20 January, 2023

More Worms!

(and rain gauges and electronics.)

I've added this post on PTEC3D Blog to the post on here a few months back

YW.




















 

What The ^$*#@*% Are You Eating!?!

News like this is everywhere. You'd think the message was getting across to the public. And you'd also think that if the message was getting across, people would boycott some of the perpetrators, one by one. What are you actually eating when you buy processed / "supermarket fresh" foods? Do you know? 

Because if the message was getting out, you'd know.  How can these sorts of things happen and people not know about them, again and again? Here are seven just pulled at random off a search results page:

Note the dates, all over the place. And I've sounded off about these for over a decade:

Those links are to articles where I wrote about the state of food fraud. There are others where I wrote about straight-up fraud of other items than food, but people who produce adultered/fraudulently-altered food and the mountains of food and "nutrition" misinformation deserve a special place in a quite special Hell of drowning in a hot stew their own products, over and over and over.

So What Is This? 

Artificially reddening meat to make it look appealing was A Thing last century, a thing that probably caused quite a few stomach ulcers, digestive issues, and even cancers. We'll never know. Because no-one commissioned those sorts of studies. That would be informing the buying public, and we don't do that, only mis-inform... 

Initially this was done with a compound that's an irritant and inflammatory chemical. Why? Because the food corporations spent billions in their advertising to show lovely unnaturally red meat. They did it because people thought brown meat was rotten. (It isn't. Meat oxidises on the outside and turns brown and that's a natural process. We age meat to brown it, by cooking it. The browning indicates a piece of meat that's at a perfect stage for cooking.)

So - stupid people are at the heart of this, but stupid people only get that way if they're not educated. So education is to blame, or in this case, lack of the correct knowledge and so butchers and supermarkets started to add inflammatory chemicals to their meat to make it red, their sales went up, and people started developing more bowel issues...

There are now some methods used that don't involve those irritants, but I'm still a bit pissed off when I get this sort of thing:

This piece of meat shows the marks of "prettifying."

The brown parts of that are the type of meat I'd actually prefer in my shopping basket and they indicate almost perfect ageing. (Of course I know the entire cut is the same age, but the pink parts have been treated to look like something they're not, the chemical originally used has been quite emphatically outlawed for decades, and now I wonder what fresh bastardry the producers of this cut have found to pump up their bottom line...)

This is a supermarket that has vowed to reduce their use of known harmful chemicals in the foods they sell, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't develop new harmful chemicals. And it's still fraud as defined in that video I first linked to.

BTW: That meat was great, despite the pink stuff. We enjoyed the meal I cooked with it and some vegetables and herbs from our garden and other unprocessed ingredients. 

Coda.

As some of you know I grow vegetables in our tiny front yard which is also our outdoor area so we've done, I think, a great job of integrating both. I'm doing this to remind us both - to remind you, reading this - of where our food actually comes from. I'm not some organic/hand-everything wonk but I like it if I can eat food that has only been watered, fed with compost and minimal dry granular fertiliser, and a combination of pesticides that I know are minimally harmful and home remedies known to work, and I've designed garden beds that farm their own worms and put timed reticulation on that. I don't like the daily grind of watering and weeding and de-pesting. It comes down to the Spoons thing. I'm one of the lucky(?) small group for whom spoons are a bit limited. 

But supermarkets and large food corporations would really like you to forget how easy it is to grow your own. Those worthy organisations (yeah, it's sarcasm) would prefer it if they could just put walls around their customers and populate that with cement, asphalt, and grass. Because then you'd be entirely dependent on their foods and they could charge exactly enough to keep you on the point of slavery, where your entire income is used to just survive and work. 

Don't believe me? Re-read this (https://tedamenu.blogspot.com/2022/07/no-hope-for-food-knowledge.html) that was my first link to my blogs above. I've had one person tell me that processing removes the "stuff" that's in naturally-grown food and my cooking from scratch was putting my health at risk because I could process that out. I'm still not sure to this day if they were a troll or a genuine fwit.

Corporations spend huge sums on what I can only call propaganda. They've contributed much the entire curriculum for some educational systems of the USA and wherever else they could get their shoes under the bed, material they approved and even wrote in some cases. They put their corporate logos  and presence right into schools. If you can find the book "Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us" by Michael Moss, do read it. It's enlightening.

In Australia where denial of our history was important, don't forget that the governments that wanted most to hide that history 'revised' the curriculum. And most of those predominantly LNP politicians that initiated the changes had documented and large involvements in major corporations. 

In such cases it's easy to slip in half-truths about corporations and food. Most school systems are wrong for the prevailing environment, still made to churn out mediocrity rather than excellence. Slaves, in other words.

