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Messages - Bruce Steele

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Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: July 18, 2018, 02:37:43 AM »
Pig farmers are losing herds of pigs all across Russia, Poland and many other countries as African Swine Fever spreads now westward. Wild pig populations harbor the disease and moves it across borders.
 Here is a list of cases of virulent animal disease cases worldwide. African Swine Flu is attributed to place , date etc.

This isn't a problem that disease control can eradicate anytime soon, think decades . This is a disease that can survive meat curing processes and infect wild or domestic pigs that might be fed food scraps .
This is how African Swine Fever moved from Africa to Europe and Russia.

Geoff,  I think the Calif Air Resourses Board is proud of their new report , where we are as a measure of where we need to go.
I haven't gone into the report but the first two circle charts are interesting. We have good hydro resources and there are thousands
of acres of solar already installed. The report does include the CO2 emissions of imported electricity. Metal for imported cars? I don't know.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: July 11, 2018, 11:41:02 PM »
ASI.  Shared Humanity said he had quit eatting fish do to concerns about overfishing around the world.
SH lives in the US and because all fish products in the US have country of origin labels he can choose to eat fish from well managed fish stocks if he chooses "product of USA" labels. Also and importantly he can choose to eat fish products that come with a much lower carbon footprint than beef, one of his protein choices.
 I read your links and yes there are very big corporate interests involved with international fishing fleets. So too are there huge corporate investments in soy , cattle , palm oil, and any number of terrestrially damaging agricultural practices . We as consumers can choose how we respond by what it is we choose to purchase. I have been a commercial fisherman, a vegetable farmer and pig farmer. I would prefer to totally withdraw from any purchase of corporate produced food. To live as close to the land ( and sea ) as I can and do so without using fossil fuels. Food represents about one third of most people's carbon footprint. Getting that reduced to near zero is about as fanciful as Mars missions to harvest mana. I am trying to get to zero... Probably just nuts !
 It bothers me that IPCC says we have to get CO2 emissions to near zero within a few short decades but there is no organized effort to do so for our food systems. We can't even imagine how to do so. We don't even talk about it . So it's easy to condemn corporate fishing or farming but what we should
instead be doing is measuring the carbon footprint of the various food production methods  available and striving to convert our diets to the least damaging. Then we should figure out how to reach perfection.

Arctic sea ice / Re: What the Buoys are telling
« on: July 11, 2018, 05:03:38 AM »
Tor Bejnar, I should have put buoy data here but it's been kinda quiet without cameras , ice mass buoy data or other tethered profilers. I think the little blip in the Temperature / Salinity data from ITP 108 is one of the best cyclone disturbance signals I have seen in seven years of watching the ITP WHOI data.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: July 10, 2018, 11:57:06 PM »
The Arctic cyclone last week passed over the only ITP buoy working this year.  It did register a small
.4 degree jump in Sea Surface temperature and a contemporaneous jump in salinity down to ~ 10 meters. The effects are short lived as conditions are currently returning to those before the little GAC.
See ITP T/S contours

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: July 10, 2018, 09:54:16 PM »
SH, " Terrestrial agriculture is the largest driver of biodiversity loss since the last asteroid"
US fishermen are not distroying fisheries ! So you may have your beef with seafood but maybe you could show me some supporting evidence of your claims ? Don't eat imported fish ,you can even reduce your carbon footprint if you select wisely.
Number of US overfished fish stocks at all time low.

Fish management is something we do rather well .

Matt Powers , a permaculture teacher and author visited my farm early this spring. We talked about acorns, piggy bio, and living on a small farm. Matt wrote this article about Acorns for Permaculture Magazine. There is a picture of some Holm oak acorns drying in my drying shed.

I have been using this electric wheel hoe for several years , made by carts and tools.
It works great as a cultivator but it is a long way from a tractor . It is a lot better than manual wheel hoe. 

Buddy, How long until a major tractor manufacture builds  a little EV tractor that can pull a one bottom plow two or three hours without a charge ? Building big expensive equipment doesn't mean we will ever get something practical for a small farmer... read inexpensive . 
 Tesla for example can produce a high end model S but getting the more moderately priced model 3 down below $35K is a real challenge. Same issues will apply for tractors I assume. I think we are still a decade or more away . China might see the value in supporting their agricultural sector by building nice small EV tractors but here competing at the low end price point is corporate Hara Kiri.

Bob, "  u must realize that will not happen. "
I think it will happen . It will happen after all the techno utopian experiments have resulted in failure, it will happen after  we have reduced earths carrying capacity much below it's current capacity. There will be many many fewer of us and we won't have any other options left.
 Poor dirt farmers will inherit the wreckage of your want because you fail to disintegrate want and need. You fail to give other living creatures their chance at life again because of a choice between wants and needs. Your wants over their needs. BAU

Two things, Time and being earnest
  We have only very few decades to do one of two things.
We figure out how to convert all technology to renewable energy sources and figure out how to power atmospheric carbon capture
 or convert back into subsistence agriculture... all of us.
Subsistence farming has the advantage of ten thousand years of trial and error already accrued .
Agriculture is the only way we know that we can currently sink tens of gigatonnes of atmospheric carbon.
There are millions of people who live and farm and survive without emitting >2 tons CO2 per year
They don't fly around the world on annual vacations
They don't have a/c
They don't have cars

Pity that we don't honor them
So if I had one giant change it would be we honored the poor dirt farmer and wanted to be like them.

