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Messages - Bruce Steele

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Consequences / Re: The Climatic Effects of a Blue Ocean Event
« on: March 11, 2021, 02:25:02 PM »
El CID, While I would agree with you about current small changes to agricultural production at a local level that 120F heatwave we saw last summer was an eye opener. Even just one heatwave like that can cause damage to tree crops that take years to recover from. Do really extreme heatwaves start to show up more often ? A one time heatwave isn’t a trend ,it’s just a story , and I will need to prune out a lot of deadwood and plant but I would prefer to not replete this on an annual basis.
 The ocean however is a completely different story and I have seen the dieoffs and disease and there have been huge shifts in fish populations. The ocean heatwave of 2013 has effectively killed the entire nearshore reef system from the Columbia River to Pt. Sur  because the heatwave caused something close to extinction of a very important predator. The heatwave, and acidification, and oxygen depletion combined to kill starfish and it restructured the entire nearshore ecosystem. So I am here on my farm saying I agree that farm production doesn’t seem be have been hit too hard yet but a Blue Ocean and more ocean heatwaves are almost certainly correlated . So the ocean seems much more affected but of course nobody sees that and I doubt the heatwave last year matters to most people either but I can see it in my trees this year, dead branches.

Science / Re: Global Warming Would Stop Quickly After Emissions Go To Zero
« on: February 09, 2021, 03:16:10 PM »
The amount of shelf is relatively large for the Arctic Ocean. The shelf and areas shallower than the carbonate compensation depth act as long term carbonate sinks and so long as the saturation horizon doesn’t shoal too much the Arctic Oceans shelf area may prove to be an important part of the earths long term carbon burial system when the ice recedes. However if the saturation horizon shoals to the surface the Arctic and other oceanic carbon sinks will fail. So even though the Arctic oceans surface area is small it’s relatively large shelf area may prove important to earths ability to sink carbon over the next hundred thousand years .
Hat tip to Kassy

. The world's largest continental shelf extends 1,500 km (about 930 miles) from the coast of Siberia into the Arctic Ocean. › science › con...
Continental shelf | geology | Britannica

about 15% of the world's shelf seas (Menard and Smith 1966),

Science / Re: Carbon Cycle
« on: February 01, 2021, 06:00:00 PM »
Kassy, The Komar/ Zeebe paper is open access.

Thanks for the news article, now for some deep reading.

The forum / Re: Arctic Sea Ice Forum Humor
« on: December 29, 2020, 05:16:08 PM »
HapHazard, I have to claim ownership of  some part of your amusement . I am conflicted and from the comforts of my couch I question the cost of it. And for my amusement I struggle back through the layers of tools technology has straddled us with to try and figure a way around it . And maybe no we wouldn’t be humans without fire but it’s worth some experimenting , to make sure.

“Original Sin” Robinson Jeffers

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: December 12, 2020, 05:02:42 PM »
Yesterday I was in Atascadero and Paso Robles , two cities in northern San Luis Obispo County Ca.
Although San Luis county is in the Southern Calif. block of counties that have been ordered to shut down indoor dining there is a coordinated revolt and restaurants are still open to indoor dining. Paso Robles has been leading the case numbers for San Luis County for some time but leaving your restaurants open with the current surge in Southern Cal is  an invitation to get a Christmas surprise.
The county board voted to support the business owners and the police and sheriffs say they won’t enforce new restrictions. The county board later said they don’t have authority over state regulations but the business owners are hearing what they want to hear.
From a local paper”San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson and District Attorney Dan Dow on Tuesday both said they won’t strictly enforce the new state coronavirus rules or pursue criminal charges against residents who violate the stay-at-home order.

“Families and businesses in our county are struggling to keep their head above water and survive financially,” Dow said. “There is no sense in labeling a business owner or a business as a criminal for choosing to keep their business open in a manner that adequately protects their customers — who, by the way, are not being forced to enter their business.”

Read more here:

The counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo still do have intensive care beds available but if S.D,L.A. San Bernardino and Orange Counties fill their ICU beds the state ,I believe, would like to have the ability to send cases north. We are not acting like we are one country, one state or even a region ( Southern Calif. ) .  Every man for himself , and have a nice dinner.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: December 07, 2020, 06:20:46 PM »
might i mourn the plants never seeing the sun or feeling the warm breeze of a new spring day. The rabbits who would so enjoy the sweet green, the bugs that might otherwise bother us but feed a sky of birds. The fungi never grown, the soil as dead as a concrete slab. The air sanitized so the powered mildew never forms. All things controlled by panels and sensors but never feeling the soft touch of the gardener hands like all things are an end point to be rationalized, no circle of life. No circle of life and we wonder why the planet is dying ?  We are fucked up in the head.

