I would be in favor of it IF the governments of the world would actually do something with space exploration, but they don't. They send up high school science experiments and PR. That's neither science nor exploration.
We have to get off of this rock. We desperately need some off-site backup, even if only in Luna, because between our own lack of good housekeeping and God's Floating Rock Garden, Earth's in trouble. We humans have done a lot of bad, but we've got great potential and a pretty decent track record for good, and I want to see how the story ends. We need to have some of us in places that aren't THIS ROCK.
So if governments won't see that it's a heck of a lot easier to remodel and restore when you're not living in the house, then private organizations have to do it, and that means having a vacation house.
Yes, it starts with sending postcards into space and bringing them back, or rolling up Flat Stanleys and putting them in short orbit. Yes, it starts with lots of money and profit, but it gets the work done, and we have to get off of this planet.
(N.B. I write educational materials for Beyond Earth Launch services, a company that does sub-orbital stress testing for components to be used in space flight. I know a lot of the key players in the private space launch sector, and with one single exception, every one of them is a geek raised on Science Fiction and the Apollo missions. All of them are driven by a desire to go into space and to further the science and pioneering of space. Most of them are effectually broke, having spent every dime they have on making this dream happen. While a few of them hope that someday they will reap the profits of their labors (and god knows I hope they do; their dedication should be rewarded) most of us don't ever expect to become fabulously wealthy. As long as we can continue to pay our mortgages, shoe our children and eat something other than oatmeal three times a day, we're happy and fulfilled and motivated to make space accessible for real people.)
Besides, do you really trust these governments to be any better about protecting and preserving space and the environments than a private company? Space is wonderful in that any trashing causes nearly immediate consequences -- leave a piece of junk in orbit, and it's pretty likely that it will give you a nice hole in your airtank. While I really don't have a problem with bundling hazardous waste onto a rocket and aiming it at the sun, closer garbage has to be picked up and cleaned up or it will hurt.
And as for private ownership... if it is wrong to own a patch of the moon and take resources from it, then it is wrong to own a patch of earth and take resources from it. Building a solar farm on the moon to send electricity back to earth via microwave relay satellites (the most plausile use of the moon's resources; that and being at the top of a nice big gravity well) doesn't damage the moon, and makes it easier to clean up this planet so that it can have green hills and plains again.
In a thousand years, our descendants will be appalled that we made it to the moon and didn't go back if we don't get moving. I don't want to have to try to explain why Proxmiring hurt the future so badly.
I'll file that one with my other things to do when Bush smokes pot with John Stewart on NBC. Here's my proverb in return: I am not the center of the world and neither is anyone else. We all have to take the little space we live in and live in it with every one of the other six billion people on this rock, and when I do things that infringe on other people's little spaces, I'm asking to have mine infringed upon, too. So this is my space, and that one's yours, and I leave yours alone. Do me the courtesy of doing the same back to me. (Not you specifically, but in general. I really do live by do as to others as I would have done to me, and one of the things I would never do to another person is mess with their private property. I value my space too highly to mess with the space of others.)
As for the ecosystem: Not everywhere is Illinois or Ohio or Downstate New York. In my part of the world, water is critical and in short supply. We use light colored rocks as a mulch around certain plants, dark ones around others, bark with ones that can't be hurt by bark beetles. We also have very thin topsoil (we're 3 feet above bedrock), it's mostly clay, and every bit of garden space I've got has been carefully nurtured, composted and cared for. It's not for nothing that this area is famous for bricks and pottery. So yes, in fact, moving rocks around in my garden can in fact disrupt the micro-ecosystem we have. I have an 80+ year old Gallica rose bush; she's well established, but roses can be persnickety. Changing too much of her micro-ecosystem (by, for example, disrupting her roots with coated wood or putting something that absorbs or reflects too much heat near her base) would make her sick and could kill. That genetic legacy is as important to me as someone's feelings. That rose bush cannot be replaced, either. Her genes are in the botanical library at CU, but she can't be replicated.
Then there's the fact that putting a religious shrine on my property is in fact putting something offensive to me on my property and forcing me to take at least some care of it. If nothing else, I'd have to weed around it at least 6 times in 60 days to combat the area's invasive, noxious weeds that would invade my garden. I am non-theist, and find the torture device that people use as a symbol of a religion that's supposed to be about love but is more often about hate to be deeply offensive. Angels and teddy bears do not offend me, and so I'd be okay with that kind of memorial. But for me, forcing me to look at a shrine every day that has no meaning to me, uses a symbol that offends me and is emblematic of a traumatic experience would be an excessive burden. It might be different if I had 45 acres and some gates and fences between me and the road, but I don't. I have a small, narrow lot (45 x 90) and my house with porch is 30 feet wide. There is no place on my property where I could ignore it; any accidents that would happen involving my property would put that shrine right in my front yard, within 10 feet of my front door. Regarding the original article, lots of lots in Massachusetts are even smaller than mine, putting the property owner in even closer contact with something that's offensive.
For those of us who have been in situations where our non-Christianity has caused discrimination, a cross can be a highly traumatic reminder of that discrimination. I can pretty much bet that every non-christian on this board has, at one time or another, been told we are not welcome in this country, or told that we are going to hell, or given what can only be described as an extremely high pressure sales pitch for the Church of What's Happening Now. Many of us made the mistake of going to a social event with a "friend" that turned out to be a pick on the unsaved heretical Christ-killer/Idolator/Witch/Demon-worshipper/Satanist. If you've never been in a locked room without a ride home, 5 miles from the nearest refuge, with 10 ranting people praying and crying and doing everything in their power to "save" you... well, lucky you. It's like putting a feminist in a room full of Promise Keepers or an Asian man at a Klan rally. If nothing else, the event is emotionally scarring. Sometimes, it's physically so.
