Creative Uses for Junk Mail

Posted: August 27th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Environment | No Comments »

some are neat, great pictures! junk_mail_tank.jpg

Science Teachers on the Front Lines Of Evolution D

Posted: August 26th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Science | No Comments »


oh lord, i would hate to be a science teacher teaching this. This is a school in Florida. Of course!

RescueInk: Bikers for Abused Animals

Posted: August 26th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Anthropology | No Comments »

file this one under aaaawwwwww

And a slideshow! 24pet03_190.jpg

National Green Pages!

Posted: August 26th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Environment | No Comments » NGPHeader1.jpg

Towers of Food slideshow

Posted: August 21st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Environment | 1 Comment »

Oil’s big dirty secret

Posted: August 12th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Environment | No Comments »

According to news reports yesterday, members of OPEC alone glommed in $645 Billion (Euro 430 Billion) for the first six months of this year. Not only have oil consumers been gorged to the hilt, we have been reduced to being supplicants of the oil producers. Every day we are being fed the unceasing lesson from the same hymnal, that oil is running out "tomorrow," come and get it while you still can, not unlike 1855 when Samuel Kier’s Rock Oil patent medicine made from Pennsylvania crude oil touted to cure everything from diarrhea, rheumatism, ringworm to deafness, solemnly cautioning buyers, "Hurry Before This Wonderful Product is Depleted from Nature’s Laboratory." This while The Peak Oil Pranksters are ever ready to carry the message for the oil patch both here and everywhere working near overtime to heighten our anxieties about oil supply, programming us to pay ever more to the oil barons and sheiks.

But wait, suppose, just suppose they are wrong and willfully misleading us. That oil’s origins are not, to repeat, not biological, according to the gospel we have been taught to believe. That in effect oil originates from deep carbon deposits dating to the very beginnings of the Earth’s formation in quantities vastly greater than commonly thought. The very presence of methane in the solar system is cited as one of the key underpinnings of this theory’s seriousness. Then by seepage through the earth’s mantle, Abiotic oil becomes in essence a renewing resource migrating toward the Earth’s crust until it escapes to the surface (i.e. Canada’s tar sands as theorized by some) or trapped by impermeable strata forming petroleum reservoirs.

Much research has been done on Abiotic Theory by a bevy of Russian and Ukranian geologists starting during the Soviet era, most especially by Nikolai Alexandrovich Kurdryavtsev who proposed the modern Abiotic Theory of Petroleum in 1951.

Among Kurdryavtsev’s colleagues was Professor V.A. Krayushkin, chair of the Dept. of Petroleum Exploration at the Ukranian Academy of Sciences and leader of the DneiperDonets Basin Exploration project in the Ukraine, an area that has yielded eleven giant oil fields holding at least 65 billion barrels of oil and some 100 billion cubic meters of recoverable gas, comparable to the North Slope of Alaska . The area had previously been designated as having no potential for petroleum production whatsoever. Exploration, according to a paper by Richard Heinberg, was conducted entirely according to the "perspective of the modern Russian Ukranian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins".

Question, how often have you heard of M. King Hubbert and his peak oil theories dating to 1949 and how often have you heard of Kurdryavtsev or Krayushkin? Certainly, for those having some interest in Peak Oil jargon, Hubbert’s name comes up endlessly, while Kurdryavtsev and Krayushkin probably never, or rarely if at all. But then again Hubbert was Chief Consultant for Shell Oil’s Production Research Division and his theories served their Marketing Department well. His predictions first made in 1949 that the fossil fuel era would be of very short duration made him, with help of the fine hand of oil industry flacks, probably the best known geophysicist of his time.

Is the theory of abiotic oil viable? I am not a geologist so I cannot begin to answer authoritatively. It is certainly worth exploring with far greater seriousness than has been the case to date. But I have come to learn the oil industry and its minions. One can rest assured that if abiotic oil is a true challenge to current theory and most especially in the dimension it is purported to be, the oil patch will do all in its power to divert our attention elsewhere. Were we to learn that the supply of oil is limitless, the emperor’s clothes would evaporate and the price of oil would collapse.