Consequences / Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« on: December 01, 2020, 06:14:08 PM »
So we use Haber-Bosch to create ammonia , which releases lots of CO2, then we transport the resulting fertilizer and spread it with large transport and farming machinery , emitting more CO2, and then till and cultivate the land on a regular basis which degrades the soil biome and releases the soil carbon and results in a reduced capacity of the terrestrial carbon sink. And those processes have enabled humans to far exceed the carrying capacity of the planet even if we weren’t spitting out billions of tons of CO2 for airplanes, automobiles, and heating our homes.
 If there are still places in the world where people have lived for thousands of years without modern agriculture , without tractors, without synthetic fertilizers, and still fed their people then by all means we must convert them to our highly productive farming technologies so they too can become fat and lazy and forget their connection to the other creatures and plants we share the world with.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: November 21, 2020, 09:41:02 PM »

Re: Pathogens and their impacts
« Reply #355 on: December 31, 2019, 04:43:15 PM »
China Investigates SARS-like Virus as Dozens Struck by Pneumonia

Chinese health authorities on Tuesday said they are investigating 27 cases of viral pneumonia in central Hubei province, amid online speculation that it could be linked to the SARS flu-like virus that killed hundreds of people a decade ago.

Wuhan health officials issued an emergency notification on Monday after local hospitals treated a "successive series of patients with unexplained pneumonia."

Of the 27 reported cases, seven are in a critical condition and 18 are stable, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said on Tuesday on its Weibo social media account. ...

A 2003 outbreak of the highly-contagious SARS virus was covered up and killed hundreds of people.


We are approaching an anniversary. It has been quite the ride.
I think it does seem like people are letting their guard down and n-95 quality masks are by far a minority of PPE worn.
I think we will have a blog running  a year from now, I hope Voxmundi stays healthy and spiritually up to the task.

Policy and solutions / Re: Aviation
« on: November 18, 2020, 06:55:00 AM »
Not walking the walk !

Voxmundi, I do the shopping and today the toilet paper and paper towel shelves were mostly empty. The other thing that is unobtainium are quart canning jars.  I mean none , anywhere. Lids are hard to find also. I wonder whether the garden seed companies will keep up next spring? Hint hint I think getting next years gardens seeds better get done soon.
 Food preservation is pretty basic stuff, how well are people prepared ?

The politics / Re: Biden’s Presidency
« on: November 08, 2020, 06:16:34 PM »
Tom, Thanks but where did you fix your quote ? Saying we could “slow” sea level rise if we were to act isn’t the same as stopping sea level rise. When you put words with someone’s name you should use the words they used not your interpretation. Please fix your quote.
 Walrus , I noticed you deleted your post. Bad form . Maybe you should apologize but since you are patient with us radicals i’ll let it pass. I kinda like having a few republicans around. Too bad we Dems didn’t get the Senate back so we could see if the US might respond to global warming. Two democrat Senators from Georgia might be more than any runoff can produce, but I guess the odds aren’t much worse than slowing sea level rise. We are here watching the Arctic melt out. The ensuing Alberto flip is gonna seal the deal on sea level rise for a few tens of thousands of years and nothing will change that in the time we have left . ~35 years. Maybe we could have bought another decade or two back in 2008.
IMO we should be planning our descent and not hoping for miracles.


The politics / Re: Biden’s Presidency
« on: November 08, 2020, 04:31:32 PM »
Tom, Care to fix your quote with what Obama said ? Because slowing sea level rise might have actually been possible if we had acted. We all know you had other priorities and voted against Obama anyway but you could at least quote him correctly.

Walking the walk / Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« on: November 07, 2020, 07:53:09 PM »
I saw this post by Richard Heinberg. It is two parts with the second half an autobiography of his families efforts to wean themselves off fossil fuels.

Twenty years is a similar timeline to my farming efforts, biodiesel, solar, Tesla powerwalls, seed saving,
foraging and keeping a year or two of emergency dried crops of corn, wheat and acorns in storage.
 There needs to be more stories , autobiographies and honesty about costs, energy production ,storage and also land expenses that allow food without fossil fuels. I finally met a Post Doc researcher trying to model ways to wean ourselves from fossil fuel dependence in our food systems. He was of the opinion
that the farming equipment that will be necessary to transition will require government monies to facilitate.
Other people’s stories will each be different but Sigmenow has solar on her house and will have a Tesla soon. The amount of solar, storage , costs and efficacy her system delivers would be interesting to me. Kiwi is off grid and got started early and has his own story. Neven built a house with energy as a major design driver.
What other people need to know is what works and how much it costs.


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: November 06, 2020, 11:13:13 PM »
Kassy, You can’t simply silo every thought and make issues clearer. Politics and Covid are very much intertwined here in the U.S. and more so in Europe as things drag along.  Covid has already been pulled from the list of recent posts on the forum so you need to have enough interest to search “consequences” to read up on the latest. So too most political threads. What does it matter if people commingle them?