So what's decent? I feel sorry for the survivor, I really do. He's being a jerk and needs some therapy (the survivor's guilt has got to be messing with his head) and he obviously has a need to turn some of his inner pain on others, and he's far too young to have the emotional security to deal with being a father, much less being the effective widower and father of a dead child. He's obviously not coping well. But his inability to cope and get through today without hurting other people (and that's really what he's doing; he's lashing out at whatever target is handy) is not a reason to hurt other people. He wants vengeance and to appease god - that's what shrines are, after all. They're a physical representation of the stage of grief called bargaining. They are a manifestation of the idea that performing a ritualized action will get the attention of a deity in such a way as to cause a miracle or ensure an outcome. It's not a good place to be stuck, emotionally. But taking vengeance on the property owner is misplacing the anger and grief. The property owner had nothing to do with his girlfriend's death except own the wrong deed. If the crosses hadn't been taken down, the survivor would have found some other reason to be angry with the property owner, or his parents, or her parents, or the person who sold the drunk the booze, or the therapist that hasn't managed to get the drunk driver to kick, or someone.
Grief's funny that way. It's about as rational as a saddle on a duck. And that's my root issue, I think. Letting this kid sit in the country of O-pity-me and blame others for not making the world revolve around him and his grief is not doing the kid, the survivor, any favors. Yeah, it sucks losing someone that close to you. It's the second worst feeling in the world. (The first is having to make the decision to turn off the machines that are keeping that person sort of alive.) Losing a partner AND a potential child in one fell swoop has to be even tougher. And walking away from the accident that takes your partner and potential child has to be close to hell on earth. But what's worse is choosing to live in that hell and not moving on.
The dead don't care what we do about, around, for or in memory of them. If they're in heaven, they are content and can't feel bad about what we do. If they're in hell, they have bigger things to worry about. Purgatory, same thing. Nirvana, content. Reincarnated, they're busy. Dead-dead? Not worried. Shrines are all about the living, not the dead. My personal feeling is that continuing to revisit a site or event connected with a death is more of a mental picking of the wound rather than a healing. But the bigger issue is who gets to decide? Is it decent and humane to inflict pain on another person in the name of memoria? And is it decent and humane to be callous to another's grief? No on both counts. That's where I get the feeling that both people involved are being jerks.
They're all non-controversial, and in the cases of peanuts and mustard, can be plugged directly into a crop rotation including corn. All of them have a better oil yield per acre than does hemp, and excepting soy, all of them need less water. (Also, oats can be grown in regions where soy won't since oats have a complete protein and high oil content.)
Flax only needs more water when it is harvested primarily for linen; when harvested for linseed, it needs less water than hemp to reach maturity, and linen is both stronger and has a better hand than does an equivalent hemp fabric. (Seed flax fibers can be used for cordage, but not for fabric.) A crop rotation of flax, sunflowers, peanuts and mustard would provide the soil with a complete nutrient cycle (peanuts are legumes which are nitrogen fixers; mustard is an excellent fallow year cover crop since it will grow without much attention; flax is excellent for wet springs and drier summers, while sunflowers are better for years with a dry spring) while providing more oil per acre than hemp (39 gal/acre), corn (18) cotton (35gal/acre) or soy (48gal/acre). The gallon per acre yield for flax is 51 gal/acre, mustard is 61 gal/acre, sunflowers are 102 gal/acre and peanuts are 113 gal/acre.
Flax does everything that hemp does except make the feds panic, while sunflower stalks and shells can be turned into paper and building materials (though not thread, cord or rope) and peanut shells can be ground and compressed for a carbon-balanced wood pellet equivalent. The meal left over from pressing mustard oil is an excellent organic pesticide.
Right now, they're all more expensive to grow than soy or corn because there's not a glut of automated machinery for sunflowers, flax and peanuts. It's much easier to get a cheap #2 corn harvester to attach to the Deere than it is to get a sunflower harvester. But that could change if sunflowers, flax or peanuts would have the same sort of price supports that soy and corn have. We don't need 80% of the corn we produce; it gets fed to animals, fractioned and converted into all of the products it does because we have excess corn and we have to do SOMETHING with it. If we'd put the cows back to grazing, the pigs back to foraging and eating scraps and the chickens to insect control, we could put something like 60% of the land that is currently corn and soybeans into oil crop production. That's approximately 82 million acres of corn and 74 million of soy (2005 levels.) If 60% of each were diverted to oil crops, while the remaining 20% of excess land was turned over to managed pasture, we could produce on average 7.6 billion gallons of oil. Cows, sheep and goats can digest a lot of the waste from oil crops (though not mustard), returning it via their manure to the fields from which it came.
Conversion of oil to biodiesel is on a .8 ratio (i.e. 1 gallon of oil equals .8 gallons of usable biodiesel). That means with an averaged yield (so assuming that 25% of corn and soy farmers go to one of each of the four crops mentioned and then rotate through the cycle) of 81 gallons of oil per acre, and 93 million acres converted to oil crops, we can cover our annual oil needs. (We need about 715 million gallons of oil each year at current usage rates.) We can also fractionate gasoline out of a vegetable oil, though we will have to retool our refineries to do so. The better option would be to set a cut-off year and switch to the production of diesel engines completely. Using a vegetable derived oil is actually easier on diesel engines (the sulfur is added to lubricate them, but is unnecessary with biodiesel) and is net carbon neutral. If those 93 million acres were converted to hemp, though, we wouldn't produce enough oil, and monocultures of that nature are environmentally dangerous. If everything is planted in the same crop and something develops or discovers that it likes the taste of that crop, whatever it is will breed and eat. Diversifying the crops we use for oil and food will actually lessen our dependence on fertilizer and pesticides because a more diverse farm has fewer pest issues and recovers quicker!