These comments are not in any way meant to encourage the increased and continued use of oil and carbon-based energy. Issues of greenhouse warming and climate change are far too primordial for us in any way not to continue down the path of a fossil/carbon-free society. But that will take time and in the meanwhile we must wrest back our economic bearings from the rapaciousness of the oil producers and one way to begin doing that is to dismantle the received shibboleths being used to hold us in their grasp. It is time to begin dealing with them as consumers free to make our choices just as we would with any other product or supplier. If we don’t like attitudes or pricing policies or loyalty, as in customer relations we should once again be able to turn to another provider of comparable goods and we, as the buying public, or for that matter the nation in its own strategic interests, take our trade elsewhere. Seems far-fetched today? Just wait.

sidenote from Jen: check out

they are full of brilliant editorials such as this one! I love themmmmm!!!!!

Global Warming = Kittens and Jellyfish

Posted: August 6th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Environment | 1 Comment »

i fucking hate jellyfish. horrors.

kittens are cool. i hope we don’t have to hunt and eat wild herds of cats one day though.,_heat_related_deaths,_and_now_…_kittens/

sadly, there are no images of kittens battling jellyfish. sigh.

Do Conservatives Hate Their Children?

Posted: August 4th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Environment | 3 Comments »

READ THIS. it’s a conservative talking about the obvious contradiction between denying global warming and all that family values crap they vomit.

As one blogger noted, having more children doesn’t mean that you love your children more. In fact, limiting family size instead of popping out child after child, Dugger-style, without a thought as to how that will effect the rest of the children seems more loving to me.

If this guy isn’t superretarded, how does he get this shit? I dun get it. Does he…BELIEVE…what he’s saying? Weird!!

Local Foods is Officially a Trend. Woot.

Posted: August 4th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Environment | No Comments »

Why the Hype About Local Food May Be More than Just a Trend

By David Bollier, Posted August 4, 2008.

It is tempting to dismiss locally grown food as just another elite fashion, but its merits may mean it will be a long-term phenomenon.

Now that the New York Times has splashed it on the front page (July 22), consider it an official trend: locally grown food is all the rage. It is being avidly sought out by Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the glam crowd in the Hamptons, the merely affluent of Mill Valley, California, and even by the rest of us who live in less celebrated locations with few boldfaced residents.

It is tempting to dismiss locally grown food as just another elite fashion, as many people surely will. But it is also true that wealthy households are often the first to validate broader market trends.

Consider it another chapter in the ongoing dance between the commons and the market. The commons lovingly advances a new ideal — in this case, the ecological virtues, social satisfactions and great taste of locally grown food. And then, after years of hippies, homesteaders and eco-evangelists beating the drum for this new ideal below the radar screen of mainstream culture, entrepreneurs suddenly get hip to what’s going on and swoop in to make money from a grassroots trend.

Some things never change. We are at that special inflection point in the evolution of social attitudes that are mysteriously propelling the rise of a new market niche. Its customers, the aficionados of local food, even have a name — "locavores." There are also novel sorts of new businesses.

As the Times reports, Trevor Paque has made a business in San Francisco planting vegetable gardens for affluent suburbanites who want to eat garden-grown food, but who don’t like to garden. So Trevor does the planting, weeding and harvesting. A company called FruitGuys will deliver boxes of locally grown, sustainably raised or organic fruit to people in San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Soon mega-millionaires like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh will rail against the trendiness of local food. That’s their schtick, after all — to invent elite foils for themselves so that they can cast themselves as Main Street populists. Real Republicans only eat red meat and potatoes, it would seem.

This is just a shell game in the culture wars, however. I am convinced that local food is going to become a steady, long-term growth market. For its taste, cost and eco-friendliness, local food has already become a symbol of social virtue. People are starting to realize that it is not so good for the planet to haul meat from New Zealand, wheat from South Dakota and fruit from Caifornia. Social demand and sheer economics are starting to buoy local growers, and supermarkets are looking for new ways to call attention to their local produce. The trend lines are clear.

The spending of local money for local produce is surely a virtuous cycle for local economies. It is also likely to promote greater personal connections among people locally, stronger commitments to one’s local community, and a more stable and diverse local economy.

Two days after filing the local foods article, Kim Severson, the same Times reporter who wrote about the elite embrace of local foods, had another piece about the upcoming an upcoming festival called Slow Food Nation. The event, to be held in downtown San Francisco over Labor Day weekend, will feature pavilions devoted to foods like pickles, coffee and salami. A quarter-acre patch of the lawn in front of City Hall has been ripped up to grow a garden.