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: October 30, 2020, 04:59:06 PM »
Insects are making inroads into protein sources for animal feed. Factories that can control growing conditions for insects are getting investments and a company in France is building a mealy bug factory that can produce 100,000 tons of protein feed supplements a year.
 We do not have reduction plants for fish meal in Calif. because we don’t allow fish to be used for fish meal. Replacing the protein supplied by fish meal with insect based alternatives would take pressure off wild fish populations.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: October 29, 2020, 08:48:57 PM »
Archimid, I don’t see how you intend to control half the US population that will neither wear masks or get a vaccine either. Maybe this is uniquely a US problem but eradication isn’t possible unless a sizable portion of our population changes its skin. No change in leadership will change some lines already drawn. 
 I don’t know anyone planning on getting vaccinated until they are sure it is safe. If everyone needs shots every year then there will be too many places in the world that will serve as reservoirs of Coronavirus, like the flyover part of the US( even though nobody is flying ).
 If the Siberian Times researcher that re-exposed himself is correct and there is no long lasting immunity then we are in for many years of Covid .
 So how to live with current conditions as the new normal ? How to plan months from now or years from now? Will the hard right still refuse masks a year from now ? Because if they don’t change this is the new normal. The economy can’t take the new normal for long. Best prepare for a depression.
That is if the rest of the world expects the US consumer to return to growth ,growth, growth, we have a Covid problem and there is no solution. Sometimes a country needs to act together and right now I am very skeptical.

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: October 20, 2020, 06:05:18 PM »
This year in Sept.  it was Phoenix hot here in Santa Barbara county. 122F / 50C in Solvang.
Strange thing is it didn’t do as much damage to foliage as the the 108F we had in June a few years back. The September heatwave included smoke so thick it reduced direct radiation on plant leaves. I also wonder if foliage is more vulnerable in early growth stage. But somehow our furnace hot example of what is to come didn’t bother anyone enough to do any follow up reporting on a historic heatwave/ nobody noticed. There were willows that scorched their leaves and strangely they are putting out new leaves as fall has arrived even though the other deciduous trees are getting ready to drop theirs.
 Real estate is booming. People are trying to get out of the cities. The heat or potential heatwaves are inconsequential in peoples decision matrix. If you can afford to buy here , air conditioning is just part of cost of living.   

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: October 11, 2020, 03:05:32 AM »
My test result came back negative. It only took ten hours. Restores my faith in PPE. I have tried to always wear a good mask and change it with each use. Reuse after 7-10 days.
I would do the same again, isolation if I thought it was needed. A fast test return is encouraging.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: October 10, 2020, 03:59:31 PM »
Archimid, I still am feeling normal, no cough, no temperature. Can’t smell anything except an occasional waft of pig poo. Hives were just a day or two. I still can do my work on the farm. Feeling normal might be one of the things that gets people in trouble because taking it easy is usually part of convalescing.
 I got my test yesterday and man does it tickle, it tickles way up in your head where you normally don’t get tickles. Kinda where sneezes start.
 Isolating away from family isn’t as easy for most people. I don’t know how single parent families keep their houses running. Getting your friends to keep a distance requires some reminding.
 Thanks for thinking of me.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: October 08, 2020, 09:49:29 PM »
Thanks to all for what I have learned about Covid. I know enough to assume if I have this thing I may have already exposed my wife. But camping in the shed is at least a hope that she stays well. So we called county health and they just referred me back to my test tomorrow night. There isn’t any fast test like the “daily” test for the Court of Orange.
 So you gotta just assume the worst about exposing other people( and isolate ) and take some solace from knowing exposure to the sun, eating fish, and maybe some zinc gummies can maybe help. And CBD for good measure.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: October 08, 2020, 05:32:00 PM »
Gandul, Maybe a generalization but no harm intended me thinks. Mostly our healthcare has been expensive for the lower classes so people, myself included, tend to avoid the doctor or dentist if we can. I think US healthcare for the rich is probably pretty good.
 I think my luck has run out and I am going to try and get a Covid test. I came down with hives three days ago and then yesterday lost my sense of smell. Scratched a tangerine, nada, a garlic, nada, pine needles between the fingers nothing. Otherwise I feel fine , no fever, no cough. I fed the critters and did chores, luckily pigs are immune. Maybe about five days in now.
 I moved into my drying shed because I really don’t want to infect my wife. I don’t know what I would do without her, she is pushing 80. I should probably wait for test results before posting because I don’t want to be a drama queen. 
 I didn’t realize hives were another symptom but the lack of smell made me check. Two symptoms is more than suspicious. Damn.
 I called for an appointment. Testing only five days a week so earliest appointment  is tomorrow night and results take about five days so if I caught this five days ago wait two days more to get tested and five more for results I will have about twelve days before knowing where I stand.  Staying in an unseated shed without electricity another week unless we can find a better option. So yes gandul US healthcare is third world unless you have stroke. Politicians, professional sports, and medical. I took an online self test and it said I didn’t need testing but that is probably an old site that really should be taken down. And that my friends is why the US is happily killing off it’s citizenry. We suck.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: October 07, 2020, 08:40:28 PM »
Amarillo Texas,

So in Amarillo bars are still open in restaurants, cigarettes are allowed in bars and restaurants, and restaurants are allowed to fill to 75% of capacity. So whole restaurants are filled with people NOT wearing masks.