Here are the problems: Managed pasture is more labor intensive and requires a greater degree of quick wits and psychological flexibility than does current monoculture industrial farming, so we would have to a) make the culture truly support farmers and make farming a life where people make a white collar salary and b) recognize that while meat may be an important part of our diets, it is not the focus of our diets. But we need to do that anyway. We will also have a severe labor shortage for a few years while people get with the program and learn to be farmers again, and we will have to restore our agronomy education system. Food costs will rise for a while, we'll have to support the farmers for the first few years, ADM, Monsanto and Con-Agra will have to shift to oil processing or die, and we will have to send people and knowledge to other countries instead of direct food aid. 60% of the processed food we eat will go away and we'll have to relearn to cook. Fast food will become very expensive or have to switch to soy. There are not a lot of flax, sunflower, peanut and mustard specific fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides out there. All four are hard to patent and hybridize into obedience (corn and soy do hybridize obediently) so the seed companies will not have an interest in switching from corn and soy development to flax, mustard, sunflowers and peanuts. Mustard is an allergen.
I think it's worth it enough that I'm going back to school in 2007 to get a degree in agricultural economics.
My data is from http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_yiel... and wikipedia and the USDA.
It only took me three years of complaining, six weeks of dithering, two weeks of looking in every shop and on every site I could find, and four solid hours of shopping to get it right.
It's ordered from a local shop. It will be here next week.
I hate my stump-jumper. Even with more shocks than my car has, it's uncomfortable to ride, and it makes my back and arms hurt. But my ex was big on the mountain biking thing, and when my last bike bit the dust - frame cracked in an accident - I just replaced it with an equivalent model. Stupid move.
What I always wanted was something that was hard to find three years ago and is now becoming ubiquitous: the street cruiser. I need a bike that does well on pavement, has few gears (because I don't use them anyway), can deal with panniers and baskets, fenders, rain and lets me sit up straight. Something that goes slow and steady and that won't make me worry that I'm going to hurt myself if I have to put my feet down suddenly.
And when I was a little girl, I always wanted a pink bicycle with streamers and a basket. (Never got it - military brats usually have disposable bikes, because shipping them is a pain.)
Here's a bike that's a lot like my new one:
It's roxarsone. (3-Nitro-4-hydroxyphenylarsonic acid) The chemical structure does not have a free oxygen or a free carbon to allow it to bond molecularly to another molecule. (i.e. it's chemically stable.) Also, roxarsone cannot be fed to chickens within 10 days of slaughter (USDA reg) and it metabolizes out of a chicken in 24-36 hours with a 20% consumption rate.
And if you will read the FDA and USDA consumer manuals (I won't force the real regs on you), you will see that a) neither chickens nor hogs can be fed hormones and the fine for doing so illegally is $50K per incident; b) neither chickens nor hogs can be fed antibiotics (including arsenic) except as treatment for an outbreak of disease, and c) cannot be sold for slaughter until after a legal waiting period after last day of administration has passed. Violation of these laws can cost a producer her livelihood - and it's not the buyer (i.e. Tyson, Hormel, etc) who takes the financial hit -- it's the producer (the little guy who is in debt up to his eyeballs). The regs are at www.usda.gov and look for the consumer guides.
And if you knew anyone who raised either chickens or hogs for market, you would know that we do care about the animals we raise, and we want our products to be safe and healthful (because we eat them too). Oh, and yeah, we want to make a living at it, because farming isn't something people do if they don't love what they're doing.
How do I know this? I'm the regs and chem expert for my family farm. Someone has to do it, and my cousin was really tired of it. (I don't blame her.)
But if you want the science behind the roxarsone....
According to the Geological Society of America (who studied this in 2002 and presented the paper in 2003) real-world data shows that roxarsone only transforms into As(V) during microbial composting of litter. Roxarsone is chemically stable after digestion (infer how that goes) and under anaerobic conditions. It is chemically stable in water and dry soil, as well. (GSA, Abstracts, Sept, 2003)
USGS studied this further, and concluded that roxarsone degrades into As(V) over time by ultraviolet radiation and microbial action. While THIS can contaminate the soil, As(V) is the necessary contaminant, not an organic arsenic. The way to avoid As(V) contamination is to use poultry litter in an anaerobic system (like those used to produce methane) rather than traditional composting.
What all of the above means is that chicken muscle doesn't degrade roxarsone. Digestion and muscle do not cause demethylization or deamination, and any hydroxylation is going to occur prior to muscle formation, rather than in muscle tissue. Under hydroxylation, the molecules that are broken break down into As(II), water, ammonia, and sodium chloride. However, 80% of the roxarsone passes out of the bird without being broken up. However, As(II) bonds with anything that has a negative 2 charge, and becomes stable again. Also, like humans, chickens require some arsenic - humans require about 1-2 mg a day, which we get through our food.
In highly oversimplified terms, to be dangerous, arsenic has to have five free electrons that can bond with another molecule. Neither soil based arsenic nor roxarsone have free electrons.
I spent six months learning these regs, and I have to update my knowledge every time an ag bill passes both houses of Congress. (I hate the Ag committees. I wish they'd learn to write simple English.) We raise soy, corn, hogs and a small number of chickens for local consumption, but enough that we have to comply with USDA regs. We're organic (as in hippie farmers, not Chem majors) because we never bothered to switch to chemicals. The farm's been in my family for over a hundred years. We rely on the fact that we're certified because it lets us make money, allowed us to keep my great-grandfather at home as he wanted and my great-uncle in a comfortable assisted living situation, supports my grandmother and my mother to an extent, and pays our (me, the farm manager, the legal manager and the accountant) salaries. It also allows us to keep the land in the family instead of selling it off for developers to put McMansions on and renovate the Historic Landmark buildings on the property.