Consequences / Re: Decline in insect populations
« on: June 19, 2018, 03:08:17 AM »
Jai, The swallows like to nest in the awnings on my house also . I anticipate their arrival around March 15 every year. When I see the first a arrivals I make and maintain a mud puddle by the horse trough so they will have some mud to harvest. Some years I have swallows harvesting mud and flying off to other farmhouses to nest. Having a few dozen swallows around helps keep some insects in check. When fall arrives and the fledglings get their wings and return south ,with their parents ,I always notice more cabbage moths in the garden. 
 We also have phoebes that are resident and also are insectivores. The bird population doesn't seem too bad around here but it is very evident there just Aren't as many bugs splattered on the windshield as when I was younger. I know there are terrible insecticides in use , chlorpyrifos renders many local watersheds devoid of insect life. EPA was supposed to ban the stuff but Obama lagged and Trump
/ Pruit totally overrode any regulations to get rid of the crap. Dow got their Campaign payback early.


Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 13, 2018, 09:23:07 PM »
Using compost to build soil health isn't anything new. Land that has been conventionally farmed will respond quickly to cover cropping and added compost. Worms return and after a few seasons the ground will get softer and retain water better . Farming takes time and effort. Moving tons and tons  of compost has it's own carbon footprint in trucking , or chipping, loaders, and spreaders. The trick is to produce tonnage of organic material close to where it can be used . Utilizing the waste steam of urban yard waste is better than putting yard waste into the landfill but it comes with a big carbon footprint attached.
 So ideally a farm could grow and coppice some trees and chip them with a biodiesel tractor fueled by biodiesel also produced with farm grown vegetable oil and animal fat. Chickens could be raised on the farm and their manure used to compost the wood chips. The resulting compost is used in increasing the carbon content of the land you use to produce fruit and vegetables for humans as well as forage and grains for farm animals.
 I am getting close to the above ideal farm. I rented a chipper for some brush clearing I had to do for fire abatement so that wasn't ideal . I also have many more farm animals than I can feed with farm grown forage and grains but that is because I also need to pay bills. If I only had to feed my wife and I and a much smaller number of farm animals I think I could get to that ideal farm where I didn't use fossil fuel and I increased my farms soil carbon.
 Getting to that ideal farm while at the same time earning a living is truly the brass ring. I don't know that farm or that farmer. Amish I would imagine are farming that farm ... Somewhere.

Policy and solutions / Re: Seaweed and Seashell Farming
« on: June 13, 2018, 02:34:49 AM »
Mitch is correct. Kelp absorbs CO2( pCO2 or carbonic acid ) and reduces the amount of pCO2 in seawater. This results in an increase in pH. This is a good thing and decreases acidification locally but as the kelp dies and is consumed by animals or bacterially reduced the pCO2 is released and seawater pH drops.
 It may seem counterintuitive but the formation of shells results in the release of Hydrogen ions and a drop in seawater pH.  So shell formation adds to acidification .

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 10, 2018, 10:48:03 PM »
Welcome to the forum queenie. I agree with all of your reservations about indoor artificial lighted growing systems. In addition to the points you made I would add one more. Agriculture properly done has the potential to sink carbon in the soil . Under the best practices possible organic farming might even operate net negative carbon . The "Plenty" model doesn't have carbon farming as a goal . I tried to investigate the website but it was junk.

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: June 05, 2018, 05:59:40 PM »
Oren, I come here to listen, mostly lately. I am getting lazy because i find myself filtering out names ,  I haven't blocked anyone but there are names I just read over. In the longer haul I much value what so many well argued members of this forum have to say. It used to be easy and seemed so cordial .
 I would like to say I value your opinion, it is worth seeking out .
  Just a paranoid thought but if AI was malicious wouldn't it be easy enough to break up a cordial conversation , inject malice and with the tenacity of bots crush civil conversation ?

Policy and solutions / Re: Becoming Vegan.
« on: June 01, 2018, 02:25:49 AM »
Sidd, The abstract from the paper makes a proposal to measure each farms emissions and suggest ways each producer might improve. It also suggests each consumer have the ability to choose those products with the least impacts and if I might interject support those producers that employ low emissions food production. (Labeling emission density of caloric production ... I guess)
Food’s environmental impacts are created by millions of diverse producers. To identify solutions that are effective under this heterogeneity, we consolidated data covering five environmental indicators; 38,700 farms; and 1600 processors, packaging types, and retailers. Impact can vary 50-fold among producers of the same product, creating substantial mitigation opportunities. However, mitigation is complicated by trade-offs, multiple ways for producers to achieve low impacts, and interactions throughout the supply chain. Producers have limits on how far they can reduce impacts. Most strikingly, impacts of the lowest-impact animal products typically exceed those of vegetable substitutes, providing new evidence for the importance of dietary change. Cumulatively, our findings support an approach where producers monitor their own impacts, flexibly meet environmental targets by choosing from multiple practices, and communicate their impacts to consumers.