The Big Texan Steak House and Brewery has a capacity of 500. Can you imagine ~ 400 people eating and drinking together in one big room, and nobody wearing masks ?  Reminds me of a line from Country Joe and The Fish, Whoopee we all gonna die. The Big Texan however doesn’t allow cigarettes, Applebee’s does.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: October 04, 2020, 08:46:39 PM »
Ralfy, I only said concern troll because you seemed to paint a picture that is dire without suggesting alternatives. You of course may be correct and I often feel we are facing something close to impossible myself. I look to primitivism as an answer but I have to acknowledge it is only a solution for a greatly reduced population. Sorry if I helped chase you away because I tend to agree with you on many points you make. The internet is rather callous sometimes.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: October 02, 2020, 04:55:19 AM »
SteveMD, Even though Ralfy does seem to be concern trolling I can not agree EROEI is irrelevant to the discussion of renewables.
 For Ralfy I would like to hear what options he feels will extradite us from our conundrum.

 We have spent enormous amounts of money since 2008 trying to float oil prices and production. We have succeeded in maintaining BAU with fracked oil but the investment made hasn’t resulted in making fracking economically viable. The Saudi oil fields seem to need more and more rigs to maintain production. Without cheap money ( borrowed from future generations ) oil would be in decline.EROEI
is catching up with us but if oil prices rise so too will the costs of mining, transport, and manufacture of materials needed for any energy transition. I can’t figure out how so many of my friends here don’t see the problem with borrowing more and more money to power our society. I know the stock market is doing well and those of you with stocks, bonds, and paper investments are doing better than ever but for those of us still stuck with manual labor as our means of support have to deal with returns on our labors. How much I can earn is  often dependent upon  EROEI decisions. That is why I try to think about energy costs of tools and what returns I can expect.  If your income is dependent upon anything as irrational as the stock market then by all means ignore my problems , they don’t affect you. Yet

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: October 02, 2020, 03:25:57 AM »
Dear SH, As a fisherman and a farmer I think getting your vitamins from naturals sources like vegetables and fish is a good idea. Sardines or Mackerel are both high in vitamin D and relatively inexpensive. Our personal eating habits are something that can affect our health and I believe many many Americans make very bad food choices on a daily basis. Junk food is called junk for a good reason. IMO sugar is over the timeframe of decades more deadly than Covid. If you don’t think you are addicted yourself try eating a diet that contains zero added sugar. Almost impossible to constrain your sugar intake unless you cook your own food from natural sources. I have been poor enough to know junk food is cheap. People need to take responsibility for their food choices, it might even save a few primary producers like me or provide jobs in food production for ethnic minorities who often grow our vegetables, at least where I live.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 23, 2020, 01:23:05 PM »
I am willing to spend what money ,time and effort I have to try and prove battery / electrics can produce more food calories than the fossil fuel calories it took to manufacture these tools. When more manufacturing and heavy transport are converted to solar / electrics my job will get easier ! 
Whatever I do is pretty useless unless others begin to try similar efforts. Maybe there is value in me quantifying my results, not because I expect anyone to follow in my footsteps but just to spark someone else’s imagination. Farming with solar electrics is very much infant in development.
 I remain skeptical not for want of trying. I have managed to maintain self employment at fishing and farming my entire life. The odds have never been in my favor. Converting marginally viable food production methods of small farming or fishing into ones powered by renewables is incredibly difficult partly due to the truly impossible task of buying new tools with primary production that simply doesn’t pay. Most everyone alive reading this is dependent on a food system that is in deep trouble. Partly that is because food and commodity prices are so low. So part of making this work will be people willing to spend more of their disposable income on food. Tools and machinery that is already paid for and should last several decades will need to be replaced by people and businesses only marginally profitable.
 I got complimented today by somebody who only knows me from watching my farming efforts as he went about his business over the last twenty years. He said “ thanks for trying to farm “ . My neighbors also compliment my labors because they can see me working seven days a week for decades. I have never been able to explain why I have solar, batteries, and do so much labor with so few tools to assist me.
Nobody ever says they would like to do something similar. No they like the idea of freedom, the space,and less craziness of city life, they like the animals. But nobody ever says I too would like to be self sufficient and feed myself. Nobody seems to understand why I am pursuing electrics.
 My brain just can’t get around the idea that we can have the life we have been living and we can do it all with some other power source. So I try to construct from the bottom up a new way to farm to prove something to myself. I really believe you gotta walk before you can run .
 I have to admit the public’s attitude about local food has really changed over the last 9 months. I imagine feeding yourself will gain adherents if times get harder still.
 My apologies to Oren , Etienne, and  Steve if I just sound hardheaded. I should be able to get my head around why EROEI doesn’t work but my brain fails me. Sometimes though hardheadedness and a solitary pursuit of something as simple as a renewable food system is all one man can juggle and not go nuts.


Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 22, 2020, 08:20:53 PM »
Steve, I was only counting the fossil fuel energy it took to manufacture one small tool. If that manufacturing energy can be replaced with solar,wind, hydro then I will agree that energy doesn’t matter. For now we haven’t replaced fossil fuel energy for manufacture, smelting, or long distance transport. I know there are prospects and hydro made smelting aluminum possible but I wonder how much aluminum smelting is really hydro powered today ? What is possible and what is actually used has far more to do with profit and loss . Renewable energy must not be economically competitive .
 And that’s where we end up when we use $ instead of EROEI

“In 2005, the amounts of hydro and coal power used to make aluminum were roughly the same at around 200,000 gigawatt hours each, according to the International Aluminum Institute (IAI). A decade later the hydro figure had changed little, whereas coal had leapt to around 450,000 GWh.”