Even in professional circles (and remembering that these people also came through that same educational system) such as medicine there's deliberately manufactured ignorance. A diabetes website - a government-operated diabetes website - still recommends losing weight by using margarine and denounces the use of butter to this day, despite a) the whole fats causing weight gain thing being a deliberate ploy by the sugar industry to divert the blame from sugar and b) the now accepted fact that margarine and butter offer about the same health benefits and risks

I could go on. Dept of Agriculture offices well stocked with Syngenta paraphenalia sent to them as lobbying gifts, the GP twiddling their Merck pen that the rep left behind. These things all DO influence us, silently, imperceptibly. If I said the words of a TV ad for cigarettes now, most people wouldn't (thank sanity for that small mercy) have a clue which brand was referred to. But last century, that ad and thousands like it sold tobacco while the tobacco companies quietly took down papers that clearly showed the harm tobacco caused, flooded the rest out under a tsunami of paid studies that understandably wouldn't have gotten paid if they actual intimated that tobacco was harmful.

Here, I'll give you that jingle: "BrandX BrandX you're a star, beat the other smokes by far." Remember that British American Tobacco paid handsomely to put that jingle on TV and radio, hundreds of thousands of dollars, the equivalent of several million dollars today, and still made lots of money from their cigarettes. 

This is what we need to fight, something that's had a hundred years to get ahead of us all. Sorry - such a long way round to get to this point. But all those parts of the article are really needed to drive home the unfair use of wealth by corporations to extract all our wealth from us and harm us in the process. 

Revolution!

Today, the best ways to revolt against the machine that's doing its best to swallow us up is to DO THINGS. Grow some of your own food. Cook your own meals. Make your own music. Write your own stories.

Write to your local MPs and ministers and the newspapers and the CEOs of these huge corporations and tell them. Find petitions online and sign them, on street corners and sign them. Speak to your friends and family and work colleagues, send them to articles like I've linked above - send them to this article, even. 

Go for a walk or a drive and find small market gardens and farm gate stalls, farmers' markets - and buy some fresh food. Learn how to use that fresh food in preference to processed food. Grow your own parsley or basil and use it in your meals. Make fast food a once-in-a-blue-moon thing, not your daily routine. READ EVERYTHING. Every label, every ingredient list. Read cookbooks and online recipes that deal with whole fresh foods.

Play a guitar (or just the spoons, or make music tapping some chopsticks against plates and pots and pans) or sing. Make the words up as you go, make the words about what a rotten bunch of bastards big corporations are and how we need to keep them honest. Tell stories, about how we're being cheated and assaulted by toxic foods, about how you cooked the best dish of just pasta, olive oil, cream, fresh garlic and fresh basil that you grew in an old takeaway tub on the window ledge in the kitchen.

THAT'S the real revolution that'll win. 


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If this has struck a chord in you, if this kind of thing makes you angry, then I can only say this: Stay angry! Stand up! Get activated! Let others know! Write to government figures, write to newspapers, to CEOs and managers at companies. Start petitions, sign petitions. Share this article and my others like it, go to my News Stand to see all my other posts and share links to the News Stand and any articles you found interesting. And if you can, donate here or here. Or subscribe to my once a week newsletter and stay in the loop. Just don't sit there and do nothing!

And if none of this has resonated, if none of this has made you angry enough to act, then they've already won, and perhaps you deserve it. 

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07 January, 2023

TTMMGH #00006

Mandurah. And crabs. 

Intrigued? This one could also go in the "Old Pharte Memoires" really. They're memories I have, I'm old. (And yeah - of course I do.) Do I mention Belle of the Belltower Times often enough? The BT reminds me of the Western Australia in the 80s and 90s, with a healthy tang of RIGHT NOW. 

I went "prawn dabbing" under the old traffic bridge in Mandurah. When prawns were running, a hundred people with long tube nets on long poles would go there every night, crowding the landings underneath, watching for the luminous eyes drifting on the outgoing tide and guiding them into the long sock, and on a good day you could dab up several kilos of them.

By 2AM - 3AM everyone would drift home, and usually put a pot of salted water on to boil, and enjoy a handful of the catch fresh, with bread and butter.

But that's not Belle's story in this case. No, this is the Crabbing Hero, the one that putt-puttered around on their dinghy pulling up crab pots and filling their esky with blue manna crabs. 

It's a very funny Blue Manna crab. Cos it's a very funny story.

Now Mandurah's Inlet had a fertile crab breeding ground before the authorities changed the whole flow of the place so new developments wouldn't have to be assailed by "seaweed stench." But my story took place not long before that happened. 

People were dropping crab pots off the walkway, then lifting them, throwing back the soft-shell young and egg-festooned females, measuring the remaining crabs, and putting the legal-sized ones in their esky, mindful to only get their legal limit. 