 I would love to see those last four words etched in stone somewhere but in more ways than one we are so willing deceived .  Seems simple enough to just avoid beef and dairy and any labeling would make that very clear. What's the chances of that ? 
 Without trying to be self righteous pigs & chickens look rather benign. As a challenge I would like to compete against other producers especially if it meant someone was accuslly willing to buy food from a farm that was a carbon sink rather than a source... I mean buy food at a premium.
 Publishing the methodology of how you measure such things to any farmer willing to read and pursue improving their impacts might be a good start. But alas we are fire walled . If anyone out there could publish this studies methodology on how they measured the individual  impacts of those forty thousand farms I would appreciate it.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: May 30, 2018, 11:44:33 PM »
" The nail that sticks up will be pounded in "
  I took ballet lessons when I was in the third and fourth grades. I learned some quality info about how society works at forcing us all into conformation. One does have the option of swimming upstream and if that is the option you take you will 1) become a good swimmer and 2) you will always question the wisdom of group think.
 I don't believe society will make it through the tight spot we are collectively headed towards. Part of our problem is that very very few people are willing to turn their backs on social norms and
accept the contempt society will bestow on you for doing so.
 Why are social norms so damn important when we know they are going to kill so much of this beautiful planet we call home?
 Hopefully those of us willing to walk away will find some way to share lessons learned with others considering the opt out option... Option 3

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: May 28, 2018, 09:25:32 PM »
January through end of March my wife and I ate from crops I grew without fossil fuels. I planted Yukon gold potatoes about March 15 and used a cloth cover to protect them in the spring's minor frosts. Conditions have remained mild and I have dug up and cured 150lbs so far . I have another 150lbs. to prepare for storage . Chioga beets are also ready and I plan on pickling them for storage. The spelt is starting to form seed heads. My piggy-bio tractor is still going strong and the work to provide garden produce is really fairly easy. The common garden weeds, lambs quarter and amaranths have provided greens that I mix with beet greens and broccoli raab.
 The orchard is stressed by so many years of drought. No apricots this year ... bummer. Will get mirabelles ,Santa Rosa plums, peaches , and pears later in the season.
 I still have lots of beans and dent corn from last year. I planted more limas and some sweet corn.
I still need to put in the bulk of my garden for winter stores and it is getting kinda late but summer is taking it's time to heat up this year, good for potatoes but bad for corn.

Archimid, Gotta agree with you on fighting the fight and for speaking up when it might make a difference.
Most of us here have seen enough evidence to know we are at a juncture that will determine whether
we successfully turn back from our fossil fuel addiction or go full throttle and burn the 5000 Gt C we have at our access. I get some solace from knowing we have only been responsible for 621 Gt C  so far.
Yes that already locks in more heat and sea level rise but I and everybody here knows how totally screwed we will be if we do march right past the 1000 Gt / 2 degree threshold.
 Yes Tesla is a beacon but I also view numerous members of this site as beacons of hope, even if their politics are baffling( meaning no one in particular ). 

As an aside and totally OT . I planted a mango tree in Santa Barbara in 1986, it has produced crops of a hundred mangos in one year. Mangos really would prefer the tropics but I found a nice white south facing wall and a very nice microclimate.

Policy and solutions / Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« on: April 27, 2018, 03:11:25 AM »
Bob Wallace, Up thread your recollection ( IIRC )is that CO2 increases will remain in the atmosphere for a hundred years. I went back through an old SKeptical Science piece and pulled out this discussion.
"It is true that an individual molecule of CO2 has a short residence time in the atmosphere. However, in most cases when a molecule of CO2 leaves the atmosphere it is simply swapping places with one in the ocean. Thus, the warming potential of CO2 has very little to do with the residence time of CO2.

What really governs the warming potential is how long the extra CO2 remains in the atmosphere. CO2 is essentially chemically inert in the atmosphere and is only removed by biological uptake and by dissolving into the ocean. Biological uptake (with the exception of fossil fuel formation) is carbon neutral: Every tree that grows will eventually die and decompose, thereby releasing CO2. (Yes, there are maybe some gains to be made from reforestation but they are probably minor compared to fossil fuel releases).

Dissolution of CO2 into the oceans is fast but the problem is that the top of the ocean is “getting full” and the bottleneck is thus the transfer of carbon from surface waters to the deep ocean. This transfer largely occurs by the slow ocean basin circulation and turn over (*3). This turnover takes 500-1000ish years. Therefore a time scale for CO2 warming potential out as far as 500 years is entirely reasonable (See IPCC 4th Assessment Report Section 2.10)."
So long as we don't totally screw up the biological components of the ocean carbon sink 500 years of heating is to be expected not 100. The longer we wait to reduce our CO2 emissions the longer this heating time lag will extend. Biological processes are extremely important and we really don't know how badly we are compromising them.
 Land use emissions and concrete production also play their part. We are extending those stressors do to modern farming practices as well as forest reductions and nasty wildfires.   

Policy and solutions / Re: Becoming Vegan.
« on: April 25, 2018, 05:32:36 AM »
Sigmetnow, " But most food is processed "
We choose to eat the way we eat. During this years "acorn challenge " I noticed that we didn't have trash for the weekly trash run. Food packaging is a ridiculous waste . Buying bulk dried foods and cooking at home can reduce carbon footprint and waste output. Takes more effort ,planning ,and time to soak some beans and cook them than using the can opener . So carbon footprint or ease of making dinner? It's not a concious choice for the most part but the cost of fast food adds up.