Slow Food Nation is an ambitious attempt by Slow Food USA, the American spinoff of the Italy-born Slow Food movement, to establish itself as a recognized political and cultural force. Organizers hope the festival will be, in the words of Severson, "the Woodstock of food, a profound event where a broad band of people will see that delicious, sustainably produced food can be a prism for social, ecological and political change."

I am sure that certain elements of the Slow Food world will behave like effete connoisseurs and fawn over the local argula and goat cheese. But really, is that so bad? Why shouldn’t people start to express their affection and appreciation for local food? If cultural snobs and the wealthy can embrace a populist trend without coopting it — validating it with their presence and boosting it with their dollars — I say, bring ’em on. Let everyone celebrate the taste of local food — and then move on to the political and economic realities that sustain it.

If local food is going to be a victim of identity politics, let it be a politics of localism: "We all live here together, so let’s find the way to support the farmers who are our neighbors." FarmersMarketsFinalSmall2.jpg

Survivalists not so silly any more. let’s join.

Posted: July 31st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Anthropology | 2 Comments »

Massive Economic Disaster Seems Possible — Will Survivalists Get the Last Laugh?

By Scott Thill, AlterNet. Posted July 26, 2008.

With multiple crises on the horizon, survivalist views don’t seem as marginal as they did before.

They used to be paranoid preparation nuts who built bomb shelters for a place to duck and cover during nuclear dustups with communist heathens, but their tangled roots go back to the Great Depression for a reason. If you want to get sociological about it, survivalism started out as a response to economic catastrophe. And now, with a cratering stock market, a housing meltdown that has devalued everything in sight, and skyrocketing prices for food, gas and pretty much everything else, survivalists are preparing for — and are prepared for — the rerun. In fact, they may be the only people in America feeling good about the prospects of a major crash.

And the interesting thing about the once-fringe movement at this moment in history is that survivalism has now gone green — at least in theory.

From peak oil and food crises all the way to catastrophic payback from that bitch Mother Earth, there are more reasons to hide than ever. Conventional society as we know it is already undergoing some disastrous transformations. Ask anyone ducking fires in California, floods in the Midwest or bullets in Baghdad. Maybe it didn’t make sense to run for the hills, stockpile water and food, grow your own vegetables and drugs, or unplug from consumerism back when America’s budget surplus still existed, its armies weren’t burning up all the nation’s revenue and its infrastructure wasn’t being outsourced to a globalized work force.

But those days are gone, daddy, gone.

What’s coming up is weirder. Author, social critic and overall hilarious dude James Kunstler tackled that weirdness, otherwise known as an incoming post-oil dystopia, in his recent novel, World Made by Hand, which has since become one of a handful of survivalist classics. And as Kunstler sees it, whether you are talking about gun nuts or green pioneers, at least you are talking.

"At least they’re aware that we’ve entered the early innings of what could easily become a very disruptive period of our history," the Clusterfuck Nation columnist explains. "Most of them are responding constructively rather than just defensively. They’re much more interested in gardening and animal husbandry than firearms."

Not that the gun nuts have gone away. Their ranks have just diversified.

"The gun nuts have been on the scene longer than the peak oil argument has been in play," he adds. "They were initially preoccupied with Big Government and its accompanying narrative fantasy of fascist oppression, which is why they adopted a fascist tone themselves. But peak-oil survivalists are different from the Ruby Ridge generation. They don’t think that a bolt-hole in the woods is a very promising strategy. We have no idea at this point what the level of social cohesion or disorder may be, but if the rural areas, especially the agricultural centers, become too lawless for farming, then we’ll be in pretty severe trouble because there will be nothing for us to eat."

That’s not on the to-do list of author and SurvivalBlog owner James Rawles, who has been getting asked more and more questions by a mainstream press finally waking to the consequences of disaster capitalism, climate crisis and the hyperreal dream of bottomless consumption. He has fielded questions from the New York Times, and he has taken an online beating from conscientious pubs like Grist, but he hasn’t gone Hollywood. The times, which are a-changin’, have caught up to him.