All except this one family. Crab pots would come up, be tipped straight into their bucket without checking, and be rebaited and dropped. We watched as they caught 20, 30, then up to 50 little softshells that should have been going back to breed up and be the legal size in a year or two, and finally someone had obviously had enough. I'll call him Ahab.

Ahab was a regular fisher and we all knew him. More importantly, he knew all the "Fishies," the Fisheries inspectors, and knew they often went plainclothes during peak times like this. When he spotted a pair of them he walked over to the family, said hello, and then looked into their esky and raised his voice a bit.

"Geez that's a lot of crabs!" he said, his voice getting louder and louder. "What are y gonna use 'em for, shirt buttons?'

Two Fishies in mufti snapped their heads around, and we watched fifty or more softshells and undersized crabs getting tipped back into the estuary, and a very serious-looking ticket being written as the family was escorted off the walkway.

Sometimes Hmmm... becomes Mm-Hhmm! 

We need more Ahabs, especially these days with seemingly every person or corporation out to profit from not respecting the ecosystems, the land, and other people. If this has struck a chord in you, if this makes you angry, then I can only say this: Stay angry! Get activated! Let others know, write to government figures, write to newspapers, to CEOs and managers at companies. Start petitions, sign petitions. Share this article and my others like it, go to my News Stand to see all my other posts and share links to the News Stand and any articles you found interesting, and if you can, donate here or here. Or subscribe to my once-a-week newsletter and stay in the loop. Just don't sit there and do nothing, be an Ahab!

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03 January, 2023

Self-watering Seed Raisers

I first started making these about fifteen years ago, because everywhere I've lived has been warm to hot, and the ground just didn't hold enough water for seeds to get a start, no matter how much I soaked it. 

Sound familiar? Or are you, like myself, not too happy to have to be watering seed trays up to four times a day? And I'm not even kidding. Fifteen years ago the problem was temperatures in the mid to high 30s and low 40s, (yes degrees Celsius) sand only soil, hot breezes, and never enough cool space, never enough time to be home several times a day to keep the sand damp. 

Also, it was hot. Did I mention it was hot? I occasionally bought a soft drink or soda to make the weather more bearable, and generally got it in 2, 2.5, or 3 litre bottles - because I couldn't see the point of buying nine 325ml bottles just for convenience's sake. (And producing that much waste!!!) But whenever I finished a bottle, I couldn't bring myself to put it in the waste stream just yet. . .

So I made self-watering planters out of them. (It also gave me a good excuse to buy a few more bottles that first summer. . .) And just recently, I've noticed that soda water helps my now fifteen years older body stay better hydrated than plain water, and so I've once again collected a few 2l bottles. 

I've also just had some specialty seeds shipped to me by an online friends in Queensland, and their business is all manner of native, specialty, and herbal seeds. Check their page at FairDinkum Seeds or on Facebook because I assure you that Leigh and Manami are always great value. I've been using their seed farm for years now, and have never once had inviable seeds.

Anything smaller than a 2l bottle is probably not going to be too successful. But feel free to experiment. Bottles seem stable when first filled with soil and water, but the water does evaporate / transpire and when it does, the whole thing becomes top-heavy and easy to tip over. Have it in a secure spot, or, like I did for these six, put them in a seedling tray or similar. We have cats so I've also used plastic clothes pegs to clip all six together. You could also (if using duct tape like I have this time) do a run of tape around all your bottles and that should keep them upright and safe.

Six finished planters, and the raw stock, a 2litre soda bottle.

From the above pics you can probably already work out what's what, but I'll see if I can't make and add a video too. Oh and here it is! On Peertube, Youtube, or Odysee.

Basically you cut the bottle in half in such a way that when you turn the top half upside down and put it back into the bottom half, there's between 10 and 30mm space between the neck and the bottom of the bottle, and then you fix it in place. I've used glue, superglue, and in this case, plastic duct tape. As long as it's waterproof and holds the two halves together in their new configuration. 

Then cut a 150mm long and ~20-30mm wide strip of material, old tee shirt cotton's ideal, and push that most of the way through the neck of the bottle and down into the base of the bottle. You can slightly adjust how damp the soil will be - if you leave the last 50mm just laying in the neck, then only a small amount of soil will get water and so the soil will be drier, if you hold 50mm - 70mm upright while dropping soil in, there's greater contact between the soil and the material and more water will wick up and the soil will be wetter. (Corollary: If more water wicks up, you'll be filling this setup more often, and stand a chance of damping off your seeds with too much water.))

In this case I used an old terry-towelling tea
towel and 
the strips were around 250mm long.