Policy and solutions / Re: Becoming Vegan.
« on: April 24, 2018, 08:47:36 PM »
Sigmetnow, If taste and nutrition are comparable then I don't see labeling as an issue but there are lots of mislabeling issues with seafood that do cause problems. If meat were labeled as vegetable would you see it as an issue of concern?  What portion of your average beef patty at a fast food purveyor is beef?  Maybe getting labeling issues settled early in the introduction of vegan/meat product rollout isn't a bad idea.
 I still think growing your own food is the easiest way to avoid pesticides, GMO, mislabeling , misrepresentations, excess packaging , carbon footprint issues with food miles , and animal confinement practices . There is an awful lot of problems with food production that is hidden behind
marketing and food labels and it is virtually impossible for the public to get an honest answer on what is offered at the grocery market. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Becoming Vegan.
« on: April 24, 2018, 08:04:35 PM »
France bans meat terminology from vegan products labeling. No more vegan steaks or sausage. Ban also includes vegetable based ( milk ) products.

Science / Re: Carbon Cycle
« on: April 14, 2018, 02:27:55 AM »
Here is a nice overview of how phytoplankton are expected to react to warming and acidification. This review anticipates diatoms to be benifited by future conditions but the paper I linked up thread questions how diatoms will fare. Because there are both species that benefit or are negatively affected
making projections about the health of the future ocean carbon sinks isn't attempted.

I spent years running a boat. Diesel engines eventually came with smog control and sensors that would automatically shut the engine down if it sensed low oil pressure , overheating or things that might damage the engine. Most of the time however the sensor would irrationally go out and inconviently leave the boat dead in the water and without hydraulics to operate the anchor... the anchor problem can be remedied , at least for letting it out. I always wanted one switch that would override every sensor , a switch that if triggered would void the warranty but allow me to run the engine long enough to at least allow me enough time to avoid hitting the rocks. No I never hit the rocks but I did want total control over what that engine thought best. Maybe this is all OT but I am very sure we need to have an override button on more systems that ostensibly are trying to help us. Like shutting down HAL

This year my wife and I avoided the grocery market for three months. Depending upon corn, beans, eggs and pork is just kinda normal fare so it all seemed kinda easy . Surviving on acorns and forage, eggs and pork is much more challenging. I didn't have food cravings, I didn't lose weight. So IMO growing a garden designed to supply calories can rather easily get you through winter but like last year I don't know how I'd do it without chickens supplying eggs.
 It is warm enough to prepare the summer garden so I have lots of potatoes doing rather well, I put out 50 lbs. of potatoes . I also have 600 feet planted to wheat ( spring spelt )  I have been plowing up about 3 acres , all with the piggy biodiesel . I am going to expand the corn crop with an eye towards experimenting with feeding 6 or 8 pigs year round on crops and foraged acorns I provide them. My goal is to demonstrate the liquid fuel potential in raising lard hogs on a zero fossil fuel farm.
 Next year I turn 65. It has taken me over fifty years of gardening to get to the point where growing crops in combination with solar and renewable energy can be viewed as a route to "five acres and independence" .
 Next year... Bee hives, a solar electric threshing machine and maybe an electric car.
 Experiment with compost as a way to sink carbon , measure and document.
If anyone out there decides to take up the challenge and avoid the store let me know. I always have enough food in storage to switch to hyper local .
When I went off the challenge April 1 , I bought butter , flour ,breakfast cereal and made oatmeal cookies. I ate the dough raw so maybe the sugar craving is still there.

Consequences / Re: California weather extremes and climate
« on: April 05, 2018, 06:09:56 PM »
If the same Pineapple Express hit last April we would have lost Oroville. A late season rain that melts the Sierra snowpack is a JH moment. Oroville is probably going over the spillway this week , ready or not.
 Here in SB county we are only at ~ 50% of average rainfall. Last year we had average precipitation but we are still stuck in a very long drought. This weeks atmospheric river is forecast to miss us although the half inch of rain forecast is better than nothing. Our reservior ( Cachuma ) is at 40%.

Science / Re: Carbon Cycle
« on: April 04, 2018, 06:50:21 PM »
We can add diatoms to the list of phytoplankton that are negatively affected by ocean acidification. Although they build their shell with silica they need carbonates in seawater to utililize iron . Low levels of  Iron in seawater can restrict bio productivity . With available carbonates to drop 50% by 2100
Coccolithophores, foraminifera, pteropods  AND diatoms will all be negatively affected. What ever hit to the ocean carbon sink resulting will last ~ 100,000 years. That's the part that troubles me most. Ocean acidification caused by a three century energy spree by humans will have repercussions for all life for 
A very long time.