So where do you suppose Tesla sources their aluminum,China, Russia, or Norway ?

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 22, 2020, 06:27:00 PM »
 I used EROEI in trying to calculate how much energy was used to create electric gardening tools and the solar / battery necessary to power them verses how many food calories could be produced with those tools before they wear out and need replacing. And since I am lazy all I learned is it takes a lot of food calories to equal even the small amount of power needed to manufacture batteries, metal, and solar cells for one small electric tiller.  Several seasons of food calories worth so you need your equipment to last several seasons more to come out ahead. I think doing the same calculations for calorie payback of large items like tractors would result in manufacturing energy that never gets repaid in food calories. That is the 10 calories of fossil fuel energy used to manufacture and operate equipment never yields 10 calories of food.
 Maybe I am wrong but if we are going to live without fossil fuels we have to figure out how to feed ourselves with equipment that was manufactured with solar, wind, hydro energy. So we aren’t worried about this problem enough to even calculate the numbers let alone design a way out of it.
 But we are star struck by Tesla making cars with fossil fuel energy just because they use less energy than a car that runs and is manufactured with fossil fuel. Because we are addicted to driving around in big metal boxes we rationalize using less energy as good enough and we believe that the manufacturing can someday also be converted to solar/ wind sources. Maybe so maybe not but I would like someone with some solid numbers, or something like the science Oren expects out of Ralfy to spell it out for me.
 Maybe I am a simpleton but if the energy it takes to smelt shovel and hoe blades never repays itself with food calories then nothing else is going to ever pay back. Again maybe I am a simpleton but if we can’t prove a very simple food system ever repays it’s energy debt then how do we think we can rationalize Tesla sized fossil fuel manufacturing that never produces any calorie returns at all. 
 We got here because some farmer figured out how to grow more calories than he needed and civilizations were developed on the excess. Now run that calculation back to where those first farmers succeeded. Slaves and beasts of burden were our power sources. The smelting of metal allowed plows to improve but the energy in extra food calories produced still was net positive I suppose. Somewhere when we went steam and coal the numbers went upside down and building bigger and bigger machines with more and more fossil fuel energy has resulted in more and more food but a very upside down EROEI. 
 To deconstruct we would start over but instead we are trying to repower the monster. If the top ten percent had to grow their own food without using any fossil fuel , slaves or beasts of burden our problem would be much smaller and it would only last a decade or two till they all died of starvation.
But we prefer the war machine that civilization created with more borrowed energy. And we will die together.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: September 21, 2020, 06:08:59 PM »
Speaking of poo, I wonder if anyone is looking at marine mammals if our sewage carries Coronavirus out to sea?  Is the Coronavirus they find in sewage still viable? Maybe it’s a good thing the cruise ships are on the ways. I think they have to dump 3 miles offshore, outside state waters.
 Yes somebody is looking at marine mammals

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: September 14, 2020, 12:15:27 AM »
Big pot party in the wallow down by the barn !
Where is everybody ?

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: September 13, 2020, 10:41:13 PM »
Good boy Bruce !

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 13, 2020, 05:45:03 PM »
Oren, Equipments costs and scale are related. So many chores require different equipment , cultivating requires less horsepower than deep tilling. But tilling , even small scale farming, requires horsepower. Diesel is so powerful and a diesel engine can last decades. A diesel pickup can still haul a ton of vegetables to market thirty or forty years after it was made. A new diesel pickup might cost $60,000 or $70,000 new but that same truck will lose value long before it loses utility. That is why I bought a twenty year old truck that I am still driving ten years later, but yes maintaining it adds costs. But a decent truck that still has a couple decades of use in it would cost maybe $25,000. Farm equipment loses value slower I think but engine hours tells a bigger story than age. A nice old 50 horse tractor with a couple decades of use in it ~ $10,000. Should cost very little to maintain. Sid could probably ballpark equipment costs better than I can because I am so small and cheap I don’t buy much and never have. But no matter how low you can get your costs down scale becomes an issue.
 Very small and frugal equipments costs for 10-20 acres, one small and one larger tractor $16,000 used
$25,000 used truck. But equipment for farming a thousand acres wouldn’t cost 16,000 + 25,000 x 100.
Even new equipment would be cheaper I think. Again Sid could do a better job with the numbers.
 I cannot imagine how battery electrics will power thousand acre farm machinery. There are options of pulling around electric cables that make much better sense to me. Batteries only needed to get back and forth from the barn to the field and the cable connection. Small farms seem practical for battery electrics at least in concept but affordability is something else.
 One of the biggest issues is farm produce prices. Although equipment costs, land costs , labor, and fuel have gone up two or three fold over the last couple decades the price we are paid for produce has remained constant. I tell people to think about $1 a pound vegetables. How many 40lb boxes does it take to make $40,000 gross ? Now think about how much work goes into growing, picking, packing and transporting those thousand boxes of vegetables. Now take out your overhead. Off topic I suppose.
I always sound so pessimistic but I am willing to buy those tools I need to prove , at least prove to myself, that battery/electrics are relevant to farming. It works for my home, I am comfortable, it works for very microscale production. I am just finishing up hand harvesting my Indian corn crop. By hand and with my little electric cultivator I have about ~ 400-500lbs. in the drying shed. Wheat is not finished enough to get a good weight estimate but maybe 75lbs.  So as an adjunct to lots of hand labor solar water pumping and a small electric tiller can feed a family.  400-500lbs. of cornmeal and a 50lb sack of flour isn’t worth much in $ but for me it has been a lifetime of effort to get here. I grew other vegetables with my electrics also but corn and wheat can easily be converted into food calories for counting purposes. Will it scale up , yes I think so but profitability and self sufficiency are different subjects. What is self sufficiency worth ? Nothing until you are hungry.
 If I can get an electric tractor it will happen long before I can purchase an old used model three although I have wondered how well an old Tesla might pull a one bottom plow... won’t scale.