So when it comes to chemicals, I don't depend on the lit from the chem companies to make sure what the neighbors are spraying is safe. I check it with independent agencies. And if I can't trust GSA and USGS to get their peer-reviewed science right, there's no one I can trust. At some point, I have to trust the data.
Like many people who have forgotten high school chemistry (and until I started doing this, I had forgotten it, too), this all looks very complex and scary, but sixteen year olds can balance these equations and the chemical analysis can be done at any community college or well equipped high school. But since most of us forget Chem after we take the final, we hear the word arsenic, think of the the movie about the two little old ladies, and freak.
This is not a flame -- really. This is my life. It's kinda funny, really. Or so I keep telling myself.
I live with a UNIX (note - UNIX, not Linux) devotee with a Master's of Comp Sci (and his doctorate, if he will just get around to writing the damned paper) and almost 20 years in the industry, including time with NASA, Sun, IBM and Bell Atlantic. I don't joke when I say that Assembly is his first language, C his second, Java his third, and English his fourth. (And he's American born.) If you have health insurance, he wrote a good deal of the underlying software that manages your records, and he wrote about half of the software that feeds NASA satellite data to be processed before it goes to NASA TV and the NASA website. He is also the only UNIX ecumenist I know personally. He'll use any flavor, and likes them all.
I know UNIX and Linux. Intimately. Too intimately. I should be getting child support from Linux, I know it so well. No, thank you. I'll take my nice BSD based Darwin OS X. I like not having to change operating systems once a week just so I can both use my wireless network AND print on the same day.
My partner has 5 machines in his office. He loves them enough to lavish Distros upon them. Many distros. Frequently. Both the Dell laptop and the Powerbook are currently dual booting; the former Ubantu and XP Pro; the latter 10.4 and Ubantu; they're doing okay apparently. At least, I haven't *heard* any requests for additional software or hardware. I guess I better check the credit card statements, though.
The other three hardware sets are: one later model PowerMac Beige G3 with upgraded memory and 3 SCSI hard drives; one Compaq Presario 1 GHz Intel chip with 512 RAM; and 1 ice iBook 500 MHz 684 MB. (I think he also has my spare ice iBook - my backup machine - but I'm not supposed to know that he sneaked it out of my office.... and it will have my 10.4 disk image replaced upon it when I oh so innocently ask about it.)
In the last six months, on the 3 different sets of hardware, we've had:
Ubantu (all three, and currently booting off of CDs or external drives)
Free BSD (all three; my partner loooorves BSD, especially when it doesn't work right and he has something to play with.)
NetBSD (all three, see above.)
Yellowdog (the macs.)
Mandrake (or is it Mandriva now?) (The Intel. Yikes.)
Slackware (All three, in succession.)
Gentoo (all three, PLUS on the handheld.)
Suse (the Intel.)
Darwin (minus the OS X overlay)
Solaris (the intel)
and probably at least three others that I never even noticed. One of them probably in Parsi with a Mandarin interface.
There's Linux of some flavor on every machine but the one I'm typing on right now, but I wouldn't want to do anything intensive on any of them. They're usually not running properly. If it's not the video drivers, it's the networking and if it's not the networking, it's the printer drivers and if it's not the printer drivers, it's unstable, or it's the firewire drives or the slave drives or once, memorably, the SCSI drives. I didn't know my husband knew some of those words, and we've been married almost five years.
Linux will get there... someday. Not yet, though. It needs money behind the projects, and there's no money in open source unless there's money to be made. Apple and Sun both realized this and did something about it, and their products are pretty damn good.
And it needs a lot less fragmentation. Having 30 flavors out there (and having Holy warriors for all 30, all of whom seem determined to KILL each other with the power of their minds through their flame posts) isn't helping anyone.
I'm not even going to touch MANpages....
but arsenic isn't that bad. It isn't dioxin or PCBs or lead.
Some basic chemical math, first.
1 ppm =1000 ppb = 1 mg/L (Normal daily exposure to arsenic from food) = 1 in 1 million = 1:1,000,000 = 1 mg/kg (1/8th teaspoon in 55 gal drum)
500 ppb = .5 mg/L (FDA limits for chicken muscle meat) =1 in 2 million or 1:2,000,000 = 1 mg/2 kg (1/8th teaspoon in a 10 year old's backyard swimming pool - not a baby pool)
100 ppb = .1 mg/L (national US average for untreated well water) = 1 in 10 million or 1:10,000,000 = 1 mg in 10 kg (1/8th teaspoon in a large microbrewery's beer vat)
10 ppb = .01 mg/L (EPA and WHO limits for drinking water) 1 in 100 million or 1:100,000,000 (Not possible in the developing world, and requires municipal filtering in most of the Western US) = 1 mg in 100 kg (1/8th teaspoon in standard tanker truck)
1 ppb = 1 in one billion, effective minimal testing level = 1 mg in 1000 kg (1/8th teaspoon in a half-Olympic sized swimming pool)
1 ppt = 1 in one trillion = 1:1,000,000,000,000 = Extrapolated dioxin levels that caused genetic mutations in 50% of those exposed to Agent Orange during Vietnam. (there are a few machines that can test ppt, but they're REALLY expensive.)
1ppq = 1 in one quintillion = 1:1,000,000,000,000,000 = extrapolated dioxin levels passed from father via sperm during conception; caused many mutations. No machine can test for this concentration.
I'm sorry, but this is a place I HAVE to use metric measurements. Imperial sucks for ppm/ppb.
Unfortunately, the avian digestive systems (it's not just chickens, it's all birds) are well adapted to concentrating arsenic. Even free-range, organically fed, backyard chickens and ducks will have arsenic in their systems if the soil or the water have arsenic in them. They tend to concentrate it in their livers. Chicken livers from places with a high background arsenic level can cause a bioaccumulative, very slow arsine poisoning in humans, though fortunately, this rarely causes illness, and almost never causes death. (However, there are two documented cases of death by pate de fois gras caused by excessive consumption of goose liver raised in areas with a high background arsenic level. So watch the Beef Wellington consumption.)