Policy and solutions / Re: Becoming Vegan.
« on: March 11, 2018, 07:56:21 PM »
I read through the article on Sweden reducing the red meat in their diets. The article also says they have increased meat in their diets by 41% over the last couple decades. Sweden's average meat consumption is 180.4 lbs and 66 lbs. of fish. The US meat consumption is 222 lbs. and their fish consumption is 15lbs. so meat consumption is actually higher in Sweden.
 I am not trying to rationalize the high meat diets of either country and reducing meat is a relatively easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. Growing all your own food is a better way to proceed but if easier is better then by all means reduce the meat in your diet.
 For what it's worth my wife and I have simply quit eatting hamburgers ... They are a ubiquitous part of American lifestyles and not eatting them is both simple and somewhat challenging.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: February 27, 2018, 12:12:42 AM »
Clare, I planted a block of corn , a block of beans and sandwiched them between squash plantings, also in blocks.
Fresh vegetables were planted in another area because I needed to be able to dry out the three sisters before I harvested them. It is very important to do a very good job of keeping your corn weed free when they first get started. After they get big enough to start shading the ground things get easier.
 The fresh vegetables need to be kept wet so keeping them separate from the crops that need to be dried out is important if you are trying to produce dent corn and dried beans. You don't want mold on either . It doesn't rain around here in the fall so drying a crop is relatively easy when you shut down the irrigation.
 Thanks for taking an interest in my garden efforts. Every year produces it's own unique challenges.
I put potatoes out and then the weather got cold with several nights down to 25F.  The potatoes seem fine but the new shoots got frozen. They will come back I think. Potatoes are a challenge here because soil temperature above 80 F shut down growth. There isn't a lot of time between the last frost and hot soil temperatures.

Consequences / Re: 2018 ENSO
« on: February 26, 2018, 10:24:43 PM »
The JISAO PDO index has come out + .7 for Jan.  I don't know the significance of four years of monthly consecutive PDO numbers but it is the first time in the JISAO  98 year record that it has done so.
 The kelp ecosystem in Southern and Northern Calif. are extremely  stressed. The  Dungeness crab fishery in Oregon is dealing with Domoic acid closures. Alaskan cod fishery is in trouble .

Walking the walk / Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« on: February 26, 2018, 04:42:11 PM »
Geoff, Thank you for the singing frog farm link. I have shared it around my small circle.
 I wonder if one was to plant and harvest fast growing softwoods and harvest them for compost
 this could satisfy a local source for feeding SOM in a garden like singing frog, or mine. Softwoods could also feed bio char . Martin would like that !
 I serve on a local resources board. A public agency board that helps fund soil and water conservation. There are small amounts of money available with large amounts of paperwork . Most current monies are for larger properties with pasture . They truck in compost and apply to pasture. Better forage results in extra livestock so net gains in SOM are offset with additional methane. Most of the carbon farming in Calif. is following something called the Marin Protocols. They rationalize most of the soil carbon gains... Burning fossil fuels to make and deliver compost is better than putting organic waste into landfills or using manures in compost is better than dairy slurry pits, etc.  These rationalization
are probably correct but I think small farmers that avoided fossil fuel use in the first place and stayed hyper local could demonstrate much better efficiencies in sinking carbon.
 Documenting SOM gains is important. Documenting fossil fuel use ( or lack of use ) in achieving SOM gains is important. I also think it is good to enjoy the challenge and any good farmer has to enjoy seeing soil health improve. With it comes better habitat for soil biota, beneficial insects and bird life.
Beauty is it's own reward. Good food is worth the work it takes.


Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: February 24, 2018, 05:56:00 AM »
I have been enjoying field corn from last years garden. I prepared some called chicos corn. It is dent corn harvested at milk stage, smoked with the husk on . It is then shucked and air dried in the sun.
I also harvested about a hundred lbs. of dent corn dried on the stalk. I have been treating the corn with hydrogenated lime, a process called nixtamalization. The resulting corn is what is used to make tamales and tortillas. I treat the corn, rinse it well, then sun dry it. Once dried I run it through my flour mill to make masa harina. Nixtamal corn makes niacin more available and adds calcium. It also smells very good and makes the resulting corn flour a darker yellow.  It also reduces mycotoxins . It is also softer and easier to run through the mill.
My next experiment will be hominy, corn treated with lye. Kinda scary.
Potatoes are in the ground and the garden cover crop is getting plowed in . Spring is around the corner
and I still have lots of bean and corn from last years zero fossil fuel garden. I can only run the tractor on very warm days because the piggy bio needs to be warmer than 50F . 

Consequences / Re: Near Term Human Extinction
« on: February 24, 2018, 05:04:11 AM »
Terry, There are millions of other people following traditional farming traditions , I just don't know them. We here tend to judge humanities challenges to a civilization as we know it  Those people far enough separated from our ideas of civilization are also somewhat protected from issues like radiation
It all comes down to how fast collapse happens and slow collapse is one version of our collective human future. Isolated humans will have to contend with climate change but they have the advantage of living a lifestyle that doesn't freak out when challenged by hard times. They aren't going to break out their stockpile of AK-47s and go on a rampage. I however will be toast if LA runs out of food. I do know several dozens of remote springs in the back country and I have a good enough grip on survival techniques to feed a small group of humans for awhile but my wife says she will never take that option.
If I can be any service to future generations I can only offer up my knowledge in a slow collapse scenario.
 Fast collapse is just going to be too damn chaotic to be much help.
 For now I am enjoying the challenges of farming without fossil fuels. I think I can stretch last years stored food well into spring and summer. I already have potatoes planted and spring is just around the corner. Life is good.
 That doesn't mean problems aren't coming ,it just means I think keeping calm, planning ahead and enjoying my time here on earth are as good as I can do. + I am going to figure out how to sink some carbon without utilizing fossil fuels to do so.