A new 30 horse John Deere ~ $20,000

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy Transition and Consumption
« on: September 13, 2020, 03:17:36 PM »
Very few people in Western societies are employed by primary production. Farming, fishing, mining, and forestry are dominated by corporate businesses. None of the primary production businesses large or small are powered by renewable energy and until the  transportation sector is transformed into electrics the transport of primary production goods is also fossil fuel dependent.
 There is a slow transition of home electricity and personal transport into “renewable” options but those options are still expensive so the transition to renewables is largely from the one percent. There is not a transition into renewables from primary producers and transport because those options don’t exist.
Yes Tesla has a semi on the drawing boards and NEXT year there may be one or two companies selling battery electric farm ~ 30 horsepower farm tractors but any transition imagined will be very expensive for decades into the future. Here is a nice 30 horse battery electric tractor for ~ $40,000. It is no more than a toy to corporate farming scales of production.
 Even with subsidies available converting a small farm to renewable options is expensive. There just aren’t examples where you can look at the costs of the ” renewable “ infrastructure and the yield in calories for what is produced. There has to be more food calories produced than the calories it took to manufacture the renewables or we are just talking BAU. The ten fossil fuel calories to produce one calorie of food is simply unsustainable and you’d think someone would be working on at least reducing that ten to one number but I have never seen one example or even one proposed study to test currently available “ renewable “ options.
 For example my 5kWh home solar cost $22,000 installed, $12,000 after rebates
                   my 27kWh powerwalls cost $22,000 installed $12,000 after rebates
Small electric tractor $40,000
Electric truck to get produce to market $40,000plus
Land costs, fertilizer, well pumps, and a solar home are more costs.

 So you are looking at three or four years of wages for low end earners even in the 1% class to just purchase enough “ renewables “ to get started with a very small farm that likely couldn’t ever pay back the investment before all those batteries needed replacing.  That doesn’t consider land costs or taxes.
 So even though I am making good headway in testing what is currently available and I am very happy with a solar/battery home it is still more or less a hobby farm. How many other people would purchase a $40,000 tractor before they get their nice model 3 ?  Very few I assume and as long as we are content to remain dependent upon the corporate food system to feed us this situation will not change until the profit margin of that decision favors “ renewable “ farming infrastructure.
 In Calif. you really need to be a millionaire to buy a farm with good dirt and water . Then you need to fork over a couple hundred thousand more to get solar/ battery equipment to run a farm that will never pay back your investment.
 So ralfy’s opinion reflects current reality and until somebody figures out how to feed us all it will be BAU to the wall. Trying to do all of the above after the climate throws  more 122F days at me , and drought years expand , and food production and price competition remains dominated by fossil fuel
produced food is ( pick your adjective ) .
 Everyone’s decision matrix is still dominated by comfort. Food can be ignored, the climate is someone’s else’s problem and the extinction we are precipitating is just bad news , or fake news. We will still buy shining new cars and oversized homes and hope someone else feeds us. I am not sure it’s better than nothing because it is just so damn frivolous.

Consequences / Re: Heatwaves
« on: September 09, 2020, 08:51:33 PM »
I checked with the organic farmers I know and sunburn on tomatoes, chilies and sensitive crops were not as large as expected. Although the temperature here in the valley reached 122F in Solvang there wasn’t as much sunburn damage as heatwaves we have experienced that didn’t reach anything like 122F. I can only assume the smoke moderated the intensity of sunlight reaching the ground.

Antarctica / Re: Ice Apocalypse - MULTIPLE METERS SEA LEVEL RISE
« on: September 09, 2020, 06:35:23 PM »
Fish out of water, The alkalinity of seawater affects the saturation state of aragonite so as pH goes down while alkalinity is reduced the saturation state goes down. Shellfish have a harder time making shells. If on the other hand if CO2 goes up ( pH goes down ) and alkalinity is increased the saturation state can be maintained. Temperature is less important than alkalinity IMO because the timeframe of rebuilding buffer capacity is much longer than timeframes necessary to change surface water temperatures.   