Arsenic occurs either naturally in water and soil, or through contamination from pressure-treated wood and its ash, old pesticides, old rodenticides, Paris Green, some old wallpapers and paints, and certain insecticides. The former is the primary source of US arsenic contamination.
Now here's where you need a Chem degree: while some arsenic alloys/gases are really toxic, metallic arsenic is not all that toxic, and humans can adapt to it. Toxic levels start at 20 mg/L, or 20 times what we consume on a daily basis. Background exposure is to arsenic is relatively safe, though inhalation of arsine gases can cause lung cancer. Dermal exposure and ingestion are not too bad - some dermatological issues, and there's a correlative incidence of skin cancer (but people who live where arsenic levels are high also tend to get a lot of unblocked sunlight, so the stats aren't clear). People who live in areas with legal levels of arsenic in the water have higher tolerances - toxic levels start at about 200 mg/L.
Getting 1-2 mg of arsenic in food every day is normal - vegetables absorb it too. (An interesting historical side note is that 19th century Austrian mountaineers intentionally ate arsenic as a tonic and to help with altitude sickness; they also gave it to their horses. The Austrian death rate was not significantly lower than that of the rest of the European population at the time, and Austrian horses were considered excellent in what would become Germany.)
Arsenic is a micromineral that we seem to need in very small amounts, and we both absorb very little and excrete it easily. We absorb 5% of the arsenic we ingest, and excrete 95%. There are 10-20 mg in the average body at any given time, and we excrete what we don't absorb in 48 to 72 hours.
WHO's limits on arsenic are .01 mg/L. Organic arsenic is well tolerated; the ones we have to worry about are the gaseous and oxidized versions.
Back to Chicken: What is fed to chickens is organic arsenic (not organic as in gardening, but organic as in having stable, carbon-hydrogen bonds rather than free, unstable bonds. Think chem major, not hippie farmer).
The good news is that arsenic has an antimicrobial effect, so chicken farmers who still use arsenic are less likely to have birds that will contract and transmit avian diseases (including avian flu, among others). It effectively protects wild bird populations in the area, as well as humans and domesticated mammals.
Currently, there is a lot of arsenic research coming out of India and Bangladesh right now. They have arsenic in the drinking water at levels of from .01 to .05 mg/L. FWIW, Colorado ground water tests on average at .03 mg/L.
In areas that have .01 mg/L of arsenic in the water, rice, potatoes, radishes and onions accumulate arsenic at rates of 10 mg/kg, 4.41 mg/kg, 13.4mg/kg and 25.2 mg/kg respectively. Compare to chicken: .5 mg/kg is the UPPER limit.
The other good news is that chicken muscle does not retain arsenic at all well - .001-.325 ppm are normal, and FDA limits are .5 ppm. We get more arsenic in our potatoes than our chicken.
Tyson (and Kirkland!) does not use arsenic (and there are others who don't, as well) and any chicken labeled antibiotic free doesn't use arsenic. (But please recall that no chickens are fed hormones or antibiotics as a routine part of their diet; they get antibiotics only when they're sick, and hormones never.)
(And on another interesting historical note, arsenic was the first effective medication in the battle against syphilis. From about 1905 when Salvarsan was first refined until the widespread availability of penicillin in the 1940s, the only way to cure many bacterial infections was with an arsine compound. So lives have definitely been saved...)
Not saying that arsenic is NOT bad stuff - it's definitely not what I want in my salt shaker - but compared to dioxin, PCBs, phenyls, aromatic hydrocarbons, sodium sulphates, phosphates.... I'll take arsenic.
(And thanks for taking the time to read this - when I write this stuff out, I get to understand the laws I have to understand a LOT better. Which means I can explain them to others without feeling like I've beaten myself up with a hammer!)
She's got some irritating turns of phrase, but who doesn't? Alton Brown's incessant pop culture references get on my nerves if I watch him too much, and ten minutes of Paula Dean makes me want to claw my eardrums out and give myself a suborbital prefrontal lobotomy with my ice pick.
I'm glad RR exists, because I know enough people who can't cook much at all, and others who don't have tons of time, that Miss Sammies and Salads Thang is a help for them. She's also a good role model for young women who have food issues - she's not too thin, not too fat, makes relatively healthy food and shows them that it can be fun.
She bores me, but that's because I find her recipes exceedingly simple.
I don't watch $40 a day because she never goes to places I find interesting.
But for truly evil and annoying "food" people, my top three are
3. Paula Dean (Bacon around corn on the cob?? Krispy Kremes + 1 lb. butter + heavy syrup fruit cocktail + sweetened condensed milk... I just had a heart attack and went into hyperglycemia from writing her recipes.)
2. Giada de Laurentiis (too many teeth... and what does she eat, virgin's blood? And her food's so over-produced that I'm pretty sure the only way she got her show is because her granpappy is Dino and her aunt owns her production company...)
1. A show so bad it hasn't made it to FoodTV... Johnny Nix's Campfire Cafe (RFD TV). Cajun accent so thick a spoon would stand up in it, scary food, really REALLY bad production values (handheld minicam, maybe?), and the guy carts a metric ton of equipment into the back of beyond to make meals over a campfire (or a bottled gas stove) that most people wouldn't make in their kitchen with a full time cleaning staff on hand. (I'm sorry, but neither lasagna nor Tater-tot Hotdish should be made over an open fire. Ever. And in the latter case, probably not in a kitchen, either.) He makes "vegetarian" recipes with cream of chicken soup and cheese (what part of "vegetable matter only" does he not get?)
And his biggest sin... he puts tomato sauce in Cast Iron.