Consequences / Re: Near Term Human Extinction
« on: February 22, 2018, 07:48:46 AM »
Oren, Thank you for explaining your ten year fifty year critique. I spent the day angry, a ridiculous response to blog comments.
 I have been living without any wheat and I can also demonstrate that pigs and chickens don't need grains. Not that I can demonstrate keeping civilization running should we lose grain harvests for some reason but most definately survival potential for small groups.
 We humans are facing an existential challenge. There will be reasonable responses from some people and unreasonable responses by others. I see no reason to believe extinction is in our immediate future. Humans did get by without grains for most of our history.


Consequences / Re: Near Term Human Extinction
« on: February 21, 2018, 11:50:27 PM »
I don't have any projections of when our human population starts into decline. I also believe El Cid is correct in that we can keep feeding ourselves. My problem is with the notion that that makes everything peachy. Don't worry about the thirty percent that the food economy and infrastructure contributes to our carbon emissions . Put your foot on the gas pedal , we'll figure it out later... Magical thinking is like I said earlier one of the expected responses of a certain segment of society. I said troll or worse and in my opinion apologists for BAU are worse than trolls.

Consequences / Re: Near Term Human Extinction
« on: February 21, 2018, 09:23:01 PM »
El Cid, As long as you keep pouring fossil fuels into the tractors, pump out nitrogen with natural gas power, mine what phosphorus is left with current mining technology, strip what carbon still remains in our farm soils while shipping the resulting food stores around the world with planes, ships,trucks and rail.All collectively known as BAU then everything is going to be just fine. Don't worry and please just eat your cake ! I would like you to post on the "walking the walk" thread if you have something else in mind otherwise I consider you a troll and worse.

Consequences / Re: Near Term Human Extinction
« on: February 21, 2018, 07:44:33 PM »
I have no idea when the general public is going to realize how bad of a situation we have created for ourselves. I sometimes question their cognitive abilities.
 Preparation for massive climatic disruptions is difficult for anyone to prepare for. Do you run for it and try to protect your own ass? Do you try to develop survival techniques that will help some later generations struggle to survive through what will be this species greatest challenge ? Or do you just hope for someone else to come up with a miracle? All of those options will be utilized by various segments of society. I have opted for trying to help someone in the future. Whether anyone cares to walk this thing back with me is questionable but I currently have all the assets nessesary for experimenting. I believe as we get closer those options will be restricted. Time is not on our side and like Ritter says 10 years or 40 years are but a blink of the eye. I have never personally met anyone I could honestly say was trying to prepare. I enjoy human company, I enjoy my animals, I don't understand my fellow human beings...nobody will come through this without some psychological damage. I think Guy's response is flawed , I don't think all the love in the world will help if you can't help future generations and the man has simply given up.
 Mostly we are acting like a deer looking into the headlights.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2017/2018 freezing season
« on: February 20, 2018, 04:49:14 AM »
Tonight it is going to get down to 23 F where I live here in Southern Calif.  I went and looked at Red Dog Dock ( north of Kotzebue ) and it is ~ 31 F . Weird !

Consequences / Re: Ocean Temps
« on: February 18, 2018, 05:19:04 PM »
I think high ocean temperatures and coral bleaching are directly related. Therefore discussing it's potential impacts on humans is fair game.  I wonder if anyone has done any dietary studies on
Isolated human populations highly dependent on reef fish and nearshore invertebrates?
 Getting the larger public to recognize the threats the ocean is being exposed to can be very much improved by knowledge of how those threats impact other humans. The oyster crashes in Oregon and Washington due to ocean acidification being a prime case. I have been a commercial fisherman for over thirty years and we do see things that are missed or ignored by the scientific community and terrestrial humans.
The oyster crashes were spotted by aquaculturists and their causes were also isolated by those same people with the help of experimentation ,monitoring equipment, and university expertise .So if coral bleaching events are impacting indigenous fishermen there should be an attempt to document the human misery caused.
Corals and fish dieoffs in marine reserves or parks are just never going to have the same impact on the larger story that needs to be told. We terrestrial members of civilization are causing the oceans ecosystems to begin to die. Paradise in the South Pacific isn't paradise if the food humans  have survived upon for thousands of years disappears and their islands flood.
 Ocean heating also results in ecosystem shifts that results in the collapse of kelp forests. We are currently having extreme impacts to invertebrates in Northern California largely due to the after affects of the "blob." The red sea urchin fishery there has largely collapsed and abalone stocks are also starving because purple urchin barrens have eaten all the kelp. Purple urchins were never as abundant in Northern California as they currently are with populations reaching an average of 150 per square meter across Calif. Fish and Wildlife monitoring stations. The 2018 recreational fishery for abalone in California has been closed as a result.
Kelp resources in Tazmania are also under severe threat due to increases in ocean temperatures. This has caused a shift in herbivor populations resulting in overgrazed kelp resources. Current ocean temperature anomalies around Tazmania and Southern New Zealand are +3 C.

If you don't like talking about the impacts of high ocean temperatures then my experiences as an ocean observer are useless to you, just ignor me and enjoy your day.