"There is greater interest in preparedness these days because the fragility of our economy, lengthening chains of supply and the complexity of the technological infrastructure have become apparent to a broader cross section of the populace," Rawles wrote to me via e-mail (but only after asking how many unique monthly visitors AlterNet commanded). "All parties concerned may not realize it, but the left-of-center greens calling for local economies and encouraging farmers markets have a tremendous amount in common with John Birchers decrying globalist bankers and gun owners complaining about their constitutional rights. At the core, for all of them, is the recognition that big, entrenched, centralized power structures are not the answer. They are, in fact, the problem."

Fair enough. But that broad brush fails to recognize the complexities of the very community it is purporting to try to establish. Indeed, difference is what survivalists seem to be running from, whether it is historically the difference between blacks and whites, secularists and true believers, or simply the haves and have-nots. It is that latter crowd that the survivalists seem most worried about. Their separation from society at large is arguably a retreat from community rather than a striving toward it.

"I’d say that survivalism is indeed a celebration of community," Rawles asserts. "It is the embodiment of America’s traditional can-do spirit of self-reliance that settled the frontier."

But that’s also a generalization, especially when one considers that the word "settled" is a coded reduction for a "near-genocidal wipeout of the frontier’s native populations," most if not all of whom were perfecting a survivalist ethic by maximizing their skill sets and living in symbiosis with the land that provided them what they needed in food, tools and medicine. In fact, those settlements would have been hard-pressed to exist without what Rawles earlier described as a "centralized power structure," known as the expansionist United States government and its military, paving the road forward. Each self-reliant mythology carries within it grains of complicity in the community at large, which is a fancy way of saying there’s nowhere to run, baby, nowhere to hide.

This is especially true today in our hyperreal, hyperconsuming 21st century, where survivalism has become more of a gadget fantasy than an earnest grasp for community.

"It seems a natural human impulse that we are hard-wired to follow as circumstances require," Kunstler says, "although it is constrained by social and cultural conditioning. To some degree, in our consumer culture, survivalism is related to the gear fetishism you see in popular magazines that purport to be about sporting adventures, but are really about acquiring snazzy equipment. America in 2008 has become a cartoon culture of Hollywood violence that promotes grandiose power fantasies of hyper-individualism and vigilante justice. Add guns and economic hardship, and spice it up with ethnic grievances, and the recipe is not very appetizing."

This future cultural, environmental and geopolitical miasma is where the survivalist and the mainstream converge in agreement. Both camps, pardon the pun, are convinced that we’re screwed down the road.

"The next Great Depression will be a tremendous leveler," Rawles prophesies. "If anything, life in the 22nd century will more closely resemble the 19th century than the 20th century. Sadly, the 21st century will probably be remembered as the time of the Great Die-Off."

"I don’t consider it a total wipeout," Kunstler counters. "It’s a very big change, but people are resilient and resourceful. Look, imagine if you were a person who had survived the Second World War in Europe, and you were walking around Berlin in the spring of 1946, a year after the end of the war. A once-magnificent city has been reduced to rubble. Your culture is lying in ashes. Yet, people pick up and rebuild."

That is, if they’re sticking together. If they’re scattered and fending for themselves, and taking armed retreat defense tips from SurvivalBlog, that makes rebuilding a bit more complicated. Which, in the end, is where survivalism is most ambiguous. Is it a growing population of forward-looking realists who are smartly preparing for the die-off brought on by climate crisis and economic collapse, so they can pick up themselves and their people, and rebuild with that "can-do" spirit, as Rawles calls it? Or are they simply gadget-fascinated fundamentalists afraid of change and challenge, so afraid that they’d rather hide and hoard than join the fight?

The jury is still out. But, according to Rawles, it will soon have its diversity mirrored by survivalism’s changing demographic.

"I think that in the next couple of decades," he explains, "we will witness the formation of some remarkable intentional communities that will feature some unlikely bedfellows: anarchists and Ayn Rand readers, Mennonites and gun enthusiasts, Luddites and techno-geeks, fundamentalist Christians and Gaia worshippers, tree huggers and horse wranglers. We welcome them all. Because the threats are clearly manifold: peak oil, derivatives meltdowns, pandemics, food shortages, market collapses, terrorism, state-sponsored global war and more. In a situation this precarious, I believe that it is remarkably naive to think that mere geographical isolation will be sufficient to shelter communities from the predation of evildoers." paranoid_survivalist_bar.gif (21.90 K) survivalist_nerd.gif