Flooding is always going to be more damaging than wind; there are very few buildings that can be built in Louisiana that are cat 4/5 stable because cat 4/5 stable requires tying to bedrock. There's no bedrock to be found in that area. (And while I agree with you that this war we're in is a stupid and immoral waste of resources, the issue is housing, not war. Please don't argue from a false choice.) But even if bedrock could be located, as long as there's a risk of flooding when the levees break, there's no way to build perfect housing. More on this below.
I've been following this concept since Katrina; I volunteered as a researcher to put together a Bungalow in a Box concept built on the Sears Craftsman Bungalows sold in the first part of the 20th century. (We couldn't price them low enough to be practical, unfortunately.) If you look here: http://www.mississippirenewal.com/info/day... and here: http://www.newurbanguild.com / you'll see a far more in-depth profile of the cottages. They're built as temporary housing for 2-4 people, and permanent housing for 1-2 people or business space for the long term. Good use of space is critical in these designs. There are loft beds over the window seats and a lot of built in features. If a family doesn't have a lot of stuff (which most of the families these are built for don't) 308 square feet used well is more space than 800 square feet used poorly. (For what it's worth, my house started out at about 400 square feet back in the twenties, and has been added on to twice, once to provide a bigger kitchen and dining area, and once to add an office space. The original house was intended for a family with three children. Most of the year, we live in the 400 square foot original house.) These are neighborhood houses, where kids play in common areas and people congregate over grills and on porches. They're for neighborhoods where an eight year old can bike to a store to buy a popsicle.
The cottages can be built in 20 days, in a barn and hauled into place. The trailers that FEMA bought take 35 days to build and cost twice as much (and from what I hear, are shoddy as all hell.) The FEMA trailers are meant to be disposable - they're supposed to be landfilled in 18-24 months. These houses are meant to be the basis for add ons, to become granny apartments, or housing for couples and single people in the future. In a mixed use neighborhood, they would serve perfectly as a small clinic, a dentist's office, a hair salon, a tailor's shop, or small store. They're the difference between New Urbanism and single use sprawl. They're meant for medium density, community based housing.
These cottages can definitely stand up to Cat 2 hurricanes - that's what they experience just being transported from building site to lot site. (70+20 MPH winds, bumps, jolts, stops - and it survived without even cracks in the sheetrock!). I would back of the envelope guess that these would stand up to 120 MPH winds better than a trailer, if only because these would tie better to their foundations. I know that the trailers that are currently in use are not hurricane stable, and if there is a serious hurricane in this upcoming season, the region will suffer damages akin to tornadoes in the midwest - insult to injury, in other words. For what it's worth, my partner works for an insurance underwriting company that specializes in natural disaster insurance (range fire, earthquake, hurricane and flood), and they are refusing to insure any of the FEMA trailers that have been put on foundations... and this company will insure houses in earthquake country built on sand...
If these cottages are built with metal foundation strapping and use spray adhesive on the roof sheafing, they will be able to take 120 mph winds without a problem. (University of Florida, Windstorm Damage Mitigation Center, 1999). We've learned a lot about materials and building science in the past 100 years; we can improve on the materials and concepts while preserving the look and feel of an historic community.
As for flood versus wind resistant construction: While elevated block construction survives flood damage better, they tend to lose their roofs in high winds due to implosion thanks to significantly unequal pressures. Wood frames flex and breathe better than block, and so survive wind damage better, but tend to be significantly damaged by water. There are very few structures that can survive both types of damage. (elevated Bucky ball houses are about it - and for some reason, no one likes geodesic domes...)
As for being a permanent part of the architecture of the city, they are a start for replacement housing that is culturally, environmentally and historically appropriate to the region. They're based on shotgun houses, and shotgun houses came from Haiti after the Haitian revolution, when the Free People of Color started building their settlements. If you look into the actual architecture of the city, architectural historians have linked the shotgun houses to West African housing of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Once in Louisiana, the architecture changed to suit the environment: houses with high ceilings, deep porches and big windows have excellent air flow-through and cooling properties; houses on piers are safer in floods and cooler in the summer; the double parlor of the shotgun house allowed for maximum flexibility in sleeping, and the plaster and lathe system (which is best replicated by fibrous concrete for its fire safety and water resistance) meant walls stayed cooler. Early shotgun houses have Caribbean carvings; later houses adopted Victoriana. The cottages take advantage of several of these properties; the thin house plans that are soon to be available will be adapted shotgun houses that include all of them.
Shotgun neighborhoods were developed for a non-car world, where people walked and used public transportation to get around. The long, narrow lots are much easier on a walking population than are wide lots. Double shotguns make the best use of materials, and camelbacks are relatively easy to add on to any shotgun. And it was the shotgun house that invented the front porch, something that has become a very important part of New Orleans culture and climate.
The average single shotgun house is about 20 feet wide and 40-80 feet deep; double shotguns are twice as wide and the same length. The house pictured above is a starter, not a final product. However, if getting out of a motel and getting home meant my kids had to have loft beds and I had to use a tiny kitchen for a year, I'd be all over it.
Please keep in mind that many of those displaced are living in even further cramped quarters - four or six people to a single motel room, doubled up in two bedroom apartments or small trailers. No, these houses are not going to handle the Lazy-boy recliner and big screen TVs... but while one is rebuilding the main house, who can afford such things? Isn't it better to put a community back together so that children have their families and chosen kin just down the street, so that churches and schools and shops have their client bases back, so that the community begins to mend? Yeah, cramped quarters suck. But being stuck 1000 miles from home and all you care about sucks worse.
It's easier to make a new thread for future reference.
Potato Boxty (Pratai)
My grandmother used to tease me with this rhyme when I was little: Boxty on the griddle, boxty in the pan. If you can't make boxty, you'll never get your man. The more Irish side of the family eats these as often as possible; the German-Irish side of the family prefer kuchen and noodles to potatoes.