Consequences / Re: Ocean Temps
« on: February 18, 2018, 06:42:38 AM »
Yes the coral reefs worldwide are under very severe stresses due to bleaching events and acidification. The loss of these habitats will negatively affect reef fish populations but I think you might need to link some sources before you can claim Pelagic fish will collapse as a result. Maybe that isn't your intention.
" Eastern Boundrary currents comprise .1% of the worlds oceans but contribute 20% of fish catches."
The eastern boundary currents are not under any immediate threats .
Arctic fisheries are still relatively healthy also.
 Making radical claims about imminent threats of human starvation needs some sort of documentation .
Please source your claims !
It is more than a common courtesy on a science based blog like ASIF , it is how we communicate.

Walking the walk / Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« on: February 17, 2018, 11:48:47 PM »
Geoff, Very impressive! I would like to try to ballpark some numbers based upon the 10% SOM ( soil organic matter ) numbers claimed by Singing Frog Farms. I don't have SOM profiles for various soil depths so this is speculative, OK?
 If you increase SOM to 12 inches from the starting 2% to 10% with a 8% gain
    and increase SOM from 12 inches to 24 inches from 2% to 6% with a 4% gain
    and increase SOM from 24 inches to 36 inches from 1% to 3% with a 2% gain you get an average gain of about 4.7 % SOM gain in the first three feet of soil.
 If your soil weighs 2,000 lbs. a cubic yard you have about 94 lbs. SOM in gains. SOM is about 50% carbon so you have 47 lbs. of Carbon per square yard of surface area over a ten year period, or
A very ballpark 100 ton carbon gain an acre over a ten year period.
 Gasoline or diesel emissions are about 20 lbs or 22 lbs. CO2 per gallon or about 10 lbs. carbon per gallon... So Singing Frog Farms can burn 1000 gallons fuel per year per acre in their operation and come out even, carbon in carbon out.
 I don't know how many truck miles it takes to deliver all their vegetables . How many miles their 14 employees use getting back and forth to work, how much energy their water pumps use to keep everything wet year round or how many air miles the owners use in promoting their farm. I also don't know how much energy they use to transport the compost they use, I am certain their compost isn't all produced from their three acre property. The soil carbon reaches saturation after ten years so after that the carbon sink numbers are much less impressive and their fuel use and CO2 emissions will dominate the soil carbon numbers from the first ten years.
 I suspect I am making some sort of math errors.

I have been approaching the problem by trying to reduce fossil fuel CO2 emissions from farm equipment as my first task. I think some combination of how Singing Frog Farms sinks carbon and my experiments with reducing farm equipment emissions would result in something closer to a farm that sinks more carbon than it emits but both my farm and theirs have the biggest problems with distribution.
If electric /battery trucks that are affordable become available this last hurdle can be surpassed.
I farm my farm without any outside labor. I wish I could have more help but I think I still have enough years left to get to the zero carbon or negative carbon farming I strive to achieve.
I could get there now if I all I needed to do was feed my wife and me. I still have property payments, taxes, insurance etc. so I still need to create income. We are eating well on only farm produced foods. We use almost zero fossil fuels to feed ourselves. Trying to produce income results in fossil fuel use, largely from transportation and animal feed costs.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: February 17, 2018, 06:56:16 AM »
Rob, I don't think this is over yet. Indictments aren't convictions. Do we convict them in absentia ? I still like my friend Terry and if I could channel him I would ask whether we would go to the same extremes to destabilize Russian elections?  How about Iran? Or Chile ? Ancient history ?  So when chucking stones be careful about that glass house we inhabit.
 The question remains Why? I don't think we will ever know.

The rest / Re: Poll on oil price
« on: February 14, 2018, 04:46:30 AM »
From wherever it came
 and poured in
 to holes designed for

  and who believed
  till it fell as all tall things do
  that we would escape
  on golden threads
   or beanstalks

For Adam,


Science / Re: Carbon Cycle
« on: February 13, 2018, 10:00:11 PM »
Terry, The shallow oceans are saturated and the deep oceans are undersaturated. As the ocean up takes CO2 it is transformed into carbonic acid. Carbonic acid then combines with seawater to form carbonate,  bi-carbonate and a hydrogen ion. The hydrogen ions that are released are measured as a decrease in pH. Downwelling takes this low pH water to depth along with organic matter and calcium carbonate from phytoplankton . The organic matter is bacterially reduced and releases bound CO2 where it meets the saturation horizon because it doesn't sink after the calcium carbonate dissolves .
 In short the surface supplied CO2 and organic matter is carried to depth where it increases hydrogen ions and reduces pH . This it somewhat complicated because as the calcium carbonate dissolves it reabsorbs some of the hydrogen ions.  There is however a net increase in deep ocean pooled hydrogen ions . As this proceeds the saturation horizon gets closer to the surface.
 In the area of the ocean above the saturation calcium carbonate builds up on the sea floor. This pool of carbon is very long lived and eventually is moved tectonically onto the continents as limestone , or other mineral forms. Thus the oceans are responsible for carbon sinks that can hold carbon for millions of years. As the saturation horizon moves closer to the surface there is less and less ocean bottom where calcium carbonate can build up.

