light to Mini Mag | eHow.com: "Flashlights provide minimal light in return for the electricity they consume because the incandescent bulb inside is inefficient. You can convert a common flashlight to a mini maglite that uses LEDs as the light source---doubling the amount of light being put out and using less energy to do so..."


01 August, 2010

Step Aside, Useless Eaters...

... your Masters no longer need your quasi-slave labor to sustain themselves and you're just making the place all crowded and junky.

Are the American people obsolete?.