One other important thing to do is to put a hole (not a slit as they block up or self seal) at the highest point that you want the water to go to. I usually pick a point that'll be level with where the neck starts to flare out, that way water won't flood and damp off the seeds/seedlings. I've used a drill and a hot soldering iron but if you've got the utility knife out just push a triangular hole about 2mm - 5mm on a side, and maybe even make two, on opposite sides, just to be sure. 

Fill with layers of potting mix and seed raising mix, or mix your own. I generally use half potting mix and garden soil that's been collected during bed restoration and reclaiming potting soil, then add seeds and cover them with fine peat moss. (I have large-ish drums where I put old 'spent' soil and add clippings and compost and leftover fine mulch and peat and manure and can leave it to rebuild for a year, sort of like in-soil composting. You probably already have a favourite seed raising mix, or will find your favourite as you go.)

Now carefully keep adding water to the seed raiser (which is what this technically is, I guess - although I've also used these to grow herbs on the kitchen window sill) until you get some weeping out of an overflow hole, and let it sit overnight to check how moist the soil gets, if necessary remove some soil and adjust the strip of material up or down. Once you have it behaving right, plant some seeds, and enjoy not having to water it all the time. 

One other thing I love about this system is that because you can leave it a while (sometimes almost two weeks) before needing to top up, this means you won't risk dislodging seeds with watering, so they get a great start. And when you do refill it, do so gently, near an edge away from seeds and seedlings so as not to dislodge them, or very slowly with a very small and fine rose on your watering can.


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23 December, 2022

Water Again, Again.

Let's stick two extremely clever ideas together. One is the use of tide or wave power to generate electricity, which we've proved works but I imagine one of the main issues would be the cable to connect it to the shore. It's almost as if these sea-based power generation solutions were a custom fit for sea-based living estates. . . Hmmm . . . I'll come back to this. 

Also read this article about a concept to condense the sea mist and pipe that back to shore. It's just a concept at the moment but it's not a big stretch to imagine it in operation. It would need a pipe back to the shore, and could be anchored quite rigidly in place just offshore. And a ruptured pipe is a bit less of an issue to sealife than a ruptured power cable. Armoured undersea cable is bloody expensive. 

Which brings me back to the synergies I can see. I imagine that the water condenser would need energy to make a cooling surface for mist to condense on and be captured. So such a plant would need both a cable to take energy to it and a pipeline to take water back. Leaving us with the armoured electric cable issue. 

But suppose - just suppose - that the water condenser was anchored fairly rigidly just offshore. It has wave/tidal generators in the base, supplying power for itself. It only needs a wireless link back to shore to carry commands and data, and a waterpipe. We know how to make good water pipes that don't even cost one tenth of a similar armoured undersea cable, and a break situation would be far more survivable for oceanic life than 440,000V. 

Of course, one could in theory use a second pipe and get away with less expensive armouring on the cables, and that way we could send both freshwater AND electricity back to shore. These things could live just a few hundred metres offshore in many places, and form wind-calming channels between them as a bonus for small watercraft to tie up for recreational fishing and diving. At 210m long by 100m tall that gives a 210m section under the water to generate electricity, which I believe would be quite a considerable amount of energy. Probably enough to operate pumps onshore to pump the water onward as well as recovering the water vapour and condensing it. 

But here's another thought: Why stay close to shore? You could set up grids of these stations with wave/tidal energy generation, large freshwater tanks to use as ballast to prevent excessive movement - and put floating living modules in between the grid spaces. All you'd need to grow food is fresh water and a source of fertiliser such as poo. On land this would be called aquaponics, so maybe on the seas they'd call it terraponics. You'd have seafood (the structures themselves forming environments for fish), vegetables, fresh water, and electricity to spare. 

Forgive me my lack of imagination
in naming this concept.

There have been designs and dreams of floating cities, and some enterprising people have built themselves floating islands and live on them, growing their own food, generating their own electricity.

Now imagine floating larger small villages almost completely self-contained, built around freshwater condensors and tide/wave power generators, and so with a surplus of electricity and fresh water they could use electric craft to make trips between the floating cities and the shore, or just have a train of supply boats to stock local shops and eateries, and take back whatever the Marine City produces.

What sort of things? Well, fresh water, fish farmed in farm pens under the structures, aquaponically grown vegetables. Seawater contains materials that can be extracted/refined. So - quite possible.


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22 November, 2022

This May Rank Along With Yahoo

#TWEXIT

What do you do when the majority of your activist (and thus loud) customer base expresses distress, dismay, and disgust with your business decisions, and they start campaigning against you? If you're Mr Musk, you double down. And double down, and then double down some more.

Only - when your doubling down is actually an 80%-10% downsizing each time, it won't be long before that last person standing will be cut in half. And it'll be him at the rate he's going. 

In the Back To The Future series, Yahoo seemed such a good bet that it got a cameo "timesider" trading tip. Today the company's a husk of its former self, for some less than stellar decisions. Some companies don't even have a shadow presence any more. 