1 cup, more or less, leftover cooked mashed potatoes, as minimally seasoned as possible. * Russet potatoes are fine here.
2-3 peeled, grated raw waxy potatoes (Yukon Golds, Whites or Reds.) Aim for 1 cup, more or less of shreds.
1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt (may vary depending on liquid content of the mashed and shredded potatoes. Dry potatoes take a little more.)
1 small onion, grated or diced fine
chopped chives or green onions, about a tablespoon
butter (or bacon drippings, but I prefer the taste of the butter here.)
* Mashed potatoes made with milk, butter and salt and pepper are ideal, but taties with a little cheese, onion or bacon are fine, too. This is not the place to use the leftover wasabi and garlic mashed potatoes, though.
1. In the microwave, bring the mashed potatoes to somewhere between room temperature and body temperature - no hotter, or you'll cook the egg. Pre-heat the oven to 200 F.
2. Rinse the shreds to rid them of excess starch and let drain in the colander.
3. Combine all of the ingredients except the butter in a mixing bowl with a big spoon until thoroughly mixed.
4. Melt one teaspoon of the butter in a heavy bottomed skillet, then drop large spoonfuls into the hot fat. Leave room around the dollops. I can usually get four spoonfuls into the skillet at a time. I use a wooden spoon for this; a tablespoon works well, too. Smash down gently with the back of the turner. Smaller dollops cook faster and are easier to turn, but larger ones are more traditional.
5. Let the bottoms brown, then turn carefully and brown again. Remove to an oven safe baking dish, the larger the better. (9x13 is ideal.) Repeat from step four. Keep the boxty warm in the oven while cooking the remainder of the mixture, and try not to stack them.
Serve with a) tart apple sauce, b) sour cream, c) bacon and egg (for a farmer's breakfast) d) for a real, Dublin fine dining experience, goat cheese and grilled vegetables.
Hormones are illegal for use in poultry and pork. (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Duck_... and http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/pork.htm ) Antibiotics may only be used to treat disease or prevent disease (if transmissible), and any animal which has had antibiotics must be held for a withdrawal period after the last day of administration. This withdrawal period is dictated by law. It is based on the rate that antibiotics are metabolized out of the body.
Economically, the reality is that chickens rarely get antibiotics. They go to slaughter when they're 7 weeks old and if the chicks are quarantined before introduction to the chicken house (as is usual) disease doesn't usually take hold. In most cases, it's cheaper to just pull the sick bird (if it can be caught quick enough) and destroy it. Five gallons of Cipro may cost as much as the house full of day old chicks did. Chickens that are not allowed outside are not likely to contract diseases from wild birds. And organic chickens may be given antibiotics in case of disease outbreak - they're just not allowed to have feed that is less than 80% organic. Laying hens may not be given antibiotics or hormones. Laying hens that get sick must be pulled out of the production line.
A single sick bird in a flock can mean the difference between breaking even and a loss; thus sick birds are pulled out. The big problem with chicken is environmental (what do you do with the waste, which is high in ammonia and arsenic), labor (the farmers are pretty heavily exploited by the big companies) and industrial (injury rates at poultry packing plants are some of the worst in all fields). Poultry waste is also nasty for campylobacter and salmonella.
Chickens tend to bioacumulate arsenic that occurs naturally in water and soil, and most of the chicken consumed in the US comes from areas that test high for arsenic. Most "organic" chicken comes from California, rather than the Gulf Coast and southern Midwest; California does not have the naturally occurring arsenic that much of the Mississippi valley and Great Lakes region has. (Due to the differences in tectonic plates, if I remember my geology courses correctly.)
"Free range" or "natural" or "Roaming" doesn't mean anything. They're not USDA regulated labels. The first and last merely mean that the chicken house door was left open, and natural means no colors, additives or preservatives were added. Organic only applies to feed (and only 80% of the feed must be organic). In fact, raising chickens indoors, in dim light, in raised cages is better for the chickens - they're less likely to cannibalize each other, less likely to peck each other, and less likely to contract respiratory disease caused by contact with their own droppings and the ammonia it contains. I eat chickens out of a sense of revenge - they're mean if they're not kept in semi-dark (so they stay sleepy). Ducks make better pets; geese make excellent watch dogs. (As it happens, all poultry laws apply to all birds, including turkeys, Cornish rock hens, squab and farm raised pheasant.) But chickens have the personality of mean drunks on the morning after a big binge.
As for the big three of chicken, Perdue, Tyson and Foster Farms all quit putting antibiotics in feed by 2002, and even then was only used when other management strategies failed. (Citation: USDA regulations, supermarketguru.com, Time). There is a 7 day withdrawal period for poultry from last day of administration. Hormones have not been used since the 50s when they were banned for all poultry production. Chickens are bred for size, but not goosed into size by hormone supplements. (FSIS-USDA, Foster Farms, Perdue, Tyson, www.eco-labels.org )
As for pork, hogs may only receive antibiotics to treat or prevent a disease, and the withdrawal period between last date of administration and sale for slaughter is 6 weeks in shoats, 8 weeks in mature hogs. All antibiotics are metabolized out of the body within that period of time. Any animal found upon inspection to carry antibiotic residue is removed from the human consumption line.
No hormones are allowed in the raising of hogs. None. Period. That's USDA reg. (Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA.) Because they're social, omnivorous creatures, putting them on the same type of free range as free range cattle would kill them - either they would kill the weakest members of the group or they would starve without access to a balanced diet. There's a reason pigs have traditionally been fed slops - that's what they do best on. (Our pigs get a diet that is about 25% our corn and 25% our soy, and 50% comes from the food waste generated by the local Mennonite school in Indiana - which is their own, organic food.) The problem with commercially raised hogs is again, waste and labor, though hog slaughtering is, on par, safer than either beef or chicken. The other problem is traditional, not current, and that is trichinosis. The last outbreak in the United States was in 1990, and was traced back to a Mhong wedding and pigs that were not factory farmed, but hand-raised. There have also been outbreaks related to bear meat, but since that's not commercially available, it's really not a factor.
