Friday, June 26, 2015

A Bang and a Whimper.

There is the assumption that humans will change their ways and conserve energy and not consume, consume, consume. This is akin to Jevons' paradox (perhaps their is one more Germaine). If the energy is available, what will stop continued consumption of tools and toys? Who will go first with this restraint and restricting? Think of the uproar if legislated.

It is comforting to prefer the noise of delusional magical thinking and pretending that the system of perpetual growth can work forever; that some variant of business as usual can persist.  There is just too much tied up with it and any unraveling would be far too chaotic and unpredictable. Wrapping our heads around the eventualities of global warming; of overshoot; of the desecration of world wildlife; of the acidification of the oceans; of the poisoning of pollinators stymies.

A world no longer powered by fossil fuels, no matter what incarnation, is almost inconceivable and for many terrifying.  . It is indeed traumatic for what it might (probably) means not just for us but also for our love ones, children, grandchildren. Our hearts break. We want to fix it. So we do more technology and more ultimate harm.

It is like a person diagnosed with lung cancer saying he/she will just smoke these organic, non sprayed cigarettes for a little bit longer instead of facing the reality of the situation, quitting and having the operation.

We are slowly technogizing ourselves into extinction. Technology is seductive. Is it the power? Is it the comfort? Or is it some internal particularly human attribute that drives it? Technology surrounds us and becomes part of our story and myths. Technology tantalizes the human mind to make, combine, invent. There are always unintended consequences with technology. It effects how we experience the world in time and space. It affects how we feel the world. If all the externalities were included in the prices and cost to nature, we would be very, very wary of technology.

I think we have moved from technology in the service of religion (pyramids and gothic cathedrals) to religion and culture in the service of technology. It isn't a deity that will save humanity but in the eyes of many - it will be technology.

We will do more of the same, business as usual until there are no more holes in the ground to dig, no more water above and below to contaminate, no humans to wage slave, no other lifeforms to eliminate. Yes, we are building Trojan horses in our hearts, minds and spirits. It will be elitist and entitlement and hubris - both a bang and a whimper.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


We grow potatoes without pesticides or chemical fertilizers or herbicides.  
We have natural grown potatoes. 

Written by Max Goldberg on November 30, 2013

1) According to the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program, 35 different pesticides have been found on conventional potatoes.
And out of these 35:
– 6 are known or probably carcinogens
– 12 are suspected hormone disruptors
– 7 are neurotoxins
– 6 are developmental or reproductive toxins
The chemical that is found on 76% of all conventional potatoes is chlorpropham, an herbicide that is used to stop the growth of weeds and to inhibit potato sprouting.

Not only is this chemical toxic to honey bees, but according to the Extension Toxicology Network, chronic exposure of laboratory animals to chlorpropham has caused “retarded growth, increased liver, kidney and spleen weights, congestion of the spleen, and death.”

2) As a root vegetable, potatoes absorb all of the pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides that are sprayed above the ground and then eventually make their way into the soil.
With potatoes, however, the chemical treatment is quite extensive.
During growing season – They get treated with fungicides
Before harvesting – They get sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines
After being dug up – They get sprayed again to prevent them from sprouting

3) Quite often, the most important information about a food is what growers or “insiders” have to say about it.
Jeff Moyer, farm director at the Rodale Institute and former chair of the National Organic Standards Board, has been quoted as saying “I’ve talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals.”
See also:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Step Beyond - Business as Usual

I have been challenging the solar advocates that their fervent support was simply business as usual dressed up. My research has used the videos of the industries themselves to show that the industrial history of solar and wind energy capturing devices are not green, renewable or sustainable.  I see this advocacy for so-called “renewables” as maintaining the consumer society for a while longer.

When challenged ‘what the electricity was to be used for’, the question was ignored or given lip service on the need for conservation.  Instead of limiting per capita electricity use, the unrestrained and more importantly unmonitored “free” market was to be allowed to reign; thus essentially continuing its destructive assault on the earth and its life habitats.

Just as importantly, is the implicit assumptions by these proponents that humans will change their ways and conserve energy and not consume, consume, consume. This is akin to Jevons' paradox (perhaps their is one more germaine). If the energy is available, what will stop continued consumption of tools and toys? Who will go first with this restraint and restricting? Think of the uproar if legislated.

My challenges and research have gotten me unfriended, blocked, “yelled at” and insulted on Facebook. There is an ardor and almost religious fervor by these technoptimist; technofantasists; technophiles.

I knew that we would be happily growing along making tools and toys.  “People now spend far more money on things that use electricity than on the electricity itself, and this disproportion has been increasing since the 1920s.”  (Nye, David.  2006.  Technology Matters. MIT. Cambridge. pg. 42)  

I simply wasn’t prepared for what I found below.

I was not prepared for the direct, overt and continued assault on the earth, the scale of it and how quickly it was happening.  This stunned me. The installation at a Chilean copper mine is a giant step beyond tools and toys.  It is BUSINESS AS USUAL in capitals and underlined. 

The spin on this by the advocates of renewable,
green and sustainable will be a joy to behold.

SunEdison To Set Up 70 MW Solar Power 
Project For Chilean Copper Mine
September 5th, 2014 by Mridul Chadha 
One of the largest copper mining companies in the world is set install a solar power project to power part of its operations in Chile.

SunEdison has announced that it has signed an agreement with Antofagasta Minerals S.A. to set up 69.5 MW solar photovoltaic power project at one of the latter copper mine in Chile. Antofagasta plans to use solar power to meet a part of the electricity demand at its Los Pelambres mine.
Antofagasta’s Los Pelambres mine in Chile


When I photoshopped these pictures, they
were meant as cartoons with a tinge of sarcasm.