Where Twitter is going to fall on this scale is anyone's guess. 

I only heard this on the radio this morning in passing so I'm not sure yet on the details, as I find out I'll update this paragraph. One of Twitter's long-time partners have said that they'll withdraw support for the site because of Musk's policy of reinstating people who've been banned for hate speech and persecution, fomenting strife, etc.

Musk: "Let that stink in."

As far as the news would seem to suggest, a significant percentage of Twitter's advertisers have paused or totally withdrawn their advertising. Fair enough, Musk doesn't have to pay as many staff and contractors now - considering that some estimates place the current original employee and contractor workforce at less than 10% of the pre-purchase payroll - but his SpaceX engineers aren't really going to be able to work out what's going on and where all the buttons are. 

And while I noticed that SpaceX and Starlink seemingly bought (or were given) advertising space on the platform, it's hardly going to keep Twitter afloat financially if he has to rob Peter to pay Paul. 

Another shenanigan was to stack the news feed with weird, irrelevant, and unknown items. Because they served to push the "Trending" stuff further down, trending stuff like "RIP Twitter" and "The End of Twitter" . . . 

None of that's going to keep the site alive and operational. He needs people to sell advertising, to do some PR to cover over the almighty stuff-up he's made of it to date, and - most importantly - to start fixing the bugs that must be accumulating by the hour. He needs tech support people to help Twitter users with their mounting tally of errors. 

And - answer me honestly - would you work in the toxic environment he's created? 

The Bluebird is on life support and
the FailWhale is hovering, sensing
that its time will come again...



To be fair, these techniques have, as the article states, worked for Musk in the past but it's not winning him many fans, and right now there are a dozen or more Chinese EV manufacturers eating his lunch in that market, there's a competitor in the satellite Internet industry, other companies are now making inroads into the rocket market. 

He may have pioneered these industries but each has now become stuck in its paradigm, and much of that was shaped by his panic-mongering and demanding (HIS IDEA OF) perfection, and so is now stuck in particular ways of doing things, so that others can now take the best parts of his innovations and add their own twists. 

So he makes (quite expensive) Tesla cars, using gigapresses and robots? Someone else is making them the old fashioned way with less new-tech investment needed, no fancy self-driving or 27-point camera coverage - but great durability and range - and prices nearly half of what a Model 3 or Y cost. 


Remember when Hyundai made the now ubiquitous (and still on the road, many of them) 2000 Excel? These little cars were cheap, ran on the sniff of an oily rag, and changed the mix of cars on the road in Australia forever. They also decimated sales for many other small economy car manufacturers.

Half a dozen rocket companies have sprung up and aren't tied to Merlin and Kestrel design requirements, and are thus able to produce innovative motors that will probably see Space-X facing competition quite soon now

Similarly, messaging sites have sprung up over the years and many fallen by the wayside, but some (like Mastodon) were created precisely to offer an alternative to single-point-of-control messaging sites. Specifically, Twitter. Because Eugen Rochko, a young Russian who moved to Germany, realised that almost all centralised social media and messaging platforms were vulnerable to a narcissistic sociopathic control freak (oooh Mabel, imagine that!) and so he set about creating alternatives. 

And of course with the many thousand engineers and staff and contractors that Musk fired, it's almost inevitable that a few of them will bear him malice and desire to create mischief' so to speak, and no doubt a few of them will have already contributed to the Mastodon codebase, meaning on top of all its other advantages, it'll gain even more attractive features in the very near future. So very soon it may make as much sense to be on Mastodon as it did to be on Twitter in the last five years. 

What Can We Do?

I've done it. My accounts are still there on Twitter but inactive except when I need to contact the last three or four people that are hold-outs on there. I've already reconnected with most of the other people I know on Mastodon. The paradigm shifts a bit more slowly for some, but as Twitter gets worse, it will shift... 

Make an account now, just to be on the safe side. (I've put a tiny guide together you can refer to.) Use that guide, it even shows you how you can add all your follows and followers from Twitter with nothing more than few mouse clicks. But this needs both sites to be up - and Twitter may or may not be around in its current form very soon, so I say do it now. 

As to that... Musk may well have a Whole New Plan for Twitter and be already busily putting it all into action as I write this. And if Twitter switches over to any new programming, all these tools that we currently rely on to make a painless collection of all our friends may stop working. (How many of your Twitter contact's email addresses or phone numbers do you know? If Twitter crashed could you re-contact even 5% of them? Are you all right with that?)

So even if this all turns out to be BS, even if a cloud of Bluebird Twitter faeries descend on the platform and make it the bestest thing in all the world - all you'll have lost is 20 minutes of your time, and you'll have a backup in case history repeats.