Antarctica / Re: Ice Apocalypse - MULTIPLE METERS SEA LEVEL RISE
« on: September 09, 2020, 06:07:41 PM »
ASLR, I find the sentence in the abstract KB Rodgers paper kinda confusing.
“We find under an RCP8.5 emissions pathway (with steady circulation) that the cumulative airborne fraction of CO2 has a seven‐fold reduction by 2100 when the CO2 buffering capacity of surface seawater is maintained at pre‐industrial levels.”
The buffer capacity of the oceans is reduced as the pH is pushed into lower numbers by addition of CO2. So the result will be the oceans are less able to uptake CO2 because the buffer is reduced. The alkalinity of the oceans builds over very long term timelines while the CO2 increase is virtually instantaneous. The buffer capacity cannot be rebuilt in timeframes relevant to humans IMO .
 The sentence should be more direct. It should state that under current RCP 8.5 scenarios the ocean carbon sink will be reduced seven fold by 2100 due to a reduction of the buffer capacity of surface waters.

 As the oceans buffer capacity is reduced the CO2 that currently enters the oceans will instead stay in the atmosphere. The ocean will not return to their current ability to absorb one quarter of atmospheric CO2 emissions for tens of thousands of years. The farther we push atmospheric CO2 numbers up the longer it will take earth to recover. Which is why this is an extinction event.

CO2, half to atmosphere, one quarter to oceans, one quarter to land. Short term
In the long run almost all of it ends up in the oceans. The ocean sends it into DIC in the deep ocean
( thousand year sink )carbonate sedimentation on the shelves( million year sink ) , DOC intermediate waters( fifty year sink )as well as causing acidification of  the oceans as carbonic acid becomes carbonate( with release of hydrogen ions ) and bicarbonate. Acidification may last 100,000 years until terrestrial sources deliver enough silicates ,carbonates and bicarbonate to balance ocean pH.

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: September 08, 2020, 08:04:48 PM »
Gerontocrat,  You may have called the top awhile back.

Re: Tesla glory/failure
« Reply #5994 on: August 31, 2020, 04:45:52 PM »
Stock split only producing a 5.something% share price uptick as at 10.45 a.m. EDT.

Chickenfeed!! Sell, sell, sell!!!

Consequences / Re: Heatwaves
« on: September 08, 2020, 07:36:39 PM »
Thanks nanning. I don’t have many problems really. Vegetable farmers I know have lots vast amounts of tomatoes , chilies, walnuts, avocados  and field crops that sunburn during heatwaves. Second large loss for this season.
 Yes we have ostriches and emu farms that are really just excuses for tapping into tourist dollars. Tourists buy little buckets of feed for very high prices and feed the ostriches. Fun for the kids but not a farm so much as a tourist trap. We also have lots of winery’s and tasting rooms , gambling casinos, and
a Danish themed tourist trap named Solvang. Los Angeles is within day trip range and we collect hobby farmers and wealthy city folks seeking “ retirement in the country “. Pot and grapes are not food however so the most valuable crops are inebriates. The heatwave was terrible for the grapes but pot loves the heat. Pot taxes have been a boon  to the county coffers while the hotels, restaurants and service economy taxes have gone missing.
 Strawberries are also an important county crops that has dumped more methyl bromide into the atmosphere than whole countries in Europe. I don’t know what crop losses they had from the heatwave but I suppose strawberries burn in the heat also.

Consequences / Re: Heatwaves
« on: September 07, 2020, 10:24:28 PM »
Here is a story about Santa Barbara hitting 125F back in the mission period. Santa Barbara closer to the beach than San Luis Obispo.

Here in Buellton we were at 112F for hours yesterday. I used a one day 25kWh( single day record for this year )  from the grid because air conditioner couldn’t keep up even though we had the thermostat set at 86F.  I spent several hours outside keeping wallows full. I have a sow very, very ready to have babies but I am glad yesterday wasn’t the day. Muy Caliente!

US small farm survey, mostly women and young farmers. One third may go out of business if conditions don’t change.

On a personal note my farm has benefited by CSA ( community supported agriculture ) box delivery and online frozen pork sales. I have not made one sale to a restaurant in 6 months. The CSA boxes that I am helping to fill have gone from 150 monthly subscriptions to over 600 monthly boxes and so far people are not dropping out. It remains very difficult to plan for a year from now or two years from now and how much production/sales will return to pre-Covid norms. I could double or triple production and sell it right now but it takes 16-24 months between when I put a sow and a boar together and when their resulting offspring go to market. So if conditions return to pre-Covid sales patterns I could be stuck with a hundred pigs I couldn’t sell should I decide to increase production.
 Other farmers I know are getting divorces and giving it up because the stresses of failure are always hard on young dreamers who want to farm. Even in good times someone in the farm family works a normal job and someone else farms their ass off and loses money. Most years I make less than minimum wage for hours worked and some years like last year I lose 10 or 20 grand. This year looks better for me but I would guess most farmers small and large will do worse this year than last.