I have to know these regs - I drew the short straw when the family trust management changed after my great-grandfather's death - we are an organic farm and we raise hogs, some chickens (for local consumption), organic soy and organic corn. (Somebody in the family had to learn the laws when my cousin opted out.) The links I gave you above are the consumer links - the real regs are about a 13 inch stack of single spaced, 8x11 print out and they change every year. But hormones and antibiotics don't change. The producers don't want it to change - it would drive up costs.
We raise about 400 hogs, 300 chickens and 3500 acres of hay, corn, soy and truck (crop rotation.) Everything save the truck is sold through the co-op. We're organic because my great-grandfather was too cheap to use chemicals when "fertilizer falls out of the cow's fanny." However, our neighbors are standard; their methods vary not all that much from ours, except they use Round-up on their beans and corn, and they get a lower price for their pork bellies. (Our neighbors are third cousins, twice removed by marriage... or something like that. I'm related to half the state.) We don't raise beef anymore at all - it's just too expensive for the return. A pound of pork costs us 4 pounds of feed, a pound of whole chicken costs about 2.5 pounds of feed, but even a pound of grass-fed beef costs about 16 pounds of hay and feed. With our acreage, we can't afford them.
The sad part is that the morality vegetarians have lied to us when it comes to how meat is managed. Even Consumer Reports can't be trusted on this - you have to go straight to the regs. Cute pictures of chickens chasing bugs in a grassy meadow are marketing; there is no way to even break even if you're raising more than for your own family's consumption due to the waste handling measures that we have to follow. If you sell more than 45 birds or 24 hogs a year, you are subject to USDA regulation whether you're organic or not.
As for beef... my husband grew up on a dairy farm, and one of the Horizon organic dairies is within 20 miles of my house. Happy Cows is not exactly accurate... but the cows out in Matheson, where Lasater is located, are (or, at least they're as happy as any cow I've ever met).
You (collectively) don't get to tell me (collectively) how I (collectively) should feel when one of you (collectively) decides to dehumanize me (collectively). To continue the metaphor, the mugger doesn't get to tell the muggee how the muggee should deal with the crime. Horror and disgust over the dehumanization of oneself and one's peers is not limited to women and our experiences of rape. Such righteous anger and disgust with inhumanity goes further and applies to all forms of torture.
I personally may be able to deal with rape as an instance of violence that does not touch my core self and is only an expression of my attacker's sociopathic attempt to make me less of a person, but it may still change how I view all others who could put me in a similar situation, how I handle my personal safety, even what decisions I make about my social life because having been attacked once, I don't want to go through it again. While my self and psyche may be unscathed, my physical space, social reactions and behavior are not going to be equally unscathed.
But being horrified at someone's wishes to dehumanize another person is not paternalistic and Victorian. Torture is always horrific, be it committed to force a woman to knuckle under, to damage the psyche of prisoners of war, or to control altar boys.
As for your opinion that it is the cultural mores that create the opportunity for rape, I don't think cultural studies of matriarchal and matrilineal communities bear out your thesis. Rape appears to be a universal, probably related to instinctual patterns of both dominance and reproduction. Sexual predation is seen in all cultures. (Lee Ellis, Theories of Rape, 1989). Ours is an anti-feminist culture, but domination of women is not the sole cause of rape. Some quarter of rapes are committed by men who can't communicate their desires for an effective heterosexual relationship, and instead try rape as an alternative. Those, at the very least, are not violent as such, but are rooted in psychological dysfunction and biological roots.
It is a product of our culture. If our culture did not consider that women should be secure in their persons and that sexual violence against them are abhorrent and aberrant, then we maybe could consider rape as just another form of assault and battery.
Rape becomes singularly damaging to that security of self because it damages the victim's ability to have normal and safe social and intimate relationships in a way that a random mugging or beating does not. Sure, this is cultural, but this is the culture we have, and changing it will take generations. It's not so much an expectation of a feeling of violation, horror or shame as an actual violation of personal security, a disintegration of trust and faith in human nature, and a diminishment of the victim by the attacker from person to thing. People who have been raped are made to feel as if they are not human and that is the major component of the crime.
When you compare rape to a physically brutal mugging, they're totally different crimes. A mugging does not leave the victim with the possibility of STD or pregnancy.
A victim of a mugging is not usually subjected to questions about how much s/he had had to drink, what s/he was wearing, or why s/he was in that location at that time. A victim of mugging is rarely accused of "wanting it to happen." A victim of a mugging is almost never accused of complicity in the mugging, and never has to watch videotapes of the mugging as a part of the prosecution of the case.
Muggings are not used specifically as genocidal tools in warfare.
Muggings are not used to break down a victim's defenses to coerce other actions out of them, and and are not considered a prelude to murder.
Most men who are murdered are not raped beforehand. Most women who are murdered are.
Very few people are drugged into a mugging, lured into a mugging or forced into a mugging by going to the wrong party or dating the wrong person.
The reason the psychological harm needs to be considered in cases of rape is because it is primarily a psychological crime. It is torture, pure and simple, designed to dehumanize the victim, committed to damage the victim in very specific ways and committed with the intention of punishing the victim for being who s/he is. It is committed to damage zer psyche and to make zer think s/he is worthless.
You are unlikely to ever have to deal with rape directly. Men just aren't raped as often or as brutally. You can't know what it is like to live in this culture after a rape. You'll never have to. Count yourself lucky and don't presume to tell us how we should feel about our bodies.
And while it would be nice if our culture would all of a sudden become a paradise where
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