Now, it is irony and reality.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


In my posts and blogs, I have constantly spoken about the global industrial infrastructure that underwrites most manufactured things in our environment.  Several passages in a novel brought an epiphany of how pervasive, how insinuated, how utterly complex these installations are.  I have added those passages at the end of this essay.

Solar energy collecting devices have been challenged from several points of view.  The Energy Return on Energy Invested has been noted in extensive research as being low.  The dependence on fossil fuel has been noted.  Solar enthusiasts act as if the industry stands apart from the fossil fuel supply system.  It is not separate from the present undulating supply plateau nor the scraping of the bottom of the fossil fuel barrel.  We will never truly run out of fossil fuels, but the monetary cost and the environmental assaults defined by geology, geography as well as politics will certainly constrain our energy future. 

My position has been that the underwriting by the global industrial infrastructure is a necessary consideration. All the things in our world have an industrial history.  Behind the computer, the T-shirt, the vacuum cleaner is an industrial infrastructure fired by energy (fossil fuels mainly).  Each component of our car or refrigerator has an industrial history.  Mainly unseen and out of mind, this global industrial infrastructure touches every aspect of our lives.   It pervades our daily living from the articles it produces, to its effect on the economy and employment, as well as its effects on the environment.

Solar energy collecting devices also have an industrial history.  It is important to understand the industrial infrastructure and the environmental results for the components of the solar energy collecting devices so we don’t designate them with false labels such as green, renewable or sustainable. 

This is an essay challenging ‘business as usual’.  If we teach people that these solar devices are the future of energy without teaching the whole system, we mislead, misinform and create false hopes and beliefs.

I have provided both charts and videos 
for each of the components considered.
Please note each piece of machinery you see 
in each of the videos has its own 
industrial interconnection and history.

To look at all the video takes approximately 40 minutes.



When you look at the solar video, a beautiful, 
sophisticated, highly technical dance emerges.

Suntech Power: How Suntech Photovoltaic Cells
and Modules are Made (English Version)
5.41 minutes



An essay with diagrams and a wonderful video has already been posted.  I refer the reader to that blog entry.

Solar energy collecting devices use low iron plate glass for a covering.  All modern plate glass has a global face.  Glass is a wonderful product.  Float glass for windows improves homes and other buildings enormously.  Think about what your home would be without glass. 

Solar energy collecting devices whether they are for heating hot air, hot water or making electricity are part of a huge global system.  The blog entry noted above shows the process in making glass from the mining to the heating the sand to 2800° F to rolling it out, cutting and transporting.  It also shows a huge factory and the global economies of scale required to make it affordable.

Float Glass Manufacturing Process .flv  4 minutes  clear,best


The frame for the solar energy collecting devices is made from aluminum.
The aluminum can come from raw ore or it can be recycled.  
The frame is then extruded into the shape needed.




Aluminum is lauded for its recyclability. Recycled aluminum saves some 95% of the energy over mined bauxite.  In the background it still has a huge industrial infrastructure that collects, transports, crushes, compacts, transports, heats, makes ingots and then refabricates. 

Focus on the machinery in this short video:

The story of Aluminium Recycling

2.05 Minutes

Aluminum Extrusion

When I was 14 years old, I worked in an aluminum extrusion plant in south Florida.  We would roll the carts that were on a rail that were filled with extrusions into a large heating room.  The heating room went to 375° F (if I remember correctly- almost 50 years ago) and would age the aluminum.  We would then go in and roll the cart out, wrap the extrusions and load them in trucks.  Because it was summer, we all were wet with perspiration when we went into the room to get the cart.  Our T-shirts would dry immediately.  When we went home after work, our T-shirts were caked with our own salt.



An inverter is a piece of equipment that changes the incoming Direct Current electricity from the panels to the Alternating Current used in our homes.  Our vacuum cleaners, TVs, water pumps, etc. use AC supplied by the power company.  

As an aside, when I first used solar and wind energy collecting devices in the early 1980s, I wired my house with heavy gauge wire and used DC with lights, pump, refrigerator and TV.  I had a small inverter to run my vacuum cleaner and computer.

When the fan went out on our inverter (which it has done twice) we had to pull the heavy inverter off the wall and replace the small fan.  The local solar people wanted to charge $400 to change it.

Conergy Inverter manufacture process

5.11 minutes



Deep Cycle Battery Manufacturing - by U.S. Battery

5.54 minutes




We have looked at charts and videos of making solar energy collecting devices, at the glass process and at the various aluminum processes.  We viewed the manufacturing of an inverter that changes the DC energy to AC and the batteries for storing the electricity. And lastly, we viewed two videos on copper; one on production and the other on one of the many tools for which we use electricity.

Solar energy collecting devices have an industrial history.  It arises part and parcel out of the global industrial infrastructure, the complexes that brings the many products of our age to our use. 


Here are the pages from Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears [Spiegel & Grau ; Reprint edition (June 1, 2010)]. I looked for an email or address for him but was unable to find one.  I wanted to thank him.  Not only were these several pages eye openers, but the book was a joy to read and enjoyable.

This for me was a powerful statement about nature –
the environment – global industrial complexes. 
A ‘YES’.

“Many hundreds of men, machines ranging from
the huge cranes to the smallest screwdrivers,
all working together, all apparently knowing what
they were to do and when they were to do it.”

A screwdriver, yes, a screwdriver of course it has an industrial history.
These paragraphs hit me with a resounding
‘YES’ and ‘OF COURSE”.  It was wonderful.

This paragraph seem to sum in addition the dilemma
we face as the nature of some of the “beasts”.