Don't just use Mastodon because I've said it - have a look around there are others to try, Element is a messaging app as are Signal and Telegram, and there are a few social-network sites like Diaspora and Friendica which are more Facebook-like, and it makes sense to have more than one source of contact with friends and family, right? Ask your friends now where they're thinking of making a backup connection, reach a consensus and all go there.

Many Aussie tweeters have gone to the Mastodon aus.social server, but I'm on the mastodon.online server - with something like Mastodon it doesn't really matter, which is why I like it. With federated stuff online, you could even be on Diaspora and we could still follow one another and keep on chatting. 

It's a bit like those walkie-talkies that are in the cupboard in the hallway - one day you might find no mobile coverage, and then they're a good fallback for checking in with Mum a few streets away.

Use hashtags #TWEXIT and #LetThatStinkIn to raise awareness. Share this post and posts like it, that will raise awareness. All messaging systems are ephemeral, social networks break. 

And awareness drives informed decision, and perhaps for many that informed decision will be to move to a messaging service that one man alone can't screw up.

08 October, 2022

Water Again

Still Easy To Waste

Back before I could spell "litre" (apparently) I asked this question. Still asking, by the way . . .

A large proportion of the Aussie population have an energy provider that provides an online account and usage tracking page. This is a pretty under-used facility, because data and information equals power. No, not energy, just the power to monitor your household's energy usage and adapt / alter / test and swing your energy usage to your advantage. 

According to an industry insider I hear a rumour that there are ways to monitor that direct off the meter using - I don't know exactly, not that power monitor thing that we keep getting bombarded with spam to have installed for free, but something already in the meters. 

Before I drop this sidetrack, let me just say that using our provider's account usage tracking, we worked out that leaving the AC on overnight at a reduced setting and then increasing it by day was cheaper than turning it off and having to recover all the thermal losses. And that our hot water system is one of the first things I'd speak to the landlord about if there was a chance... Three bucks a day, over a quarter of our bill... 

I reckon one reason our 'smart meters' aren't quite smart enough to allow us to access them via wifi and have an instant read of our power consumption is because if we had such fine-grained information we could use a LOT less energy, and then where would those greedy sons-of-hogs-at-the-trough be? 

Now Back To The Question

Which is: Why can't we have smart water meters? They can be powered by the flow of water when you turn on a tap, and would provide critical information for households wanting to save money - and more importantly, water. 

It almost seems as if we're not allowed the tools to resist consumerism, doesn't it? As if the destruction of the planet IS the point, instead of the saving of it. 


You may have seen here and there that I'm really really into doing something about - everything - that's going on around the world in the areas of climate change, waste accumulation, fossil fuel pollution and its companion, decarbonisation, renewable and sustainable energy, small scale recycling, and letting you and everyone else that I can reach know about all these things. You can help by sharing the heck out of my articles like this because the more people see it the more people will talk about it and the more people talk about it the more people will DO SOMETHING about it - be that email their local government member, email a CEO like the CEO of AGL and tell them you don't want any more of their pollution and greed, sign petitions, and maybe go to a demonstration to let the whole world know how they feel.

Heck, they might even read about plastic recycling and do guerilla plastic recycling at home. . . Or recycle their food waste into their vegetable garden. All sorts of anarchy could result. 

And all it takes is for you to share the link to this article on your favourite social network, or text it to a friend. . . Or even donating so that I can keep the servers running and domain names paid for with some of your money instead always my pension. . .  Not kidding, this costs me hundreds every year. And I pay it out of a pension that was recognised as being well below the poverty line 20 years ago and has gone backwards since then. I could really do with the help. 

So yes, please share this article and my others like it, go to my News Stand to see all my other posts and share links to the News Stand and any articles you found interesting, and if you can, donate here or here and find out here why it's important. Or subscribe to my once a week newsletter and stay in the loop. Thank you for being here and reading.

Daddy, Why Did Energy Prices Crash The Economy?

Rabbits, Son, Too Many Rabbits.

In China Australia, and most of the planet, apparently.

Did you know that rabbits aren't rodents? They're in a different class, Lagomorpha Leporidae. They breed indiscriminately, and can devastate ecosystems and even whole countries. And everyone looks at any individual bunny and says things like "Naaaww cute!"

Only a small subset of humanity looks at them and sees the wholesale destruction of plant life (soon followed by the animal life that depended on those plants for their own survival) and soil erosion that those cute bunnies cause.