Freegrass, Although I consider it a complement to be called a scientist I am just well read on acidification and the carbon cycle.
 After reading some more it seems like olivine does make a good candidate for carbon sequestration but it involves silica and diatoms rather than calcifying phytoplankton. And when you improve  the environmental conditions for diatoms they can sometimes outcompete calcifying organisms by consuming available nitrogen and phosphorus. But there are vast stretches of ocean that are depleted of dissolved silica and additions to those areas might be beneficial in diatoms growth.
 Biological processes take surface carbon to depth so I can see where diatom growth and associated ballasting of organic carbon can improve the efficiency of the carbon sink but if dissolved nickel gets to toxic levels it can deter algae so it is a delicate balancing act. I suspect it will work best in specific regions that are both depleted in dissolved silica and somewhere that large coastal stands of kelp wouldn’t be threatened.

The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: August 28, 2020, 03:11:15 AM »
 There are different reasons we are here maybe. Some people have very good graphic skills and present data in ways that make looking at each melting season as both a new season and one we can compare to the past. There are others interested in specific research or core areas of interest and usually only comment in certain threads or related threads. But there are also plenty of us more generally interested I assume.
 I have a history here that maybe could be summarized as food related. So if someone was focused on glaciers or Antarctica or the maths I might not even exist.
 I think others try to shape all the data coming at them through lenses that needs agree with their preconceived notion of how things are . For these individuals the argument needs fit their personal narrative. And that which doesn’t , needs to be fought back. Some of these people seem to take much interest in argument. So when someone who has some deeply held theory that meets lots of pushback from other members they can look harder and harder for arguments that support their theory , and cherry pick, and maybe try slander, or even eventually try conspiracy narratives.  It is hard to ignore.
 So how does the issue resolve if two people with opposed theory's are willing to pursue familiar tactics of cherry picking, slander, and conspiracy ?  And that is where the larger group reaches in to squash all the dissidence. It is an endless loop if there is no control at all so the group intervenes. And maybe some people are good at monitoring the peace and not much else. Some people seem wise and humble and can hold their own on many threads and the rest of us allow some moderation, for the common good. Yes maybe outside the box thinking gets muted somewhat but everyone else gets to read on lots of subjects outside their expertise and have some confidence that arguments are balanced and persuasive without people getting belligerent. Some people are fair about managing a diverse group
and thank god for that.
 Call it my theory of civil will, practiced by group that can pull it off for awhile till chaos again reigns.   

The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: August 25, 2020, 02:08:41 AM »
Neven, see #1159 above for Rod
 Sorry Neven but IMO it might be a little quieter without having to dodge daggers.
This is an amazing place and I have no idea why we have all gone bonkers lately. I will look forward to freezing season.

The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: August 24, 2020, 05:31:00 PM »
Nanning, Thanks for pointing out the loss of Johnm33. Johnm33 posted regularly on the “ Arctic Ocean salinity, temp and waves” thread. He was very interested in internal waves. It is hard to visualize internal waves breaking against a slope and the mixing and turbulence that results. I am glad he forced me to try to get my head around the concept. Goodby John.


From post #621 “Arctic Ocean Salinity temp and waves”

So melt ponds do allow more light and heat through the ice than the white ice that results from melt ponds draining. Documented.

From other reading I can’t immediately source. When saltwater freezes the salt remaining in the ice forms little tubes as it drains down through the ice. Those little tubes allow bubbles to form when melt ponds drain and the water inside the tubes is allowed to drain out . So the ice becomes “white ice” after melt ponds drain and albedo increases.

Not the same article I was talking about but shows tubes in the ice and says they result in bubbles inside the ice.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 22, 2020, 08:49:30 PM »
Morganism, There is mention of cable bacteria reducing methane in rice cultivation. Here is an article about the cable bacteria study on rice cultivation. I wonder if it might be used somehow to treat other agricultural effluent streams that could reduce methane production from agriculture?

Utilizing natural processes to effect a reduction in methane might create a new career choice , a cable bacteria farmer. Where can I buy some ?

Here is the open access paper on cable bacteria and rice cultivation.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: August 21, 2020, 05:33:01 AM »
Alexander 555, I still would advise you to look at working examples. Survival foods deliver calories so think grain, corn, acorns, dried beans, rice, potatoes. I gave you an example of how people 150 years ago grew their own food. I have raised and eaten enough food to keep my wife and I fed for a few months. Delivering up that 5000 calories is plenty doable for one man but you have to focus on carbohydrates, starches, and calories . I have serious doubts about tomatoes, lettuce or salads resulting in much success with feeding a family long term. Fine if you have your calories already in the larder but knowing how to grow ,harvest, and store dried crops is a totally different perspective than gardening for pleasure.
 Maybe it is pointless to practice growing methods that modern agriculture replaced over a hundred years ago but if you want to know how to feed yourself that is the gardening you need to be practicing. That and foraging. Like El CID says our fossil fuel modern agriculture can feed 10 billion people. Just add fuel, I’m sure it will last a couple more decades.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: August 21, 2020, 02:27:47 AM »

Dent corn almost finished. The only good thing about 100F weather is good drying conditions.

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