Science / Re: Carbon Cycle
« on: February 13, 2018, 08:28:43 PM »
Meridional overturning circulation conveys fast acidification to the deep Atlantic Ocean
Published 13 February 2018   
Since the Industrial Revolution, the North Atlantic Ocean has been accumulating anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) and experiencing ocean acidification1, that is, an increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions (a reduction in pH) and a reduction in the concentration of carbonate ions. The latter causes the ‘aragonite saturation horizon’—below which waters are undersaturated with respect to a particular calcium carbonate, aragonite—to move to shallower depths (to shoal), exposing corals to corrosive waters2,3. Here we use a database analysis to show that the present rate of supply of acidified waters to the deep Atlantic could cause the aragonite saturation horizon to shoal by 1,000–1,700 metres in the subpolar North Atlantic within the next three decades. We find that, during 1991–2016, a decrease in the concentration of carbonate ions in the Irminger Sea caused the aragonite saturation horizon to shoal by about 10–15 metres per year, and the volume of aragonite-saturated waters to reduce concomitantly. Our determination of the transport of the excess of carbonate over aragonite saturation (xc[CO32−])—an indicator of the availability of aragonite to organisms—by the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation shows that the present-day transport of carbonate ions towards the deep ocean is about 44 per cent lower than it was in preindustrial times. We infer that a doubling of atmospheric anthropogenic CO2 levels—which could occur within three decades according to a ‘business-as-usual scenario’ for climate change4—could reduce the transport of xc[CO32−] by 64–79 per cent of that in preindustrial times, which could severely endanger cold-water coral habitats. The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation would also export this acidified deep water southwards, spreading corrosive waters to the world ocean.


Perez F. F., Fontela M., García-Ibáñez M. I., Mercier H., Velo A., Lherminier P., Zunino P., de la Paz M., Alonso-Pérez F., Guallart E. F. & Padin X. A., in press. Meridional overturning circulation conveys fast acidification to the deep Atlantic Ocean. Nature.

As the saturation horizon rises so too the long term sink for carbonates is reduced in size. For the short time spans we humans tend to worry about this may not seem catastrophic but it is a a problem that earth will have to deal with for ~ 100,000 years after we finally quit emitting CO2.  The calcium carbonate that would otherwise settle onto the shelves will instead desolve and reenter the oceans as DIC . The DIC will circulate and eventually upwell where it can again enter the atmospheric carbon pool. Our legacy is a very long term truncation of the ability of the oceans to sink carbon. Sad that, a legacy of death.

ICE cars are to some degree a statement and will remain a statement far beyond when they make no economic sense. I watch for Teslas when I drive and here in Southern Calif. I spot one or two when I make any travel towards LA. I see hundreds of muscle cars with gas Mileage < 20mph , thousands of light trucks, large SUV 's and odd clunkers at < 15 mpg. There are plenty of drivers out there that will pay at the pump purely as a statement of anti-enviro, machismo , right wing revolt, and a thumb in the eye to those of us who think differently. 
 I would vote that ICE cars will be sold as long as cars are sold. I might be wrong but I will surely be dead before the last ICE car is sold.
 A better question might be at what fuel price will half of all sales be battery-electric ? I would vote
$ 8.00 a gallon. Even at that price there will still be dicks driving gas hogs, and buying cars to impress us with their status or politics.

Consequences / Re: Conservative Scientists & its Consequences
« on: February 10, 2018, 09:36:31 PM »
If the ECS is in the 4.5c range it should be rather sobering to compare the 6 C that at least partially contributed to the end Permian extinctions. Acidification and hypoxia also played their part.

Assessing ocean acidification and carbon cycle perturbations during the end-Permian extinction using boron isotopes
Published 7 February 2018   Science Leave a Comment
Tags: methods, paleo
The Permian-Triassic mass extinction represents the most severe environmental crisis in Earth’s history, which dictated the course for evolution of life until today. Volcanism from Siberian traps played a significant role involving a substantial input of relatively light carbon into the atmosphere leading to a combination of global warming by ~6°C, sporadic anoxia or euxinia, and ocean acidification. However, its detailed manifestation and environmental impact is yet to be fully understood. This lack of knowledge also extends to a better quantification of emitted and sequestered carbon budgets (cf. Gutjahr et al., 2017).

Walking the walk / Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« on: February 10, 2018, 04:59:24 AM »
Carol Deppe in her gardening book Resilient Gardener 2010 gained much inspiration from Buffalo Bird Woman. I have adapted drying summer squash because of what Buffalo Bird Woman was willing to pass along.  I use a type of Italian zucchini called Costata Romanesco for drying. I ate some tonight in an eggplant parmigiana.
 OK , The eggplant came from the store so I am cheating but we have been able to maintain a diet sourced from the farm for most everything for over five weeks.
 I treated four pounds of corn to hydrated lime, nixmalization. After soaking and rinsing I redryed the corn. It is easier to run trough the flour mill and the resulting Masa Harina is easy to work with.
Fresh tamales from farm raised dent corn is really a treat. Again corn has revealed how it is easy to work with, to cook with and to grow ( at least around here ). We have been eating Lima beans , black beans and black eyed peas. Some cornbread and acorn cake. Having fresh tamales and tortillas is a culinary experiance new to me . Like I discovered last year , making food that tastes good is very important in maintaining an off grid diet.

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