And only another small subset of humanity looks at them and says "Oh wow I'm hungry and eating these things actually helps the environment so - here bunny bunny bunny. . . "

(The last paragraph actually refers to a recent post by Extinction Rebellion where they playfully (?) suggested that eating one ultra-rich person would make a bigger dent in global warming than stopping your meat consumption and use of petrol-engined vehicles for the rest of your life. Here bunny bunny . . . 😼)

I digress now to this:

Original Post and Commentary Re-post and this selected comment from the OP:

Cr Xxxx Xxxx (long string of identifying info omitted

"It’s a shame (region omitted for de-identification purposes) wasn’t included. Negotiations would have been interesting and I do miss playing with the big guys."

That was the entire comment. "Everyone else is tapping Oxley over and we're missing out. All us little people - on whom the solar farm is going to have minimal to zero impact - are missing out on the huge profits to be made from renewable energy." and somewhere in there's a subtext the Councillor wasn't expressing: "And we're gonna need some extra money to keep up with rising energy prices. Why are energy companies so greedy? Sheesh. . ."

Seems a shame that someone considers it to be "playing with the big guys" when what they mean is "doing over everyone in Australia." Seems a pity that this person considers themselves to be one of the  "little guys." Seems like people really are so greedy and petty, and base their entire lives on greed and feeling self-important.

What price EVs Now?

Seems the energy companies to are smelling blood in the water. All these people who are going to want to charge their EVs because they want to save the environment! "The least we can do is CASH IN, GUYS!  Oh and yeah, of course raising electricity prices is going to run people that just want to air condition their homes broke but - it's income. Sheesh..."

Which in turn will remove the perceived advantages of EVs as far as travel costs are concerned, and so slow EV adoption. "But in case anyone thinks we're not serious about getting you all to switch, returning the petrol excise again and raising the price of oil. What? You want some incentives? Tough luck, no carrots, just all stick. Use some of the pay rises that aren't coming through, or better yet, trade those veggies that the farmers paid you in lieu of money. If you can find a dealership that would be as stupid as you and get paid in barter. Sheesh. . ."

So the story is that the Aussie government reduced the amount of petrol excise (tariff) because oil companies raised the price of oil because Putin and Ukraine and you know anything at all is an excuse for the oil companies to screw their customers a bit more before the inevitable collapse of their business as demand for oil dries up. They may as well collapse with rich CEOs and management, hey?

In effect the oil companies put prices up so high that the Australian government was paying them for - for - well, for being total arseholes. And now that the excise will be put back on in full again, the oil companies will respond by putting prices up even more. Energy companies will put their prices up because they've installed solar farms that will amortise their costs in under a year but prices will stay high because when you screwing a population you may as well just keep going rather than not buying that extra mansion and the fleet of fancy top-end cars. Don't stop until the pitchforks come out!

A Better Approach

. . . might have been to subsidise the heck out of EVs, but the previous government was ideologically opposed to doing anything for their own populace that might affect their cosy snuggly relationships with big corporations, and so they put the money where it would do the least amount of good overall, leave the cause of EVs stranded for as long as possible, and (in case they didn't survive the election which I'm pretty sure they knew they couldn't, given that the populace has been better informed in the last few years than ever before) make it a hassle for the subsequent government to recover from.

So the Morrison government created as much confusion and difficulty as possible so their good buddies could continue to screw us, and of course they ALL piled in and did just that. 

I urge you all to consider that, the next time any public issue comes up that involves giving any of these bastards a break, and instead, let's keep the bastards honest whether they want to or not. Push them into it, hard. They truly deserve it. 

So the government now has unwound a load of fees for electric vehicles to speed up people being able to afford them. The fuel companies (and their close associates the energy sector) are combining to keep people to broke to think about an EV just yet, by a combination of energy related costs. 

What should happen is that instead of paying money into propping up the greed of the oil companies again, the government should instead raise all fees on internal combustion engined vehicles (ICEVs) to prohibitive levels except for tradespeople and agricultural use, and offer large subsidies to people IF they sell their ICEV at the same time. Alter the vehicle registration structure such that ICEVs become expensive to transfer the registrations of, and place the majority of that burden on the purchaser. 

This'll make it cheaper and easier buy an EV than to buy an ICEV. For truly low-income people who require a vehicle and need to purchase second-hand. 

Look - I'm not a policy-maker or someone with political aspirations - I just don't want to see a bunch of wealthy entitled utter bastards make themselves even more rich off the disaster they've created. So I'm asking you to get activated. Get angry. Don't let some other utter arsehole's desire for wealth make your life poorer for it, nor the lives of the generation growing up right now. Get out there and keep those bastards honest! 

I can't

I can't let this article end without urging you to action. It's never been more needed than it is right now, and right now we have governments that are beginning to sense which way the wind's blowing and willing to listen.

You may have seen here and there that I'm really really into doing something about - everything - that's going on around the world in the areas of climate change, waste accumulation, fossil fuel pollution and its companion, decarbonisation, about renewable and sustainable energy, small scale recycling, and letting you and everyone else that I can reach know about all these things. 

You can help by sharing the heck out of my articles like this because the more people see it the more people will talk about it and the more people talk about it the more people will DO SOMETHING about it - be that email their local government member, email a CEO like the CEO of AGL and tell them you don't want any more of their pollution and greed, sign petitions, and maybe go to a demonstration to let the whole world know how they feel.

Heck, they might even read about plastic recycling and do guerilla plastic recycling at home. Or recycle their food waste into their vegetable garden. All sorts of anarchy could result. . .

And all it takes is for you to share the link to this article on your favourite social network, or text it to a friend. . . Or even donating so that I can keep the servers running and domain names paid for with some of your money instead always my pension. . .  Not kidding, this costs me hundreds every year. And I pay it out of a pension that was recognised as being well below the poverty line 20 years ago and has gone backwards since then. I could really do with the help. 

And Actually:

I have a thing to add, weeks after starting this article. 

Regarding energy pricing:  OT1H, but then OTOH - One says that renewable energy is in for a "billion dollar shock" and tries to say there'll be expense after expense 'upgrading' things. The second says that energy companies that are using renewables are seeing billions of windfall profits from the cheap energy.  WTF?

Either there are ‘billion dollar windfalls’ and lower prices or there’s billion dollar bullshit about the cost of ‘wires’. What a load of shit, I say. 

Which is it?

And don't let's forget that I said energy companies are going milk the shit out of everything in order to make money while they can still pretend their bullshit is relevant or even true. Pretty soon they're going to have to face the fact that they're just going to become purveyors of wires, and every person and their dog will be able to generate enough energy to cut those wires and give them the finger. So yeah, they're going to gouge every cent they can before the party's over. 

Anyway - back to the feeding frenzy . . .

Footer

So yes, please share this article and my other posts on other blogs, go to my News Stand to see all my other posts. Share links to the News Stand and any articles you found interesting, and if you can, donate here or here and find out here why it's important. Or subscribe to my once a week newsletter and stay in the loop. Thank you for being here and reading.

02 September, 2022

Rainwater Collection

Pity It's No Longer Safe

This is glad and sad news all at once. And indicates how quickly situations change. The Western Sydney University (WSU) team that developed what seems to be a pretty good, automated, multi-stage filter and disinfection system that would have raised the treated water that came through up the water safety pyramid to level with or better than mains water. 

SIDE NOTE: It's sad that the water safety pyramid in that article is not quite right any more.
Thanks to PFAS, rainwater is further down the pyramid now and probably worse than groundwater.

Now, though, it's been shown that there are PFAS compounds in rainwater - everywhere in the world. And PFAS probably wouldn't be filtered out by that setup because they need activated carbon or ionic filtering to remove. 

This is me, standing in PFAS in our front yard after
a few days of heavy rain. Not to worry, hey?

Yep, even that lake that appears in the yard is these days (apparently) contaminated with PFAS compounds. Yep, those are very clumsy cheap-ass wellies so the water's at least 100mm deep there. And yep, my vegetables grow in that. 

But that brings me to the point - almost ALL our mains water is sourced from dams around major cities. And all those dams are filled from rivers and streams and they in turn get filled from - . . . .  rain . . .

Given that the average city needs megalitres of water, the filters (charcoal or ionic) to remove the compounds would necessarily have to be very large, and have you seen any huge filters around your city water supply? 

So probably the mains water supply isn't entirely innocent of PFAS, and the water supply from the WSU filters will probably be about the same. And the way o to deal with PFAS is to filter them out using a charcoal filter jug or inline filter. 

Thoughts.

So I guess my advice to you is get a charcoal filter for your drinking and cooking water at least. PFAS has been linked to reproductive issues - and you don't have to be actively reproducing to have issues with your reproductives . . . 

Anyone living rural and / or off-grid with rainwater take note of the UV sterilisation stage of the WSU filter setup. Bacteria growing in rainwater tanks cause a multitude of health issues. Look up how to make sand and charcoal column filters for at least your drinking water, dedicate a solar panel to a UV irradiator, and you'll have water at the mains water supply end of the pyramidor even above that.

This Is The End

... of this article. But it's nowhere near the end for me. It takes several days to find a topic to write about, properly research it, and then write and schedule it. I don't have any assistance and I don't have the kind of income that allows me to use a scheduling service like established writers can. I also spend some of my limited pension on keeping servers and domain names going, more on parts for the R&D I do making the machines for recycling waste. You can help me by sharing this article or the link to the newsletter I put out, or more directly by making a Paypal donation here. Failing that you can also go to my Ko-Fi page and set up a monthly donation. (It's like Patreon without all the bullsh*t.) Everything you can do, will help me keep going.     




















 

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